Moorish Roasted Cod

The sweet and spicy spice paste for this cod is not unlike an unconstructed harissa, but with the unmistakable scent of saffron. This will suit any white fish fillet you could name and would certainly sprauntz up the slightly cheaper whiting or coley. Serve with couscous, veg and lots of fresh lemon. Hangs on to those last warm days and  tastes best eaten in the garden if the weather will stand for it.  Serves 2.

  • 2 cod fillets
  • juice and finely grated rind of one lemon
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp parsley, very finely chopped
  • 1 tsp hot sauce (tabasco, west indian or what ever you have)
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • half tsps of ground cinnamon, saffron, turmeric and ground cumin
  • 1  tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Take your fish fillets and lie them on a non-metallic plate.Combine the remainder of the ingredients together in a bowl and spread over the fillets. Do not leave this to marinate for more than about half an hour or the ingredients will begin to ‘cook’ the fish. Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 and transfer the fish onto a baking sheet. Put the fillets into a hot oven and cook for around 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish. Serve.


Smoked Hadddock, Leek and Pea Risotto

Aka: Cuddle in a bowl.

It feels like autumn here. Which is just fine, because who needs summer anyway? I might miss the cloudless skies, breakfast in the garden, sun on my face, ice creams on the way home from work and sleeping with my windows open, yes, I might miss that. But creamy, carby food in the heat is just not on, and for carb addicts like me, the crappy weather is a perfect excuse to crack open the arborio.

This risotto is even creamier than normal, due to the milk in the stock, which might sound a bit weird, but it’s not like rice pudding or anything like that; just more rounded and suits the smoky haddock and fresh-tasting peas. This risotto went down extremely well with my greedy guest and although there was a fair bit of standing around, stirring, it was really no trouble over a glass of wine with my guest in the kitchen with me. Cook the fish and the peas separately, as far ahead as you want (or at least in the preceding 24 hours). To serve 2 very generously.

  • 300g smoked haddock or smoked cod
  • 250g arborio or carnaroli rice
  • 1 large leek, trimmed, washed and then very finely chopped
  • enough milk to cover fish in small pan
  • 1 litre fish or vegetable stock
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 good sprig of thyme
  • 100g frozen peas
  • parmesan cheese, grated, to taste
  • butter
  • salt and pepper

In a small saucepan, put your smoked fish, garlic cloves (smashed with the back of a knife but not chopped), thyme and peppercorns and cover with milk. Over a low heat, bring the milk up to the boil and then immediately remove from the heat and take the fish out of the milk. Leave the other ingredients in the milk as it cools down, to allow the flavours to infuse. This will ensure that there will be a hint of thyme and garlic in the finished dish, without an overbearing flavour. Cook the peas in boiling water as per the packet instructions and drain. If doing these far in advance, then please cool to room temperature and then store in the fridge.

To make the risotto, put milk through a sieve or strainer to remove the aromatics and mix the milk with the stock in a saucepan. You may not need all the liquid, but this is about the right proportion. Heat the stock/milk gently but don’t boil. In another pan, slowly sweat off the leeks in some butter and when soft, add the risotto rice and stir for 2 or 3 minutes over a medium heat. Ladle by ladleful, add the milk/stock, stirring all the time, allowing the rice to absorb each ladle of stock before you add the next. It should take roughly 30-40 minutes to cook the rice. The risotto is cooked when all the rice has swollen and is al dente – al dente to soft, depending on your preference and has stopped absorbing stock. Add the peas, and the fish (flaking it with your fingers from the skin as you go) and give a quick, but gentle stir. Remove from the heat and add the parmesan cheese. Gentle stir again and then serve up, with more parmeasan on top if you like – as we surely do.

Madras Fishcakes

Hardly fine dining, but for a healthy midweek dinner for this tired but greedy, it was perfect. Due to the potato in the fishcakes, I attempted to avoid carb overload by just serving with veg, but I am imagine these would go brilliantly with chips… mmmhh.. chips. Anyway, what was nice was a serving of lime pickle to go with them. Mango chutney would have been great also. Serves 2.

curried fishcakes

  • 300-350g skinless fish – I had a packet of mixed fish suitable for fish pie, but salmon, mackerel, cod, coley, trout will be fine too
  • half a pint of milk
  • 300g mashed potato, mashed without butter or milk
  • 2 tbsp madras curry paste
  • enough vegetable oil to grease a baking tray

Put the fish in the cold milk in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and leave to cool. Drain of milk and flake roughly. Allow the mashed potato to cool down and then, in a large bowl, stir together the fish, potato and curry paste. Preheat the oven to gas 6. Shape the fish and potato mixture  into 4 large cakes and place onto an oiled baking tray. Put into a hot oven and cook for 20 minutes. Et voila. Scoff.

Thai Fish Cakes with Dipping Sauce

I think you probably do need a food processor to make these. If you have got one though, these fishcakes are incredibly quick and easy to make. Get coley, whiting or ling – you can usually find them in the frozen food section or a good fishmonger, as most supermarket fish counters and fresh fish shelves don’t display them. They’re not glamour fish, they don’t look that inspiring. But they are very cheap and you don’t need the best cod for this recipe. However, if you do decide to, you can make these with cod or haddock just the same. Serves 2 greedies with salad. Recipe converted from Rick Stein’s Fruits of the Sea

thai fishcakes

First make your dipping sauce:

  • dippeing sauce50 ml white wine or rice vinegar
  • 100g white caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 50g cucumber, very finely diced
  • 25g carrot, very finely diced
  • 25 g onion, very finely diced – a faff all of this, I know,but they are small quantities. Think of Zen gardens or something.
  • 1 red finger chilli, thinly sliced – deseed if you’re very worried about the heat.

In a small saucepan, gently heat the sugar, water and vinegar, stirring gently until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and boil for 1 minute and leave to cool. Stir in the remainder of the ingredients and then pour into a bowl or some ramekins. Then make your fishcakes:

  • fishcaes in processorabout 500g skinned white fish, cut into large chunks
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp red curry paste
  • 1 lime leaf or 1 strip of lime zest, very very finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp muscovado sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 40g french beans cut into tiny discs
  • 150 ml oil for frying (not olive oil)

Put everything in the food processor except the green beans and oil. Whizz until smooth. Stir in the chopped beans. Divide the mixture into 16 and roll each one into a ball in your hand, then flatten with your thumbs into a disc roughly 6cm in diameter. In a large frying pan, pour in your oil and bring up to heat. Fry the fish cakes in small batches for one minute on each side and then drain off any excess oil on some kitchen towel. Scoff.