Nick, where are all the pictures of food and stuff recently, I hear you ask? (I think that&#8217

Nick, where are all the pictures of food and stuff recently, I hear you ask? (I think that’s what you were saying…)

Well it’s all been very hectic recently what with various travels and travails and such like. But I’m back in the saddle now. What’s getting my juices going at the moment? It’s a competition between Southern BBQ, Cajun and Spanish, reflecting my recent trips. But Spanish is winning right now – what with a couple of recent trips to Barcelona and a refreshed appreciation for what must be my favourite cuisine (well, cuisines technically, depending on which part of Spain we speak of. I like them all). Hannah bought me a copy of Rick Stein’s spain and although it doesn’t add much to the path already well-trodden by the Moro trilogy it does have some nice recipes and being Rick Stein they usually work well.

A visit to the Birmingham wholesale market on Thursday yielded some spanking fresh sea bream, all scarlet gills and shiny eyes. So I thought I’d try out Rick’s recipe for salt-baked bream with salpicon, making use of a jar of roasted red peppers sitting in the fridge. I added a some alioli as an additional touch (as I needed some egg whites to mix with the salt to form the crust anyway). A few asparagus spears complete the dish – sadly the asparagus season is just finishing and this is the last we will get at the farmers’ market.

Cooking fish in salt is much less stressful than most fish recipes as the timings are much less critical and the moisture is sealed in by the salt crust. Aim for a temp of 58 degrees C for doneness.

Also at the market I picked up some alphonso mangos which are in their very short season now, and some Badami mangos which are just as nice. Look out for these please before it’s too late.

New books: Rick Stein’s Spain (good),  Weber’s Complete Barbecue Book (not read it yet), Planet Barbecue (amazing, and amazing value), Real Cajun (excellent), Zeitoun (non-Fiction book about Katrina by Dave Eggers which I am really enjoying)

New projects coming-up: Hot-smoked duck ham (brine duck breasts overnight, hot-smoke), home-made boudin (pork, liver and rice flavoured and poached sausage)

Now all we need is some decent weather …