It’s grim ‘up north’ today, the weather is grey and dismal at February’s threshold, still winter then? Few frosty mornings have occurred to evidence winters grasp on the landscape, just sodden foliage and waterlogged boggy moor – a relentless morass. The trees are coated in a thin layer of moss and everything is damp and dismal – great weather for ducks, but pretty uninspiring to everyone else! The ‘mood’ of the woods brings to mind one of my favourite poems by Rudyard Kipling, evoking feelings of nostalgia at its reading. It’s haunting theme I feel is more about sadness and loss, and I am often reminded of it whilst wandering in the woods around West Yorkshire –
The Way Through the Woods
They shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
And now you would never know
There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees
That, where the ring-dove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.
Yet, if you enter the woods
Of a summer evening late,
When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools
Where the otter whistles his mate,
(They fear not men in the woods,
Because they see so few.)
You will hear the beat of a horse’s feet,
And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods …
But there is no road through the woods.
Summer is some way off – need something warm and tasty bring comfort and lift the mood? This is a really nice fish recipe for using up any stale or spare gluten-free bread (if you have any that is!) Otherwise you could use shop bought gluten-free or rice crumbs, which is more easily available to you. It is warm and filling and not too hard on delicate malfunctioning digestive systems. Fish is not cheap these days but this dish works well with smoked river cobbler too which will help with the cost, tinned spinach is also a useful standby to use. If you suffer from bloating from resistant starches you could make the dish without the breadcrumbs if you wish.
1/2 packet of gluten-free/wheat free bread crumbs
2 smoked haddock or river cobbler fillets
1/2 pint of lactose free skimmed milk
3 teaspoons of corn flour
10 g of margarine
1 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
25 g Gruyère
12 g of parmesan
1 tin of spinach
Make the sauce, melt the margarine and add cornflour mix to a paste and slowly add milk till all the flour has been incorporated and add grated nutmeg, Gruyère and salt to taste. Mix till thickened, cool.
Wash the spinach and layer in the bottom of an oven proof dish, cut the skin off the fish and add a layer on the top of the spinach. Coat the fisn layer with the cooled sauce. Add salt and pepper to the dish.
Sprinkle breadcrumbs on the top of the sauce and cover with the grated parmesan.
Cook in a preheated oven at gas mark 5 or 180ºC. Serve with mustard carrots (roast carrots with a small amount of garlic infused oil and grained mustard.)