Herb-Marinated Grilled Sea Bass

Grilled fish is without doubt the best way (ok… my favourite way) to eat fish. The fish retains it’s flavour, it’s lovely and juicy and it just tastes perfectly fresh. This dish is perfect for summer – it’s light, but filling and the fish is so tasty it needs just a simple side salad or two to complement the flavours.

For this dish, I also attempted to gut and descale the fish myself – first time for everything! I reckon the lockdown is a good time to learn more about preparing food from scratch completely… Though usually you’d ask your fishmonger to do this for you!

This is a recipe from Waitrose & Partners Food Magazine.

More with fish: Sea bass with potato and tomato bake | Swordfish tacos with mango & jalapeno salsa | Chipotle salmon with avocado salsa and chilli broccoli

Herb-Marinated Grilled Sea Bass

Serves 4-6 | Prep 15 mins, plus marinating | Cook 20 mins
Easy | Dairy and Gluten Free

You’ll need:

  • 2 green chillies, stalks trimmed;
  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled;
  • 56g fresh coriander;
  • 50g fresh mint, leaves picked;
  • 4 tsp ground ginger;
  • 5 limes, 1 cut into wedges;
  • 3 whole sea bass (about 300g each), gutted.

Put the chillies, garlic, coriander, mint leaves, ginger, the juice of 3 limes, a good pinch of salt and 1 tbsp water into a blender and whizz to make a smooth salsa. Divide the salsa into 2 portions; put 1 portion in a serving bowl, cover and set aside in the fridge to serve with the fish.

Cut 3 slashes into both sides of each fish, then rub the remaining salsa all over the outside and inside of each fish. Cover, chill and marinate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the grill to high. Put the fish on a rack and grill for 6-8 minutes on each side until charred and cooked through. Transfer to a serving dish and squeeze over the juice of 1 lime. Serve immediately with the remaining salsa alongside and the lime wedges for squeezing over.

Nutritional information per serving (4): 1268Kj/300kcals/6.1g fat/1.5g saturated fat/3.7g carbs/1.1g sugars/1.2g fibre/55g protein/0.8g salt.

Original recipe from Waitrsoe & Partners Food, issue August 2020, not available online.

Mary Contini’s Pollo alla cacciatora (Hunter’s chicken)

I love recipes like this when I have people over. If you start cooking a little before your guests arrive, you can pop it in the oven and enjoy a chat and some nibbles while this dish practically takes care of itself. It is very flavoursome and fairly easy to make. You can either joint a whole chicken or use 4x thighs and 4x drumsticks here. This recipe also thought me the secret to a perfectly crispy chicken skin in a stew – a little flour. This was originally from a Waitrose magazine (Aug 2014). The original recipe reckons you can serve up to 6 people, but my hungry crowd of 5 mopped every single last bite here. I’ve made some small changes to the recipe, which I hope you’ll enjoy.

More with chicken: Simple chicken & veg soupRoast chicken with goats’ cheese and watercress stuffingMalaysian-style chicken

Mary Contini’s Pollo alla cacciatora (Hunter’s chicken)

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Serves 4-5 | Prepare 30 mins | Cook 2 hrs
Easy | Dairy-free

You’ll need:

  • 5 tbsp olive oil;
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled;
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped;
  • 3 celery sticks, finely chopped;
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped;
  • 1 bay leaf;
  • 100g smoked pancetta, cut into small lardons;
  • 1.5 kg whole chicken, jointed and cut into 8 pieces (2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks, 2 wings) or 4 thighs and 4 drumsticks;
  • 3 tbsp plain flour;
  • 125 ml white wine;
  • 400g fresh or canned plum tomatoes, roughly chopped;
  • 3 thyme sprigs;
  • 75g pitted olives, drained;
  • small handful basil leaves.

Before you start preparing your ingredients, salt the chicken liberally and let it sit at room temperature while you prep the rest of the ingredients. This will ensure it’s well seasoned from within.

Preheat the oven to 200C | 180C fan | gas mark 6. Heat the oil in a large casserole, add the garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes to flavour the oil. Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook gently for 10-15 minutes until softened but not browned. Add the bay leaf and pancetta and cook until the pancetta is golden, about 4-5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the ‘saffritto’ from the oil and set aside.

Dust the chicken with flour and raise the heat under the casserole. Brown the chicken over a medium-high heat (in batches if needed, one layer at a time), turning until golden and crisp all over. Return all the chicken to the pan and add the wine. Bubble to evaporate off the alcohol, then return the saffritto to the pan. Stir in the tomatoes, thyme and olives. Pour over boiling water until the chicken is just covered and season to taste.

Bake, uncovered, for about 1hr – 1hr 20 mins until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is tender. Before serving, remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Stir in the basil and serve as suggested above.

I served this with fresh green salad (lettuce, cucumber, spring onion, black olives, sea salt, red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil), mash and garlic bread (though if you want to go authentic, opt for a good quality crusty bread).

Original recipe by Waitrose Food Magazine, issue August 2014, no longer available online.

 

Chickpeas and chard stew

This is an easy and quick summer stew, ideal for a mid-week supper. It goes perfectly with some crusty bread on the side too. The original recipe by Waitrose magazine has you making your own pesto but you can use ready made one for an even easier option.

More with chickpeas: Chickpea, pepper and tomato currySweet potato, ‘Nduja and chickpea hashVegan chickpea & squash ‘meat’ balls with vegan mayo

Chickpeas and chard stew

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Serves 4 | Prep 10 mins | Cook 30 mins
Easy | Vegetarian | Gluten-Free

Tip: Use free-from pesto for a vegan version.

You’ll need:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil;
  • 1 onion, chopped;
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced;
  • 2 rosemary sprigs;
  • 2 x 400g cans chick peas;
  • 3 large tomatoes, tough core removed, and roughly chopped;
  • 2 tsp vinegar;
  • 200g pack swiss chard, woody stalks removed and leaves roughly shredded;
  • 4 tbsps pesto, to serve

Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and cook gently for 10 minutes, until soft and starting to turn golden. Add the garlic plus the rosemary sprigs; continue to cook for 3 minutes. Add the chickpeas and their liquid, the tomatoes and 300ml water; season and simmer briskly for 15 minutes. Break up some of the chick peas with a potato masher.

Just before serving, stir the chard through the stew, wilting for a couple of minutes. Stir in the remaining 2 tsp vinegar, then ladle into shallow bowls and top with a table spoon of pesto. Serve with crusty bread, if liked.

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Modified from this recipe by Waitrose Magazine, Issue August 2018, available online here.


2 posts have been published to the site Food Notes on Jul 30th in previous years:

== 2018 ==
* Lentil, squash, halloumi and bacon salad
* Yotam Ottolenghi’s Caramelised Onion Crostini

Leftovers “Shepherd’s” Pie

If you often find yourself with leftover roast meat this recipe is a great way to use it up. Felicity Cloake’s original Shepherd’s Pie recipe on which this is very much based on/inspired by, calls for roast lamb meat or lamb mince (as per tradition), however, I wanted to use up some of the rabbit we had leftover from a roast and it will work with any meat. I hope the fact I’m re-purposing a British classic, such as the mighty Shepherd’s pie, will not cause too much upset with my British friends…

I used a combination of roast meat and cooked lentils to make the filling and it really worked out quite well, so I hope you will forgive me…

This recipe is based on Felictiy Cloake’s Shepherd’s Pie recipe from The Guardian’s Feast magazine. I’ve made several changes to the quantities, order of cooking and cooking times which worked quite well. Link to the original recipe is below.

More with leftovers: Leftovers Pie“Use up your Christmas leftovers” Pizza

Leftovers “Shepherd’s” Pie

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Serves 4 | Prep 20 mins | Cook 1hr 15 mins
Easy

You’ll need:

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil;
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped;
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped;
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped;
  • 1 sprig thyme;
  • 350g leftover roast meat or game, chopped (if you have a smaller quantity of leftover meat, add a pack or can of cooked lentils to make up to 350g);
  • 0.5 tbsp flour;
  • 200ml lamb or beef stock;
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree;
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce;
  • 750g floury potatoes, peeled and halved;
  • 50g butter;
  • 50g cheddar, grated (optional)
  • 1 tbsp whole milk.

First, start with the filling. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium sized sauce pan or a deep frying pan. When hot, add the onion, carrot, celery stick and thyme sprig. Cook on a low-medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables have softened but not browned.

Add the chopped leftover roast meat and fry for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle over the flour and stir well. Pour a little of the stock and scrape the bottom of the pan to get any stuck on bits. Stir in the tomato puree, followed by the remaining stock and Worcestershire sauce. If using, add the lentils at this point. Turn up the heat and bring to a simmer.

Once simmering, lower the heat, cover and leave to simmer gently for 30 minutes. Remove the lid, simmer for another 5-10 minutes – watch that the filling doesn’t dry up too much here. Set aside.

While the filling is cooking, prepare the mash for the topping. Put the potatoes in a pan of well-salted water, bring to a boil and cook until tender (roughly around 20 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes). Drain and put back into the hot pan to steam dry.

Roughly chop the butter. Mash the potatoes, then add the butter and milk and work through until you have a smooth mash. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Spoon the filling into an ovenproof dish and top with the mash. You can do this by scattering large dollops of the mash around the dish and the flattening it so it’s fairly evenly distributed. Drag a fork down the length of the dish to create ridges in the potato. If using cheese, scatter over the top. Bake for 30 minutes until lightly golden on the top.

This is based on Felicity Cloake’s recipe from The Guardian’s Feast, available online here. I’ve made several changes to the quantities of various items and cooking order/times.

Miso ramen with ginger tofu

A few of my friends are cutting down on meat this year. In a bid of a little support to them and anyone else embarking on eating less meat in January or in general, I thought it would be a good time to post this easy and quick vegan ramen recipe.

You only need a few ingredients, but the result is a hearty and flavoursome ramen which makes a perfect dinner for any winter night, whether you are veggie or not! This is a recipe originally from an older issue of Waitrsoe magazine, but I have adapted slightly to also include ingredients if you are not using a ready made Noodle Kit.

More in Ramen and soups: Quick Beef RamenQuick miso soup with dumplings

Spicy miso ramen with ginger tofu

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Serves 4 | Prep 5 mins | Cook 15 mins
Easy | Vegetarian| Dairy-Free

You’ll need

  • 2x Miso Tasty Ramen Noodle Kit or alternative miso-based ramen noodle kit(or make your own, see below*);
  • 250g sweet ginger tofu;
  • vegetable oil;
  • 300g bok choi, sliced;
  • 4 spring onions, shredded (for serving);
  • soy sauce (for serving).

*If you are not using a noodle kit, you’ll also need:

  • 4x noodle nests;
  • 4x miso soup paste sachets or 8 tbsp miso soup paste;
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil;
  • 4 tbsp sesame seeds.

Cook the noodles in a pan of simmering water for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the tofu in chunks (reserve the marinade) and fry over a medium heat in 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil for 3-4 minutes, until golden. Add the remaining marinade and bubble for 2 minutes, until sticky and set aside. Drain the noodles and return to the pan with the bok choi, miso and sesame oil. Stir in 700ml just-boiled water and season with soy sauce to taste. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Top with the tofu, shredded salad onions and sesame seeds.

Original recipe from Waitrose magazine, no longer available online.



Previously published on this date:

2018 – Carrot & Ginger Bhajis and Spiced Paneer with Dhal