Fish & Shellfish

(All Recipes have Gluten-Free Options)

Seared Spiced Salmon Steaks with Black Bean Salsa (Serves 4-6)

This recipe is from Delia Smith’s ‘Winter Collection Cookbook’, but trust me, this recipe is just as delicious alfresco in the summer as it is on a cold evening in the midst of winter. It’s a year-round winner! (The original recipe uses dried black beans, but to save time I use tinned – so no overnight soaking!)

4-6 Salmon steaks

3 fat cloves garlic

2 level teaspoons rock salt

4cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated

Grated zest of 2 limes (reserve the juice for the salsa)

A good pinch of ground cinnamon

A good pinch of ground cumin

15g pack fresh coriander leaves (reserve 6 sprigs and finely chop the remainder)

2 tablespoons olive oil

Freshly milled black pepper

For the Salsa:

110g tinned black beans, rinsed and drained

350g ripe but firm tomatoes, skinned and finely chopped

1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

15g pack of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped

1 medium red onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

Juice of 2 limes (reserved from the salmon recipe)

½ teaspoon salt

  1. A few hours before you want to cook the salmon, crush the garlic cloves and rock salt together with a pestle and mortar until you have a creamy purée. Then add the grated ginger, lime zest, cinnamon and cumin, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the chopped coriander and a good grind of black pepper. Mix everything together and spread a little of this mixture on each salmon steak. Cover with clingfilm and set aside for the flavours to develop and permeate the salmon.
  2. To make the salsa simply combine the black beans with the chopped tomatoes, red onion, chilli, coriander, olive oil, lime juice and salt. Leave covered for a several hours to allow the flavours to develop.
  3. When you’re ready to cook the salmon, preheat the grill to its highest setting. Brush a baking try with the olive oil and put it under the grill to heat up. When the grill is really hot, remove the baking tray and place the salmon steaks on it. Position the tray about 3 inches front the heat and grill them for 7 minutes exactly.
  4. Remove them when the time is up and use a sharp knife to ease the skins off. Transfer to plates and garnish with the sprigs of coriander. Serve immediately with the black bean salsa.

Asian Style Sea Bass en Papillote (Serves 4)

This is a great ‘mess free’ recipe from the team behind London restaurant ‘Wild by Tart’. I have doubled their recipe so that it will serve 4. It’s a dish that bursts with flavour, unfortunately the bright colours of the dressing become dull from cooking but your taste buds will still be singing!… Simply serve with rice.

2 handfuls of spinach

2 courgettes, thinly sliced into rounds

4 sea bass fillets

Large bunch of coriander, leaves picked (reserve some to serve)

2 limes cut into wedges

For the dressing:

2 lemon grass stalks, roughly chopped

8 lime leaves

2 shallots, finely diced

2 red chillies, finely chopped, plus extra to serve

2 x 5cm pieces of ginger, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks

2 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons soy sauce (gluten-free if required)

2 tablespoons mirin

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

2 teaspoons sugar or honey

2 teaspoons fish sauce

2 limes, zest and juice

  1. First make the dressing. Bash the lemon grass and lime leaves together, either with a mortar and pestle or a rolling pin, until their juices are released and they begin to become mushy. Add to a bowl with the remaining dressing ingredients.
  2. Get four large pieces of baking paper. Divide the spinach and courgettes between the sheets of paper and place a sea bass fillet on top, then fold up and scrunch the sides to form a pouch. Pour the dressing over each fillet and finish with the coriander and a few wedges of lime. Bring the tops of the pouch together and seal by folding and scrunching together.
  3. Place the parcels on baking trays and cook in a preheated oven, 200’c fan, for 20-25 minutes. Serve hot with jasmine rice and sprinkle with the reserved coriander leaves.

Baked in a Bag’ Fillet of Fish, Peas & Leeks (Serves 4)

You could use any white fish fillet such as cod or haddock for this recipe, either way, it’s a wonderfully fresh-tasting dish and is very easy to make!

4 x white fish fillets such as haddock or cod, 150g each

60g butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

8 baby leeks, trimmed and thinly sliced

150g peas, defrosted if frozen

8 tablespoons white wine

4 teaspoons fresh dill, chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Cut out 4 squares of kitchen foil, big enough to hold the fish and vegtables.
  2. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the leeks and peas and fry gently, covered by a lid, for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the wine and dill, season to taste and simmer until the liquid has evaporated.
  4. Put a quarter of the vegetables in the middle of each piece of foil. Top with a piece of fish and season. Fold over to make a loose but tightly sealed parcel.
  5. Put the parcels on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven, 170’c fan, for 25 minutes.
  6. Open the parcels carefully onto serving plates.

Simple Paella (Serves 4)

This recipe is what Donna Hay, in her cookbook ‘Simple Dinners’, calls her ‘cheat’s version of paella’, despite taking next to no time to cook it is extremely tasty and will definitely impress both family and friends!…

1 red onion, sliced

½-1 teaspoon dried red chilli flakes (depending on your tastebuds)

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

3 chorizo sausages, sliced

4 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless, chopped into bitesize pieces

250g short-grain paella rice

1 litre chicken stock

12 raw king prawns, peeled

25g coriander, leaves picked

250g cherry tomatoes, quartered

Lemon wedges to serve

  1. Heat a large frying pan over a high heat. Add the onion, chilli, paprika and chorizo and cook for 3-5 minutes until golden.
  2. Add the chicken, cook, turning, for 3 minutes or until sealed.
  3. Add the rice and stir until coated with the oil. Add the stock, bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the prawns and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the rice is tender.
  5. Divide between the plates and top with the tomatoes and coriander and serve with a lemon wedge.

Pot-Roasted Pollack, Chickpeas & Chorizo (Serves 4-6)

This is a wonderful, slightly smoky flavoured dish from Tom Kerridge’s cookbook ‘Proper Pub Food’. It’s excellent for entertaining as you can prepare the chickpea and chorizo stew beforehand and then when your guests are ready to eat just reheat it with the fish on top for about 15 minutes! Instead of pollack you could make it with another firm white fish, such as haddock or cod. (The original recipe uses dried chickpeas, but for an easy alternative I use tinned).

4 tablespoons sea salt flakes

A pinch of saffron

1 fillet of pollock, about 500g skinned and pin-boned (or another white fish such as haddock)

6 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 fresh red chillies, chopped

2 onions, finely chopped

4 cooking chorizos, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 dried bay leaves

1 cinnamon stick

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

150g tinned chickpeas, drained

1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

200ml chicken stock

200g spinach leaves

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

  1. Mix together the sea salt flakes and saffron. Place a piece of clingfilm large enough to wrap around the pollack on the work surface, sprinkle with half the salt mix and place the pollack on top, then sprinkle the remaining salt mix over the fish and wrap in the clingfilm tightly. Leave in the fridge for 1½ hours.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large flameproof casserole over a medium heat. Add the garlic, red chillies and onions and fry, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes until the onion has softened.
  3. Add the chorizo to the pot and continue frying for a further 5 minutes. Stir in the bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cumin and paprika and fry, stirring, for a further 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the chickpeas to the pot, then the tinned tomatoes and the stock. Bring to the boil and put in a preheated oven, 170’c fan, for 45 minutes.
  5. Remove the pan from the oven. The sauce should have reduced a little and thickened. Taste and add salt if necessary.
  6. Rinse the pollack thoroughly under cold running water. Pat dry and place on top of the chickpeas. Place the pot back in the oven for a further 10-15 minute, until the fish is cooked through and the flesh flakes easily.
  7. Remove the pot from the oven. Gently take the fish from the pot and place on a large serving plate. Stir the spinach into the hot chickpeas until it just wilts. Spoon this mix over and around the fish and serve immediately.

Smoked and Spicy Fish Pie (Serves 6-8)

This is an unusual fish pie, not only has it got wonderful smoky, spiced flavours, but  it has a new potato topping rather than mash – and it’s more delicious for it. The recipe is from the duo behind restaurant ‘Wild by Tart’ in London (review here!). They originally catered for TV/ film crews and this fish pie was apparently a big hit!… Simply serve with a fresh, crunchy salad.

1.5kg smoked haddock, kippers and ‘hot smoked’ salmon. Skin and bones removed, slightly broken up into chunks.

Large knob of butter

4 bay leaves

3 leeks, sliced

4 garlic, finely chopped

2 fennel, sliced

2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

250ml white wine

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 lemon, zest and juice

100g baby spinach

50g tarragon, remove the woody stalks, roughly chop the leaves

25g parsley, chopped

250ml crème fraiche

500g baby new potatoes

50g bread crumbs (gluten-free if required – I use ‘Esgir Gluten Free Crunchy Crumbs’)

100g gruyere, grated

25g sage, finely chopped

25g chives, finely chopped

Glug of olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper

(*a large oven proof dish)

  1. Cut the potatoes in half. Bring a pot of water to the boil, add the potatoes and lightly boil for about 15 minutes until they are cooked through. Strain, return to the pan and leave to one side.
  2. Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat, add the leeks, garlic, bay leaves and fennel and sauté until they start to wilt and caramelise. Add the white wine and reduce for a minute or so.
  3. Add the cayenne pepper, mustard, lemon zest and juice, spinach, tarragon and parsley, stir to combine and allow the spinach to wilt. Then add the crème fraiche and remove from the heat.
  4. Toast the breadcrumbs by ‘frying’ them in a dry frying pan, leave to one side.
  5. Shake the pan with the potatoes in it roughly, so the potatoes break up slightly. Add the toasted breadcrumbs, cheese, sage, chives, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  6. Mix the fish into the crème fraiche mixture, carefully so not to break up too much, then place in the oven proof dish.
  7. Spoon over the potato mixture on top and place in a preheated oven, 180’c fan, for 20 minutes until it is cooked through in the centre.

Spicy Prawn & Cherry Tomato Spaghetti (Serves 4)

This is one of those easy pasta sauces which is instantly gratifying; its slightly piquant flavour is cut by the sweetness bursting from the cherry tomatoes – sublime!

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

400g peeled raw king prawns, defrosted if frozen

800g cherry tomatoes

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

¼ teaspoon chilli flakes

100ml dry white wine

2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped

400g spaghetti (gluten-free if required)

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Pat the prawns dry on kitchen roll and season with salt. Fry for 2 minutes on each side until golden. Remove the prawns to a plate and set aside.
  2. Tip the tomatoes, garlic and chilli into the pan, season with salt and pepper and cook until the tomatoes are lightly charred and beginning to burst. Pour in the wine and cook for a further minute.
  3. While the tomatoes are cooking, cook the pasta until al dente, according to the packet instructions. Drain, saving a tablespoon or so of the cooking water.
  4. Tip the pasta into the frying pan with the tomatoes. Add the cooked prawns and toss well to combine over the heat. Add a little of the reserved cooking water and continue turning the pasta in the sauce until well coated. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Sea Bream with Pistachio & Herb Crust (Serves 4)

In her cookbook ‘Ripe Figs’, Yasmin Khan shares recipes from the Eastern Mediterranean; I particularly like this Turkish recipe for sea bream. It’s incredibly easy to make the herb-packed salsa for a quick, but incredibly tasty midweek meal. Simply serve with a good green salad and steamed new potatoes.

For the Salsa:

60g shelled, unsalted pistachios

4 handfuls parsley leaves, finely chopped

2 handfuls dill, finely chopped

Finely grated zest of 2 limes

4 tablespoons lime juice

3 tablespoons small capers, drained and rinsed

8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper

For the Fish:

4 -6 sea bream fillets (depending on the size of the fish)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

4 tablespoons plain flour (gluten-free if required)

6 tablespoons vegetable oil

  1. Use a mortar and pestle to pound the pistachios until they resemble fine breadcrumbs. Transfer the pistachios to a small bowl and add the remaining salsa ingredients with ¼ teaspoon salt and a good grind of black pepper. Mix well to ensure the herbs and nuts are evenly coated with the dressing, then set aside for the flavours to infuse.
  2. Pat the sea bream dry on kitchen paper, season with salt and pepper before rubbing the cumin lightly into the fish’s flesh. Dust the fish with flour, evenly coating it on both sides.
  3. Cook the sea bream in batches; heat some of the vegetable oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, when the oil is hot place the sea bream, skin side down in the pan. Fry for 4 minutes then flip it over and cook for a further 30 seconds. Transfer to kitchen paper to soak up the oil. Repeat adding more vegetable oil to the pan when needed.
  4. Serve the sea bream topped with the pistachio salsa.

Spaghetti with Mussels, Cherry Tomatoes & White Wine (Serves 4)

This is one of those simple dishes which always delivers!…

800g live mussels

150ml dry white wine

6 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced

15 cherry tomatoes, halved

4 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

500g spaghetti (gluten-free if required)

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Scrub the mussels under cold running water. Ensure that all shells are closed – discard any that remain open or have broken shells.
  2. Place the mussels in a large saucepan with the wine. Cover and cook over a high heat, shaking the pan occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until the mussels are all open. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid. Discard any mussels that remain closed.
  3. In the same pan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat, add the garlic and fry for a minute or so. Add the tomatoes and parsley and pour in the reserved cooking liquid. Simmer gently for about 2 minutes until the tomatoes have started to soften. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Meanwhile cook the spaghetti according to the packet instructions, until al dente.
  5. Drain the spaghetti and tip into the saucepan with the sauce, add half the mussels and gently stir to combine over a low heat for 30 seconds.
  6. To serve, put the pasta in large bowls with the remaining mussels arranged over the top.

Sea Bass with Potatoes and Cherry Tomatoes (Serves 4)

This is such a quick and tasty fish dish, all it needs is a good green salad on the side (I like to dress it with sherry vinegar vinaigrette – recipe here!).

250g cherry vine tomatoes

500g new potatoes (waxy potatoes)

4 sea bass fillets

4 sprigs of rosemary

Olive oil

180ml white wine

  1. Peel and slice the potatoes, then parboil for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze out the seeds and juice.
  3. Put the drained potatoes in a baking tin with the tomatoes and rosemary sprigs, drizzle with olive oil gently mix. Bake in a preheated oven, 200’c fan, for 15 minutes.
  4. Then pour over the white wine and cook for a further 15-25 minutes until the potatoes are lightly browned.
  5. Place the sea bass fillets on top of the potatoes and drizzle with more olive oil. Cook for 12 minutes.
  6. Serve with the pan juices spooned over and a good green salad on the side.

Cod with Tahini Sauce and Chickpea Salad (Serves 4)

This is a classic Lebanese recipe from the ‘Moro Cookbook’ by Sam Clark.  It’s a wonderfully fresh tasting dish – don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients, believe me, it is super easy to make!

4 thick cod fillets, skin on, about 200g each in weight (or another white fish)

3 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper

1 small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds (optional)

1 lemon, quartered

Tahini Sauce:

2 garlic cloves

3 tablespoons light tahini paste

Juice of 1 lemon

3-5 tablespoons water

Sea salt and black pepper

Chickpea Salad:

2 x 400g tins cooked chickpeas

1 clove garlic

1 large green chilli, finally chopped

½ red onion, finely diced

A squeeze of lemon juice

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium cucumber, peeled and finely diced

10 cherry tomatoes, halved, seeded and finally diced

1 bunch fresh mint, roughly chopped

1 bunch fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. First of all make the Chickpea Salad; crush the garlic with a pinch of salt to form a paste, then put it into a bowl with the chilli, onion, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and black pepper. Stir well, then add the rest of the ingredients – the chickpeas, cucumber, tomatoes, mint and coriander. Taste for seasoning and chill (for a fresher taste) until needed.
  2.  For the Tahini Sauce; crush the garlic cloves to a paste with a good pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle. Whisk in the tahini, then thin with the lemon juice and finally add a little water until you have the consistency of double cream. Season to taste and set aside until needed.
  3. To cook the cod, place a large frying pan over a high heat and add the olive oil. Season the cod and place it in the pan, skin side up and cook for about 5 minutes. Then turn over and cook for another 4 minutes until cooked through.
  4. Meanwhile put the tahini sauce in a small saucepan and gently bring to a simmer for a minute or so until it has slightly thickened.
  5. To serve, place the fish on plates, spoon over the tahini sauce and sprinkle over the chopped parsley and pomegranate seeds. Serve with the chickpea salad and a wedge of lemon on the side.

Linguine with Red Mullet, Capers and Lemon (Serves 4)

This is the type of pasta dish that cooks in minutes but really impresses. It has lovely fresh flavours, which you will remember long after eating it!…

400g linguine (gluten-free if required)

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 x 70g red mullet fillets, each cut into 5 thin strips

½ red chilli, seeded and chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped finely

25g capers

150ml white wine

Grated zest of 1 lemon

1-2 tablespoons lemon juice

Small handful basil leaves, torn

1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Cook the linguine according to the packet instructions until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a frying pan and quickly fry the fish over a medium-high heat for a minute or two until just cooked. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Add a further tablespoon of oil to the pan and sauté the chilli and garlic for a couple of minutes. Then add the capers and white wine, allow to bubble away for 2- 3 minutes before returning the fish to the pan. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Drain the linguine and add to the mullet. Sprinkle over the grated lemon zest and the lemon juice to taste – you probably will not need all of it. Finally toss in the herbs. Serve immediately!

Prawn & Mango Curry (Serves 4)

This is a very mild curry made with coconut milk, I’ve found that it’s popular with adults and children alike.  It’s an extremely easy recipe from Angela Hartnett’s cookbook ‘A Taste of Home’. It is certainly home cooking at its best – it will be on the table in less than 30 minutes!

2 x 400ml cans of coconut milk

800g raw prawns, shelled and deveined (defrosted if frozen)

1 mango, flesh diced

1 tablespoon chopped coriander

2 tablespoons chopped Thai basil

For the curry paste:

2 red chillies, seeded, roughly chopped

Zest and juice of 1 lime

2 lemon grass stems, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon chopped ginger

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

  1. Pour the coconut milk into a saucepan and boil until it is reduced by half.
  2. Put the curry paste ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth.
  3. Add the paste and prawns to the pan of reduced coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes until the prawns are cooked then add the mango, followed by the chopped coriander and Thai basil. Serve with rice.

Hake Stewed with Clams (Serves 4)

This wonderfully fresh-tasting dish has a great combination of flavours – the addition of the pancetta gives it a subtle meaty flavour, plus it has a little bite from the chilli and smokiness from the paprika! Serve in bowls with the tasty broth and with either steamed potatoes or rice. This recipe is taken from Neil Perry’s cookbook, ‘The Food I Love’.

4 x 200g pieces of skinless Hake fillet (or Cod, Turbot, Haddock, Snapper etc)

4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, chopped

½ teaspoon sea salt

½ tablespoon of fennel seeds, dry roasted in a frying pan

½ teaspoon smoky sweet paprika

½ teaspoon chilli flakes

Olive oil

1 red onion, finely sliced

75g diced smoked pancetta

250ml white wine

150g frozen peas

250ml chicken stock

600g clams, rinsed

60g unsalted butter

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 small handful of parsley, chopped

  1. Make a spice paste: place the garlic, ginger, fennel seeds and sea salt in a mortar and pestle and pound to form a rough paste. Add the paprika and chilli flakes and pound a little more. Set aside.
  2. Season the fish with a little sea salt. Heat a splash of olive oil in a deep frying pan (with a lid) or a casserole, when it is hot add the fish and sear it on both sides. Remove the fillets to a plate.
  3. Add a little more olive oil to the pan and add the onion and pancetta plus a little more salt, cook for 5 minutes until the onion is softened. Add the spice paste and cook for a further 2 minutes, then add the wine, cook out for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the peas, chicken stock and clams (ensuring all the clams are closed before cooking), bring to the boil then return the fish to the pan and lower the heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer gently for 8 minutes until the fish is cooked through and the clams have all opened (discard any which are still closed).
  5. Gently mix in the butter until melted. Give a good grind of fresh pepper and stir through the parsley. Check the seasoning.
  6. Divide the fish among four bowls, spoon over the juices and clams and serve immediately.

Pasta with Courgettes, Prawns & Chilli (Serves 4)

This is a recipe from Diana Henry’s cookbook ‘Simple’, so the title of the book tells you straightaway that this is a quick and easy recipe. It is also big on flavour! Henry uses trofie pasta, which looks and tastes wonderful with this sauce, but if you can’t get it or are gluten-free, any other short pasta shape, such as penne or casarecce works well. Make sure you cook the courgettes until they are lovely and golden to create as much flavour as possible. You can either use dill or basil, I prefer dill for this recipe.

300g trofie or any other short pasta shape such as penne, casarecce (gluten-free if required)

Salt and pepper

6 tablespoons olive oil

500g courgettes cut into little cubes

2 garlic cloves, crushed

300g raw king prawns, shelled and deveined

2 good pinches of chilli flakes

8 tablespoons dry white vermouth (or white wine)

1 lemon, juiced

2 tablespoons dill fronds (or torn basil leaves)

  1. Cook the pasta until al dente, according to the packet instructions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and quickly sauté the courgettes until they’re golden all over and quite soft. Add the garlic, prawns, chilli flakes and seasoning, cook for another minute over a fairly high heat tossing the prawns around. Splash in the vermouth and let it bubble away until almost nothing.
  3. Quickly drain the pasta and add to the frying pan along with the lemon juice (to taste) and either the dill or basil. Check the seasoning and add a final glug of olive oil. Serve immediately.

Butter Roasted Cod with Spring Onion Mash (Serves 4)

This recipe has wonderful light, bright flavours. It’s a recipe that I picked up many years ago from Silvana Franco’s cookbook, ‘Family Food’. It’s an easy dish which is perfect for a family midweek supper… and like me, I think you’ll be cooking it more than once!

1 kg floury potatoes (such as Maris Piper), peeled and cubed

4 skinless cod fillet pieces (around 150g each)

Large knob of butter, plus extra to grease

Grated zest and juice of 1 lime

1 bunch of spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Cook the potatoes in a large pan of boiling, salted water until tender (15-20 minutes).
  2. Meanwhile, cut out 4 rectangles of greaseproof paper, just large enough for each piece of fish. Lightly butter each piece of paper and place on a large baking tray. Place the fish on the paper and dot with butter. Sprinkle the lime zest over and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake the fish in a preheated oven, 200’c fan, for 6-8 minutes until just cooked.
  4. Drain the potatoes and roughly mash (they don’t have to be smooth), then stir in the spring onions, olive oil and lime juice (to taste). Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Divide the mash between four plates and gently ease the fish off the paper and slide on top of the mash. Serve immediately.

Brazilian Fish Stew (Moqueca)(Serves 4)

This is a recipe which I found in the cookbook ‘Bought, Borrowed and Stolen’ which has recipes from travelling chef, Allegra McEvedy. This fish stew, or Moqueca as it is known in Brazil, is apparently a speciality from the north of the country, it’s a vibrant dish enriched with coconut milk. It’s a simple recipe but you do need to remember to marinate the fish for at least an hour or longer before cooking. Simply serve with rice.

4 fish steaks on the bone such as Halibut

3 cloves of garlic, crushed with a big pinch of salt

4 limes

A large handful of coriander, chopped

120ml olive oil

3 red onions, sliced

1 tablespoon tomato purée

5 vine-ripened tomatoes, roughly chopped

2 green peppers, sliced

400ml tin of coconut milk

4 tablespoons plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper (gluten-free if required)

300g tiger prawns (defrosted if frozen)

Sea salt and black pepper

(long grain rice to serve)

  1. Place the fish steaks in a dish. In a small bowl, combine the juice of two of the limes, the garlic, salt and pepper and most of the coriander (reserving a little to serve), then pour this over the fish and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least an hour.
  2. Put 60ml of the olive oil into a wider saucepan and fry two-thirds of the onion slices over a medium-high heat until softened and slightly caramelised – up to 10 minutes. Add half the tomatoes and half of the green peppers and cook for a few minutes, until softened.
  3. Stir in the tomato purée, coat everything well and then pour in half of the coconut milk. Simmer gently for 10 minutes, season the blitz to a thick puree in a food processor or with a stick blender.
  4. About 30 minutes before you want to eat, heat the remaining 60 ml of oil in wide frying pan over a high heat. Put the seasoned flour on a plate and pat both sides of the fish steaks in it. Lower the steaks into the hot oil and fry for 4-5 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove and put aside.
  5. Add another splash of oil, if needed, and tip in the remaining onions, peppers and tomatoes. Stir over a high heat for about 5 minutes, then add the blitzed tomato mixture and the rest of the coconut milk. Season and bring to a simmer
  6. Slide in the fish steaks into the sauce. Cover with a lid and cook for a further 4 minutes then add the prawns. Cook for a further 3-5 minutes until the prawns are pink. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  7. Sprinkle with the remaining chopped coriander and serve with the remaining limes, quartered, and with rice on the side.

Hake with Capers, Saffron & Tomatoes (Serves 4)

I love the simple elegance of this dish, it’s super quick and easy to cook – it really is my favourite kind of recipe! It is from the cookbook ‘Memories of Gascony’ by Pierre Koffman, one of the world’s greatest Michelin starred chefs, so it is the type of dish that is equally good enough to serve to guests as it is to the family! If you can’t get hold of hake, you could substitute it for cod steaks. This simple yet elegant dish is delicious with steamed new potatoes.

4 Hake steaks (see note above)

2 shallots, finely chopped

250ml dry white wine

A pinch of saffron

Sea salt

50g butter

50g capers

2 large tomatoes, skinned deseeded and diced

1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped

  1. Put the fish in a flameproof dish with the shallots, white wine and 50ml water, saffron and salt to taste. Bring to simmering point, cover with foil and place in a preheated oven, 190’ fan, for 15 minutes.
  2. Transfer the fish to a serving dish, keep warm. Place the dish over a medium/high heat and allow to bubble to reduce the cooking juices by half. Whisk in the butter and then add the capers and tomatoes, check the seasoning.
  3. Pour the sauce over the hake and sprinkle with the chopped parsley to serve.

Lemon Sole with Lemon & Caper Butter Sauce (Serves 4)

This lemon & caper butter sauce will be ready in minutes. Here I have served it with lemon sole, but in all honesty, it would work with any fillet of fish you like. Serve with steamed new potatoes and a good green salad.

50g unsalted butter

1 lemon, zest and juice

2 tablespoons capers, drained

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

4 lemon sole fillets (*see note above)

2 large knobs of butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil to fry the fish

  1. To make the sauce, heat the butter and lemon zest in a small pan, stir until the butter has melted and turns a light nut-brown colour. Remove from the heat and stir in the capers, lemon juice and parsley. Keep warm whilst you cook the fish.
  2. To cook the lemon sole, melt a knob of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil over a medium-high heat, add two of the fillets, skin side down, cook for 3-4 minutes. Carefully turn the fish over and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.
  3. Remove to a warmed plate whilst you cook the other 2 fillets in the same way.
  4. Serve the fish with the warm lemon & caper butter sauce spooned over.

Salmon with Peas, Green Beans, Lentils & Tarragon (Serves 4)

This dish has lovely fresh, clean flavours; you could use another fish, such as sea bass, the important thing is to crisp up the skin!

4 fillets of salmon, skin on

300g peas, defrosted if frozen

200g fine green beans

150g puy lentils

½ cucumber, peeled, deseeded and roughly chopped

Handful of pea shoots or rocket

1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped

Zest of 1 lemon

Sea salt and black pepper

4 lemon wedges (to serve)

For the dressing:

Juice of 1 lemon

A large pinch of English mustard powder

Sea salt and pepper

4 tablespoons olive oil

  1. Cook the lentils according to the instructions on the packet (in boiling water for about 20 minutes)Drain.
  2. Season the skin of the salmon, then place in a hot oven-proof pan with a little oil, skin-side down. Cook for 3-4 minutes then season the flesh and turn over, so they are skin side up. Place in a preheated oven, 200’c fan, for 8-10 minutes until just cooked.
  3. Meanwhile top and tail the green beans, then blanch in a pan of boiling water for 3-5 minutes until just tender. Drain.
  4. Place the peas, cooked beans and lentils, cucumber and pea shoots (or rocket) in a large bowl, then scatter with the herbs and lemon zest.
  5. Prepare the dressing by whisking together the lemon juice, mustard powder and salt and pepper with the olive oil. Use this to dress the lentil and bean salad.
  6. To serve, spoon the salad onto plates alongside the salmon with a wedge of lemon.

Roast Sea Bream with Figs and Almonds (Serves 4)

In this recipe the delicate flavour of sea bream is complemented by salty olives and sweet figs – it’s a fantastic combination! In addition it’s a really simple recipe, all you need is a good green salad on the side. You don’t use fresh figs, but dried, so this is a good all-year-round recipe. Depending on the size of the fish you could serve one fish per person or alternatively two larger fish for four. I found this recipe in Skye McAlpine’s cookbook ‘A Table in Venice’ – not only are the recipes delicious but the photographs of both the food and of Venice are inspiring!…

4 sea bream (or 2 larger – see note above)

10 dried figs, quartered

80g black olives, stoned

20 almonds, chopped

50ml white wine

50ml olive oil

A few sprigs of rosemary

Sea salt

  1. Wash the fish under cold water and pat dry, including their insides, with kitchen roll. Rub the insides of the fish with a little salt and lay them in a roasting tin.
  2. Scatter the figs, olives and almonds over and around the fish. Drizzle in the wine and olive oil, tear the rosemary into pieces and add to the roasting tin.
  3. Roast in an oven to 180’c fan for 30 minutes until the fish is cooked.

Sea Bass Baked in Salt with Agrumi Sauce (Serves 4)

By cooking fish in a salt crust you trap all of its natural flavours and moisture, it doesn’t make the fish any saltier than if you seasoned it regularly, but it does ensure that your fish is beautifully moist and flavoursome! In this recipe the salt paste is flavoured with star anise and orange, which very delicately adds to the flavour of the fish. The oven-baked crusted salt is then removed to reveal a perfectly cooked fish which falls easily from the bone, it is served simply with a delicious citrus dressing, Agrumi Sauce. It is an easy yet impressive recipe, I like to serve it with ‘New Potatoes with Lemon & Samphire’ (recipe here) and a good green salad.

*if you can’t find anise seeds in your local supermarket they are available on Amazon.

1 whole sea bass to serve 4 people (or 2 smaller fish)

1.2kg course sea salt

25g anise seed

25g star anise, crushed in a mortar

Zest of 1 orange

Zest of 1 lemon

5 egg whites, lightly beaten

½ to 1 orange, sliced into half moons

Several sprigs flat leaf parsley

For the Agrumi Sauce:

120ml freshly squeezed orange juice

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Zest of ½ orange

Zest ½ lemon

175ml extra-virgin olive oil

5 mint leaves (plus more to garnish)

5 basil leaves (plus more to garnish)


  1. To make the agrumi sauce, stir all the ingredients together in a bowl, bruising the herbs with the back of the spoon. Season to taste with salt and let it sit for at least 30 minutes at room temperature to allow the flavours to develop, then strain through a sieve to serve.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine the course sea salt, anise seeds, crushed star anise, orange and lemon zests and the egg whites; it will have the consistency of wet sand.
  3. Stuff the fish’s cavity with the orange slices and parsley sprigs. Spoon 1/3 of the salt mixture onto a baking dish large enough to hold the fish. Set the fish on the salt mixture (if using 2 smaller fish set them side by side over the salt mixture). Cover the entire fish with the remaining salt mixture and pat it down into place.
  4. Bake in a preheated oven, 200’c fan, for about 25 minutes until cooked (a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the fish measures 130’c).
  5. To serve, using a knife or spoon, crack the salt crust off the top of the fish and discard. Lift the fish from the salt and carefully fillet the fish by removing the skin and large bones. Transfer the filleted fish to plates and serve with the agrumi sauce. Garnish with additional mint and basil leaves.

Asparagus & Crab Linguine with Chilli (Serves 4)

There are many variations of pasta dishes with crab, but this recipe with the addition of asparagus is a firm family favourite, the asparagus complements the crab beautifully without overpowering it. It is a lovely fresh tasting dish which is super quick to make!

400g linguine (or spaghetti)

Large knob of butter

4 tablespoons extra virgin oil

2 small red chillies, deseeded and finely sliced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

250g asparagus

300g crab meat

4 tablespoons chives, finely chopped

1 lemon, zested and juiced

  1. First of all prepare the asparagus by snapping off and discarding the woody ends, then slice the stalks lengthways.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet until al dente.
  3. Meanwhile heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan. Add the garlic and chilli, then the asparagus. Cook for about 3 minutes until the asparagus starts to soften.
  4. Add the crabmeat to heat through, then remove from the hob.
  5. When the pasta is ready, drain (reserving a little cooking water) and add to the asparagus pan. Place is back on the heat, add the chives, lemon zest and juice and toss well, adding a spoonful of the reserved cooking water to loosen if needed. Season and serve with an extra glug of olive oil.

Salmon with Lime & Coriander Mayonnaise (Serves 4)

This is what I call a ‘cheats’ recipe as it is so simple ! It uses shop bought mayonnaise which you flavour with lime and coriander – it’s not only easy but very tasty! Serve it with Crushed Potatoes with Coriander and Lime (recipe here) – they are wonderful together!

4 salmon fillets, skinless, approx. 150g each

2 tablespoons olive oil

15g butter

100g mayonnaise (I used Hellmanns)

1 small handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped

Zest of 1 lime, plus extra for sprinkling

Juice of ½ lime

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. First make the lime and coriander mayonnaise, put the mayonnaise in a bowl with the coriander and lime zest, gradually stir in the lime juice to taste – you might not need all of it. Season with salt and pepper and mix to combine.
  2. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Heat the oil and butter together in a frying pan over a medium heat. When the butter starts to froth, add the salmon, cook for 4-5 minutes on each side until they are lightly golden and just cooked.
  3. Put the salmon on four plates and top with a spoonful of mayonnaise and sprinkle over the extra grated lime zest.
  4. Serve immediately with Crushed Potatoes with Coriander & Lime (recipe here)

Mullet with a Mustard Crust (Serves 4)

Such a lovely way to cook this fish and so tasty! It is simply a case of mixing the mustards and spreading them over, then baking the fish in the oven for about 20 minutes. Serve with a good salad (use a Honey Mustard Vinaigrette – recipe here) and steamed potatoes.

4 Red Mullet, gutted and scaled

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

200g grainy mustard (such as Meaux)

Olive oil

  1. Make 3 incisions across the fish on each side.
  2. Mix the Dijon and grainy mustard together and spread quite thickly over the fish – you may not use all of the mustard mix.
  3. Lightly oil a large baking tray, place the fish on it and bake in the oven, 200’c fan, for 20 minutes.
  4. Serve at once with steamed potatoes and a good salad – I like to dress it with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette, recipe here.

Prawn Moilee (Serves 4)

This curry is beautifully spiced with mild, warm flavours. It is from the cookbook Dishoom, which shares the recipes from the Dishoom restaurant’s much-loved menu of ‘Bombay comfort food’. This particular recipe is probably one of the simplest in the book, yet it does not forfeit flavour, it’s great for a midweek meal yet equally special enough for a celebratory meal!

You will find fresh curry leaves at most Asian food shops, it’s worth buying more than you need as they freeze well!

6 green chillies

40ml vegetable oil

2 teaspoons mustard seeds

20 fresh curry leaves

300g onions, sliced

15g garlic paste

15g ginger paste

2 teaspoons fine sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1¼ teaspoons ground turmeric

25g fresh root ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks (see tip above)

400ml coconut milk

250ml coconut cream

24 large peeled prawns, defrosted if frozen

300g medium tomatoes, cut into bite size wedges

Lemon wedges, to serve

  1. Remove and discard the stalks and seeds of the chillies, then slice each one into 3 or 4 long strips. Set to one side.
  2. Place a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the oil and let it warm for a few seconds, then add the mustard seeds and the curry leaves. Let them crackle for a few minutes.
  3. Add the onions and sauté lightly for 12-14 minutes until soft but not coloured.
  4. Add the garlic and ginger pastes, salt, black pepper and turmeric and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring. Add the sliced chillies and ginger matchsticks and cook for 3 minutes.
  5. Pour in the coconut milk and cream. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Now add the prawns and tomatoes to the sauce and simmer for a further 5-6 minutes until the prawns are just cooked.
  7. Serve with plain steamed rice and the lemon wedges on the side.

Salmon Teriyaki, Cucumber Pickle and Rocket & Radish Salad with Japanese Dressing (Serves 4)

This is a recipe from the food editor of House & Garden magazine, Blanche Vaughan. There are many recipes  for Salmon Teriyaki, but this is definitely the best that I have come across, it’s not overly sweet, it has just the right balance of flavours, I like to think that it is quite authentic. The ‘Cucumber Pickle’ and the ‘Rocket & Radish Salad with Japanese Dressing’, complete this meal – together with some Japanese rice they make a healthy, comforting meal. All the ingredients for the sauce can be kept for ages in your cupboard, so it makes a great last minute supper (I use the small bottles of cooking sake).

Salmon Teriyaki

4 salmon fillets

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

10g caster sugar

100ml sake

50ml mirin

50ml soy sauce (gluten free if required)

Sea salt

  1. Put the caster sugar, mirin, sake and soy sauce in a small frying pan and bring to the boil. Let the sauce bubble gently and reduce by almost half, until it becomes syrupy. You can do this ahead of time and it will keep, covered, in the fridge for a week or so.
  2. To cook the salmon, heat the oil in a frying pan. Sprinkle the salmon with salt and fry for a minute on each side to brown the skin and flesh, then add the teriyaki sauce and continue to cook until the salmon fillets are no longer translucent, basting them with the sauce.
  3. Remove the salmon to a plate and pour over the sauce. Serve with Japanese rice, Cucumber Pickle and Rocket & Radish Salad (recipes below).

Cucumber Pickle

1 cucumber, peeled, halved and seeds scraped out

2 tablespoons soy sauce (gluten free if required)

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1-2 teaspoons sugar

3cm knob ginger, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks

Sea salt

  1. Slice the cucumber into half-moon slices, toss together with a large pinch of salt.
  2. Mix the other ingredients together and add the cucumber. Leave to marinate for half an hour before serving.

Rocket & Radish Salad with Japanese Dressing

100g rocket

150g radishes, halved

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce (gluten free if required)

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

  1. Place the rocket and radishes in a serving bowl.
  2. Whisk the rice vinegar, soy sauce and toasted sesame oil together and, just before serving, pour over the salad and toss to combine.

Store Cupboard Fishcakes (Serves 4)

These fishcakes are really tasty and all the better for using ingredients which most of have to hand. I particularly love them as they are totally gluten free – they are crumbed in cornmeal rather than breadcrumbs. They make the perfect supper with a leafy salad and perhaps an couple of cherry tomatoes. This recipe is from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s book ‘Light and Easy’ – which totally sums up this recipe!

500g cold, cooked potato

250g tinned sardine (or mackerel) fillets in oil, drained

250g spring onions, finely sliced (or 2 onions, finely chopped)

2 tablespoons capers, roughly chopped

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Rapeseed or sunflower oil

8 tablespoons fine cornmeal

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Mash the potatoes roughly.
  2. Put the tinned fish into a bowl and mash with a fork to break up a little. Add the onions, capers, mashed potato and season with black pepper.
  3. Stir in the beaten eggs, mixing well.
  4. Divide the mixture into 8. Roll each portion into a ball and then squash into a cake.
  5. Heat a thin film of oil over the base of a frying pan over a medium heat.
  6. Put the cornmeal in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Carefully put a fishcake into the bowl and coat it with cornmeal then gently place in the frying pan. Cook for about 10 minutes turning once or twice until the cornmeal is crisp and golden and the cakes are piping hot through the middle. Repeat with the rest of the fishcakes – you will have to cook them in batches, adding more oil to the pan as needed.
  7. Serve straightaway with a good salad.

Poached Fillet of Cod with Mussels, Peas and Parsley (Serves 4)

This is one of those recipes which looks good enough to serve to guests yet is easy and quick enough to serve to the family for a midweek treat! The broth is light and delicious – perhaps some bread might be good on the side to mop it up! Simply serve with steamed new potatoes.

4 fillets of cod, skinless

20g unsalted butter

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 shallot, finely sliced

½ tablespoon plain flour (gluten free if required)

100ml white wine

300ml fish stock

24 mussels, beards removed

Dash of double cream

100g peas

½ tablespoon parsley, chopped

Sea salt

  1. To begin cook the peas in a little boiling water for about 4 minutes (longer if fresh) until just tender. Drain and put to one side.
  2. Place the butter in a frying pan (with a lid), melt over a medium heat. Once foaming, add the garlic and shallot and fry until soft but without colour.
  3. Sprinkle over the flour, then add the white wine, stirring constantly so that there are no lumps. Reduce the liquid to a glaze consistency.
  4. Add the fish stock and bring to the boil.
  5. Season the fish with salt and add to the pan with the fish stock. Cover with a lid, lower the heat to a gently simmer, cook for 3 minutes.
  6. Carefully turn over the cod and add the mussels to the pan. Replace the lid and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  7. Carefully remove the cod to a plate, keep warm. Remove the mussels, discarding any that haven’t opened and place on the plate with the fish.
  8. To finish the sauce, pass it through a sieve into a clean saucepan and place over a high heat. Bring to the boil and reduce by half then add a splash of cream.
  9. Finally stir through the cooked peas and chopped parsley.
  10. To serve arrange the cod and mussels on a plate and spoon over the sauce. Serve with steamed new potatoes on the side.

Pan Fried Plaice with Shrimp & Lemon Butter Sauce (Served with Samphire) (Serves 4)

This is one of my favourite simple fish recipes. The samphire is optional, I very often serve it without as I can’t always get hold of it, however if you can get it, do try it as it adds a subtle salty flavour which complements the lemon butter sauce.

100g unsalted butter

2 lemons, juiced and zest finely grated

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 large plaice fillets, skinned

180g brown shrimps

1 tablespoon chives, chopped

1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

80g Samphire (optional)

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. First prepare the sauce. Place the butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat, then cook until the butter starts to turn to a nutty brown colour. Remove from the heat and add the lemon zest and juice, then season with salt and pepper. Keep warm whilst you cook the fish.
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Season the plaice fillets with salt only and add to the pan, cook for 1½-2 minutes on each side. (You will probably have to cook the fish in batches, adding a little more oil to the pan, keeping the fish warm whilst you cook the second batch).
  3. Meanwhile place the samphire in a pan of boiling water and simmer for 2-3 minutes, drain and set aside.
  4. At the same time add the shrimps to the lemon butter sauce and reheat gently until the sauce is boiling, boil for 1 minute, remove from the heat and add the parsley.
  5. Place the plaice fillets on plates, sprinkle over the cooked samphire and spoon over the shrimp and lemon butter sauce. Serve simply with some steamed new potatoes.

Grilled Salmon in Sweet, Smokey Tamarind Sauce (with Avocado Salsa) (Serves 4)

In this recipe the combination of slightly sour tamarind sauce with the smoky chipotle is a marriage made in heaven and it is brought to an addictive level with the addition of a little sugar!…It is a seriously good sauce that transforms a simple piece of salmon to an exotic supper. The recipe is from the cookbook by Thomasina Miers, founder of the Wahaca restaurant chain, ‘Mexican Food at Home’. I like to serve this with an avocado salsa (recipe here) and sticky rice.

4 fillets of salmon

For the marinade:

4 tablespoons tamarind paste

2 tablespoons soy sauce (gluten free if required)

3 tablespoons groundnut or sunflower oil

Juice of 2 limes

4 tablespoons demerara sugar

3cm fresh ginger, peeled and grated

2 garlic cloves, peeled and bashed

1 teaspoon chipotle chilli flakes

Handful mint leaves, roughly chopped

Handful of coriander leaves, chopped

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. A couple hours before you wish to eat, mix all marinade ingredients together. Place the salmon fillets in a shallow dish and pour over the marinade. Cover and chill for a 2 hours, turning halfway through.
  2. When you are ready to start cooking, remove the salmon from the dish – reserving the marinade. Place a large frying pan over a high heat, when smoking hot add a drizzle of groundnut oil. When it is hot, add the salmon fillets, skin side down, and fry for 5-6 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the hob and place under a preheated grill and cook for a further 3-4 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, pour the marinade through a sieve into a small pan. Bring to a gentle boil and reduce until it becomes thick and syrupy.
  5. To serve, place the salmon on a plate with the sauce spooned over. It is great served with sticky rice and an avocado salsa (recipe here).

Cod with Spring Greens (& Creamy Mash) (Serves 4)

This is the type of dish which would make an easy midweek meal, yet is also special enough to serve for an ‘occasion’ dinner. The cod is served on a bed of spring greens, flavoured with pancetta and garlic, and served with a creamy sauce; admittedly, it is quite an indulgent dish, made with butter and cream, but hey, once in a while, we must live! If you are feeling virtuous, you could leave the cream and butter out of the sauce so that it is more of a broth – depending on my mood, I sometimes cook it this way, it is still very tasty! I recommend that you serve the cod on a bed of creamy mash potato – heaven! (find the recipe here).

4 skinless cod fillets

100g cubed pancetta

3 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked

1 clove garlic, chopped

400g spring greens, roughly chopped

150ml chicken stock (hot)

100ml double cream (optional – see note above)

50g butter (optional – see note above)

(To serve: mashed potato – recipe here)

  1. If serving with mashed potato – first of all make your mashed potato, and keep warm.
  2. For the greens, fry the pancetta in a large saucepan until browned and crisped. Add the thyme leaves and garlic, and stir. Now add the spring greens, then the hot stock, cream and butter (if you making the recipe without the cream/butter, just add a large knob of butter instead to bring the sauce together). Cover with a lid, allow to steam for a few minutes, shaking the pan a couple of times until cooked.
  3. Meanwhile fry the fish until just cooked through (about 3-4 minutes on each side)
  4. To serve: Place some spring greens with their sauce on a plate and, if serving with mash, place a dollop beside them, then top with a the fillet of fish.

Lemon Sole with Spring Onions and Peas (Serves 4)

This dish is full of lovely fresh flavours. It is served with a sprinkling of toasted breadcrumbs which are flavoured with lemon zest; if you are gluten free like me, you can either substitute the breadcrumbs for gluten free ones – I use ‘Mr Crimbles Gluten Free Ready to Use Breadcrumbs’, or you can omit the breadcrumbs – it will still be delicious simply sprinkled with lemon zest and juice . Keep this dish simple – just serve with steamed new potatoes.

4 lemon sole, filleted and skinned

100g butter

Olive oil

12 spring onions, sliced

220g peas (defrosted if frozen)

16 basil leaves, roughly chopped

8 tablespoons vegetable stock (such as Marigold Swiss  Vegetable Boullion)

Plain flour for dusting (gluten free if required)

4 lemon wedges to serve

Sea salt and black pepper

For the breadcrumbs:

4 tablespoons of breadcrumbs (see above for gluten free option)

Zest of 1 lemon

Pinch of chilli flakes

  1. Firstly toast the breadcrumbs in a frying pan, with a drizzle of olive oil. Mix with the lemon zest and chilli flakes, and put to one side.
  2. Place the butter, spring onions, peas, basil, stock and a little olive oil in a saucepan and season with salt. Cover the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes over a medium heat. Check the seasoning and keep warm whilst you cook the fish.
  3. Dust the fish with the flour. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and fry the fish for about 3 minutes on each side (you will probably have to do this in batches).
  4. Place the lemon sole on plates, spoon over the pea mixture and sprinkle with the toasted breadcrumbs, serve with a wedge of lemon on the side and some steamed new potatoes.

Hake with Bacon, Peas and Cider (Serves 4)

This recipe, from Nigella Lawson’s cookbook ‘At My Table’, is a wonderfully quick dish, all cooked in the same pan – ideal for a midweek meal. It is great simply served with some steamed new potatoes. I think it is one of those dishes which will appear on your weekly menu again and again! (You can easily substitute the hake for another firm white fish of you choice).

4 Hake fillets (or other white firm fish), skin on – about 200g each

Olive oil

130g streaky bacon, snipped into 1cm strips

400g frozen petits pois

500ml dry cider

Large bunch of parsley, finely chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Heat a little olive oil in a pan (with a lid), fry the bacon until crisped and golden, then add the frozen peas, give them a good stir.
  2. Pour in the cider and bring to the boil, then turn it down to a simmer for about 5 minutes, until the peas are cooked. Add a little salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add the fish, skin side down, to the pan and cover with a lid, allow to gently simmer for about 10 minutes until just cooked.
  4. Place each fillet on a plate. Stir most of the parsley through the peas and bacon in the pan (check the seasoning), then spoon it around the fish along with the lovely cidery juices. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley and serve – simply steamed new potatoes are delicious with this dish!

Potato and Smoked Mackerel Dauphinoise (Serves 3-4)

I used to make this recipe years ago, but as Felix grew older, I made it less as he isn’t a fan of mackerel. However, now that he is away at university I am a free to cook what I want, so this dish has recently reappeared on my cooking list! It’s a great midweek supper dish, as you literally throw everything in a dish and leave it in the oven for an hour! I serve it simply with rocket, drizzled with a quality olive oil. The recipe is from one of Nigel Slater’s original cookbooks, ‘Real Food’. If you’re feeling particularly hungry, from personal experience, I think that for four people you should double the recipe and make two dishes – you can always reheat the leftovers for lunch the next day!

450g waxy potatoes, such as Charlotte

225g smoked mackerel fillets

2 bay leaves

300ml double cream

200ml full fat cream

1 tablespoon grain mustard

(Rocket to serve)

  1. Wash the potatoes, there is no need to peel them, slice them lengthways (about 3mm thick).
  2. Put them in a shallow baking dish about 30cm in diameter. Break up the mackerel fillets into large bite-sized pieces (remove the skin), and toss them gently with the potatoes. Tuck in the bay leaves.
  3. Mix together the cream, milk, mustard and a little salt and pepper. Pour over the potatoes.
  4. Bake in a preheated oven, 190’c fan, for about an hour until the cream is bubbling and the potatoes are tender.
  5. Serve with some rocket drizzled with a quality olive oil.

Salmon with Chilli Ginger Sauce (Serves 4)

This recipe is one which my sister recommended to me, she found it in a ‘Hairy Bikers’ cookbook some years ago. I must say that it is a fantastic recipe and it makes a great midweek treat as it is super easy; just remember to marinate the salmon for 30 minutes before cooking it. I like to serve it with Japanese Sticky Rice and Stir Fried Swiss (or Rainbow) Chard (recipe here).

4 salmon fillets, skin on (about120-150g each)

2 balls of stem ginger in syrup (and 2 tablespoons of the syrup)

3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly slices

3 tbsp dark soy sauce

1 orange, juiced (and the grated zest of ½ an orange)

½ large red chilli, thinly sliced

Black pepper

  1. Slice the ginger balls thinly, then slice these into matchsticks.
  2. Place the ginger ‘matchsticks’ in a bowl, with 2 tablespoons of the stem ginger syrup, garlic, chilli, soy sauce, orange zest and juice; mix well. Add the salmon fillets to the bowl and cover with marinade, seasoning with lots of black pepper. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
  3. Line a small baking tray with baking parchment. Remove the salmon from the marinade, wiping off any excess bits of marinade. Place them on the baking tray, skin side down. Season with more black pepper.
  4. Bake in a preheated oven, 200’c fan, for 12- 15 minutes depending on the thickness of your fillets.
  5. While the salmon is cooking prepare the sauce. Place the marinade ingredients in a small pan and bring to the boil, simmer for about 6 minutes until it has reduced and the garlic has softened – you want enough sauce to pour over the salmon but not swamp it!
  6. Remove the salmon from the oven, carefully lift them on to plates, lifting off the skin as you do so. Spoon over the hot sauce and serve with sticky Japanese rice and stir fried swiss (or rainbow) chard (recipe here).

Old Fashioned Fish Pie (Serves 4)

This is a great, simple midweek fish pie recipe, I like that the fish is poached first in milk and that this milk, with the fish flavours, then makes the sauce. I like to serve this simply with peas.

4 Eggs

300ml full fat milk

200g smoked haddock fillets, skin on

300g cod fillets, skin on

50g unsalted butter

250g leeks, dark leaves discarded, the rest thinly sliced.

1 tablespoon flour (gluten free if required)

Small bunch flat leaf parsley, leaves chopped

For the Topping:

1 kg floury potatoes, such as Maris Piper

125ml hot full fat milk

Large knob of butter

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Boil the eggs for 8 minutes, drain and shell. Cut each egg into quarters.
  2. Pour 300ml of milk into a wide pan and lay the fish fillets skin side up in it. Heat gently until the fish is just cooked and the skin peels away easily. Remove the fish from the pan, break into large pieces and put to one side. Strain the milk onto a jug.
  3. Melt half the butter (25g) in a saucepan and cook the leeks until soft, then stir in the flour. Cook for a minute or so then gradually add the reserved poaching milk. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes until the sauce thickens.
  4.  Stir in the parsley and gently fold in the eggs and fish, trying not to break them up too much. Season and place in a pie dish.
  5. Meanwhile, peel and cut the potatoes up into equal chunks and steam until cooked through. Mash with 125ml of hot milk and the large knob of butter.
  6. Finally top the pie with the mashed potato and dot with the remaining 25g of butter.
  7. Bake in a preheated oven, 200’c fan, for 30 minutes until golden brown. Serve with peas.

Cod with Braised Lentils and Prosciutto (Serves 4)

This recipe is from J.Sheekey’s cookbook ‘Fish’ – it really is worth investing in this book as it has some great, easy recipes. The portion of lentils is very generous and you will probably have leftovers – which are great for lunch the next day as a thick soup – either as they are or if you want them smoother you could blend them. One of the reasons I love this recipe is that it gives me a good lunch the next day! In fact the lentil recipe is so good that I have posted it on my Side Dishes page, as they are great with other dishes, such as sausages.

4 slices of prosciutto

1 tablespoon sunflower oil

4 cod fillets, about 180g each

For the Lentils

250g puy lentils

40ml extra virgin olive oil

100g cubed pancetta

1 onion, finely diced

1 carrot, finely diced

1 leek, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 sprigs thyme, leaves picked and chopped

2 sprigs rosemary, leaves picked and chopped

1 litre chicken stock

30g unsalted butter

½ bunch of parsley, chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. If you have time and remember, soak the lentils in cold water for an hour before you cook them. The recipe calls for this, but these days most puy lentils (I use ‘Merchant Gourmet’) don’t require soaking, but there is a theory that they are more digestible if soaked?!…
  2. Spread the prosciutto out on a baking tray and place in a preheated oven, 160’c fan, for about 20 minutes until crisp – keep an eye on them as you don’t want them to burn!
  3. Pour 20ml of the olive oil into a heavy bottomed saucepan and gently cook the cubed pancetta, onion, carrot, leek, celery, garlic, thyme and rosemary for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the lentils (drained if you soaked them), stir, then add the chicken stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 20 minutes until they are soft to toast – not too mushy. The consistency should be sauce like.
  5. Heat a frying pan with the sunflower oil. Season the cod and gently cook skin side down for 5 minutes. Turn over and cook for a further 4 minutes.
  6. To serve, reheat the lentils and gently stir in the butter and parsley, check the seasoning. Spoon the lentils onto plates, place the cod on top and garnish with the crispy prosciutto – delicious!!

Halibut with Creamed Peas & Bacon (Serves 4)

This recipe is good enough to serve at a dinner party but easy enough to serve midweek as a family meal – a winner whatever the situation! It is from J. Sheekey’s brilliant cookbook ‘Fish’. You could substitute the halibut for another firm fleshed white fish, such as haddock. Try to get pea shoots as they give more flavour, but if they aren’t available you can use baby gem lettuce. I would serve this dish simply with steamed new potatoes.

4 x 180g halibut fillets, skinned (or another firm fleshed white fish – ask your fishmonger)

200g peas

60g unsalted butter

1 shallot, finely chopped

50g smoked bacon, diced

50ml vegetable stock

120ml double cream

3 spring onions sliced

A handful of pea shoots (or baby gem lettuce), roughly chopped

1 lemon, cut into wedges (to serve)

A little olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Place the peas in a pan on boiling water and cook for about 4 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Melt 20g of butter and gently soften the shallot with the bacon, without colouring.
  3. Add the vegetable stock and simmer until it is reduced by three quarters.
  4. Add the cream, season with salt and pepper and simmer to reduce by half.
  5. Add the peas, spring onions and pea shoots (or lettuce), and continue to simmer until the sauce is just thick enough to coat the peas. Add the remaining butter, check seasoning. Set aside and keep warm.
  6. Heat the a little olive oil in a frying pan. Season the halibut and gently cook for 5 minutes then turn over and cook for a further 4 minutes.
  7. To serve, spoon the pea sauce on plates and top with the halibut fillets. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve with steamed new potatoes.

Spaghetti with Monkfish and Cherry Tomato Sauce (Serves 4)

Often nicknamed ‘poor man’s lobster’, monkfish is a lovely meaty fish making this dish totally satisfying. It is best to have all the ingredients prepared before cooking as the sauce cooks quickly. It is a very special yet quick and simple pasta dish…

400g monkfish fillet, sliced into 1cm slices

400g spaghetti

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 red chilli, chopped (or less according to your taste)

Pinch of dried chilli flakes

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

350g ripe cherry on the vine tomatoes, halved

4 tablespoons white wine

2 tablespoons of capers

1 large bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped

1 lemon

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Season the monkfish and place in the pan, allow to colour, stirring. Then add the dried and fresh chilli, and the garlic, cook for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes and wine to the pan followed by the capers, cook over a high heat for a couple of minutes.
  3. Meanwhile cook the spaghetti according to the packet instructions until al dente.
  4. Drain the spaghetti and add it to the pan with the sauce along with the parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice (to taste). Toss everything together and serve. Easy!

Plaice with Crab and Olive Stuffing (Serves 4)

This is a very impressive, elegant dish yet unbelievably easy to cook – my favourite kind of dish! The crab stuffing is the star of this recipe, any unused stuffing is equally delicious spread on toast for lunch the next day or stirred through spaghetti as a sauce. I only use crab in my stuffing, but you could cut it with fresh bread crumbs, using half crab, half breadcrumbs – which will keep the cost of the dish down. I serve this with sautéed spinach with garlic (you can find this recipe on my ‘Side Dishes’ Page) and steamed new potatoes. This recipe is from the London restaurant, J. Sheekey, and can be found in their cookbook ‘Fish’.

4 skinned plaice fillets

50ml white wine

1 lemon, juiced

Olive oil

For the stuffing:

50g unsalted butter

1 shallot, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

½ red chilli, deseeded and chopped

200g white crab meat (or 100g crab meat and 100g fresh white breadcrumbs – see note above)

30g black Kalamata black olives, chopped

½ bunch parsley, chopped (and a little extra to serve)

1 lemon, zested (use lemon from above)

Olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. For the stuffing, heat the butter in a saucepan, add the shallot, garlic and chilli and cook for 2 minutes, then, if using breadcrumbs add these and cook for a further minute.
  2. Remove from heat and add the crab meat, olives, lemon zest and parsley – season and mix well – if it seems a little dry add a splash of olive oil.
  3. Lay the plaice fillets out flat and place some stuffing in the middle of each fillet, roll the fish up from the tail end.
  4. Place each rolled up fillet in a baking dish. Splash the olive oil, lemon juice and white wine over the fish and place in a preheated oven, 200’c fan, for 15 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle over the remaining parsley and serve with sautéed spinach and steamed new potatoes.

Baked Sea Bass with Lemon Potatoes (Serves 4)

This is a lovely, simple recipe which I found in a cookbook, ‘Cook; A Year in the Kitchen with Britain’s Favourite Chefs’, just as it’s title indicates, it contains many different recipes from various chefs; this particular recipe is by Bill Granger, and is one that I have cooked on numerous occasions. Cooking a whole fish can seem daunting – but believe me this recipe is particularly easy! It is worth cooking this dish simply for the lemon potatoes – they are delicious, I often make them on their own to serve with simple roast chicken or other fish recipes.

*You can see the video of this fish dish being made by clicking on this link to my Instagram Page

1 whole seabass for 4 people

1 bunch of coriander

10 spring onions

1 teaspoon chilli flakes

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

For the Lemon Potatoes:

1 kg new potatoes (waxy potatoes)

3 tablespooons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, crushed

125ml fish or chicken stock

60ml lemon juice

100g pitted black olives, sliced

1 small bunch parsley, chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. For the lemon potatoes, cut the unpeeled potatoes into thick slices and place in a roasting tin. Add the olive oil, garlic, stock, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and toss to combine.
  2. Bake in a preheated oven, 200’c fan, for 30 minutes stirring every 10 minutes
  3. Meanwhile put the coriander, spring onions, chilli flakes, olive oil and salt in a processor and process to make a coarse paste.
  4. Make 3 slashes on each side of the fish and place on a baking tray. Spread the paste over the fish rubbing it into the slashes.
  5. After the potatoes have cooked for 30 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 180’c and place the fish in the oven on the shelf below the potatoes.
  6. Bake the fish (and continue baking the potatoes) for 20 minutes or until cooked through, 5 minutes before the end of cooking add the olives and the parsley to the potatoes.
  7. Serve immediately

Spaghetti alle Vongole (Serves 4)

This dish is one of my all-time favourites – one of ‘my last supper’ dishes. It is extremely simple to cook and ready in minutes! I really do believe that using prosecco or sparkling wine improves the flavour of the sauce – giving it a sweetness. I buy the mini 20cl bottles of prosecco from my supermarket. I like more rather than less clams, so I suggest 1.25kg for 4 people, but you could use 1kg.

400g spaghetti

1.25kg small clams, such as palourdes (see note above)

200ml prosecco or sparkling wine (a 20cl bottle)

40g butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 garlic cloves, 2 sliced, 2 chopped

¼ teaspoon dried chilli flakes

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (about 1 lemon)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 bunch of parsley, chopped

  1. Firstly, rinse the clams in cold water, making sure that they are all closed – tap on those that are open and discard them if they do not close, and discard those with cracked or damaged shells.
  2. Put the clams in a saucepan over a medium to high heat, add 150ml of the prosecco. Cover with a lid and cook for a few minutes, occasionally shaking the pan. You will be able to hear the clams popping open as they cook. Remove the lid to check if the clams have opened, if there are still some unopened continue to cook for a minute or two.
  3. Drain the clams in a sieve over a bowl – you need to keep the cooking liquid.
  4. There maybe a couple of clams that will not open – discard these. Put 12 clams with their shells to one side, these will serve as decoration. Remove the remaining clams from their shells(discard the shells). You will be left with a small bowl of clams and the 12 with their shells.
  5. Start cooking the spaghetti according to the instructions on the packet until al dente.
  6. Meanwhile cook the vongole sauce. Melt 30g of the butter and the oil in a large frying pan, add the garlic, lemon zest and chilli flakes, fry for a minute or so until the garlic is just beginning to colour.
  7. Add 150ml of the reserved cooking liquid, the remaining 50ml of prosecco and the lemon juice. Cook over a medium to high heat, allowing it to bubble and reduce by about half.
  8. Add the remaining 10g of butter which will slightly thicken the sauce, and all of the clams including those with their shells plus the chopped parsley, cook for a further minute. Check seasoning.
  9. Finally, drain the cooked spaghetti, add to the frying pan and mix well with the clams.
  10. Serve, placing four clam shells on each of the plates.

*Visit my Instagram Page to see a video of this recipe being cooked!

Sea Bass Baked with Fennel & Potato (Serves 4)

This is a simple ‘all in one dish’ – you simply cook the sea bass over the vegetables. I found this recipe in Sally Clarke’s book ‘ Thirty Ingredients’. Sally Clarke has had a restaurant (and a bakery/shop) in North Kensington for many years, if you get the chance to eat there I would definitely recommend it, it is a lovely experience, she is renowned for using the best fresh, seasonal ingredients. I like to serve it with a salad with lemon vinaigrette.

4 sea bass fillets, pin boned (ask your butcher to do this)

3 Désirée potatoes (or other roasting potatoes)

2 fennel bulbs

1 tablespoon fennel seeds

60ml olive oil, plus extra to drizzle

4 bay leaves

Peelings from an orange

1 bunch of dill, leaves picked

100ml orange juice

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Although your fishmonger would have pin boned the fish fillets, I suggest you go over them again with tweezers – by doing this you really will avoid bones in your cooked dish.
  2. Peel and slice the potatoes thickly. Slice the fennel bulbs and reserve any leafy fronds.
  3. Toast the fennel seeds in a small frying pan until fragrant (a few seconds), then crush with a pestle and mortar.
  4. Place the vegetables in a roasting tin with the olive oil, salt and pepper, bay leaves, orange peel, half of the dill leaves and half of the crushed fennel seeds. Mix together using your hands and spread out flat in the tin.
  5. Place the tin in preheated oven, 180’c fan, roast for about 25 minutes, until the vegetables are almost tender.
  6. Once the vegetables are almost tender, place the sea bass fillets on top, skin side up, sprinkle with the rest of the fennel seeds, remaining dill leaves, the fennel fronds, salt, pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
  7. Bake for 5 minutes then pour the orange juice over the vegetables – not over the fish, as you want the skin to crisp!
  8. Cook for a further 5-7 minutes until the fish is just cooked and the skin is crisp.
  9. Serve with a green salad dressed with a lemon vinaigrette – I also like to sprinkle some of the reserved fennel fronds over the salad.

Fillet of Sole with Sauce Vierge (Serves 4)

Sauce Vierge is a french sauce generally made with tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice and herbs, there are many variations but my favourite version is one I found in a cookbook by Nina Parker, ‘Nina’s St Tropez’. It balances the flavours of the vinegar and lemon juice perfectly with the herbs, and is an ideal accompaniment to a delicate fish like sole. It is also a great sauce for pasta – so keep any leftovers for lunch the next day (click here to see the recipe on my Recipe Pages )! This fish dish should be kept simple so that the delicate flavour of the sole is not overpowered – so  serve simply with fine green beans and steamed new potatoes.

large knobs of butter

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 clove of garlic, finely sliced

4 sole fillets

Juice of 1 lemon, plus one lemon quartered to serve

Sea salt and black pepper

For the Sauce Vierge:

2 spring onions, finely sliced

2 shallots, finely chopped

Bunch of fresh chives, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

300g tomatoes, about 4 medium

4 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons caster sugar

Juice ½ lemon

60ml olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Cut the tomatoes into quarters, deseed, discarding any liquid – pat them dry on kitchen roll, slice into strips, then finely dice, add to a bowl along with the other sauce ingredients, mix well and season to taste.
  2. To cook the sole, melt a knob of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil over a medium-high heat, add half the garlic. Reduce the heat to medium, add two of the fillets, skin side down, cook for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Just before turning the fish add half of the lemon juice. Carefully turn the fish over and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.
  4. Remove to a warmed plate whilst you cook the other 2 fillets in the same way.
  5. Serve immediately with the Sauce Vierge and the lemon wedges, fine green beans and steamed new potatoes.

Prawn Stir Fry with Basil, Chilli & Lime served with Rice and a Spiced Cucumber Salad (Serves 4)

This recipe is taken from Diana Henry’s cookbook ‘How to Eat a Peach’, it is a beautiful book (the cover is textured like a peach skin!), the recipes are grouped into menus according to the season. This recipe is super easy to cook, just prepare all the ingredients so they can be quickly thrown in the pan, ready to cook in minutes. The cucumber salad is an important accompaniment as its subtle spice gives the whole dish more depth. Start by preparing the rice, I like long grain or sticky white rice with this stir fry. Whilst the rice is cooking prepare the cucumber salad and all of the ingredients for the stir fry, then start cooking it just as the rice is cooked. If you are gluten free, use gluten free soy sauce for the cucumber salad. *For a vegetarian option I would replace the prawns with a large handful of cashew nuts and some baby corn or cauliflower florets!

*You can see the video of this dish being made by clicking on this link to my instagram page

Prawn Stir Fry with Basil, Chilli & Lime

350g raw, shelled king prawns (defrosted if frozen)

200g sugar snap peas

1 tablespoon groundnut oil

2 red chillies and 1 green chilli, deseeded and finely sliced (use less according to taste)

4 cloves garlic, finely sliced

1 tablespoon fish sauce

2 tablespoons caster sugar

Juice of lime

20g basil leaves, picked

unsalted peanuts, chopped, to serve (optional)

  1. Dry the prawns on kitchen roll – the drier they are, the better they fry.
  2. Halve the sugar snap peas along their lengths, so that the peas peep out.
  3. Heat the oil in a frying pan or wok, when hot, add the sugar snaps, fry for about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the prawns, chillies and garlic, reduce the heat a little and cook until the prawns turn pink.
  5. Add the fish sauce, sugar and lime, stir it all around until the sugar has dissolved, finally throw in the basil leaves.
  6. Serve straight away with rice and the spiced cucumber salad (sprinkle with chopped peanuts if using).

Spiced Cucumber Salad

1 cucumber

2 tablespoons soy sauce

4 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon of caster sugar

1-2 teaspoons mild chilli powder (according to your taste)

4 spring onions, finely sliced

2 teaspoons of sesame oil (optional)

Black sesame seeds (optional)

  1. Cut the cucumber into wafer thin slices
  2. Mix together the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and chilli powder in a bowl (depending on how spicy you would like it, you can add more or less chilli)
  3. Toss the cucumber into the bowl along with the spring onions, and if using, also add the sesame oil and seeds.

Plaice with Almonds & Thyme (Serves 4)

This is a lovely dinner, perfect for a summer evening and very easy to cook. I serve this dish with Baby Roast Potatoes and a Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette. These ‘staple side dishes’ can be found on my Recipe Pages. The recipe for the plaice is from ‘Nina St Tropez’ by Nina Parker, this is a cookbook full of the flavours of the south of France, along with fantastic photographs of the beautiful Côte d’Azur!

The plaice cooks very quickly so it is important to get your timings right with the potatoes, they need about 30 minutes in the oven – therefore start cooking the fish 20 minutes after the potatoes have been put in the oven.

If you are cooking this for four people you will have to cook two fish at a time as there won’t be enough space in the pan for four plaice fillets, therefore half the ingredients per pan accordingly (I have noted this in the recipe below). If you want to make this dish gluten free, substitute the flour for gluten free plain flour – I use ‘Doves’.

125g plain flour (or gluten free flour)

4 plaice fillets

20 g unsalted butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 – 8 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

40g blanched almonds halved lengthways

1 lemon cut into wedges to serve

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. First of all, mix the thyme leaves, garlic and almonds together, half this mixture into two small bowls ready to add to the fish pan during cooking.
  2.  Put the flour on a plate and season with salt and pepper. Dip each fillet into the flour, coating it thoroughly but shaking off any excess.
  3. Melt half the butter and 1 tablespoon of the oil in a frying pan, when it is beginning to sizzle add two of the plaice fillets (I find it easier to do them skin side up first). Fry for 2 minutes.
  4. Carefully turn them over and add the herb mixture from one of the bowls, moving it around so that the almonds and garlic begin to colour. Cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove the plaice from the pan and pour over the herb/butter mixture, keep warm.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 to cook the other 2 plaice fillets.
  6. Serve immediately with the lemon wedges, the baby roast potatoes and a salad of your choice with a lemon vinaigrette.

Crab and Sweetcorn Chowder (Serves 4)

I must admit to cooking this recipe more than once during lockdown, as not only is it a delicious family favourite but it is also super easy to cook and deceptively filling! A definite winner in my humble opinion. I suggest you serve it with some fresh crusty bread (and butter), as I am gluten free I can’t eat the bread so instead I make a gluten free oatmeal bread – you can find the recipe on my Recipe Pages.  This recipe is from Rachel Allen’s cookbook ‘Recipes from My Mother’ – as the name suggests, this is a book with lots of comforting recipes.

I used to buy the fresh crabmeat from my fishmonger but I have since discovered a fresh brand available in supermarkets called ‘Seafood & Eat it’ (great name!), which is very good, they sell it in 100g packs, one is pure white crab meat and the other is ‘fifty-fifty’ – half white, half brown, I find mixing these two packs gives the soup a fuller flavour. I actually use tinned, unsweetened corn for this recipe as opposed to frozen corn kernels, as I find that they have a softer texture and are sweeter, which I think works well with this particular recipe. I use fresh stock bought from the supermarket, ‘TRUEfoods’ chicken stock is very good if you can get it.

30g butter

200g onions, diced

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

300g potatoes, diced

600ml chicken stock (see note above)

200ml milk

200g sweetcorn kernels (see note above)

200g fresh crabmeat (I usually use 150g white/ 50g brown – see note above)

pinch of cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

2 tablespoons of chopped parsley

2 teaspoons of chopped tarragon

50ml of double cream

sea salt and black pepper

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a gentle heat, add the onions and garlic with the salt and pepper. Cover and allow to sweat until soft but not coloured.
  2. Add the potatoes and cook for a further 5-10 minutes stirring occasionally so that they don’t brown.
  3. Add the stock, sweetcorn and milk, bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through and are just beginning to thicken the soup.
  4. Finally, add the crabmeat, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, chopped herbs and cream. Check the seasoning and bring back to a gentle simmer, to heat through.
  5. Serve with lots of bread or the oatmeal bread (the recipe can be found on my Recipe Pages)