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Monday, January 7, 2013

Smoked salmon and cucumber canapes

A recipe and a funny story to help you get through your fist day back at work: 

Everyone I know had a great holiday. Everyone I know drank and ate a lot and was very happy doing so. And now everyone is finally back in Joburg and miserable as all hell...

Seriously, I went to a shopping centre this morning and all the food stores were rammed with people with sour faces buying their usual fill-the-trolley-to-the-brim weekly shop, with their snotty children screaming for chocolate bars (schools here open tomorrow and I know deep down most of those mothers can't wait to bid a fast farewell to their precious little bundles) and the queues were as long as they were on Christamas eve - only now there were no jingle bells or cascades of laughter because everyone was filled with the dread of having to wait for another year until they'll once again have a bloody holiday. It's depressing. I would avoid it at all cost if I were you.

But then I decided to go to the gym. Now I think most of you out there would agree with me when I say that the gym is a place of interesting and amusing characters at best of times but the comedy  tragedy tragicomedy today was just over the top. I signed up to a new gym and got a free personal-training session (I was dreading it); I sat at the waiting desk and asked around for Eddie and, true as Bob, Eddie was the biggest, meanest looking personal trainer I have ever seen. He told me I needed to 'pump more iron'. I held back the laughter because, despite the continual Arny references, he was a good guy and he meant well. He then weighed me...I've put on 3 3 happens. Eddie helped me pump iron and pointed out my fat bits (because I obviously didn't know they were there) and told me I should burn fat not weight and eat protein - lots and lots of protein - and protein shakes and bars and tablets that make you lose fat and not weight. I nodded and smiled. On my way out of the gym there was a queue of women at the scale, yes a queue, all waiting to weigh themselves (I felt their pain) and 99% of whom I am willing to bet had put on (in their minds) colossal amounts. They all looked seriously depressed and I wanted to buy them all an ice cream.

From the gym I took my fat bits and went to do my banking and get the car washed. The bank was carnage (naturally) and the car wash took an hour and a half and not 45 minutes - as advertised. It was hell. I finally left after sighing loudly for half an hour while 2 guys did their best to finish cleaning my car and ignore my loud sighing...only to be called by the bank to say that they forgot to ask me to sign something and they needed me to come back. I went back and I smiled and I signed and I left.

I didn't scream once today. It was hard at times but I stopped myself. I observed; I saw all the dear people feeling exactly how I felt and it made it all better. We're all in the same boat. No one wants to go back to work, everyone wishes they hadn't spent so much money, no one likes going grocery shopping and there is not a single person I know who had a good holiday and, on returning, doesn't have fat bits. C'est la vie. In a few weeks you'll have lost the fat, been payed again, not care about your car being dirty and still hate grocery shopping.

In the meantime I am putting together 3 recipes that are all about salmon and health and hapiness. The first is a no-carb canape/starter that I dedicate to Eddie; It's low in fat and high in protein and one of the few canapes I've thought of that isn't wrapped in pastry or deep fried. So here's to saying goodbye to the fat bits and hello to a superb 2013:

Smoked salmon and cucumber canapes

Makes 8-12
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 3 large gherkins (cut into quarters length-ways)
  • 100-125g smoked salmon
  • 250g danish feta
  • dill (12 sprigs)
  • black pepper
  • olive oil and lemon wedges to serve
  • Using a peeler, make long strips of cucumber by running down one side of the cucumber lengthways until you have peeled through the entire thing.
  • Cut the salmon into 8-12 even strips, equal in length to the gherkin and do the same with the feta.
  • Lay the strips of cucumber out on a flat surface and place the slices of salmon at the edge of each strip. Place the gherkin quarters, feta and sprigs of dill on top of that and grind over a little pepper.

  • Roll up the cucumber to encase the salmon etc until you have a sealed sausage shape and repeat.
  • To serve, sprinkle with a little olive oil and lemon wedges.

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