Animals Australia: the voice for animals

Animals Australia: the voice for animals
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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Stream of consciousness stew

In The New Yorker, Adam Gopnik regales us with real food from fictional recipes. His survey of food, recipes, cooking takes us from Trollope, through Proust, to J.D. Salinger and Ian Fleming. Kurt Vonnegut and Nora Ephron are included. Gunter Grass and The Flounder are emphasised. Robert B. Parker's Spenser mysteries get a starring role. But the full explication of Gopnik's theme and thesis is through Ian McEwan's bouillabaisse recipe in Saturday - more properly known as Henry Perowne's Fish Stew. Gopnik highlights the difficulty with using cooking as the stock for the stream-of-consciousness stew. Method by method he points out the impossibility of preparing the ingredients for the bouillabaisse while giving deep thought to the events leading up to the Iraq War. Former backgrounds for stream-of-consciousness writing such as walking and driving are quite appropriate. But cooking. Actually, wandering off into a lengthy, rational, and literary stream-of-consciousness is just not possible. See what you think, dear Reader. And to help you decide you might like to try Henry's fish stew:
Henry Perowne's Fish Stew
From Ian McEwan's novel Saturday with revisions by the author.
Note: Where quantities are not stated, trust your instincts or desires.
Into a stockpot of boiling water (a litre or more), put the bones of three skates (or other boned fish) with heads intact. If you have no obliging local fishmonger, use a pound or more of white fish.
Add a dozen or so mussels to the stock. Simmer for twenty five minutes.
Meanwhile, strip and chop three onions, and eight fat cloves of garlic. Soften over a low heat in a casserole with a lot of olive oil.
When they've melted sufficiently, add:
  • a couple of crushed red chillies,
  • a pinch of saffron,
  • some bay leaves,
  • orange-peel gratings,
  • oregano,
  • 5 anchovy fillets,
  • 2 cans of peeled tomatoes.
When these have blended together in the heat, add a quarter bottle of white wine. Then strain off the stock and add to the casserole.
Simmer the mix for twenty minutes.
Rinse and/or scrub the clams and remaining mussels and place in a bowl. Cut the monkfish tails into chunks and place in a separate bowl. Wash the tiger prawns and add to the monkfish bowl. Keep both bowls refrigerated until ready to cook.
Just before dinner, reheat the casserole.
Simmer the clams, monkfish, mussels and prawns in the casserole for ten minutes.
Eat the stew with brown bread, or garlic bread, salad and a hearty red wine.

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