Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Write … Edit … Publish … Bloghop / ISWG hop: The Kiss …

 

She looked out over the harbour … the gentle swell of the waves rocking the boats … heard the odd shout from the fishermen as they unloaded their catch …


 

Old Slip Newlyn c 1908
by Harold Harvey
Bliss, it was a warm sunny day … with the odd fluffy cloud casting around in the high heavens as she walked down to the hard, smelling the scent of the sea, along the quayside, avoiding the fishy sea-water trickles and puddles until she got to the fishmonger’s …

 


StarGazy Pie - c/o The Valley, Cornwall
Nate, the fisherman, welcomed her, noticed her eyes on the fresh sardines … he’d had some of her very tasty StarGazy Pie at the local fish feasts the community put on … so he guessed one was to be made.

 


 

She bought her sardines, a piece of cod, a monkfish tail and some of the local smoked haddock … this would make a good expansive pie for her friends …



'A Fish Sale' by Stanhope Forbes (1885)
… as she and Nate discussed the weather and the local news … he wrapped her fish, while checked in that it was a pie in the making … yes, oh yes … just what she needed today …

 


At home she was welcomed by her black and white cat – called ‘Boot’ for some reason unbeknownst to childhood her … 



Not quite 'Boot' - but near enough to remind me!

... he wrapped his body around her legs, his tail reaching up to gently tap her calf … he continued with this rigmarole … until he realised he’d have to wait … snucking off to his cushion, in the sun on the window seat …

 

 

She loved having him around … someone to mutter to … someone to make her feel wanted … she was content in her little Cornish cottage …

 


The History Telling Hour - 'Mouzer'

She got to work on the pie … the pastry was rolled out … she used the buttery flaky type … the large pie dish was filled with pieces of fish, the whole sardines were ready to be put in amongst the filling of sliced cooked potatoes, chopped hard-boiled eggs, some frozen peas, topped with a thick fish-flavoured white sauce …

 



Sardine catch

The pastry was placed over the pie … slits cut in it for the sardine heads to pop through … lightly encouraged by her … the pastry was brushed with beaten egg … a couple of extra holes to let the steam out …

 



Into the oven for 40 – 50 minutes … she had an Aga in her small kitchen … Boot by now was up and about … winding her up for his food … some of that delicious fresh fish bought earlier … she diligently chopped some up … added a little fish stock …



 

Bertie - another
B + W pussycat

… picked him up, gave him a good cuddle … he always felt so wonderful … his purring beggared belief … he was happy – she was too – she lightly kissed him …

 



 

Newlyn Harbour 21st century

The pie came out of the oven … how long would she need to wait for her friends to arrive – not long she reckoned … as she poured herself a glass of wine …

 



Her friends turned up, the green beans were cooked … supper was ready … a sprinkling of finely chopped parsley …

 


StarGazy Pie from Jusrol
Now for the pie … first she lifted it up near her nose to deeply inhale the richness of the StarGazy Pie … too close - her lips inadvertently brushed a cooked sardine head … the kiss – before she could eat …

 




Oh how they enjoyed the pie … and certainly hadn’t minded, in fact laughed, as the sardine’s head brushed her lips …

 

 

Boot then demanded a snooze on her lap as she and her guests relaxed … another brushing kiss of his beautiful coat … two kisses to remember …

 

The Golden Kiss Awaits
 


… one day she’d get to the Austrian Belvedere Gallery in Vienna to see the ‘Golden Kiss’ by Klimt … the postcard always reminds her …

 

 

For today the two kisses would suffice, ahead of her so delicious pie … yummy, yummy …

 

Star Gazy Pie – originating in Mousehole, Penwith, Cornwall in the 16th century …

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

58 comments:

Jz said...

Never would I ever... have thought anyone could combine Klimt and sardines in a cohesive post!
Nicely done. :-)

Elephant's Child said...

I really, really like this very unexpected take on the prompt. Thanks Hilary - though I will pass on that pie.

Denise Covey said...

Hilary, genius. The kiss of sardines. So tasty! You had me drooling throughout. Thanks for a unique entry for THE KISS!

Janie Junebug said...

Well written, Hilary. About halfway through, I sensed an ominous note, especially with the kiss. It made me wonder if the pie was poisoned.

Love,
Janie

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
LOL - this was all the fun it needed to be!!! YAM xx

Hels said...

Some of my very favourite late C19th-early C20th paintings were beautiful fishing scenes from the West Country. Just a few wonderful examples:
A Fish Sale on a Cornish Beach, Stanhope Forbes
The Fishing Fleet Staithes, Dame Laura Knight and
Between the Tides, by Walter Langley

It must have been a tough life, as the paintings carefully remind us 120 years later.

Olga Godim said...

Lovely, so lovely! And that pie is just amazing-looking. I've never seen anything like it. Do people eat the fish heads too?
In our supermarket in Vancouver, they don't sell sardines with heads, or sardines in general. It is all salmon and tuna and basa fillets from China. I guess you have to live in Cornwall to make that pie. Or could you make it with a fillet? Nah!

Susan Scott said...

My tummy’s grumbling at this deliciousness from your pen Hilary! Lovely tale.

Nilanjana Bose said...

Delightful and a totally unexpected take on the prompt! I always love reading your posts on Cornwall. Stargazy is such an evocative name - lovely! Great entry to start off the year - uniquely you to combine fish pie and Klimt.

Fish is a staple where I come from, so now you've made me hungry too. :)

Jemima Pett said...

I know about stargazy pie and the fish heads sticking out, but I never imagined you'd end up kissing them! Great story :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jz – my mind has a run of its own … I’d been thinking about this since the prompts were disclosed. Knew it’d amuse or bemuse … thanks – delighted you enjoyed the take …

@ EC – the pie will be delicious … I’m going to make one soon – probably not with the whole sardines though … but would if I was free and in Cornwall! Just happy you’re happy with the way the storyline turned …

@ Denise – many thanks … yes I knew many of us would be happily drooling at the thought of fish pie … just makes me laugh …

@ Janie – nope … not doing ‘nasties’ at the moment – one has to cope with the aftermath – difficult to do.

@ Yam – thank you … just what I love to read … glad you enjoyed …

@ Hels – glad you enjoyed the artists … I’ve ‘Summer in February’ here to read: all about the Newlyn Art School in the Edwardian years. It must have been a tough life – still is down there …

@ Olga – delighted you enjoyed the story line … no – the skeletons were used to extract the goodness out of the bones – which gave the locals more nutrition in those days of deprived families. The skin and soft bits would be given to the cat … but the bones would be removed.

I remember seeing the different fish on sale when I was on Vancouver Island – it’s always interesting to visit the markets and see the different foods on sale …

The pie can be made with just fish pieces and fillets – but the whole fish just adds that extra look to the pie!

@ Susan – I know mine is too … I’ll be making a pie at the end of the week … very glad you enjoyed the tale …

@ Nila – very happy to read your pleasure on the tale … I love thinking myself back to Cornwall … many happy memories of my times there and visits to the fishmonger with my mother for some delicious freshness for supper.

It’s a fun pie to make – and special to eat … StarGazy and Klimt – just happy glints in my mind’s eye!
Yes – fish is a staple along our coastlines … at least was when I was growing up – perhaps not so much now; but with Brexit … we should be eating more as it’s from our own shores.

@ Jemima – happy memories for me … with a tale to tell other WEPers! Thank you …

Great to see you all and so happy you enjoyed the mix of Klimt’s The Kiss with my StarGazy Pie thoughts – stay safe - Hilary

Susan B said...

Thank you Hilary. You rendered the homely atmosphere so beautifully and your love of cats. Please, I would like a bite of that pie, with or without kissing the fish head.... Keep writing, take care.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

I have kissed young and old, dark-skinned and pale, svelte and well-padded, poor and not-so-poor, drunk and sober, air-kissed and smooched, snogged and wished I could, but I have never kissed a sardine! I think I will keep it that way too!

Natalie Aguirre said...

This was such a fun story. I loved your the pictures you added too. I would have never guessed that her kiss would be with the sardine.

Jemi Fraser said...

So much fun - vivid and a bit shuddery for a non-sardine lover like me! Well done!! :)

Jacqui Murray said...

What a wonderful atmospheric story. Thank you for sharing that. I'm going to Duck (that's Duck Duck Go's way of saying 'Google it') the recipe.

Toi Thomas said...

I love a good story and a good recipe. You've brought these two things together seamlessly and managed to make it fit the prompt perfectly. I've never heard of this pie. I might be too afraid to try it if I saw it first, but I'd eventually give in. I try to be open-minded about new foods.

Murees Dupè said...

A lovely story. I never heard of Stargazy pie, but now I am fascinated. The way the sardines pop up? That is for sure a talking point at parties.

Steph W. said...

When I say this left a bad taste in my mouth, I mean it as a compliment to your imagery! I enjoyed reading about the making of the pie from start to finish. It reminded me a little of the Little Red Hen. I could read about food all day long (just maybe not fish)!

Sanhita Mukherjee said...

Truly yummy. I liked the way you melted the theme into this mouthwatering post.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Susan – thank you … so pleased you enjoyed the tale and yes I do love cats – don’t have one … but remember ‘my Boot’! You may have a piece of pie with pleasure … I’ll make sure the fish head and spine are removed for you …

@ David – I have to say I don’t think I’ve ever kissed a sardine – but could so easily in these circumstances. And yes … I’ve had my fair share of kisses … some up close and too personal … but that’s life …

@ Natalie – thank you … I just enjoy bringing my words to life with some pictures … joining the cat, Boot, together with my love of Cornwall and my mother’s time in Mousehole before she moved to Newlyn … seemed a good combo and with happy memories.

@ Jemi – sorry about the non-love of fish or their heads … thankfully I love a good fish dish – so glad you enjoyed the storyline …

@ Jacqui – oh ok … great that you’ll look up the recipe … I gave most of it … have fun re-creating what you visualise … I love fish pie – so so good …

@ Toi – thank you … am always happy to oblige – the recipe definitely – the story if I can find a way. I’ve had the prompt in mind for ages – especially with the Stargazy pie – made the kiss adaption fairly easy. It’s a fun Cornish dish – usually now made in restaurants – but can be done at home … it is delicious … so I’m sure the aroma would draw you in to try it – excellent to see you’re open-minded about new foods … always good to try things …

@ Murees – thank you … the Cornish fish pie tells a story … I’ve just adapted it for the ‘Kiss’. The sardine heads are pushed through the pastry – then they cook like that … and for those who’ve never seen one of the pies – always a talking point.

@ Steph – I’m just glad it didn’t completely revolt you and you were able to read it through – even though it’s fish. Thank you for the compliment about the Little Red Hen stories. I too love food and recipes …

@ Sanhita – thank you … yes certainly the theme melted into this delightful Cornish story … and I do love this pie!

Thanks so much – lovely to see you all – I’m delighted that you all enjoyed the fun side of the WEP entry – all the best Hilary

Rebecca M. Douglass said...

I love it! Your kiss for the sardine is maybe a little less scary than the banana slug in my story!

N. R. Williams said...

Wow! I've never heard of such a pie as this before. I had a friend who loved sardines so I always think of her when I read about them. Two things. The first pic., by Harold Harvey, 1908. My grandfather was named Harold Harvey. He lived on the family farm and took over the business in Minnesota, USA. He was born in 1888 so the timeline is perfect. The cat looks exactly like my daughter's rescue kittie we named Oreo. She begs for fish too.

This was very original. Well done.
Nancy

Rhodesia said...

Brilliant post and so well written. I really enjoyed it and having never heard of the pie before, as always I have learnt so much from you.
Well done Hilary. Keep safe and well Diane

Sandra Cox said...

I loved this. Wonderful job. Though, I couldn't deal with fish heads sticking out of my pies:)

Anabel Marsh said...

Interesting story, but I’ve always thought stargazy pie quite a revolting idea!

Steve said...

Beautifully stated and a great poet.

Liz A. said...

That pie is a new one on me. Funny kiss.

Yolanda Renée said...

A truly lovely story! I would love such a cottage and life, although not the pie. Besides being allergic to seafood, a fish head poking out of a lovely buttery crust just wouldn't entice. But for the story it was perfect. The kisses sweet, and tying it into the prompt, absolute perfection! Happy New Year, Valentine's Day, and almost spring!

Dan said...

Very good story. I hope Book got a bit of the leftovers.

Sean Jeating said...

Excellent, Milady. The fish, the kiss, the mulher sentada. I like it.

retirementreflections said...

Yup, Klimt and sardines hand in hand....I would never have imagined that either. But it worked brilliantly here. Awesome post, Hilary!

Keith's Ramblings said...

A delicious, almost romantic tale of a pie. There's more to Cornish food than pasties!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Rebecca – thank you … and yes your banana slug story was much worse – yughie – but I loved it!

@ Nancy – thanks … glad it brought back memories of your friend and her love of sardines. Coincidences of your grandfather’s name … as you say the time line is perfect … he was born in Penzance 1874 and died in Newlyn 1941 … so very much a Cornish artist.
What fun having an Oreo cat … which cat doesn’t take advantage of a visit to the kitchen … just happy you enjoyed the story …

@ Diane – just happy to read you enjoyed the storyline around the StarGazy Pie … it’s an old fashioned Cornish dish.

@ Sandra – thank you … if you were starving you’d eat this …

@ Anabel – it’s a bit like bone broth … but using the local catch to the best benefit.

@ Steve – thank you … am happy you enjoyed it …

@ Liz – I can understand people’s horror thought at the pie – but it is delicious …

@ Renee – thank you … yes that sort of cottage and life would be wonderful – sad you can’t eat fish … but know allergies can be serious. But happy you could see the story of the The Kiss being apt for the prompt …
Oddly – it is brighter here today – the rain is coming back later on I gather …

@ Dan – Boot would always get left-overs … he was a pampered cat!

@ Sean – thank you … it was fun to write up …

@ Donna – I know it’s a stretch isn’t it … but I just enjoyed the bringing together .. .

@ Keith – yes … I love a good fish pie with a glass of vino – and those old fashioned recipes are being brought back to life … real home-made pasties are just so delicious too …

Thanks so much everyone – so pleased to write it up … all the best - Hilary

Bernadette said...

An interesting take on the prompt. I came to know for the first time that something like fish pies exist.

cleemckenzie said...

Leave it to you to come up with a unique take on the Kiss theme! Kudos. I loved Boot and the unexpected sardine lips.

Joanne said...

very clever. Can't say I could be excited for sardine pie, but a view of Klimt's art - yes. Excellent writing!

L.G. Keltner said...

I enjoyed your take on this prompt, and I always love the way you write about food! Excellent!

Pat Garcia said...

Hi,
I like your story and how you developed it with Boots, a cat, which was for me the central theme in the story. Boots, the loving cat, that gave her kisses.
Very inspiring and very positive.
Shalom aleichem
Pat Garcia

Kalpana said...

I am in awe of how creative you have been in weaving together two very diverse elements. My mouth watered at your description 'the large pie dish was filled with pieces of fish, the whole sardines were ready to be put in amongst the filling of sliced cooked potatoes, chopped hard-boiled eggs, some frozen peas, topped with a thick fish-flavoured white sauce' - and the cat, the friends, the chat with the fish monger - I hoped something was brewing there. Fabulous tale.

Sally said...

A great read, the pictures certainly add to the story and I love the twist you have given to it. You made me smile - thank you.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Bernadette – yes I’m sure you could have a pie for most things … I just love fish pie.

@ Lee – thank you … it was a bit of light deviation … but after I’d thought of it – I wasn’t going to change direction. Boot was my delight as a kid … constant companion. Delighted you enjoyed my sardine-style kiss!

@ Joanne – thank you … fish pie – so so good! But I do hope I can get to see Klimt’s art one day …

@ Laura – thank you … and so pleased you can ‘smell’ my food cooking away … I’m getting nearer making fish pie.

@ Pat – Boot … was my boy … we were always snuggling together when I was a kid. But I do enjoy the Mouzer Cat from Mousehole … and his curbing the storm … an excellent story – so StarGazy Pie is ideal.

@ Kalpana – many thanks … it was easy to do once the idea was set … and the ingredients were there – the kiss, the story about the Mousehole Cat … and my time spent in Cornwall over the years, and when my mother lived there. I don’t think Nate the fisherman featured any more … but who knows what could happen for a story.
Many thanks – so pleased you enjoyed it …

@ Sally – delighted to make you smile … it was fun to write and will now amuse me for many a year when I think back to the prompt and story …

Thanks so much to you all … so pleased you enjoyed my strange take on the prompt … stay safe – all the best - Hilary

Anstice Brown said...

Hilary, I enjoyed the unusual direction you went with this. I don't eat fish, but this still made my mouth water! I love the affection shown for Boots the cat (I have two similar black and white cats). I got a wonderful feeling of warmth and friendship from this tale.

Elsie Amata said...

I could almost smell the pie baking as I read this. Very well told, Hilary. I dated someone who LOVED sardines so I've sampled them a time or two but they aren't to my liking. Have a wonderful weekend!

Andrew R. Scott said...

Very nice words (and hello)

bazza said...

Last week my daughter sent us a message on the family WhatsApp group asking for my wife's recipe for her fish pie. I sent her a picture of stargazey pie. She was VERY shocked!
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s intensely impudent Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

mail4rosey said...

You did a good job on the writing. I'd have to politely decline a slice of that pie though. ;) Here to wish you a wonderful day!

Debbie D. said...

Stargazy pie is something unfamiliar and it was interesting to learn about it. Seems like an acquired taste, though. No doubt, the cat was thrilled with his dinner. 🙂 Beautifully written, Hilary! 👏👏👏

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Anstice – thank you … it was fun to write. Boot was ‘my boy’ – they are lovely to have around aren’t they … and I’m delighted with your comments about the post – thank you.

@ Elsie – I can smell it all the time! – I must bring forward my fish pie making day. Gosh b-b-q-d sardines are just delicious … sorry they’re not really to your taste.

@ Andrew – thank for the visit …

@ Bazza – how coincidental … I hope your daughter made your wife’s fish pie – despite the shock of seeing a StarGazy Pie … what fun!

@ Rosey – many thanks … that’s fine – more fish pie for me!, but sorry you don’t like fish … it’s so good …

@ Debbie – I’m sure it’s not a regular occurrence – but it is Cornish and now restauranteurs were regularly offering it as a speciality. It’s fish pie … the sardines in the old days would have been there for the nutrients they released as they cooked … oh the cat was always looked after – bless his little white socks!

Thanks everyone – it’s brought back lots of Cornish memories for me …
stay safe and all the best - Hilary

Nick Wilford said...

This was a lot of fun and very appetizing. I think I'll avoid kissing any sardines though.

c.stolz@hopeforfreedom.de said...

ooh! I don‘t like fish pie at the best of times, but with those eyes staring up at me?... no thanks! I think that Boots would have loved it though. The kiss was surprising... Good job.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Great twist! And I love your writing...I always feel like I'm right there. :)

Marja said...

Great writing Enjoyed the story. I never had a fish pie in my life or even seen one. That fish head would put me off lol
I the cats Bertie is also the name of my brother
I love the paintings by Klimt I hadn't seen this one before
One of my favourites is called Kiss

Sandra Cox said...

Love the pics of the tuxedo kitties.
Stay safe. Be well.

Patsy said...

That was beautiful!

I've never fancied eating Star Gazy pie. I'm not particularly squeamish, and enjoy whole whitebait, but those heads seem too big to eat. Pastry seems wrong on a fish pie too – I've only ever had the kind with mashed potato. You've made me want to try it!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Nick – thanks … glad you felt like you wanted a slice … and I agree re kissing a sardine – mind you better cooked than raw! …

@ C.Stoltz – good to see you – I know fish and bones put people off … but bones would have been so valuable for their nutrients. Boot most definitely enjoyed his food! Happy that you were amused by ‘the kiss’ …

@ Elizabeth – many thanks … it was fun to write up … took me back to when my mother lived in Cornwall with Boot.

@ Marja – thank you – fish pie is so delicious, but then I love fish. Fish heads – good to release the nutrients. Good to meet you Bertie – your brother!
I’d love to get to Vienna to see Klimt’s ‘Kiss’ and other works from that era: these are image-prompts …

@ Sandra – thank you … the black and white cats always delight …

@ Patsy – thank you. I’m very happy to read you might try fish pie with pastry … just different – but sometimes one wants pastry … and not worry about potatoes – my favourite …

Thanks to you all – so pleased you enjoyed the story about the Moushole Cat tied into the prompt of ‘The Kiss’ … stay safe as we ease our way forward in these difficult times … Hilary

Ornery Owl of Naughty Netherworld Press and Readers Roost said...

I've never had Star-Gazy Pie. It's not really a thing in the United States, at least not in the landlocked parts, which is where I have always lived. This is a lovely story, though. There is something relaxing about cooking when it's going well.
My apologies to you for being so late in commenting.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Thanks for coming through ... life can overtake at times ... but glad you enjoyed the 'tale' ... all the best - Hilary