The last seven weeks have consisted largely of uninterrupted over-eating and over-drinking – my internship with a food magazine has taken its toll on my jowls, while seemingly endless parties and, this past weekend, a festival, are proudly making themselves known in both my liver and belly. I feel utterly deranged. Tired, unhealthy and morose. But I’m back home in Yorkshire now and it’s time to sharpen up. A couple of booze-free, healthy-eating days and I’ll be right as rain…probably. I mean it’s all very well having good intentions, but in the middle of August (I won’t say summer – I’m not entirely sure summer is actually a season anymore; more the odd day here and there – like bank holidays) when there are pubs to go to, parties to attend and homemade cider to drink, it’s going to be hard staying sober and avoiding naughty food.
What makes it easier is the fact that the garden is producing some of the most wonderful vegetables imaginable. Tomatoes so sweet and juicy that you can eat them like an apple; courgettes and chillies, and anya potatoes that are earthy and delightfully savoury. A light sprinkling of sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil and I’ll eat an entire saucepan before you can say spicy zinger burger. Oh! and the salads, so fresh and crunchy they hardly need dressing. This one does however, the punch of the mustard and the fizz of the vinegar going so well with the rich mackerel and poached egg.
Smoked mackerel and poached egg salad
25 ml white wine vinegar (plus a little extra)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
40 ml extra virgin olive oil
2 fillets smoked mackerel
2 free range eggs (preferably organic)
A few small tomatoes, quartered
1/2 a small red onion, finely sliced
100g salad leaves
Salt and pepper
Put a small pan of water on the boil with a little salt and a dash of white wine vinegar.
Make the dressing by whisking the vinegar into the mustard in a large bowl, then whisking in the olive oil. Season with a little salt and plenty of pepper.
When the water is boiling furiously, pour your eggs into separate espresso cups, or something similar. Whisk the water round so you have yourself a little tempestuous whirlpool, and drop the eggs, one by one, into the middle. Simmer for 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove the skins from the mackerel and pull the flesh into pieces. Toss through the leaves with the onion, tomatoes and dressing. Transfer to a plate or shallow bowl, pop the egg on top, season with a pinch of sea salt and scrunch of pepper and serve.
If you don’t like: Mackerel – try it with some crispy smoked bacon.