Octopus Stew.

At the moment I have been living off the goodies locked in ice in the freezer, mostly hand made by me in family sized portions which have been divided up and popped in the freezer for times when I am busy. I cook up a storm during the break between terms and leave the goodies resting in the freezer for times of most need.
Recently I have been rotating between cottage pie, a chicken dinner,  green thai chicken curry, roast vegetable soup and mushroom and bacon ragu.  And I’ve been very grateful when I’ve pulled out of the freezer another mystery object (I really must label things properly – but I know I never will!) to be greeted by a familiar home cooked smell as the microwave has gone ping, the noodles, pasta or rice has been cooked and I’m ready for supper 15 minutes after coming home.  The most difficult thing being to remember to pull something out of the freezer the night before. 
But it was time for a change and so as a natural break came about in my work I toddled off to Borough Market to see what treats I could find. 
 I love these mushrooms,
 they are so pretty, but that is not what I was looking for today.
 I came across wet garlic which looked wonderful,
 and some lovely looking Octopus. 
I don’t know whether its because I live in landlocked Warwickshire, or because I clearly should have been brought up in a fishing village, but the lure of the fish stall has always fascinated me.  And in the last 30 odd years I’ve probably cooked everything on offer on this stall.  So I just wander up and down letting my senses guide me to the freshest and tastiest of offerings that day.  I often take a while and it probably took me a good twenty five minutes to decide what I was going to cook that night.  But its okay, the fishmongers like the banter, they understand the insight of a seasoned fish cook and we talked of many things.
 And I find the art of the fishmongers stall breathtaking.  The beautiful fishes, sparkling silvers mixed with coral’s and whites and dark blues.
 The way the fish are positioned in shoals to look like they are leaping out of the sea.
 Drift wood and razor clams,
 hand gathered cockles and cod placed to give ideas for tastes that go so well together on the plate.
 Herbs are bountiful,
 And so it is I bring my bounty home, fresh oregano, octopus, tomatos and wet garlic go together with good wine and olive oil, a little salt and fresh black pepper are all it will take along with a pinch of fresh thyme from the garden.
 The octopus is so beautifully fresh, its almost impossible to skin, but that’s okay as the skin is completely edible and renders down to much prized gelatinous quality within the stew.
Two and a half hours later, (with octopus or squid, you cook it long or very short)  I have a wonderful, smelling of the sea, meaty, sweet, gorgeous stew, it satisfies my hankering for a seafood meal and gives me plenty of supplies to hide in my frozen treasure chest.

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