But mainly I started getting it all into perspective: talking to my lovely friend Zoe on Twitter and realising about all the health shit she has to go through on a daily basis (without making a fecking song and dance about every little twinge like yours truly); thinking about a mate in London with MND who has just the most incredible attitude to life. And then an email came through from a local friend, Ceri, about her new book. So, enough already about poor pathetic me – I want to introduce you to the marvellous Ceri Keene and talk fly-fishing, breast cancer and, er, trout. Yes, there’s a link – bear with me.
‘Who the feck is that beautiful, serene woman,’ I thought when I first saw Ceri, years back. She seemed way too exotic and glamorous for Exmoor somehow. I was sure she’d be a total bitch but, sadly, not: she’s just plain lovely. Oh and she’s a hugely talented graphic designer too. She’s one of those people I don’t see enough but, when I do, I come away feeling the world has just brightened up a little, come a little more into focus somehow.Anyhow. I’m waffling. Let me hand you over to Ceri so she can explain the fishing thing.
|Typical Ceri - I asked for a pic of her and she sent me this|
I found being out in the fresh air with a new purpose very invigorating and quickly took to fly-fishing under the instruction of the volunteer professional coaches. By the time I caught my first trout, I was hooked!
|Wimbleball Lake on beautiful Exmoor|
Rather than be isolated by the illness, I have learnt fly-tying, entomology and conservation, exercised the correct muscles for recovery and have a reason to meet with understanding people in a lovely place. The sessions include a buffet lunch or a barbeque and conversation often turns to what to do with your catch – generally, people grilled their fish, which can get a bit boring if you catch a lot, so that is how I decided to give something back – having had a career as a graphic designer I decided to produce a recipe book to ‘pep up’ those fly-caught Exmoor fish!’Cool huh? Being Ceri, she didn’t just cobble together any old ring-bound book of recipes; she went to top-flight chefs, including Jamie Raftery from The Castle in Taunton, Andrew Dixon of Andrew’s on the Weir, Tom Aikens, Leith’s etc. Along with a cast (*groan*) of Exmoor locals, they donated recipes for an absolutely beautifully designed and produced cookbook in aid of breast cancer support charity South West Fishing for Life. It helps women (and men – yes, men can get breast cancer too) recuperate after breast cancer treatment with flyfishing (which is a gentle yet highly effective rehab tool). The book is called Fishing for Life: a collection of fly fishing recipes from Exmoor and will cost a very reasonable £9.99. UPDATE - you can now order from Amazon or direct from the Fishing for Life website (above).
Here’s where you come in. The book is launching very soon and I’d love to get it publicised as far and wide as possible. Do you know anyone in the media who might review it? Are you a journalist or editor who might feature this fabulous story for a magazine or paper? Are you a food blogger who might include a few recipes and point people in the direction of the book? Or maybe you could tweet about it? Or RT one of my tweets when I yak about it on Twitter? Any little thing helps.If you can help, please please get in touch and I can put you in touch with Ceri. And, of course, once the book is available, I’ll let you know so you can (hopefully) buy it.
In the meantime, as an, er, taster, here are a few recipes. Irony is, of course, that I don’t eat fish…but apparently they are very very good.
Brandy and Coriander Cured Trout by Steve Cox of the Hartnoll Hotel, Bolham, Tiverton2 sides of trout (150-200g per fillet) scaled, boned and trimmed
100ml crème fraiche
1 lime – zest and juice
100g caster sugar
150g red chilli
50g Cornish sea salt
salt and pepper
For the TroutSoak the trout in brandy for 12 hours, then remove from the brandy.
Add the salt, sugar and coriander seeds to a food processor and process for 1 minute.
Pack this mixture over all the trout and wrap tightly in cling film.
After one day wash off the salt mixture and slice thinly.
For the Chilli JamDissolve the sugar in water on a low heat. Increase the heat and when the sugar just starts to colour add the chopped chillies and rapidly boil for 5-10 minutes.
For the Crème Fraiche
Mix the lime zest, salt and pepper into the crème fraiche.
To ServeLay the thinly sliced trout on a plate and then dot around quarter of a teaspoon of the chilli jam (beware, this is rather hot!). Also dot about 2 teaspoons of the crème fraiche around. Finish with some leaves and a drizzle of olive oil.
Trout in Newspaper by Ian Sorenson of Sorenson FlycastingFor each person:
1 small trout
1 sprig of tarragon
salt and freshly ground black
1 sheet of newspaper
Preheat oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.
Take each trout and season the inside the cavity with salt and pepper. Add a sprig of tarragon to each cavity.Wrap each fish in a sheet of newspaper and wet thoroughly.
Place on a baking tray and bake in the oven for about 15mins or until the newspaper has fully dried out. Removing the paper will also neatly remove the skin.
Trout Saltimbocca (Serves 4)
8 large slices of Parma ham
140g/5oz cold butter cut in thin slices
8 trout fillets, skinned, bones removed
10 sage leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 190C/gas mark 5.
Lay the slices of Parma ham lengthways on a flat surface. Put a thin slice of butter on top of each slice (this should leave you with about 55g/2oz butter)Top the butter and ham with the trout fillets. Place a sage leaf in the middle of each trout fillet. Season the fish with salt and black pepper.
Roll up the fish in the ham, creating a fish roll and secure with a cocktail stick.
Oil a baking dish and place the eight fish rolls in the bottom. Ensure the rolls are not touching.
Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
Heat a frying-pan. Tip the juices from the roasting tray into the frying pan. Add the remainingbutter and the shredded remaining two sage leaves.
Cook over a high heat until the butter starts to froth and go a nutty brown. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper and pour over the trout.