Tuesday, 18 August 2009

A walk to Limehouse and some crabby business

I'm on holiday at the moment, and tomorrow's Kent adventure meant that a stomach reducing walk was in order. My first thought was a walk from St Margaret's to Hertford, but Hertford friend Ian was otherwise engaged, so Plan B was the Lea Valley Walk from home to Limehouse. I've done this walk several times before, and it's a gentle seven or eight miles down to the mouth of the Thames.

Just past Ferry Bridge, this huge narrow boat came chugging past. About a mile on, I wondered if David was around - he lives on the narrow boat Essex Buoy.
But it looked shut up. David must be busy working. The walk is almost all towpath along the Lee and Stourt canal. It's an odd mixture - for most of the walk there's enough green to keep the human London softly at bay. But every so often, there's a reminder of what we get up to.
I rather liked this graffiti, while deploring the spelling. Still, patched up, it would be a good slogan for a food blog.
For quite a while, I was walking past the site of the Olympics, but it was hard to get a decent picture. Here are the lock gates at Old Ford Lock, deep into Hackney. And just around the corner...
...clear site of the evolving Olympic stadium, just visible above the canal. I can't wait. I'm a big athletics fan and I've been glued to the Berlin World Champs this week. I signed on to volunteer for 2012 as soon as we won the games.
This sums up the walk for me: cranes sprouting like improbable flowers above the vegetation. You're never more than a literal stone's throw from some wharfs or houses. As I walked, I wondered how nature would take this route back. I'm reading The World Without Us, and it seems that Earth will get along pretty well minus humans. If we don't get our climate act together, this will all be under water.
Around noon, I arrived at Three Mill Island. It's a lovely collection of buildings, including what was once the largest tidal mill on the Thames. Shortly afterwards, you get to the Limehouse Cut, a couple of miles away from Limehouse. Sadly, this is the most boring part of the walk, unrelieved by any greeness. But the curve into Limehouse Basin is great.
And all at once, you're into the flowering of modern flats and stowed narrow boats. And then over to Narrow Street and a clear view of the Thames in its full majesty.
This walk always reminds me how huge the Thames is to the east: a world class river.
I followed the Thames path round to Canary Wharf and slumped on a grassy knoll to scoff my pesto pasta. Then it was back home, mostly overland, via the Docklands Light Railway and a train from Liverpool Street.
And at home I had a pot of crabby goodness waiting. Last week, my Abel and Cole box arrived with a flyer promoting the yumminess of crab from Seafood and Eat it. Enough persuasion already - I love crab, so put in an order for brown Cornish crab. It arrived this morning and I've been mulling over the possibilities. Then I pierced the plastic pot and stuck an eager finger into the goey browness: fab. There's a Tamasin recipe I've memory marked and this was the occasion to use it. I've adapted the quantities for the amount of crab meat.
Little Crab Custards
Mix together 110g crab meat, 2 beaten eggs, 210ml double cream, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, a knife tip of cayenne, 1 tbsp Parmesan, a good pinch of salt. Pour into ramekins, or in my case, the lovely soup dishes I bought on a walking weekend on the Isle of Wight.
These will go into my Remoska for half an hour...let them cool for 15 minutes then serve with toasted sourdough bread and some watercress and orange salad. And some tomatoes...my allotment bushes have provided a fantastic harvest.


mangocheeks said...

Thanks for sharing you walking day trip.

Your tomatoes look lovely. I really love the colours on them. I hope to grow some of those next year.

I also love you soup bowls from Isle of Wight, (plus the bowl from the last entry) I like handmade crafted works, rather than uniform shop bought ones.

Dan said...

Fran, what a great walk, and interesting to me personally I go past three mill island on the train everyday commuting into London and Ive never seen the other side of it. Actually looks really pleasant, interesting place to have a little explore.

fran39 said...

Mango - I'm so proud of my tomatoes! The best tasting ones so far are Rosada - little red pears of goodness. Hmmm - maybe I should do a crockery post. Like you, I love handmade pottery.
Dan - the Lea Valley Walk is really good (except for that last Limehouse mile). So far, I've walked up as far as Broxbourne, and I aim to get up to Hertford next week.