Monday, 9 April 2012

Do you have anything here to eat?

Happy Easter everyone. I adore this season.

Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God's throne!
Jesus Christ, our King, is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!

Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,
radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes for ever!

Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
The risen Savior shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the mighty song of all God's people!

That's the opening lines of the Exultet, sung at the beginning of the Easter Vigil. It shows me, quite simply, that this is a season of great joy.

Tarta de Santiago
But. you know what? Although I really love the celebration of the Vigil and Easter Morning, the ringing of the bells, the fire, the candles, the turning on the lights, the Hallelujiah!, the exclamations of 'Christ is Risen!', the singing and the rejoicing, after everything goes quiet again, the Gospel of Luke comes to me. Jesus' resurrection appearances in Luke are wonderful for many reasons, but I like His simple words to the astounded disciples best. Jesus appears to them and says: 'Peace be with you'. Then, after looking at their faces, 'Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your mind?' He does not get too much response from the disciples so he tries: 'Look at my hands and see my feet. It is I myself. Touch me and see, a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.' I always hear almost a note of exasperation is Jesus' voice here  - as if he is willing the disciples to catch up and get with the programme! But, when people are in shock, sometimes the best thing to do is to give them something to do. The disciples still have not said anything, so Jesus says: 'Do you have anything here to eat?' And then the disciples move, and they give him some broiled fish (I think they could have done better, but hey, they were fishermen). I love the fact that Jesus is so everyday and matter of fact. Yes, he has just risen from the dead. But first, let's have some lunch and then we will talk about the next part of the plan, viz. the disciples going out to tell people the Good News.

I never make New Year resolutions, or if I do I never keep them. But, Easter resolutions make much more sense to me. You see, we spend the whole of Lent contemplating how it is possible to change, through grace, and become 'good'.  Well, Easter is the time to start. It is a whole season after all, and I always think it ironic that it is so easy to emphasise Lent for 40 days, and then forget all those resolutions the moment Easter arrives.  Little changes work best for me. I am a creature of habit. Last year, because I was returning to the classroom, I focused on my language. I won't say I have not uttered a swear word since, but I have improved slightly. This year, I would like to get outdoors more and take care of my health. Hopefully, I can combine this with going on a few long pilgrimages for the sake of prayer and witness, perhaps to Lindisfarne where I walked as a teenager, but have not revisited since, and Iona, where I have never been. 

First though, I better respond to Jesus' question: Do you have anything here to eat? 

My big sister made this for us yesterday, and it was really tasty, so I recommend it. I would call it a 'broiled fish', but I don't want to put you off. I made a Tarta de Santiago to go with the tea and coffee after lunch, and that was tasty too.

Baked Salmon with Green Beans (Serves 2, but go forth and multiply)
400g green beans
200g cherry tomatoes
1 to 2 handfuls black olives, destoned & sliced
2tbls olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 handful fresh basil, picked
2 x 200 gram salmon fillet steak
1/2 lemon
12 anchovy fillets

Preheat the oven and a roasting tray at the highest temperature. Tail the green beans, blanch them until tender (6 minutes) in salted, boiling water, and drain. Put in a bowl with the cherry tomatoes and the destoned olives. Toss in the olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the basil.

Give the salmon fillets a quick wash under the tap and pat dry with kitchen paper towels. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon over the fillets, on both sides, then season both sides with salt and pepper and drizzle a little olive oil over the top.

Take the hot roasting tray from the oven. Put the salmon at 1 end of the roasting tray. Add the green beans mixture next to the salmon in the tray. Lay the anchovies over the green beans! (Don’t forget)

Roast in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Or to your liking. I like the salmon to be almost or a little raw on the inside. Serve with chilled white wine and merriment. 

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