Thursday, 28 August 2008

Sea bream in white wine

Marinate your sea bream (the longer the better) in lemon juice and salt. Have chopped mushrooms, onions and a couple of cloves of garlic. Use white wine, any really, as long as it's not too sweet. Heat a little olive oil in frying pan and put your fish in, shallow frying for about 5 mins either side. Throw in the chopped mushrooms, onions & garlic, and with the fire low cook for another 4-5 minutes. Throw in a couple of large glasses of wine, or until the food is almost covered. Bring the fire back up until it starts simmering and then put on low again. Let it simmer with the lid on for about 20 minutes. Serve with rice, a tomato & rocket salad and a nice Pinot Grigio. You can usually find that what's available on the market is from farms and probably a bit fatty, so don't use much oil in frying it. If you have too much oil, empty it out before you add your veg.

Sea bream is also called durade and is very similar to sea bass in flavour. Italian: orata, Greek: τσιπούρα (tsipoura), Turkish: Çipura.

1 sea bream per person
chopped mushrooms
chopped onions
chopped garlic
Dry or medium white wine
Olive oil

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

January Man

I just can't get enough of this song, written by Dave Goulder and also sung by Martin Carthy and Christy Moore and adapted by Rachel Unthank & the Winterset for their debut album Cruel Sister (2005). Although one must bow to the genious of the songwriter, I adore Unthank's arrangement and listen to it on a daily basis. Without further ado I hereby submit the lyrics (may vary) & song for your enjoyment. Don't forget to check out your homework (at the bottom) for Friday!

Rachel Unthank's version (extract)
Martin Carthy's version (press 'play on top right of page)
Dave Goulder's version (extract)

January Man

Dave Goulder

Am C G Am
The January man he goes around in woolen coat and boots of leather
C Am G Am
The February man still shakes the snow from of his clothes and blows his hands
Am C (play different bass lines) G
The man of March he sees the Spring and wonders what the year will bring
and hopes for better weather.

Through April rain the man goes down to watch the birds come in to share the summer
The man of May stands very still to watch the children dance away the day
In June the man inside the man is young and wants to lend a hand
and smiles at each new comer.

In July the man in cotton short he sits and thinks and being idle
The August man in thousands take the road to find the sun and watch the sea
September man is standing near to saddle up another year
And Autumn is his bridle

The man of new October takes the rain and early frost is on his shoulder
The poor November man sees fire and mist and wind and rain and winter ere
December man looks through the snow to let eleven brothers know
They're all a little older

The January man he comes around again in coat and boots of leather
To take another turn and walk along the icy roads he knows so well
The January man is here the start of each and every year
Along the road forever ..............................


Right, this is your homework: I expect you to listen carefully, study the lyrics, and join me at the Bratby for an in-depth discussion of it all, accompanied by fermented barley juice.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008


It was 2 am. She just wouldn’t stop crying. In fact she got more and more agitated as time passed. No matter what I did she wouldn’t calm down. I knew she was fed and clean so it wasn’t that. Can this be what they call colic? I don’t know, I’ve never done this before. So it’s new territory, both for me and her.

We tried walking up and down the stairs, it seemed to calm her a bit. Going down to the kitchen, I found that pacing up and down, singing Greek anti-fascist songs (the Accordion) along with military marches (insane I know but it seemed to work) did the trick for a while. Don’t ask me on the song selection, at 2 am very little makes sense anyway, whether you’ve just finished your 18th pint of Addlestone’s cloudy cider or you’re just trying to persuade your 3-week old to sleep.

The marching and singing did the trick. She was soon asleep in my arms, oblivious of the havoc the crying had caused in my brain (and feet). I quietly went up the stairs, put her in her bed, covered her gently and flung myself face down on my bed, hoping for 3-4 hours of unbroken sleep. Two minutes later I heard her little breathing turn into panting, gradually building into crying. Again. Despair. When she finally hit that 98th octave I got up and picked her up again. Down the stairs, into the kitchen and “the Army is marching” once again, along with “Fascism shall not pass”. It was too optimistic to think I’d fool her second time round. Despair yet again.

I went into the living room, quickly emptied the pram from all the stuff that accumulated there (blankets, bags etc) and put her in. I sat on the sofa beside it and started pushing it back and forth. With my left hand I picked up the remote and turned the telly on. I caught a nice program on BBC3 on Tolkien so I tried to block out the baby’s protests and focus on Middle Earth.

It didn’t work. Baby was having none of it. "We’re not in the park and this is not a real ride. Will. Νot. Sleep". After about 10 minutes I picked her up again and rested her head in my left arm. She just looked up at me and in seconds she closed her eyes. Slept. For fear of her waking up I watched most of that Tolkien program before I dared walking up the stairs and repeating the drill. I think it worked, or I may have just passed out and didn’t hear her. But I think it did. We live to fight another day.

On my way up the stairs, at the top, on the wall just above the landing we have a mirror. I saw my reflection, crazy hair, crazy eyes, holding this baby sleeping its serene sleep, and then it hit me: “you’re a dad mate, you’re a dad”.