Friday, 10 August 2007

Max en Pap

Today I did something I've been meaning to do for ages; I went to Farmyard Lamb & Beef in Llanon and bought half a lamb to put in the freezer. For an incredible £20, the butcher prepared a small leg, a shoulder and a saddle of lamb, plus a breast, some cutlets and a few chump chops. There's just something about having a well-stocked freezer that makes me feel (quite paradoxically) warm inside. By my reckoning, the four of us will get ten meals out of that little lot, which works out at a couple of quid per lamb-based meal. As an added bonus, there'll be plenty of bones for a good batch of lamb stock. I'm not sure yet what I shall do with it all, barring the obvious stuff, but inspiration will come along. River Cottage Meat Book here I come!

While we were out we went a little further down the coast to Aberaeron and visited our usual butcher, Owain's. I picked up a big piece of belly pork for Sunday, plus some bacon, sausages and black pudding. No visit to the butcher is, as far as Christopher is concerned, complete without a trip to the park, so we walked along the riverbank to get to the swings and slide.

Before coming home we went to the little fish stall near the marina and bought a couple of locally-caught mackerel for supper. The fishmonger filleted them for me, I struggle enough with bigger fish, never mind fiddly little max! We had bread and salad at home, already prepared and left over from lunch, so I just did something simple that I could knock up quickly after wrestling the assorted bits of sheep into the deep-freeze.

Mackerel 'en Papillote'

mackerel fillets
black pepper

Cut or tear off a large sheet of baking parchment and scrunch it up under the tap to dampen it. Smooth it out, then lay the mackerel fillets on the paper. Arrange a few sprigs of fresh rosemary and some thin slices of lemon on top of the fish, then grind over some black pepper. Wrap the paper up into a parcel, then slide the parcel onto a baking sheet. Bake at 180°c for 10-12 minutes.

Work on one mackerel per person, though the boys shared one between them. Four fillets to a parcel is the maximum I can deal with, so if you have more mouths to feed, make more parcels. If you want to, one parcel per person, served still wrapped on the plate looks very appealing. As I had to cut the children's food up for them anyway, I didn't bother.

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