Tag Archives: Fish

Catch of the Day, Gilthead Bream (Dorade, Royal Bream)


Cooking fish is clear-cut, if you just follow a few basic rules and you will plate up dishes to contend with the best of restaurants. It is recommended that we eat at least three or more portions of fish a week, as the experts have proved that if you eat more fish you are less likely to suffer from heart disease and cancer.

The fat in fish is omega-3, which seems to keep blood from getting sticky and to reduce the chances of having a stroke.

Maureen and me-self well, we just like fish and seafood for its handiness, simplicity of cooking, taste and if it’s good for us well, that’s a bonus!

Fish and seafood is available to buy fresh, frozen, or cured, your fishmonger or supermarket fish counter should stock a large choice of each of the groups of seafood there are 3 main groups of fish;

White Sea Fish

  • White Fish (wet fish) including Cod, Haddock, Plaice, Whiting, Pollack, Saithe (Coley), Hake, Monkfish, Dover Sole, Lemon Sole, Megrim, Witch, Brill, Turbot, Halibut, Dogfish, Skates, Rays, John Dory, Bass, Ling, Catfish, and Redfish
  • White fish are divided into two types round and flat.
  • Large round white fish such as Cod and Coley are usually sold in steaks, fillets, or cutlets.
  • The small round species such as Whiting and Haddock are usually sold in fillets.
  • With flat fish, the larger species such as Halibut and Turbot are sold whole in fillets and as steaks
  • Smaller flat fish like Plaice and Sole are usually sold whole, trimmed, or filleted.

Oil Rich Fish

  • Including Herring, Mackerel, Pilchard, Sprat, Horse Mackerel, Whitebait, Tuna.
  • Oil-rich fish such as Herring and Mackerel are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which have been shown to have a lowering effect on blood fats; this decreases the chance of blood vessels clogging up with cholesterol.
  • Oil-rich fish is also a good source of vitamins A and D.

Fresh Water Fish

Including Salmon, Trout, Perch, Bass, Bream, Pike, Arctic Char

Then there are;

Shellfish (Molluscs and Crustaceans)

Including Clams, Cockles, Whelks, Periwinkles, Mussel, Oyster, Lobster, Crab, prawns, Crayfish, Scallops, Sea Urchins, Shrimp, Squid, Octopus, Cuttlefish


Always ask for assistance when selecting your fish and shellfish especially if you are not sure how it should be prepared and cooked your fishmonger should be happy to prepare fresh fish for you in exactly the way you want, if what you want is not available, species of the same type can always be substituted and once again a good fishmonger can help you out.

We should be eating at least two portions of fish a week including one of oily fish. Fish and shellfish are good sources of a variety of vitamins and minerals, and oily fish is particularly rich in omega 3 fatty acids. But if we want to make sure there are enough fish to eat now, and in the future, we need to start thinking about the choices we make when we choose which fish we eat.

Anyway, enough of all that let’s get to the main point of what we hope will be a weekly or fortnightly part of our blog;

Catch of the Day is; Gilthead Bream (Dorade, Royal Bream)

Of the many breams you can buy, this one is somewhat exceptional; it is named after the little gold spot you will see on its forehead.

In France, it’s the much sought after Dorade and in Greece, the Tsipoura, and it is a high-priced luxury food.

In the UK Gilthead Bream (also known as Royal Bream) can be found all around the shores, but mainly on the south coast of Wales and it feeds mainly on shellfish.

Giltheads are successfully farmed in the Mediterranean, giving year round convenience in steady sizes from 300 grams to 1 kilogram.

With its rose-pink opaque flesh, the recognition of Gilthead Bream continues to become trendy as a rather sweeter tasting alternative to Sea Bass, and it may be cooked the same way as Bass and the other Breams.

Buying

Gilthead Bream is usually sold whole or as fillets, ask your fishmonger to remove the scales for you; you can use instead sea bream, red snapper or sea bass if you can’t find Gilthead bream.

Storing

Put in the refrigerator as soon as you can after buying and use within a 1 day, or you can freeze them for up to three months.

Preparing and Cooking

All bream have a juicy and excellent flesh that is perfect for grilling, baking, poaching, and pan frying.

It is especially appreciated by chefs because it has a succulent, solid flesh and only a few easily removed bones. These characteristics make it suitable not only for a wide range of soups and stews, but as an epicurean dish when served whole, either grilled, pan seared, or baked.

It is by tradition used in Mediterranean dishes such as bouillabaisse and couscous.

Catch of the Day, Mackerel


Cooking fish is straightforward, if you just keep to a few basic rules you will serve up dishes to vie with the best of restaurants. It is suggested that we eat at least three or more servings of fish a week, since the experts have proved that if you eat more fish you are less likely to suffer from heart disease and cancer. The fat in fish is called omega-3, an essential fatty acid which keeps our blood from getting sticky and so reduces the probability of having a stroke.

Maureen and I well, we just like fish and shellfish for its handiness, ease of cooking, taste and if it’s good for us well, that’s a bonus!

Fish and seafood is available to buy fresh, frozen, or cured, you can buy it whole, filleted or cut into steaks, your fishmonger or supermarket fish counter should stock a large choice of each of the groups of seafood there are 3 main groups of fish;

White Sea Fish

  • White Fish, including Cod, Haddock, Plaice, Whiting, Pollack, Pout (Pouting. Bib), Saithe (Coley), Hake, Monkfish, Dover Sole, Lemon Sole, Megrim, Witch, Brill, Turbot, Halibut, Dogfish, Skates, Rays, John Dory, Bass, Ling, Catfish, and Redfish
  • White fish are divided into two types round and flat.
  • Large round white fish such as Cod and Coley are usually sold in steaks, fillets, or cutlets.
  • The small round species such as Whiting and Haddock are usually sold in fillets.
  • With flat fish, the larger species such as Halibut and Turbot are sold whole in fillets and as steaks
  • Smaller flat fish like Plaice and Sole are usually sold whole, trimmed, or filleted.

Oil Rich Fish

  • Including Herring, Mackerel, Pilchard, Sprat, Horse Mackerel, Whitebait, Tuna.
  • Oil-rich fish such as Herring and Mackerel are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which have been shown to have a lowering effect on blood fats; this decreases the chance of blood vessels clogging up with cholesterol.
  • Oil-rich fish is also a good source of vitamins A and D.

Fresh Water Fish

Including Salmon, Trout, Perch, Bass, Bream, Pike, Arctic Char

Then there are; Shellfish (Molluscs and Crustaceans)

Including Clams, Cockles, Whelks, Periwinkles, Mussel, Oyster, Lobster, Crab, prawns, Crayfish, Scallops, Sea Urchins, Shrimp, Squid, Octopus, Cuttlefish

You know that you can always ask for help when choosing your fish and shellfish especially if you are not sure how it should be prepared and cooked.

Your fishmonger should be happy to prepare fresh fish for you in exactly the way you want, if what you want is not available, species of the same type can always be substituted and once again a good fishmonger can help you out.

We should be eating at least two servings of fish a week including one of oily fish. Fish and shellfish are excellent sources of a range of vitamins; minerals, and essential fatty acids, furthermore oily fish is especially loaded in omega 3 fatty acids.

However if we would like to make sure there are sufficient fish to eat now, and in the future, we must start thinking about the choices we make when we decide which fish we eat and your local fishmonger can also help with that, a good fishmonger will always know where the product he sells comes from and all the fishmongers, fishermen and chefs I know put sustainability at the top of their to-do list.

Anyway, enough of all that let’s get to the main point of what we hope will be a weekly or fortnightly part of our blog;

Catch of the Day, Mackerel

Best UK Season Is; May, June, July, August, September, October. With its shining, silver belly, and sparkling blue-grey stripes, the mackerel is a remarkable fish, almost flamboyant.

A great summertime favourite in Devon and Cornwall, Tony the head barman at the Bowd Inn used to go beach casting in Sidmouth in his time off and brought freshly caught mackerel back almost daily, Mmm Happy days.

Did you know that the mackerel is Britain’s only bona fide tropical inshore species, a close relative of the tuna so why not use it instead of Tuna for some of your recipes?

Mackerel isn’t a daintily flavoured fish and its intensity doesn’t always offer itself well to a straightforward ‘lemon and herbs’ pairing. Nonetheless given the right care, it is an incredibly moist, aromatic fish that makes a reasonably priced and very nourishing meal.

The mackerel is sea fish that swims in extremely great shoals, the species “Scomber scombrus” is a common fish in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean waters, a number of other varieties are found in the Indo-Pacific and are an essential food source in Thailand and the Philippines.

Mackerel has been a dependably popular fish throughout European history the Romans used mackerel to make garum, a fermented fish sauce similar to those indispensable to Thai and Vietnamese cooking today.

Records show that the mackerel has been extensively consumed in the United Kingdom for hundreds of years, according to his diary; Samuel Pepys breakfasted on mackerel on 30th May 1660 and in Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management (1861) features the recipe Fennel Sauce for Mackerel.

Health professionals advocate eating at least one serving of oily fish, such as mackerel, each week, Mackerel is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, and vitamin B12.

I myself believe that Mackerel is a frequently under valued fish, you know we are very lucky in this country to be surrounded by the sea, and have access to a truly plentiful supply of this species and with careful management of this fishery there’s no reason this shouldn’t keep on being so.
In fact thousands of tonnes of Mackerel are landed in British ports every year and what makes it even better to know is that Mackerel is fished in a controlled and sustainable way.
Plus and this is a big plus it’s flavoursome, inexpensive and has immense health benefits (rich in Omega 3s), just what the doctor ordered really!

Buying Catch of the Day, Mackerel

Look for mackerel with glossy bodies and brilliant eyes. They should have a firm feeling and be rigid; fresh mackerel won’t droop if held horizontally by the head, the freshest fish are liable to be found in good fishmongers or markets, subsequent to buying your mackerel be sure to keep it cool until you get home, when shopping for fish fresh or frozen we always use an insulated bag with 2 or 3 of those ice inserts.

Storing Catch of the Day, Mackerel

Oily fish go off faster than white fish and mackerel is best eaten on the day you buy it or if kept chilled the day after, you can also freeze it very successfully. Put your fish and/or shellfish in the fridge as soon as possible after purchase and use within a day, or freeze for up to three months.

When you bring it back from the fishmonger, unwrap, and rinse under cold water, pat dry with paper towel and place in an airtight container. Store in the coldest part of the refrigerator for best flavour, texture, and nutritional value, store fresh seafood no longer than two days before use, for best quality, it’s best to use fresh seafood in its fresh state.

If it’s necessary to freeze the fish, freeze it quickly and use it as soon as possible.

Preparing and Cooking Catch of the Day, Mackerel

  • Ask your fishmonger to gut the fish, and then when you have got it back home wash under cold running water and pat dry before cooking.
  • Grilling (Broiling), Baking, Barbecuing, or Pan Frying are superb cooking methods we like ours simply Baked or Pan-Fried.
  • To check if your Mackerel is cooked, just slit the fish at it’s thickest part with a small knife, the flesh should appear just opaque but still moist.
  • Owing to mackerel’s richness, cream or butter based sauces are best avoided.
  • Spices work well, as does matching with something sharp, Gooseberry or Rhubarb sauces are traditional accompaniments, or you could try cooking it with other citrus flavours such as grapefruit or oranges.

Try my recipe and Others on MyDish

Other Links

Catch of the Day, Black Bream, Porgy, or Sea Bream


The black bream or as its known down in the West country the Porgy or Sea Bream is a splendid looking fish with a bright charcoal grey/silvery skin

Cooking fish is straightforward, if you just keep to a few basic rules you will serve up dishes to vie with the best of restaurants. It is suggested that we eat at least three or more servings of fish a week, since the experts have proved that if you eat more fish you are less likely to suffer from heart disease and cancer. The fat in fish is called omega-3, an essential fatty acid which keeps our blood from getting sticky and so reduces the probability of having a stroke.

Maureen and I well, we just like fish and shellfish for its handiness, ease of cooking, taste and if it’s good for us well, that’s a bonus!

Fish and seafood is available to buy fresh, frozen, or cured, you can buy it whole, filleted or cut into steaks, your fishmonger or supermarket fish counter should stock a large choice of each of the groups of seafood there are 3 main groups of fish;

White Sea Fish

  • White Fish, including Cod, Haddock, Plaice, Whiting, Pollack, Pout (Pouting. Bib), Saithe (Coley), Hake, Monkfish, Dover Sole, Lemon Sole, Megrim, Witch, Brill, Turbot, Halibut, Dogfish, Skates, Rays, John Dory, Bass, Ling, Catfish, and Redfish
  • White fish are divided into two types round and flat.
  • Large round white fish such as Cod and Coley are usually sold in steaks, fillets, or cutlets.
  • The small round species such as Whiting and Haddock are usually sold in fillets.
  • With flat fish, the larger species such as Halibut and Turbot are sold whole in fillets and as steaks
  • Smaller flat fish like Plaice and Sole are usually sold whole, trimmed, or filleted.

Oil Rich Fish

  • Including Herring, Mackerel, Pilchard, Sprat, Horse Mackerel, Whitebait, Tuna.
  • Oil-rich fish such as Herring and Mackerel are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which have been shown to have a lowering effect on blood fats; this decreases the chance of blood vessels clogging up with cholesterol.
  • Oil-rich fish is also a good source of vitamins A and D.

Fresh Water Fish

Including Salmon, Trout, Perch, Bass, Bream, Pike, Arctic Char

Then there are; Shellfish (Molluscs and Crustaceans)

Including Clams, Cockles, Whelks, Periwinkles, Mussel, Oyster, Lobster, Crab, prawns, Crayfish, Scallops, Sea Urchins, Shrimp, Squid, Octopus, Cuttlefish

You know that you can always ask for help when choosing your fish and shellfish especially if you are not sure how it should be prepared and cooked.

Your fishmonger should be happy to prepare fresh fish for you in exactly the way you want, if what you want is not available, species of the same type can always be substituted and once again a good fishmonger can help you out.

We should be eating at least two servings of fish a week including one of oily fish. Fish and shellfish are excellent sources of a range of vitamins; minerals, and essential fatty acids, furthermore oily fish is especially loaded in omega 3 fatty acids.

However if we would like to make sure there are sufficient fish to eat now, and in the future, we must start thinking about the choices we make when we decide which fish we eat and your local fishmonger can also help with that, a good fishmonger will always know where the product he sells comes from and all the fishmongers, fishermen and chefs I know put sustainability at the top of their to-do list.

Anyway, enough of all that let’s get to the main point of what we hope will be a weekly or fortnightly part of our blog;

Bream, Black, Porgy, or Sea Bream

The black bream or as its known down in the West country the Porgy or Sea Bream is a splendid looking fish with a bright charcoal grey/silvery skin with allusions of pink and gold in colour with a sweet solid flesh the sweetness comes from it’s diet which is for the most part small shellfish.

It is usually available all year round but when caught close to British shores between the summer months of June to September is when it is at its peak, and is mouth-watering tasty when cooked and eaten whole after being stuffed and then baked, or as fillets, when talking with other chef’s a lot of them recommend this fish and think it very undervalued.

Buying Bream, Black, Porgy, or Sea Bream

With its pink opaque flesh, the attractiveness of Black Bream continues to grow it has a slightly sweeter taste to its alternative the Sea Bass, and can be cooked in the same way as Bass and other varieties of Bream.

Usually sold whole or as fillets, ask your fishmonger to remove the scales for you as these are rather tough.

You can substitute sea bream for red snapper or sea bass if you can’t find it and please try to go for Black bream caught with Rod and Line or Gillnet as a more sustainable option.

The Cornish, North Wales and Sussex Sea fisheries committees have the finest supervision for black bream and are at present the most sustainable locations to source from.

Storing Bream, Black, Porgy, or Sea Bream

Put your fish and/or shellfish in the fridge as soon as possible after purchase and use within a day, or freeze for up to three months.

When you bring it back from the fishmonger, unwrap, and rinse under cold water, pat dry with paper towel and place in an airtight container.

Store in the coldest part of the refrigerator for best flavour, texture, and nutritional value, store fresh seafood no longer than two days before use, for best quality, it’s best to use fresh seafood in its fresh state.

If it’s necessary to freeze the fish, freeze it quickly and use it as soon as possible.

Preparing and Cooking Bream, Black, Porgy, or Sea Bream

Prepare and cook as for Sea Bass, we like to cook the fillets in the Spanish way in a moderate oven on a bed of thinly sliced potatoes, onion, and garlic and splashed with white wine and lots of olive oil.

Black Bream Fillets

Catch of the Day, Plaice


Cooking fish is straightforward, if you just keep to a few basic rules you will serve up dishes to vie with the best of restaurants. It is suggested that we eat at least three or more servings of fish a week, since the experts have proved that if you eat more fish you are less likely to suffer from heart disease and cancer. The fat in fish is called omega-3, an essential fatty acid which keeps our blood from getting sticky and so reduces the probability of having a stroke.

Maureen and I well, we just like fish and shellfish for its handiness, ease of cooking, taste and if it’s good for us well, that’s a bonus!

Fish and seafood is available to buy fresh, frozen, or cured, you can buy it whole, filleted or cut into steaks, your fishmonger or supermarket fish counter should stock a large choice of each of the groups of seafood there are 3 main groups of fish;

White Sea Fish

  • White Fish, including Cod, Haddock, Plaice, Whiting, Pollack, Pout (Pouting. Bib), Saithe (Coley), Hake, Monkfish, Dover Sole, Lemon Sole, Megrim, Witch, Brill, Turbot, Halibut, Dogfish, Skates, Rays, John Dory, Bass, Ling, Catfish, and Redfish
  • White fish are divided into two types round and flat.
  • Large round white fish such as Cod and Coley are usually sold in steaks, fillets, or cutlets.
  • The small round species such as Whiting and Haddock are usually sold in fillets.
  • With flat fish, the larger species such as Halibut and Turbot are sold whole in fillets and as steaks
  • Smaller flat fish like Plaice and Sole are usually sold whole, trimmed, or filleted.

Oil Rich Fish

  • Including Herring, Mackerel, Pilchard, Sprat, Horse Mackerel, Whitebait, Tuna.
  • Oil-rich fish such as Herring and Mackerel are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which have been shown to have a lowering effect on blood fats; this decreases the chance of blood vessels clogging up with cholesterol.
  • Oil-rich fish is also a good source of vitamins A and D.

Fresh Water Fish

Including Salmon, Trout, Perch, Bass, Bream, Pike, Arctic Char

Then there are; Shellfish (Molluscs and Crustaceans)

Including Clams, Cockles, Whelks, Periwinkles, Mussel, Oyster, Lobster, Crab, prawns, Crayfish, Scallops, Sea Urchins, Shrimp, Squid, Octopus, Cuttlefish

You know that you can always ask for help when choosing your fish and shellfish especially if you are not sure how it should be prepared and cooked.

Your fishmonger should be happy to prepare fresh fish for you in exactly the way you want, if what you want is not available, species of the same type can always be substituted and once again a good fishmonger can help you out.

We should be eating at least two servings of fish a week including one of oily fish. Fish and shellfish are excellent sources of a range of vitamins; minerals, and essential fatty acids, furthermore oily fish is especially loaded in omega 3 fatty acids.

However if we would like to make sure there are sufficient fish to eat now, and in the future, we must start thinking about the choices we make when we decide which fish we eat and your local fishmonger can also help with that, a good fishmonger will always know where the product he sells comes from and all the fishmongers, fishermen and chefs I know put sustainability at the top of their to-do list.

Anyway, enough of all that let’s get to the main point of what we hope will be a weekly or fortnightly part of our blog;

Catch of the Day, Plaice

The unassuming plaice has been popular in the UK for a long time, and even though it is for the most part ignored in higher end cookery, it is hardly ever on menus of the leading restaurants.

This maybe due to its historical links as food for the poor, or because of the suggestion of bland deep fried breaded plaice served in pubs and motorway service stations across the country.

In our opinion plaice is a superb fish possessing a fine, moist texture and subtle but distinct taste and cooked the right way it makes a simple, healthy, economical, and absolutely yummy lunch or supper.

Plaice is available throughout the year though the quality varies throughout the year.

From summer through to midwinter outside the spawning season, it is by and large much fleshier and tastier.

During the Victorian era, plaice was plentiful and cheap and up to 30 million plaice were sold each year at Billingsgate Market plus along with herring was a mainstay of the diet of London’s poorest inhabitants.

Plaice is well-liked all over Europe, with Britain and Denmark being the chief consumers, followed by Sweden, France, and Spain.

Buying Plaice

Look for bright orange spots and clear protruding eyes these are the signs of fresh plaice.

Storing Plaice

Put your fish and/or shellfish in the fridge as soon as possible after purchase and use within a day, or freeze for up to three months.

When you bring it back from the fishmonger, unwrap, and rinse under cold water, pat dry with paper towel and place in an airtight container.

Store in the coldest part of the refrigerator for best flavour, texture, and nutritional value, store fresh seafood no longer than two days before use, for best quality, it’s best to use fresh seafood in its fresh state.

If it’s necessary to freeze the fish, freeze it quickly and use it as soon as possible.

Preparing and Cooking Plaice

Plaice is a very versatile fish that reacts perfectly to grilling, baking, poaching, and frying and you can always use it instead of soles such as Lemon, Megrim, and Witch.

For the best flavour, cook plaice on the bone.

Our favourite quick way to cook it is to fillet it (your fishmonger will do this) and then lightly flour the fillets and fry them for a short time on each side in a little oil and serve with a pat of garlic butter, prepared by mixing butter with a little crushed garlic and chopped parsley it’s so tasty.

Catch of the Day, John Dory (St. Peter’s Fish)


Bloomin Ugly Sod

Cooking fish is straightforward, if you just keep to a few basic rules you will serve up dishes to vie with the best of restaurants. It is suggested that we eat at least three or more servings of fish a week, since the experts have proved that if you eat more fish you are less likely to suffer from heart disease and cancer. The fat in fish is called omega-3, an essential fatty acid which keeps our blood from getting sticky and so reduces the probability of having a stroke.

Maureen and I well, we just like fish and shellfish for its handiness, ease of cooking, taste and if it’s good for us well, that’s a bonus!

Fish and seafood is available to buy fresh, frozen, or cured, you can buy it whole, filleted or cut into steaks, your fishmonger or supermarket fish counter should stock a large choice of each of the groups of seafood there are 3 main groups of fish;

White Sea Fish

  • White Fish, including Cod, Haddock, Plaice, Whiting, Pollack, Pout (Pouting. Bib), Saithe (Coley), Hake, Monkfish, Dover Sole, Lemon Sole, Megrim, Witch, Brill, Turbot, Halibut, Dogfish, Skates, Rays, John Dory, Bass, Ling, Catfish, and Redfish
  • White fish are divided into two types round and flat.
  • Large round white fish such as Cod and Coley are usually sold in steaks, fillets, or cutlets.
  • The small round species such as Whiting and Haddock are usually sold in fillets.
  • With flat fish, the larger species such as Halibut and Turbot are sold whole in fillets and as steaks
  • Smaller flat fish like Plaice and Sole are usually sold whole, trimmed, or filleted.

Oil Rich Fish

  • Including Herring, Mackerel, Pilchard, Sprat, Horse Mackerel, Whitebait, Tuna.
  • Oil-rich fish such as Herring and Mackerel are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which have been shown to have a lowering effect on blood fats; this decreases the chance of blood vessels clogging up with cholesterol.
  • Oil-rich fish is also a good source of vitamins A and D.

Fresh Water Fish

Including Salmon, Trout, Perch, Bass, Bream, Pike, Arctic Char

Then there are; Shellfish (Molluscs and Crustaceans)

Including Clams, Cockles, Whelks, Periwinkles, Mussel, Oyster, Lobster, Crab, prawns, Crayfish, Scallops, Sea Urchins, Shrimp, Squid, Octopus, Cuttlefish

You know that you can always ask for help when choosing your fish and shellfish especially if you are not sure how it should be prepared and cooked.

Your fishmonger should be happy to prepare fresh fish for you in exactly the way you want, if what you want is not available, species of the same type can always be substituted and once again a good fishmonger can help you out.

We should be eating at least two servings of fish a week including one of oily fish. Fish and shellfish are excellent sources of a range of vitamins; minerals, and essential fatty acids, furthermore oily fish is especially loaded in omega 3 fatty acids.

However if we would like to make sure there are sufficient fish to eat now, and in the future, we must start thinking about the choices we make when we decide which fish we eat and your local fishmonger can also help with that, a good fishmonger will always know where the product he sells comes from and all the fishmongers, fishermen and chefs I know put sustainability at the top of their to-do list.

Anyway, enough of all that let’s get to the main point of what we hope will be a weekly or fortnightly part of our blog;

John Dory, (St. Peter’s Fish) 

I think that this is one of the most excellent tasting fish in the sea, John Dory is called St Peter’s fish in many languages, as St Peter was supposed to have taken hold of it, leaving the impression of his fingers on the fish’s side, as you can see in the photo’s. But this legend is also shared with the haddock!
The best season for John Dory is from September to June with June and August being the spawning season May is just about the best month for the sweetest plumpest fish.
John Dory is generally caught as by-catch in trawls so it is always best to avoid the immature fish (less than 25 to 35cm). There are some fishermen who do specifically target John Dory “The Crystal Sea” is one of them probably the best in British waters.

The label John Dory is believed to have come from the French “Jaune Dorée”, yellow and gold, and that is an acceptable description of its skin colours.

While you can buy whole John Dory cleaned with the head on we prefer to buy the fillets of larger fish so that they are more sustainable.

I have to say though that the John Dory, is not an appealing fish, it has no scales and is quite ugly however the white, boneless, meaty flesh is firm, sweet and very flavoursome and it can be cooked in a variety of ways: grill, sauté or poach it.
It’s well-liked by chefs because it goes well with a wide range of ingredients and flavourings and the bones from its head make an excellent stock.

I think that if you are partial to sole, brill, and turbot then you’ll like John Dory.

These characteristic fish are common in northern waters and may be found in estuaries and harbours, from the shoreline down to depths of about 150m, and they frequently reach sizes in excess of half a metre in length.

Buying John Dory, (St. Peter’s Fish)

Best British Season Is;
• April to May is when John Dory is really at its plumpest and sweetest.
• Avoid it in June to August that is when it is Breeding/Spawning.
• September to March is when it is at is most available.

  • John Dory is sold mainly as fillets but can be bought whole.
  • When buying whole, look for bright skin, bulging eyes, firm flesh, and a pleasant sea smell.
  • Fillets should also be glistening with no brown markings, have a pleasing sea smell, and not leak water.

Storing John Dory, (St. Peter’s Fish)

  • Put your fish and/or shellfish in the fridge as soon as possible after purchase and use within a day, or freeze for up to three months.
  • When you bring it back from the fishmonger, unwrap, and rinse under cold water, pat dry with paper towel and place in an airtight container.
  • Store in the coldest part of the refrigerator for best flavour, texture, and nutritional value, store fresh seafood no longer than two days before use, for best quality, it’s best to use fresh seafood in its fresh state.
  • If it’s necessary to freeze the fish, freeze it quickly and use it as soon as possible.

Preparing and Cooking John Dory, (St. Peter’s Fish)

The subtle flavours of John Dory require a strong partner so why not try blending generous amounts of coriander and garlic in a food processor with one part lemon juice to two parts extra virgin olive oil and drizzle the mixture over the pan-fried fillets. Or place half a lemon into the roasting tray, then squeeze it over the roasted fillet before serving the juice will be pleasingly sweet and sticky.

The John Dory’s nice firm flesh does not easily flake apart when it is fried, making it the just what the doctor ordered for that most British of our popular meals, “Fish and Chips”.
Just beat up a light batter, we always use sparkling water for our fish batter but you could use ice-cold beer, add just enough water or beer to the flour for the batter to have the consistency of double cream.

Heat the oil thoroughly, and then deep-fry the batter coated fish until crisp, golden brown and bubbling.

Alternatives to John Dory are; Red Gurnard, Grey Gurnard, Red Mullet and Seabass

Whatt’s in Season This May


Well what a wet start to the month it seems it has been raining for the most of April and the start of May so officially we have a drought and here in London we have city wide hosepipe bans, but never mind the rain is doing some good somewhere!

As the weather gets warmer in May, and exquisite British produce can be found in plenty especially large, juicy spears of asparagus which are at their very best and cheap too, when I say asparagus I mean proper English asparagus, not that stuff from Peru or America, which is a bit wishy-washy not that I have anything against overseas asparagus but English is something special and I like the short period in which we can get it, and Jersey royals the new potatoes with attitude are mouth-watering sprinkled with sea salt flakes, black pepper and golden jersey butter melted and poured over them.

For us (Maureen and meself) May is the start of our summer and as the days get longer and warmer we look forward to barbeques, picnics and lunches in the garden and the parks here in London, we always look forward to the new season asparagus delicious served cold with a nice tasty vinaigrette, we take pleasure in the delicate and unsophisticated texture of sea trout lightly poached in white wine with herbs or pan-fried with butter, lemon and capers we also look forward to the new season parsley, carrots, raspberries and the first of the cherries.

I remember when we were at The Whitewell Hotel, The Willow Tree Restaurant and The Great Tree Hotel we always competed with other hotels and restaurants who would be the first to serve the first of British asparagus, strawberries and Jersey royal potatoes, at Whitewell we almost always won and the same can be said for the Willow Tree but down in Devon it was always a real competition with Gidleigh Park and I am glum to say they won more than we did, however it is still always nice to get the first of this seasons new fruit and veg with such glorious flavours.

May is indisputably the time for new vegetables, and at this time there are so many that get going at the end of April that are either just coming into season or are in full swing it seems we are bursting at the seams with seasonal luxury this month so you must try to mix and match sumptuous asparagus, tender peas and spicy watercress to make mouth-watering salads and soups.

There are not surprisingly, other vegetables that we can look forward to see this month; New Season Carrots, Mint, Wild Mushrooms, Nettles, Parsley, Radishes, Rocket, Samphire, Sorrel, Spinach and Watercress are all on offer outdoor grown salad leaves of all types come along, as do Radishes, Broad Beans, Spinach, Broccoli, Courgettes, all start to appear this month too, English tomatoes will start to become quite evident and get better as May fades into June.

The summer vegetables will be starting but the British fruit will still be a little limited, but the first of the strawberries will be appearing. We will also begin to find that the choice of meat and fish becoming more plentiful and that the farmhouse cheeses are at their best.


Fish and Seafood at Its Best This Month

May has been a bit of a challenge what with strong winds at the beginning of the month and now more winds this week netting and landing the catch has become a bit more difficult of a task for the day boats and the same can be said for Scotland joyfully, what’s being landed is truly top-quality produce.

Hake is plentiful and paying a visit to the Ajax Fishing boat will let you know just how they are doing.

Wild Black Bream is being landed along the South coast and as I try to tell everyone this is much, much better than the farmed bream on offer by some fishmongers and supermarkets, deal with it like bass and you will not be let down

There is some superb fresh fish about so keep a lookout for Sea bass, Turbot and Monkfish, Salmon, Sea Trout, River Trout are at their best, Dover sole and Lobster are coming back after their low season, and Cornish crab and other shellfish are simply superb.

Line-Caught Mackerel is luscious, tasty, and plentiful right now, we are seeing quite good sized fish, which makes for some superb dishes whether you’re eating at home with your family or cooking for a few friends.

The first sardines should soon be appearing at the fishmongers (for those in Pimlico look at the Cornish Chins) so get the barbecue out and start grilling, even though they have always been popular with the Spanish and Portuguese they have never really caught on in this country. We all eat them quite cheerfully while on holiday but it seems when we get back to our own patch, if they do not come in tins then we don’t seem to want to know them, it’s a shame really as when they are fresh they are very yummy. Drizzled with a good quality olive oil and grilled till the skin turns crispy, served with a salad of tossed leaves with a hint of lemon juice and some homemade crusty bread what could be better?

May is great for buying Brown Crab, Haddock, Lemon Sole, Langoustines, Sardines, Sea Bass, and Sea Trout.

A new online consumer guide to sustainable seafood has been launched today. The Good Fish Guide at www.goodfishguide.org.uk gives straightforward advice and cooking recipe ideas to make buying sustainable and varied seafood much simpler. The MCS Pocket Good Fish Guide has also been updated and now includes a credit card-sized guide to buying fish including top buying tips and questions to ask the fishmonger or at the fish counter.


Fruit at It’s Best This Month

Rhubarb and form abroad, melons such as Cantaloupe, Charentais and Gallia and cherries and apricots.

British Fruit coming in now are Strawberries from Kent, Devon, and Cornwall May customarily sees the beginning of the English strawberry season; we have always related them with much later in the year more like late June, July and August but we now get tasty early strawberries, another fruit that surprises me at this time of year is the cherry, imported of course but once these and strawberries appear in the shops then you instinctively know summer is just around the corner.

Late May also sees the first flush of summer berries, gooseberries, red currants, black currants and probably even raspberries, now that’s something to look forward to isn’t it?


Meat, Poultry and Game at Its Best This Month

All the regular visitors are available however it is the new season lamb you want to keep a lookout for and the outdoor reared pork, Welsh Black Beef is another that is beginning to show it on the butchers slab more and more.


Vegetables at Their Best This Month

Asparagus, spinach, radishes, spring greens and purple sprouting broccoli, cucumbers, primo cabbages and cauliflowers.

Vegetables just appearing are: Main crop carrots, new potatoes especially Jersey Royals, and those other tasty varieties such as those from Pembrokeshire, and Anglesey, new season turnips, young tender broad beans and tender sweet cucumbers, plus that tasty peppery arugula/rocket. It is probably your last chance to buy Leeks, parsnips and kale.

And don’t forget the herbs basil, chervil, chives; dill, elderflower, mint, nasturtium, parsley (curly), parsley (flat-leaf), and sorrel are all now becoming widely available.


Dates for Your Diary

  • 19 May – 27 July, Torch Relay – the torch will be passed around every part of Britain and will never be more than 5 miles away from 80 per cent of the population. To see when the torch is coming near you [click here].
  • 22 May, RHS Chelsea Flower Show  The world’s largest flower show returns to London for a horticultural festival offering modern, inventive gardens and trade stands offering new products for RHS members and the public alike
  • 2 June – 5 June 2012: Diamond Jubilee extended weekend.
  • 27 July – 12 August 2012: British Food Fortnight (the same dates as the Olympic Games).
  • 3 July – 8 July, RHS Hampton Court Flower Show, come and visit the stunningly creative gardens and floral displays at the world’s largest annual flower show. There will be artisan crafts and home-wares as well as gifts for the green-fingered in the Country Living Pavilion.
    Click here for details of the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show
  • The Olympiad concludes with the London Festival 2012, which runs from 21 June to 9 September
  • Country Living Christmas Fair London – 7 to 11 November 2012
    Come and meet more than 400 exhibitors for an inspirational shopping experience, in London’s Business Design Centre, in Islington. All you need to make the perfect country Christmas. Tickets available from June 2012. Click here for details


    LOCAL SHOPPING, PIMLICO, WESTMINSTER, VICTORIA

    Tachbrook Street Market

    Address: Tachbrook Street, SW1

    Trading hours: Monday to Saturday: 8am to 6pm

    Nearest tube: Victoria or Pimlico

    Bus: 2, 24, 36, 185, 436

    Open every day except Sunday, the number of stalls in this ancient street market increases as the week moves forwards, the market offers a wide array of goods from home furnishings and gardening equipment, to fruit and veg, fresh meat, fish, shellfish, bread and cakes.

    Managed by Westminster Artisans Ltd on behalf of Westminster Council it is set to be a community hub thanks to its dynamic varied collection of stalls with scrumptious international hot food the paella is superb, fresh food, chocolate, cheese, olive oil, bread, funky fashion, and lots more.

    Discover different stalls on different days it is an energetic market and we just love buying our fresh food at the market, fruit, vegetables, fish, and shellfish and this market is very close to us, and close enough to other shops such as; Tesco’s, Sainsbury’s, Rippon Cheese and some wonderful delis such as the Spanish Art Of Tapas, there are Italian delis, and Portuguese were we can pick up anything else for our cooking sessions.

    It is also a superb lunch destination with loads of small specialist restaurants around and in the market itself something marvellous has happened it started last year when the market was refurbished and placed under the management of Westminster Artisans Ltd, Pimlico has welcomed the street food transformation and now you can by all the street food your heart desires from falafel to paella

    Below you will see just what some of the stalls have to offer, we do hope to increase our list during the coming months and if you are a stallholder please email us with your details we welcome all the information we can get.


    LOCAL CARBOOT SALE, CAPITAL CARBOOT,

    PIMLICO ACADEMY, CHICHESTER STREET ENTRANCE, LUPUS STREET, LONDON, SW1V 3AT

    Central London’s only indoor and outdoor all year round carboot sale, as seen in Timeout, Elle, I-D, Le Cool, and Emerald Street

    Capital Carboot Sale runs every Sunday (except Easter, Christmas and New Year, please check availability during these times). Indoor stall holders should arrive at 9:30am if coming in a vehicle to unload. Unloading vehicles will not be allowed on site after 10:00am, outdoor stall holders without vehicles should arrive 10:15am, outdoor stall holders with vehicles to remain in the sale should arrive 10:45am. Early bird buyers entry is 10:15am (£5), Public entry is 11:30am until 3:30pm (£1).

    You can find them at The Pimlico Academy, Lupus Street (Please use the Chichester Street entrance) Pimlico, SW1V 3AT.

    The nearest tubes and trains are Pimlico (2 minutes walk) and Victoria (5 minutes walk), and on bus routes 360, C10, 24, 2, 36, 185, 436

    You can book a stall at http://www.capitalcarboot.com/ or 0845 0943 871

    Capital Carboot strongly advises buyers to use public transport when attending; parking is limited in the surrounding areas and a priority for local residents.

    If you like to find good genuine bargains then you have to head to Pimlico for the best of car boot sales, Capital Carboot is attracting a young crowd, several selling vintage fashion and collectables so get there early to bag the best deals. This London based car boot sale is so much better than your average London car boot sale, it was set up last year by ex-stylist and personal shopper Faye Marriott and the happening is further encouraged with Twitter and Facebook, an element not often found with carboot events, this means that there is a much younger gathering of people but don’t worry there is still plenty for the more traditional car-booters and there has been sightings of celebrities searching for that special bargain.

    Oh if you like the carboot on Facebook entry for buyers is free of charge check on Facebook for the password.

    You can now buy fresh fruit and veg here


    Our Local Greengrocer

    John Bussey’s Stall on Tachbrook Street Market

    imageThey only buy British produce when possible and in season, the family have had a stall on the market for 80 years now and they believe very strongly in supplying the best quality produce that is in season and at its best, they always seem to be the first to obtain the great British produce such as jersey royal potatoes, British asparagus, British soft fruits, when visiting look out for good sprouts, cauliflowers, leeks and cox’s apples; English berries and lettuce are available in season.

    In fact they have all the fruit, veg and herbs you might want and so much better than the local supermarket’s offerings.

    there were Apples English Braeburns and Bramleys, Artichokes, British Asparagus, English Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Courgettes, English King Edward Potatoes, Jersey Royal Potatoes, Fennel, Field Mushrooms, Leeks, Mache (Lambs Lettuce), Parsnips, Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Radish, Watercress, you can plainly see that all of what was available was in first-rate condition. He has also obtained some of the finest tasting British Strawberries and Raspberries we have had in a long time

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    Vegetable/Fruit/Herb of the Week

    Spinach

    We like Spinach especially baby spinach which we use in our spring salads and I often have smoked haddock served on a bed of wilted spinach with a poached egg.

    Bright with colour, taste and with lots of lovely vitamins, perfect young spinach leaves are to be had right now in the months of March, April, May and June. Spinach is available all year round, but the freshest, most tender spinach is mainly simply obtainable in the spring.

    The unique, slightly iron flavour of spinach makes it something of a ‘love it or hate it’ food

    Spinach is renowned for its nutritional virtues, and while it does contain high levels of iron and calcium, the occurrence of oxalic acid binds these minerals in a way that cannot be absorbed by the body, so you can pretty much forget the iron and calcium content in spinach but still Spinach is great for you Vitamins A and C are here in considerable amounts, as are several antioxidants and folic acid.

    Buying Spinach

    As you know Spinach has a high water content and so it shrinks to approximately a quarter of its size when cooked so take into consideration that you will need to buy lots of it, pick dark green, thin stemmed leaves with no signs of wilting or yellowing.

    Storing Spinach

    Keep it in a plastic bag in the salad/vegetable drawer of the fridge for three to four days

    Preparing and Cooking Spinach

    Give the leaves a good wash in a sinkful of tepid water to get rid of any traces of sand, dirt or grit (if bought from a farmers’ market) or those nasty sprayed on chemicals (if bought from a supermarket), change the water two or three times, drain, or do what we do dry it in a salad spinner and if the leaves are to be eaten raw cut out those thick stems.

    When cooking Spinach you can just steam it with just the water clinging to the leaves after washing, give it 5 to 10 minutes in a large saucepan.

    Sautéing and microwaving are also good cooking methods as is just wilting it for a salad we like to use hot bacon fat for spinach and bacon salad.

    Raw spinach is superb in salads and, as with watercress; it has a natural empathy with bacon.

    Spinach also teams up beautifully with smoked haddock and with cheese, particularly feta.

    In French cuisine, the term “à la Florentine” indicates dishes featuring spinach.


    Our Local Butcher, Freemans (Butchers) 117 Lupus Street

    Trading Hours: Open: Mon to Sat 7.30am – 5.30pm Closed: Sun and Bank holidays

    imageJohn Freeman owner of Freemans butchers supply high quality meat to the local residents of Pimlico and Westminster indeed people travel from all over London to purchase their meat from this traditional high street butcher.

    He says that they are passionate about their product and are committed to ensuring quality meat at the best possible price; we aim for excellence with the right product, right price, and right quality 100% of the time.

    Their service level quality is kept up by constant staff development, and through customer feedback.

    John constantly has superb meat and can get almost anything you want if given enough notice

    Butchers Choice

    Spring Lamb

    Available all year round.

    Best British Season Is; May, June, September, October, November

    Cheap imported lamb from New Zealand may be available all year round, but in season, British lamb is hard to beat.

    In May and June, lamb is at its most tender but as the season progresses the flavour develops.

    Spring lamb is fantastic for roasting simply with garlic and herbs; Autumn lamb is great when given a spicier, more adventurous treatment.

    Lamb is produced just about everywhere in Britain, and even though a good number of people believe the Welsh new season lamb is the best, I think that new season lamb from the Fylde and Morecambe Bay is superior.

    We get hold of our lamb and mutton from two or three suppliers and all of them know exactly where their lamb comes from and they continuously source from farmers where good animal welfare is a matter of principle and a way of life for the farmer.

    British lamb and mutton is produced to some of the highest welfare standards in the world no growth-promoting hormones are fed to sheep in the United Kingdom and any antibiotics are administered only under veterinary direction.

    Britain’s sheep industry is the envy of the world breeding from livestock and genetics from our native breeds are much sought after by farmers in other countries.

    British lamb and mutton travels less far from farm to shop so regardless of how carbon footprints are calculated it self-evidently has a lower carbon footprint.

    Choosing British lamb and mutton means supporting British farmers whose work helps to keep the British countryside the way we want it to be, no sheep essentially means no countryside

    Buying Lamb and Mutton

    Big supermarkets will source lamb from a number of different farms. Buying lamb from a good butcher’s shop or farmers’ market will give you the opportunity to ask about the source of the lamb, and then buy the same quality produce again if you like it. Look for firm, pinkish meat with creamy white fat.

    Storing Lamb and Mutton

    Lamb can be kept in the fridge for at least a couple of days – the larger the cut the longer the meat will keep. Freezing tends to have a drying effect on meat and so is best used for cuts that will be slow cooked in stews or casseroles, rather than dry-heat methods (grilling, roasting, frying).

    Preparing and Cooking Lamb and Mutton

    The cooking method will be dependent on the cut and recipe. Generally lamb benefits from slightly slower cooking with heat that is more moderate than you would use for beef.

    Trim excess external fat (or ask your butcher to do this) before use. Lamb cooked using dry-heat methods will be more flavourful if served slightly pink. Stews and casseroles will benefit from slow-cooking until no pink remains. When roasting larger cuts, allow the meat to stand for at least 15 minutes after cooking.


    Our Local Fishmonger, Jonathan Norris

    You can find them at:

    Victoria Park, 207 Victoria Park Road, E9 7JN

    Telephone: 0208 525 8999

    And on Tachbrook Street Market, Pitch 1317, Pimlico, London SW1

    Telephone: 0779 907 3060

    Opening Hours; Thurs – 8am – 5.30pm, Fri – 8am – 5.30pm, Sat – 8am – 5.30pm

    Website: Jonathan Norris of Pimlico

    imageJust take a meander through our local market on Tachbrook Street, and eventually you will come across our favourite fishmonger “Jonathan Norris” you will see what he has on display (and what a display) there is all you might ever want from your fishmonger for sale at a extremely affordable prices as well as other fish and shellfish that you don’t normally see on a market stall and furthermore you will notice that the fish is caught from around the UK’s own shores with Scotland and Cornwall dominant.

    Jon is so friendly and a real character and when you speak to him you notice at once that he’s enthusiastic about all things fish, and when you ask him about the fish he has available you become aware that from his response that there’s nothing he and his people don’t know about the produce they sell.

    The fish is always in the best of condition, and as far as I can see always from sustainable sources. He explained to me after I asked him about it that “we take environmental issues very seriously and are continually striving to reduce the negative impact on our beautiful world wherever possible”. I got the feeling that he could even tell you what boat the catch came from.

    This week Jon’s display was as usual a stunning menu of all the best the sea offers, his Wild Black Bream was simply the best we have seen in a long time and Brown Crab, Haddock, Lemon Sole, Langoustines, Sardines, Sea Bass, and Sea Trout along with Sea Urchins, live Lobster, Brill and Dover Soles made it very difficult for us to make a choice.

    There was Cornish Octopus, Plaice from Scotland so plump and sweet, and we chose for our meal this week some beautiful Cornish Whiting so simple to cook with just a little olive oil and butter cooked in the pan seasoned with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon and the served with those fantastic Jersey Royals and divine English asparagus.

    His best fish today was the Wild Salmon caught in the River Esk just superb

    We also bought a superb brown crab so we could make some really tasty sandwiches for lunch.

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    Catch of the Day, Wild Salmon

    Just Click on this Link for the Catch of the Day!


    In The Balcony Garden

    Nothing doing on the balcony, 1st of June is the day set for when they come along to put our new windows in, it maybe that we will get some salads and herbs in this year?


    Recipes for The Month

    Roasted Leg of Spring Lamb with Sage and Thyme

    Sprigs of sage and thyme (you could use rosemary) are inserted into slits in the meat and then you just roast it in the oven what could be easier.

    What a glorious dish, more or less identical to the one Maureen and I used to have at the Bakery Restaurant on the Greek island of Spetses (This restaurant is on the top floor above one of the island’s more popular patisseries).

    We tried it at Wilton Lodge for a dinner party, which was a triumph, so much, so that in the winter/spring of 1992 at Norwood West, Palm Springs it became a great favourite.

    Serves / Makes:       4 to 6 servings

    Prep-Time:                12 minutes

    Cook-Time:               120 minutes

    You Will Need

  • 1 leg of lamb, 3 kilos with the bone in (1 pound of uncooked weight per person)
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of sea salt, we use the sea salt flakes
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 fresh sprigs of sage (3 to 4 inches)
  • 8 fresh sprigs of thyme (3 to 4 inches)

    Method

    Pre-heat oven to 375°F / 190°C / Gasmark 5.

    Season the lamb with the salt and freshly ground black pepper, then rub with the olive oil.

    Score the meat lengthways with four parallel slits, on the top and bottom of the leg.

    Place a sprig of sage and a sprig of thyme in each cut, then place the lamb into to a roasting pan; we sometimes place some vegetables and potatoes underneath the lamb cover lightly with foil and cook for 30 minutes per 450 grams / per pound.

    If you like to serve your lamb quite pink, give it 30 minutes less cooking time, and make sure you baste the lamb at least 3 times while it is cooking.

    About 20 minutes before done, remove the foil if the meat hasn’t browned sufficiently.

    To tell if the lamb is cooked to your fancy, slot in a skewer right into the centre of the joint, remove it, and then push the flat of the skewer against the meat and as the juices runs out, you will see to what extent the meat is cooked.

    The pinker the juices, the rarer the meat, when it is cooked as you like it, remove it to a carving board and keep it in a warm place to rest for 30 minutes.

    Serve with new season vegetables and Jersey Royal potatoes and Enjoy!

    Blackened Cajun Salmon

    Succulent salmon cooked the Cajun way with oodles of flavour and colour a real pleasure to serve to family and guests.

    We love Cajun food and try to make it as authentic as we can, this was a dish we had at the Bayou Seafood Grille in Rancho Mirage and as I was making my notes at the table the chef came out with the recipe already written out for me, I’ve got to say that the food at the Bayou Seafood Grill is superb.

    Serves / Makes:       4 servings

    Prep-Time:                15 minutes

    Cook-Time:               25 minutes

    You Will Need

  • 3 tablespoons, Cajun seasoning, see my recipe on MyDish
  • 4, salmon steaks, or fillets about 180 grams each

    For the Salsa

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, seeded and chopped
  • 1 clove, garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 x 400 gram tin, chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons, freshly chopped coriander

    Method

    Sprinkle the Cajun seasoning on a plate; dip the salmon into the seasoning to coat both sides, set to one side.

    Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a pan and fry the onion, chilli and garlic for about 5 minutes until softened, stir in the chilli powder, tomatoes and chopped coriander, cook gently for 10 minutes or so until the salsa has thickened and reduced season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

    Brush a griddle pan with the remaining oil, heat until smoking and cook the salmon for 3 to 4 minutes each side until golden and cooked.

    Serve and Enjoy, we like it with sautéed potatoes and a mixed salad!

    Notes

    Most new cooks think blackened means burned blackened actually refers to the spices becoming slightly charred and giving the cut of fish this smoky and spicy flavouring If you don’t have a griddle pan use a frying pan.

    Cajun Food originates from the French speaking Acadian or “Cajun” immigrants in the Acadiana region of Louisiana, USA.

    It is often called a country fare and locally grown food dominates with simple preparations. An authentic Cajun food meal is usually a three-pot affair, with the first pot being the main dish, the second to steamed rice, skillet cornbread, or some other grain dish, and the third containing whatever vegetable is plentiful for that years crop.

    Cajun Food/Cuisine was developed out of necessity, the Acadian refugees, farmers reduced to nothing by the British expulsion, had to learn to live off the swampy land they lived in and quickly adapted to the French rustic cuisine with locally grown foods such as rice, crawfish (craw daddy’s), and sugar cane.

    The aromatic vegetables bell pepper, onion, and celery are called by some chefs the holy trinity of Creole and Cajun cuisines. Finely diced and combined in cooking, the method is similar to the use of the mirepoix in traditional French cuisine, which blends finely diced onion, celery, and carrot. Typical seasonings include parsley, bay leaf, green onions or scallions, and dried cayenne pepper.

    Baked Salmon with Spiced Herbs

    A delicious salmon dish that tastes as good as it looks, this fragrant fish just melts in your mouth!

    Serves / Makes:       4 servings

    Prep-Time:                10 minutes

    Cook-Time:               15 minutes

    You Will Need

  • 4 (650 grams), salmon fillets
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 red chilli, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 200 grams, tenderstem broccoli
  • 200 grams, trimmed asparagus

    Method

    Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

    Place the salmon fillets, skin-side down, on the prepared tray. Using a sharp knife, make 3 slits on top of the salmon.

    Put the lemon juice, chilli, garlic, sugar, fresh coriander, parsley, cumin and ground coriander in a small bowl and mix well. Spread the topping over the salmon and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until done to your liking.

    Meanwhile, steam the tenderstem broccoli and asparagus until tender.

    Serve the fish with the steamed vegetables and steamed basmati rice and Enjoy!


Catch of The Day, Wild Salmon


Cooking fish is straightforward, if you just keep to a few basic rules you will serve up dishes to vie with the best of restaurants. It is suggested that we eat at least three or more servings of fish a week, since the experts have proved that if you eat more fish you are less likely to suffer from heart disease and cancer. The fat in fish is called omega-3, an essential fatty acid which keeps our blood from getting sticky and so reduces the probability of having a stroke.

Maureen and I well, we just like fish and shellfish for its handiness, ease of cooking, taste and if it’s good for us well, that’s a bonus!

Fish and seafood is available to buy fresh, frozen, or cured, you can buy it whole, filleted or cut into steaks, your fishmonger or supermarket fish counter should stock a large choice of each of the groups of seafood there are 3 main groups of fish;

White Sea Fish

  • White Fish, including Cod, Haddock, Plaice, Whiting, Pollack, Pout (Pouting. Bib), Saithe (Coley), Hake, Monkfish, Dover Sole, Lemon Sole, Megrim, Witch, Brill, Turbot, Halibut, Dogfish, Skates, Rays, John Dory, Bass, Ling, Catfish, and Redfish
  • White fish are divided into two types round and flat.
  • Large round white fish such as Cod and Coley are usually sold in steaks, fillets, or cutlets.
  • The small round species such as Whiting and Haddock are usually sold in fillets.
  • With flat fish, the larger species such as Halibut and Turbot are sold whole in fillets and as steaks
  • Smaller flat fish like Plaice and Sole are usually sold whole, trimmed, or filleted.

Oil Rich Fish

Including Herring, Mackerel, Pilchard, Sprat, Horse Mackerel, Whitebait, Tuna.
Oil-rich fish such as Herring and Mackerel are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which have been shown to have a lowering effect on blood fats; this decreases the chance of blood vessels clogging up with cholesterol.
Oil-rich fish is also a good source of vitamins A and D.

Fresh Water Fish

Including Salmon, Trout, Perch, Bass, Bream, Pike, Arctic Char

Then there are; Shellfish (Molluscs and Crustaceans)

Including Clams, Cockles, Whelks, Periwinkles, Mussel, Oyster, Lobster, Crab, prawns, Crayfish, Scallops, Sea Urchins, Shrimp, Squid, Octopus, Cuttlefish

You know that you can always ask for help when choosing your fish and shellfish especially if you are not sure how it should be prepared and cooked.

Your fishmonger should be happy to prepare fresh fish for you in exactly the way you want, if what you want is not available, species of the same type can always be substituted and once again a good fishmonger can help you out.

We should be eating at least two servings of fish a week including one of oily fish. Fish and shellfish are excellent sources of a range of vitamins; minerals, and essential fatty acids, furthermore oily fish is especially loaded in omega 3 fatty acids.

However if we would like to make sure there are sufficient fish to eat now, and in the future, we must start thinking about the choices we make when we decide which fish we eat and your local fishmonger can also help with that, a good fishmonger will always know where the product he sells comes from and all the fishmongers, fishermen and chefs I know put sustainability at the top of their to-do list.

Anyway, enough of all that let’s get to the main point of our Catch of the Day

Wild Salmon

In the United Kingdom North Atlantic Salmon is known as the King of Fish, and most people like salmon, even when they aren’t big fans of other fish varieties.

Its meaty texture, rich colour, and flavour make it an appealing idea for a main course substitute for the old standbys.

For many people it can be a bit off-putting when trying to decide what fish it is you would like or need, as well as how your selection will decide how you are going to cook it, or even how it will taste.

Hopefully this little essay will help clear up some of the mystification and assist you to make a better, more well-informed choice when buying your next salmon.

Oily fish, especially Salmon is rich in Omega 3 fats, protein, and vitamin D.

The omega fats help blood circulation and reduce blood pressure, which in turn help lessen the risk of a heart attack. They have also been known to help with depression and anxiety concerns.

Wild salmon just like its cousin the sea-trout have unique, pure flavours that are superb and they are not like the low-cost and nondescript-farmed salmon and trout, which is sold in supermarkets and markets countrywide.

A wild salmon is one whose creation is natural, ensuing from spawning in a natural fish habitat from parents spawned and reared in a natural fish habitat.

Salmon are in the Salmonidae family and they mainly live along the coast of both the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

While the excellence of farmed salmon is getting better all the time it can be really oily in taste especially.

Whereas a wild salmon will have swum the Atlantic and so will have solid muscles, much less fat and a diverse natural diet.

The colour of a wild salmon is a light pink this is because a wild salmon’s diet consists mainly of shellfish and it has a much more subtle flavour.

As I wrote earlier Wild Salmon is a tremendously nutritious food it is high in protein, and the “good fats.” However did you know that a 120 gram serving of wild salmon gives you a full day’s requirement of vitamin D?

It is one of a small number of foods that can make that statement and that same piece of salmon has more than half of the daily required B12, niacin, and selenium, as well as being a first-rate source of B6 and magnesium, and tinned salmon also contains huge amounts of calcium (because of the bones of the fish).

Buying Wild Salmon

Wild Salmon is sold at some supermarkets however it is more accessible from fishmongers, (Jon our fishmonger always has it when in season), and fresh fish market stalls.

As with all fish, fresh salmon will be bright-eyed and red-gilled with a fresh sea aroma and with a bronze lustre to the skin is as a rule a good sign.

The fundamental rule when buying fresh fish is to get it as fresh as is possible, we always say it is preferable to buy fish that has been frozen and recently thawed than to buy fresh fish that has been sitting for a few days.

Wild Salmon SteakSelect your cut either a whole fish, steak or filet, a whole salmon just can’t be bettered whilst serving a large group of friends and family, particularly when it comes to the cost.

Buying a whole salmon and cutting it into filets or steaks involves a bit more effort, but your fishmonger should be quite happy to do this for you.

Remember that you are spending a lot of money on this fish, so before you buy it, take the time to examine it, it’s always worth while to build up a good friendship with your local fishmonger, he really wants your custom and will be very helpful.

Storing Wild Salmon

  • As soon as you get home, unwrap, rinse under cold water, pat dry with paper towel and place in an airtight container.
  • Store in the coldest part of the refrigerator for best flavour, texture, and nutritional value, store fresh seafood no longer than two days before use.
  • For best quality, it’s best to use fresh seafood in its fresh state.
  • If it’s necessary to freeze fish, freeze it quickly and use it as soon as possible.
  • It is not advisable to keep fish unfrozen for longer than a day or so, and if possible, it is best not to purchase fish until the day you plan to use it.
  • If you should come across a fantastic offer on salmon, you can freeze it safely by wrapping in a combination of cling film, foil, and zip bags.
  • It keeps well in the freezer for about 4 months, and keep nearly all of its texture and taste

Preparing and Cooking Wild Salmon

  • Salmon is one of the easier fish to prepare and cook it is quite robust and you can use a large range of cooking styles, including; steaming, baking, poaching, pan frying, roasting, or grilling.
  • When cooking salmon the key to success is to avoid overcooking, salmon and fish in general continues to cook even when removed from the heat so keep your eyes on it.
  • You will know when it is done that’s when the meat flakes gently when pierced with a fork, this is about 10 minutes cooking time for each inch of thickness, on or under the grill, 5 minutes each side.
  • It doesn’t have to be opaque all the way through to be cooked it will probably be dry if you wait that long.
  • Salmon works well with an extensive range of flavours, while the more fragile fish become overwhelmed with strong flavours, salmon stands up to a lot of sauces and marinades.

As with all fish, salmon goes well with citrus flavours, and while dill is probably the herb most frequently linked with salmon, just about any fresh herb you can think of tastes wonderful with it.

Given that salmon fishing starts in the spring and goes throughout the summer, just think of spring vegetables such as asparagus and mushrooms to go with salmon, continuing on to more or less any grouping of summer vegetables.

Below is a rough guide to cooking times these can be use for other fish with a similar texture

  • Bake, brush fish lightly with oil and bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes
  • Poach, bring the poaching liquid to a boil, reduce to a simmer add the fish, cook for 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Pan Frying, preheat the over a medium heat, add cooking oil, the cook the salmon for five to six minutes per side.

Blackened Cajun Salmon

Succulent salmon cooked the Cajun way with oodles of flavour and colour a real pleasure to serve to family and guests.

We love Cajun food and try to make it as authentic as we can, this was a dish we had at the Bayou Seafood Grille in Rancho Mirage and as I was making my notes at the table the chef came out with the recipe already written out for me, I’ve got to say that the food at the Bayou Seafood Grill is superb.

Serves / Makes:      4 servings

Prep-Time:               15 minutes

Cook-Time:              25 minutes

You Will Need

For the Salsa

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, seeded and chopped
  • 1 clove, garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 x 400 gram tin, chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons, freshly chopped coriander

Method

Sprinkle the Cajun seasoning on a plate; dip the salmon into the seasoning to coat both sides, set to one side.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a pan and fry the onion, chilli and garlic for about 5 minutes until softened, stir in the chilli powder, tomatoes and chopped coriander, cook gently for 10 minutes or so until the salsa has thickened and reduced season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Brush a griddle pan with the remaining oil, heat until smoking and cook the salmon for 3 to 4 minutes each side until golden and cooked.

Serve and Enjoy, we like it with sautéed potatoes and a mixed salad!

Notes

Most new cooks think blackened means burned blackened actually refers to the spices becoming slightly charred and giving the cut of fish this smoky and spicy flavouring If you don’t have a griddle pan use a frying pan.

Cajun Food originates from the French speaking Acadian or “Cajun” immigrants in the Acadiana region of Louisiana, USA.

It is often called a country fare and locally grown food dominates with simple preparations. An authentic Cajun food meal is usually a three-pot affair, with the first pot being the main dish, the second to steamed rice, skillet cornbread, or some other grain dish, and the third containing whatever vegetable is plentiful for that years crop.

Cajun Food/Cuisine was developed out of necessity, the Acadian refugees, farmers reduced to nothing by the British expulsion, had to learn to live off the swampy land they lived in and quickly adapted to the French rustic cuisine with locally grown foods such as rice, crawfish (craw daddys), and sugar cane.

The aromatic vegetables bell pepper, onion, and celery are called by some chefs the holy trinity of Creole and Cajun cuisines. Finely diced and combined in cooking, the method is similar to the use of the mirepoix in traditional French cuisine, which blends finely diced onion, celery, and carrot. Typical seasonings include parsley, bay leaf, green onions or scallions, and dried cayenne pepper.

Baked Salmon with Spiced Herbs

A delicious salmon dish that tastes as good as it looks, this fragrant fish just melts in your mouth!

Serves / Makes:      4 servings

Prep-Time:               10 minutes

Cook-Time:              15 minutes

You Will Need

  • 4 (650 grams), salmon fillets
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 red chilli, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 200 grams, tenderstem broccoli
  • 200 grams, trimmed asparagus

Method

Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Place the salmon fillets, skin-side down, on the prepared tray. Using a sharp knife, make 3 slits on top of the salmon.

Put the lemon juice, chilli, garlic, sugar, fresh coriander, parsley, cumin and ground coriander in a small bowl and mix well. Spread the topping over the salmon and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until done to your liking.

Meanwhile, steam the tenderstem broccoli and asparagus until tender.

Serve the fish with the steamed vegetables and steamed basmati rice and Enjoy!


Catch of the Day, Brill


Cooking fish is straightforward, if you just keep to a few basic rules you will serve up dishes to vie with the best of restaurants. It is suggested that we eat at least three or more servings of fish a week, since the experts have proved that if you eat more fish you are less likely to suffer from heart disease and cancer. The fat in fish is called omega-3, an essential fatty acid which keeps our blood from getting sticky and so reduces the probability of having a stroke.

Maureen and I well, we just like fish and shellfish for its handiness, ease of cooking, taste and if it’s good for us well, that’s a bonus!

Fish and seafood is available to buy fresh, frozen, or cured, you can buy it whole, filleted or cut into steaks, your fishmonger or supermarket fish counter should stock a large choice of each of the groups of seafood there are 3 main groups of fish;

White Sea Fish

  • White Fish, including Cod, Haddock, Plaice, Whiting, Pollack, Pout (Pouting. Bib), Saithe (Coley), Hake, Monkfish, Dover Sole, Lemon Sole, Megrim, Witch, Brill, Turbot, Halibut, Dogfish, Skates, Rays, John Dory, Bass, Ling, Catfish, and Redfish
  • White fish are divided into two types round and flat.
  • Large round white fish such as Cod and Coley are usually sold in steaks, fillets, or cutlets.
  • The small round species such as Whiting and Haddock are usually sold in fillets.
  • With flat fish, the larger species such as Halibut and Turbot are sold whole in fillets and as steaks
  • Smaller flat fish like Plaice and Sole are usually sold whole, trimmed, or filleted.

    Oil Rich Fish

  • Including Herring, Mackerel, Pilchard, Sprat, Horse Mackerel, Whitebait, Tuna.
  • Oil-rich fish such as Herring and Mackerel are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which have been shown to have a lowering effect on blood fats; this decreases the chance of blood vessels clogging up with cholesterol.
  • Oil-rich fish is also a good source of vitamins A and D.

    Fresh Water Fish

    Including Salmon, Trout, Perch, Bass, Bream, Pike, Arctic Char

    Then there are; Shellfish (Molluscs and Crustaceans)

    Including Clams, Cockles, Whelks, Periwinkles, Mussel, Oyster, Lobster, Crab, prawns, Crayfish, Scallops, Sea Urchins, Shrimp, Squid, Octopus, Cuttlefish

    You know that you can always ask for help when choosing your fish and shellfish especially if you are not sure how it should be prepared and cooked.


    Your fishmonger should be happy to prepare fresh fish for you in exactly the way you want, if what you want is not available, species of the same type can always be substituted and once again a good fishmonger can help you out.

    We should be eating at least two servings of fish a week including one of oily fish. Fish and shellfish are excellent sources of a range of vitamins; minerals, and essential fatty acids, furthermore oily fish is especially loaded in omega 3 fatty acids.

    However if we would like to make sure there are sufficient fish to eat now, and in the future, we must start thinking about the choices we make when we decide which fish we eat and your local fishmonger can also help with that, a good fishmonger will always know where the product he sells comes from and all the fishmongers, fishermen and chefs I know put sustainability at the top of there to-do list.

    Anyway, enough of all that lets get to the main point of what we hope will be a weekly or fortnightly part of our blog;


    Catch of the Day, Brill

    clip_image002[4]Available all year round, January, and February it is best to leave alone, March and April although available they are of varying availability. Throughout late spring (spawning season), the fillets can be slight and moist so it is sensible to stay away from them.

    In May and June though Brill from British waters are at their best and from July to August, Brill is very good, September, October, November, December brill is still very good but availability is limited

    Comparable to Turbot, brill remains a much undervalued fish, in spite of it being by and large less expensive.

    Brill is a first-rate enjoyable tasting flatfish strongly linked with turbot, it is a fish found in waters from Iceland through to the Mediterranean Sea, from Norway, the Black Sea, and the Mediterranean.

    A quantity of the best are landed on British shores.

    Brill is described as having smooth, dark brown skin with deep white speckling and as with all flatfish; its underside is a creamy white.

    Fishermen have been catching brill in coastal European countries for more than 300 years, records from London’s Billingsgate Market show that Brill was being sold early 1700’s.

    Brill has a luscious and somewhat sweet flesh, they taste so sweet because they feed on crustaceans and small fish living near the sea bed, and with a smaller flake than Turbot, Brill is also easier to prepare than its more famous cousin.

    Buying Brill

    Brill (Filleted)It’s important to note that small brill, those weighing less than a kilogram ought to be cooked on the bone for the best flavour.

    For fillet portions get them from the larger fish, weighing 3 to 4 kilograms, and choose thicker fish with bright, unsunken eyes.

    Storing Brill

    Put your fish and/or shellfish in the fridge as soon as possible after purchase and use within a day, or freeze for up to three months.

    When you bring it back from the fishmonger, unwrap, and rinse under cold water, pat dry with paper towel and place in an airtight container.

    Keep it in the coldest part of the refrigerator for top flavour, texture, and nutritional value, store fresh fish and shellfish for no longer than two days before you use it, for the finest quality, it is better to use fresh seafood when at its freshest.

    If it’s essential to freeze the fish, freeze it quickly and use it as soon as possible.

    Preparing and Cooking Brill

    Brill is usually gutted upon landing so if you buy it whole you just need to cook it whole or filleted your fishmonger will fillet it for you if you ask nicely.

    Fillets of Brill are more often than not sold skinned and the pin bones are as a rule removed when being filleted.

    Cook Brill as you would a Halibut, or Turbot, to cook it whole, trim away the fins, head and blood-line, then grill, bake or roast.

    It is superb when cooked on the bone, by grilling, frying, roasting, or baking, as with any white fish, cook until the flesh is just opaque, firm to the touch, and easy to flake.

    The firmness and sweet taste of Brill make it a unequalled fish for pan-frying or grilling, serving with butter plain or flavoured with a squeeze of lemon, capers, and delicate herbs.

    You can poach it and serve cold with a mayonnaise or cook it as you would Turbot.

    I find it superb steamed or poached served with a butter sauce, or steamed with cockles or clams, garlic, herbs and white wine.


    Recipes for Brill;

    Our most favourite way to cook brill is to simply pan-fry it in a mixture of best butter a little light olive oil flavoured with a little truffle oil, cook and baste the brill fillets and finish off with a squeeze of lemon juice and some fresh parsley or chervil.

    Fillets of Brill Dugléré

    When I was at the Spread Eagle at Sawley we used to serve Brill with a Dugléré sauce and I believe that this dish would still be a firm favourite with many people.

    • Serves / Makes: 6 servings
    • Prep-Time: 12 minutes
    • Cook-Time: 35 minutes

    You Will Need

  • 6 medium size fillets of brill
  • 50 grams finely chopped shallots
  • 10 grams chopped parsley
  • 150 grams of a finely chopped tomato concassé
  • 100 mls dry white wine
  • 200 mls fish stock
  • 600 mls fish velouté
  • 100 mls cream
  • 2 egg yolks for the sabayon
  • 75grams best butter

    Method

    • Skin the Brill fillets, butter, and season a shallow tray, sprinkle with the finely chopped shallots and parsley and lay the prepared fillets in the tray in a single layer cover with the tomato concassé
    • Add the wine and stock to just cover the fish cover with a buttered piece of greaseproof paper and poach in the oven at 175°C for 10 minutes.
    • Remove the fillets and place in a serving dish, cover and keep warm.
    • Strain the cooking liquid into a shallow pan, adding the garnish to the fish
    • Add the velouté and cream and reduce to a coating consistency.
    • Add the sabayon and pass through a fine strainer.
    • Whisk in the butter a little at a time, away from the stove, and season with salt and cayenne.
    • Coat the fish evenly with the sauce.
    • Before serving, the fillets with the sauce and serve immediately and Enjoy!

    The recipes below are from MyDish.co.uk, The MyDish recipe sharing network is a far superior recipe sharing website packed full of recipes uploaded every minute by members of the public and many budding chefs use MyDish.co.uk to store, swap, and find new recipes daily. Our site contains many unique recipes that have been uploaded by university trainee chefs as MyDish is used by many university lecturers during classes, while trainee chefs can login and upload their crazy recipes for people to comment on. We have a massive resource of online recipes and cooking tips from people like you! So if you’re looking for recipes or wanting to share your recipe ideas look no further MyDish.co.uk is the No1 recipe sharing social network for you.

    Even though the recipes are for Turbot you can use Brill.

    Turbot with Shellfish

    Turbot Fillet Meunière

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  • Catch of the Day, Sea Trout


    Sea Trout-Salmon TroutCooking fish is straightforward, if you just keep to a few basic rules you will be serving up dishes to vie with the best of restaurants.
    It is suggested that we eat at least three or more servings of fish a week, since the experts have proved that if you eat more fish you are less likely to suffer from heart disease and cancer.
    The fat in fish is called omega-3, an essential fatty acid which keeps our blood from getting sticky and so reduces the probability of having a stroke.


    Maureen and I well, we just like fish and seafood for its versatility, ease of cooking, taste and if it’s good for us well, that’s a bonus!


    Fish and seafood is available to buy fresh, frozen, or cured, you can buy it whole, filleted or cut into steaks, your fishmonger or supermarket fish counter should stock a large choice of each of the groups of seafood there are 3 main groups of fish;

    White Sea Fish

    Including Cod, Haddock, Plaice, Whiting, Pollack, Pout (Pouting. Bib), Saithe (Coley), Hake, Monkfish, Dover Sole, Lemon Sole, Megrim, Witch, Brill, Turbot, Halibut, Dogfish, Skates, Rays, John Dory, Bass, Ling, Catfish, and Redfish

    • White fish are divided into two types round and flat.
    • Large round white fish such as Cod and Coley are usually sold in steaks, fillets, or cutlets.
    • The small round species such as Whiting and Haddock are usually sold in fillets.
    • With flat fish, the larger species such as Halibut and Turbot are sold whole in fillets and as steaks
    • Smaller flat fish like Plaice and Sole are usually sold whole, trimmed, or filleted.

    Oil Rich Fish

    Including Herring, Mackerel, Pilchard, Sprat, Horse Mackerel, Whitebait, Tuna.

    • Oil-rich fish such as Herring and Mackerel are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which have been shown to have a lowering effect on blood fats; this decreases the chance of blood vessels clogging up with cholesterol.
    • Oil-rich fish is also a good source of vitamins A and D.

    Fresh Water Fish

    Including Salmon, Trout, Perch, Bass, Bream, Pike, Arctic Char

    Then there are the;

    Shellfish (Molluscs and Crustaceans)

    Including Clams, Cockles, Whelks, Periwinkles, Mussel, Oyster, Lobster, Crab, prawns, Crayfish, Scallops, Sea Urchins, Shrimp, Squid, Octopus, Cuttlefish.

    You know that you can always ask for help when choosing your fish and shellfish especially if you are not sure how it should be prepared and cooked.
    Your fishmonger should be happy to prepare fresh fish for you in exactly the way you want, if what you want is not available, species of the same type can always be substituted and once again a good fishmonger can help you out.
    We should be eating at least two servings of fish a week including one of oily fish. Fish and shellfish are excellent sources of a range of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids, furthermore oily fish is especially loaded in omega 3 fatty acids.
    However if we would like to make sure there are sufficient fish to eat now, and in the future, we must start thinking about the choices we make when we decide which fish we eat and your local fishmonger can also help with that, a good fishmonger will always know where the product he sells comes from and all the fishmongers, fishermen and chefs I know put sustainability at the top of there to-do list.
    Anyway, enough of all that lets get to the main point of what we hope will be a weekly or fortnightly part of our blog;


    Our Catch of the Day is; Sea Trout

    The wild sea trout, or salmon trout, isn’t at all like the low-cost and nondescript farmed trout which is sold in supermarkets and markets country wide.

    clip_image001Sea trout is one of the finest fish caught in UK waters, and is available in good fishmongers

     

     

    It is available all year round as a farmed fish, but the best months for wild sea trout are March, April, May, June, and the first part of July.

    It is a wild fish with pink, tender flesh, more akin to salmon than trout and is wonderful when served with lemon.

    The time it spends at sea simply implies that it is more like wild salmon in its colouring, taste and texture while it doesn’t have the extreme prices of wild salmon.

    Sea trout are so called because they swim down from their home rivers to the sea to feed and fatten up before returning to the fresh water of the home river to spawn. The end result is a wonderful fish that can be cooked as salmon, either poached in wine with herbs, baked in foil, baked, or pan-fried in butter with capers and served with new potatoes, I like mine with a little anchovy butter and lemon.

    If they can be likened to any fish it would the group of fish that includes the brown trout; it is a silvery grey with black or red spots and its pink flesh comes from its diet of shrimps and other crustaceans.

    Sea trout is also a good source of omega-3, which is linked with the reduced risk of heart disease and some cancers.

    Buying Sea Trout

    You can by Wild Sea Trout at some supermarket fish counters although it is more easily to be had from fishmongers and fresh fish market stalls.

    A quantity of the most superb sea trout in the UK are to be found in Wales where they are known as sewin

    Jon our fishmonger always has it when in season and prides himself on obtaining only the best.

    Remember as with all fresh fish, they should be bright-eyed, red-gilled with a refreshing sea tang and a golden bronze sheen to the skin is as a rule a good sign.

    Storing Sea Trout

    If doable buy your sea trout on the day you plan to cook it, when you get it home unwrap it, and rinse under cold water, pat dry with paper towel and place in an airtight container.

    Keep it in the coldest part of the refrigerator for best flavour, texture, and nutritional value, keep fresh seafood no longer than two days before use.

    For best quality, it’s best to use fresh seafood in its freshest condition

    If it’s you find it necessary to freeze fish, freeze it rapidly and use it as soon as possible.

    Preparing and Cooking Sea Trout

    It’s not easy to make a terrible dish using good sea trout, ask your fishmonger to gut, clean, and / or fillet your sea trout.

    Sea trout can be used as an alternative in any trout or salmon recipe.

    My Favourite Recipe for Sea Trout

    This recipe for Trout with crayfish and watercress sauce is from the Hairy Bikers I think it is just about the best recipe for this wonderful fish

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    March 2012, What’s in Season This Month


    There’s nowt like fresh fruit and vegetables in their season its when they are at their very best, that also goes for meat, fish and game, you get something so wonderful when eating food as soon as it’s just been picked, it tastes better, it’s better for your wallet and it’s a healthier deal for the planet.

    Food produced locally, whether you have bought from a farmers’ market, local butcher, greengrocer, or fishmonger; it is liable to be a lot fresher and tastier than its supermarket counterpart.

    Meat produced with high regard for the animals concerned, without the addition of growth hormones, permanent fabricated daylight, and all the other sleight of hand tricks the producers use, then in your heart you know that the dairy, meat, and fish you purchase from high-quality local traders in its proper season will without doubt be of a far better-quality.


    This is the start of our year even if it doesn’t feel like it, spring is almost here, in March, the weather starts to warm up (or so it should be doing), the time from now until about the middle of May is a tricky one for the shopper, grower, and greengrocer alike, winter vegetables are fading out whereas the spring veggies haven’t so far really got under way, however there is plenty of purple sprouting broccoli around so make use of it.


    The beginning of the purple sprouting broccoli season brings and gives us a much sought after addition to the winter vegetable enjoyment.

    Simply steamed or boiled, this vivacious cousin of broccoli can be used in the same way, it is leafier and deeper in colour than broccoli; it always adds vitality and crunch to vegetable dishes and it goes well with almost any fish or meat dish.

    Broccoli is a cruciferous plant, from the same genus as the cabbage, and is associated to the cauliflower; cruciferous foods are nowadays hailed as having a number of significant health benefits. Purple Sprouting Broccoli contains the phytochemical sulphoraphane, which is thought to help prevent cancer. Furthermore it could provide resistance against heart disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes. It is packed with vitamin C and is a good source of caretenoids, iron, folic acid, calcium, fibre, and vitamin A.

    Did I mention that it tastes great just simply steamed and served with melted butter and a squeeze of lemon juice?

    As with the British asparagus season, the Jersey Royals season and the first of the British artichokes we always look forward to the first of the purple sprouting broccoli, in our opinion events like these are what makes British seasonal produce the finest in the world.


    Fruit at It’s Best This Month

    March sees the first of British rhubarb, and it is superb, but we are now seeing the last of our British apples and although we are still getting pears pretty soon they will be coming from further away. Citrus fruits are making their way from Spain and Sicily and there are of course lots of fruits around that do and have to come from far away, its just a matter of picking carefully where the fruit you choose does come from.

    Best of British now is;

    Apples, Forced Rhubarb, and Pears


    Vegetables at Their Best This Month

    In the spring month of March (yes it’s a spring month), Saint David’s day proclaims the month of March, and with St Patrick’s Day on the 17th, now is the time to think what we can be doing with all those tasty expected spring veggies, Lincolnshire starts to harvest carrots, beetroot, purple sprouting broccoli and calabrese broccoli as do other regions of Britain, so make the most from the first bloom.

    We are seeing more and more spring vegetables in the markets and some supermarkets, so with excited expectation our thoughts are turning to lighter dishes as we see Chicory, Chives, Mint, Parsley, Radishes, Rosemary, Sorrel, Spring Greens, Thyme, and Watercress coming into their season, and Cornish Spring greens are also becoming more plentiful and are very tasty, jam packed full of flavour and sweetness, the two biggest enemies of cabbage are water and overcooking, the one thing you don’t want to do is boil it to death in a large saucepan of water. Simply remove any damaged outer leaves, cut it in quarters, removing the tough white ‘core’ in the middle, and slice it finely then you can either stir-fry it in a wok with oil, a little water and soy sauce or tip it into a saucepan with about 3 cm of boiling water and cook it fast for about 3 minutes, turning it over as you go. Drain it thoroughly, add a good chunk of butter, and season with salt and plenty of freshly ground white pepper. A small to medium size cabbage will easily serve 4.


    Leeks are fantastic in early spring, and we like to use them, not only as vegetables to go together with poultry, meat and fish, but in soups, salads and tarts for first courses, we also like to lightly braise baby leeks as a lovely light side dish.

    Don’t be afraid to buy them loose and covered with dirt the taste is much better than ones that have been washed and pre-packed.

    Just cut off the top half of the green leaves and remove the root and any damaged outer leaves, cut vertically down the leek almost to the base and wash thoroughly between the leaves with cold running water slice the leeks thickly and wash again then cook in a little butter and oil.

    They also make superb soups and we think they are very good in egg and cheese dishes.

    Tasty tender spring carrots are about to show up, you can get a good sized carrot enough to make a salad for under 15p which makes it a brilliant student buy. Even organic ones which generally have much more flavour are affordable. Use them raw and freshly grated or just slice them, toss them in a pan with a little oil and melted butter, season them with salt, pepper and a pinch of ground cumin or coriander, add a couple of tablespoons of water, cover the pan with a lid or a piece of foil and let them cook very slowly in their own juices for about 20 minutes. They also make great soup and are a must for casseroles stews and stir-fries


    New season artichokes from Italy, Cyprus, and Egypt are making their first appearance on the shelves, together with the first of the tomatoes with taste from Sicily and the black volcanic soil of Tenerife and Fuerteventura. Fast on their heels will be new potatoes from around the Mediterranean, asparagus (we had some superb asparagus from John Bussey’s Stall at the weekend) from the Murcia and Valencia provinces in Spain, and strawberries from Huelva in Andalucia.

    So keep your eyes peeled for;

    Beetroot, Brussels Sprouts, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celeriac, Celery, Chicory, Horseradish, Jerusalem Artichoke, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Onions, Parsnips, Potatoes (new), Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Radishes, Rhubarb, Rocket, Salsify, Shallots, Spinach, Spring Greens, Swede and Turnips.


    Herbs and Nuts This March

    There are lots of herbs available including growing pots of herbs alas not all from the UK but in the main they are all good and from quite close. I do have one gripe though we grow some wonderful parsley in the UK and English parsley is available now so could someone please tell me why the big supermarkets are selling parsley frown in Turkey?

    At their best in March are;

    Chives, Coriander, Cultivated Mushrooms, and Wild Mushrooms, Parsley (Curly), and Truffles (Black)


    Meat, Poultry and Game at Its Best This Month

    Beef, Chicken, Duck, and Pork are all very good and we are eagerly waiting for the first of British Spring Lamb, make the most of Rabbit this month wild rabbit meat, which is leaner and tastier than the farmed kind, has a wonderful delicate, gamey taste, very different from splendidly flavoured hare. Local Rabbit dishes reveal the fact that rabbit is very flexible and works well with those flavours used in chicken dishes, such as mustard and cream, tomato and herbs, and believe it or not chilli, I have had some superb rabbit dishes in Mexico.

    Turkey, Venison, and Wood Pigeon are still good.


    Fish and Seafood At Its Best This Month

    Spring has sprung (sorry, couldn’t help that) and we are seeing a breath-taking range of seafood landed from around the Cornish coast, the one (and only) awful feature about the appearance of spring is that our beloved native mussels are off the seasonal menu until September we still have the rope grown imported mussels but they are not quite the same so, fill up on these juicy morsels while you can native oysters are now becoming more difficult to find and will soon be out of season however the pacific or rock oyster will always be a good substitute (just about) as they offer smaller portions with a more subtle taste.


    Unusually the fishermen are still landing loads of mackerel and the season may go year round, large cod and Pollack are excellent at the moment we had some Pollack from Jon last week and it was fat, juicy, and sweet. We would also recommend the lemon sole, and what with the quite good Cornish lobster catches at the moment prices have been reduced, so now is the time to get lobster for that special meal.

    With Mother’s Day approaching why not make your Mum, wife or girlfriend a really special seafood dish?

    Mother’s Day is a great opportunity to say “thank you for everything”, and you can treat your Mum to some of the finest seafood in the world from the beautiful seas around this wonderful island of ours, our choice would be mussels at this moment in time they are fantastic

    Cast Your Nets For;

    Brill, Clams, Cockles, Cod, Conger Eel, Crab, Dabs, Dover Sole, Eel, Elvers, Haddock, Halibut, Hake, John Dory, Langoustine, Lemon Sole, Lobster, Mackerel, Monkfish, Plaice, Pollack, Scottish Wild Salmon is back in season, Sardines, Scallops, Sea Bream, Sea Trout, Skate, Squid, Turbot, Whitebait, and Winkles.

    The Latest Grocery News

  • Aldi has launched a new recruitment website for suppliers as it looks to boost the amount of British produce it offers in stores. The website (www.aldisuppliers.co.uk) provides information about Aldi’s long term relationships with existing British suppliers and provides potential suppliers with an online form to complete. Did you know…. about 48% of Aldi food is British and 100% of their fresh meat is British!
  • Asda is trial running gurnard fish fillets from the South West in over 100 of its stores in the wake of Hugh’s Fish Fight and in order to make the most of under-utilised species from the UK. Gurnard is a firm fleshed fish with a mild flavour.
  • Sainsbury’s has announced it is the UK’s first supermarket to use cage-free eggs in all of its own-label products.
  • But it’s not all good news on the egg front! After the battery egg ban came into force on 1st January, supermarkets are now concerned that food producers will not be able to afford the cost of ethical eggs in coming months. The ban has led to a shortage of both liquid and powered egg and therefore producers are seeing an increase in price. For example, a traditional ice cream manufacturer in Kent has been informed that the price he pays for egg yolk will rise by 70 per cent.
  • Morrisons is holding its first music and food festival at Harewood House, Leeds in July. MFest will feature X Factor winner Matt Cardle and TV chefs Aldo Zilli, Nigel Haworth, and Bryn Williams will all run cookery master classes for the event.
  • The first early crop of English asparagus arrived this month in Budgens stores – well before its usual mid-April and June season. The asparagus was produced as part of an English glass house crop from IVG White, part of Keelings Group with growers in Worcestershire and Cambridgeshire.
  • BPEX has published a ‘Baconologist’ Guide to bacon, giving a handy insight into the many cures and types of bacon and their suitability to different dishes. The Guide has been published to coincide with Bacon Connoisseurs Week (19 – 25 March). See http://www.lovepork.co.uk for more details.
  • The UK has become a net exporter of lamb for the first time in 50 years. The figures from 2011 show that sheep meat exports from the UK increased by 11 per cent, while imports fell 13 per cent during the same period.
  • Black Pudding is making a comeback! Through a combination of celebrity chef endorsement and economic austerity, the ‘blood sausage’ is enjoying a sales boom with some producers claiming a 25 per cent sales increase over the past year.
  • Pig industry and retailer representatives have refused to back down in the row over pig industry profitability. BPEX has criticised supermarkets for boosting profitability by increasing own-label ranges which can be sourced at lower input prices. BPEX says it is the moral responsibility of supermarkets to pursue a sustainable supply chain rather than short term profits. In response, a spokesperson for the British Retail Consortium has hit back stating that supermarkets are dedicated to a sustainable supply chain and pointing out that retailers are not the only destination for UK pork; food manufacturing, catering and government procurement are also important buyers, yet these seem to all escape public scrutiny.
  • The chairman of English Apples and Pears is calling for more Cameo apple growers in the UK. The chairman states ‘we have got a good proportion of the multiples stocking Cameo, and there’s potential to go wider, but we need to persuade people to grow. We don’t have the sufficient growers to supply the market for as long as we would like’.
  • Northern Ireland fresh vegetable packer, Sparky Pac, has launched a new brand focusing exclusively on local produce. Dig In features carrots, parsnips, Savoy cabbages, caulis and sweetheart cabbage but the brand will only be available on shop shelves when produce is in season. Dig In will not be available at any other times.
  • Finally, it has been revealed that of Britain’s 150 Biggest Grocery Brands, just 44 are now UK-owned. Of the 91 brands in the list that were created and developed in the UK, only 36 are British owned today.

    News courtesy of Supermarket Watch March 2012


    Seasonal foods at their best in the supermarkets:

    Vegetables: beetroot, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, cauliflower, celeriac, chicory, cucumber, jersey royal new potatoes, Jerusalem artichoke, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, onions, parsnips, potatoes (main crop), purple sprouting broccoli, rhubarb, rocket, salsify, shallots, spinach, spring onions and swede.

    Herbs: chives, coriander, dill, mushrooms (cultivated), parsley (curly), sorrel and wild nettles.

    Meat: beef, chicken, pork, rabbit, turkey, and wood pigeon.

    Fish: cockles, crab, dab, dover sole, hake, john dory, lemon sole, lobster, mackerel, mussels, oysters, prawns, salmon, scallops, sea trout, shrimp, skate, whitebait and winkles.


    Dates for Your Diary

    The 2012 British Asparagus Festival in the Vale of Evesham will take place from 23rd April until 17th June

    27th to the 29th of April Cheese and Wine Festival, the Southbank Centre, London

    27th July 12th August 2012, Love British Food 2012. Get ready to fly the union jack on plates as well as on your bunting!


    LOCAL SHOPPING, PIMLICO, WESTMINSTER, VICTORIA

    Tachbrook Street Market

    imageAddress: Tachbrook Street, SW1

    Trading hours: Monday to Saturday: 8am to 6pm

    Nearest tube: Victoria or Pimlico, Bus: 2, 24, 36, 185, And 436

    Open every day except Sunday, the number of stalls in this ancient street market increases as the week moves forwards, the market offers a wide array of goods from home furnishings and gardening equipment, to fruit and veg, fresh meat, fish, shellfish, bread and cakes.

    Managed by Westminster Artisans Ltd on behalf of Westminster Council it is set to be a community hub thanks to its dynamic varied collection of stalls with scrumptious international hot food the paella is superb, fresh food, chocolate, cheese, olive oil, bread, funky fashion, and lots more.

    Discover different stalls on different days it is an energetic market and we just love buying our fresh food at the market, fruit, vegetables, fish, and shellfish and this market is very close to us, and close enough to other shops such as; Tesco’s, Sainsbury’s, Rippon Cheese and some wonderful delis such as the Spanish Art Of Tapas, there are Italian delis, and Portuguese were we can pick up anything else for our cooking sessions.

    It is also a superb lunch destination with loads of small specialist restaurants around and in the market itself something marvellous has happened it started last year when the market was refurbished and placed under the management of Westminster Artisans Ltd, Pimlico has welcomed the street food transformation and now you can by all the street food your heart desires from falafel to paella

    Below you will see just what some of the stalls have to offer, we do hope to increase our list during the coming months and if you are a stallholder please email us with your details we welcome all the information we can get.

    image imageimage


    Capital Carboot Sale;

    imageCapital Carboot, Pimlico Academy, Chichester Street entrance, Lupus Street, London, SW1V 3AT

    Central London’s only indoor and outdoor all year round carboot sale, as seen in Timeout, Elle, I-D, Le Cool, and Emerald Street

    Capital Carboot Sale runs every Sunday (except Easter, Christmas and New Year, please check availability during these times). Indoor stall holders should arrive at 9:30am if coming in a vehicle to unload. Unloading vehicles will not be allowed on site after 10:00am, outdoor stall holders without vehicles should arrive 10:15am, outdoor stall holders with vehicles to remain in the sale should arrive 10:45am. Early bird buyers entry is 10:15am (£5), Public entry is 11:30am until 3:30pm (£1).

    You can find them at The Pimlico Academy, Lupus Street (Please use the Chichester Street entrance) Pimlico, SW1V 3AT.

    The nearest tubes and trains are Pimlico (2 minutes walk) and Victoria (5 minutes walk), and on bus routes 360, C10, 24, 2, 36, 185, 436

    You can book a stall at http://www.capitalcarboot.com/ or 0845 0943 871

    Capital Carboot strongly advises buyers to use public transport when attending; parking is limited in the surrounding areas and a priority for local residents.

    If you like to find good genuine bargains then you have to head to Pimlico for the best of car boot sales, Capital Carboot is attracting a young crowd, several selling vintage fashion and collectables so get there early to bag the best deals. This London based car boot sale is so much better than your average London car boot sale, it was set up last year by ex-stylist and personal shopper Faye Marriott and the happening is further encouraged with Twitter and Facebook, an element not often found with carboot events, this means that there is a much younger gathering of people but don’t worry there is still plenty for the more traditional car-booters and there has been sightings of celebrities searching for that special bargain.

    Oh if you like the carboot on Facebook entry for buyers is free of charge.

    You can now buy fresh fruit and veg here

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    Our Local Greengrocer,

    John Bussey’s Stall on Tachbrook Street Market

    imageThey only buy British produce on John Bussey’s stall when possible and in season, the family have had a stall on the market for 80 years now and they believe very strongly in supplying the best quality produce that is in season and at its best, they always seem to be the first to obtain the great British produce such as jersey royal potatoes, British asparagus, British soft fruits, when visiting look out for good sprouts, cauliflowers, leeks and cox’s apples; English berries and lettuce are available in season.

    In fact they have all the fruit, veg and herbs you might want and so much better than the local supermarket’s offerings.

    John’s stall was a picture it is wonderful to see such fresh produce full of energetic colours, especially the Rhubarb it really looked so vibrant and cooked up a treat when we made one of our favourite puddings, Maureen bought some blood oranges for me, they came from Sicily so not too far away and they were delicious, we also tried the asparagus and found it to be so full of flavour we could have sworn it was British, so what else was on offer?

    Well there was Apples English Braeburns and Bramleys, Artichokes, Beets, English Broccoli, Butternut Squash, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Courgettes, English King Edward Potatoes, Fennel, Field Mushrooms, Leeks, Mache (Lambs Lettuce), Parsnips, Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Radish, Watercress, you can plainly see that all of what was available was in first-rate condition.

    image image


    Vegetable/Fruit/Herb of the Week 

    Purple Sprouting Broccoli

    imageAvailable all year round. Best British Season Is; February, March, April

    Following a somewhat skeletal couple of months on the leafy vegetable front, the commencement of the purple sprouting broccoli season heralds a much wanted addition to the winter vegetable enjoyment. Merely steamed or boiled, this lively cousin of broccoli can be used in the same way. It is leafier and deeper in colour than Calabrese; it always adds vitality and crunch to vegetable dishes and it goes well with almost any fish or meat dish. As with the British asparagus season, the Jersey Royals season and the first of the British Artichokes we always look forward to the first of the purple sprouting broccoli, in our opinion events like these are what makes British seasonal produce the finest in the world.

    Purple sprouting broccoli was originally grown by the Romans; Broccoli has been grown in the United Kingdom since the 18th century, even though the purple sprouting type has only risen to celebrity in the last 20 years.

    Broccoli is a cruciferous plant, from the same genus as the cabbage, and is associated to the cauliflower; cruciferous foods are nowadays hailed as having a number of significant health benefits. Purple Sprouting Broccoli contains the phytochemical sulphoraphane, which is thought to help prevent cancer. Furthermore it could provide resistance against heart disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes. It is packed with vitamin C and is a good source of caretenoids, iron, folic acid, calcium, fibre, and vitamin A.

    Did I mention that it tastes great just simply steamed and served with melted butter and a squeeze of lemon juice?

    Buying

    Purple Sprouting Broccoli is outstandingly tasty when young and tender, look out for darkly coloured heads/spears with crunchy stalks, and no more than 1cm in diameter, which snap cleanly when broken always pass up easily bent broccoli.

    Storing

    In an airtight bag in the fridge.

    Preparing and Cooking

    Split thicker stalks about halfway up so that they cook at the same time as the heads/spears.

    Steam, stir-fry or boil in a small amount of water, the tasty leaves are edible and so do not need to be removed.

    We like it just boiled in salted water, drained, and served warm with melted butter and lemon juice.


    Our Local Butcher, Freemans (Butchers) 117 Lupus Street

    Trading Hours: Open: Mon to Sat 7.30am – 5.30pm Closed: Sun and Bank holidays

    imageJohn Freeman owner of Freemans butchers supplies high quality meat to the local residents of Pimlico and Westminster indeed people travel from all over London to purchase their meat from this traditional high street butcher.

    He says that they are passionate about their product and are committed to ensuring quality meat at the best possible price; we aim for excellence with the right product, right price, and right quality 100% of the time he told me.

    Their service level quality is kept up by constant staff development, and through customer feedback.

    John constantly has superb meat and can get almost anything you want if given enough notice

    Beef, lamb, and pork is good this month and our local butcher Freemans has some ox-tails and beef brisket in that is just so tasty his fore-rib of beef looked just about perfectly hung and at under £14 per kilo is probably the cheapest in London you really must give the classically trained butcher a go and just to see a real traditional butcher shop is a treat.

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    Butchers Choice

    Rabbit

    I just love the flavour and versatility of rabbit wild or farmed although wild rabbit meat isimage leaner and tastier than the farmed kind, has a wonderful delicate, gamey taste, so much different from a superbly flavoured hare.

    So often overlooked as a dinner option, which is a shame as I have said the meat is lean yet tasty especially wild rabbit, which has a superb tantalizing, gamey flavour, and this understated flavour gives itself to a range of cooking techniques.

    Rabbit is available all year round in the UK Available all year round.

    Best Season Is; July, September, October, November, December

    Butchers are more likely to sell rabbit than supermarkets; try to avoid anything in excess of a kilo, as it can prove tough. The type of meat you can buy varies: ‘fryer’ is the leanest and tenderest; ‘roaster’, is a more mature rabbit, at its best when given a longer cooking time; last but not least there are the giblets, which are the organs of the animal. Take care when cooking rabbit, as the low fat content can make it dry if it’s not marinated beforehand, or basted during cooking.

    Regional dishes from around the world show the fact that rabbit is very flexible and works well with those flavours used in chicken dishes, such as mustard and cream, tomato and herbs, and believe it or not chilli, I have had some superb rabbit dishes in Mexico.

    Get hold of some rabbit and try one of the great classic recipes such as Braised Rabbit and Roast Rabbit with Rosemary or the recipe below although it isn’t one of mine it is a superb recipe and just the thing if this is your first time cooking rabbit.

    Buying

    Unlike a lot of Europe, rabbit is hardly ever seen in UK supermarkets although rabbit is back on the dinner table as sales of the game meat soar after being endorsed by celebrity chefs such as Nigella Lawson and Nigel Slater. And is becoming more commonly obtainable in butchers, supermarkets, try Waitrose for their excellent rabbit, and food markets.

    It is also available by mail order from a number of suppliers, such as Woldsway Foods Ltd or the Wild Meat Company.

    Select rabbits by size; they should be large enough to produce a sizeable amount of meat, wild rabbits larger than 1 kilo are liable to be tough, the younger, smaller rabbits will be more tender and suitable to faster cooking methods, for example roasting or barbecuing older rabbits will have more taste but can tougher so its better use these for braising, casseroling and in pies..

    Storing

    Fresh rabbit will keep in the fridge for several days (or longer if vacuum packed). I wouldn’t freeze rabbit as freezing can dry them out.

    Preparing and cooking

    To joint a rabbit, cut the hind quarters away from the body and separate the legs, halve the leg joints and cut the body (saddle) straight through the backbone into two or three portions, stopping at the rib cage, cut lengthways through the breastbone and divide the ribcage section in half.

    As rabbit meat is very lean, care should be taken to prevent it from drying out during cooking, marinating or barding (covering in a fat or wrapping in bacon) can help moisten the flesh during roasting or barbecuing.

    Casserole of Rabbit A Great heart-warming casserole with lovely taste of the forest

    Serves: 4. Cooking-Time: 1hrs 0 minutes not one of my recipes but a recipe from Team MyDish on of course MyDish Recipe Sharing Made Easy


    Our Local Fishmonger, Jon Norris on Tachbrook Street Market

    Strolling through our local market on Tachbrook Street, SW1 you will probably see that imageour favourite fishmonger Jonathan Norris has on display (and what a display) all you might ever want from your fishmonger for sale at a extremely affordable prices as well as other fish and shellfish that you don’t normally see on a market stall and furthermore you will see that the fish is caught from around the UK’s own shores with Scotland and Cornwall dominant.

    Jon is so friendly and a real character and when you speak to him you notice at once that he’s enthusiastic about all things fish, and when you ask him about the fish he has available you become aware that from his response that there’s nothing he and his staff don’t know about the produce they sell.

    The fish is always in the best of condition, and as far as I can see always from sustainable sources. He explained to me after I asked him about it that “we take environmental issues very seriously and are continually striving to reduce the negative impact on our beautiful world wherever possible”. I got the feeling that he could even tell you what boat the catch came from.


    Most all Jon’s fish is from around the Cornish, Devon, and Scottish coasts and we are still recommending the crab, mussels, whiting, and Pollack.

    Jon put on show as usual with Cornish Brill, Clams including Razor Clams, Cod fillets, Cod steaks, Crab, Haddock, Cornish Hake, Halibut, John Dory, Lemon Sole, Megrim Sole, Dover Sole, Gilthead Bream, Cornish Gurnard, grey Mullet, Lobster, Scottish Mackerel, rope grown Mussels from the Shetland Isles, Monkfish, Cornish Octopus, there was Plaice from Scotland so plump and sweet, Prawns in the shell, there were Native Oysters, Rock Oysters, Scallops from the Isle of Man, wild Sea Bass, Skate, Sprats, Squid, Turbot, and Cornish Whiting.

    Prices are so reasonable you have got to give this gifted and extraordinary fishmonger a try, you won’t be sorry, I promise.

    image image image


    Catch of the Day

    Hake

    imageCatches of Northern hake, landed around the UK, are looking plentiful this season – so Seafish, the authority on seafood, is urging consumers to try this excellent whitefish.

    Hake, known as ‘Merluza’ in Spain, is a Spanish favourite and since the Spanish have the highest per capita consumption of seafood in Europe, they should know what they’re talking about.

    Hake used to be a familiar fish to Britons but seems to have fallen from favour at a time when availability is very good. We only spent £1.5 million on chilled hake in supermarkets in the past year, compared to £124 million on chilled cod (Nielsen retail figures for 52 weeks leading up to 16 April 2011).

    At its best from March to September, finer white flesh than cod and a much superior flavour, cook like cod.

    Hake is an under-rated fish, which is a shame because it has a subtle and delicious flavour, similar to cod. Best of all, it is environmentally sustainable, yet inexpensive. It is also easy to prepare as it has relatively few bones.

    The numerous fish that come under the designation ‘Hake’ are deep-sea members of the cod family and are popular throughout Europe especially Spain and Portugal also very popular in America. Hake is quite a mild flavoured fish, with a white flaky texture and a finer taste that is more subtle than that of its larger cousin the cod.

    They are fished by bottom trawling with different mesh sizes for inshore and deep-water trawls. Ranging from 1kg to 5 kg and Hake has a soft, iron-grey skin and silvery belly. Also known as Cape Hake it is a sustainable fishery, as certified by the Marine Stewardship Council.

    BUYING

    Many varieties of hake are caught in waters around the world, particularly in the Atlantic and North Pacific. It’s available both fresh and frozen, and is sold either as a whole fish, or gutted with the head intact, or as fillets and steaks. Some varieties of hake have been greatly affected by over fishing. A lot of hake is now imported from South Africa.

    Look for glistening pure white flesh that is free of signs of dryness, greyness, and browning. It should have a seawater fresh scent.

    STORING

    Refrigerate as soon as possible after purchase and use within a day, or freeze for up to three months.

    PREPARING AND COOKING

    Hake is a mildly flavoured fish. The flesh is quite soft, but firms up on cooking, and is worth trying. In France, hake is called ‘Saumon Blanc’ (which interprets as ‘white salmon’). Fillets require little preparation as the skin is soft, but checking for bones and pin-bones is necessary. It is popular in Spain and Portugal where it’s grilled, pan-fried, and baked. It takes robust flavours well, particularly tomatoes, garlic, chorizo, and paprika.

    For a light, modern alternative to battered cod, try deep-frying hake fillets dipped in a light tempura batter.

    Fishermen from the provinces on the Bay of Biscay, especially the Basques, introduced this fish into Spanish gastronomy, as for example, hake in potato casserole (Galician style). Coated with flour, it can be cooked in a pan with a little olive oil and served with a green sauce with some clams, or poached in cider with tomatoes and green onions.

    Heating the fish fillets slowly in a cold pan prevents them from curling up during frying. This works really well for firm fish with thin skins, such as hake


    In The Balcony Garden

    Well we just might be able to get some salads, herbs, and some tomatoes in this year, they are making a start on our new windows at the beginning of April, and with a bit of luck ours should be done by May (hopefully).


    Recipes for The Month

    Casserole of Rabbit A Great heart-warming casserole with lovely taste of the forest

    Serves: 4. Cooking-Time: 1hrs 0 minutes not one of my recipes but a recipe from Team MyDish on of course MyDish Recipe Sharing Made Easy


    Pan-Fried Hake with Lemon and Parsley

    imageFancy giving cod a rest and trying a different fish for a change?

    This is a very popular recipe in Spain its quick and easy and just right for a light lunch or supper.

    Serves / Makes:       4 servings

    Prep-Time:                10 minutes

    Cook-Time:               12 minutes

    YOU WILL NEED

    2 tablespoons, seasoned plain flour

    2 tablespoons, lemon zest, finely grated

    10 grams, fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

    4 small fillets or steaks of hake about 80 to 90 grams each

    2 tablespoons, olive oil

    METHOD

    Mix together the seasoned flour, lemon zest and parsley, pat onto the fish on both sides well, shaking off any excess.

    Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a moderate heat; cook the fish for 11 to 12 minutes turning occasionally. Drain on kitchen paper and serve with lemon wedges and seasonal vegetables.

    Serve and Enjoy!


    Ribble Valley Mutton Pot Roast

    imageIn the last few years, I have noticed what the chef’s are calling a return to the grass roots of British cuisine and seeing that a lot of mutton dishes abound I thought I would just add this one. I first came across it about 1969 when we had it on the menu at the Aspinall Arms at Mitton we only served it from about November until the spring lamb started coming in about March or April.

    Serves/Makes:         6 to 8 servings

    Prep-Time:                10 to 15 minutes plus 12 hours marinating time

    Cook-Time:               2 hours

    YOU WILL NEED

    1 boned and rolled mutton shoulder

    4 clove, garlic, crushed

    2 fresh rosemary sprigs

    5 teaspoons, fresh thyme leaves

    2 teaspoons rowan or redcurrant jelly

    1 glass of red wine

    1-tablespoon olive oil

    4 streaky bacon rashers, chopped

    12 ounces, chopped onions

    1 tablespoon, plain flour

    1 cup, mutton stock, made from the bones from the shoulder

    1-pound potatoes, a medium size, and cut into quarters

    4 large carrots, halved crosswise

    8 ounces wild or button mushrooms

    Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

    METHOD

    Combine the mutton, garlic, rosemary, thyme, rowan or redcurrant jelly, and wine to make the marinade. Place the mutton in the marinade and turn the mutton over and over to coat evenly. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 6 hours but better still overnight.

    Heat the oven to 150c, 300f, gas mark 3.

    Remove the mutton from the marinade and reserve the marinade, dry the mutton off with some kitchen paper. Then heat the oil in Dutch oven or heavy casserole over a medium heat  add the mutton and cook until sealed, browned and  well caramelised  all over. Remove from the pan and add the bacon and onions and cook, stirring until golden, takes about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and add the marinade and stock. Return the mutton to the pan and cover, put into the oven to cook for 45 minutes. Add the potatoes and carrots cover, and return to the oven and cook for 1 hour or until potatoes are tender.

    Remove the mutton and vegetables to a warmed dish and cover with foil to keep warm. Bring the pan juices to a boil and boil until reduced and thickened slightly add Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.

    To serve carve the mutton into nice thick slices and surround with vegetables, pour over the sauce and serve. Serve and Enjoy!

    NOTES

    It’s sad that still we struggle for the most part in vain to find mutton in butcher’s shops and supermarkets; maybe we should start a campaign? What is the difference between mutton and lamb well mutton has a more intense, richer and has more depth of flavour than lamb and requires longer cooking times. It is extraordinarily well suited to roasting, stewing and braising although mutton can be available all year, the best meat is produced from October to March.

    This is because the sheep have access to nutritious summer and autumn grass and heather, and are able to put on fat before being slaughtered.

    Hebridean, Herdwick, Romney, Shetland, Southdown, and Welsh Mountain are just some breeds of sheep with an historical reputation for producing delicious mutton.


    Chicken with Leek & Mushroom Sauce

    One of my particular favourite meals the cognac, mushrooms, and leek add an elegant touch to the usual chicken breasts. And also at all times it went down a treat for the mid-week evening meals at Wilton Lodge and Norwood West, apart from for Lord H of course he couldn’t eat the leek although he liked the flavour I just used to serve it to him without the leek.

    Serves / Makes:       4 servings

    Prep-Time:                10 minutes

    Cook-Time:               30 minutes

    YOU WILL NEED

    4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 to 1¼ pounds total), trimmed

    Salt & freshly ground white pepper to taste

    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided

    ½ cup sliced leek, white only

    1 tablespoon, chopped fresh thyme

    Two cups, sliced mushrooms

    ¼ cup, Cognac

    1-cup, chicken stock

    2 teaspoons, plain flour

    Lemon juice, to taste

    1 tablespoon, chopped fresh parsley

    METHOD

    Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.

    Heat 1½ teaspoons oil in a large frying pan over a medium to high heat, add the chicken, and sear until well browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the chicken to a plate, cover, and keep warm.

    Reduce the heat to medium, add the remaining 1½ teaspoons of oil to the pan, and then add the leek and thyme. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, and add the mushrooms cook for a further 5 minutes before adding the cognac let the cognac flame if you want to show off a little and then cook for about 2 minutes more. Transfer to a bowl, whisk the stock and flour in a small bowl, add to the pan and cook, whisking, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.

    Return the mushroom mixture, chicken and any collected juices to the pan, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes.

    Transfer the chicken to a warmed platter, season the sauce with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste, spoon over the chicken garnish with parsley and Serve and Enjoy!


    Hake with Peas and Asparagus

    image(Merluza con Guisantes y Esparrgos)

    I remember having this dish many, many years ago at a friend’s house and then in 1972 in the little fishing villages of Cala Bona and Calla Millor (not so small now though) on the island of Mallorca we had it again and again. This recipe is as original as it gets, modern versions differ somewhat but we like this better especially in June when we serve it with steamed Jersey Royal Potatoes.

    Serves / Makes:       4 servings

    Prep-Time:                10 minutes

    Cook-Time:               30 minutes

    YOU WILL NEED

    1 small onion

    1 small carrot

    1 sprig, parsley

    2 tablespoons, olive oil

    1 kilo, peas, frozen or fresh

    1 kilo, hake, cut into portions

    Salt and pepper to taste

    300mls, fish stock, if we have no fish stock we like to use Knorr vegetable gel stockpots

    12, cooked asparagus tips, we like to use the jumbo asparagus

    METHOD

    Chop the onion, carrot, and parsley and fry gently in a saucepan in oil, without browning. Add the peas and the hake, season, add the stock, and simmer for 30 minutes; put the asparagus tips in at the last moment, just to heat through.

    Serve the hake surrounded by the peas, with the asparagus tips on top and Enjoy!


    Jon’s tips to buying fish and shellfish

    Fresh Whole Fish

    The eyes should be clear and convex, not sunken

    The flesh should be firm and resilient to finger pressure

    The fish should smell freshly and lightly of the sea

    Don’t buy fish with a strong ‘fishy’ or sulphurous odour, or that smells of ammonia.

    Oily fish like herring, mackerel, and salmon should have a light, fresh oil smell, like linseed oil. If they smell of rancid oil, don’t buy.

    Fresh Fillets

    The surface of the fillet should be moist, with no signs of discolouration.

    The texture should be firm, with no mushiness. Some separation of the muscle flakes (caused by the filleting process) is completely normal, but it shouldn’t be excessive.

    As with whole fish, the smell should be fresh and light, with no ‘off’ odours.

    Live bi-valves (including mussels, clams, and oysters)

    The general rule of not buying bi-valves during any month spelled without an ‘r’ (i.e. May to August) still holds true, as this is the spawning season and quality will be poorer. When raw, the shells should be closed tight. Any slightly open shells that don’t close up in response to a few light taps should be discarded. When cooked, the shells should open – discard any that don’t.



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  • June, What’s in Season This Month


    Our Favourite month and not just because of what is in season and available on the 14th of this month we will have been married for 38 years yes 38 years and is really doesn’t imagefeel like it, here is a photo of us on that day just before we left for Mallorca.

    Now June is here and the sun is warm, our thoughts turn to lighter foods, picnics and barbeques, and out comes the salad bowl, do you think that there is anything better than fresh summer produce? Biting into a sweet strawberry or munching your way through a bag of glistening red cherries is as much a part of a British summer as sunburn and short shorts.

     


    This month our own British foodstuffs really begin to emerge, soft fruits, vegetables and seafood are abundant the asparagus is still good and the Jersey Royals are still as tasty as ever.

    The wealth of June is just what we’ve been waiting for, the days grow longer, and it’s a joy to go shopping with the markets, shops, and supermarkets just overrunning with the best of British produce especially The first of the Kentish fruit so we say welcome to the strawberries and gooseberries and now’s the time to make the most of the young broad beans, peas and new potatoes, to be enjoyed with new season lamb and don’t forget June is also a good month for quail, beef and guinea fowl and there is lots of fish in season, including mackerel, plaice and lemon sole. Look out for the fish and shellfish from Scottish and Western waters especially lobster and crab, monkfish is at its best, Salmon is relatively cheap right now and sardines are terrific just grilled with a little seasoning and lemon.


    Most butchers will by now supplying you with barbeque packs of meats, but beware there are a few unscrupulous butchers who just use the barbeque season as an excuse to get rid of inferior meat.


    It’s time to fill your basket with herbs and tender young veggies our diminutive balcony garden is now giving us a steady supply of Rocket, Baby Salad Leaves, Mint and Parsley.

    imageimageimage

    Summer is beckoning us June asks us to luxuriate in the sumptuous range of produce it has to offer, Strawberries are reaching their best, with the earliest varieties from Hampshire and the Cheddar gorge available in the first couple of weeks and by the end of the month the strawberries from Kent will be in full flow and the prices will plummet. Apricots, cherries, and gooseberries are worth looking out for.


    Fruit at Its Best

    Apricots, cherries, Strawberries, and gooseberries


    Vegetables at Their Best

    Artichoke, Asparagus, Aubergine, Broad Beans, Broccoli, Carrots, Courgettes, Fennel, Jersey Royal New Potatoes, Lettuces and Salad Leaves, Mangetout, New Potatoes, Onions, Peas, Radishes, Rocket, Runner Beans, Samphire, Spinach, Spring Onions, Turnips and Watercress.

    Herbs: Basil, Chervil, Chives, Dill, Elderflower, Mint, Nasturtium, Parsley (Curly), Parsley (Flat-Leaf), Rosemary, Sorrel, Tarragon, and Thyme.


    Meat, Poultry and Game at Its Best

    Beef, Guinea Fowl, Hare, Lamb, Mutton, Pork, Rabbit, Veal, Quail, and Wood Pigeon.


    Fish and Seafood at Its Best

    Line-Caught Mackerel are getting bigger and it’s definitely the time to be eating flat fish, Lemon Sole and Plaice are especially succulent and plentiful at the moment.

    Cod, Crab, Haddock, Herring, John Dory, Lemon Sole, Lobster, Mackerel, Plaice, Pollack, Prawns, Salmon, Sardines, Sea Bream, Sea Trout, Shrimp, Whelks, and Whitebait.


    Local Shopping

    imageTachbrook Street Market

    Address: Tachbrook Street, SW1

    Trading hours: Monday to Saturday: 8am to 6pm

    Nearest tube: Victoria or Pimlico

    Bus: 2, 24, 36, 185, 436

    Open every day except Sunday, the number of stalls in this ancient street market increases as the week moves forwards, the market offers a wide array of goods from home furnishings and gardening equipment, to fruit and veg, fresh meat, fish, shellfish and bread and cakes, the market is home to an array of events counting late night shopping, gourmet lunchtime offers, ‘Fashion Thursdays’ and it will be hosting a brilliant Christmas market. Managed by Westminster Artisans Ltd on behalf of Westminster Council it is set to be a community hub thanks to its lively diverse array of stalls with scrumptious international hot food the paella is superb, fresh food, chocolate, cheese, olive oil, bread, funky fashion, and lots more. Discover different stalls on different days.


    Dates for your diary:

    11-12 June, Nigel’s Fantastic Food Show, Ewood Park, Blackburn

    Nigel Haworth is returning for a second year to host a two day foodie’s extravaganza. The Fantastic Food Show promises to be an example of real northern hospitality, which means you’ll be leaving with a smile on your face!

    The Cookery Theatre is the place to go to pick up handy tips with the likes of Simon Rimmer and Nigel himself showing what they’re made of.

    There are plenty of local producers keen to answer your questions and show off what they’ve got, so if the cupboard are looking a bit bare, this is a great place to stock up.

    Website: Nigel’s Fantastic Food Show


    16 – 19 June, Taste of London, Regent’s Park, London.

    Right in the heart of the capital, some of the country’s best chefs and produce come together in a food fest that will tickle the taste buds and get the creative juices running. You will have the unique opportunity to dine from 40 of London’s top restaurants, try and buy from 200 top quality foods and drink producers and see the pros demonstrate their skills live on stage. 2011 will see the addition of ‘The Secret Garden’, an exclusive area where visitors will have the chance to take part in Q&A sessions with chefs while feasting on canapés and champagne. 

    Website: Taste of London


    On Sonny’s Stall, Tachbrook Street Market;

    imageAsparagus, broad beans, carrots, cauliflower, lettuce, new potatoes, peas, radishes, rocket, sorrel, spring onions, watercress along with the most tasty fruits such as Cherries, elderflowers, gooseberries, redcurrants, rhubarb, strawberries, and Raspberries.

     

     

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    imageOur Local Butchers Freeman’s have been getting in;

    Beef, Guinea Fowl, Lamb, Pork, Rabbit, Veal, Quail, and Wood Pigeon.

     

     


    Our Local Fishmonger Jon Norris, Tachbrook Street Market Has Been Getting In;

    imageAnother great display from Jon including a small shark, to day he was showing amongst others live Crab, South coast Flounder, Cornish Octopus, Cornish Haddock, Cornish Hake, Hake is an under-rated fish, which is a shame because it has a subtle and delicious flavour, similar to cod. Best of all, it is environmentally sustainable, yet inexpensive. It is also easy to prepare as it has relatively few bones. Heating the fish fillets slowly in a cold pan prevents them from curling up during frying. This works really well for firm fish with thin skins, such as hake.

    There was also wild Scottish Sea Trout, Cornish Dover Sole, Scottish Squid, Scottishimage Langoustines, Halibut, Herring, Lemon Sole, line caught Mackerel, Plaice, Pollack, Sea Bass, and Cornish Turbot as you will all know by now most all Jon’s fish is from around the Cornish, Devon and Scottish coasts, just look at the photos and see just how passionate Jon and his family and friends are about the produce they sell, oh we’re also recommending Jon’s Dressed Crab it’s a simple, healthy meal using a mixture of brown and white Crab meat and prawns so delicious with salad and a light dressing.

     100_0191

    image

    Jon’s tips to buying fish and shellfish;

    Fresh Whole Fish

    1. The eyes should be clear and convex, not sunken
    2. The flesh should be firm and resilient to finger pressure
    3. The fish should smell freshly and lightly of the sea
    4. Don’t buy fish with a strong ‘fishy’ or sulphurous odour, or that smells of ammonia.
    5. Oily fish like herring, mackerel, and salmon should have a light, fresh oil smell, like linseed oil. If they smell of rancid oil, don’t buy.

    Fresh Fillets

    1. The surface of the fillet should be moist, with no signs of discolouration.
    2. The texture should be firm, with no mushiness. Some separation of the muscle flakes (caused by the filleting process) is completely normal, but it shouldn’t be excessive.
    3. As with whole fish, the smell should be fresh and light, with no ‘off’ odours.
    4. Live bi-valves (including mussels, clams and oysters)
    5. The general rule of not buying bi-valves during any month spelled without an ‘r’ (i.e. May to August) still holds true, as this is the spawning season and quality will be poorer. When raw, the shells should be closed tight. Any slightly open shells that don’t close up in response to a few light taps should be discarded. When cooked, the shells should open – discard any that don’t.


    Recipes for June

    We bought some Hake from Jon as it is a while since we had some and his looked very fresh and tasty, here are two of my favourite recipes for Hake.


    Hake with Peas and Asparagus (Merluza con Guisantes y Esparrgos)

    Fancy giving cod a rest and trying a different fish for a change?

    I remember having this dish many, many years ago at a friend’s house and then in 1972 in the little fishing villages of Cala Bona and Calla Millor (not so small now though) on the island of Mallorca we had it again and again. This recipe is as original as it gets, modern versions differ somewhat but we like this better especially in June when we serve it with steamed Jersey Royal Potatoes.

    Serves / Makes: 4 servings

    Prep-Time: 10 minutes

    Cook-Time: 30 minutes


    You Will Need

    1 small onion

    1 small carrot

    1 sprig, parsley

    2 tablespoons, olive oil

    1 kilo, peas, frozen or fresh

    1 kilo, hake, cut into portions

    Salt and pepper to taste

    300mls, fish or vegetable stock, if we have no fish stock we like to use Knorr vegetable gel stockpots

    12, cooked asparagus tips, we like to use the jumbo asparagus


    Method

    Chop the onion, carrot, and parsley and fry gently in a saucepan in oil, without browning. Add the peas and the hake, season, add the stock and simmer for 30 minutes; put the asparagus tips in at the last moment, just to heat through.

    Serve the hake surrounded by the peas, with the asparagus tips on top and Enjoy!


    Pan-Fried Hake with Lemon and Parsley

    This is a very popular recipe in Spain its quick and easy and just right for a light lunch or supper.

    Serves / Makes: 4 servings

    Prep-Time: 10 minutes

    Cook-Time: 12 minutes


    You Will Need

    2 tablespoons, seasoned plain flour

    2 tablespoons, lemon zest, finely grated

    10 grams, fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

    4 small fillets or steaks of hake about 80 to 90 grams each

    2 tablespoons, olive oil


    Method

    Mix together the seasoned flour, lemon zest and parsley, pat onto the fish on both sides well, shaking off any excess. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a moderate heat; cook the fish for 11 to 12 minutes turning occasionally. Drain on kitchen paper and serve with lemon wedges and seasonal vegetables.

    Enjoy!


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    April, What’s in Season This Month


    April, one of our favourite months spring has been switched on the clocks have been put forward the days are getting longer and the sun is coming out to play a little more.

    This is the month when the kitchen rouses itself, we ourselves liven up, and it is also the annual point in time when keeping it uncomplicated means just that, so little needs to be done with the fresh crops of English foodstuffs.

    It depends on what the weather is like if the commencement to this brand new season is sluggish, however you can be sure that fresh young carrots and tender spinach will be in the shops about the middle of April.

    Furthermore by the end of April we will have the real celebrities to look forward to; English Asparagus keep your eyes open for it in this country it only has a short 6 week season, so begin buying it as soon as you see it and don’t forget that those exquisite Jersey Royals will be making their yearly debut at the end of April.


    The first of the new season lamb should now be coming through we have always looked forward to the spring lamb and we both think that new season lamb from the Fylde and Morecambe Bay is superior, although when we were at Lodge Hill Mr. F used to have between 10 to 20 sheep which he kept on the game farm and every spring  we all helped with the lambing and when they were old enough all went to the butchers and some came back already for the freezer now you can’t get much organic and greener than that!


    New season lamb is available from April and through the summer months, but it is at its best in June.

    Lamb usually comes to market between 6 and 7 months old, with a dressed weight of between 36-50 pounds. The smallest lambs (sometimes called Paulliac Lamb), are sometimes less than 4 weeks old and weigh as little as 8 pounds.

    Lamb in the United Kingdom is still called lamb until it is 12 months old then it is known as mutton, I believe that mutton is a greatly unappreciated meat, cuts of mutton are similar to those of lamb, but the meat is darker in colour and much richer in flavour.

    When choosing lamb do not look for meat marbled with fat, this is not an indication of quality and tenderness as with beef. Better to look for lamb cuts with a thick, well shaped eye muscles in the loin and rib cuts, look for meat that is moist and bright, the colour depends on the age of the lamb ranging from pinkish rose to pale red, the fat should be waxy white.

    Mutton is significantly underrated in this country the cuts are similar to lamb, but tend to be larger, darker in colour with richer flavour Choose mutton of a rich red brown colour; avoid any grey meat with yellowy fat. Mutton lacks the mildness and tenderness of lamb and tends to have more fat.


    Definitions for lamb, hogget and mutton differ significantly between countries, below are the common definitions

    1. Baby lamb, a milk-fed lamb between six and eight weeks old
    2. Spring lamb, a milk-fed lamb, usually three to five months old, born in late winter or early spring and sold usually before July 1st
    3. Yearling lamb, a young sheep between 12 and 24 months old.
    4. Milk-fed lamb, meat from an unweaned lamb, typically 4 to 6 weeks old and weighing 5.5 to 8 kg; this is almost unavailable in countries such as the UK and the USA, where it is considered uneconomic. The flavour and texture of milk-fed lamb when grilled (such as the tiny lamb chops known as chuletillas in Spain) or roasted (lechazo asado or cordero lechal asado) is generally thought to be finer than that of older lamb. The areas in northern Spain where this can be found include Asturias, Cantabria, Castile and León, and La Rioja. Milk-fed lambs (and kids) are especially prized for Easter in Greece, when they are roasted on a spit.
    5. Hogget a young male sheep or maiden ewe having no more than two permanent incisors in wear
    6. Mutton A female (ewe) or castrated male (wether) sheep having more than two permanent incisors in wear.
    7. Salt marsh lamb the meat of sheep which graze on salt marsh in coastal estuaries that are washed by the tides and support a range of salt-tolerant grasses and herbs such as samphire, sparta grass, sorrel and sea lavender. Depending on where in the world the salt marsh is located, the nature of the plants may be subtly different. Salt marsh lamb has long been appreciated in France and is growing in popularity in the United Kingdom. Places where salt marsh lamb are reared in the United Kingdom include Harlech and the Gower Peninsula in Wales, the Somerset Levels and the Fylde coast and Morecambe Bay.


    Although available, all year round, British lamb and mutton are seasonal products.

    • Spring lamb is available from early spring until the summer. It is very tender but does not have as much flavour as lamb later in the year as it has not had as much time to graze. It should be cooked simply spring lamb is fantastic for roasting simply with garlic and herbs, why not try some of these recipes;
    • Autumn lamb is available from the summer until December. It has had more time to graze and grow thus developing stronger flavours that can take spicier, more adventurous treatment
    • Lamb from Christmas until the following spring is called ‘hogget’, though few retailers and caterers use this term. Hogget has a pronounced flavour, which works well with seasonal root vegetables.
    • Mutton is at least two years old. Mutton is available year-round but is best, and most readily available, from October until March. It has a much stronger, gamier flavour than lamb. For hundreds of years, mutton was the staple meat of the British household, considered superior in texture and flavour to lamb. Changes in farming and cooking lead to mutton’s sudden decline and for the last fifty years mutton has almost disappeared from our shops and restaurants.
    • The Mutton Renaissance campaign was launched in 2004 by HRH the Prince of Wales to support British sheep farmers who were struggling to sell their older animals, and to get this delicious meat back on the nation’s plates.

    Accompaniments That Go Well with Lamb and Mutton

    Mint and rosemary spring to mind at once, but lamb is well-matched with many different ingredients including French mustard, tarragon, tomatoes, olive oil, aubergines, yoghurt, couscous, apricots, coriander and cumin.

    Try baking with aubergines, tomatoes, courgettes, olives, and garlic for a Mediterranean twist or pot roast with root vegetables or butternut squash and red onions

    Flavoured butters also work well with lamb steaks and chops make by simply softening butter and mixing through the grated rind of a lemon or lime, some thyme and rosemary, or try some chilli paste and a few leaves of freshly torn basil.

    Slivers of garlic, sprigs of rosemary and/or anchovies can be pushed into slits cut in the meat. Why not try grating or grinding lemon rind, root ginger and garlic, or mint and rosemary, into a paste to fill the slits.

    If roasting serve with mint sauce and red wine gravy for a yummy dish

    While lamb doesn’t often feature in oriental cookery, however, it’s mouth-watering with soy sauce, ginger, or honey.

    And finally, because of its seasonality and its mild flavour, new season lamb goes well with spring vegetables.


    And don’t forget to keep an eye out for wild sea trout, which is brilliant just now, as is Monkfish, Halibut, Prawns, and Crab are all very good now, please try to avoid Turbot, Brill, Dover, and Lemon sole as they are all spawning now, so leave them alone and take advantage of the new season shellfish, April is the time for buying Brown Crab, Cockles, Conger Eel, Crab, John Dory, Lobster, Razor Clams, Salmon, Sea Bass, Sea Trout, Shrimp, Whitebait, Winkles. And Wild Salmon


    As the spring sun warms the soil, we can look forward to an abundance of wonderful ingredients coming into season over the next few weeks, the first herbs are appearing now, allowing us to add some fresher flavours to our food look out for wild garlic, chives, sorrel and wild sorrel.

    Leeks, wild mushrooms, Jersey Royal potatoes, radishes, spinach and watercress, broad beans, peas, asparagus, and cauliflowers will be fresh in season towards the end of British springtime.


    Vegetables at Their Best

    1. Purple Sprouting Broccoli; just make certain it is very purple to make sure it is at its prime.
    2. Spring Greens; check that they are English and very green, we always say that the spring greens from Cornwall are the best with those from Lancashire a close second.
    3. Spring Onions; are really good at the moment just pick those with pale green tails.
    4. English Carrots; are now beginning to make themselves known we like to buy the small ones in bunches along with their feathery tops.
    5. British Watercress; it’s a sensation in uncomplicated salads; classy salads, with fish and with cheese, always try to avoid the plastic wrapped bunches.
    6. New Season Kale; kale is called a "super food" because it packs more nutrition per calorie than almost any other food. Unfortunately many people haven’t a clue how to prepare the stuff usually seen only as garnish, follow these simple instructions for delicious, tender, steamed kale:
    • Select dark green crisp leaves.
    • Wash kale in cold water to remove sand or dirt.
    • Fold the kale in half, lengthwise, hold the base of the stem and rip the leaves from the stem.
    • Chop leaves and add to a steamer basket and place in a pan of boiling water, filled just to the base of the basket, and cover.
    • Steam for about 4 to 5 minutes, then check for tenderness.
    • Kale cools rapidly, so enjoy immediately.
    • You can eat it plain, spritz it with soy sauce, sauté it with garlic and olive oil, or toss it into soups.
    • Use it in place of cooked spinach in your favourite recipes.


    Meat, Poultry and Game at Its Best

    As we said new season lamb is now available and is absolutely fantastic but it will be at its very best in June, Beef, Pork, Chicken, and Wood Pigeon are still all very good.


    Fish and Seafood at Its Best

    Fishing has been improving with the better weather conditions, although the tides have been very big, which affects the practicality of netted catches especially obvious in smaller ports like Looe.

    Lobster prices have been mulishly high this year for our own British caught lobsters, as ever, you can get cheaper from elsewhere, although they will be of the Canadian or American type and apart from being in general awfully small, they will have travelled countless miles to reach your plate.

    The West Country boats are starting to land more and you can expect prices to start to come down, having said all that, Cornish Lobster is scrumptious and worth paying that bit more for as an indulgence.

    Plenty of Bass and Pollack are being landed, but the Plaice are also terrific at this time of year and the first landings of Wild Black Bream have started, while regular landings are a couple of weeks off it looks like we are going to have plenty to go around.

    All the usual suspects, Brown Crab, Cockles, Conger Eel, Crab, John Dory, Lobster, Razor Clams, Salmon, Sea Bass, Sea Trout, Shrimp, Whitebait, Winkles, and Wild Salmon are very good, so please support your local fishmonger and eat fish.

    The Latest Grocery News for insert month 2011

    • Pig farmers are demanding a fair price for British Pork and are urging national retailers to sign up to a voluntary labelling initiative. With rising cereal prices and increased fuel costs, farmers are losing money on every pig produced. So far Morrison’s has been praised for their commitment to the supply chain but the industry is urging Tesco and Asda to follow suit in selling British produce rather than relying on cheap imports, which are often produced under far less stringent animal welfare conditions.
    • Asda has pledged to work with its suppliers to ensure none of its products will contain egg from battery cages as of next year. All eggs in shell sold by Asda are British, making it relatively easy to verify which rearing systems they come from, but products using liquid egg can be trickier, given EU cross-border trade. Sainsbury’s has also pledged that all suppliers will be legally required to use non-battery eggs by 2012.
    • KFC is set to become the first fast-food chain to be certified by the Red Tractor assurance scheme. KFC already source their chicken-on-the-bone products from Red Tractor certified British suppliers, but the company itself has until now not been certified.
    • The Cornish Pastie has been give ‘protected geographical indication’ status by the European Commission; joining the 42 other British protected products such as Melton Mowbray pork pies and Arbroath Smokies.
    • Sainsbury’s has teamed up with Ladies in Beef to help promote the new ‘Great British Beef Week’ which runs from 29-30 April. The retailer will offer on-pack promotions during this time.
    • When buying British make sure you read the small print as almost a fifth of foods labelled as ‘local’ on sale are making the claim falsely, a study by The Local Government Regulation has revealed. Examples include ‘Welsh lamb’ from New Zealand, ‘Somerset butter’ from Scotland, and ‘Devon ham’ from Denmark. Restaurants have the highest incidence of false claims with 19 per cent, while manufacturers had the fewest with 11 per cent.
    • Asda and Defra are working with key players in the UK dairy industry to create a new milk roadmap. Dairy 2020 will build on the work of the Dairy Supply Chain Forum’s Milk Roadmap – the industry’s environmental sustainability strategy – but will also include social and economic sustainability.
    • Finally, according to a Tesco survey French food is still the fastest growing cuisine in the UK, with a recent 27 per cent increase in French ready meal sales. Chinese cuisine is close behind in second place with British cuisine in third. So come on everyone, buy British!


    Dates for Your Diary:

    Spring 2011 – Pimlico Food Festival at Tachbrook Street Market


    Local Shopping

    Tachbrook Street Market (2)Tachbrook Street Market

    Address: Tachbrook Street, SW1

    Trading hours: Monday to Saturday: 8am to 6pm

    Nearest tube: Victoria or Pimlico

    Bus: 2, 24, 36, 185, 436

    Open every day except Sunday, the number of stalls in this ancient street market increases as the week moves forwards, the market offers a wide array of goods from home furnishings and gardening equipment, to fruit and veg, fresh meat, fish, shellfish and bread and cakes, the market is home to an array of events counting late night shopping, gourmet lunchtime offers, ‘Fashion Thursdays’ and it will be hosting a brilliant Christmas market. Managed by Westminster Artisans Ltd on behalf of Westminster Council it is set to be a community hub thanks to its lively diverse array of stalls with scrumptious international hot food the paella is superb, fresh food, chocolate, cheese, olive oil, bread, funky fashion, and lots more. Discover different stalls on different days.

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    imageOn Sonny’s Stall on Tachbrook Street Market

    Sonny’s stall once again was a picture it is great to see such fresh produce full of lively colours, especially the Rhubarb it really looked vibrant and cooked up a treat when we made one of our favourite puddings so what else was on offer?

    Well there were Apples English Braeburns and Bramleys, Artichokes, Beets, English Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Courgettes, English King Edward Potatoes, Fennel, Field Mushrooms, Leeks, Mache (Lambs Lettuce), Parsnips, Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Radish, Watercress, you can plainly see that all of what was available was in first-rate condition.

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    imageOur Local Butchers have been getting in

    The lamb is some of the best we have seen and his beef is well hung, Scottish and the steaks we had were absolutely great, the pork is outdoor reared and has a great taste with the fat to meat ratio spot on.

    The corn-fed chickens looked plump with a nice colour to them; this butcher is very proud of his offerings and has every right to be so.


    imageOur Local Fishmonger Jon Norris on Tachbrook Street Market.

    Once more Jon has brought to market an incredible selection of fish and shellfish including some rope grown mussels from the Shetlands (see below)

    He was very busy again this week and yet again we see more and more people queuing up for his produce.

    Taking advantage of all that fishing in British waters can turn out, he had to offer Cornish Brill, Clams, Cod fillets, Cod steaks, Crab whole and dressed, Haddock, Cornish Hake steaks, Halibut, John Dory, Lemon Sole, Megrim Sole, Dover Sole, Gilthead Bream, Cornish Gurnard, grey Mullet, Lobster, Line Caught Mackerel, Monkfish, Cornish Octopus, there was Plaice from Scotland so plump and sweet, Prawns in the shell, there were Native Oysters, Rock Oysters, Cornish Scallops, wild Scottish Salmon, wild Sea Bass, Skate, Sprats, Squid, Turbot, and Cornish Whiting.

    And remember almost all Jon’s fish is sourced from around the Cornish, Devon and Scottish coasts and his prices are so reasonable you have got to give this gifted and extraordinary fishmonger a try, you won’t be sorry, I promise, just see for yourselves with the pictures below!

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    Mussels are truly one of nature’s most delightful delicacies; they are extremely high in proteins, calcium, and iron while being low in fat and they are low in calories they contain a number of vitamins and minerals and are easily digested, not to mention they are decidedly inexpensive and good value for money.

    They are also excellent for your heart, containing the highest amount of omega-3 of any shellfish (this is the naturally occurring fatty acid that is believed to lower blood pressure).

    The protecting shells of the blue mussel are smooth, glossy, and dark blue or navy in colour, whilst the juicy meat contained within may range from a bright orange to a pale cream.

    The difference in colour of the meat has nothing to do with a difference in taste, although some do say that the orange meat is fleshier and tastier.

    The orange meat is found in the shell of a mature female mussel, whilst the pale cream meat mussels are males or immature females.

    Mussels can grow in the wild or as is most popular nowadays, due to a huge demand and consumption, they can also be cultured or farmed.

    BUYING

    Look for bright, clean, tightly closed unbroken shells. Fresh mussels smell briny-fresh, not ‘fishy’. When buying mussels you need to allow at least 1 pint (570 ml) per person for a first course, and 1½ to 2 pints (about 1 litre) for a main course. That may seem a lot, but some will have to be discarded and, once they have been shelled, mussels are very small and light.

    STORING

    Best eaten within a day of buying

    PREPARING AND COOKING

    Don’t be tricked by how upmarket they look, mussels are the definitive uncomplicated seafood. Clean them, sauté them, steam them and hey up you’ll have a dish everyone will be wowed there are many ways to serve the mussels, but the most classic is Moules Mariniere the mussels are offered in a sauce of white wine, shallots, parsley, and butter.

    The ritual of cleaning and To Prepare them sounds more bother than it actually is. When you get them home, plonk the mussels straightaway into a sinkful of cold water, first of all throw out any that float to the top, then leave the cold tap running over them while you take a small knife and scrape off all the barnacles and pull off the little hairy beards. Discard any mussels that are broken, and any that are open and refuse to close tight when given a sharp tap with a knife. After you’ve cleaned each one, place it straight in another bowl of clean water.

    When they’re all in, swirl them around in three or four more changes of cold water to get rid of any lingering bits of grit or sand. Leave the cleaned mussels in cold water until you’re ready to cook them. As an extra safety precaution, always check mussels again after cooking this time discarding any whose shells haven’t opened.

    You can in addition find mussels served with sauces made with beer, or cream, or vegetable stock.

    For the greatest authenticity, use a shell to crack open the mussels, not your fork.

    Did I say that they are very good for you an 85 gram portion of cooked blue mussels contain 20 grams of protein and only 147 calories; it is rich in iron, manganese, phosphorous, selenium, zinc and vitamins C and B12. Mussels are low in fat, only containing 0.7 grams of saturated fat in an 85 gram portion. They are, though an extremely rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in oily fish and other foods but are not produced by the body. The consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids helps prevent cardiovascular and heart disease and is an important part of a healthy diet, promoting a healthy brain as well as a healthy body. Mussels in fact contain higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids than any other shellfish.

    Jon’s tips to buying fish and shellfish;

     Fresh Whole Fish

    1. The eyes should be clear and convex, not sunken
    2. The flesh should be firm and resilient to finger pressure
    3. The fish should smell freshly and lightly of the sea
    4. Don’t buy fish with a strong ‘fishy’ or sulphurous odour, or that smells of ammonia.
    5. Oily fish like herring, mackerel, and salmon should have a light, fresh oil smell, like linseed oil. If they smell of rancid oil, don’t buy.

    Fresh Fillets

    1. The surface of the fillet should be moist, with no signs of discolouration.
    2. The texture should be firm, with no mushiness. Some separation of the muscle flakes (caused by the filleting process) is completely normal, but it shouldn’t be excessive.
    3. As with whole fish, the smell should be fresh and light, with no ‘off’ odours.
    4. Live bi-valves (including mussels, clams and oysters)
    5. The general rule of not buying bi-valves during any month spelled without an ‘r’ (i.e. May to August) still holds true, as this is the spawning season and quality will be poorer. When raw, the shells should be closed tight. Any slightly open shells that don’t close up in response to a few light taps should be discarded. When cooked, the shells should open – discard any that don’t.


    In The Garden

    Not a lot happening yet, we are still waiting word for when they are going to put the new windows in so realistically we cannot start anything on our balcony for this year. We will of course plants some salads and our herbs but that will be it for this year.


    Recipes for April

    Potted Crab

    Push the boat out with the respected English custom of potting seafood, combine the tender, sweet flesh of crab with sherry, herbs and lemon juice, its same idea as potted shrimp, but used for delectable crab meat using the most superb white claw meat and creamy brown meat, mixing with spices then topping it with the finest English, Welsh or Cornish butter.

    Serves / Makes:        2 large ramekins, 4 small ramekins

    Prep-Time:                 10 minutes

    Cook-Time:                15 minutes plus 2 hours chilling


    You Will Need

    150 grams, white crab meat

    150 grams, brown crab meat

    1 banana shallot, peeled and finely chopped

    2 tablespoons, dry sherry

    1 pinch, cayenne pepper

    1 pinch, ground mace

    1 pinch, freshly grated nutmeg

    150 grams, unsalted butter, cubed

    1 ½ teaspoons, anchovy essence

    1 teaspoon, lemon juice, plus extra if needed

    Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

    Extra butter for sealing the ramekins


    Method

    Start off by placing the chopped shallot, sherry, and spices in a saucepan, bring to a simmer, then boil rapidly until the liquid has reduced by at least half, it should only take about 2 minutes.

    Next, stir in the butter; when melted, turn the heat down, and simmer gently for 12 minutes, stirring from time to time, remove from the heat and allow to cool then using a sieve over a bowl, pour through the cooled spiced butter and set the bowl over another bowl filled with ice then, using an electric hand whisk, whisk until the butter becomes thick and creamy, but not hard.

    Now mix in the crab meat, anchovy essence, lemon juice, salt, and pepper spoon this mixture into ramekins, cover the surface with melted butter to seal off the air and cover with cling film, and chill for 2 hours.

    To serve remove the potted crab from the fridge about half an hour before serving we like to serve ours with a little mixed salad, toasted granary bread or melba toast.


    Greek Aromatic Roast Lamb

    What a magnificent dish, more or less identical to the one Maureen and I used to have at the Bakery Restaurant on the Greek island of Spetses (This restaurant is on the top floor above one of the island’s more popular patisseries). We tried it at Wilton Lodge for a dinner party, which was a triumph, so much, so that in the winter/spring of 1992 at Norwood West, Palm Springs it was a great favourite.

    Serves / Makes:        8 servings

    Prep-Time:                 4 hours to 24 hours

    Cook-Time:                2 hours


    You Will Need

    2 kilograms, leg of lamb,

    1.2 kilos, potatoes, about 4 to 6 ounce each, we use a variety called Lady Balfour, available from Sainsbury’s or Desiree

    1 whole, lemon,

    2 tablespoons, honey, preferably Greek

    2 tablespoons, olive oil,

    30 grams, butter,

    2 sprigs, fresh rosemary,

    1 sprig, fresh thyme,

    1 sprig, oregano, I like to use the Greek or Italian dried oregano


    Method

    Put the leg of lamb into a large roasting pan. Bruise the leaves of the sprigs of rosemary, thyme, and oregano and sprinkle them over the meat, add plenty of pepper and 1 tablespoon of honey. Rub the mixture into the meat with your hands then rub half a lemon over the joint, squeezing the juice on to the meat as you do so. Do not add any salt. Leave to marinate for 4 to 24 hours. 

    Peel and quarter the potatoes, then arrange them in a single layer round the lamb.

    Squeeze lemon juice over the potatoes, use at least half a lemon, or up to one and a half lemons for a strong lemony flavour.

    Carefully pour ¼ pint of water into a corner of the roasting pan, then sprinkle over the potatoes and lamb about 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, at least 1 teaspoon each fresh chopped thyme and oregano, and some salt and pepper.

    Drizzle on 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons of honey and 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then dot with 1 oz of butter.

    Bake at 425°f/220°c/gas mark 6 for a further 1 to 1 to 1¼ hours

    The ingredients will become golden and will caramelize to a rich brown in places.

    Lift the meat and turn the potatoes occasionally, and if necessary, add a little boiling water to the pan to prevent drying out.

    Serve and Enjoy!


    Thyme Steamed Mussels

    A quick, easy, flavoursome and attractive dish, the bacon and leeks truly enhance the mussels.

    I have already mentioned that we both have a weakness for mussels and that I would be including our favourite ways of serving them and once again this recipe is no exception.

    In the 1970’s when we served fresh mussels at the Willow Tree Restaurant, Bolton-le-Sands, this was the dish that got the most praise and using the freshest mussels from Morecambe Bay, the thyme which grew in the garden and serving it with the watercress that grew in the stream that ran through the property it was no wonder it got the praise it did. Now when we decide to have mussels for a meal we do have a little difficulty in choosing which recipe to use, Maureen has her favourite and I have mine, oh what a hard life we lead‼

    Serves / Makes:        2 main course servings, or 4 starters

    Prep-Time:                 8 minutes

    Cook-Time:                10 minutes


    YOU WILL NEED;

    1 kilo, fresh mussels

    6 rashers, smoked streaky bacon, chopped into small pieces

    2 baby leeks, sliced on the diagonal

    30 grams, butter

    1 red onion, peeled and chopped

    3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

    250mls, white wine

    4 sprigs fresh thyme

    250mls, double cream

    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    20 grams, freshly chopped parsley, we sometimes use coriander or a favourite herb to use is chervil


    METHOD;

    Wash the mussels in a colander to remove any dirt or grime. Pick through the mussels and remove the beard Discard any which does not close when tapped.

    Heat half the butter in a pan, and then sizzle the bacon for 3 to 4 minutes until starting to brown.

    Add the leeks, onion, and garlic and, then sweat everything together for 4 to 5 minutes until soft.

    Turn the heat up high, add the mussels’ thyme and wine, then cover and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, until the mussels until the mussels begin to open.

    Add the cream, seasoning and parsley, stirring the ingredients with a spoon heat through making sure all the mussels is open Discard any that remains closed.

    Spoon the mussels and the other bits into a dish, then place the pan back on the heat and boil the juices for 1 min with the rest of the butter.

    Divide the mussels between two bowls if serving as a main course 4 bowls for a starter and pour the sauce left in the pan over them.

    Serve with crusty bread to mop up all the juices and Enjoy!


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