10 October 2005

The Iceland Diaries III – Day 7

Thursday, 18 August 2005

I'm an idiot.

I have a pretty bad cold. I'm working anyway. No DayQuil, No NyQuil, no Sudafed (pseudoephedrine). But I do have a tiny amount of codeine in the form of Parkodín, which is available OTC. It's not the treat that it first sounds.


  • OTC Codeine
  • WTF ==> Yummy fish recipe
  • Responsibility
  • You're so special
  • Par-TAY
  • Photos of Icelandic Hottay with whom I must not fall in love

Yummy tasty codeine, but there's a catch
Each tablet is a whole 10mg of good stuff and 500mg of APAP (Paracetamol/Acetaminophen) so if you try to get off on the crap you'll fuck your liver up but good.

Cold-water titration is a low-yield bitch; the pills contain starch and cellulose so you can't heat up the slurry for better extraction. And there are only 10 pills in a package.

And they'll only sell you one package a day.

Still, it helps with some general achiness along with the pain in my now-cleft thumb.

Surprise, surprise, surprise
There was more fish there when I arrived in the kitchen but it wasn't redfish. I had a bunch of great big honking... umm... what the fuck are they? Sniffing didn't help, there was no skin to recognise based on the pattern... I had to heat up a pan to cook and taste a bit.


Great. How the fuck am I going to cook this? How the fuck am I even going to portion these things?

After being a vegetarian for some 17½ years, I'd forgotten most of what I'd learned in cooking school when I was a teenager, and over the past three years I've slowly been re-learning how to cook meats. I didn't remember how to portion out massive fish fillets.

I sat with the knife that got me yesterday and hovered it over the fish in one direction after another until I finally saw how I could make three or four nice-looking portions out of each piece. It turned out I was being just a wee bit generous. No matter. Cod fillets are a bit strange, being considerably thicker in the middle than on the sides. Now I knew what I was working with, I had to figure out a recipe.

While mulling it over, I noticed I had a lot of fucking prep work to do which I don't understand since I prepped everything except cukes, maters and sauce squeezer refills last night.

Yummy fish recipe
©2005, BadDoggie
This recipe feeds at least a dozen.

3kg cod fillet
15-20 medium tomatoes
4 lemons
1/2c olive oil
1-2 heads of garlic
1 bunch fresh tarragon
1 bunch parsley
white wine

Slice the tomatoes, de-seed them and give them a medium chop and dump 'em in a bowl. Squeeze the lemons into the bowl, filtering out the pulp and seeds. Then squeeze the lemon skins into the mix to get the lemon skin oil essence. Add the olive oil. Clean and finely chop the garlic. Add it. Chop the tarragon and parsley separately. Add half of each to the mix. Stir.

Cut up the cod fillets into serving sizes and dump in the mix. Let marinate at least two hours.

(This is the restaurant version where we just don't have enough time to do broiling-only so we cook the underside in a pan first)

Put the pan on a medium fire with some butter and oil. Pull a fillet out of the marinade, shake off excess moisture, roll quickly in flour to give it a dusting and lay it out in the pan. You can do two together.

Fry for about 30 sec, then add about 2/3 cup of the marinade mixture per fillet. Let simmer two minutes. Splash in about 3 glugs of white wine and sprinkle some of the tarragon over it all. Transfer to broiler for 6 minutes.

Check that the top of the fish is just starting to brown a bit. As soon as it is, pull from broiler. Plate. If the sauce is too runny, put the pan back on stove to reduce for a minute, adding a little more parsley and tarragon. Serve with small tinned potatoes (or fresh "fingerlings") deep-fried for about five minutes to give them a crispy shell (should be reddish in colour) and some salad. Garnish with some of the fresh chopped herbs.


Drink some of the white wine as you await the guests who demand to visit the kitchen to compliment you.

It's your kitchen. You're the cook. Figure it out.
What the hell am I going to do for a daily special? I have no ideas, I can't buy outside ingredients. There's just not much range here. Due to the shortage of hamburgers and spices, I can't even cook up something that might pass for Icelandic chili. I told Bjössi that I had no idea and he thought about the problem for a minute, then came up with an answer. His suggestion: "Peace, love and Sambuca".

Big help.

You have to understand that Bjössi comes in first thing in the morning and downs an overstuffed shot or three of Sambuca.

I pondered some more.

Just... meh.
The weather was gorgeous, the sun was shining, temps were around 15° and there I was stuck in the bar wearing an apron and waiting for people to come in and order food, though none were actually doing so. Just like a sunny summer Saturday in Munich, except that I was struggling to actually speak a few words with the cow-orders.

I gave up waiting for customers and got to work cleaning stuff in the kitchen. I started with the shelving unit under the stove and grill and the spice and utensil cart next to it at the wall. One of the managers stopped by and asked me what I was doing. "Fuck, man, you're paying me, I ought to be doing something for you." Good answer.

I still had no idea for special and it was 2:00p.m.

I occasionally served a meal or bowl of fries but there was little more to do at night with Pálmar and Anna, both of whom were equally as bored as I was. I stayed to help close the place since I was still feeling pretty shitty and wasn't up to going out on a bender.

Anna taught me another card game but don't know if I have all the rules down yet. (I get it a few days later.)

Around 11:30 after I finished closing the kitchen, I had a beer and relaxed a bit. I went to the chalkboard and wrote "Peace, love and Sambuca" and gave it a price of 501kr. A shot of Sambuca costs 500kr. I think I did the joke right since Pálmar smiled. I don't really understand Icelandic humour and thinking but I'm starting to get some feel for what things SHOULD be funny or interesting.

I took a shuftie over to Sírkus but other than poser dude I recognised no one. I had a quick beer but because it was so quiet I finished quickly and went back to 22.

Well this almost comes as a surprise
At around 12:30 we'd started cleaning up the bar when Gauja and some friends came in for a glass of wine. And another glass. Leo came over at about 1:00. We locked the door and alcohol started flowing. Gauja DJed which meant GnR's "Appetite for Destruction" was more or less put on auto-repeat. We were all talking over the blaring sound system. The neighbours won't complain; they're smarter than that.

At some point Gauja asked me if I'd sorted out my digs yet. Nope, Pink's disappeared and no one's heard anything from him. I have a hotel but don't know if I can keep the room over the weekend. She again said it might be possible to stay with her. She lives outside the city in 107 and I really don't want to have to get a rental car.

"You could stay with me but you must promise me that you won't fall in love with me if you do."
"Yes because many people, they fall in love with me and you can't do that if you are to stay."


Party Pix and Icelandic Hottays
Nú er þad!

Gauja með vín

Stelpur Gone Wild

Taking photos of each other taking photos

The party carried on. Much wine disappeared. Much beer, too. There was some dancing. And quite a few shots of "Ga Jól", an evil vodka-based sweet/salty/licorice booze designed for shots. You get used to it.

At around 5:00a.m. we gave the bar and a few tables a cursory wipe and locked up the place. Extremely drunk, I had to trudge up that hill only to come back in another four hours.



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