Archive for the ‘Fish’ Category

Smoked Haddock Fish cakes

Boxing day starter this year was my job. I thought, what would be nice and different from the beef that was  to follow and I decided on fish cakes. Smoked haddock seemed like a perfect flavour that cuts through the potato and also meant that I didn’t need to add something like chilli to make it interesting. Also very quick to make. You can even make them a few hours before.


  • 400g smoked haddock
  • 400g potatoes
  • large pinch of saffron
  • sprig or two of flat leaf parsley
  • milk
  • olive oil for frying
  • salt and pepper


Pre heat the oven to 200C. Put the fish into a baking tray and just cover with milk. Bake the fish in the milk for about 25 mins to half an hour. While the fish  is in the oven,  make your mashed potatoes, setting them aside to cool when they are done.

When the fish comes out of the oven, peel away the skins and flake the fish into a bowl and leave it to cool. When both the fish and potatoes are cool enough to handle, mix them together with the saffron, parsley and season. You can shape them into whatever shape you like, I went for a kind of croquette shape and then shallow fry them in hot olive oil until they’re nicely browned.


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We ate this in a restaurant a few months ago and was delicious. I have been wanting to cook this dish since then. The ink gives the dish a salty taste of the sea and the “chipirones”  even came with their ink conveniently packaged in a small perforated plastic bag. Now that’s evolution for you.


  • chipirones (baby squid) prepared
  • the ink of the chipirones
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup of white wine
  • olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


Fry the onion and garlic in olive oil to soften. Add the baby squid on a low heat.

Add tomato puree, and the wine and a little seasoning. cook in the pan for about 20 minutes on the low heat. At the end, stir in the ink and serve with basmati rice.

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Simple and delicious. This is an absolute staple of the Spanish diet. Un bocadillo de Calamares (a squid sandwich) is a Madrid favourite, the most famous place to get them being “El Brilliante” near the Reina Sofia art gallery. If cooked correctly they should be soft, not chewy. You should be able to get them fairly easily in most places and the fishmonger will usually cut them into rings for you.


  • calamares (squid)
  • flour
  • eggs
  • salt
  • olive oil for frying


Heat some olive oil in a pan to a medium high temperature.

Wash and dry the squid rings, they will retain a bit of moisture so that the flour will stick to them. Then put them in the flour with a pinch of salt.

Dip the floured squid rings in a bowl of beaten eggs, and then immediately put them in the hot oil. Fry for about 2-3 minutes until the batter is golden brown in colour.

Serve immediately. Good luck and we are always keen to hear if you have tried to make anything from our instructions.

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I was very fortunate to be invited by my student and friend Andres to lunch. Andres is from Sevilla, living in Madrid and wanted to give me the opportunity to taste some of his favourite dishes from his homeland of Andalucia. The restaurant is named after the tower of the cathedral in Sevilla. As you will see from the pictures below, is littered with bullfighting memorabilia, as the owner was actually a “torero” himself and from his earnings in the plaza de toros of Spain has managed to establish numerous restaurants across the capital. There is even a Bull’s head in the main dining area as if to keep an eye on you while you eat.

The food was wonderful, and made with a lightness of touch that might appear simple but believe me, takes time to perfect. The wine was “Verdejo” and was served very cold. It was really fresh tasting and accompanied the fish wonderfully.

The matador pictured below is “Manolete” which is also the name of a 2007 film starring Adrien Brody and Penelope Cruz. He was arguably one of the most famous matadors in Spanish history and regarded by many as the best ever. He was, according to Andres, famed for his ability to allow the bull to pass several times whilst remaining on exactly the same spot.

To start we ate “tortillita de camarones” which was a batter made from special flour, I believe it was corn flour, eggs and water, mixed with tiny prawns and parsley and fried in very hot olive oil. The result was a kind of cookie like texture, crispy on the outside with some give in the middle.

Next was “Boquerones fritos” deep fried battered anchovies. As you can see, from the picture, they look beautiful. Different from my attempt a while back as you have to have thoroughly dry the fish in order for the batter to coat the fish successfully. Check out my effort here… I will be returning to this dish.

Here is a photo of the next course. more batter but this time, two different items. On the left we ate “huevas fritas” which is fish eggs served in there own bags! On the right, “bienmesabe” (roughly translated as “I like the taste”) this was dogfish, marinated in vinegar and herbs and then battered and deep fried in hot olive oil. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. It was a new flavour for me, so fresh tasting (a sensation that I am always striving for in the kitchen.) Wonderful.

Next up, “berenjenas fritas” or aubergine fritters with a hidden surprise of pickled beetroot and pieces of sliced onion underneath. Again, cooked with such an amazing lightness of touch.

Finaly the meal was ended with a glass of sweet Andlucian dessert wine from Cordoba with a little Manchego cheese and friend almonds. A delicious end to the meal. Thanks again to Andres for not only inviting me, but guiding me through specific Andalucian dishes that I might not have had the foresight to try!

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I adapted this recipe from a Marcus Wareing recipe. I love his book, I genuinely want to cook everything in it… Anyway, he uses cod and I used halibut… He uses a lot of blue cheese, but I wanted to retain the flavour of the beautiful milky fish sauce, so I added small chunks of Roquefort cheese so when you ate it, you got the occasional hit, rather than a dominating flavour. The ramekins that we bought for the chocolate mousses we made a while back were the perfect size, which was nice.


  • 400 ml of semi skimmed milk
  • 200 ml chicken stock
  • 1/4 bunch of thyme
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 450g cod or halibut
  • 1 leeks chopped
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 50g of blue roquefort cheese
  • handful of chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 egg yolk, from a free range egg
  • puff pastry


In a deep saucepan, add the , milk, 100ml of the stock, thyme and garlic and warm through on a low heat, do not boil.

Season the white fish with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then add this to the sauce, and poach for about 7 or 8 minutes.

You’ll see it turning from translucent to white. Remove the fish and put to one side. Then put the sauce in a jug and put to one side as well.

Melt half  the butter in a frying and cook the chopped leeks for 5 mins, then add the other half of chicken stock to the leeks and cook for a further 5 minutes and then set aside.

Now in a another (or the same frying pan if it’s been washed) melt the other half of the butter over a medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for a couple of minutes. Now get your jug of white sauce (garlic and bay leaves removed) and add a dash of the liquid to the flour and butter, whisk vigorously, then, when that has blended in, add the rest of the liquid slowly to create a nice creamy texture. Check the sauce for seasoning.

Take your ramekin and evenly disperse the white fish, the leeks and the crumbled Roquefort.

Place a disc of fresh puff pastry over the ramekin, brush with egg yolk and bake in the oven at 180C for 20- 25 minutes. I think this would go well with steamed broccoli and buttery new potatoes.

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Made this for lunch… I bought ready made pastry so it was really simple. Here you can buy them all pre-rolled and cut into circles again, not sure how easy this would be to get hold of in other countries. I’ve just read a bit more information about how to cook empanadillas and it seems that you have to deep fry them… I will cook them again soon, and I will write another post.


for the sauce

  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • a large can of tuna
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil
  • tabasco sauce


Soften the onion and garlic in some olive oil. Remove the skin of the tomatoes by putting them in a bowl of boiling water. Add the rest of the ingredients and make into a sauce. Add a little tabasco to give it a bit of spice. Make the sauce quite dry so it won’t run out of the pastry. We soon discovered that the grease proof paper that each pre-cut pastry came in was really helpful and by folding the pastry using the paper, you could easily place the pastry wherever you want on the tray. We also made a  couple of sweet pasties with apple,  (just chopped apple, brown sugar and cinnamon blasted in the microwave with a lid on for a couple of minutes to make a purée). We then glazed the empanadillas with egg and baked in a hot oven 200°C for abot 20 minutes until the were golden brown. Hot or cold these are so good.

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Boquerones (Fresh Anchovies)

Cooked these for lunch today. It worked really well and was very light. A quarter of a kilo cost the princely sum of 1 Euro… I made a simple batter, fried them in olive oil and added a squeeze of lime. Not sure how easy they are to get hold of in England or America but here in Spain they’re everywhere. Bought these from the brand new market on Calle de Barceló.


for the batter

  • 75 grams flour
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 100 ml milk

other ingredients

  • 1/4 kilo of fresh boquerones
  • lime


Mix all of the ingredients of the batter in a bowl. Wash the the fish thoroughly in water. Then dip the fish into the batter and straight in to very hot olive oil for a couple of minutes until the batter browns nicely. Serve with bread and a squeeze of lime.

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