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“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ― Julia Child

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cockles!

Well chaps and chappesses, it's Thursday and you know what that means here on The Food. It's Name This Food answer day, and did anyone even bother last week? Well, actually one person guessed 'insect larva' which was clearly not the right answer. I know in some remote, out of the way, back of beyond regions of the planet they do eat bugs and grubs and worms and things, but my name is not Pumbaa, it's Jeff, and even though I'll try anything once, I will not eat anything even vaguely insect-y. Another person, my Mum I suspect, clearly knew the answer but wasn't telling. So I will let you in on it. The answer was...
Alive, alive-o. Actually, dead-o.

Cockles!


Yes, the cockle, that small marine bivalve mollusc, a member of the clam family, found in sheltered sandy beach areas worldwide. Usually people recognize the shell more than they recognize the inside part.
She shells shea shells by the shee shore... shorry, offisher.
 They are collected by raking them from the sands at low tide. However, the labour of collecting cockles is hard work and, as seen from the Morecambe Bay disaster, in which 21 illegal immigrants died, can be dangerous if local tidal conditions are not carefully watched.
So delicious when you buy them down at the seafront. Boiled then seasoned with malt vinegar and white pepper, they can be bought from seafood stalls, alongside mussels, whelks, jellied eels, crabs and shrimps. But what else can you do with them? Well, they are popular in both Western and Eastern cooking. Boiled cockles (sometimes grilled) are sold at many hawker centers in South East Asia, and are used in laksa, char kway teow and steamboat. Cockles are also available pickled in jars, and more recently, have been sold in sealed packets (with vinegar) containing a plastic two-pronged fork. A meal of cockles fried with bacon, served with laver bread, is known as a traditional Welsh breakfast.

Bara Lawr (Laver Bread) is a traditional Welsh recipe for a classic dish of purple laver or nori seaweed that's coked down to a paste.

Ingredients:

400g laver (seaweed)
60g butter
60ml orange juice
salt and black pepper


Method:

The best thing is to get fresh laver from the sea shore (though shop-bought will also work). If using fresh soften by plunging in lightly-salted boiling water and cook for about 40 minutes, or until the laver begins to break down. Drain, allow to cool then wring in a tea towel. At this point melt the butter in a pan and when hot add the laver and fry for about 8 minutes. Add the orange juice, season and allow to heat through before serving.

Cockles and bacon served with laver bread

Ingredients

100g cockles per person
5 slices bacon

Method: 
1. De-shell and thoroughly wash the cockles. Place into frying pan and cook at a medium heat for 5 minutes. 
2. Fry 5 slices of bacon. Serve the cockles, bacon and laver bread on a plate, like so: (you can add sausages, too, as pictured here).
Scrumptious, no?
Anyway.... what is our Name This Food! food to be this week?
Name This Food!

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