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Baked Sea Bass with a mild curried ratatouille

29 Mar

imageMy inspiration for this recipe was from the menu of one of our favourite restaurants, 15 in Caleta De Fuste in Fuerteventura. There are fifteen main courses on offer, ordered in customer preference. All of the choices are superb but a particular favourite of mine is the sea bass. I tried to recreate the lovely flavours in my own recipe and, whilst there were obvious differences, I was very pleased with my results and will definitely be making this again.

Baked sea bass with a mild curried ratatouille      Serves 2

  • Low calorie spray oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large courgette, quartered lengthways, deseeded and sliced
  • 125g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large or 2 small ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 50 ml water
  • 100g low fat creme fraiche
  • 1 tsp sweet mango chutney
  • 1 tsp hot curry paste
  • 2 sea bass, descaled, gutted and fins removed
  • juice half a lemon
  • salt and black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 190c/170c fan/gas 6.
  2. Spray some oil into a nonstick frying pan. Add the onion and cook over a low to medium heat for about 10 minutes until soft but not coloured. Add the garlic for the last minute.
  3. add the chopped courgette and continue frying gently for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and fry for a further 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and season lightly. Cook for about 3 minutes. Add about 50ml of water and mix well. Continue cooking until all vegetables are tender.
  4. In the meantime, wash and dry the sea bass. Place in an oven dish. Score each side with a knife and squeeze over the lemon juice. Season with salt and black pepper and spray with low calorie olive oil. Bake in the oven until cooked through (about 25 to 30 minutes.
  5. Mix the creme fraiche, mango chutney and curry paste together, adjusting to suit personal taste. Stir into the ratatouille gradually, a spoonful at a time and mix in until you have a creamy consistency (about 3 tbsp). Adjust seasoning.
  6. Serve the sea bass with the ratatouille on the side and some boiled new potatoes if you like.

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Baked cod with chilli and ginger – delicious!

17 Mar

DSCI0082I love fish but wanted something different that would fit in with my Slimming World eating plan.  This was exactly that! I can honestly say that every mouthful was delicious. I served it with steamed broccoli and stir fried vegetables for added texture, although a side of boiled rice or noodles with the broccoli would be just as nice I’m sure.

The recipe calls for Piquant Peppers (Peppadew) from a jar. These are round in shape, similar to Scotch Bonnets, but there the similarity ends.  They are relatively mild although you will detect a slight heat which is enhanced by the sweetness of the chopped stem ginger.

Peppadew is the brand name of sweet piquanté peppers,  grown in the Limpopo province of South Africa. This type of piquante pepper was first discovered in early 1993 and introduced to market later that same decade.The flavour of the Peppadew fruit is sweet, with mild heat of around 1,177 on the Scoville scale.   To put this into context Jalapeños have 2,500–10,000 Scoville  heat units.

Here is the recipe. I found it in a Woman and Home publication but could not find a link to it on their website

Baked cod with chilli and ginger               Serves 2 (easily doubled)

  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 1 piece stem ginger, chopped plus 1 tbsp ginger syrup from the jar
  • 4 Peppadew peppers from a jar, drained and sliced
  • 2 pieces of of cod fillet
  • 1 tbsp Japanese soy sauce (Kikkoman)
  1. Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.
  2. Place the fish in an ovenproof dish. Scatter the garlic, chilli and stem ginger over the top.
  3. Mix together the soy sauce and ginger syrup and pour over the fish.
  4. Bake in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.

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Mackerel with a Thai style marinade.

13 Mar

I think Mackerel is probably one of my favourite fish.  It is so tasty that I didn’t think a marinade would do anything for it but how wrong could I be!  This marinade really enhances the flavour but is very subtle so you can still taste the earthiness of the fish.  I honestly believe it is the best mackerel I have ever tasted.  Next Summer I am going to try it on the BBQ.  In the meantime it is fantastic grilled.  You could serve this with potatoes and maybe a salad or green vegetables. 

One of Terry’s, my husband’s, favourite memories are when he left college and, before starting teaching, he and his friend Gus hitchhiked around Wales.  One of the ports of call was Caldy Island where they caught Mackerel and cooked them on a wood fire on the beach.  I bet they were fantastic!  His friend Gus is a bit of an eccentric.  He is always telling tall stories, I think he actually researches them!  We often say he should write a book.  Some stories that are true, however, are so funny.  He went to visit Terry in College for the weekend and ended up staying for a whole term.  He slept on someones dormitory floor, joined the rugby team and attended lectures.  He even answered questions!  No-one ever sussed it out that he was not actually a student.  

Thai cuisine balances four fundamental taste senses, sour, sweet, salty and bitter (optional).  It is also spicy due to the chillies it invariably includes.  Common ingredients are lime, chillies, garlic and ginger.  Fish sauce is often included, usually offset by sugar.  I found this recipe in the Woman and Home Dinner Tonight magazine and modified it a little.  I’ve searched their website but could not find it so I will write it out for you below, along with the usual slideshow.  It is worth looking up their website and getting their magazine, they have some great recipes.  Anyway here is the one for today!

Mackerel with a Thai style marinade.        Serves 2

  • 2 large mackerel, gutted and cleaned, head removed
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • Thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tsp honey
  • juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  1. Mix the chilli, ginger, honey, lime juice and zest and coriander together in a small bowl.
  2. Make large incisions into both sides of the mackerel.  Rub the marinade all over the fish, making sure you get it some into the incisions.  Put in a dish and cover with cling film and leave to marinade for 2 hours.
  3. Line a grill pan with foil and brush with olive oil to prevent the fish from sticking.  If you are barbecuing oil a foil barbecue tray.  Place the fish into the tray and cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes on each side.  Turn up the heat and cook for a few more minutes on each side until the skin is brown and crispy and the fish is cooked through.  Serve immediately. 

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Fried fish with ginger noodles

18 Feb

imageI was a bit concerned when I made this as my husband hates batter or anything fried in breadcrumbs. In actual fact, this was nothing like a batter. The rice flour merely coats the fish to hold it together when you are frying it and the outcome is absolutely delicious.  It is an incredibly easy dish to prepare, you just need to remember to start early enough so you have time to marinade the fish before cooking.

The recipe uses rice flour.  Rice flour is a form of flour made from finely milled rice. It is a particularly good substitute for wheat flour, which causes irritation in the digestive systems of those who are gluten-intolerant. Rice flour is also used as a thickening agent in recipes that are refrigerated or frozen since it inhibits liquid separation.  Having spent a lot of time in abroad I realise that not all ingredients are readily available everywhere. If you can’t get rice flour try substituting corn flour, I’m sure you will get a similar result.

As with all Stir-fry recipes it pays to prepare all your ingredients before you start cooking to ensure the textures are correct and ingredients are not overcooked.

I found the recipe in an Olive cookery magazine but it is not available on their website so I have written it out below.

Stir-fried fish and ginger noodles                          Serves 4 (depending on appetite)

  • 400g skinned fish fillets (I used cod as it is thick and holds together well)
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp rice flour
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 8 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 5 cm piece of root ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 large red chilli seeded and chopped
  • 50g mangetout, finely sliced
  • a bunch spring onions, finely sliced
  • 200g dried egg thread noodles
  1. Remove any stray bones from the fish and cut into 2 inch pieces. Put in a shallow dish and pour over the soy sauce. Marinate for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove the fish from the dish and reserve the soy sauce. Dust lightly with the rice flour.
  3. Whisk the fish sauce, sugar, shrimp paste, lime juice and reserved soy sauce together until the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Heat 6 tbsp of the oil in a wok over a medium heat. When hot, add the fish in batches and fry for 2 -3 minutes per batch, turning so they become crisp and golden on all sides. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.
  5. Discard the oil and wipe the pan.  Return to the heat and add the remaining 2 tbsp of oil.
  6. Add the ginger, garlic and chilli and fry for 1 minute until fragrant. Be careful not to burn!
  7. Add the mange tout and spring onions, stir well then add the sauce and a splash of water to make a thick sauce.
  8. Simmer for 1 minute then stir in the fish pieces carefully so as not to break up and warm through over a low heat for 2 -3 minutes.
  9. In the meantime, cook the noodles as per packet instructions. Drain well and serve, topped with the fish stir-fry.

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Cioppino – an Italian-American fish soup to die for.

22 Sep

DSCI0101Cioppino is a fish stew originating in San Fransisco. It is considered an Italian-American dish, and is related to various regional fish soups and stews of Italian cuisine.  Cioppino is traditionally made from the catch of the day, which in the dish’s place of origin is typically a combination of Dungerness crabs, clams, shrimp, scallops, squid, mussels and fish. The seafood is then combined with fresh tomatoes in a wine sauce, and served with crusty bread. The dish is comparable to caccissio and brodetto from Italy, as well as other fish dishes from the Mediterranean region such as bouillabaisse, burrida, and bourride of French Provence, and suquet de peix from Catalan speaking regions of coastal Spain.

Cioppino was developed in San Francisco in the late 1800s by the famed Italian fish wholesaler Achille Paladini, (later titled “The Fish King”) who settled in the North Beach section of the city, he came from the seaport town of Ancona, Italy in 1865.  He originally made it when the boats came back from sea and the ‘left overs’ were used to make a fish stew, a few Dungeness Crabs were also added. It eventually became a staple as Italian restaurants proliferated in San Francisco. The name comes from ciuppin, a word in the Ligurian dialect of the port city of Genoa, meaning “to chop” or “chopped” which described the process of making the stew by chopping up various ‘left overs’ of the day’s catch.  Ciuppin is also a classic soup of Genoa, similar in flavour to cioppino, with less tomato, and the seafood cooked to the point that it falls apart.

Generally the seafood is cooked in broth and served in the shell, including the crab (if any) that is often served halved or quartered. It therefore requires special utensils and, importantly, a bib. My version is a lazy version but tastes fantastic and is much easier and quicker to cook.

Cioppino                                 Serves 3-4

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • small knob of butter
  • 1 banana shallot, finely sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp tabasco
  • 500ml fish stock
  • 500g of firm white fish (I used cod loin), cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 200g raw prawns
  • 1 pack ready cooked mussel meat
  • handful flatleaf parsley, chopped
  1. Heat the oil and butter in a large pan until melted then add the shallot, fennel and garlic. Turn the heat to low, cover and cook for about 10 minutes, checking occasionally to ensure it does not burn.
  2. Stir in the tomato puree, and white wine and cook for a few minutes to allow the alcohol to evaporate. Then stir in the tomatoes, Tabasco and fish stock.  Mix well and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
  3. Add the prawns and cod loin and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes then add the mussels and allow them to warm through for a minute.  Add the parsley, mix carefully, then serve with crusty bread.

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Mediterranean Baked haddock

6 Sep

DSCI0094  As I get older I find I am eating much more fish than I am meat. It isn’t that I don’t like meat but I seem to be going off the consistency.  I thought that by increasing the amount of fish I eat in my diet the healthier I would become but this may not be so.

Some fish, such as king mackerel, shark, and swordfish, are consistently high in mercury, which can harm the nervous system of a fetus or young child. Certain other fish, including canned light tuna, are also occasionally high in that metal. While the health effects of sporadic exposure are unclear, our fish safety experts think that women who are pregnant, nursing, or may become pregnant, as well as young children, should take special precautions. The risk posed by mercury in fish to other people is less established, though in general the heavier you are the more fish you can eat. Certain other contaminants sometimes found in fish, such as dioxins and PCBs, have been linked to some cancers and reproductive problems. While it’s unclear whether the levels typically found in fish pose health effects, a few types may have lower levels of those pollutants. For example, some studies suggest that wild salmon may contain less mercury than farmed salmon.

On the other hand, fish is the only food that directly supplies large amounts of the omega-3 fatty acids that have been shown to cut the risk of heart attack and stroke. Omega-3s may also elevate mood and help prevent certain cancers, cognitive decline, and eye disease. Most people can get enough by consuming fatty fish at least twice a week. Good choices include salmon and sardines, since they’re also low in mercury. People who already have coronary heart disease require about a gram a day of those fatty acids, an amount that frequently requires taking a supplement.

So, I guess the answer is to eat fish in moderation, just like all other food groups. Did I really need to listen to experts to come to that conclusion?

Well, here is the recipe.  It is based on Mediterranean ingredients and tastes lovely. If you are cutting down on carbohydrates this is the perfect meal served with green vegetables.

Mediterranean Baked Haddock.              Serves 2

  • 2 Haddock fillets, skinned
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 400g can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp capers
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • about 12 pitted black olives (I used Kalamata)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 5.
  2. Lay the fish in an oven to table dish and season lightly.
  3. Heat the oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onion until it is soft but not coloured (takes about 10 minutes).
  4. Add the tomatoes and simmer until reduced by 1/3, then add the olives, capers and garlic.  Simmer for 2 minutes then pour over the fish.
  5. Bake the fish in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes (depends on thickness of fillets) or until the fish is cooked and is opaque and flaky.
  6. Serve immediately with green vegetables and new potatoes if you like.

 

 

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Sea bass with Swiss chard and potato

6 Aug

imageI think this has to be one of the tastiest fish meals I have ever eaten.  It is also the first time I have cooked, or eaten, Swiss chard but it most certainly will not be the last.

Chard is a seasonal leafy green primarily cultivated between June and October, but is available year round. Its leaves and stalk are both edible. It comes in three main varieties: Green (a.k.a. Swiss), Red and Rainbow.  Chard is a great source of vitamin K, A and C, and is a wonderful cauldron of potassium, magnesium, iron and fibre. It is high in antioxidants, making it another great super food. Oh, and it’s low in calories. A single serving is merely 35 calories, yet contains more than 300% of your daily vitamin K needs. It is also rich in a multitude of B-complex vitamins, including a lot of ones I cannot pronounce.  It gets the name Swiss Chard (a.k.a. Green Chard) because of its extensive cultivation in Switzerland. The botanist who discovered and then named it hailed from Switzerland. However, its origin is farther south, in the Mediterranean region, specifically Sicily.  (By courtesy of Full Circle).

Here is the link to the recipe followed by my slideshow.  It is really easy and quick to cook so I hope you give it a try.

http://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/recipes/sea-bass-with-potatoes-and-swiss-chard/

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