Damsons in Distress?

No, but they are in gin but more about that later.  I do like to keep things chronological.

3 simple ingredients for breakfast; eggs, spinach and tomatoes.  2 poached eggs on wilted spinach with tomatoes.  With a cup of green Rooibos on the side.

I set off for the farmers market feeling very virtuous after my very healthy start to the day.  But to be honest, a bit hungry.  What I really wanted was eggs on toast.  Thick doorsteps of bread, toasted and slathered thickly with butter.  That is the type of breakfast that has got me in to this mess though.  I hope I can be strong willed at the market.

I specifically went to get some fresh fish.  The fish is quite expensive but worth every penny and as a once a week treat, something to really look forward to.  I chose the grey mullet again because it was so delicious last time.  It is also a sustainable fish to eat and this is a good season for it.   I had in mind a salad nicoise.  My sister Abi makes a wonderful salad dressing which is also great on a chicken caesar salad.

Abi’s Punchy Salad Dressing

3 heaped tbsp mayonnaise
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 anchovies
1 tsp capers
2 tbsp parmesan (which I didn’t add today as Harvey is dairy intolerant but it is good in the dressing)

Put all ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth.

Salad Nicoise

Green salad leaves
French beans
Cherry tomatoes
One egg per person ( I didn’t have one because I had eggs for breakfast), boiled, peeled and cut in to 4
A “meaty” fish like tuna or as we had today, grey mullet

I made up my salad as follows:

  • Following Hugh Fearnley’s cooking guidelines in his ‘Fish’ book, I put the fish fillets skin side down on an oiled tray and put them in the oven at 200 degrees for 15 minutes.  I put pepper on the fish before cooking but nothing else and I cooked them uncovered.
  • I put one egg each on to boil and set the steamer on top.  I boiled the eggs for 10 mins and then ran under cold water so you don’t get the grey ring round the yolks.
  • I tailed a large handful of green beans and steamed them for about 6 minutes over the pan with the eggs in.  When they were al dente, I rinsed them in cold water to stop them cooking and set aside.
  • I put a mix of salad leaves (3 types of lettuce, rocket, corn salad and beetroot leaves) in to a large bowl.
  • Add the green beans, tomatoes and egg.
  • Place the fish on top and serve with the salad dressing.

The verdict?  Lara declared it to be “fantastic” and Harvey thought it was “really nice”.  Praise indeed.  And I really enjoyed it too.

When I was at the market today, I also bought 2 punnets of damsons.  Our friends in Warwickshire make some fabulous fruity drinks so I was already thinking about sloe gin.  So when i saw the damsons I thought I would try some damson gin.  They are so pretty to look at, with their blue blush on the deep purple.  They are smaller than plums and taste sour so I ate my first and probably last damson today.

Having researched some recipes, it seems there are lots out there and the proportions of fruit and sugar varies enormously.  I don’t like the very sweet and sugary fruity drinks but as I have never made this before,  I decided to make 2 different recipes.  One with just damsons, sugar and gin and one with orange added.

Cottage Smallholders Damson Gin Recipe

  • 1 lb damsons
  • 6 oz granulated sugar
  • Cottage Smallholder said to use 75 cl of gin but I had a litre so used it all, as many other recipes do.

Waitrose’s recipe for Damson Gin With Orange

  • 500g damsons
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 1 orange
  • 1 litre gin

This recipe adds some orange peel.  I was drawn to this recipe because the lady in the cook shop in Cranbrook, where I bought my 1.5 litre Kilner type jars for the damson gin, was recommending using damson or sloe gin as a long drink.  She uses about 1 part fruity gin to 3 parts tonic water with a thick slice of orange in top.  Apparently it’s a delicious but rather strong drink.  I am looking forward to trying it 🙂

Harvey and I spent a very enjoyable while this afternoon, pricking damsons and making up our potions.  And they look very pretty.  Shame to have to hide them away in a dark cupboard.

Photo by Harvey, aged 9 and 1/4.

I went to supper at Judy’s with Fiona, my cousin’s wife.  I had eaten lightly all day and had loads of WW points in the bank so I could have a good evening.  I remembered to take my camera to photograph supper but unfortunately after a couple of glasses of wine I forgot all about the blog which is a shame as supper was lovely and looked good too.  We had Coronation Chicken, which I love, with a naked salad of mixed leaves, tomatoes, peppers and olives.  It was great and the evening was a fun way to end a most enjoyable day.  Thank you Judy.  Not a  damsel in distress in sight; just 3 damsels in fits of laughter.

About Lose Weight and Gain Health

Hi! My name is Zoe and I live in Hastings, East Sussex, with my son Harvey and dog, Milton. I have been fighting the fat for years but this time I am serious. I want to lose weight and gain health. This blog is about how I am changing my lifestyle so I can lose weight but not by just "being on a diet" but by making small changes to our lives so that as I lose weight, I gain health. I want my family to be healthy too and never have to struggle with their weight like I have. In common with many large people, I have gained and lost weight many times over the years. This time, I want to lose it and maintain a healthy low weight. I am interested in eating food that is nutrient dense and delicious and that appeals to children and adults. I do not eat animal products so follow a vegan diet. I try to use locally produced food supplemented with what I can grow myself. I support and try to use local farmers markets and farm shops. Another objective is to add more exercise to our days. It sounds so simple when I write it down :-)
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9 Responses to Damsons in Distress?

  1. Vegetable Grower up the Road says:

    Yum Yum – I have zillions of damsons here if you want to make some more (no need to buy). But where is the farmers’ market where you get delicious fresh fish?

    • Hi Vegetable Grower 🙂 Rolvenden Farmer Market. Every Thursday from 8:30 – 12 noon. It’s a great market and well worth supporting. And I may be round to pick some more damsons. Or have you got some spare plums? I hear plum brandy is good!

      • Vegetable Grower up the Road says:

        Sadly plums all gone, as are the pears. Damsons galore and apples by the dozen. I’m so inspired by your damson gin, I’ve got the Kiln jar sterilising in the oven as we speak – I’m going to go for the Cottage Smallholders version, without the orange. Keep the inspiration coming please.

  2. Abi Ellson says:

    Yum – when is that Damson gin ready?! Can’t wait to sample that. Great pic Harvey, and good to see that fabulous Caesar Salad Dressing recipe again – not had that for years. xx

  3. Vicky says:

    Loving your blog Zoe! Also I drove passed you in the car the other day and you looked amazing. Keep it up you are doing good. Im now a stone lighter too xxxx Must meet up.

  4. Pingback: Easter Birthday Party | Lose Weight and Gain Health

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