Yesterday was random ingredient generator day. Every now and then I ask the kind people of twitter to fire random ingredients into the ether in the hope that it will kindle some spark of inspiration in my idea-less head. As ever they came up with the goods and, like that, I knew what we were going to have for supper. Continue reading
Tag Archives: smoked haddock
Valentine’s Day is somewhat like Christmas – a holiday of great, blundering clichés, and a chance for the loveless and the cynical to mine every orifice of Scroogian misery for reasons to hate it. While this is understandable (after all, let’s face it, Valentine’s is about as palatable as one of Jordan’s boonies), the point has been made ad nauseam.
So instead of whingeing about the evanescence of love, I’ve decided to embrace some of the couples that will be together forever. Because while the most seemingly perfect relationships can disintegrate inexplicably, there are certain pairings that are eternal.
I am, of course, talking about food. Some things just seem to have been made for each other. Beetroot and goat’s cheese; beef and horseradish (and smoked fish and horseradish, come to think of it); pork pies and pickled walnuts (if you haven’t tried this you must); ginger and honey; apple and cinnamon. No amount of tabloid scandal can tear these apart (what? Haven’t you ever seen a paparazzo chasing a Melton Mowbray down the street?) They are more perfectly married then any human could ever be.
To celebrate Valentine’s Day I’m going to spend the week cooking with these perfect pairings, with perhaps the odd cheeky threesome thrown in if I’m lucky.
Potatoes and cream – Cullen Skink
Cullen skink is, I believe, traditionally made with mashed potato, but I much prefer it with chunks.
1 fillet of undyed smoked haddock
200ml double cream
200ml whole milk
A bay leaf
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
1 large potato, chopped
– Put the smoked haddock, cream and milk in a saucepan with the bay leaf. Place over a medium heat, bring to a simmer and cook gently for 5 minutes. Leave to cool.
– Heat a little olive oil in a separate saucepan and sweat the onion and celery until soft and translucent.
– Add the potato, season with salt and pepper, cover, and cook for a further 15 minutes.
– Take the fish out of the saucepan and remove the skin and any bones.
– Add white wine to the potato and onion pan, simmer for 1 minute, and then add the cream.
– Cook very gently until the potato is completely soft, before flaking in the fish. Cook for a further few minutes, check for seasoning, and serve with chopped parsley.
Well it’s 2010, and between broken laptops and trips into a snowy, northern wilderness, it has taken me 10 days to sit down and write my first post of the new decade. No fireworks or pomp to herald its arrival, the stagnant cliches of annual renaissance having been hauled out with wreaths and baubles on the 6th. No, just a hearty and heartfelt bestowal of love and peace to all. I think this year is going to be great.
The northern wilderness of which I speak is a house in Nottinghamshire where I have spent several stints cooking this winter. The family that I cook for have recently opened the trailblazing School of Artisan Food, a remarkable and unique place where you can learn bread making (I’ve been promised a cut of their sourdough starter), cheese making, butchery (with the great Ray Smith of River Cottage fame), curing, preserving and brewing. Scandilicious Sig is going up there to lecture about terroirs, and they have bravely asked me to do a skills and techniques course. So if you fancy learning how to chop your fingers off then details will be on the website soon.
Anyhoo, inspired by Hollow Legs’ recent kedgeree piece I decided to feed my own version to the hungry guests for breakfast. The success of the dish was down, in part, to the green coriander seeds. They added a fresh, citrus edge to the kedgeree. If you grow your own coriander, let it go to seed and then harvest the minuscule emeralds when still young. Otherwise they can be bought online. Should you not manage to get hold of them, fear not – brown coriander seeds work perfectly well.
2 large fillets of undyed smoked haddock
400ml whole milk
1 tsp crushed (preferably green) coriander seeds
½ tsp mild chilli powder
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp turmeric
350g basmati rice
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
100 ml double cream
A handful of parsley, chopped
– Soak the basmati rice in cold water for 30 minutes, drain and rinse.
– Meanwhile boil the eggs for 5 minutes before running under cold water.
– Poach the fish in the milk and spices for 5 minutes until flaky. Drain, reserving the milk.
– Fry the onion and celery in a little oil until soft and translucent. Stir in the rice, season and add the milk and a little water if necessary (there should be twice liquid to rice in volume). Stir, bring to a boil, cover and simmer over a low heat for 15 minutes.
– Meanwhile, flake the fish (discarding the skin), and peel the eggs.
– Once the rice is cooked, add the fish, chopped parsley, cream and butter. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
– Check for seasoning and serve with your (hopefully soft boiled) eggs.
From next week there will be guest writers on this blog, kicking off with The Student Gourmet’s recipe for cider rarebit. If you would like to contribute recipes, articles, reviews, or just ramblings, then please send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you.