Thursday, 21 August 2014

The hunter gatherers

We love the idea of foraging for food, we really do.  Unfortunately, when you live in the middle of a big city and you work full time, the reality of the situation is that most of your foraging gets done in Waitrose.

We did have some opportunities on holiday though, which we thoroughly enjoyed.

Winkles, from the rockpools around Portuairk. D used to winkle a lot as a child, and considers this an essential part of any seaside holiday.  If you've never had them, they are very akin to snails with a slight whiff of the sea - gorgeous just ferreted out of their shells and dragged through garlic butter.  Since we managed to gather such a lot (the pile you see before represents about a half of our total haul) we also had them on toast for lunch one day, and made a little winkle and bacon ragu sauce to accompany...

...the fresh mackerel that we caught on our sea angling trip.  We have been meaning to do that for the last few years and, as expected, it was enormous fun.  I must admit to a certain amount of squeamishness at first when it came to sliding the mackerel off the hooks - just because I acknowledge the reality of eating living creatures for dinner does not mean I find having their blood, literally, smeared all over my hands particularly easy.  Anyway, D being hunter gatherer in chief did the gutting and the filleting, and then we pan fried them and served them over winkle and bacon pasta.  Top notch stuff.

We have six more mackerel in the freezer and are hoping to have a go at smoking a couple - watch this space (either for a post about smoking fish or one in which our house burns down and we have to sleep in the car).

Finally, there were these little beauties, that we picked in Aros Park, just outside Tobermory:

Mushroom picking can be a surprisingly dangerous business, so we made sure that we only picked those varieties that we were absolutely sure about and that could not be mistaken for anything else.  Simply fried up in butter with garlic and parsley and then served up on toast, these could not have been more delicious.

I don't think, if mackerel fishing is slightly too gory for me, that I am ever going to make it out on a shooting party, or even butchering my own meat, but mushrooms - mushrooms I can cope with.

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