Monday, 3 March 2014

Shrove Tuesday

photo: Sue Gill
Pancake day tomorrow and a conga eel has washed up on a recent high tide at my bay-neighbour's shore.

I'm not sure who else she's told about the eel and since I'm not invited to her shrivening supper, and I'm sure you haven't been either, it's quite safe to reveal what I think she'll serve up, as she's one for enjoying extensive menus and ceremony.

I suspect, she like me is, relieved at the thought of some practical flotsam again, something we can do stuff with. Weeks have passed, many of them stormy, since we've had any usable firewood wash up. I don't know why. Plenty of trees must have come down in the winds and there can't have been that much of an increase of people snaffling them upriver for their own burners. Possibly councils have been more vigilant about cutting down trees with the storms, or the by-pass has required a more thorough felling programme.

Either way it's pancake day and it's no coincidence a five foot long eel washed up on her beach, which, while dead, still looked as though it had had a healthy life and, more importantly for her plates, a sturdy circumference.

She didn't ask, but clearly she'd need ideas for toppings for the gluten free pancakes. I'm no gourmet but am happy to chat, over our virtual fence, about possible flavour combinations:
For savoury - creamy mash and black peppered onions or beetroot roasted with cumin seeds provide good contrast especially one as starter and one as main, the first complementing the eel's fattiness and the second cutting through it. Obviously no extra salt is necessary. Toasted coconut meringue and whipped pineapple cream would make a cleansing, palate freshening dessert. Or of course the unbeatable lemon and sugar.

Slice thickness is quite crucial for the success of each dish: the thinner the better, for crispiness rather than flobbiness, apart from the mash/pepper which would be elevated by a good 12mm steak beneath it.

But she's a woman of her own devices. I wouldn't put it past her to make a shin high pair of wellies from it, if I didn't already know she wasn't a wellie-wearer.

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