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Thursday, 10 June 2010

Not just a walk

Taking Ruby, the energetic cockerapoo pup, for her daily walks has been a revelation in many ways. She is full of curiosity, inquisitiveness and has a nose set to seek out mischief. Her doggy being simple requires walking and there is no debate. So I have at last been disciplined into taking regular exercise by a dog; simply the best personal trainer anyone could ask for. It is impossible to make excuses for avoiding a brisk walk when your doggy looks so dejected and disappointment sitting by the door, or to resist the keen enthusiasm of a dog straining on the lead, desperate to get out into the big wide world.

Every wind heralds another scent and Ruby charges from aroma to aroma, dashing about in her own world of delicious smells. Walking with Ruby is not a matter of going from A to B, it a thorough exploration of the alphabet!! It is easy though, on walks, to allow your mind much like Ruby's nose to wander. My thoughts are chasing smells, darting from worries to plans to ideas to memories: resting for a second perhaps on a plan or worse, lingering for a while on a worry. In a mere mile I can cover the whole gauntlet of emotions from pleasure to tears to glee to horror and back again.

My dog walking mornings are a wonderful opportunity for emptying my head of petty thoughts and worthless worries and pointless niggles. I can watch Ruby intent on moving forward, seeking out new scents to smell and only occasionally darting back for a second sniff at a lingering whiff. Much like her I have learnt to jettison the crap and move onwards straining on the lead of life. And if occasionally I look back thinking I caught the aroma of the past, I can be forgiven for that.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Recipes for Quick Summer Lunch

When the weather is good, I for one , do not want to be stuck in the kitchen. I want to be able to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. So I have a few very quick recipes that can add up to a very presentable lunch with the addition of a bottle of chilled white wine or two.

Sweet Pear, Pea and Potato Salad

This is a recipe that takes no time at all to prepare and is light refreshing and delicious served with fish or chicken.

You need enough new potatoes to serve however many people you're feeding, along with frozen peas, and a good size sweet and ripe pear, peeled, halved and cored.

Fresh mint, black coarsely milled pepper and mayonnaise and a slurp of extra virgin olive oil will also be required.

Cook peas. Chop new potatoes length ways
(there is no need to peel) and cook in salted water until just tender.

Drain and add cooked peas, chopped mint, roughly chopped pears.

Add mayonnaise to taste with a dash of olive oil and a generous grind of black pepper.

Serve slightly warm with:

Salmon topped with pesto

Have a skinned salmon fillet for each guest, season lightly with salt and pepper. Place each salmon in an individual non stick, grease proof baking paper, add lemon juice, a dash of olive oil, and top each fillet with a level table spoon of pesto.

Parcel up the fish and ensure it is sealed sufficiently and place in a ban marie. This should take 20 minutes in a gas mark 5 oven.

Serve the above with a lovely salad.

Lunch in the garden.