In my second year at university, I entered the ballot for college accommodation and ended up moving into a house with a female friend and four unknown male entities.
By then, said friend and I were drifting apart, which was a bit unfortunate, and the unknown male entities turned out to be a tad over-excitable, which was even more unfortunate as it manifested itself in the oddest manner. In short, they seemed to spend their days yelling, and giggling, and throwing wads of moistened toilet tissue at each other and around the house.
One day I even woke up to a football being thrown repeatedly - and hard - against the wall by one of them in a travesty of the ghettoblaster scene in "Say Anything". John Cusack he was not - if he was, I might have forgiven him.
I would have preferred this
To be honest, for the most part it was fine - I wasn't indoors much by then anyway, as it was around this time I got together with my husband. But meal-times were still often a battle-scene - once, when nobody was in, I made a huge acacia omelette, dished up half with some rice and then went into my room to eat. Twenty minutes later, I returned to the kitchen to find everyone was back and the other half of my omelette was gone. I was furious and inconsolable - acacia leaf is hard to come by anyway, and it had been expensive. Of course, no-one confessed. B*stards.
Another time, our local Sainsbury's went a bit mad and started selling whole sides of smoked salmon for a fiver plus "Buy One, Get One Free". Of course, the student population of Cambridge then lived off nothing but for about a fortnight. And as a result, there were constant arguments about which packs belonged to whom, and how the packs took up too much space in the fridge (they were mahoosive), and even rabid and wild accusations of theft.
The point is, I've had fights over smoked salmon before. And it wasn't even good smoked salmon.
So when I was given some decent salmon to try (I say "given" - I kinda used emotional blackmail on a friend), I was in raptures.
Inish Turk Beg is a private island in Clew Bay, off the West Coast of Ireland and means "small island of the wild boar". On the island itself, agriculture has always been a mainstay - sheep, pigs, cattle, and potatoes. But Clew Bay itself is home to an organic salmon farm, certified by the Irish Organic Farmers and Growers Association, where the salmon are reared in the Class A1 waters in the Atlantic, fed only natural ingredients, and grown to maturity in a low stock density environment.
The salmon I tried was Inish Turk Beg Honey-Roast Hot-Smoked Salmon. This Irish salmon is apparently lightly salted and slowly roasted over beechwood and local seaweed, and basted with an organic honey.
I was curious as to whether the honey might be too strong for the delicate flavour of the salmon, but I found it merely enhanced its natural sweetness. It also meant that each fat, tender slice had a slightly caramelized glaze which the husband and I fought over.
We served the salmon simply with baked potatoes and a leafy salad - I rather cheekily gave myself more fish and less potato, and I definitely got the better deal as this softly flakey hot-smoked salmon is a real treat even when eaten by itself (in fact, a slice may have found its way into my stomach before I'd even dished up).
Inish Turk Beg also produce Irish bacon and I have my eye on their Smoked Streaky Belly - fat slices of bacon which are hand-trimmed, hand-rubbed with a dry cure of cloves, Muscovado sugar, apricot, and foraged rosehips, and then hung and cold-smoked over beechwood for nine days.
And now I'm hungry again.
Inish Turk Beg