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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Smoked Haddock And English Mustard Pasty

smoked haddock and english mustard pastyChunky flakes of smoked haddock fillet, encased in a creamy and pungent mustard sauce, wrapped up in flakey puff pastry.

I’ve taken one of Great Britain best-loved dishes, the classic Cornish pasty, and made my own fishy version. Gone is the traditional mince beef and turnip interior to be replaced with smoked haddock, young baby spinach, and a punchy mustard sauce.

The traditional Cornish pasty is a dish has been around for centuries and was first made popular by miners who use to take it underground for something to snack on. Because of its shape and size it fits easily into a miners pocket and could be wolfed down without any cutlery….a quick and handy meal. Apparently they would heat it up on a spade over a candle, not ideal food preparation conditions. I wonder what environmental health would say…no wonder their life expectancy was so short.

Just get your puff pastry in the shop for this. You could make your own but who’s got the time for all that folding, turning and resting? Making the real deal is a real labour of love and if you’ve got half the day to spare than it’s worth the trouble. Most of us simply don’t have the time though. Read More

Caramelised Cauliflower And Coconut Soup

caramelised cauliflower and coconut soup

Creamy, rich, thick, and aromatic. Made with this roasted cauliflower, coconut milk, cilantro and inspired by the flavours of south-east asia. This soup is a bowl full of comfort on a cold winters day.

For a long time it was kale. Than for a good while it was beetroot. But now its cauliflower. If there were charts for the most popular vegetables than cauliflower would definitely be number one and top of the pile. If cauliflower was an actor than he’d be big box office, if a singer than there would be millions of downloads from iTunes.

Yes indeed, plain old cauliflower is enjoying a surge of popularity at the moment and over the past couple of months I’ve noticed a ton of very interesting and innovative recipes for this humble vegetable. No longer is it served as an after thought with your sunday roast. Instead its taking centre stage and innovative cooks are turning it into souffles, croquettes, cakes, and pizza crust. Read More

Warm Pear, Ginger, And Walnut Tart

warm pear, ginger, and walnut tart

Warm pears and candied walnuts covered with a light ginger infused sponge.

Christmas is coming as if you needed reminding. But just incase you do than cook this tart. When I opened the oven to check how it was coming along a warm scent of gently baking spices wafted through the kitchen. Roasting nuts, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. A combination of warm christmas smells that immediately reminded that the festive season is fast approaching.

This tart might remind you of a tarte tatin or a pineapple upside down cake. You make a caramel and sit the pears in it just like you were going to make tarte tatin. Then pour the spice infused ginger sponge over the top of the caramelised fruit before you bake it. So the bottom is actually the top like the classic pineapple upside down cake.

That’s about as complicated as this recipe gets. The rest is simple. Mix the dry ingredients, mix the wet ones…then mix them both together. You don’t even need to get your mixer out. No heavy beating required and you can do it all by hand.

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Monkfish Au Vin

monkfish au vin |

Sweet meaty monkfish poached in a red wine infused with garlic and herbs.

If you’d never eaten monkfish before and you asked somebody to describe its taste they’d probably say something like hummm….well…….its a bit like chicken. A good description because it hits the nail on the head. If there’s one fish that has a meaty quality to it than i’d have to agree its monkfish. Its got a mild, sweet, and succulent flavour with a texture and colour very similar to that of a chicken fillet.

Its little wonder then that a lot of the flavours that work really well with chicken marry well with monkfish too. I’ve done this before with my sticky lemon and thyme monkfish recipe, and here I go again but this time I’m recreating the French classic coq au vin, but using monkfish in place of chicken..

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Warm Mackerel salad with cucumber and hoisin

warm mackerel salad

Grilled marinated mackerel with crunchy cucumbers, spring onions, and water chestnuts served with a spicy hoisin dressing.

I gave up ordering food from Chinese take aways a good few years back. Thier use of msg as a flavour enhancer eventually turned me off them, it just makes everything taste the same. I reckon that if you did a blind taste test, closed your eyes, and tasted the sauces they make you wouldn’t be able to tell a black bean from a satay sauce

Like everything there are exceptions and i still pick up the phone to have the classic crispy duck with pancakes and plum sauce sent up to the house. I think its the textures that I like most about the dish. Crispy duck and vegetables smothered with the piquant plum sauce all wrapped up in soft pancakes.

Its not often that I could say that the local chinese takeout served as an inspiration for a dish but Its definitely the case with this salad. The cucumbers and spring onions that you wrap the pancakes around work really well with fish, but for some extra crunch I’ve added some bean sprouts, water chestnuts, and sesame seeds.

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