As always, life is full of activity on this side of the pond. Last Tuesday I took part in a pub quiz down at the Radford (a town about 10 minutes away) pub called The White Lion. You'll notice that most of the pubs in England are almost all named after animals with a colour in front (usually red or white but I have also seen black (as in The Black Dog in Southam) and I think maybe even green once). I suppose it's because most of the pubs are hundreds of years old and therefore have had the titles for that long, but they are seriously unoriginal. Now enough of that, the pub quiz is a weekly tradition in a lot of pubs take part in around the country. Locals of young and old come down to the pub and answer series of questions read out by the pub master. It is very enjoyable, I've been taking part in The White Lion pub quiz since last summer. Usually my team doesn't do too bad, we placed second one time and I believe even first another (both of which mean cash prizes which are usually used to purchase the team's pints). However, this time we placed a humiliating 6 out of 10 teams. Simply disgraceful, but still a good laugh.
On Thursday Luke was in work for a 'trial day' - which means the company paid him to come in and work like he normally would while they see if he fits for their team and Luke can see if he enjoys the work. It is a practice I have not heard of in the States, and Luke tells me it is rare to see here. Since Lindsay and Ian were also both at work I decided to make dinner for everyone that night, including Luke's grandad whom I also invited. I made Asian Rainbow Trout, a really simple dish that tastes amazing. I've made it for my mum and Dan before and they both loved it. It was a hit again, although I personally don't think it turned out as well as it has before. I served it with Japanese Snow Peas and Udon noodles. (For those interested in trying the recipe I will place it at the bottom of this post)
Luke and I have been trying to find the time to do some fishing the past few days, we even purchased some maggots (ick!) for bait - which Luke then to my horror put in the fridge. They were covered and could not escape he assured me, but still! It was amusing when Lindsay returned home to find them, I was in the other room when I heard "Oh my God, that better not be what I think that is in my fridge!" and forced Luke to put them in the garage, which he complained heavily about. There has been no time to fish since we received them, and since Luke is also doing another trial day today and tomorrow I doubt there will be anytime until Wednesday. I just hope the bait survives until then.
On Saturday Luke's Auntie Julie (or AJ as he sometimes calls her) was down to visit for the day so much of the day was spent in Luke's grandad's back garden relaxing and basking in the afternoon sun. On this day I came to realize how much the English love the act of gardening. Lindsay, AJ, and Grandad would walk around the garden commenting on the different flowers "That's coming in nicely" or else making suggestions on the plants "Perhaps you should move the lavender away from there and closer to the front". And it is not just them, it is pretty much everyone middle age and above. There is an older gentleman a few roads down who without fail, should you pass him he will be out there trimming and pruning his garden. I imagine him out there with a leveler trimming the grass strand by strand with pruning shears making sure the grass is completely level. Maybe it is because I come from an arid climate but I have never seen such behaviour as this and while I follow the family around trying to understand the attraction of it I am still so far befuddled. Perhaps it is gene that lies dormant for years and I will one day wake up and suddenly have a compulsive interest in gardening.
As per my summer tradition, I am once again reading the Harry Potter series. Luke has named himself a Harry Potter Widower, he states that every 5 minutes I pick up the book. A slight exaggeration on his part considering I can easily finish any of the books in one day and have currently been reading the 5th book for the past two weeks. I am on the last three chapters of it and plan on finishing it today while he is out of the house. It is Lindsay's tradition to read every night before bed. While Luke and I were in Manchester, Lindsay finished her book and did not have anything left to read so decided to pick up my first Harry Potter and give it a try. She has never had any in Harry Potter, not even watching any of the films but now she is obsessed. She's half way through the second book now and now Harry Potter has creeped into her dreams. She told me this morning that last night she had a dream she went shopping in Diagon Alley. I love having a converted Harry Potter freak in the house. Since Luke has seen his mother enjoy them so much he has expressed an interest in reading them as well, something only a few months ago he told me would never happen. Great success!
Asian Rainbow Trout
I don't use measurements but have given some as rough guidelines,
my recommendation is to play around with it to suit your personal tastes.
- 2 fillets of Rainbow Trout (I recommend getting ones with the skin still on as it adds to the flavour and can always be easily taken off before serving)
- 2 tsp/10 ml Soy Sauce
- 1 tsp/4 g Brown Sugar
- Spring (Green) Onions (I usually use an entire little bushel that they come packed in)
- 1/2 tsp/1 g Minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp/1 g Mined ginger
- 1/2 tsp/3 ml Sesame oil (Olive oil will work fine if you don't have any Sesame, but I find Sesame just adds a little something extra)
- Salt and Pepper
- In a small bowl mix the soy sauce, sugar, salt and pepper.
- Rub the trout with the mixture.
- On medium-high, heat the sesame oil and then add spring onions, garlic, and ginger; cook until golden brown.
- Add trout and cook until browned and crispy (roughly 3 mins.) then turn over and cook until fish flakes easily with work, about 3 minutes more.
I recommend serving with either one or a combination of Japanese snow peas, sugar snap peas, Udon noodles, or steamed brown rice and placing the fish on top so the flavour seeps into the side. Also, if you use just a touch more soy sauce you can create more of a sauce which you can then put on the side of your choice.