“All-in-one Basil Cod with Potatoes and Green Lentils” from “Flavour: Eat What You Love”

Fish Friday!

This dish reminds me so much of a great Nigella Lawson dish. She loves a tray bake, and I have to agree. You bung everything together in a tray, bake it for the prescribed amount of time, and then eat. It’s the perfect weeknight dish for when you want something delicious, but nothing something that’s going to use three bowls, two pots and multiple spoons.

I always knew there was a risk in making this for the teenagers, because they are not fans of lentils, whereas the adults in the family are. In any case, they found a workaround: they ate the fish and the potatoes (happily, as it happens) and ate around the lentils. Problem solved. The adults loved everything.

Highly recommended, both for the ease of making it and the delicious taste. I would definitely make this again.

“All-in-one Basil Cod with Potatoes and Green Lentils” from “Flavour: Eat What You Love”

“Fish and Lobster Cakes” from “Cooking for Jeffrey”

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Fish Friday!

We love a fish cake in this house. Who doesn’t? It’s deep-fried goodness. We’ve tried countless, but I can never remember which one I like best. Maybe because the recipes are all pretty similar.

This one is different, though, because it uses lobster (and cod). Yes, lobster. When I went to the fishmonger to see if I could get a cheap cooked lobster, they laughed at me. They laughed not because I wanted lobster, but because I wanted one cheap (Um.. No.. Not really possible) and also because I told them I planned to use them in fish cakes.

“Fish cakes? Really?” they asked, incredulously. “Why in the world would you put lobster in fish cakes? It’s so good on its own.”

I agreed, but told them the idea of the blog was to test these recipes as they were written, so I went away, dejected, thinking I’d never know if lobster really would make fish cakes better. But then I checked Ocado, and found a semi-budget solution: a full frozen pre-cooked lobster!

So I now can tell you definitely that there’s absolutely no point in putting lobster in fish cakes. Lobster is so good all on its own. While I could taste it in these, it was a waste.

The fish cakes were delicious, though. I most definitely would make these again (Andrew, 17, absolutely hoovered his down and then asked for more). I’d just make them with all cod the next time. Not lobster.

I’ll eat lobster as God intended next time: Straight out of the shell.

 

“Fish and Lobster Cakes” from “Cooking for Jeffrey”

“Roasted Salmon Tacos” from “Cooking for Jeffrey”

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One of the things I love about this book already is that Ina Garten makes no apologies for using butter, cheese, double cream and other yummy things in her dishes. In a world full of “Clean Eating” tomes– particularly in January– Garten’s attitude is a breath of fresh air.

Saying that, this recipe doesn’t use any of those things. In fact, it might even be considered (whisper it) a little bit healthy. But I made it for my family anyway. It is January, after all, and while we’re not detoxing or dieting or doing anything similar, we still did have a lot of rich delicious meals over the holidays, so it’s time to reign it in somewhat.

The roasted salmon was delicious and easy. You get one large piece of salmon and cover it in chipotle chile powder and lime zest. Here in the UK, I couldn’t source chipotle chile powder, but I do have a chipotle sauce, so I used that instead. Then you roast it for 12-15 minutes. It’s super easy.

It’s a clever take on traditional tacos, using salmon like that. However, we were all less convinced by the coleslaw that went with it. No one really liked the shredded cabbage with cucumber and dill. (I didn’t mind it, but I was very much in the minority.)

When I make this again, I will again roast the salmon in chipotle, but I think I’d serve it with iceberg lettuce and maybe some tomatoes, like a traditional taco. The simple guacamole I made to go with it was also good.

 

To make this yourself, click through here to find the recipe on Redbook online.

“Roasted Salmon Tacos” from “Cooking for Jeffrey”

“Salmon with Tomatoes, Pea and Basil Puree” from “Simple: Effortless Food, Big Flavours”

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Maureen: FISH FRIDAY!

Andrew (17): This is absolutely delicious.

Nicholas (13): Yum.

Andrew: This is the best fish you’ve made in a long time.

Nicholas: I agree.

Maureen: I’m surprised you like it so much. I agree it’s great, but I don’t think it’s radically different from other fish I’ve done.

Andrew: I don’t know. It’s just really good.

Maureen: Well, one for the books then. We should definitely have this again if you like it so much.

Andrew: Yes. We definitely should.

If you’d like to make this yourself, the recipe can be found on Google Books by clicking through this sentence.

“Salmon with Tomatoes, Pea and Basil Puree” from “Simple: Effortless Food, Big Flavours”

“Portuguese Baked Hake and Potatoes” from “Simple”

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Maureen: Fish Friday!

Nicholas (13): What fish is this?

Maureen: It’s hake. You should see the mouth on a hake! It’s really something. I asked the nice fishmonger if I could have the head too, but then she warned me that we would have to be extra-careful with it because the teeth have anticoagulants in them. So no fun with fish heads tonight.

Andrew (Now 17! Happy birthday!): I’m not so sure about the hake.

Maureen: What do you mean?

Andrew: I like the potatoes, but I don’t like the taste of the hake.

Nicholas: I agree with Andrew.

Maureen: Well, that might be a first. But I’m not sure I understand why you dislike the hake. I don’t think the hake tastes overly fishy. It’s just a plain white fish.

Tim: I agree with Mom. I don’t see the problem either.

Maureen: Well, we seem to be divided on this one. Maybe when I make it again, I’ll just make it for me and dad and the two of you can have fish fingers or something. That’ll show you. I think this is delicious.

As I said above, the adults really liked this. I honestly don’t know why the boys didn’t like it more. Sometimes Often, children’s tastes are a mystery. But if you want to try it for yourself, click through this sentence to find the recipe in the Telegraph.

“Portuguese Baked Hake and Potatoes” from “Simple”

“Lemon, Tumeric & Black Pepper Salmon” from “Sirocco”

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Fish Friday!

I have to admit, at the outset, that I wasn’t convinced by this one. I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with turmeric, given that it once stained a favourite top of mine, and also left a stain on one of our tablecloths. I can appreciate that it tastes good, but I also feel a frisson of fear when it’s on the plate because I don’t want it to stain something else.

For this salmon dish, you make a paste with turmeric, lemon zest, black pepper and garlic olive oil and spread it over the top of the fish. In the book, Sabrina uses a whole side of salmon. I just used it on two large pieces instead because by the time I got to the fishmonger, they didn’t have any sides left. Also, a whole side would have been way too much food for the four of us, (even with two hungry teenage boys) so I just bought the two remaining pieces of salmon, knowing that I could make it work.

That’s one of the good things about this recipe: it’s adaptable. I made slightly less paste than was called for for the whole side, but the math I had to do there was really the most complicated thing about this dish. You make the paste. You bang it on the fish. You roast the fish for 22 minutes. Bam. You’re done. Next stop? Dinner.

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am a huge fan of easy, interesting, healthy and delicious fish dinners for dinner. I can include this in that category, even with the inclusion of  turmeric. The adults loved it, but the teenagers were split. The younger teenager (who didn’t like it) *might* have been put off by the bring orange glow that came off the fish. That’s too bad. He was missing something.

I would also imagine that you could spread the turmeric-lemon paste over any white fish and you would get a similar (read: tasty) result. Something to think about the next time.

Would we eat this again? 75 percent of us would. Happily. That’s a percentage I can live with.

If you’d like to try this recipe, click through this paragraph to find it on A Little Bird blog. 

“Lemon, Tumeric & Black Pepper Salmon” from “Sirocco”

“Perfect Pad Thai” from “My Street Food Kitchen”

IMG_2592Another month, another attempt at Pad Thai.

The last time I tried this was in October 2015 when I made, “Pimped-Up Pad Thai” from “Gizzi’s Healthy Appetite.” That version was a disaster: gloopy and not at all tasty. But I still love a Pad Thai– there’s a particularly good version from one of the stallholders at Greenwich Market that I treat myself to from time to time.

But this one, according to the name, promised to be a “Perfect Pad Thai” so I was optimistic that it would at least be an improvement on the last one I tried.

I’m happy to say this version of Pad Thai was a success.

Perhaps the instructions on this one steered me to a better result. Joyce warns you to not make one big batch, as the noodles get soggy (perhaps that’s what happened the last time) and also to put semi-cooked noodles in, that will then be finished off in the wok. I did both of those things, and it was a much better version, so she must have been on to something.

Also, here’s a top tip if you are going to make pad thai: Get everything ready in advance. Having chopped, soaked and prepared all the necessary ingredients, when it came time to cook them up, I was as efficient as a short-order chef. And doing two batches so the pan wouldn’t get crowded, didn’t seem so onerous.

Will we have this again? I believe we will. (In fact, I’d make it again tonight, one week later, but there might be some negative feedback from my diners. So I’ll save it for another time.)

If you’d like to give Perfect Pad Thai a try yourself, click through this sentence to find the recipe at BBC Good Food. 

 

“Perfect Pad Thai” from “My Street Food Kitchen”