Posts Tagged ‘fish’


Sunday, March 20th, 2016 | Sport


Last weekend, I went fishing for the first time. I didn’t go well. I spent most of the time trying to tackle sorted out. Then, just as I had it sorted, the line got horribly tangled, and I had to do it all again. Eventually I got myself sorted. I didn’t catch any fish. Nor did anyone else while we were there though.

It’s not quite as idicic as I had hoped. Possibly because it genuinely isn’t, or possibly because we went to a muddy fishing lake in the middle of March. Hopefully, having at least a small clue as to what I am doing, will improve the experience in future.

The River Cottage Fish Book

Saturday, February 13th, 2016 | Books, Food

I have already written some stuff about January being fish month. See raw fish, turbot and shellfish. What was it all in aid of you wonder? I have been working my way through the River Cottage Fish Book. Co-written by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and his aptly-named friend Nick Fisher.

It is a comprehensive book. Hugh talks a lot about conversation before moving on to fish skills. Things like how to prepare fish, skin them, clean them, dress shellfish, etc. There is then a large selection of recipes broken down by cooking method. Finally, the book finishes with an in-detail description of the fish you can find around Britain.

I have gone into detail about some of the recipes below.


Chinese fish parcels. You make a bed of vegetables, then layer up fish fillets and soy sauce. Wrap it neatly in kitchen foil and roast the whole thing. It is difficult to get out of the parcel gracefully, but great for eating outdoors when you can eat it straight from the parcel.

This was a great chance to try out the cutting blades on my food processor. They are pretty brutal.


Slow-cooked squid. While it does produce a rather tender squid, I was not a big fan of this dish. Even when I tried it’s close-cousin the stuffed squid.


I also tried the slow-cooked mackerel with similar results. It does have some bold flavours, but it was not quite to my taste.


The squid rings proved more to my taste. Even the homemade garlic mayo was acceptable. This was a good chance to attack my fear of deep-frying. I have always been dubious about doing it at home. At McDonald’s, I knew I had a ring to pull that would coat the entire kitchen in foam if things went wrong. Without that safety net the prospect of heating a large pain oil to 180 degrees Celsius has always been a frightening one. But I did it and the results were good.

Overall the book is excellent for those who love fish and want to do interesting things with them. Will the recipes make it into my regular rotation? Maybe. Though River Cottage Every Day still provides my every day basic fish recipes. It was also an interesting read though, one that you could do without even looking at the recipes.


Raw fish

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016 | Food

I am currently working my way through The River Cottage Fish book. I will be writing about the book itself later, but here is a progress update. I started with the raw fish chapter. After much research, I have decided that I do not like raw fish.


Gravad max. If any of them were enjoyable, I think this leads the way. Based on the Swedish gravad lax it uses mackerel instead of salmon. You put it in a cure of salt, dill and a few other things and leave it in the fridge for a few days.


Salmon tartare is a take of steak tartare. Raw salmon chopped up with capers, gherkin, parsley and seasoning. If you’re going to try it, ask if your fishmonger if they have any sashimi-grade salmon. Mine had none on display, but when I asked, she had some in the back.


The fact that sashimi-grade fish existed is something I wish I had known before the first dish I made: home-made sushi. The recipe book never mentioned it. Lesson hopefully learned. It turns out that sushi made with hot mustard tastes mostly of raw fish and hot mustard. Who could have predicted that? Let it never be said I do not try things.

Oven-roasted turbot

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016 | Food


This is based on a recipe from The River Cottage Fish Book.

Flat fish are fairly easy to clean. They have all their guts in a little pocket at the front below the face. This is the only preparation I did for the flat fish. It was roasted hole with the skin on.

I replaced half of the original cherry tomatoes with sweet potato. Elina is not a tomato fan, but loves sweet potato. I cut it into chunks and boiled it for 15 minutes before adding it to the tray with the tomatoes. This produced a slightly mushy result, but with a firmed-up skin. I also rubbed olive oil and stashed a bit of butter around the fish.

Finally it all went into the oven for 15 minutes before being served on the tray.

River Cottage: Gone Fishing

Monday, January 25th, 2016 | Distractions


River Cottage: Gone Fishing is a series of three 45-minute long episodes of Hugh sailing round trying to eat unusual fish. It follows the usual River Cottage format. There is some footage of Hugh doing something, and then cooking the bi-product of whatever he has been doing. There are no formal recipes as such, it is just him and his friends catching and cooking various fish.

In episode one they tour the Channel Islands on a boat, spending some time on Guernsey. In episode two he visits the Scottish Highlands to see some of the remote islands and fish farms in the Hebrides. Finally, in episode three, he visits local fishing around Devon and Dorset.

I am not really sure if I learnt anything. That is pretty useful with River Cottage: you come alway having been entertained and maybe an action point to see what your local fishmonger has. However, you don’t come away with “I’m going to buy a garfish and make a special kind of soup” because where would you buy a garfish? As a piece of entertainment though, it does its job well.

The Bluffer’s Guide to Fishing

Sunday, January 10th, 2016 | Books

The Bluffer’s Guide is a series of books that aims to give you enough knowledge to bullshit your way through a topic. The fishing guide does not go into detail, but provides a quick introduction to the various topics. You can knock through it in under an hour.

It was a mixed bag. I skipped past the “stories to have in your back pocket” as I’m actually not that interested in convincing people I am a seasoned angler. Also other sections that I would have liked more detail in were quickly glossed over. There was some useful information in there though.

I’m not sure it’s worth the £6.99 paperback price, but it was well worth the £0.00 I paid for the Kindle edition.


Hugh’s breaded fish fillets

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015 | Food

Breaded fish fillets are a good dish to represent Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Every Day philosophy – it’s pretty simple and could potentially be done every day. Despite the simplicity, I managed to mess it up.


The breading worked really well. We used brown grouper of the fillet though, which now seems a bit of a waste because it is such a nice fish on its own. I also failed to adjust the cooking time for the fact that we were using a thicker fillet, so they had to go back in the pan for a few more minutes.

Another problem was that the fish had not been de-scaled. I didn’t even think to de-scale it as you would expect it to be done already when you buy a fillet.

All was well in the end though, especially with even more soy sauce mash.

Al fresco dining

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015 | Food

Al fresco dining has returned to our household for another year! Actually, it was still mightily cold out on our balcony, but not cold enough to keep us inside any longer. We celebrated with a sea food day.


Fried cuttlefish with mixed leaf salad and cajun fries. That ink does not come off your hands. Luckily, it’s edible, so it doesn’t need to.


Elina also knocked up some awesome milkshake slash smoothies. They were milkshakes, but so heavy on the strawberry and milt that we couldn’t actually fit much ice cream in.


Dinner consisted of a dover sole that I was mostly successful in gutting, alongside some soy sauce mash (an accident, but turns out to be awesome) and freshly prepared sea urchin.


Turns out that sea urchin tastes pretty horrible. Slimy and salty.

Three fish roast

Sunday, April 19th, 2015 | Food

Turns out, that the three bird roast isn’t the only “thing of a thing” roast you can do.


This is an east coast red mullet, inside a mackerel, inside a halibut. It does not work as well as birds, because you cannot get as a big a cavity. The other problem is that it is difficult to get the stuffing (which I made with sausage meat, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper) to cook as quick as the fish. I felt it was rather uncooked, though Elina thought it was fine, and we haven’t died, so it seems to have been okay.

Elina thought the haddock had a rather defeated look on his face.


Tropical World

Monday, January 6th, 2014 | Photos

On Saturday we went to Tropical World. It was our last chance to go before the close for a month for refurbishment. The fact that we had not been for a year before that was irrelevant. We had to get there in time!

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