Tag Archives: Fish

12,000 Mile Culinary Style

Fush un mash

It’s remarkable that through 2 centuries of culture exchange between UK and New Zealand, the gift that Blighty’s Shore has most lastingly bestowed on her distant cousin is its shared nautical national dish (excluding language, legal framework, political system and other such trivial social matters). The image is the same – a newspaper package, blotted with grease and salt, serving as a plate for the undeniably scrumptious taste of “fush und chups”, or fish and chips to those who speak the Queen’s.

It conjures up romantic visions for me of people sitting on benches at the seaside overlooking the expanse of water, with red and white wind breakers below them on the beach and healthy breezes bracing them into the warmth of their dinner. On one side of the globe its tarakihi fillets warming their cockles, on the other its good old chunky flakes of cod.

But regardless of location, I take a whole new dimension on the classic dish and make it dinner party friendly, whilst keeping that hint of unpretentious cockney geezer in the mix. So, kudos to Mrs Beaver this week, who brings you 12,000 mile cod, mash and tartare sauce.

Serves 4

4 fillets cod, skin on
1 tsp fennel seeds
200g crusty bread
4 cloves of garlic
50g tin of anchovies in oil
½ a 280g jar of sundried tomatoes in oil
Small bunch of basil
1 chilli
40g parmesan cheese
2 lemons
Balsamic vinegar
4 medium baking potatoes
1 head of broccoli
500g frozen peas
Knob of butter
1-2 tbs mint sauce
3 gherkins
1 tsp capers
Small bunch of parsley
200g mayonnaise
Sweet paprika

This may look like a lot of ingredients, but preparation is pretty simple with a food processor. In fact, you can pre-prepare the tartare sauce, crust and tomato sauce the day before if you want to save time.

Start by boiling the potatoes for 10 mins in salted water. Meanwhile chop up your broccoli into small chunks and add them to the boiling water.

Turn on the grill. Foil line a baking tray, drizzle oil onto it and spread the fennel, salt and pepper. Next turn the fish over in the tray, coating it in the oil mix, and place under the grill for 4 minutes, skin side down. Meanwhile throw the bread, 2 garlic cloves, and a glug of olive oil in the food processor and whizz into breadcrumbs. Set this aside.

Now add to the food processor – the sundried tomatoes, 1/2 tin of anchovies, 2 cloves of garlic, basil, chilli and parmesan. Squeeze in juice from 1 lemon and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Whizz into a paste. Remove the fish from the grill and spread the tomato paste onto the fleshy side. Next cover with the breadcrumbs and return to the grill for 5 more minutes.

Now add the peas to the potato and broccoli for the remaining 4 minutes. For the tartare, rinse the processor and add the gherkins, capers, 1/2 tin anchovies and parsley. Squeeze the juice of the remaining lemon. Whizz until smooth. Add the mayonnaise, mix and place in a bowl.

Drain the veg, add the butter and mash roughly. Remove the fish from the grill and serve.

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Machchi Kari

IMG_2354Simply fish curry. But in Hindi it sounds more attractive and authentic than fish curry. But on the other hand, maybe it’s a bit like a Wetherspoons pub calling their mash “purée de pommes de terre”…

I’m not going to lie, it took me a long time to make curries from scratch that tasted half decent. Too watery, too much chili, not enough cumin, too much turmeric. I won’t profess to get it right every time still. What I’m looking for is a balance. Too often is a decent prawn or fillet overpowered in a curry to the point that it simply becomes texture. But this recipe is delicate and smooth, with the right balance of flavours bursting through whilst still being able to actually taste the fish.

The basis of this recipe is embellished from the encyclopaedic Complete Asian Cookbook by Charmaine Solomon, and I’ve given it the slightest of  tweaks to give it something extra delicate. Please don’t be put off making a curry from scratch, it will taste much fresher and as you will see it’s not difficult, and if you don’t have the ingredients in your cupboard already, you should!

Serves 4

4 fillets of white fish, chopped in 1 inch cubes
(approx 500g monkfish, cod, hapuka, snapper, pollock)
2 tbsp oil
6-8 curry leaves
1 medium onion, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 1/2 inch fresh ginger grated
1 tbsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp ground fenugreek
1 can coconut milk
Salt to taste
Rice

Prep you ingredients first. If you are cooking brown rice this needs to go on as you start.

Heat the oil in a wide saucepan and fry the curry leaves until brown. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and fry until soft and golden. Add all the ground spices, stirring until fragrant. Add the coconut milk and salt and bring to the boil, stirring. Simmer for 10 minutes uncovered. Only add the fish 4 minutes before you serve, simmering to cook through. The secret here is the fenugreek so don’t miss it out.

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Jamie’s fish pie

IMG_2269I’ve made this dish again and again, in different guises, and despite some interesting and noteworthy adaptations, I feel I need to pay hommage to the original recipe. My mum introduced this one to me about 7 years ago and I haven’t looked back since.

What I love most about this recipe is that it is a pre-prepared dish for the oven (can even be done the night before), so I can actually talk to my guests and enjoy the evening without sweating over the stove in the other room. It gets a thumbs up from the pescatarians, and it caters for those who are affronted by a meal without animal protein. Most boxes ticked then. I’m partial to making a whole extra pie just to put in the freezer for another date as it takes minimal extra effort. It does however require a spare roasting dish and freezer space!

Serves 6

500g mixed fish and seafood (a good mix of white & pink fish cubed,
prawns & mussels – most supermarket fish counters will prepare this for you)
5 large potatoes, peeled and diced into 2 . 5cm/1 inch squares
salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 free range eggs
200 g fresh spinach
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, halved and finely chopped
extra virgin olive oil
600 ml cream
200 g cheddar cheese
1 lemon, juice of
1 teaspoon English mustard
100 g flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
nutmeg (optional)

Preheat the oven to 230C.

Start by grating and chopping the potatoes and placing them in a saucepan of boiling salted water. When the pan comes to the boil again add the eggs to the same pan to hard boil for 8 minutes, by which time both the eggs and potatoes will be cooked. At the same time, place the spinach in a colander over the saucepan to steam cook it for 2 minutes. Remove the spinach and squeeze the excess water out of it. Fish out the eggs and drain the potatoes.

Whilst the potatoes are on their way, you can finely chop the onions and carrots and fry them on a low heat for around 8mins until soft. Next, add the double cream until it simmers, then remove from the heat and add the cheese, lemon, mustard and parsley, mixing in so that the cheese melts.

Lightly oil the bottom and sides of your roasting dish, add the fish mix on the bottom. Chop your hard boiled eggs and add to the fish. Layer the spinach on top. Add your sauce evenly on top of that. Lastly, mash your potatoes with a good drizzle of olive oil, salt & pepper and a few gratings of nutmeg (for autumn/winter) and cover evenly on the very top using the back of a fork.

Cook for 25-30 minutes until golden. Smiles all around. Thanks Jamie. Again.

*note: if you are freezing a spare, cook it first. Then just defrost when ready and heat through to serve.

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