Archives for posts with tag: fish

One reason I’ve been so slack at posting is that Joyous and I did one of our detoxes from May to July.

I figured that not so many people would like to see those recipes, but lately I have reconsidered and think that the really yummy ones might be good to blog.

Now the detox involves cutting out the following foods: gluten, sugar, dairy, eggs (although we allowed some this time after the first important fortnight), alcohol, caffeine, red meat. However, although that may seem really restrictive, there’s lots you can eat still. Plus with some inventiveness, and lots of herbs and spices, it can still taste great. (Honestly.)

Some examples of what we cooked:

– Quinoa with dry roasted pumpkin, pan fried fish (in olive oil) & salsa verde.

– Fresh snapper burgers in gluten free baps (highly recommend Phoenix breads), with rocket salad, hummus, jalapenos, gherkins & Japanese sesame dressing.

– Burritos in corn wraps with chilli beans & felafel or fish or chicken

– Fish gently cooked in crushed tomatoes, capers, kalamata olives, garlic, herbs and a generous splash of white wine (just cook off the alcohol & leave the flavor)

– Cold quinoa salad with smoked fish, rocket & hummus

– Prawn GF pasta with a GF roux sauce, capers, red peppers, broccoli and lemon thyme

– Chocolate crackles made with rice bubbles, kremelta (solidified coconut oil), dessicated coconut, stevia & raisins

– Chocolate self saucing pudding with almond meal, GF flour, coconut sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg & loads of cocoa

– Chai banana ice cream made from spices, banana & coconut cream

(Lots of fish recipes as I’m pescetarian and we live by the sea.)

So I’ll blog some of the recipes for you to have a look at. The wife and I don’t do tasteless, so be reassured they will be worth trying out even if you are not on a detox.

Finally, a bit more on why I haven’t been blogging very much:

In order to help raise the profile of this blog I started following some phenomenal blogs like For The Love Of The South and Smitten Kitchen. As I started looking at them from a blogger’s perspective rather than just a baker’s one I became rather disillusioned. You see, I can be a real perfectionist. If I can’t do something really really well, then I often choose to do something else altogether.

Those other blogs are beautifully photographed, with consistently awesome recipes and fancy cookware. Whereas mine felt like the school homework project of someone living in a shack. Actually we are living in a tiny shack, with bad lighting, part of my gran’s 1950’s kitchen bench, op shopped (charity shop) kitchenalia and an oven with one fully working gas burner, one burner that leaves black burn marks on my pans and no temperature gauge!

But I have decided to try and do something different for me. Instead of deciding it will never meet my standards of ‘good enough’ and therefore giving up, I’m going to try and keep going with it even though it might not be the absolute best. I figure the large majority of my readers over there are are just regular people too (hi Mum). So most people probably read it for the recipes, (or just because they are curious about what I’m blogging), and aren’t judging the pictures anyway – so I shouldn’t be so fussy right?

I’m going to just to try and get the recipes up here even if I just have one slightly mediocre picture to accompany them.

Oh and as for the op-shopped kitchenalia… well I think I might just make that a feature and see if I can provide some background notes on when and where my quirky bits and pieces came from.

What say you?

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Last night’s dinner was perfect for the sudden autumn chill we’ve been experiencing. It has come as a shock after the longest and best summer I can remember since childhood.

With all this lovely weather, the wife and her bro have been out fishing quite a bit with my Dad and our god-daughter, so we’ve got plenty of fish in the fridge and freezer. Last night my darling decided it was time to cook up a giant batch of chowder. This has become one of my favourite warming soups as she flavours it so brilliantly with our home grown herbs & a good helping of spice and chilli. Not to be outdone, I thought a side of Polenta chips (fries) would go well. Although, to be honest, they are another of Joyous’ recipes.

Now before you freak out at the length of the recipe and amount of ingredients, a few words of advice…

Essentially you only need fresh & smoked fish, potatoes and hopefully some fresh herbs, lemon juice & something creamy. The rest of the ingredients are just made up of what you have on hand. The mild chilli flavours are not essential, so any wusses can leave them out if need be. It’s not supposed to be hot, just tasty.

Basically all you do is throw it together into a pot and simmer it, except the fish and the delicate vegies, which you add right at the end so they don’t disintegrate.

So here we (jointly) present:

Snapper and Smoked Kahawai Chowder with Parmesan Polenta Chips

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Chowder Recipe:

Serves 6-8 (or 2 people for a week!)

Ingredients:

4 Fillets of Dense White Fish – (we used snapper & monk fish is good too)

1/4 of a Smoked Fish – (we used Manuka Smoked Kahawai)

5-6 Potatoes – preferably firm fleshed eg Desiree (we usually use a mix of red potatoes and Kumara – sweet potato)

1 or 2 large cloves of Garlic (preferably smoked)

1-2 Spring Onions – to taste

Fresh Thyme – we used fresh organic Lemon Thyme (approx 1 Tbsp)

Fresh Coriander (approx 1/4 C)

Fresh Parsley (approx 1/4 C)

Chilli Pepper and/or 1 Tbsp Hot Chilli Sauce (approx) – to taste

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

Vegie (or fish) Stock made up to approx 4 C of liquid

1 Tbsp Smoked Paprika

1 tsp of Adobo Sazon or 1/4 tsp Turmeric

Generous slug of Bitters (you know, the stuff you use in a cocktail)

Salt to taste

Ground Black Pepper

25 grams of butter

Juice of 1/2 a lemon (or more, adjust to taste)

Red Pepper / Capsicum

Kale or any other green vegetable

1 can of Sweet Corn Kernels

1/3 can of Evaporated Milk or a similar amount of fresh cream

We also added 1 tsp of smoked Jalapeno Peppers)

Method:

Chop the fish into pieces approximately 3cm square. Marinate, (while you prepare the rest of the ingredients or longer if you have the time), in crushed garlic, salt and a little of the lemon juice.

Dice potatoes into decent sized chunks, put in a large saucepan. If you are using kumara (sweet potatoes) as well, you will want to add them part way through cooking so they don’t turn to mush.

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Ready to add the liquid

Add the olive oil, roughly chopped herbs, more crushed garlic if you love it, fresh chilli (but ours wasn’t hot so we added extra chilli sauce later), butter, black pepper, salt, Adobo Sazon (or turmeric) and the smoked paprika. Put this on the heat and stir together, slightly caramelising the potatoes. When they look a little browned, mix up the stock and pour over. Bring to the boil then simmer until the potatoes are nearly cooked. (If you are adding sweet potatoes then put them in once the regular potatoes have just started to boil.)

When the regular potatoes are just about cooked through, stir in the evaporated milk, chilli sauce, bitters, lemon juice, kale stems and smoked fish. Check the taste, adjusting the amounts to get it just right for you. A minute or two later gently add the fresh fish pieces, the sweet corn, capsicum (diced into large pieces) and put the roughly cut kale leaves on top.

Turn the fish over to help it cook evenly if you need to, then once cooked stir the chowder together.

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Stirring it all together

It’s now ready to serve.

Polenta Chips Recipe:

Ingredients:

1/2 C Polenta / Fine Cormeal
1 C Milk
1 C Vegie Stock
Approx 1/4 C grated cheese (Parmesan is ideal)
1 tsp of Thyme (we use fresh organic Lemon Thyme)

Method:

Grate the parmesan and line a 20cm square tin with baking paper. Do this preparation first as once the polenta is setting you will want to be able to pour it in quickly.

Pour stock and milk into a pot, add the thyme leaves, bring nearly to the boil. When nice and hot, gradually pour the polenta into the liquid, whisking quickly as you pour. Keep whisking until it thickens. Do not stop or you will get lumps. This should only take a few minutes.

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Brisk whisk

Add the Parmesan in last. I swap to a spoon to stir it in so I don’t have Parmesan all congealed in my whisk.

Stir until it looks like it’s beginning to set. Usually about 5 mins from when you first added it. You should be able to scrape it to one side and have it not move around too much when you try and tip it back.

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Well thickened

Pour it into the dish and smooth it out flat. Put it in the fridge if you are in a hurry for it to set. It should take about 10 mins to be set enough to cut up.

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Ready to cool

Once set, cut it into slices and put it into the oven on approximately 180 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit). They take about 20 mins to cook, they may need turning. It will all depend on your oven. Fan bake works well if you have that setting.

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Into the oven

These are also delicious with Joyous’s Mint Yoghurt Mayo, and little kids love them too! (If they manage to wrestle them off the adults.)

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Deliciousness

So there you have it, one of our staple winter meals.

PS: Yes our eyes were larger than our stomachs and no, we didn’t eat everything in the picture at the top!

Last week was the local primary school’s annual fundraising carnival. As my god-daughter goes there I got involved and helped organise the silent auction. Which involved lots of cold calling local businesses to beg goods and services that we could auction off in an old-school version of TradeMe / eBay. Basically people write their name and bid on a piece of paper and the highest bid at the end of the auction wins. I’m happy to say we had the most successful one yet and the silent auction raised nearly double what it did last year. Which is a relief as it really was a labour of love…and about 3 weeks of full time labour at that!

However, that of course is unrelated to a cooking blog. So what did we cook?

Well for the bake sale, Nana Jenny made my mini banana muffins decorated with cornflowers. Whereas I contributed a super sized batch of Joyous’ Famous (round these parts) Mint Yoghurt Mayo.

The wifey originally whipped up this recipe for one of my birthday garden soirées, to dip little smoked fish fritters and vegie crudités in. It is so simple and delicious that it’s become a staple dip around here.

For the School Carnival we made it to go in the Lamb Baps, and it also went well with the incredible fresh Snapper burgers and on the prawn skewers. We are lucky that our school is located opposite one of NZ’s best fisheries so they donated loads of fresh fish to be auctioned and sold.

It’s a little similar to the mayo we used I the Smoked Fish Potato Salad, but with less ingredients so it’s quicker. Plus it has an altogether different taste. I’m including it here after one of the parents from the school requested the recipe.

Joyous’ Famous Mint Yoghurt Mayo

Pour into a mixing bowl about 1/2 C decent mayonnaise e.g. Best Foods or Heinz & add approximately 3/4 C of unsweetened yoghurt (thick & Greek is best).

Mix together with a few good squeezes of lemon or lime juice.

Add approximately 2 tablespoons of finely sliced fresh mint.

Plus a generous pinch or two of flaky sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper.

Stir and add more lemon, salt or mint to taste. It should have a good tang from the yoghurt and citrus.

Chill and serve.

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Awesome recipe illustration courtesy of my gorgeous and talented 5 year old god-daughter. (Which was created for the small cost of $1.)