Monday, 26 October 2015

Seafood Stew and Women Overdue

From my kitchen window.  For about 4 days fall is wonderful.

It's been a weird week.  Only two births - both attended by me and both super quick.  Call days for the other midwives completely silent.  We have 2 women overdue and another 5 due.  I feel like the Sword of Damocles is hanging over my head.  So today was my "second call" day meaning I will only get called out if there is a home birth requiring a second attendant.  Same Friday, when we had Peter and Chelsea over for dinner and cards - tacos with hard or soft tortillas, beef and onion or vegan chorizo filling, Mexican rice , chipotle beans and all the toppings.  Grapes and these chocolate chip cookies for dessert. 
These mint chocolate chip cookies are too dark to photograph
Toppings for tacos are actually the best - by the time I have added the lettuce, salsa, guacamole, jalapeños, cheese etc I don't really need whatever the protein filling is.  I bought some Pacifica beer to go with but I think only Jimm drank it.  Chelsea and I had a Chaberton Reserve Dry Bacchus which is delicious and a bargain at about $20. Peter, being of Scottish descent,  thinks whiskey goes with everything.  

So with only one real work day, Saturday, I did get some other things done.  I finally cleaned out the linen closet and threw away all the old greying sheets, and did the thing where you put all the sheet sets into their own pillowcase.  It looks very organized, now I just need to get the boys to actually use the top sheet.  Kidding, I just didn't put a top sheet into the twin sets.  Some things are not worth fighting for.  

I also made French bread, with only partial success.  It's about my third or fourth time trying for the thin, crunchy crust and I there used egg wash on the loaves and a pan of water on the bottom shelf to provide steam., which helps the crust.  What I'm not getting is how to ensure my baguettes rise UP instead of sideways.  I get a nice grain and crunchy crust but the loaf is wider than it is tall.   

Tamago made from leftover egg wash.

So I won't be giving you any French bread instructions at this stage, that's for sure.  It still tasted fine. I made a seafood stew for dinner, something I had planned for earlier in the week which somehow didn't work out.  (By the time I finish this entry it's Monday.  Back on call and interrupted at this point by a couple paging to let me know something has started and they just want to check that they should call me when I said to call, and not now when contractions are 12-30 minutes apart. I take 15 minutes to calm myself. I had a first baby once myself.)

The stew starts with mirepoix, chopped onions, celery and carrots.  On top of the mirepoix in the bowl is a minced shallot added because it was hanging out in the fridge.  Quantity doesn't matter a lot here.  I think it's about a cup of each vegetable.  Start that cooking fairly slowly in olive oil, along with some kind of sausage cut into bite-sized pieces.  This is garlic sausage because Jimm doesn't like spicy stuff.  Chorizo would have been more appropriate I think.  When the onions were almost softened I added chopped bell peppers.

After the peppers add an astonishing amount of garlic

The spice mix is 3 tsp Old Bay and 1 tsp smoked paprika.  
I used some fish stock I had made a few months ago and put in the freezer, about two cups, and a large can of Italian tomatoes which I squished up with my hands while adding.  Try it, it's fun.  Let it simmer a while to blend the flavours.  In my case, about 20 minutes or until Jimm got home.  

Put the lid on and cook for 5-8 minutes or until fish flakes and prawns are pink

Then put in the whitefish - I used 2 basa fillets, and large prawns (the ones that come 16-20 in a package.  I pre-seasoned the fish with some old bay, lemon juice, salt and pepper and garlic and let it sit.  The prawns got salt and pepper only.  We have a lot of leftovers that I sent to work with Jimm and Trav.  Just can't get out of the habit of cooking for eight.  

Top with parsley and torn basil leaves and serve on rice.

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