Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hickory smoked mackeral with gooseberry and wild elderflower compote

"Don't mind me" said one of the guests at Yew Tree Farmhouse near Fairford as he grabbed a glass of water while I was busy de-boning ducks. "No probl......" then I saw why he'd drawn attention to himself. Because it was a joint 40th and 60th birthday they had a 70's theme going on - and there standing in the kitchen was an apparition of 70's disco - this costume, complete with wig and mo. Fantastic. Some people do it in style!

I'd been caught smoking at work earlier in the day
You can get fancy indoor home smokers, you can get fancy oudoor home smokers, you can even get smoking sheds. On the other hand you can just do it the old fashioned way as above. Once the hickory chips were smoking I brushed the mackeral with olive oil so they didn't stick to the grill and popped that over the tray of smoking wood. Then brushed some foil with oil too (doesn't stick to the skin) and let it smoke/ cook on a slow heat.

Gooseberries came from the Farm and Garden shop in Tewkesbury high street - like you would expect from their name they stock their shop from either their own garden or others and from local farms.

The tartness of the gooseberry cuts through the oilyness of the fish - hence why the age old combination.







Originally it was going to be gooseberry and ginger, but having picked so many elderflowers the week before ('they're not grey hairs, just elderflower pollen') I couldn't help changing it. I found a great recipe in Sophie Grigsons Country Kitchen book for gooseberry and elderflower compote. That took 2 hours for the sugar to cook down with the elderflowers. I didn't have 2 hours. 2 minutes was more like it, so I used the caramel from making caramelised apples for 55 portions of tarte tatin on Sunday with 2010 vintage elderflower cordial. Heat them up till the gooseberries just burst. Because they are so tart the caramel is just right at the end to go with the smoked mackeral. I was pleasantly suprised - amazing summery taste. If there is any compote left it goes so well with greek yogurt for breakfast. Apparently.




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