Its a fantastic Tuesday morning, got up at six grabbed a quick espresso, then the dog and had a brisk three mile walk. When I got home had a bowl of porridge packed with seeds and granola. I read a lovely positive message from a happy person, that made me smile and made me realise that if the first message we read in the morning makes you smile its a good start.
So last Friday was the start of cycle 2 of 6, so just four left. So it went easier on the day than the first one, mainly because the team at the cancer unit are truly the most amazing group of people who treat you, with respect and understanding, but also as a human being and not as a number to get through. Plus I now know the procedure and what to expect. What I was not expecting, was my bodies reaction to the individual drugs. This is hard for me to explain, as all the drugs go in the same way, through the same vein apart from the steroids which are given in tablet form. But I started to notice that as the drugs are administered through the line, just how my body reacted to each one and its as if it recognised them and where they had to go. Now perhaps this is just my perception of what was happening, but it did feel like my body has already put in a logistic system that directs them to their goal. My treatment is called RCHOP and the H part is a drug called hydroxydaunomycin this is the red one that turns your pee pink and this one works on the DNA of the tumour, as it goes in I think I can feel it going north just to the tumour. As I said perhaps its just my brain playing tricks on me, only time will tell. Anyway enough about that, my taste buds are starting to come back and so last night for some reason I decided to cook something that I cannot remember cooking anytime in the last twenty years. A Kedgeree is traditionally a breakfast dish that I do remember being asked for about three times in my career, and I am sure that some head chefs put it on hotel menus back in Ireland in the 80s, they had no idea how it was made but you were guaranteed to find a portion of old smoked haddock in every kitchen freezer, now the smoked haddock was probably in that freezer for years just in case ! You didnt have the joy of the internet then, so you had to dig out a cookbook to see how it was cooked and this would typically happen on a day you had a hangover. So last night was also another first insofar as I cooked it without a hangover. So it is believed Kedgeree originated in India it became popular as a breakfast item during the Victorian period in England so circa 1850 or so, it can be eaten hot or cold mind you I cannot see the attraction of cold smoked fish with curried rice and eggs.
My version came about, because since Saturday my taste buds have been AWOL. I do need to eat, but I also need to taste what I am eating, I have a family who trust me to cook healthy and nutritious food for them, so I can say to them we are eating Kedgeree tonight and although I cannot actually explain why, or what it will taste like they will always try it. In that I am lucky, as not many parents can say that they have a nine and twelve year old who will eat basically anything thats put in front of them, we truly do have a one dinner house. Plus Rachel has a healthy appetite, I think that in the last twenty years we have only had two occasions or maybe three when something I have cooked was politely referred to as not my best effort.
So here we go and like I said this is not to close to the traditional but in many ways not far away either.
160g Smoked Haddock (Natural smoked if possible, if not liquid is good and sometimes easier to get)
180g Bag of raw shelled prawns
140g Lightly smoked salmon or normal salmon.
70g of White rice per person, so I allowed 280g of rice now my family have big appetites, so if you wish, cut this down to 50g per person.
2 Medium onions
6 cloves garlic roughly chopped
6 bay leaves
13 Whole cloves (my own addition because when you use bay leaf its one of the marriages made in heaven, they react with bayleafs to give off a beautiful fragrance)
4tsp milld curry powder
2tsp cumin powder
3tsp coriander seeds (I like them even though they are not featured in any recipe I have come across)
4 eggs (Traditionally the eggs would have been soft boiled and quatered and popped on top before serving but as you read on you will realise I poached them which was a mistake. when I should have cooked them like a Huevos Rancheros in the sauce in the oven.
Ok so this is where the fun begins.
- Slowly cook the onions with no colour although you can colour them as it will add a sweetness to the onions which is no bad thing for about eight minutes then add garlic baylef and whole cloves.
- Add the curry powder the coriander seeds and the ground cumin and cook out slowly for a further three minutes.
- Split the onion mix in to two frying pans and add rice to one and the fish to the other now with the fish cover 3/4 of the way with milk and slowly poach for about six minutes untill cooked but not mushy, and then take off the heat and allow to cool, especially if they are skin on as you will need to remove the skin.
- In the other pan add the rice to the onions along with a low salt stock cube and start to add approximately 580mls of water bring this to a slow boil and cook for a further fifteen minutes before putting a lid on it and switching it off, to allow the rice to cook out and soak up the water and the flavours.
- Ok here is where I messed up with the eggs, at this stage you need to place your fish, onions and liquid back into the rice, make four little hole and crack the eggs in. Put the lid on it and put it back in the oven to cook the eggs that way which would have given the eggs a better flavour and added to the appearance of the dish. Plus while the dish is in the oven for that ten minutes or so you can do a little stir fried vegetables to go with it.
Like I said this dish is a little rough around the edges and I didnt intend to actually put it on the blog but its a good example of a dish to eat when you taste buds are shall we say a litte bit absent.