I’m not making any resolutions today. The decision I took last February to eat considerably less and move more has changed my life more than anything I can think of for 2014. I have already decided that I will continue with my exercise regime – oddly I have found that I enjoy the buzz that working out brings. I think I would like to move away from purely gym-based exercise and so will be looking at Pilates or yoga classes. This doesn’t count as a resolution though because I first thought about it in October! I did read on Facebook about Gratitude Jars. Apparently when something wonderful happens you write a note about it and put it in the jar. At the end of the year, you take out all your notes and re-read them and remember all the things you were grateful for during the year. I have decided, and I have challenged Dad to do the same, that every day in 2014 I will make a note on a computer document of the highlight of that day. At the end of the year, we will look over the past year together. Now I know it isn’t as pretty as an actual jar with handwritten notes, but for me and Dad it is way more practical.
I don’t remember much about New Year’s Days gone by. The very late nights/early mornings didn’t lend themselves to much activity. I suppose the level of activity was directly proportionate to the amount of alcohol drunk during the previous 24 hours! I was often designated driver (which I really didn’t mind) and so was usually the least tired the next day. I remember going for walks on the North Yorkshire Moors ‘to blow away the cobwebs’ and the smiles on Grandma’s face when I returned with rosy cheeks. For Grandma, rosy cheeks were to be aspired to and a sign of good health, and for some reason she never managed to get them. I suppose it was her skin tone, but she saw it as a personal triumph when Suzy and I returned from our yomp with glowing cheeks.
Suzy’s memories of New Year’s Day will, I expect, include the dinner. Grandma almost always served pheasant with game chips for the evening meal, a lovely meal and the game chips (like thick potato chips) were always home-made, except that Suzy didn’t and still doesn’t eat pheasant. She would have a couple of poached eggs while the rest of us tucked in. I still don’t understand why Grandma insisted on serving a meal that she knew one of us yucked mightily!
My plans for today don’t include pheasant or poached eggs. I am going to the gym and then meeting Dad, Tom and George on the mountain for lunch. I haven’t been up to the mountain yet, but I have no doubt that being there will be remind me of all four of you boys skiing towards me, as I waited to collect you from ski school, then you turned sharply and sprayed me with snow…. for you guys, it never lost its amusement; for me, honestly, I was a bit meh about the whole thing! I have no idea what I will have for lunch – I know I will not partake of the French-Canadian dish of poutine, chips (french fries) smothered in brown gravy and cheese curds. It just doesn’t look that appetising. Tonight we are going to have a fondue in the Walliser Stube restaurant in the hotel. They serve a wide selection of fondues, from the traditional cheese and bread to pork, beef and/or seafood. With all this lined up, you can see why I’m going to the gym.
Well, I started this post with no idea as to what today’s recipe should be. I knew it wouldn’t be roast pheasant or poached eggs, and I wanted it to be something that reminded me of my childhood. So, today’s recipe is traditionally Scottish – easy as anything – quick and tasty. It’s what Grandma called Herrings in Oatmeal, and what my Scots cookbook calls Fried Herring (Scots Fashion).
Herrings in Oatmeal – Ingredients
- 2 filletted herrings per person
- Oatmeal – you can use rolled oats or pinhead oatmeal or a mixture. Pinhead oatmeal adds a lovely nuttiness.
- Oil to fry – traditionally this was dripping or lard, you may prefer a neutral vegetable oil
- Salt and pepper
Allow about 1 oz / 25g of oatmeal per fillet. Put oatmeal onto a plate. Pour milk into a bowl. Heat the oil in a frying pan till hot. Submerge the herring fillet in the milk, and then put the fillet onto the oatmeal. Cover both sides. Fry for a couple of mins each side. Serve immediately.