Fish Casserole – Bouillabaisse

 

Made an amazing fish casserole (bouillabaisse) during this week’s council run French cooking evening class that was so simple and so tasty that I really wanted to share it with you.


Credit: The Edinburgh Cook Recipe file
Prep: A lidded casserole dish, for the hob, and a frying pan if heading down the skin fillet route.

Ingredients

The Base Sauce

  • 3 Garlic cloves, finely chopped/crushed
  • 1 Small red chilli seeds removed, and finely diced
  • Handful of flat leaf parsley finely chopped
  • 200g Mirepoix (which is roughly a Medium sized carrot, peeled finely diced Small onion, peeled finely diced Stick of celery finely diced)
  • 75ml white wine (preferably dry)
  • 400g tin good quality chopped tomatoes
  • Orange Peel (using a potatoe peeler take a slice of orange skin without taking the pith, bitter white)
  • Olive oil, a generous glug
  • 25g knob of butter
  • 1 bouquet garni sachet
  • 200ml fish stock or good quality veg stock

The Fish Part – which I suggest you tailor to your taste/guests

Fish you cook in the sauce

  • 2 white fish fillets (cod, hake or coley)
  • 175-200g raw prawns

Fish you cook in a frying pan and add to the dish on serving (optional…maybe add another fillet above if you don’t do this part)

  • 2 small Sea bream or sea bass fillets


Directions

  1. Do the veg prep first as per the ingredients
  2. Add the garlic and lightly stir through and then add the mirepoix and chilli. Stir through some of the parsley. Gently fry for 4-5 minutes, the idea here is to soften the veg without browning. Add the orange peel
  3. Pour the white wine and burn off the alcohol by reducing it by a third
  4. Add the chopped tomato and bouquet garni, simmering for 10 mins.
  5. Now the stock and reduce to a third. (I used one of those stock pot’s more like a jelly and then added some boiling water)
  6. Gently add the white fish fillet and then cover the pot for 5 minutes
  7. Add the prawns and cook briefly, couple of mins as they start to turn pink, take away from the heat
  8. Remove the bouquet garni and orange peel, taste and add a little salt/pepper if needed
  9. If you are going down the fried fish addition route, fry the fillets in butter, skin side down to get crispy first and then turn over to finish the flesh, this will be a couple of minutes depending on how long you cooked the skin side.
  10. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley.

Serve in bowl with some nice bread of your choosing


Lentil and Aubergine Ratatouille

My head is fried, one of the boys is bashing out tunes on the piano, jumping from ditty to ditty. The other is battling against a shrinking storm with all manner of explosions on the xBox. I’ve been painting doors and skirtings for most the day and despite it being water based I think the smell has got to me. Add to that and I expect no sympathy on this point, day 2 of a possible hangover from the annual Whisky Fringe that takes place here in Edinburgh.

I’ve been given the Sunday tea slot and asked to take care of the Courgette and the Aubergine, whilst I wasn’t the looking the potatoes as well. I was thinking a slow cooked ragu/ratatouille to serve with Pasta and Basil from the plant slowly wilting in the corner and then the potatoes arrived so just decided to go for a one pot….which I think was a little too small in hindsight.

Lentil and Aubergine ratatouille

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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A simple one pot dish that’s great for using up the veg box left overs when all you want to do is chill.

Credit: The Edinburgh Cook Recipe file

Prep: A hob and oven proof lidded casserole dish. Oven at 180°

Ingredients

  • 200g mixed lentils (100g puy, 100g Brown)
  • 1 Onion diced
  • 2 Cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 Courgette chopped to bite size pieces
  • 1 Aubergine, quartered length wise and chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • 500g potatoes chopped into bite sized pieces (These were newish, so I scrubbed and kept the skins on)
  • Tablespoon dry herbs of your choice
  • Heaped teaspoon of bouillon
  • Teaspoon sea salt flakes
  • Glug of olive oil

Directions

  1. In an oven proof dish, slowly soften the onion in the oil
  2. Add the garlic and stir through
  3. Add the Aubergine and turn over as they start to soak up the oil
  4. Add the courgette, stir through, the herbs and the salt
  5. The tomatoes, and then fill the can up with water and pour that in as well
  6. Add the potatoes and lentils and stir through (if you can….I couldn’t’)
  7. Use your judgement and add more water (only a drop) to cover the lentils
  8. Bring to simmer and then cover and place in the oven,
  9. Check at 30 mins and stir over, top up with water if needed (again only a drop)
  10. Check at the 1hr and the do the….should be cooked at this point, but repeat the last step, I like the extra 30 mins as I feel something magical happens to the aubergine as it softens, sweetens and adds to the pot of warming magic

Herby Sausage Pasta

Herby Sausage Pasta

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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A simple pasta dish that’s great for two hobs in a camper van or on a school night when time is tight.
Credit: The Edinburgh Cook Recipe file

Ingredients

  • 250-300g dried pasta twirls
  • 4-5 good quality meaty sausages, skin removed
  • 1 Onion diced
  • 1/2 tub Crème Fraiche
  • 250g mushrooms chopped
  • Optional glass of white wine


Directions

  1. Two pans….Pasta in one pan cooked to packet directions
  2. In the other, soften a diced onion, throw in the herby sausages
  3. Break up into bite size bits with back of a wooden spoon.
  4. Occasional stirring until colour changes
  5. Add the sliced mushrooms,
  6. Add a glass of white wine if the bottle is open and simmer until the liquid reduces
  7. Add the crème fraiche and stir through.
  8. Drain the pasta and add the sausage mix, stir through and serve


Honeyed parsnip and lentil Soup

Honeyed parsnip and lentil Soup

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Hearty Soups are a must for January and the veggie box came with a bag of parsnips this week. This is a warming earthy soup where the honey takes the sharp taste that you sometimes get with a boiled parsnip.


Credit: The Edinburgh Cook Recipe File
Prep: A heavy based soup pan to hold more than 1.5 litre.

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 medium sized onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 450g root veg (3 parsnips and a carrot) chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 250g red split lentils
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • 1.5l Vegetable stock

Directions

  1. Whilst your chopping the veg soak your lentils, I weigh the lentils and then add 250g water at same time. Not essential I just find they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  2. Heat the oil and add the onions, celery, garlic and rosemary, gently sauté until the onions and celery soften
  3. Add the spices and turn over
  4. Add the honey and coat the onion mix
  5. Add the root veg and stir through
  6. Add the stock and the lentils
  7. Simmer gently for 25-30 mins with the lid on, stirring every so often
    If you like a smooth soup, blitz with a hand blender or mash and stir through

Chilli

Family Chilli

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
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The Edinburgh Cooks take on a family chilli.

When is mince and tomatoes a Chilli or a Bolognese? Or when is a Bolognese a Chilli…….I think my definition would be when you add spice and kidney beans and in this recipe, a chilli and some peppers….no oregano or Mediterranean herbs.

This is a good chunky chilli, with no traditional aspect to it! It’s good for using up the spare chilli, onions and carrots in the fridge….makes use of the beans at the back of the cupboard and great for freezer prep.

Credit: The Edinburgh Cook Recipe File

Prep: This roughly covers 10-12 portions, Good sized casserole dish, heavy based pan. Don’t underestimate the chopping…..great thing to do on a cold wet January day with the stereo on.

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp Olive oil
  • 3 Onions, finely chopped….I added a red one that needed using
  • 4 Cloves garlic
  • 4 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1kg beef mince
  • 1 tblsp Worcester Sauce
  • 1 tsp Chilli Flakes
  • 1 fresh Chilli, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 400g tins of Red Beans (I used a tin of Kidney and a tin of Aduki)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 200g of Mushrooms quartered
  • 3 Peppers (mixed adds a nice colour to the dish), seeded and diced

Directions

  1. Heat the oil, and add the onions, celery, garlic and fresh chilli and mince…..gently sauté, breaking the mince down with a wooden spoon until brown and the onions are soft.
  2. Add the rest of the veg to this, the chilli flakes, the tomatoes and puree and turn over
  3. Simmer on a low heat for 40 mins or so with the lid on, stirring occasionally
  4. To thicken up the sauce simmer without the lid off
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste

Venison Casserole and Celeriac Mash

Venison Stew EdinburghCook Style

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Difficulty: easy
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A lonesome Aubergine in the fridge, and the ask to use it up as part of tea….oh and what we going to do with the Celeriac that came in the veg box set the brain going for this one. A chill in the air dictates comfort food, a hearty stew something to warm the soul and sits alongside a mash. A recipe to make your own depending on your butchers counter, the mood you're in and your preference for red meat. I had planned to make this a Lamb stew until I saw the Venison on the counter, lean and gamey calling out to be cooked for a change.

Credit: The Edinburgh Cook Recipe File

Prep:  This easily covers 4  portions, and can be upsized.   I used a small le creuset, a heavy based casserole dish that transfers from the hob to the oven.

For note this cooks easily alongside a rice pudding for afters…. A real comfort eating night.

Ingredients

Venison Stew

  • 3 tbsp Olive or Rapeseed oil
  • 500g Stewing Venison
  • 1 Onions, finely chopped
  • A glass of red wine or port
  • 1 stock cube
  • 100g Brown Lentils
  • 1 aubergine, diced into bite sized pieces
  • 1 courgette, diced into bite sized pieces
  • 1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 150g mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

Celeriac Mash

  • 1 Celeriac (600g or so after peeling)
  • Potatoes (400g or so)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 50g butter
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp Grain Mustard
  • A handful of parsley leaves chopped finely

Directions

  • Heat a tablespoon of the oil
  • Brown the venison in batches without over crowding in the pan, 2 or three batches should suffice.  Add more oil if needed
  • Deglaze the bottom of the pan using the wine and a wooden spoon to get any crispy bits off.  Then pour these juices into a jug or over the venison if you have the venison  in a bowl
  • Another glug of oil, and soften the diced onion
  • Stir in the spices
  • Stir in the Aubergine and Courgette cooking through for a minute or so
  • Add the tin of the tomatoes and then the stock cube made up with water using the tin of the tomatoes
  • Add the mushrooms and stir through
  • Add the Venison and juices, bring to a simmer then place in the oven for an hour and a half or so
  • At this point I stir in the lentils, use your judgement, how runny is it?  The lentils are there to thicken up the casserole so your choice on how runny you like your stew.  Place back in the oven, after a stir through

30-40 minutes before your going to eat the stew, prep your Celeriac and Potatoes

  • Trim all the muddy roots and peel, dice into chunks, place in a pan of water to cover
  • Add the lemon juice to stop any discolour
  • Peel and dice the potatoes to a similar size, adding to the pan
  • Add the salt, bay leaves and bring to a simmer fo 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft
  • Drain the water
  • Add the butter, mustard and parsley and using a masher put some muscle into working it all through

Roast Fillet of Fish


Roast White Fish

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy - faith and stick to the timings
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Avoided the Saturday queue by popping into the fish shop on my way home from work on the Friday. The downside being the remains of the day. As a result I discovered and cooked Silver Hake for the first time.

I share this recipe more an aid memoir to myself, part of the recipes for life file. I tend to forget whether the skin goes down first or last and as I write this it feels obvious…..but I swear I forget time and time again.   Pan fry the flesh first before turning onto the skin and placing into the oven.   This gives the fish a lovely colour on top for serving and the Skin protects the rest of the fish whilst in the oven as it cooks through.

Credit: A nod to Nigel Slater and his Kitchen Diaries

Advice: Heat and timing key for this, if your serving with a salad get that done up front. Both a hob and ovenproof pan is needed.

Ingredients

  • 200g chunky fillet of fish with skin on
  • Knob of butter, or a tblsp or so of olive oil

Directions

  1. Crank up the oven, 220°C
  2. In the oven proof pan, bring the oil to a high heat on the hob
  3. Whilst your bringing the heat up, season the fish with salt and pepper
  4. Skin Side up if the key. Place the fish into the pan and fry for a few minutes until starting to turn golden
  5. Turn over onto the skin and then place the pan into the hot oven
  6. Depending on the fish it will take 7-10 mins.       I set the timer for 7 mins…easier to cook for a few minutes more than it is to roll back the clock if it’s over cooked.

Sweet Potatoe and Lentil Soup

Red Lentils

Saturday Morning and the main shop was done yesterday and we are walking around Bruntsfield and Morningside after dropping our bikes off for a service. Waitrose, the foodies supermarket usually calls out to us, to grab those last minute items and a free paper when you spend over £10. I love the Guardian on Saturday Food Supplement! They sell an ideal sized bag of sweet potatoes in their essentials range and apart from the addition of the weight in my rucksack I see no reason to add them to our extra swag for soup making purposes.

This is a lovely creamy style soup, great for those autumn nights.

Credit: EdinburghCook

Ingredients

  • 1.25kg bag of sweet potatoes
  • 2 medium onions diced
  • Olive or Rapeseed Oil
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 400g tin of coconut milk
  • 200g split red lentils
  • 1 tbsp bouillon powder

Directions

  1. Rinse and then soak the lentils in 500g/500ml or so in cold water for 30 mins
  2. Peel the sweet potatoes and chop into chunks, roast for 45 mins to an hour until soft
  3. Dice the onion
  4. Bring a tbsp of the oil to a soft heat in a heavy based pan that will hold a good 2litres of liquid.
  5. Add the onion and crushed garlic and soften until translucent
  6. Add the bouillon powder and stir in
  7. Add the coconut milk
  8. Then a litre of water, which I add boiled from the kettle, bring to a simmer and stir through
  9. You can add the lentils at this stage and cook in the broth
    1. Or cook separately in their own water to then add later
    2. I choose to do this as I didn’t want to blitz the lentils…preferring to keep them whole
  10. When the potatoes are ready, add into the broth mix and blitz using a hand blender
  11. Add the lentils if you cooked them separately.

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Doesn’t that just make you happy rice

Plain Basmati Rice

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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A cup of rice, with magic just waiting to happen

Rice is one of the worlds treasures, the magic that exists in a palm full of rice is amazing, simple and versatile and easy to unlock with a simple method.  Water and heat, but in which combination.   I grew up with the boil to death technique, sieve and pour over a kettle of water and hope that the rice has survived the process.  Then when I left for university I discovered and upgraded to brown rice, and this to my mind enjoys the boil to death technique, 30 mins should do it.  It was good, it was healthy but it didn’t quite have the magic that white basmati has when cooked to perfection.  The recipe below comes close to it!   When the time comes to take the lid off…….it will just make you happy!   

  • The key to this recipe is steam and warmth, a heavy pan with a tight fitting lid is essential to this process, it keeps the heat and steam to cook the rice through.
  • Do not lift the lid or you will miss all that heavenly glory!  (Sorry Bruce Lee quote coming through there)

Ingredients

  • 200g basmati Rice, or a teacup
  • 15 butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 400ml boiling water, or 1½ teacup full

Directions

  1. In a heavy pan melt the butter
  2. Add the rice to the butter and stir through, the rice will become slightly translucent and gasping for water
  3. Add a pinch of salt and then the water
  4. Bring to a simmer and then place the lid onto the pan.  Turn the heat down as low as possible.
  5. Leave to cook for 12 minutes…..without peaking!
  6. Take the pan off the heat and leave for another 10 minutes…..without peaking….have faith!
  7. Now you can lift the lid and carefully using a fork, fluff the rice up and serve
  8. Doesn’t that just make you happy?

Wholemeal Buttermilk Fruit Scone

A little over baked, buttermilk scones


We had a guests this weekend, a long time university friend of my wife’s (pre dating me) and her 13 year old son. One thing I’m sure of is that breakfast will be long and easy. The conversation flows like they’ve never been apart and the opportunity to add something different into the mix is not to be missed. Sunday morning and the two ladies had set themselves a goal of running before breakfast. It was raining and they went for it. Chance for me to cause some chaos in the kitchen and there was half a tub of buttermilk languishing in the fridge that needed using.


Credit: EdinburghCook

Ingredients


• 150g wholemeal plain flour
• 100g 00 grade Flour or plain white flour
• 50g unsalted butter
• 2½ teaspoons baking powder
• 3 tablespoons caster sugar
• 100g raisins
• 1 large egg
• 90g buttermilk or low fat plain yoghurt

Directions

  1. Set the oven up for success, 220°c.
  2. Get your baking tray ready lined with non-stick baking paper
  3. Weigh the flours sugar and baking powder together and pour into food processor
  4. Roughly cube and add to the processor and pulse until combined
  5. Steps 2 and 3 can be completed by hand (especially if you have could hands) by rubbing together with your finger tips
  6. Pour into a good sized mixing bowl and mix in the raisins
  7. Combine the egg and buttermilk together with a fork, a light beat
  8. Then stir into the flour, using your hands to bring it together into a ball of dough
  9. On a floured surface spread out the dough with a roller or your hands. 3-4cm thick
  10. Use a small cutter to stamp out the scones
  11. Gently gather the trimmings together to form another ball and repeat the cut out process
  12. Optionally brush a little buttermilk on top of the scones before popping in the oven
  13. Bake for 12 mins until risen and lightly coloured
  14. Transfer to a wire rack, covered with a tea towel