Wild garlic is at is peak now for foraging and should be in most places over the UK in flower. I Love wild garlic and this year I have been experimenting more with it. I think people who come into my kitchen recently must be sick of smelling it, or even on me for that matter! ( Never thought about that until now! ) Also what is coming up great in my kitchen garden are the herbs. My fennel has lasted all through winter and is still going strong.
One recipe that really stood out through developing was this one on how quick it takes to prepare and cook. Plus it is super healthy.
I don’t usually buy salmon purely on its cost and sustainability but I couldn’t get Loch trout which I would have used instead. I managed to find some Scottish salmon that was MSC certified which had a lovely taste.
Combining the lovely subtle fresh flavours of the wild garlic and herbs in the couscous makes this dish so light. I didn’t overpower the salmon either, just gives it a little gentle heat against everything else. This dish is perfect for lots of occasions and especially with Easter coming up it’s a lovely alternative if you don’t want to have Lamb or any other meats. One key factor to remember…Do not overcook the Salmon then it will keep it’s lovely flavour and just flake away nicely.
I paired this up with some lovely British tomatoes that look fantastic on the dish but if Im completely honest I don’t think they go with the rest of the dish. They have a beautiful taste roasted though. So that’s your choice on whether you put them on the dish or not.
- 2 responsilbly sourced Salmon fillets ( I used Scottish )
- 1 tsp of dry Harissa spice mix/rub ( I use Spice Kitchen )
- 1 tbsp of rapeseed oil
- Sprinkle of sea salt to season. I use pink himalayan salt on mine but any good quality will do.
Wild garlic and herb Couscous:
- 150g of Couscous ( you might even have more left over for Lunch the next day )
- 250ml of vegetable stock ( boiling water )or enough to just cover the Couscous
- a handful of freshly picked wild garlic leaves, stalks off, washed and finely chopped ( Chiffonade )
- A good handful of fresh herbs finely chopped such as: Chives, mint, green fennel or fronds of, chervil and parsley. If you can’t get the fennel or chervil use a little tarragon or dill.
- A little salt and cracked black pepper to season if needed.
- 1 small red onion roughly diced
- 1 small red pepper diced roughly
- 1 small yellow pepper roughly diced
- 1 stick of celery chopped roughly
- 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
- Small handful of lemon thyme, (if you can’t get this use normal thyme and a little lemon zest at the end of roasting)
- Salt and cracked black pepper to season.
- British Vittoria tomatoes on the side ( optional )
- Preheat oven to 180c fan.
- Place vegetables in a roasting tin/dish with the lemon thyme and place in oven for 5 minutes.
- Place Salmon after 5 minutes in a roasting dish, smother the harissa and oil over it, season and place in the oven also for approximately 12-15 mins or when salmon is cooked.
- Continue cooking the vegetables also.
- Whilst these are in the oven together Pop your dry couscous into a bowl, cover with the vegetable stock and cover with cling film for 10 minutes. Leave aside.
- At this point pop your tomatoes in the oven if you want to use them.
- Then when all is ready in the oven, flake your couscous with a fork and will be fluffy at this point. Then add in your herbs and wild garlic, stir and leave to stand until all dished up together.
- Serve altogether and enjoy!
I actually did this recipe back in June this year for my column but I thought it would be perfect to share now as a nice meal change in-between all that Christmas shopping.
These fishcakes are a great alternative for a fish Friday supper. The green bean salsa gives it more of a lighter feel but will still fill you up.
So I wanted to show you how easy making fishcakes can be, as having no egg and breadcrumbs to this recipe, it takes less time. Also this version is healthier than the usual mashed potato used with butter and cream.
I have added the peas into the fishcakes as it’s a great way of getting vegetables into your children’s diet.
You can use other strong fish in this recipe but I prefer the mackerel and its great for budget shopping.
This dish will be a perfect, lighter alternative for you before all that meat is consumed over Christmas.
Oh and a little tip from me also…they are great eaten cold the day after.
Smoked mackerel and pea fishcakes with a green bean salsa:
- 2 tbsp of Rapeseed oil for frying
- handful of plain flour to dust the fishcakes
- 4 skinned Fresh Smoked mackerel fillets
- 2 Spring onions chopped
- 500g bag of Jersey Royal potatoes or any other New potatoes halved
- A good Handful of petit pops defrosted and drained
- fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
- A good squeeze of lemon
- Salt and cracked black pepper to season
Green bean salsa
- Fine green beans blanched for 3 minutes and halved
- 2 large tomatoes chopped roughly
- 1 medium red onion diced finely
- small handful of baby capers chopped
- half a 180g tin of sweetcorn drained
- Fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste as above
- Boil your potatoes until just starting to break/soften
- Blanch your green beans for about 3 minutes as they still need a “bite” to them then place into ice cold water
- When your potatoes are done crush them using a potato masher, leaving them still with chunks and add a little seasoning to them.
- Take a bowl, pop in your crushed potatoes, flake in your smoked mackerel but also leave chunky.
- Add spring onions, peas, lemon and seasoning and mix together with your hands.
- Start to form in your hand a ball like shape and flatten to form a fishcake. dust in flour and place on a plate.
- Continue with the rest of the mixture.
* If you aren’t using them all, you can freeze at this stage.
- Once all formed, in a frying pan heat a little oil and start to fry. Turning every couple of minutes. Once golden brown after approximately 5-6 minutes, they will be done.
- Place all fishcakes onto Kitchen paper to drain the oil.
* Put all your salsa ingredients together in a bowl and serve.
One thing that I get asked a lot by people, especially Mums with children (Teenagers more) is how to create take away favourites at home. If I am not mistaken, I do believe we are calling this a “Fake-away” . I have always cooked Takeaway favourites at home particularly Chinese dishes for many reasons: 1, Healthier. 2, It’s being Frugal. 3, you know exactly what is in your food and 4, you can get the Children involved with you in preparing it. I could go on.
So last Friday was my Slot for doing my regular Food Friday programme with Ben Jackson on BBC Radio Leicester. I felt that I wanted to do a “Fake-away”dish that is super Healthy, Super quick and also fairly Cheap… Well it’s certainly cheaper than picking up the Phone and ordering a banquet!
It’s also January, you may want to loose a few pounds? Or just changing the way you eat? Get some more Fish into your Diet? It was Friday after all, so a healthier Fish Friday!
I felt I should share a dish I regularly cook for myself. It has hardly any ingredients in it but is PACKED FULL of flavour. Plus this style of cooking is so easy to do and such a great interacting dish, by if you put this in the middle of the table, you can all get stuck in. It’s a great dish to do for an intimate dinner also where you just do not want to spend all night slaving over the stove, if you know what I mean!
Even though it may not look spectacular, it has been a real hit so far. Listen here to hear Myself showing Ben how to do this Quick, Simple, healthy dish.
By the way, Ben couldn’t wait to dive in as you can see by the pictures as I haven’t one with all the fish intact! Sorry!
Chinese Steamed Sea bass with Stir fried Greens
(For the Sea Bass)
– 1 whole Sea bass or Sea Bream
– 3 inch piece of Fresh Ginger Julienned (Sliced finely length ways)
– 5 spring Onions julienned (sliced Length ways)
(For the dressing)
– 2 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce (I used one specifically for Seafood) (I buy all my sauces from my local Chinese Supermarket Wang Fung Hong in Leicester)
– 2 Tbsp Dry Sherry ( I used Pedro Ximenex )
– Juice of 1 clementine or half an Orange
– 2 Tbsp of Water
(For the Sir Fry Veg)
– 2 tsp Raw Organic Coconut oil ( I use Lucy Bee )or another oil you have but Coconut will add extra flavour
– 5-6 Leaves of Pak Choi
– 3 inch piece of cucumber Sliced length ways
– approximately 10 sugar snap peas Sliced Length ways
– 2 cloves of Garlic sliced (Chopped Roughly)
– 1/2 Red chilli Diced finely
– 2 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce ( Wang fung Hong )
– 1 Tbsp Oyster Sauce ( Wang fung Hong)
– 2 Tbsp Water
– Pinch of caster Sugar
– Preheat your Oven on a warming setting, about 100c
– Take a Large Wok and fill with approximately 1/4 Litre of water and place a grid of some kind so you can place a plate on top or if you have a bamboo steamer…Even better!
– Turn the heat up high so your water will start to boil but not too Rapid.
– Put in Half of your sliced Ginger and Spring onions into the cavity of the fish, score diagonal lines through the skin of the fish, about 4 but making sure you don’t go too deep.
– Place the fish onto your Plate or Steamer and cover with a lid or in my case I used another Wok. Steam for about 10 minutes.
– After 10 minutes place the rest of your Spring Onions and ginger on top and half of your dressing over the fish. Continue to stem for a further 5 minutes.
– Once cooked and the flesh will just flake away, place into the oven on a large serving dish with the dressing, veg and juices to keep warm.
– In the meantime Stir fry your veg in the Coconut oil and as the veg starts to cook down after a couple of minutes add your sauces, water and sugar.
– Serve as it is on large dishes so people can dive in and you could also serve some Noodles and Boiled Rice if you wish.
After having a quick chat with Ben Jackson, whom I do Food friday with on BBC Radio Leicester, we decided that our listeners wanted dishes that they could pretty much cook along “Real time” with whilst listening to the programme. It goes out at 4.40pm every friday which is a great time if you want a fairly early dinner. Thus, then allowing you more time at your local for a quick vino or Pint!
A dish that sprung to my mind was a dish that I cook quite often for myself but I wanted a little twist on it. I would normally cook this dish with “Normal” Spaghetti or linguini and use Prawns instead of crayfish. Now of course, you could use any other seafood, I just felt that this added real colour and extra flavour as the Squid ink Linguini does have a subtle flavour that I LOVE and I feel we sometimes forget about Crayfish tails also but they have so much flavour in them. I came up with a great Ravioli dish once which I used Crayfish tails so I will share this with you soon.
By the way, I have had some comments on that the linguini does look a little strange, but trust me…If you love pasta and combining Seafood…you are going to LOVE IT!
Hear me and Ben Right Here!
Squid Ink Linguini with Crayfish Tails,Tomato,Chilli and Garlic:
– Approximately 200 g of Squid ink ( Cuttlefish )Linguini or Spaghetti
– A 120 g Pack of Cooked and peeled Crayfish Tails ( About 3/4 of the pack is enough for 2 people)
– A good “Glug” of Olive Oil
– 2 cloves of Garlic Finely Chopped
– 1/4 Red Chilli Finely Chopped
– 2 Sliced Spring Onions
– Almost half of a little pot of Fish stock (I used a Knorr pot)
– A good Splash of Dry White Wine ( I used Sauvignon Blanc)
– 1 Tbsp of Tomato Puree
– Approximately 10 Baby Plum Tomatoes chopped into 4
– A pinch of Caster Sugar
– Cracked Black Pepper
– A Handful of chopped Fresh Basil and Fresh Flat leaf Parsley
* Pop your Pasta into a boiling pan of Salted Water and cook for approximately 10-12 minutes or to packet instructions.
* In a Frying/Saute Pan, Start to fry off the White ends of the Spring Onions and Chilli in Olive oil.
* Add the Garlic and fry for another minute.
* Pop in then the White Wine and start to simmer, reducing only slightly.
* Add the tomato Puree, Tomatoes, Pinch of sugar and cracked Black Pepper. Cook for another minute or 2.
* Add a little splash of water to the sauce. Taste…it may need a little more sugar to sweeten.
* Put the rest of the Spring onions (Green parts) into the sauce.
* Drain your Pasta keeping a little of the water and place the pasta into the sauce. Add the Crayfish and coat all the ingredients around the pasta.
* Finally add your chopped herbs when the Crayfish are hot and Serve!
I have decided to re-kick things going again with a fairly healthy dish. Well, it certainly is compared to the typical battered fish and chip supper we usually dive head first into on a Friday night.
A couple of reasons why I chose this dish to post today is A, Cost. I know its nice to treat oneself to it once in a while but “back in the day” Fish and chip Friday was a fairly cheap takeaway for families and was nice as a treat. But now, I know I struggle sometimes to afford it! You maybe shocked but this recipe IS a cheaper alternative.
And, B, because we may have overindulged slightly over December so this will make a lighter, healthier Dinner (Or supper in my case) after a glass or two of vino!
If you are indeed, like myself, who loves the combination of Pasta with Fish or seafood, then you will love this!
Roasted flaked Sea bass with Pesto Spaghetti and Tomato Salsa:
One thing I will mention is I couldn’t make up my mind on wether to say the fish was steamed or roasted? as I did both! But seeing as I finished the dish by Roasting at the end, that is why it is in the recipe title.
For the Sea bass:
One whole Sea bass descaled and gutted.
1/2 a lemon
1 spring onion chopped in half
A piece of leek about a few inches long cut lengthways into 4
a few chopped fresh chives and parsley
A sprinkling of Fennel seeds or fresh Fennel would be fine also, just not too much
knob of Butter
a good glug of dry White wine
100 ml of water
Salt and pepper for a bit of seasoning.
(Approximately) as it is depending on how much you want to make to keep or how big your blender/processor is?
6 spinach leaves
Handful of fresh basil
1 fresh garlic clove (browned first to soften)
small handful of Fresh parmesan
Salt and pepper to season if required.
Fresh lemon juice
Fresh basil and Parsley
1 clove of fresh garlic chopped finely
A small amount of red onion chopped.
Preheat your oven to 180c.
Boil up some water ready for your spaghetti to cook.
Take your Sea bass and place onto foil which is on a deep baking tray. Stuff the inside of the fish with the lemon, spring onion, leek and herbs. Then place the knob of butter on top of the fish. Grab the ends of the foil and start to gather up at the ends as you are going to make a little bath (parcel) for your fish. Put the White wine and water into the bath and drizzle a little of olive oil (if wanted) on the fish. Close up the foil parcel so it creates a steam bath and cook in the oven for about 15 mins.
In the meantime whilst the fish is in the oven you then do the pesto.
Place all ingredients into a hand blender or food processor and blitz! Adding more olive oil and seasoning if need be. Then chop all your ingredients for your Salsa (as shown above). Not forgetting of course to cook your spaghetti ! Place the salsa in a pan to gently heat. You do not want this to go to mush.
Check on your fish after 15 minutes and open up the foil at the top so the fish will get a little colour once back in the oven. Now depending on the size of your sea bass, it may only need maybe 5 mins more cooking.
Once the fish is done, Toss your drained spaghetti with the pesto, flake the Sea bass onto the spaghetti and drizzle over your Tomato salsa.