Oh the joys of being back at home for Christmas and having a kitchen again! This is a lovely comforting dinner but isn’t too heavy as light flaky salmon and fresh greens are used. It takes a bit of time to put together but the steps are easy then you just bung it in the oven when you’re ready and you’re left with a a dish that delivers on flavour and wow factor.
250g ready-made puff pastry
For the filling:
450g piece of salmon fillet, skinned and any bones remove, cut into 3 even sized steaks (or 3 skinless and boneless salmon fillets weighing approximately 150g each)
10g butter (a heaped teaspoon)
1 rounded tablespoon crème fraîche
½ onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, grated
1 dessertspoon lemon juice
Whole nutmeg, freshly grated
Salt and freshly milled black pepper
1 egg, beaten
Place the frying pan on a high heat then add the butter followed by the spinach leaves and wilt it for about 1 minute, stirring it around until it has collapsed then tip it into a sieve over a bowl and leave it to cool.
Then use the back of a wooden spoon to press the wilted greens against the sieve and extract any juices. Now place it on a chopping board and press with several sheets of kitchen paper to extract any wetness that remains. Spoon it into a small bowl then stir in the crème fraîche, lemon juice, some freshly grated nutmeg and some seasoning.
Sweat off the onion and garlic in a small saucepan then remove from the heat, add the spinach mix and stir to combine. Set aside.
Divide the rested pastry into 3 even pieces then roll the first piece very thinly into a rectangle the same shape as the salmon fillet, roughly 21cm by 15cm (you will need to adjust the size of the pastry to according to the shape of the salmon fillet).
Then place a piece of salmon on one half of each piece of pastry and spread a third of the spinach mix on top of each fillet.
Using a pastry brush dampen the corners of the pastry with beaten egg then fold the pastry over the salmon to encase it and crimp the corners with a fork to seal.
Put each parcel onto a parchment lined tray. Pop them in the fridge until you need them.
If you are preparing them in advance cover them with a piece of cling film.
When you are ready to bake them, pre-heat the oven to 220°C.
Place the parcels on the baking sheet, with a liner, then make a few diagonal slashes in each one and brush each one with beaten egg. Bake for 20 minutes on a high shelf until crisp and golden.
Serve with seasonal greens, new potatoes and parsley sauce.
Vibrant and flavourful and full of healthy ingredients, this dish will take you to a warm and sunny place. Once you have the ingredients in order, it’s surprisingly quick. The flavours that set this dish apart are kefir lime leaves and fresh turmeric root, blended right into the curry paste. I really recommend tracking down these ingredients from an Asian supermarket as the flavours are so fresh and full. Once you have the flavourful base made, you can use whatever fish you like. The Balinese commonly use swordfish but I used cod loin with fantastic results.
For the paste:
2 tablespoons thinly sliced ginger (skin on)
1 shallot, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon fresh turmeric – thinly sliced – skin on ( or sub 2 teaspoons ground)
2 x 5 inch sticks lemongrass, thinly sliced into disks
3 garlic cloves
1 green chilli (this will be mild)
5 kefir lime leaves
For the curry:
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 cups water
8-10 ounces baby potatoes, cut in half
1 can coconut milk
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 lime- juice
sambal oelek, or chili paste or chili flakes for additional heat
10 -12 ounces white fish – (I used cod loin. You could use tilapia, halibut, sword fish)
1 cup peas, sugarsnap peas, green beans, pak choy ( veggies that can cook in 1-2 minutes)
Garnish with lime wedge, crispy shallots, fresh mint, basil, spring onions and/or fresh coriander
Serve over Thai jasmine rice (it’s nice to toss a couple of kefir lime leaves in with the cooking rice for a beautiful aroma)
Set the rice to cook.
Place the thinly sliced ginger, lemongrass, shallot and turmeric in the food processor. Add the jalapeño, garlic, and lime leaves. Pulse until it becomes a paste, scraping down sides if necessary.
Heat coconut oil in a large skillet, over medium high heat. When hot, add fragrant paste and stir constantly until it browns lightly, about 3-4 minutes. Add 2 cups water, give a stir, bring to a boil. Add potatoes, cover and simmer 15 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.
Remove the lid, and reduce the liquid just a little, letting it simmer uncovered for a few minutes. Add coconut milk, salt, fish sauce and the juice from one small lime. Taste. Remember this will go over the rice, so the flavours will mellow. Add chili paste or flakes for more heat.
Place the fish into the coconut sauce and simmer gently for 5 more minutes. Toss in the spring peas, snap peas or green beans and cook for just a minute or two, keeping them vibrant and snappy.
Serve over rice with a lime wedge, crispy shallots, fresh mint, basil, coriander and/or spring onions.
The rich, umami flavour of miso in this sticky Japanese-style marinade is a perfect pairing for fish.
The fish is wrapped in a foil parcel and baked in the savoury juices resulting in meltingly tender flesh with a satisfying flavour that is so easy and quick to create.
2 tbsp shiro miso
1 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp light soy sauce
½ tsp toasted sesame oil
30g fresh ginger, grated
2 sustainable cod fillets (around 150g each)
2 spring onions, finely sliced, plus extra to garnish
Handful fresh coriander, plus extra to garnish
Steamed rice and griddled pak choi
Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan. Mix together the miso, mirin, soy sauce, sesame oil and ginger in a small bowl.
Lay each piece of cod on a piece of foil large enough to enclose it, then spoon half the miso mix on top of each. Add the spring onions and coriander, then tightly seal to make parcels.
Put the 2 parcels into a baking dish, transfer to the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes. Divide the rice and pak choi between 2 plates. Unwrap the parcels, lift out the contents and serve the fish on top of the rice, with extra coriander and spring onions on the side. Add lime wedges for squeezing.
Spiced cod flatbreads with preserved lemon and avocado salsa, pul biber onions and harissa lime yoghurt
A vibrant dish of aromatic spiced cod with fragrant yoghurt and zesty salsa all wrapped up in a crisp, garlicky flatbread. The flavours going on here are insane. Zesty freshness from the lemony salsa, velvety cod in delicate spices, garlicky charred bread, zingy crunchy onions, creamy avocado, peppery heat, I could go on but I won’t hold you from the recipe any longer. This takes a bit of time to prepare as there are a few stages but it is in no way difficult and the result is so worth it!
You can use turmeric powder if you can’t find fresh turmeric root but it is quite readily available in most large supermarkets and gives a beautiful flavour, not to mention the health benefits.
Similarly, you can substitute paprika for the Aleppo pepper but if you can, try and source it as it has a mild fruitiness that is particularly tasty in this dish.
For the spiced cod:
2 tbsp Greek-style yoghurt
2 inch piece fresh turmeric, peeled and finely grated
1 garlic clove, crushed
300g cod loin, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 tbsp olive oil
For the flatbreads:
30g/1oz unsalted butter
175g/6oz plain flour
100ml/3½fl oz semi-skimmed milk
2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 tsp garlic granules
1 tbsp olive oil
For the harissa and lime yoghurt:
280g Greek-style yoghurt
1 heaped tbsp rose harissa
1 lime, zest and juice
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the salsa:
small handful dill, roughly chopped
4 preserved lemons, deseeded and very finely chopped
1 tbsp barberries (optional)
½ ripe avocado, finely diced
2 tsp nigella seeds
For the pul biber onions:
1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 heaped tsp of pul biber/Aleppo pepper chilli flakes
To make the spiced cod, mix 2 tablespoons of the yoghurt with the turmeric and crushed garlic. Season well with salt and pepper and marinate the cod for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, to make the flatbreads, melt the butter and combine with the remaining ingredients, except for the oil. Mix until a firm dough has formed. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
To make the salsa, mix the ingredients together in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
To make the pickled onions, combine all the ingredients in a plastic container with a lid. Put the lid on and shake until the onions lose their rigidity. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
To make the harissa and lime yoghurt, mix everything together, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Divide the dough into four and roll into thin rounds. Preheat a large frying pan over a medium heat. Brush the hot pan with the oil and grill the flatbreads for about 45–60 seconds on each side until lightly browned.
To make the cod, heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat, add the cod and brown on all sides until just cooked through.
To serve, divide the cod between 4 flatbreads and dollop a generous amount of the yoghurt on top. Add the salsa, some onions and sprinkle over extra Aleppo chilli flakes or nigella seeds.
A traditional Brazilian dish of fish and bell peppers (capsicum) in a delicately flavoured coconut base broth, this stew really is quite unique.
I made this after being inspired by a visit to a Brazilian restaurant where they carved copious amounts of tender meat onto your plate quicker than you could eat it. I was in heaven. While the selection of meat was absolutely beautiful, what stood out for me most was the ‘salad bar’ that was on offer. There was a variety of Brazilian delicacies ranging from lentil salads, herb and garlic roast potatoes, black bean stew, rices, pastas, salsas, olives, garlic mushrooms, fresh fruits and vegetables, and many other things including moqueca. The spices were subtle but flavourful and the fish was welcome change from the heavy going grilled meats. I cooked up a batch for the family the day after and it was a total success.
This is actually quite refreshing rather than rich and heavy. In addition to coconut milk, the broth has in it canned tomatoes, lime juice, paprika and cumin powder. The paprika and cumin flavour is subtle, and to me, the standout is the lime flavour which cuts through the richness of the coconut milk.
The broth is quite refreshing and not too rich, unlike many strong flavoured, rich coconut based curries. I made this just using fish but it is also made as a seafood stew with prawns and calamari.
3-4 salmon fillets, skinned and cut into chunks
1 tbsp lime juice
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1½ tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, finely diced
1 large red bell pepper, halved and sliced
1 tsp each of cumin and coriander powder
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
½ tsp salt
200ml coconut milk
400g can chopped tomatoes
100ml fish or chicken broth
1 tbsp lime juice
3 tbsp roughly chopped fresh coriander
For the fish: Combine the fish, lime juice, salt and pepper in a bowl. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
For the broth: Heat a large pan over a medium high and add 1½ tbsp olive oil. Add the garlic and onion and cook for 1½ minutes or until the onion is starting to become translucent.
Add the bell peppers and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the remaining broth ingredients. Bring to simmer then turn down to medium.
Add the salmon chunks, stir to coat and simmer gently for 20 minutes or until the sauce thickens and the salmon is tender. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
More an assembly than a recipe but an amazingly epic sandwich nonetheless. It seemed fitting now I have moved into student digs to post an easy, cheap meal using freezer staples but it still delivers bags of flavour and nutrition too. Plus… fish fingers!
1 ciabatta roll
4 fish fingers
2 sliced gherkins
A handful of salad leaves
Tartare sauce or mayonnaise
Heat the grill to medium-high and grill the fish fingers for 12-15 minutes, turning once. Turn off the grill, remove fish fingers and set aside.
Gently warm the ciabatta roll in the residual heat from the oven for a few minutes. Cut open the roll which will be crispy on the outside and pillowy soft on the inside now. Slather with mayo or tartare sauce then line the fish fingers across the bottom ciabatta half.
Top with gherkins and crunchy salad leaves and place the top, sauce slathered ciabatta half on top.
I don’t know if this is the ‘right’ way to make fishcakes or if this recipe uses the ‘right’ ingredients but I do know that this version is seriously tasty.
I used oak smoked tinned mackerel as my partner can’t stand smoked fish (strange man) so I always have a tin lurking in the back of the cupboard ready to use for when I only need dinner for one. You can, of course, use whatever fish you like but I find smoked mackerel particularly flavoursome.
The rest of the ingredients are also what I had in the cupboards. I made this up the other day as I was craving fish cake and I couldn’t be bothered to leave the house so needed to use whatever I had. To be fair though, I tend to have absolutely everything and anything in my cupboards that maybe a normal (not obsessed with wacky food stuffs) person wouldn’t have. But I can assure you, this recipe requires bare minimum ingredients and is so easy to make! Again, adapt it to your tastes. If you don’t like something, swap it.
As mentioned, I made this meal for myself so the quantities are for 1 large portion but if making it for more people, use 1 mackerel fillet per person and adjust the other quantities as necessary.
4-5 small new potatoes
A chunk of peeled swede, diced
1 tin of oak smoked mackerel, drained
1 heaped tsp wholegrain mustard
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
Flour, for dusting
1 egg, beaten
50g Panko breadcrumbs
25g Parmesan, finely grated
1 tsp Smoked paprika
A few sprigs of sage
Knob of butter
Cut the potatoes and swede into equal sized chunks and boil in a pan until tender. Drain and mash together until fairly smooth. A few lumps are desirable.
In a large mixing bowl, flake the mackerel up and add the mustard and seasoning. Add the mashed veg to the bowl and stir well to combine.
Beat the egg in a separate bowl and set aside. In another bowl, mix the panko, parmesan, smoked paprika and a few leaves of finely chopped sage. Season and set aside.
Using a little flour on your hands, shape the mix into 3-4 patties. Dredge the patties in the beaten egg then transfer them to the panko bowl and coat evenly.
Heat a knob of butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Drop a sprig of sage in to flavour the butter then place the fish cakes into the pan to sizzle in the herby butter and become crispy and golden. After a few minutes, gently flip the fish cakes and fry for a few more minutes until the wonderful smell of herby cheesy goodness fills the house. Remove and serve with a fresh green salad.