Thursday is Market Day. Mahon Point Market Day aka Yummy Mummy Market Day. If there is one place in Cork where you need to be, to show off your little one, including his/her fancy pram and gadgets it’s the Farmers Market in Mahon Point.
And Market Day means Fish Day. That’s just the way it has always been in my family. When I was very young, Tuesday was (much dreaded) fish day and when we later moved to a neighboring town, Wednesdays were the days we would be picking fish bones out of our dinner.
In Cork, Thursdays are fish day. I have changed my opinion about fish and look forward to fish days now. I suppose it’s part of growing up. I have what they call “acquired” a taste for fish. Just as I have acquired a taste for mushrooms. And coffee. And wine….or any alcohol comes to think of it.
So I do love eating fish. But I tend to run out of inspiration sometimes. Very often it’s just place or haddock or cod fried in a little flour in the pan, accompanied by potatoes, cherry tomatoes and broccoli. Tasty and definitely healthy. But a little boring too. So last Thursday I decided to try something new. A fish curry.
At home we’re not really used to making curry’s. But there is a lovely stall from Green Saffron at the Mahon Market that does great spices. When you buy a packet of spices, you get a recipe with it for free. So I asked them for a suggestion for fish curry and ended up buying the Vadagam Spice Mix. It’s a very mild curry mix (didn’t want to take the risk of Ava’s tummy getting upset by using hot spices), but very tasty. The original recipe can be found here, but for ease I have summarized below. The recipe contains coconut milk. It’s the first time I used it in cooking. Himself can’t have any dairy, so being able to use coconut milk instead was bit of an eye opener. We both loved the dish and I’m definitely planning on trying out a few more of the Green Saffron recipes.
Ingredients for four people
2 onions, peeled, chopped
3 tblsp vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 fat inches ginger,
1 packet of GREEN SAFFRON Vadagam Spice Blend
1 tin coconut milk
1 tin chopped tomatoes
Half a kilo of monkfish (or as I asked the fishmonger, monkfish for a tenner), cut into bite-sized pieces
Coriander, fresh, roughly chopped
Juice and zest of ½ lime
Salt, a little to taste (optional)
Sweat the onions in vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed pan until soft.
Turn the heat up to medium, add the garlic and ginger. Stir for a couple of minutes.
Next, add your whole pack of GREEN SAFFRON Vadagam Spice Blend and stir for another minute.
Turn up the heat a little, add the tomatoes and coconut milk, stir and cook for 2 or 3 minutes.
Add the monkfish and cook on a gentle heat until everything’s cooked, approx 15 to 20 minutes.
Take off the heat, grate the lime zest into the pan, squeeze in the lime juice, sprinkle with the fresh coriander. Serve with Basmati Rice.
Jamie Oliver’s tomato based Fish Stew. I just added a few carrots and a sweet potato as it happened to lie on the countertop and needed to be used up. And I used only 3 cloves of garlic instead of 5. Thought that was sufficient.
Ingredients for four people
2 onions, chopped
4 celery sticks, chopped
3 beef tomatoes, chopped
500gr potatoes, peeled and cut into 3-4cm chunks
3 fresh bay leaves
1 litre of vegetable stock
salt and pepper for seasoning
700gr fresh fish (I used a seafood mix cut up in a big chunks by fish monger)
juice of 1 lemon
Put celery and onions in big pan/casserole dish in olive oil on medium heat. Cook for five minutes, before adding the garlic. Cook for another five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes, potatoes and bay leaves and pour in the stock. Season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. Add the fish, bring back to the boil and let simmer for another 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and fish flakes apart. Stir in the lemon juice and herbs, season and serve with chunks of rustic bread.
Tomato Based Fish Pie
Ingredients for four – six people
For the mash
About seven or eight big potatoes
(to make enough mash to cover your oven dish)
Few stalks of spring onion, finely chopped
For the fish sauce
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, pressed
1 fennel, finely chopped
About three stalks of spring onion, finely chopped
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tin of plum tomatoes
About 100gr of (frozen) peas
Small teaspoon of honey (or sugar)
600gr of seafood mix (chunks of salmon, cod or haddock, smoked fish, prawns, mussels)
Olive oil for cooking
Tiny pinch (or a bit more if you like it hot) of chilli powder
Half a teaspoon of fennel seeds, crushed
Half a teaspoon of paprika
Parsley for garnishing
Start off by steaming or boiling the potatoes until soft. Drain and keep a little bit of the boiling water. Add a good few lugs of olive oil and season with pepper and salt and mash potatoes. If needed you can add a little bit of the boiling water to make the mash a bit creamier. Finish by adding the chopped spring onion.
For the sauce, heat olive oil in a large casserole pan and add the onion, garlic, fennel and spring onion. Let them sweat for a few minutes, until soft. Add the spices, tinned tomatoes and peas and leave simmer for about 10 minutes. Just before turning off the heat, add the fish and leave simmer for couple of minutes. Pour the sauce mixture in an oven proof dish, cover with the mash and put in a preheated oven on 180degrees for about 45minutes (or until golden brown). Bon appétit!
The haddock and tomato parcel needs a re-run. Didn’t quiet work out the way it should have. Dodgy oven, so instead of 10minutes at 180degrees, it nearly took 45min for the fish to cook. Forgot to add the olives and the wine (baby brain that’s called). Our wobbler was getting impatient as it was gone past her bedtime. Daddy couldn’t really taste anything, because of the head cold. No picture just yet so. Definitely not a write off, but will have to turn on the oven full whack next time, might skip the bacon around the fish (think the fish on it’s own with the vegetables had enough flavour), and try not to forget to add the olives and wine. To be continued…