Monday, August 3, 2009

Things to do with Kippers

The other day we went round to friends for lunch in the garden – perfect tranquillity on the outskirts of town, warm sunshine, fragrance of fresh rosemary, thyme, mint…

Fabienne’s “light lunch” began with plates of tiny tomatoes, olives, nuts, quiche and water melon; it slipped into gala melon with parma ham; then we had prawns and monkfish with wild rice; wonderful cheeses; and a fruit tart with plums and apricots grown within two hundred yards - the neighbours are very friendly.

George and I have embraced French cuisine enthusiastically – everyone is keen to share their secrets; there are TV chefs and magazines and cookbooks, and our style of cooking has changed a lot since moving here.

Sadly, our style of Presentation has not. Fabienne’s appetisers were colour co-ordinated and came in handy bite-size. The gala melon was displayed like the rays of the sun, with the ham wrapped round breadsticks. The mountain of prawns was a delicate, attractive mountain, (not the unbalanced splodge I’d have constructed). The cheeses were arranged with pleasing symmetry, and the tart glistened lusciously.

Food in France is for savouring, and before savouring, we must be tantalised by hints of fresh and subtle flavours to come…

So what the hell can Fabienne possibly see in Kippers? And how can it be that every so often, she and the neighbours gather at ten in the morning for a Kipper Fest!

Sensibly, they cook them in the garden (one assumes it's by Short Straw), and accompany them with champagne. Which could help. Cats must come from many miles for this...

Personally, I loathe kippers – the taste, the Smell, the Bones. And I’ve always thought of them as a Man Favourite, like Kidneys or Tripe (which always seems to be trying to shudder its way out of the pan). How can such things appeal to a frothy, feminine person, and all her neighbours to boot!

There is obviously still much for us to learn about French cuisine. After all, we'd never have thought of cooking Beef Cheeks till the village butcher unleashed their succulent secrets to us.

Right! Take bunch of Kippers...

34 comments:

Canary Islander said...

It's best to eat olives on a string (in case you don't like them), with Tomato Ketchup, of course.

Here's a little poem about Tomato Ketchup:

If you do not shake the bottle
None'll come and then a lot'll.

More later! I love food! :-)

Dolores Doolittle said...

Triffic poem, Canary!

'Olives on a string' puzzled me slightly - I had an image of about a dozen threaded in a line, that you could sort of dangle out of you pocket till required.

But Of Course - you mean One at a dainty time. But what d'you do with rejected half-sucked olive (on a string)?

Canary Islander said...

Oh Dolores! You are a Sweetie-pie! (and that's a HUGE compliment coming from a Tweetie-Pie)!

The idea of olives on a string is so you can pull the olives out after you swallow. It's an old swallow trick that's been perfected by Swallows who are also Canaries. I think I've mentioned before that "Swallows" is the name given to folk like me wot migrate with the seasons twixt UK and the Canaries. I know all this bird stuff is confusing, but I reckon you'll get used to it...

I think that food is a very important part of a balanced diet, so here are two more little poems from Ogden Nash:

Poem 1.

Parsley
Is gharsley.

Poem 2.

The pig, if I am not mistaken,
Supplies us sausage, ham, and bacon.
Let others say his heart is big -
I call it stupid of the pig.

PS. I don't like Ogden Nash.

Dolores Doolittle said...

Pull the olives out after you swallow What, Canary? Your martini? Your pip? Sorry - I'm flummoxed (happens a lot these days).

Anyway... I like Ogden Nash, if not his feelings on pigs.

As a food lover, CI, what would you do with Kippers?

Canary Islander said...

Hi Dolores!
I'll try and explain using a diagram. But first, let's define the symbols used in the diagram.

- this is part of a long string
o this is an olive
> this a mouth

Diagram A: (8 olives on a string)

-------o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o >

Suppose you eat 5 olives and string, so the diagram now looks like this:

Diagram B:

-------o-o-o->o-o-o-o-o

Now suppose you decide you don't like the olives. You pull on the string! Problem solved! (see diagram A).

I'll think about the kippers, whilst you digest/undigest the olives.

:-)

Dolores Doolittle said...

I think I've Got It, Canary! And it would work so well with Kippers too...

Expat said...

And if you do like the olives, what happens to the string?

Does it......Uh Oh. I had a cat once that ate a long strand of tinsel off the christmas tree. It "emerged" slowly, inch by inch. For weeks, she looked like she had two tails.

I think I will stick to tossing the olives up in the air and catching them in my teeth (or not, depending on the lateness of the hour and the level of the liquid in the bottle)

Canary Islander said...

Hello Expat! To answer your question....(OMG, here we go again....)

- this is part of a long string
o this is an olive
> this a mouth

Diagram A: (8 olives on a string)

-------o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o >

Suppose you eat ALL the olives (because you like them), so the diagram now looks like this:

Diagram B:

------->o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o

Now suppose you decide you really DO like the olives. Wait for one hour. Then pull on the string. Problem solved! (see diagram C below).

Diagram C: (string, no olives)

----------------------

Hope this helps!

(Expat, is this what technical writing is all about?)

Expat said...

Canary, sorry, luv, but you wouldn't make a living at technical writing.

So, are you supposing that a goodly number of olives, not to mention eveything else ingested, are completely "disolved" in just one hour? Even if this were true, one has a string down the gullet meanwhile. How inhibiting is this to one's, ahem, social life?

I do not think you should take this invention onto Dragon's Den for fear of being strung up by your olives.

Canary Islander said...

(Sigh)..., I suppose you are right, Expat. And Dolores wants to talk about Kippers. Must try and think Kippers instead of Olives (as in ---k-k-k> instead of ---o-o-o>).

Kippers may be stinky and boney, but they are OK if cooked in a Kipper Kedgeree. Have you tried it?

Expat said...

I quite like the occasional kipper, but John adores them, served with poached eggs and vinegar. It's been many a year since I cooked a "real' one since we can't get them here. I buy the little tins of already cooked kipper fillets (no bones) and just saute them in a little butter.

Kipper kedgeree? No, I haven't tried that, but I have made kipper pate ( you'll have to imagine the accents over the a and e...not on my keyboard). That was quite good. Dolores, you could impress the heck out of your French amis with this!

I can't get that lovely smoked haddock here either that is more traditional for kedgeree. I do miss that.

But back on topic. Useful uses for cooked kippers....

1. Suitably sun-dried, they're a very good alternative to shoe leather.

2. Tied to a string and hung up just out of reach, a kipper will provide hours of entertainment for the family cats.

3. Your turn.....

Dolores Doolittle said...

Thank you Expat - so many fascinating (and workable) ideas.

I have some shoes in need of repair, and cats in need of revitalisation... Although wlightly concerned after your 9.36 aug 3 comment about the dangers of string ingestion.

Can't think of anything else to do with them that doesn't ring of punishment of some ilk, but Kipper Paté will certainly Amaze our next dinner guests!

Kedgeree, Canary - certainly worth a try if the other ingredients smell more potent.

Jon in France said...

I love kippers. I want one now. I hadn't thought of them for months until I read this post. I shall take the van to the UK in September, load it to its little roof with Loch Fyne kippers (sp?) and inflict them upon my neighbours.

Canary Islander said...

Expat - you've reminded me of another use for a kipper! My first wife and I set off on our honeymoon in our Austin Mini, complete with attached trailing tin cans, bunting, confetti flying in the wind - etc. Great fun. But our journey from London to Cornwall became progressively more disconcerting - one of our weddings guests had thoughtfully fixed a kipper to the engine block.

The smell became progressively more and more horrendous!

Dolores Doolittle said...

Well, Jon, your neighbours will certainly know when you're back.

Are French kippers different to Scottish ones? (That's probably highly offensive to someone).

Canary Islander said...

Kippers aren't only stinky, smelly and boney - they sound sleepy.

A much more lively and happy-sounding fish is the Skipper. I can't find it (the word "Skipper", I mean) in my dictionary, but it comes in little sardine-sized tins in the supermarket. I like it on toast, after I've taken it out of the tin.

The other fish with a "skip" in it is the skipjack tuna. Yummy!

Expat said...

The skipper? Sounds fishy to me.

Are you sure that Skipper is not the brand name rather than the contents, CI? Skipper sardines (with the picture of the rugged, sou'westered fisherman on the tin) are quite famous.

Jon in France said...

There is a sort of French kipper. I think it is called a bouffe or something. But they don't taste same.

Canary Islander said...

Arrrrghhh! Expat!

You're saying that skippers aren't really skippers and are sardies instead?

I suppose this proves it isn't what I don't know that defines me, but what I do know that isn't so...

(sob!).

Hey, wait a minute, I never said that skippers weren't sardines! All I said was that skippers came in little sardine-sized tins!

(whew!)

Yippee! I guess this means that I what I do know that isn't so is so after all?

Anyway, I think Dolores really wants us to talk about kippers. I've been browsing my dictionary and discovered that if you have a kip after eating kippers in a kip-house and pay in kips, then you've fallen asleep after eating fish in a brothel in Laos.

I bet you didn't know that!

Expat said...

Oh, so its one-upmanship time is it? Well then…..

A kip (kilopound) is a unit of force or pressure equal to 1000 pounds (453.59 kilograms) of force or about 4.4482 kilonewtons.

Bet you didn’t know that!

Anyway, you should know better than to bandy words on this subject with a founding member of Fishwives Inc.

Expat said...

....and the engineer who works how many kips are needed is called a kipper.

(oh alright, I made that up)

Canary Islander said...

There is a (s)kip in my heart and a quiver in my bandy legs every time we bandy words, Expat. Oh, how I remember the birth of Fishwives Inc! Happy days then, and happy days now!

But I'm puzzled again. My dictionary (yes, my first love) tells me that "kipper" is a kippered fish, especially herring, or....and this is really really exciting, the word "kipper" can also mean a male salmon in the spawning season!

Crikey!

Have I been eating herring or salmon?

Canary Islander said...

PS. And this one, I'm NOT making up!!!

Expat said...

Don't male salmon die after spawning? Well, American sockeye salmon do, I think. Just imagine! All that primeval-driven effort to get back to the spawning grounds...leaping up mighty waterfalls, fighting off hungry grizzly bears, and heaven knows what else, then one quick bonk and it's all over now, baby blue.

Doesn't bear thinking about.

Canary Islander said...

I like primeval! (I think about it it every ten seconds). And I can't bear it either. It takes one to bear, but two (most happily) to rear, I think. But kippers now confuse me....

Expat said...

Well, I am worried about all those single-parent momma salmon, raising their nipper kippers all by themselves.

Hey..Nipper Kippers!! What a marketing oppportunity! Baby veggies are all the rage, so why not baby herring? You could thread 'em on a skewer and presto! Nipper kipper kebabs!

Am I brilliant, or what?

(PS. I think Dolores must be slumbering. she's missing the birth of a new food fad here.)

Canary Islander said...

Expat, are you saying you are brilliant or are you saying you are what? Nipper Kippers? Nappy Nipper Kippers? Nip-nap Nappy Kippers?

Do you think Kippered Nappys will make Kiddies Kip better?

Wow! (I think Dolores is sleeping now). We must be on topic. Which side up do you like Kippers?

Expat said...

In my (thankfully long ago) experience, nappies smell a lot like kippers. And kids happily kip in 'em,regardless.

Which side up do I like kippers? Any side that prevents snoring!

Dinnertime here...must go and throw something on the grill... and you must go and catch up on your kip!

Canary Islander said...

Alas!
Like Kipper Kedgeree (in which one must flake the Kipper) it is time for me to flake... and Kip!

Love you dearly! zzzzz...

Jon in France said...

"....and the engineer who works how many kips are needed is called a kipper.

(oh alright, I made that up)"

Someone has to be first. Just look at Shakspeare. I shall endevour to use kipper in this context at the first available opportunity.

Dolores Doolittle said...

Good heavens, you-all - so much debate!

CI & Expat, I was not Sleeping - I've spent two days on concentated Eating, for such is lunch in summertime France (It's Hell out here). And not a Whiff of kipper!

Have just looked on Marmiton - celebrated French recipe site - and there's not a whiff of kipper there either, or of smoked hareng.

Expat - what fond memories are conjured by Fishwives Inc, and yet we never battered anyone, did we. The mere Threat was potent enough, but Nipper Kippers would have been a fabulous addition to the armoury.

Jon - shall be looking out for your Kipper in an engineering context...

nodamnblog said...

Kippers and champagne? Really? How unpleasant.

Surely they'll be burping fishy bubbles for at least a week?

Dolores Doolittle said...

Indeed, nodamnblog - At English class last week, the evidence was still resoundingly clear!

Hudsonuutz said...

And if you do like the olives, what happens to the string? Does it......Uh Oh. I had a cat once that ate a long strand of tinsel off the christmas tree. It "emerged" slowly, inch by inch. For weeks, she looked like she had two tails. I think I will stick to tossing the olives up in the air and catching them in my teeth (or not, depending on the lateness of the hour and the level of the liquid in the bottle)