Thursday, May 01, 2008

Spanish sea bream and a lovely cup of tea

I'M not saying my mind is frazzled but some strange things have been happening to me lately. The other morning I found myself sleep brewing. I didn't have to get up until nine, being on the late shift for the Snail, but I suddenly found myself in the kitchen putting the kettle on. I didn't even know how I had got there, why I was there or what provoked me to make a cup of tea. I then glanced at the clock on the cooker - 6.46am. Am I going mad? Don't answer that it's a rhetorical question.
Still, it's been a pretty good week all in all. Monday was a late night working, waiting for pictures of Swansea City's triumphant bus tour through the city, but I still managed to catch up with the Prince of Darkness and the Wonderful Withers of WoS in The Yard, even though I didn't get out of the office until 9.30. They had gathered at around 3pm for a quiet drink, both being on a day off, and it was only when I pointed out it was 10 that the Prince snarled as if being shown a crucifix embedded with garlic, wrapped his cloak around him and shot off home. He was on the 7am shift for t'echo the following day. I honestly don't know how he manages it sometimes.
On Tuesday we had a visit from Rosey, down in Cardiff to interview one of their FA Cup final-bound players. He was looking pretty sharp and is obviously finding the London life suits him greatly.
The Fugitive, meanwhile, seems to be cracking up. He arrived back from the States just about the same time as his postcard, which contained what can only be described as the ramblings of a lunatic. Containing a picture of four people bending over showing their rather pert backsides to the camera, the Fugitive claimed to have got them to pose on the basis of being an artist. They then found out he worked for Media Wales and described him as a "dirty b**tard". Hmmm, strange indeed. Though, pretty correct as it happens.
Tuesday night I got away a bit early and watched Manchester United reach the European Champions League final with a 1-0 win over Barcelona thanks to a sensational Paul Scholes goal. And on Wednesday I joined the Prince for beers in Dempseys, where the hordes of Liverpool fans who have chosen it as their Cardiff venue were left distraught by their 3-2 European defeat to Chelsea. Cracking game though, Gromit.
Unfortunately on Wednesday I also fell victim of the Style Nazi. I was designing a page about a piece of Welsh slate found in a garden which, according to some, bares the image of Elvis Pressley. Hence we dubbed it Elvis Presili, because that was where it was discovered. Ho hum.
I was quite happy with my design only to find the Style Nazi changing the headline. "You can't have a headline that size," he insisted, "you are going against Western Snail style." Oh, heaven forbid.

On Tuesday night I had some Sea Bream to cook and even though it was gone 10pm I set about it with gusto.
You can buy readily prepared Sea Bream at Morrisons complete with parsley - an excellent buy.
So I did Sea Bream baked with garlic, parsley and white wine vinegar.
Sea Bream
1 large potato, sliced
250ml olive oil
2-3 sprigs of fresh fennel (unfortunately I didn't have any so left it out)
3 tbs white wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbs chopped fresh parsley
sea salt
Heat the oven to 180 degrees/gas mark 4.
Heat the oil in a frying pan then add the potatoes and cook, turning regularly, but don't brown (10 mins). Lightly season with salt, remove and put in bottom of ovenproof dish.
Season fish in and out with salt (not too much). Put fennel sprigs in cavity and place fish on top of potatoes. Place fennel on top and underneath.
Pour the reserved oil over the fish and bake for 10 mins.
Remove dish and increase oven temp to 220 degrees/gas mark 7.
Discard fennel, then pour half the vinegar inside the cavity of the fish and sprinkle half the garlic and half the parsley inside (you may not need the parsley if it is already the prepared version from Morrisons).
Close fish and pour remaining vinegar on top with the rest of the garlic and parsley. Return to oven for 8 minutes or so until the flesh flakes easily.
Serve. I did it with spinach fried with sliced garlic in a frying pan until it wilts.

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