Monthly Archives: January 2012

Three Dishes With One Fishes

This must the second or third time I’ve cooked a whole Goldband snapper. They are a fantastically flavoursome fish with big and chunky flesh. And when the juices solidify, they set like gelatin, the mark of a great fish.

This was another 0-40min cooking feat, if I say so my self.

Gas barbie on, fish on lemon grass with Asian shallots on foil. I’ve had enough of banana leaves recently, and though I like the smokey almost tobacco aroma it gives, you can have too much of a good thing. A slug of olive oil. Olive oil in Asian cooking I hear you ask. What kind of craziness is this?? Well, it’s high temperature cooking, so it’s more important for the oil not burn. And I have a 4litre tin of the Spanish stuff, so it is oil du jour.

Interestingly it stuck to the foil more than the banana leaves, which was annoying when it came to turning. When I did turn I chucked on some sliced courgettes.

I had some basil and coriander nearing a pre-terminal state in the fridge, so a variation of green shit using basil rather than mint. Simon’s recipe I think uses coconut cream, which is nice to have as a rich melting herb ‘butter’, but I like a looser sauce which I can be liberal with and get the rice wet and green.

This incarnation had,

  • 1 bunch basil leaves
  • 1 bunch corriander
  • 50g coconut powder in 50ml water
  • 2 shallots
  • juice of a lime
  • grated galangal

No garlic and no cumin or fish sauce in this one.

Anyway, whizzed up in the blender with a little water to allow blendage.

Basmati rice here this time and some yard long beans. Easy, aye.

Part deux of the fish was a risotto using the stock from the fish. The fish was in the fridge, all gelatinous and difficult to deal with with bits of foil everywhere, so I poured over a kettle of boiled water and made sure every single molecule of fishiness went into the saucepan.

Risotto easy as previously,

  • 1 onion, chopped and sweated in large chunk butter and olive oil,
  • 1/4 tsp saffron threads
  • 250g risotto rice ( a fancy Italian one- Canaroli??)
  • stock ladled in as it cooked
  • cup or so of peas towards the end as it was looking a bit small!!
I quite like my fish risotto a bit looser, no quite soup, but not a thick stodgy mass, so I kept adding stock till this happened.
Part Trois was the flesh from the fish torn up and made into a salad with red pepper and cucumber as shown next to the risotto. Lots of olive oil and lime juice to dress.

Just in case you were concerned about this piscatarian lapse here’s the kebab I made Jo and Ben and other leavers. Well, they live a long way from the sea in Sheffield, neither are keen fish eaters.

Left to right- whole leg of lamb, 2 1 kg+ pieces of pork belly, 2 smaller pieces but with with skin!! Pork rubbed liberally with smoked Spanish paprika.

And to finish on another fishy note, here are some hopefully delicious roes which I am salting and hoping to have as a storecupboard source of marine essence for adding to pasta dishes etc. We’ll see…..





New Year In. Intestinal Clear-Out

After significant indulgence over the festive period it was necessary to neutralise those meaty humors with some leguminous matter. Over to Shona.

In fact, if the pancetta was omitted this could be vegetarian. God forbid.

Alastair Little in Italian Food has a very fine recipe for pasta e ceci i.e. pasta with chick peas which he describes as ‘spicy, oily, mealy and cheesy’. Lovely. If somewhat atropical…..

500g chick peas, soaked overnight, and then cooked till soft with

  • 1 large chili
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig rosemary (not in darwin….)
  • 2 sprigs parsley
In a large heavy pan, sweat the following in some olive oil,
  • 2 onions, 2 carrots, 1 celery stick, 100g pancetta all finely diced

Then add

  • The chick peas
  • 200g tinned tomatoes
  • Bouquet garni (rosemary/ bay leaf/ parsley stalks/ thyme bound together with cotton thread)
  • Topped up with water covering 3cm

Simmer for 30-40mins. Add 300g pasta (ditali specified, actually ditalini)

Cook on a very low heat until the pasta is soft. It may require a top up with water if it’s very dry. Leave covered for a while with the heat off to do it’s magical alchemy thing.

To serve, stir in a slug of olive oil and MASSES of parmesan, for that extra healthy detoxifying effect. I also had a jar of toasted chili oil for a little extra spice. Stella Bella tempranillo 2008. I would love to have this with some Serrano jamon……