Brazilian Fish Stew – Moqueca

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Brazilian-Fish-Stew_680px_4 (2) 23/04/2017

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.

Ingredients:

Fish:

  • 3-4 salmon fillets, skinned and cut into chunks
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Broth:

  • 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

Finishes:

  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 3 tbsp roughly chopped fresh coriander

Method:

  1. For the fish: Combine the fish, lime juice, salt and pepper in a bowl. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  2. 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.
  3. Add the bell peppers and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining broth ingredients. Bring to simmer then turn down to medium.
  5. 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.
  6. Stir through lime juice.
  7. Garnish with coriander and serve with rice.

Ultimate Fish Finger Sandwich

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screenshot_2016-10-17-23-01-28-1 25/10/2016

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!

Ingredients:

  • 1 ciabatta roll
  • 4 fish fingers
  • 2 sliced gherkins
  • A handful of salad leaves
  • Tartare sauce or mayonnaise

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Method:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Top with gherkins and crunchy salad leaves and place the top, sauce slathered ciabatta half on top.
  4. Press down, admire and devour.

Smoked Mackerel Fishcakes

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screenshot_2016-10-01-19-41-38-11 01/10/2016

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.

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 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

Method:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Patrani Macchi

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IMG_20160214_215045[1] 17/02/2016

Yes, another fish dish. That’ll teach me to buy a whole side of salmon when it’s on offer.

From the western shores of India, this delicious baked fish dish looks very impressive when you serve it wrapped in banana leaves. As you unwrap it, release some mouth-watering aromas. If you can’t get banana leaves then you can use lightly oiled foil or baking parchment instead.

Ingredients:

  • 2 thick salmon fillets, skinned
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • Fresh banana leaves (or oiled foil)

For the spice paste:

  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 50g creamed coconut
  • 50g freshly grated coconut
  • 2 fresh chillies, deseeded and chopped
  • 50g fresh coriander, chopped
  • 10g fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1tsp grated fresh ginger
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp salt

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Make the spice paste by placing all the paste ingredients in a food processor and blending until fairly smooth.
  3. Place the fish fillets on a plate. Sprinkle with turmeric, rubbing it into the fish, and keep to one side.
  4. Cut the banana leaves into approx. 24cm squares and soften by dipping into a pan of hot water for a few seconds. Wipe dry and arrange on a work surface.
  5. Spread the spice paste on both the fish pieces.
  6. Place a piece of fish on each square and wrap it up like a parcel securing with bamboo skewers. If using foil, simply scrunch up to seal.
  7. Place the parcels on a baking sheet and bake in the oven to 12 minutes or until cooked through.
  8. Serve immediately with basmati rice, lemon wedges and maybe some minty yoghurt dip and poppadoms.

IMG_20160214_215904[1] IMG_20160214_215441[1]

Tandoori Swordfish Skewers

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IMG_20160215_103227[1] 15/02/2016

Swordfish is so meaty when cooked. It is extremely versatile and can stand being grilled, baked, barbequed as steaks, stewed or whatever you decide. It can take on lots of flavours and is ideal for marinading as I have here. The use of cashews gives the recipe a satay sort of taste combined with the creamy yoghurt, fresh lemon and exciting spice blend to create huge flavour.

Ingredients:

For the fish:

  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 500g swordfish steak, cut into 5cm chunks

For the tandoori paste:

  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • ½ tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 50g natural yoghurt
  • 30g cashew nuts
  • 3cm fresh ginger, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to its highest setting. Mix together the lemon juice, chilli powder, turmeric and salt. Rub all over the fish pieces and set aside for 5 minutes.
  2. For the tandoori paste, put the fennel seeds, caraway seeds, chilli powder and salt into a spice grinder and blend to a powder. Transfer the ground spices to a mini food processor with the yoghurt, cashew nuts, ginger and garlic and blend to a paste.
  3. Rub the paste all over the marinated fish then skewer the fish on metal skewers and set over a roasting tin. Place on the top shelf of the oven. Cook for 5 minutes or until just cooked through. Serve with naan breads and salad.

 

Sushi

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IMG_20160118_165803[1] 14/02/2016

Sushi is so easy to make, tastes way better than the poxy, expensive stuff you buy in shops and you can tailor make it to include your favourite fillings or whatever you have to hand.

Ingredients:

For the rice

  • 300g sushi rice
  • 100ml rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp golden caster sugar

For the Japanese mayonnaise

  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp sauce

For the sushi

  • 25g bag nori (seaweed) sheets
  • choose from the following fillings: cucumber strips, smoked salmon, white crabmeat, canned tuna, avocado, spring onion

To serve with all styles of sushi

  • wasabi (optional – and fiery!)
  • pickled ginger
  • soy sauce

Method:

  1. TO MAKE THE SUSHI RICE: Rinse the sushi rice in cold water until the water runs clear, then soak roughly two parts rice to three parts cold water in a saucepan for 30 minutes.
  2. Next, bring the rice to the boil, cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the rice has absorbed all the water and is tender. Check the packet instructions for exact timings.
  3. Stir through the rice vinegar and sugar.
  4. Cool the rice down as quickly as you can by spreading it onto a baking tray and covering with a slightly damp tea towel.
  5. Dampen your hands to prevent sticking when handling the rice.
  6. Brush your knife with rice vinegar to prevent sticking and cut the roll into neat rounds.

 

  1. TO MAKE SUSHI ROLLS:Pat out some rice. Lay a nori sheet on the mat, shiny-side down. Dip your hands in the vinegar water then pat handfuls of rice on top in a 1cm thick layer, leaving the furthest edge from you clear.
  2. Spread over some Japanese mayonnaise.Use a spoon to spread out a thin layer of mayonnaise down the middle of the rice.
  3. Add the filling.Top the mayonnaise with a line of your favourite fillings – here I’ve used smoked salmon and cucumber.
  4. Roll it up.Lift the edge of the mat over the rice, applying a little pressure to keep everything in a tight roll.
  5. Stick down the sides like a stamp.When you get to the edge without any rice, brush with a little water and continue to roll into a tight roll.
  6. Wrap in cling film.Remove the mat and roll tightly in cling film before cutting the sushi into thick slices then unravel the cling film.

IMG_20160118_165726[1] IMG_20160118_165658[1]

  1. TO MAKE PRESSED SUSHI:Layer over some smoked salmon. Line a loaf tin with cling film then place a thin layer of smoked salmon inside on top of the cling film.
  2. Cover with rice and press down.Press about 3cm of rice over the fish, fold the cling film over and press down as much as you can, using another tin if you have one.
  3. Tip it out like a sandcastle.Turn block of sushi onto a chopping board.  Cut into fingers, then remove the cling film.

 

  1. TO MAKE SUSHI BALLS:Choose your topping. Get a small square of cling film and place a topping, like half a prawn or a small piece of smoked salmon, on it. Use damp hands to roll walnut-sized balls of rice and place on the topping.
  2. Make into tight balls.Bring the corners of the cling film together and tighten into balls by twisting it up then unwrap and serve.

Sesame Salmon in Miso Broth

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IMG_20160118_165955[1] 26/01/2016

Salty samphire and umami-loaded miso go so well with sweet salmon in this East Asian-inspired dish. You can use any fish with this dish. Sea bream and Sea bass work particularly well. The delicate flaky fish and crispy skin contrast beautifully with the silky broth.

Ingredients:

  • 2 nests (140g/5oz) medium or thick egg noodles
  • 2 fillets sustainable salmon, skinned or white fish, skin on, scaled and pin-boned
  • 4 tsp sesame seeds
  • 3 tsp sunflower or vegetable oil
  • thumb-sized piece ginger, peeled and finely shredded
  • 2 tbsp dry sherry
  • 90g pack samphire
  • 1 x pak choi
  • 2 x 18g sachets (or 2 tbsp) miso soup paste
  • bunch spring onions, shredded
  • little sesame oil for drizzling

Method:

  1. Cook the noodles following pack instructions. As soon as they are just tender, drain in a colander, rinse under the cold tap and set aside.
  2. Slash each piece of fish 3 times on the skin side. Season well and press the sesame seeds over the skin in an even layer. Heat the oven to low, ready to keep the fish warm. Put a couple of wide bowls in to warm, too.
  3. Heat 2 tsp oil in a non-stick frying pan, the sturdier the better. Add the fish, and fry for 5 mins on the crusted side until the seeds are pale golden and the flesh of the fish has changed colour almost all the way through. Turn the fish over, cook for a few seconds more, then remove to a plate and transfer to the oven. Put the kettle on to boil.
  4. Add the remaining oil to the pan and sizzle the ginger for 30 seconds. Add the samphire and pak choi, cover again and cook for 1 min more until bright and just tender. Make up the miso in a jug with 450ml boiling water. Run boiling water through the noodles to reheat then pile into the warm bowls. Spoon over the ginger, samphire and pak choi plus the spring onions, then pour over the miso and top with a piece of crisp fish, sesame-side up. Drizzle with a little sesame oil then dig in.