Poached Salmon with Lemongrass and Sauvignon

Given the insipid colour poached food usually turns it had never appealed to me, but I was happy to discover that this dish is most certainly the fastest for fish I have ever used or created, and it is light, healthy and delicious.  A little homage to my homeland is in the Sauvignon, and an homage to my childhood living in Asia in the lemongrass.

What I particularly love about poaching fish (speaking like an old pro now) is that it won’t stink out your house, and when it comes to cooking salmon, that earns huge brownie points in my household.

  •  2 Salmon Fillets
  • 2/3 Cup Sauvignon Blanc (or any white wine)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs chopped lemongrass
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbs chopped fresh basil for serving

In a small saucepan heat the wine, garlic, lemongrass, salt and spring onions until just simmering. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and lay the fillets snugly in the pan. Cover with a lid and leave for 5 minutes.

Slide the salmon fillets on to a plate and spoon over with some of the lemongrass and spring onion pieces. Season well with more salt and pepper and sprinkle the fresh basil over the top of the fish.

You can serve this on it’s own and then serve a large salad to follow, or serve with green vegetables, roast vegetables, or on a bed of kale.



Whitebait Fritters – Kiwi Style

Whitebait fritters in New Zealand are a classic, something your grandmother used to make, something your parents grew up on, something they still serve in the best cafes in town for breakfast. New Zealand whitebait are tiny little fish, unlike the much larger mediterranean style whitebait found in Europe. These miniature little morsels are so delicate, and very subtle in flavour. They taste anything but “fishy”, which suits my palate perfectly..and…they can be caught in the stream behind your beach-house, or bought from the fish-shop in little punnets.

Rob (my hubby) had a hankering for whitebait fritters when we were home recently, so when down in Napier visiting his grandparents, I got to work. Nanni had procured 2 x 250gm punnets of extraordinarily fresh, perfect little whitebait for me.

Because the flavour and texture of these fish is so delicate, I didn’t want to add much to the fritter, so kept them VERY basic, and they were to die for!!! I wanted 100 more, but was certainly full of little fishies once we were finished.

  • 500gm super fresh shiny Whitebait
  • 2 eggs
  • butter
  • salt and pepper
  • lemon wedges for serving

Whisk the eggs in a bowl and then gently combine the whitebait into the mixture. Add a good pinch of salt and pepper. Heat some butter in a frying pan and when it is starting to bubble add small dollops of the mixture. These take NO time to cook, so stand by and turn them once they are just set on the back. Once flipped cook next side until you have a tiny golden brown fritter. Serve immediately with a wedge of lemon and sprinkle with a salt and pepper. YUM YUM YUM.

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Ginger & Lime Chicken Patties

I know I know, it has been a while since I posted a recipe! I have been very busy eating though and rest assured, have been cooking up a storm so watch this space!!! Time to play catch-up on my posting. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year break. I was fortunate enough to spend the past month with family in both New Zealand and Australia. Some of the upcoming recipes will reflect that time.

Like most people…I spent a LOT of time eating and entertaining over the holiday period. These little Ginger & Lime Chicken Patties are subtle and delectable, as always they are healthy and quick and easy to prepare. You can make them smaller and serve with a toothpick as a party snack.

  • 800-900gm chicken mince
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 heaped tablespoons chopped fresh coriander/cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes (or finely chopped fresh chili)
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (gluten free)
  • coconut oil
  • extra lime wedges for serving

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Heat some coconut oil in a pan. Create small chicken patties in your hand and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until the chicken is just cooked through and lightly golden on each side.

Serve with fresh lime wedges and salad. You can drizzle a little tamari over the cooked patties when plated to give them a little more zing!

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Fresh Tuna Steak Nicoise Salad with Herb Dressing

I felt like something clean for dinner last night, and light too, because I had managed to eat pretty much my bodyweight in eggs, bacon and sausages at brunch. However, it was cold and foggy outside so I also wanted something hot…?

Solution! Fresh tuna steaks on salad! This was truly and utterly just so yummy that I am sort of salivating a little bit just writing about it. There is only one thing I would change in what I did, and that would be to make more of the marinade/dressing because as it was I  had to lick the bowl. So to prevent any of you looking like crazed labradors in your kitchen, I have doubled it here already.

This is so easy, and also complete in terms of nutrition that it is a sure fire winner. I hope you like it! Let me know what you think.

Serves 2:

  • 10 baby potatoes
  • 4 heaped tbs chopped basil
  • 4 heaped tbs chopped coriander
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon angelsea salt/rock salt/maldon salt
  • large pile of baby leaf salad mix (or baby spinach or rocket)
  • 5 medium cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 4 anchovy fillets, roughly torn
  • handful of mixed olives
  • 1/2 red onion, finely sliced
  • handful flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • small handful of marinated red peppers, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 thick cut tuna steaks (about 1 inch wide each)
  • 2-3 eggs
  • large handful green beans

Wash the little potatoes and slice them each in half. Cover in a little olive oil and salt and pepper and roast for 30 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius.

While these are roasting, combine the lemon juice, garlic, olive oil and chopped basil and coriander and salt. Add some cracked pepper and set half of it aside. Add the tuna steaks to the other half and turn them around to coat them in the marinade. Set aside on the bench. (you will notice that lemon juice will immediately start ‘cooking’ the tuna. if you have a super fresh piece  and feel like some carpacio, you can slice a few slivers, as thinly as your sharpest knife will allow and eat them as is…truly delicious!)

In a saucepan, put 2-3 eggs in water and bring to the boil. For soft-boiled eggs, once it is boiling, leave them for 6 minutes, (to set the yolk but it still be soft go for eight minutes) then rinse with cold water.

Combine the salad mix, tomatoes, anchovies, olives, parsley, red onion, marinated peppers, and avocado. Wash and trim the green beans and either microwave them for 1 minute, then cover them with water and ice (to retain their crisp green colour and texture) or sautee them in a small frying pan until just cooked. Once they are cooled, add them to the salad.

When your potatoes are 5 minutes away from being done, get a grill plate to hot and brush with a little olive oil. Scrape the excess marinade from the tuna steaks and sear them on each side for about 1-2 minutes. Slice the tuna steaks with the grain into thick strips and coat with the original marinade. Place the fish on top of the salad and crack black pepper over everything.

Place the hot potatoes around the salad and slice up the soft egg and add it to the mix. Using the marinade that was set aside, drizzle this over the salad and serve.

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All-In Chicken and Veggie Stir-Fry

Stir-frys are what I used on to live on when I was at drama-school. They are quick and easy and so full of goodness. A great way to use up left-over vegetables you have in the fridge, and as the rain buckets down around me in London, they are a warming and welcome meal.

I will list exactly what I put in this stir-fry, but as the title suggests, this is an all-in vegetable medley! Don’t get fussy about what you put in, just make sure there is lots of colour. I love Kale, and it is one of the best foods for you on the planet, so I try and use it wherever I can and it works beautifully to add colour to a meal like this one. The enoki mushrooms become almost like noodles when cooked and will give it a real asian feel. Speaking of noodles, I don’t use any in stir-frys, nor did we use any rice, just mountains of veggies and protein! This quantity made 4 huge portions (for 2 dinners in a row), but if you used noodles or rice to accompany, this amount would easily feed 8!

  • 3 Tbs Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tbs Tamari
  • 1 Tbs Oyster Sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 whole red chili, finely chopped (seeds too)
  • approx 3 inches of root ginger, sliced julienne
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • approx 20 mushrooms (2 punnets, I used baby portobello and button)
  • 1/2 head broccoli
  • 1/2 head cauliflower
  • 1/2 bag of kale
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 1 red capsicum, sliced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 2 large chicken breasts, sliced
  • 1 bundle enoki mushrooms
  • 1 Tbs coconut oil
  • Large handful roughly chopped coriander
Chop and prepare all the vegetables and slice the chicken. Heat the coconut oil in a wok. Throw in the garlic, onion and chicken. Cook for about 30 seconds-1 minute. Add in the rest of the ingredients except the kale and stir fry! Constantly move the food around in the wok so that it is all cooked evenly. When the chicken is almost done, throw in the kale and mix it through until it just wilts. Remove from the heat and serve immediately!

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Bacon & Egg Pie

Semi final time for the Rugby World Cup and I was surrounded by people cheering for the Wallabies. I decided to cook us all a hot breakfast to enjoy at half time and ease any trans-tasman tension in my living room! As it turned out, the All Blacks wiped the floor with them, so it was great morning for me on many fronts! The game was on at 9am in London so our friends and their little 2 year old girl had a sleep over and we all enjoyed the game, coffee and this fabulous breakfast meal this morning.

Bacon & Egg pie is easy to find in New Zealand, most cafes sell it and it is an old-fashioned but tasty lunch option throughout the country. This version is one I stole from my mother (amazing cook), and have adapted slightly. She used to make it for boating picnic lunches and it is SO YUMMY, easy to make, and packed full of goodness. Great hot or cold so make plenty.

I don’t own a pie dish, so made mine in a casserole dish but this works perfectly every time. As you will have noticed from my posts I dont shy away from quantity…so this one was a good size, feel free to halve the recipe for smaller pie dishes or for 2 people. This recipe feeds 6 hungry adults.

  • 3-5 spring onions, sliced
  • 200gm grated cheddar (sharp and tangy is best)
  • 5 large mushrooms, wiped and sliced
  • 1 zucchini (courgette), sliced
  • large handful of basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • handful or marinated red peppers
  • 4-5 tomatoes
  • 8-10 rashers of shoulder bacon, trimmed of fat and chopped in large pieces
  • Filo pastry (or shortcrust pastry)
  • 12 eggs
Heat the oven to 200 celsius. Lightly grease the pie dish/casserole dish with olive oil on the base and sides. Line the bottom and sides of the dish with pastry sheets (I use filo and keep it pretty thin, like 2 sheets). Sprinkle the base with the grated cheese and spring onions. Crack the eggs directly on top of this so that the yolks don’t break up. Salt and pepper.
Lay out the sliced mushrooms, next layer zuccini, next layer marinated peppers, top with the bacon pieces and finally the slices of tomato on the top. You can add more cheese here if you like, but I kept ours pretty healthy. Crack fresh pepper over the tomato and lay a few sheets of pastry on the top. Tuck the edges in and seal to the other sheets of pastry using a dab of olive oil. Lightly brush the top of the pie with olive oil and place it in the oven.
Cook for 60 minutes. If you use a half quantity or a wider, flatter dish, you should check it after 35 minutes as it will likely be done.To check, make a small slice in the pie and give it a little jiggle, if there is any liquid running around you need to keep cooking. (It continues to set after you take it out of the oven, but you don’t want anything runny).
Leave it to sit for a few minutes and then slice it up and serve with a little more cracked pepper. If you want to serve this at a party as a canape, slice it in to small squares when it is completely cooled and serve cold!

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To make this recipe Paleo, omit the cheese and the pastry. Grease the dish with more oil to avoid it sticking and put it in the bottom tray of the oven so the tomato doesn’t burn. Or just use the pastry but peel it off! 


Autumn Baked Fish

The leaves are falling and the streets are wrapped in colour. Reds, oranges, browns and all shades of green. When scuffing through giant acorn leaves on my way to the tube yesterday, I thought that perhaps my first meal back on the blog after arriving home in London should reflect the colours and atmosphere of the season.

Inspired by a Rick Stein method for roasting fish on top of vegetables, this is what I came up wtih for dinner, and it was a nutritious, delicious comfort meal on a chilly October evening. Serves 3-4.

  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 3 large tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 3 sweet potato
  • 3 large red peppers, pitted and widely sliced.
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 3-4 small seabass or 1 large seabass (bream/snapper would work too)
  • large handful fresh lemon verbena (use oregano if you don’t have verbena), roughly torn.
  • 2 large pinches dried oregano
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • olive oil
  • 6-10 anchovies (in olive oil, drained)
  • 150gm green beans
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Peel the sweet potato and cut slices about 1cm thick.  In the bottom of a large roasting tray/casserole-dish splash a little olive oil to lightly coat the base. Lay out the leeks, sweet potato, red peppers and tomatoes. Spread the anchovies out over the top of the vegetables and pour over the chicken stock. Salt and pepper and add the fresh and dried herbs. Peel the garlic and slice (about 4-5 slices per clove). Sprinkle garlic over the top. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
Wash and pat dry the seabass with a paper towel. Cut slashes across the fish going both ways to create a criss cross (see photos). Season with salt and pepper and coat lightly with a little olive oil. Place the fish on top of the roast vegetables (after 30 minutes) and return to the oven for another 30 minutes (try 35 if you use one large fish). When 15 minutes is left on your timer, scatter the beans over the vegetables around the fish.
I served this at the table and it was a beautiful. The bed of vegetables with all their colours made for a bright and cheery evening, and this is a super-healthy, extremely nutritious meal. Enjoy!

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