Just How Pink Can You Get?

It’s easier to see how bril­liant Charles Dick­ens is by read­ing a lesser rival. Just as it’s sim­pler to appre­ci­ate home by going away, silence by listen­ing to Sir Paul McCart­ney and freshly caught fish by eat­ing tinned tuna. For that reason here are some pink/crimson/red things eaten and enjoyed in my house in the past couple of days. All of them were delight­ful, but none comes close in start­ling pink­ness to what I have in store for you in a moment.

Maybe the beet­root gave the game away. I’ve just made sear­ingly pink beetroot-cured gravad­lax which takes the pinko­meter into new zones on the dial. As the Mayor of Lon­don Boris John­son might have said, ‘pink-omania is about to go zoink.’


There are vari­ous com­bin­a­tions of ingredi­ents that work well, but this is how I like it best:

  • 600 — 700g sal­mon fillet
  • 300g raw beet­root, peeled and roughly grated
  • 100g sea salt flakes
  • 90g sugar
  • A few turns of freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated horseradish — about 40g
  • 1 bunch of dill, chopped
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 50ml gin

You can leave the skin on, or remove it. It’s really up to you. Com­bine all the ingredi­ents in a bowl and mix well. Tip half the beet­root mix­ture onto an oval plate just a little bit big­ger than the fish and then place the sal­mon on top, mak­ing sure the under­side is com­pletely covered. A plastic con­tainer would also work, although you may find it dif­fi­cult to remove the pink stains later! Use the remain­ing beet­root mix­ture to cover the top of the fish. Cover the whole lot with a double layer of cling film and place weights on the top — I use another plate with a few tins stacked on it. Put the fish in the fridge and after 24 hours it will be ready. Wash off all the cur­ing ingredi­ents, pat the fish dry and then slice and eat. I like to serve it with a little thick nat­ural yoghurt into which I’ve grated some more fresh horseradish, along with some salt and pepper.

It will keep in the fridge, covered, for around a week.

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17 thoughts on “Just How Pink Can You Get?

  1. Now that is pink. Love the Paul McCart­ney remark, so very true. I bet the Queen is sick to death of him singing hey Jude every­where she goes.

    • It cer­tainly is pink, Sue. And I know PM is a national treas­ure, but… You’ve summoned up a very funny image of the long suf­fer­ing Queen!

  2. Oh boy you made me laugh out loud! I’m still laugh­ing at the appre­ci­at­ing silence by listen­ing to Paul McCart­ney! And the Pinko­meter. Makes me want to come over and cook with you. The pho­tos are simply stun­ning!! Beau­ti­ful! And the gravlax sounds amaz­ing. I love gravlax and your beety suprise is intriguing. Lovely!

  3. Fab­ulous col­our with some really out­stand­ing shots in there. Looks a splen­did twist on nor­mal gravad­lax. I think the media are being very kind to Paul McCart­ney because his voice has long gone. He must know mustn’t he?

    • I’d like to think that he knows, but that he’s enjoy­ing it any­way. But even if his Olympic moment was slightly alarm­ing, at least Stella McCartney’s fash­ion con­tri­bu­tion to Team GB has been stunning

  4. Stun­ning! I’ve never tried mak­ing Gravad­lax but you’re beet­root ver­sion has just encour­aged me to try. I’ve never been a huge fan of Paul’s but I did have a bit of a bop to Hey Jude at the ceremony!

    • Good for you, Ren. I thought Danny Boyle did the most bril­liant job — a lumin­ous way to mark the start of the Olympics.

  5. You have a way of put­ting a smile on my face and giggle out loud. Yes I was chuck­ling at the PM remark too. I’ve made Gravad­lax recently but never thought of high­light­ing it with beet­root — now that is push­ing PINK bey­ond lim­its on my pinko­meter. Love it!

  6. I love this review funny & inform­at­ive in equal meas­ures.… I want this book. If the knit­ting book I am work­ing on with Octopus books is as beau­ti­ful as this one I will be very very happy.

  7. And I like the sound of pinko­mania going zoink! The gravad lax looks abso­lutely gor­geous — I’ve always had a sneak­ing fond­ness for pink and orange together.

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