Seaweed. We have plenty of that down here. Bladder Wrack, Kelp, Sea Spinach and Carrageen Moss to name just a few that can be found not very far from where I’m sitting right now.
While I am mad for sushi (I miss Dashi) and I know the Japanese swear by it, to me seaweed, when not used to keep rice and raw fish in place so that I can whack some soya sauce and wasabi on it, is a waste of space.
Of course, there are people who will pay big money at health and beauty spas to be washed in the stuff, but that’s not for me thank you very much. Some family members have suggested that I take up seaweed farming as when I go fishing I spend most of my time removing handfuls of the stuff from my hooks and bait. This, however, is an unfair dig at my lack of success at catching anything from some of the most productive waters off the Irish coast. Dunmanus Bay is full of fish, so a man in the pub told me.
“I’ve caught mackerel on nothing but a hook with some silver paper on it,” said the St. Peter of Kilcrohane. Of course, my state-of-the-art carbon fibre rod and computer-designed fishing lures are rubbish… it’s just jealousy on his part, I say. Or he could be right – either way, I’ll continue to go fishing/seaweed harvesting.
Anyway, back to the seaweed and a surprise that awaited me as I opened the fridge and found four teacups sitting on the shelf with what looked like rubber milk inside. That, I was told, is not rubber milk but Carrageen Moss pudding.
Carrageen, like many other types of seaweed, is edible and has been used over the centuries as a natural gelling agent and as a medicine. It’s very easy to use; just simmer some with milk, then sieve, add sugar to taste and whatever other flavour you like – vanilla, orange, lemon, cinnamon, even chocolate or Baileys. Place into moulds and let this set in the fridge. Simple.
While the rest of the family got stuck in and devoured their Carrageen pudding with gusto,
I was left with a taste that I can only describe as akin to ingesting freshly-cut hay. I’ll continue to get my seaweed kick from sushi, thank you very much.
Strange but true.