Somewhere, over the mystic rainbow trout, summer solstice is here…

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Some would say a magical time – I’d be one of them. Today in London we will enjoy 16 hours and 38 minutes of daylight…..we plan to spend the evening outside.

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When I was a child and we were driving to our Devon holidays, my dad would always stop the car as we crossed Salisbury plain, so we could get a good look at Stonehenge. In those days you could park nearby and walk right up to the stones unimpeded – we loved it. I was always so excited about it and would weave stories about ancient times in my mind.

Last night we were planning to barbecue but time eluded us and so we took the lovely fresh trout and baked them whole with flavours of orange and lemon. We sat outside too, to enjoy the weather and to avoid the football that was so disappointing for us.

I know, there are those who don’t like to eat fish on the bone but for me trout is one of those that definitely benefits and if cooked well, the moist flesh slips from the bones giving lovely pieces rose pink fish.

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To go with the trout, we made a fennel and orange salad with scented geranium – the geraniums giving a slightly peppery citrus flavour too.

We also made some herb and tomato crushed new potatoes, which were delicious!

Serves 2

For the Trout

2 fresh whole trout, seasoned inside and out.

A little sliced onion

1 lemon thinly sliced

1 tsp of orange zest cut into batons

A splash on white wine – optional

A knob of butter

4/5 stems of fresh lemon thyme.

For the salad

1 fennel bulb very thinly sliced (we used Rocket’s new mandolin)

1 small orange peeled and segmented

A dash of olive or chilli oil

A squeeze of orange and lemon juice

Salt and black pepper

Some geranium leaves to garnish – optional. (WHen using flowers they must be pesticide free.

For the potatoes

A large handful of small new potatoes (skins still on) washed and boiled until tender.

1 medium tomato, skinned, seeds out and finely diced.

1 tbsp chopped chervil

A glug of olive oil and a knob of butter.

Preheat the oven to gas mark 7 or the equivalent.

First make the salad. so that the fennel can cure in the dressing.

Place the fennel into a large bowl, add a squeeze of orange and lemon juice and some mild chilli or plain olive oil according to your taste. Add salt and black pepper and stir through until well coated. Add the orange segments, the fennel tops and gently stir through. Put into your serving dish.

Place the sliced onions and couple of lemon slices in an ovenproof dish to form a  trivet.

Place the trout on top of the onions and lemons and slip some more lemon and a stem of the thyme inside each fish.

Place a small slice of butter on top of each fish and then put a lemon slice on top.

Add the remaining thyme and lemons around the fish and pour in a very small glug of wine.

Pop the fish into the oven, uncovered and bake for 15 minutes – these were large rainbow trout, if cooking with smaller ones, check them after 10 minutes – press the skin and if it moves away easily and reveals translucent pink flesh beneath it is ready.

Whilst the fish is cooking cook the potatoes and then remove from the heat and drain. Lightly crush the potatoes with a fork, add the oil and butter and set aside until you are ready to serve. Just before serving, warm through in the pan add some seasoning and gently stir through the tomatoes and chervil.

When we served the fish, we pulled away the skin of the trout  (if barbecuing it the skin would doubtless be crisp and golden so I would eat it but baking time in the oven means the skins is still soft) to reveal the pink flesh. . Then we removed the heads and served to our plates. Finally we drizzled the juices form the baking dish over the fish.IMG_1351

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