Num Num

eat. cook. write.

August 27, 2011

Pan- fried Silverfish with Radish, Sweet Pea and Mint salad

When you live in a small town you might have the pleasure of running into several friends at the Saturday morning market. Many of whom you saw last night at a quirky, tasty poetry reading; where Cafe D'vine gave out gorgeous lemon poppy seed cupcakes; and where you were moved by the generosity of people sharing their intimate favourites, their inside jokes, their stories of heartbreak and heartshare and taking a dump in the veld.

When you live in a small town you jump up and dance when you find out (and I am pleased to announce) that Lungi and Ingram’s fresh vegatable stall is expanding to a permanent shop in Peppergrove centre. Their sweet peas have been called ‘a miracle of life’ (McDougall:2011).

Produce from Lungi and Ingram's fresh vegetable stall
When you live in a small town you might end up standing at the great cheese stall in awe and excitement. But you’re a student on a student budget and so you ask the man to please cut you a R12 (about £1) piece of cumin cheese. He puts a thin slice on the scale and announces the price: R21. You cringe and say sorry, I really only have R12 on me. Then the woman beside you tells the man to wrap up the cheese, “you can’t have that little cheese” she says, and pays the difference.

When you live in small town you might go to the fish stall and ask them how they recommend cooking this carpenter fish you’re buying. And they’ll point at their big fat indexed file and say, just take a recipe out of there.
Grahamstonians can order online at gtseafood
When you live in a small town you go to the market and run into some gardening friends and then decide to quicks go pop some seedlings in the soil at the Common Ground garden and in a few weeks we’ll have rocket and spinach, eh?

The Saturday market scene in front of the Old Gaol, Grahamstown

And then as you walk the two minutes home you see the woman who bought you that delicous cumin cheese talking to her friend that runs the Homeground coffee store and you feel like that’s just so frikkin nice, man.

Then you go home and cook the fish you just bought from the fish guy and the veggies you bought from Lungi and you drink some Zonneblom Blanc de Blanc and we all agree that life is a funny thing, but its good.

I like living in a small town.

Pan- fried Silverfish with Radish, Sweet Pea and Mint salad

I feel a bit guilty: After I bought the carpenter fish from the market I checked it out on the Sassi website and found that it was listed as orange, eek! Its best to eat fish on the green list, I know, but Sassi agrees that you’re allowed to indulge in the orange- listed on special occasions. It wasn’t a planned special occasion, but it became one thanks to this flaky-tasty-soft treasure; which is at least line- caught and not trawled. GT seafoods are at the Old Gaol on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and I hear the prawn braai they had going on was lip- smackingly good.

Grahamstown Seafood Prawn braai. Smelt too good. 
This lunch serves four and cost us each R30, including wine and the sides.

For the salad:
  • 1- 2 bunches radishes, chopped
  • ½ cucumber, peeled into thin strips
  • 1 big bunch fresh mint, leaves picked
  • A good bowl of sweet peas, podded (a good- natured housemate comes in handy at this point)
  • 2 avocados, chopped and doused with a bit of lemon (Can I please brag at this point and say we have a huge avo tree behind our house that recently gifted us a ton of green goodness, so come visit avo- lovers)
  • Salad leaves
  • Extra- delicious extra virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
For the fish:
  • 4 portions filleted silverfish, also called carpenter, doppie or Kaapenaar according to ever- useful Complete South African Fish and Seafood cookbook. You might have to tweeze out the pinbones.
  • 40ml cake flour
  • 5ml ground cumin
  • 5ml salt
  • Olive oil and butter for frying
To serve:
  • Boiled baby potatoes, maybe with some chopped fresh oregano and olive oil
  • A dollop of home- made lemon mayonnaise with chopped capers in (teehee, I am not giving out this recipe, as I plan to be selling some myself at the market next weekend.)

    1. Dress the salad leaves in a bowl with the olive oil and balsamic. Add the reaminng ingrediants. That’s all.
    2. Make sure the fish is bone- free. Get ready a shallow plate with the flour, cumin and salt in.
    3. Heat up the oil and dip the filleted fish in the flour, cumin and salt mixture. Add to the pan, followed by a good knob of butter. While it simmers in the butter, you can scoop some over with a dessert spoon, only turning the fish once. It shouldn’t take more than three minutes.
    4. Eat outside. With a good sauvignon blanc (I wouldn’t recommend the pairing we had with Blanc de Blanc- it wasn’t nearly crisp enough, it kind of just fell through the palate and went boing! as it went)

Just me showing off an avo from our tree 

The pea-podding champ


bruce william haynes said...

We LIKE having you living in this small town Ms Black Pepper Plum:)!! thanks for breaking off and SHARING a small piece of that CUMIN CHEESE on our way to the Common Ground demonstration garden - it BLEW MY MIND even more than the poetry! Likewise HUGELY EXCITED to have Lungi's and Ingram's fresh vegetable store permanently opening to this community at Peppergrove centre! Nice Avo's from your student digs tree.. This blogpost makes me think of this beautifully made "Live Love Local" vimeo made about a community similar to ours in Bellingham, WA:

Hanna said...

Lovely piece, Carina! xx