The whole point of holidays, I feel, is to do things which you don't do at home. As everyone knows I love cooking but I've really neglected the culinary arts recently, so given the scope for wonderful fresh ingredients here I've been inventing.
It's not easy and given my modest kitchen circumstances; it's been fun to challenge myself. I'm in possession of two square foot of hob and kitchen sink. There is a fridge, a dodgy grater, a broken garlic press, and various ancient pots and pans, one and a half electric hot plates; one is working fine but the other is hopeless, and gets only vaguely warm. But it's good for keeping a pan hot when you're finishing other things.
I know a few people who would also relish this challenge - Pete I'm looking at you! Remember the fish? In the past couple of days, I've made pesto and asparagus pasta, fish in white wine, onion, tomato, and garlic sauce, and lemon garlic fish with courgette pasta. Not only this, but I've discovered that chopped fresh candied orange peel really lifts your morning strawberries; move over balsamic vinegar.
Anyway I thought I'd jot down these simple dishes, as a reminder to over stimulated, sophisticated palates that simple is beyond good.
Take a wobbly used-to-be-non-stick frying pan, pop on the good ring and heat a splash of olive oil. Slice an onion and fry til just soft. Fail to crush a few garlic cloves and with some salt, rub all over a sea-fresh fish. It doesn't matter if you don't know it's name, but I used one where, when eaten, the bones come out looking like a cartoon. Lay in the pan and sizzle with the onion. Add three-quarters of a chopped beef tomato.
Eat the rest of it with a twist of salt.
Splash some white wine over the fish and loads of fresh ground pepper. Stir. Pop an undersized lid over the pan and allow to cook - turn over once - for about ... er ... 20 minutes, depending on your cooker, the size of the fish, and how much white wine you've drunk. When it's done white flesh should come away easily from the bones.
Remove the fish from the pan, let the sauce bubble for a bit so it's thickened. Pour over the fish and serve with lots of bread to mop up the sauce.
The second fishy extravaganza involves lemon and courgette. Instead of onion, chop courgette, and fry with the garlic. Add the fish and allow to cook. Zest a lemon - pick out the rust if your grater is crap - and squeeze some juice over the fish.
Remove the flesh from the cooked fish, and with the soft fragrant garlic and courgette, stir into cooked oiled pasta. The temperature was warm but not hot. In an ideal world I'd have added chopped parsley to garnish but, life is hard in this perfect paradise, so more ground pepper had to do. This was splendid with an icy white wine spritzer.
Today I bought some kobasice and will demolish those with ajvar, and new potatoes finished in olive oil. Basically sausages with a spicy tomato, garlic, aubergine sauce. Given the asparagus need using up, I'll have those too.
I've actually yet to eat out here in Orebić, but feel like I'm doing better food than the restaurants. It helps that it is all so cheap and incredibly tasty. I'm still hoping to lose weight on this holiday!