Tag Archives: fish

a pair of smoked mackerel

smoked mackerel

We saw Nigel Slater do something interesting [fnaar] with a smoked mackerel on a programme just before Christmas, and on our seasonal visit to Newland Avenue, we picked up a brace of them in the fishmonger (yay! fishmonger!) to use over the holiday.

When we fetched them out of the fridge, they were bloody enormous, far bigger than the vacuum packed ones you pick up in the supermarket, so I have two smoked mackerel recipes for your delectation. [Edit] In neither recipe did we use the skin.

Smoked mackerel on toast
Now, this might not sound very exciting, but trust me. We flaked up one of the fish, and mixed it with a finely chopped shallot, some cream, and quite a lot of grated parmesan. Nigel said to add fresh horseradish, but Newland Ave in Hull doesn’t run to that, so we added a pinch of cayenne instead. We toasted some thick slices of bread on one side (my word – we turned the grill on!), then piled the fish mixture on top of the untoasted side and put it back under the grill.  It was gorgeous, and remarkably filling.

Smoked mackerel omelette
So we were faced with Another Huge Smoked Mackerel, and we had quite a lot of eggs. So – an omelette. Again, the fish was flaked, and bunged it into the pan when the eggs were starting to set, on half the area, so that it could be folded and flipped. Again, just lovely.

We liked both these so much that a pack of smoked mackerel is now a staple in our fridge.

a fish pie

I found three smoked trout fillets in the freezer, and we had some parsley left from last week’s beef stroganoff.  So I declared it Fish Pie Night.

I popped up to the local Co-Op to get some milk, and they had prawns on special offer: 2 packs for £4.  So I availed myself of said prawns, and milk, and home I went again.

Poached the trout in milk for about 10 minutes (they were quite thick fillets), and set aside to cool.  Cut two leeks in half long ways, then sliced thinly, and sautéed off in some olive oil.  Set some potatoes to boil.

Made a white sauce (count the pans so far! – and the dishwasher’s broken ..).

Flaked the trout into a large bowl, setting aside the skin for the cats (Lilith and Iggy snarfed it down fast as you like). Added the prawns and leeks, white sauce, parsley and some fennel from the garden.  Decanted the lot into a big, shallow-ish dish.

Pete mashed the potatoes with lots of butter, and I forked them on top.  Into a hot oven for about 30 minutes, ate with peas.

There’s the same again left for tonight, thankfully – I’m coming down with a cold, and P has man flu, so nobody is going to want to cook.  Sprouts to accompany this time, I think.

the risotto that wasn't

using up: smoked trout, a bulb of  fennel

We like risotto; sometimes I make it in the oven, and sometimes I stand over the pot, ladling in stock.  Whatever, I know my 5oz of rice to 1 pint of liquid works.

Today, I thought I’d try the slow cooker.  I did a bit of Googling, and came up with a couple of ideas.

So, chopped the fennel and a red onion, put it in the slow cooker on high with a little olive oil, left it for an hour and stirred, left it for another hour and stirred again.  OK so far.

Added 5 oz of arborio, and 1 pint of veg stock (made with the ever wonderful Marigold bouillon).  Bit of seasoning, knob of butter.  Sorted.  Turned down to low, left for an hour, stirred it, all was well.

Came down half an hour later, zapped a piece of hot smoked trout with some butter in the microwave for 90 seconds, flaked it, opened the slow cooker and … overcooked.  Ho hum.

Still, not a disaster – added the fish, lobbed in some double cream before serving, and hey presto, fennel and smoked trout kedgeree 🙂

I don’t know whether I cooked it too long, or there was insufficient liquid, or whether I should have put the stock in cold (there was hot water in the kettle so I used it).  But it was still very nice, and the cats enjoyed the fish skin!

fish and broccoli pie

fish pie filling

using up: a head of broccoli, some smoked trout

A while back when we were in Costco, we were offered a sample of hot smoked trout.  It was delicious; like sheep, we bought a bag, and I wrapped each fillet separately and put it in the freezer.  I completely forgot about it until I was trying to make space for the mega chicken cookout last weekend, and then I made a mental note.

Thankfully, I managed to retain this note long enough to think about the fish when I needed to use up the broccoli, and this is what I did.  I’m afraid it used a lot of pans, and was a lot of faffing, but it was worth it.  Note the wonderful old battered white and blue enamel dish I cooked it in – I love that dish.

Put some potatoes on to boil for the mashed spud topping.  If you put them in the bottom of the steamer, then you can steam the broccoli on the top, as I did.  Otherwise you’ll have to use yet another pan for the broccoli.

Poach the fish in some milk for about 4-5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet.  Lift out with a fish slice (!), set on a plate, and *keep the milk*.

Chop an onion very finely (I used a red one, for prettiness, but a white would be fine)., and sauté in some butter until soft.  Add some flour to make a roux, then complete a sort of onion sauce by adding the milk from the fish.

Flake the fish into chunks, removing the skin; I gave it to the cats, but they were unimpressed.  Combine with the broccoli and onion sauce.  I added some chopped parsley from the garden.

Put in an ovenproof dish, top with mashed potato, and cook at gas 6 or so for about 20 minutes, until the potato is browned.

A lot of messing about, but *well* worth it.

a fish pie

fish pie filling

using up: a piece of fish, a bulb of fennel, the last third of the bag of spinach.

We’re having a fairly traumatic week, and the reason for this was the cause of the existence of one not very big fillet of anonymous white fish.  One of our cats, our beloved Bada, has been and remains exceedingly ill, and a pair of fish fillets was bought to tempt her (it didn’t work).

When I’m unhappy, I cook, and I don’t like to waste food as you know, so here’s what I did.

I poached the fish in milk and water and a little black pepper for a few minutes, then set it aside on a plate to cool. I put the chopped up fennel in the fish water, and simmered it for, oh I don’t know, maybe 12 minutes with no lid, so it cooked and the milk reduced down.

Then I made some white sauce, chunked the fish, and added fish, fennel, and a pack of prawns from the freezer.  Put that in an ovenproof dish^H^H tin (the lasagne dish is broken, remember).  Piled a layer of spinach on top. Boiled some potatoes, and mashed them with Red Leicester cheese, and added that.

Baked at gas 5 for 25 minutes.  Scoffed – gorgeous comfort food.

it's endemic

We just had a ring on the doorball, from a chap selling door to door from www.goodtastefoods.co.uk. He had a van full of stuff, and we were interested enough to let him show us his wares.

He brought a heap of boxes to the house; he had salmon, tuna, hake and cod, and all the rest was ready-cooked. We don’t buy – or eat – ready-cooked food, as we’re lucky enough to have the time to cook most nights; and if we don’t, we take something we’ve previously cooked from the freezers.

So he was a bit disappointed that most of his offerings didn’t appeal. perlmonger and I were interested in the fish; it seemed to be from reasonably sustainable sources, but we were concerned about freezer space.

And “it’ll be ok if *you* organise it”, he said to perlmonger. I told him he nearly lost the sale by making stupid sexist remarks, and he was really quite taken aback. P pointed out that actually, it would in fact be much better if *I* did it. And I did, and 12 tuna steaks and 14 pieces of cod loin* are in there.

* I find it very difficult to think of fish loins, don’t you?