Omelette Arnold Bennett

omelette arnold bennett

My version of the classic fish omelette Arnold Bennett. Made with flakes of smoky haddock, lightly cooked eggs, and a bechamel flavoured with mustard and Worcestershire.

You might be wondering who Arnold Bennett is and why the hell an omelette is named after him. Spare a thought though for the waiters at london’s savoy hotel who must get tired of answering this question.  Apparently this classic is still made there on a daily basis since some clever chef invented it in the hotel’s kitchen for the writer decades ago.

The story goes that Arnold was staying at the hotel while writing a novel. One night the chefs whipped up this omelette for his supper and he liked it so much he insisted it be cooked for him wherever he traveled. Hence the name.

Personally I’m not really that into omelets. Normally I like my eggs fried or boiled but on this occasion I have to agree with Mr. Bennett this unusual omelette  tastes absolutely divine.

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Fish Caesar Salad

fish caesar salad
Crispy fillets of fried plaice, with crunchy little gem lettuce, tossed in a piquant caper and dill dressing.

Why is it that when you go out to a restaurant for dinner and see a caesar salad on the menu it often comes with chicken? Don’t get me wrong I like a bit of chicken in my caesar salad but seafood like shrimp, salmon, cod or even place like I’m using here work well with crunchy leaves, croutons, and aged parmesan cheese too.

The original caesar salad contains neither chicken or fish of course. It was invented by a guy called Caesar Cardini in the 1920’s. Caesar was an Italian immigrant who had restaurants in Mexico and the United States. One 4th of July his restaurant got slammed and he whipped up this dish out of what he had lying around the kitchen. I only wish I could invent a classic under such pressure.

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Mango And Coconut Doughnuts

mango and coconut doughnuts

A classic fritter doughnut made from a dough infused with coconut and filled with a slightly tart mango curd.

Maybe I should have been a cop. I’ve always had a soft spot for doughnuts. When I was a kid I’d get one in my lunchbox going to school from time to time. They were nothing fancy like these ones, just your regular jam filled doughnuts. Often they’d get banged around in my schoolbag and end up misshapen, a little greasy, with the jam leaking out. I loved them all the same. Kids love anything sweet with loads of sugar. Especially when it gets stuck to your lips and has to be licked off like it does with the castor sugar-coating on doughnuts. Read More

Beetroot Poached Salmon With Samphire

beetroot poached salmon

Fillets of salmon poached in an earthy beetroot stock with zesty lime infused samphire.

We’re already well into the new year and over the past couple of week I’ve been trying to eat healthy. Not that easy when you work in a kitchen surrounded by food 24/7. I try not to pick at food while I work and to sit down and eat a proper meal at least once a day.

Fish is already big part of my diet and if you’re trying to lose weight, get fit, or just eat a little healthier than getting a bit more fish into your diet is a good idea. Not only is fish the ultimate fast food but it’s also one of the most nutritious.

Packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, and omega 3. The list of its health benefits for fish eaters goes on and on. It’s also low in fat and cholesterol with one big caveat, it all comes down to how you cook it.

Obviously frying or deep-frying are out the window. The best ways to cook fish if you want to be healthy are steaming, baking in the oven, and poaching like this recipe here.

Not only is the fish poached in this recipe. First its marinated and then cooked in an earthy, nutrient rich, beetroot stock that’s been infused with balsamic, garlic, and thyme. The nutritional value of beetroot is well documented. Lots of vitamin c, low-fat, plus plenty of dietary fiber are among its many benefits. Read More

Smoked Salmon And Cream Cheese Chelsea Buns

smoked salmon and cream cheese chelsea buns

A fishy version of the classic Chelsea bun made with layers of smoked salmon, zesty cream cheese and spinach.

“Give her a Chelsea bun, miss! That’s what most young ladies like best!” The voice was rich and musical, and the speaker dexterously whipped back the snowy cloth that covered his basket, and disclosed a tempting array of the familiar square buns, joined together in rows, richly egged and browned and glistening in the sun.” — Lewis Carroll, A Tangled Tale

Originally I was hoping to cook a bit of fish today but there’s absolutely none around. The poor weather and the holidays mean that nobodies been out fishing. I should have known better than to bother heading down to the fishmongers, It was closed and all you could get in the supermarket was salmon and other farmed fish.

l did spot some smoked salmon that was going cheap (they probably have a lot to get rid of after christmas) and decided to do a bit of baking instead and that’s where these smoked salmon and cream cheese Chelsea buns come in.

The classic Chelsea bun is a thing of beauty. Made from a dough enriched with butter and eggs then rolled out and spread with currents, butter, and brown sugar before been baked. They are absolutely mouth-watering especially eaten straight from the oven. Slightly crusty on the outside with a warm, sweet, and fruity interior.

Theres a slight chance you might have eaten a Chelsea bun before without even realising it. They look very similar to a cinnamon roll. You know the ones, it’s the Danish pastry you see a version of for sale everywhere from service station forecourts to trendy coffee shops. I like to munch on one in the morning with a strong coffee to get myself going, but their not to be confused with a Chelsea bun.

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Smoked Cod And Whiskey Chowder

smoked cod and whiskey chowder

A rustic and comforting winter fish soup made with smoked cod and warmed with whiskey.

If you’re out for lunch beware the waiter who tells you the days special is “fresh seafood chowder” especially if it’s a monday….

Why you might ask? Well, restaurants are businesses and us chefs are put under a fierce amount of pressure to make as much money as possible by owners. So having a seafood chowder on gives us the opportunity to use up some fish that we might otherwise have to throw in the trash.

No chef I’ve ever met would knowingly serve fish that was off. But dishes like fish cakes, pies, and chowder are a good way to turn scraps and odds and ends of fish into money. This undoubtedly affects the quality of the dishes involved. Which would you rather a nice big chunk of Cod in your soup or a skinny little bit of fish cut from the tail or belly of the fish?

I’m not saying every restaurant is guilty but it does happen. Theres plenty of good restaurants that serve great chowder, teaming with chunks of freshly cooked fish and shellfish. It’s just something to be aware of in a place you’ve never been before. Theres still some unscrupulous chefs and restaurants out there.

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