Blakean Fish Pie

Tucked away in the Dinner chapter of Nigella’s How to Eat you’ll find this recipe.

Most of the recipes in this part of the book are for large groups of people and consist of suggestions for several courses, but right at the end of the chapter there are some ideas for quick suppers, of which this is one. Apparently the term “Blakean” is referring to the colour of the dish which is rather yellow. Nigella gets this using powdered saffron but we just used some saffron from the cupboard and mixed it in – we got a yellow colour but perhaps not as vibrant as the powdered version would have offered.

This isn’t a complicated recipe – it’s a pretty standard fish pie with the added excitement of the colouring. Ours could have done with a little longer in the oven (the potato topping could have been crispier), and I had a bit of trouble with quantities which made the whole thing a bit more liquid than desirable, but it was a tasty and comforting dinner which really hit the spot.

Carrots with Lime and Thyme and Salmon

This recipe is another of the ones you’ll find in John Whaite’s Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients. The five ingredients are really simple – carrots, onion, fresh thyme, a lime and some salmon fillets (plus the usual seasonings and oil).

It takes quite a while to cook because the carrots need to roast in the oven for an hour before you add the salmon on top and cook for a further 15 minutes. We also did some new potatoes to serve this up with. To be honest, I thik my carrots could have used a little longer in the oven but that’s probably because I used regular carrots rather than baby carrots as John suggests.

End result was very tasty – the lime and thyme combination works really well with the carrots. Also the whole dish basically just uses one roasting tray so there’s very little washing up afterwards.

Ishikari-Nabe (Salmon and Miso Hotpot)

We’re continuing our exploration of Japanese cooking through Kimiko Barber’s Cook Japanese at Home. This recipe uses quite a lot of miso paste, a product which we made an interesting discovery about this week.

We’ve bought miso paste in the past from Sainsbury’s – it comes in a small jar of 100g and is their own brand. It’s the only one we can get when doing an online shop with them. However, this week we were in a local Chinese supermarket and found a large jar of the stuff for the same price, made by Yutaka. You can buy it on Amazon (unfortunately at a much higher price) via this link.

The shock discovery is that the Sainsbury’s miso paste is not miso paste! The ingredient list is totally different. The smell is different. The consistency is different. The Yutaka stuff is much nicer and much, much more authentic.

THis recipe takes a little while to make but isn’t hard. Cube the potatoes and put them in a big casserole dish on the hob, along with some konbu, chopped onion, soy sauce, mirin and sake. Add a large volume of cold water and bring to the boil. Once it’s boiling, remove the konbu and simmer for about 12 minutes. Then add chopped carrot and cabbage and simmer for another 12 minutes. Finally, blend some miso and butter and add this to the mix, along with some salmon. The salmon should only take a few minutes to cook and then you’re ready to eat.

We found it a bit messy to eat – the cabbage leaves and liquid resulted in a lot of splatter – but this was a tasty, umami flavoured dish. I think I enjoyed it more than Mark did though.

Quick Fish and Fennel Stew

This is another quick and fairly healthy meal from the Sainsbury’s Homemade By You website. The recipe is for four people, but we made a batch for two people by excluding the cod fillets (it already has salmon and prawns in) and cutting down on the volume of stock slightly.

It’s an easy recipe – fry the onion, garlic and fennel. Then add the liquid – tomatoes, stock and saffron which has been soaking in water. Finally add the fish and prawns and simmer for a bit. Served with some toast, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and rubbed with raw garlic.

The end result was… OK. It was pleasant enough, but the meal looked more interesting than it actually tasted. As we ate it, the flavour (such that there was) grew on me, but Mark wasn’t impressed and ended up leaving most of his.

Teriyaki Salmon Noodles

This week I’m cooking a few recipes from the Sainsbury’s Homemade by You website, and this teriyaki salmon recipe comes from there. It’s a vague attempt to try and eat a bit more healthily this week.

The ingredient list is fairly straight forward, but it does rely on a couple of “prepared” ingredients which are out of the ordinary for us – a specific teriyaki and ginger stir fry sauce, plus a pre-prepared pack of stir fried vegetables.

It’s very easy to make – the salmon is pan fried, and most of the time taken to cook was actually just waiting to make sure this was properly cooked through. You then boil up some noodles, stir fry the vegetables and bung it all together, flaking the salmon first.

It’s quick to serve and satisfying, but the portions looked a bit on the small side for us; we actually had the recipe for 4 people between the two of us.

Tinned Salmon Bake with Fried Cabbage

This is another really easy recipe from Nigel Slater (well, two actually – the cabbage is technically a separate one).

Begin with some tinned red salmon – break it up with a fork and put in a small oven proof dish. Don’t mush it up too much! Then add some chopped spring onion and a healthy squeeze of lemon juice, plus about 120ml of tomato juice. Sprinkle some breadcrumbs over (we used panko) and a few little bits of butter to help it brown.

Whilst it bakes in the oven for about 25 minutes at 200C, chop up some cabbage and slice some garlic. Then fry the garlic in oil, and add the cabbage and stir fry for a couple of minutes.

Serve the whole lot up and enjoy. Lots of tasty salmon and healthy cabbage!

Salmon en Croute

I can’t remember where we first got this recipe for salmon en croute, but it was a firm favourite of ours for a long time – mostly because it’s so simple! The sauce is nothing more than mascarpone blitzed together with spinach. The salmon fillets are wrapped in pastry with the sauce and you’re done.

Normally I would have used ready made shortcrust pastry for this, but I got a bit cocky and decided to make my own. I won’t name the recipe I used but suffice it to say my pastry turned out much too dry and crumbly – it was near impossible to roll and definitely not suitable for wrapping anything in. But I tried all the same.

The end result was still nice tasting, just not very easy on the eyes.

Fish Pie

We’ve made fish pie before, but the last time was a recipe with mushrooms from How to Eat… this time it’s a recipe from Appetite by Nigel Slater. As ever from that book, it’s a rough guide to a basic fish pie with suggestions on how to customise it.

Nigel’s recipe is quite involved though, with mussels being cooked in wine and lots of transferring various liquids between pans so I went for a much simpler variation. I poached some fish in milk with a couple of bay leaves and put some potatoes on to boil for the mash. Then I melted some butter and added some plain flour and cooked the mixture for 5 or ten minutes in a pan before mixing in a glass of white wine. I then added the poaching liquid to the mixture, cooked a little bit longer and seasoned. The fish was then added back into the sauce and poured into a dish (well, silicon cake tray actually!) and then topped with mashed potatoes. About half an hour in the oven and it was done. Pretty damn tasty!

Fish and Porcini Pie

We’ve had a lot of recipes from Simply Nigella recently, but today we went all the way back to her very first book – How To Eat. I love this book but it’s much harder to find recipes from it because of the way it lacks pictures. That said, every time we’ve chosen a recipe from here it’s been a winner.

In keeping with some other recipes from the book, it’s not the simplest of recipes – several pans and pots were involved, plus jugs and bowls and the whole kitchen felt like it needed demolishing and rebuilding at the end. The other issue with this book is that a lot of the recipes are for 4+ people, but this one scaled quite neatly for two.

End result was a complete winner – thick and creamy sauce, beautiful fish a crispy crust on top of fluffy mashed potatoes. It would probably work better for a larger quantity (our fish was spread thin and I struggled to get full coverage with the potato topping) but this is a rustic looking dish which doesn’t matter if it’s not the most beautiful looking dish.

Salmon & Sushi Rice with Hot, Sweet & Sour Asian Sauce

A simple and easy supper from Nigella’s Kitchen tonight. The only trickiness comes from cooking the sushi rice – if you have a rice cooker then you’re set. If like us you have to use a pan, try 250g of rice and 330ml of cold water – bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and leave to stand for 25 minutes.

The salmon just gets fried in a pan. The only other prep is the sauce which is chopped garlic, ginger and chillies mixed with rice wine, mirin and lime juice. I held back on the lime juice because we’ve had some bad experiences in the past. And, as always, I skipped the nam pla which just doesn’t appeal to us.

All in all, a quick and easy meal. Mind you, we both reek of garlic now…