A Bit of a Pickle
15th August, 2014
Summer continues and whilst the Hudson-HQ-neck-of-the-woods isn’t bathed in endless sunshine or basking in searing temperatures (thanks to a brief appearance by “Ex-Bertha”) the days are still warm and I’m still not really inclined to eat large meals.
Lovely Husband and I are both channelling our “inner Yogi-bear” and really enjoying our “pickernicks” but I do worry that I might be developing an addiction. I have a new favourite flavour- Vinegar.
Actually that isn’t strictly true. I also enjoy the flavour of whatever it is that has been drowned in vinegar and locked tightly in a jar. Onions; beetroot; red cabbage (I even bravely tried gherkin but I’m afraid that just didn’t work out…). A plate full of pickles, a few slices of delicious cold lean ham; crisp lettuce; juicy tomatoes, cold cucumber and a splash of the fabulous WLR Balsamic Vinegar & Oil Salad Dressing (it’s on the recipe database.. and worth checking out - it’s a real find).
But the star of the show at the moment is the pickle - although I do need to introduce a note of caution… I was checking out the jars of pickle on the supermarket shelf and it does pay to cast an eye on the nutrition information as some of them are pretty high in sugar... which in turns ups the calorie content.
But my re-introduction to silverskin pickled onions has provided a chance to channel my inner six year old. I have rediscovered the joys of the “party hedgehog”. Cocktail sticks; pineapple chunks; small cubes of (reduced fat) cheese; small perfectly-pickled onions or baby beetroot. It is thing of joy. It is also perfect for snacking. I have been diligent about weighing all the component parts so I know what the calorie count is going to be but having done that I can spend a very happy afternoon in the gazebo with a “fully loaded” hedgehog; a good book or magazine; a long tall glass of lime and soda (with ice-cubes, slices of lime and cocktail stirrer for added decadence), whilst happily nibbling my way through my “party food”. Knowing that is all weighed, measured and accounted for means that I can be completely “absent minded” about the actual eating (which is a good thing if I’m particularly engrossed in my book).
Of course I could just cut up the cubes, load the pineapple chunks and pickles onto a plate and eat them that way… but it’s not nearly so much fun. I enjoy assembling my hedgehog. A silver-foiled covered half-potato with cocktail sticks loaded with some of my favourite things is guaranteed to put a smile on my face. It has also been known to put a smile on the faces of other people who join me in the gazebo for the afternoon.
The humble silverskin onion is never going to set the culinary world on fire. The pickled baby beetroot is not going to garner much Michelin-starred glory. A chunk of cheddar is definitely in the “basic” category… but put them all together, throw in some pineapple and (unless you are allergic to or have a complete aversion to any of the component parts) in combination it really is a heavenly hedgehog.
Yes it’s silly. No it isn’t really necessary. But, for me, the enjoyment of food is about so much more than the taste and texture. It is all about the ritual and the “event”. It is about enjoying the moment as much as the meal. The preparation is all part of the pleasure. Remembering parties that I went to as a very small child and smiling as I work on my cocktail-stick creation thinking back to sausages-on-sticks. For me it about finding pleasure in the small things and if that includes a foil-wrapped spud.. then I’m all for it.
So next time you’re planning your meals or preparing your food… why not indulge in a moment of madness and just have fun with it. Cut the crusts off your sandwiches (or cut them into the shape of teddy bears or cars... or whatever takes your fancy). The same with drinks. I am still on the wagon (and LH is still a non-smoker) and so lime and soda is my current tipple of choice. However I make sure it is served in a tall glass with plenty of crushed ice, a couple of slices of fresh lime and finished off with a cocktail stirrer. It feels very decadent when I drink it (and the only reason I haven’t gone the ‘whole hog’ and topped it off with a cocktail umbrella is because I haven’t managed to find any in the local shops… I sense a visit to the “online auction site” may be on the cards).
So, when you’re preparing your WLR approved, waistline whittling tasty treats why not do the one thing that you were never allowed to do as a child and Play With Your Food…. Go on… it’s great fun!
Have a fabulous weekend
With a hug