Foraging and fancy fish: 26th Nov-2nd Dec

posted Dec 7, 2011, 3:26 AM by Dinner Lady   [ updated May 9, 2012, 5:59 AM ]
This week I went foraging for food in a dustbin. Sort of. The weekend saw us feasting on turkey and trimmings a month earlier than our fellow Brits, thanks to a Thanksgiving celebration at my parents' house with some American friends.  This year was a bumper year, as it was the first time that Maths Geek and The Naughty Knight were allowed to stay up late for the festivities.  All day you could taste the excitement and amazement in the air as the turkey roasted, the sausages browned and the sweet potatoes oozed their syrupy juices.  Activities revolved around when Gigi needed to prep each dish; and every few hours there was an anxious few minutes when she checked that the huge turkey (at 14lb we realised it weighed more than Princess Baby!) was cooking adequately.  The timing of the meal was carefully planned to coincide with Princess Baby's beauty sleep but not so late that the boys would be overtired and unable to eat.  And I am not sure why, but for some reason, at some stage of the cooking, it was necessary for Gigi to lay down a mass of newspaper under the oven. 

Leek and tomato gratin
The meal was a resounding success, the food, as always, delicious. We retold the Thanksgiving story, as we do every year, just the way tradition dictates.  And it is such fun to catch up with old friends, who we rarely see, but feel like it was only yesterday that we left off.  When our friends left we sat in that blissed out, post meal phase: feasters slumped in our chairs patting our full stomaches and sipping on the last of the wine.  With the remnants of food sitting idly on the table waiting to be dealt with, my father thought it would be a good idea to clear a few things away.  He was particularly pleased to have disposed of the even larger pile of newspaper, cluttering the floor by the oven. Evidently he and Gigi had failed to communicate that Mrs Doubtfire and I were to take away a good amount of left over turkey.  A little while later good sense suggested we should get to bed to be ready for any nocturnal activities from the three children.  Luckily at this stage Gigi had her wits about her to check that the turkey (which she had wrapped in newspaper and put in a plastic bag by the cooker) was put in the garage to keep cold.  Well, you can see where this story is heading, dear reader. That is why, at a very late hour, we were outside in the dark, peering over the wheely bin, torch in hand, forgaging for the left over turkey that had been lovingly wrapped in newspaper.  

Using up the turkey throughout the week made up slightly for the ethical disaster we had on Friday.  Friday should be fish day, and as Mrs Doubtfire was on a day of holiday, he came with The Naughty Knight, Princess Baby and me to the fishmonger. We had planned a yummy meal of mussels in a Thai coconut sauce, carefully checking that there is indeed an "R" in December*, and remembering recent food programmes which reassure us that mussels are plentiful around the British Isles.  Imagine my dismay when we got to the fishmongers to find paltry amounts of fish, and no mussels: the south coast had been battered by storms all week and few fishing boats had been out. There was haddock and cod a plenty, but all I could hear in my mind were hazard sounds: "haddock and cod = bad".  

rotten or gone off - half lemon, half load bread

left on our plates - 3/4 slice bread

left overs I have forgotten to use up - none!