Tag Archives: fish

Smoked Salmon Fishcakes

When we were planning our weekly meals we decided to have some smoked haddock fishcakes just like these ones we made a while ago – they make a perfect light meal that feels a little bit special. But Sainsburys didn’t have any undyed smoked haddock for offer online so we had to change plans, and we’re so glad we did because it gave us the chance to come up with these little beauties!  These don’t come with a sauce unlike the smoked haddock ones so are even lighter and would make a great spring or summer dish – give them a try as the weather warms up.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 heaped tsp of wholegrain mustard
  • 2 spring onions, finely diced
  • A small bundle of chives, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp capers, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 60g/1 small pack of smoked salmon, chopped/torn into bitesize pieces

Start by boiling the potato until tender and then drain. Mash this with the butter and mustard – give it a really good mashing so it’s nice and smooth. Then just mix in the rest of the ingredients and season! We only used a tiny bit of salt as the salmon is salty but put plenty of black pepper.

Mashed potato

Chopped chives

Salmon fishcake mixture

Shape the mixture into little patties (we did 2 per person) and pop into the fridge to chill for at least 20 minutes.

Salmon fishcakes uncooked

As everything in the cakes is cooked they just need to get a nice golden colour so coat lightly in flour and shallow fry for a couple of minutes per side – try not to turn them too much as they are quite delicate. Serve as we did, we wilted spinach and a wedge of lemon or with a simple green salad.

Salmon fishcake dinner

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Brazilian Seafood Stew

We’ve been crazy for seafood recently! We can’t stop cooking up great fish recipes. We’re also really into South American flavours – lime, coriander and tomatoes are some of our favourites – and this dish brings them all together. This recipe for Brazilian seafood stew – or Moqueca – is taken from Allegra McEvedy’s Around The World In 120 Recipes – we can really recommend it, it’s got tons of amazing and varied recipes – we cook from it all the time! The recipe has a lot going on, but it’s pretty relaxed – the first part of it can be prepared well in advance, and there’s no need to rush at all. We’re cooking it with haddock fillets instead of halibut steaks, they’re a bit easier to come by in Bristol…

Ingredients for 2 people:

  • 2 haddock fillets
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed with a good pinch of salt
  • 2 limes
  • A handful of coriander
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1/2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 3 vine-ripened tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 tin (200ml) coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 6 raw peeled king prawns
  • White rice, to serve
  • Salt and pepper

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The first thing to do is to marinate the fish – put your fillets into a bowl or other container with the garlic, the juice of the lime, most of the coriander and some salt and pepper, and leave for an hour (or longer) in the fridge.

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Put half of both types of oil into a pan and fry two-thirds of the onion slices – you want them to slightly caramelize but not burn, so don’t have the heat higher than medium. This should take around 10 minutes, after which point you can add half of the tomatoes and half the peppers and leave these to soften up for a few more minutes.

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Stir in the tomato purée so that everything is coated, and follow up with half the coconut milk. Simmer over a low heat for 10 minutes or so, then blitz to form a nice creamy sauce – we used a stick blender, but you could use a food processor (we have one but don’t agree with washing up).

Now put the rice on to cook, and heat up the rest of the oils in a wide saucepan on a high heat. Cover the fish fillets in the seasoned flour (we find it easiest to sift the flour with some salt and pepper onto a plate) and fry for 2-3 minutes each side – fillets will take a little less time to cook than thick steaks. Put these aside, and add the rest of the onions, peppers and tomatoes. Cook this lot for 5 minutes or so, before adding the pre-prepared blitzed mixture and the rest of the coconut milk.

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Add the fish fillets back to the pan, cover and cook for another couple of minutes before adding the prawns and a load of chopped coriander and cooking for another minute or so (we don’t think prawns need very much time at all to cook!).

Serve on a hearty bed of rice, topped with chopped coriander and served alongside a good wedge of lime – a perfect, comforting yet fresh meal.

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You can find a video of Allegra herself cooking this meal on lovefood.com – check it out!

Simple Grilled Sardines

Please, please would someone open a great fishmongers in central/south Bristol?? The two high streets near us have 5 butchers between them and zero fishmongers. And we’re really not that far from the sea! Anyway, these lovely sardines were picked up at the supermarket which is convenient, but we would love to be able to shop local and get an expert’s advice every now and then. This would have come in really handy when we got home and discovered that we had to gut the fish at which point Bird walked away and made herself very busy chopping tomatoes. Fats did a fab job though and they were soon cleaned up with minimal swearing.

Oily fish like sardines are great with really strong flavours like in our recipe with harissa and orange, but they also shine when cooked simply and served with some classic flavours. We grilled ours with just salt and pepper and served with thyme-roasted tomatoes, steamed broccoli and some freshly baked sourdough.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 sardines per person
  • Olive oil
  • 2 large handfuls of cherry tomatoes
  • Several sprigs of thyme
  • Salt & pepper
  • Green vegetables and bread to serve

To start with get the tomatoes roasting, these will cook on low for about 45 minutes until slightly dried out and the flavours have really intensified. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Cut the tomatoes in half and place in a roasting dish with 1 tbsp of olive oil, a good pinch of salt and pepper and then lay the thyme over the top. Place in the oven and leave for 45 minutes. Our grill is combined with our oven so when the time came to cook the fish we took the tomatoes out and left on the side – they kept really warm. Obviously if yours is separate then you can time it slightly differently so that they finish cooking while the fish grills.

Thyme roasted tomatoes

Make three deep slashes in each side of the fish and then rub all over with olive oil and plenty of seasoning. Place them on a baking tray covered with foil for an easier clean up. Pop under a preheated grill – they should take about 5-8 minutes per side, when they have been bubbling and spitting away for a while they should be ready to flip over.

Sardines raw

Serve with bread and green veg (or salad) and a wedge of lemon to squeeze over – so simple and delicious!

Sardines, tomatoes and bread

Sweet Chilli Salmon Skewers

We’ve blogged loads about our love for south-east asian flavours – especially chilli and lime (we have recipes for Thai-style Sea Bass, Thai Noodle Soup with Crispy Tofu, Thai Green Curry… you get the idea!). This recipe for sweet chilli salmon skewers couldn’t be easier, but it’s impressive and the flavours really pack a punch! We’re getting a bit of help from Mr. Vikki’s Chilli Jam here, which we got for Christmas from Fats’ parents. You can use any sweet chilli sauce though, or even make your own!

Ingredients for 2 people:

  • 1 tbsp Chilli Jam/Sweet Chilli Sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 100g tenderstem broccoli
  • 1 pak choi, thickly sliced
  • 100g sugarsnap peas
  • 500ml jasmine tea
  • 180g white rice

Chilli Jam and Jasmine Tea

Start with the marinade by mixing together the chilli jam, lime and 1 tbsp of the vegetable oil in a bowl. Cut the salmon into chunks and coat it well with the marinade. Leave for at least 20 minutes or so. When they’ve finished marinading, skewer your salmon cubes and prepare them for a grilling – we did this by resting the skewers over a roasting dish lined with kitchen foil – the foil should ensure that the salmon gets cooked from both sides.

This was taken pre-foiling of the roasting dish... Don't forget! Looks good though, right?
This was taken pre-foiling of the roasting dish… Don’t forget! Looks good though, right?

Make your jasmine tea (brew for about 5 minutes in a jug), and add to a pan (being sure to sift out any leaves!), topping up with water as necessary. Bring to the boil and add the rice, cooking for about 12 minutes. Put your salmon skewers under a hot grill at the same time – they should take about 12 minutes too.

Mix together the oyster sauce and the soy sauce in a bowl, and heat the rest of the oil in a wok. Add your veg to the wok, keeping aside the green parts of the pak choi, and cover in your sauce. Toss to coat the veg and stir-fry for about 5 minutes.

Stir-frying veg

If you’ve timed it right, everything should come together at the same time. Plate it up with an extra wedge of lime to squeeze over and enjoy!

Salmon Skewers Done

Crab Chowder

This was inspired by a recipe in Olive Magazine but because we couldn’t be bothered finding string and didn’t read the recipe too closely it was made a little differently. We always thought chowder had to be really rich and creamy which isn’t really our cup of tea so when this recipe with a clear broth and then just a dollop of sour cream on top came along we had to try it! The result was vibrant, fresh yet still comforting because of the sour cream and the avocado slices on top. We made a simple white loaf packed with olive oil (based on our bread recipe) to have with this and it went perfectly. This also has to be one of the easiest meals – in 30 minutes you’ll have a pretty impressive bowl of food on the table!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • One small white onion/half an onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large baking potato, peeled and diced into small cubes
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • A bunch of coriander, stalks sliced and leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, finely sliced
  • 1-2 pints of chicken stock
  • 1 large tin of sweetcorn, drained
  • 1 tin of white crab meat, drained
  • 1 avocado, cut into thick strips
  • 1 red chilli, thinly sliced
  • Soured cream
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
Make sure you use a nice ripe avocado - it should be a little soft. This one was perfect!
Make sure you use a nice ripe avocado – it should be a little soft. This one was perfect!

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat and when hot add the onion, potato, spring onions, coriander stalks and celery. Cook this together for about 1-2 minutes and then pour over the stock. Simmer for around 15-20 minutes or until the potato is tender. Add in the sweetcorn and the crab meat, stir through to heat and then add in half of the chopped coriander leaves. Spoon into bowls and serve with the sour cream, chilli slices, avocado, lime wedges and the rest of the coriander sprinkled on top.

Crab Chowder Done

We’re loving South American flavours at the moment, especially lime and chilli. This was so fresh and warming and definitely takes less than half an hour – perfect for perking you up after a hard day at work!

Sea Bass with Caper Butter

This is sort of, nearly a recipe from Rachel Khoo’s “Little Paris Kitchen”. But typically, we changed it a bit to suit us! It’s a really simple fish dish, just pan-fried, crispy-skin sea bass fillets with a brown butter, lemon, parsley and caper sauce – classic and beautiful. You are supposed to dredge the fish in flour and then fry it but we decided to just whack it in the pan. While we do absolutely love spices and exotic ingredients (as we’re sure you’ll know if you’ve looked at our blog for more than 30 seconds!) sometimes the classics are the way to go and this was definitely a winner with us. We served ours with roasted baby potatoes and salad to keep it light and simple.

Sea bass cooking

Ingredients

  • Two fish fillets, skin on. Pretty much any would work, we used sea bass but plaice would be lovely too.
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp capers, drained

Slash the skin of the fish to stop it curling up and help it cook evenly. Sprinkle the skin side with sea salt and the top with black pepper. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and then add the fish, skin side down. Leave to cook until you can see the flesh of the fish is cooked about two thirds of the way through and the edges are starting to turn golden. Flip the fillets over, turn off the heat and let the residual heat of the pan finish cooking them for a perfectly juicy fillet. If you have thicker fillets such as salmon cook on a lower heat for longer, flip over, keep the heat on for around 30 seconds and then turn off. Bird’s mum taught her to cook fish this way and it’s certainly always worked for us!

Check out that perfect crispy skin!
Check out that perfect crispy skin!

Take the fish out of the pan and put on a warm plate. Now it’s time to make a super speedy sauce in less than a minute! Give the pan a wipe with some kitchen roll and put back on a medium heat. Tip in the butter and cook, swirling occasionally until brown and smelling beautifully nutty. At this point squeeze in the lemon juice, it will spit like mad so watch out! Once it’s calmed down tip in the parsley and capers, swirl to combine and that’s it. You don’t want to cook the parsley, you want it to retain it’s beautiful green colour so make sure you don’t keep it on the heat once you’ve added the parsley. Put the fish on your serving plates with your chosen accompaniments and pour the sauce over the fish.

Sea bass with capers

This is such an easy mid-week meal to whip up and it’s healthy yet a little indulgent with the butter, plus it can be adapted to suit almost any fish. Give it a try this week!

Smoked Mackerel Salad

This is another slightly summery, very healthy yet comforting dish – a perfect antidote to winter over-indulgence! We were originally planning on doing a rich white sauce with this mackerel, but after spending the day making (and subsequently eating) pastry at Bristol’s Bordeaux Quay we really fancied something lighter.

Here’s the ingredients for 2 people:

  • 1 small head of broccoli, cut into bite-sized florets
  • Small handful of sunflower seeds
  • A lemon
  • 2 smoked mackerel fillets, skins removed
  • 100 g salad leaves (we used little gem lettuce, watercress, rocket and spinach)
  • 2 salad tomatoes, deseeded and cut into strips
  • Olive oil & extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 180ºC. Blanch the broccoli in boiling water for about 3 minutes, drain and leave to steam for a minute before transferring to a roasting dish. Add the sunflower seeds, about half the zest of the lemon and a good glug of olive oil, mix together and put in the oven. This should take about 25-30 minutes – make sure you stir it about occasionally.

Mix up a dressing by combining about 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, about half the juice of the lemon and a good pinch of sea salt and a few grinds of pepper.

Broccoli for Salad

When the broccoli is done, serve it up on top of the leaves, and top with a few strips of tomato and the mackerel, torn into bite-sized chunks. Add any remaining sesame seeds and drizzle everything with a bit of dressing.

Smoked Mackerel Salad

On top of being a delicious and healthy meal, this has to be one of the most delicious ways to prepare broccoli that we’ve ever experienced! We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Indian Spiced Baked Salmon

We use jarred curry pastes all the time, they’re really convenient! They’re choc full of spices that you’d have a hard time keeping your kitchen stocked with. The only problem is that when you’re cooking for 2 there’s often quite a lot left over, so unless you want to keep eating the same thing over and over you have to get inventive! This recipe for salmon with Balti paste definitely falls into that category – what’s more, it’s easy and totally delicious. You can really use any kind of fish fillets and any kind of curry paste, the recipe is very flexible.

For 2 people, you’ll need:

  • 200 g new potatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp nigella (black onion) seeds
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp curry paste (we used Patak’s Balti paste, which is medium-hot – you can use whatever you have!)
  • 2 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 200 g baby leaf spinach

Start by halving your potatoes length-ways (so that they’re quite thin) and parboiling them placing in a pan of cold water and bringing to the boil, then simmering for 2-3 minutes. Bring the oven to temperature while you’re doing this – about 180 ºC should do it. Put your roasting dish into the oven to heat up. Once the potatoes have been parboiled, drain them and add the oil, mustard seeds, nigella seeds and the salt to the pan. Make sure the potatoes get a good coating, and one the roasting dish is nice and hot take it out of the oven and add the potatoes into it, savouring the satisfying sizzle! Put the dish back in the oven – the potatoes should take about 40-45 minutes to cook.

Not only are nigella seeds delicious, they make the humble potato look awesome
Not only are nigella seeds delicious, they make the humble potato look awesome

To prepare the salmon, mix together the curry paste and the yoghurt so that it forms a consistent light-coloured paste. Cover the salmon fillets in the paste in a bowl. About 15-20 minutes before the potatoes are ready to come out, move them aside in the roasting dish (or use a separate dish if you don’t have space) and put the salmon in. We had some particularly meaty fillets, but if yours are thinner they will probably take less time to cook.

Curry Salmon in Roasting Dish

Wilt the spinach in a pan on a low heat with some salt and pepper – it should only need about 5 minutes.

Curry Salmon Served

That’s all there is to it – this is a really simple meal and a great alternative to a standard curry. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Chinese Steamed Fish

Chinese food has something of a bad rep in the UK, greasy Friday night takeaways being most people’s only experience of it. This is something completely different – a fresh, healthy and exciting recipe that is only distantly related to sweet & sour and chicken chow mein. The original recipe for the fish is a Ken Hom recipe, again something we found on the BBC food website! We’re putting our own twist on it by serving it with a big dollop of stir-fried veg with some cracking flavours.

For 2 people, you’ll need:

  • 2 fillets of white fish
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • Small thumb-sized chunk of fresh ginger, chopped into thin strips
  • 1 pak choi & other mixed veg (we used another pak choi, cabbage, 1/2 courgette, 1 green pepper, 200 g babycorn & mangetout)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 150 g white rice
  • 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1/2 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil (different from Ken’s recipe – we love the flavour but it’s strong!)

Start by putting two pans of water on to boil – one for the rice and one to put the steamer on. While these are coming to the boil, prepare the fish; dry it off with some kitchen paper, rub it with the sea salt and arrange it in the steamer, on top of a few leaves of pak choi, and sprinkle over the ginger. Don’t worry if the fillets overlap – ours was packed in there pretty tight.

We somehow wound up with rather more than 2 fillets!
We somehow wound up with rather more than 2 fillets!

Fish In Steamer With Ginger

Once the water boiling, put the rice in one pan and a couple of minutes later put the steamer on the other one – we found that the fish took about 10 minutes to cook, though this can vary depending on how densely packed it is in the steamer and how tight the steamer fits on the pan! When it’s done it should be opaque and flaky, but still lovely and moist.

While that’s all cooking, chop up the rest of your veg and make up a sauce with the oyster sauce, fish sauce and 1/2 tbsp of the light soy sauce. Heat the oil over a high heat in a wok and add the garlic, stirring for 10 seconds or so before you add the veg. After 30 seconds add the sauce, and mix together thoroughly so that everything is coated.

Stir-fry Veg

Stir Fry Action Shot

When everything is cooked, serve onto warm plates. Drizzle the remaining light and dark soy sauce over the fish, and sprinkle over the spring onions. Now for some excitement! Heat the groundnut and sesame oil in a frying pan over a high heat until smoking, and pour over the fish – you should get a satisfying sizzle.

Chinese Steamed Fish

That’s all there is to it. This dish has some great umami flavours, and is super fresh and healthy. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

How To Cook Whole Fish

This will be less of a recipe post and more of a getting you over your fear of whole fish post! Loads and loads of people stick to fillets because in lots of ways they are easier – no/minimal bones to deal with, no head, but you miss out on loads of flavour from cooking a fish whole! Mackerel is a firm favourite with us. Bird grew up in Brighton and the fishmongers on the seafront sell the freshest mackerel there so it was a regular dinner from a young age. This is one of our favourite ways of cooking any sort of whole fish, it’s easy and results in moist fish which just falls off the bone. We kept it simple flavour-wise; mackerel is beautiful with stronger flavours like harissa but for this meal we used lemon thyme, a few slices of fresh lemon and some salt and pepper.

To start give the fish a quick wash under cold water and dab dry with some kitchen paper. When you’re buying whole, fresh fish then the main things that we look for are a good shine on the scales/skin, red gills and bright eyes, not dull or clouded over. Once the fish is washed lay it on a chopping board and make 2 or 3 slashes into the flesh down the sides, cut right down to the bone. This will help the fish cook evenly, and make it easy to get any lovely flavours into the fish. We placed a couple of small sprigs of lemon thyme in the slashes and then a couple more sprigs inside the cavity along with a couple of thin slices of lemon. We then seasoned the skin on both sides with sea salt and black pepper.

Mackerel raw

Now grab yourself a length of kitchen foil (about 50cm). Put the fish in the middle of it and bring the foil up to form a bag, rolling the edges over several times to get a tight seal while leaving a good bit of space around the fish so it can steam. An average-sized mackerel will take about 20-25 minutes to steam in the oven at 180-200°C – remember that it’s cooking from cold and will take a while to start steaming.

Serve with whatever you like! We had ours with some roasted baby potatoes, and then asparagus and tender stem broccoli which we blanched for 30 seconds and then whacked in the oven with the potatoes to finish cooking – they retain some bite this way and get a little crisp on the ends. To eat our fish we get a large plate ready for the bones and scrape the top fillet off (the meat should fall off the bones), then pick the whole of the skeleton up from the tail end and slowly peel away which should leave the bottom fillet with very few bones still in it… easy!

Mackerel dinner