Coffee and morning light, 7am, create contemplative time at 5 Woodside. The house is quiet (new tenants moved in across the hall yesterday), the garden is sharply outlined in low sunshine and cool air. I’ve made a cup of strong coffee and am gathering notes for the day. A pitch upcoming on Isle of Man, business plans to collect from the printer, clinical trials getting underway in Southampton, Cambridge, Groeningen, Hungary…
I deserve a reward when this is done. Dinner…
I selected a recipe from BBC Food: “Scallops with pickled vegetables, mango jelly, lime and chive sauce. Prep time: Over two hours”.
Real MasterChef stuff. Cool: I’m in.
To be fair, I didn’t start until work was done. Midday, I made a quick run to the printers and post office, then stopped at Waitrose for scallops, white- and rice- wine vinegar, and a parsnip. Otherwise, it was well past six before I settled in for some serious kitchen work.
The Mango Jelly was kind of fun, peeling the mango, finding the outlines of the seed at the center, carving around it: all new. I didn’t have a puree machine, nor xanthan gum, so I improvised by reducing the fruit with a bit of white wine, then added a sheet of gelatin and refrigerated. The result wasn’t quite jelly, but it was solid and tasted intensely mango.
When I think of pickling, I think of Korean Kimchi, burying cabbage in a pot of vinegar and spices in the back yard and letting it ferment for months. I’ve seen the TV cooks whip up pickled sides in a hour though, so I gave it a run. 'Warm the vinegar and sugar, add vegetables, let it sit for two hours. Honestly, the flavor is (similar to) pickle, but not the texture. Warming it, then cooling, improved things a bit, but it still tasted like faux-conserver dans le vinaigre to me, tart taste painted over veg.