Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Drink your oranges.

Everyone knows this, but it's good to remember how easy it is and how yummy:

A late night - I knew nothing was in the fridge, so called by the supermarket which had fortuitously just renewed its stocks of fresh fish.

I usually try to buy fish at the market but the supermarket is OK as a last resort. And the girls who work there are so sweet. Sometimes, at the checkout, they ask you what something is so they can key in the right code, like:

- 'oh, are these oranges?'
- 'yes, they're oranges.'
- 'thanks.' (keying in code)
- 'that's OK!'

No sarcasm intended - sometimes the grapefruits are more orange than the oranges (some oranges at certain times of the year are greenish-skinned, even though they are perfectly ripe and juicy inside), then there are the tangelos and the blood oranges and the oversized mandarins.

So: fish. Arrive home, unpack fish - a nice white-fleshed, slightly translucent freshwater fish - place on double layer of foil, add a chopped onion, chopped garlic clove and some chopped fresh ginger, a good splash of soy and a drop of sesame oil, a few slices of lemon or a squeeze of the juice, wrap it all up and place in the oven (remembering to switch it on - I've made that mistake MANY a time).

Then go off and relax, change into whatever you change into, or whatever you don't change into, pour your favourite drink, pat the dog, check the TV guide, decide to listen to music or read instead - whatever - and the fish will cook away to its heart's content. When you catch the aroma of that delicious infusion of soy, ginger and garlic - twenty minutes tops - it's ready to eat. And so are you.

Serve with ... rice? The quick method - two to one volume of water to rice in a pot, bring to boil, simmer 10-15 minutes and switch off. I find that produces perfectly good rice, but it all depends, as always, on your pot (copper-bottomed with close-fitting lid) and your heat source.

Or a nice salad, maybe a mound of greens with tomato, walnuts, avocado and a nice dressing.

Oh, the oranges - I nearly forgot:

The best drink on earth - one part pure rye vodka to two parts freshly squeezed sweet orange juice.

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