Well that was awkward: I just had to call the vet to say that Java wouldn’t be able to make her 3pm appointment because I couldn’t find her. Embarrassment-wise, it was on a par with the time I turned up to the vet appointment, on time but minus dog. Java came back a couple of hours later, having apparently taken part in a mud wrestling contest, before putting herself through an aggressive washing machine rinse cycle. I dragged her to the vet anyway, where there was a man asking for something for his parakeet’s itchy eyes. WTAF? Full points to parakeet owner though, for noticing his parakeet’s bothersome eyes. And zero points to me for failing to kit her dog out with a straitjacket.
Pine tree pollen is falling thick and fast, which means that everything has a thick covering of fluorescent yellow dust. (Perhaps this was the parakeet’s problem.) I bumped into a neighbour yesterday — quite literally as it happens; the layer of pollen on my glasses was that thick — who said that it was a sign that the coming winter would be very cold. I said that I couldn’t look that far ahead at the moment, as I was desperately trying to get through the spring without causing myself grievous bodily harm.
A few weeks ago I talked about Luc’s beloved tractor falling sick. It’s back home again, fighting fit, much to its devoted owner’s absolute delight. While I’m very happy for them, I can’t help feeling as if his mistress has come back, lithe and tanned from a long holiday. Especially when he says things like ‘when are we eating, have I got time to take the tractor out for a quick spin?’
The benefits of fennel for digestion
Alone in my kitchen, like a tractor widow, I tend to use fennel quite a lot. Fennel is part of the anise family and very commonly used in Mediterranean cuisine. It is one of the best vegetables for digestive problems and contains a cocktail of essential oils that give its characteristic aniseed smell. The chemicals contained in the essential oils are powerful antispasmodics, meaning they help to relax the wall of the gut. Use with immoderation!
Recipe for salmon and fennel tagliatelle (serves 4)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 fennel bulb, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 125ml dry white wine
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
- 200g tagliatelle
- 200g salmon filets, precooked and sliced
- A handful of chives, chopped
- 50ml crème fraîche
- Parsley, freshly chopped
Heat the olive oil in a medium frying pan and ad the onion, fennel and garlic. Cook until the fennel softens. Add the wine and seasoning and simmer until the liquid reduces by about half. Meanwhile cook the tagliatelle. Add the salmon, chives and crème fraîche to the frying pan, mixing well. When the tagliatelle is cooked, combine in the frying pan and sprinkle with parsley.