Archive for the ‘seafood’ Category

Look at this!

Is this not beautiful?

In New Zealand we can’t buy trout. It is a game fish and has to be given to you by the fisherman, or you can fish for it yourself.

My brother-in-law Nigel is a brilliant fisherman. This beauty was one of nine he caught on the same day. It is so pretty. I tried to show you the colours (this is a brown trout, not a rainbow trout, but it was still lovely.

Sometimes wild trout can taste a bit muddy, but this was sweet and delicious. I had planned to have it for dinner, but Rick rang telling me he had a business meeting that he’d forgotten about. So I filleted it and we cooked it for breakfast the next morning.

Pan fried in butter and drizzled with freshly squozed lemon juice – a great way to start the day. AND, there were no bones!

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I have always envied my American friends for their Thanksgiving Holiday.

I think it is a lovely idea – to gather with friends and family, to say thank you… We don’t have anything similar here… something I think we will try to remedy – at least amongst our friends (I simply can’t imagine my family and friends together as a group… one would shock the knickers off the other… and I’m not sure which is which :-)!)

So, though we thought of this too late to be giving thanks at the same time as some of you, I am now in the middle of planning a dinner for ten, to be gluten-free – of course – which we’ll have here in the next couple of weeks (getting this gang together is like herding cats).

I’m not sure what I’ll cook yet – we have a couple of picky eaters, then there’s me with the gluten-free thing… we have someone who doesn’t eat desserts; someone who doesn’t eat a cold thing (salad) with a hot thing (anything!); someone who doesn’t eat tomatoes, someone who doesn’t eat seafood…. someone who is a combination of a couple of those things… good thing we all love each other!

Rick wants me to make Sticky Date Pudding. I haven’t made this since my celiac diagnosis – nearly two years ago, but it is cooking right now (he wants me to try each new recipe before I inflict it on our friends)… and today is grey and windy – it looks and sounds like a mid-winter day. A good day for pudding.

I’ll tell you tomorrow how it goes 🙂

Stop typing to let Percy in... via the window... why would he use the cat door???


I made fish cakes last night, using the recipe from http://www.marksdailyapple.com.  I can’t make the linky thing work – but the recipe is worth finding – it’s so easy… two tins of salmon, drained and flaked; two eggs, finely chopped onion, parsley, salt, pepper and you bind it all with coconut flour. I added some finely chopped capers and a some finely chopped pickled lemon peel…

Form it into balls and fry them – no pictures – we had a nice man come right on dinner-time to help fix the irrigation system (the nice man who built our fence managed to chop the pipes… twice!)

We had them with salad – using lettuce, rocket (arugula), sorrel, radish and herbs – all grown by our own clever selves.

Eat with a self-satisfied smile 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone


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2 large garlic cloves – finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger – finely chopped
2 large spring onions – thinly sliced
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp cardamom seeds – I had pods, so I crushed them to release the seeds
2 small red chillies – deseeded and finely chopped
juice of 1 large lime
1/4 cup fresh coriander – finely chopped
1 kaffir lime leaf – finely chopped
250ml (1 cup) coconut cream
4 skinless salmon fillets – about 150g each

Combine all the ingredients in a snaplock bag. Put the salmon into the bag, squeeze out all the air, then squish the bag around to coat the fish thoroughly. Marinate about 2 hours.

Cut a piece of foil large enough to hold a piece of fish and put a fillet in the centre. Top with a quarter of the marinade. Seal the parcel and bake 15 minutes in a 200c oven. Or do as I did – put the salmon (I also put some prawns in with it) into a dish that will take everything in a snug fit, put the marinade in too – cover the lot with a lid, or some foil – then bake it)

Serve with extra coriander sprinkled on top. Have some rice, some pickle or chutney and a lime wedge. We had it on coleslaw, with avocado… and made little piggy noises as we ate…

You would think, since this is another dish cooked in coconut cream with spices, that it would be similar to the chicken dish we had the other night… but, no – this is quite different.

I can imagine this being made with any kind of fish – and even with chicken. It was fragrant and delicious.

On a totally unrelated, but really lovely note – I had an email from our friend Kyoko, who lived with us while she studied at the local university. Kyoko and our late cat Bella were great friends (Bella was aloof with almost everyone else, but she just love Kyo).  Kyo read that I had lost my photos of Bella and will email them to me (and of Yoshi too) once she is able. I’m so thrilled and promise to back them up AND put them on Picasa. XXX Thank you Kyo.

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I’ve been watching the Food Channel lately. This recipe came from a show called Spice Goddess (great title). I’m looking to change my diet a bit – I think I’ve had too much red meat lately… not that that is a bad thing, exactly… 🙂

I love eating fish, and almost always order it if we’re out for dinner, but we don’t often cook it at home. To buy fish is quite expensive – so we have been used to keeping it for a treat. But, I think we’re worth it. I made salmon for dinner the night before and had a small piece left over. The Spice Goddess (Bal Arnesan) had made these fish cakes which sounded really good, so I made them yesterday.

60z fish – flaked – I used a piece of left-over salmon and a tin of sardines all munched up together

1/2 cup grated paneer or mozzarella (I used mozzarella)

1/4 cup yoghurt

2 tbsp finely chopped red onion

1/2 cup chickpea flour

1 tbsp fenugreek leaves – crumbled (I didn’t have leaves, so I crushed fenugreek seeds in my mortar and pestle. I used about a teaspoon – probably should have been more.)

1 tsp ground coriander

Salt and pepper

Mix together, form into patties and fry till golden.

Serve with chutney or raita.

These were so easy to make. The flavour was very gentle – I expected it to be spicier and would prefer it that way, so next time I will use more fenugreek powder, and perhaps toast and then grind my own coriander powder.

This made 6 quite large fish cakes. You could make little ones which would be great as nibbles for a dinner party.


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1 cup dry white wine

36 mussels – washed

625ml cream

4 garlic cloves

3/4 tsp salt

freshly ground black pepper

40g (3/4 cup) parmesan cheese

parsley to serve

Put the wine into a large pot and bring to the boil.

Tip in the mussels and steam uncovered until the shells open and the mussels are cooked.

Remove from the heat and tip into a large sieve, discarding the liquid.

Take the mussels out of the shells, keeping one half of the shell. Discard the beardy bits.

Put the cleaned, cooked mussels into the half shell and put the shells into a low-sided baking dish.

Pre-heat the oven to 200c.

Put the cream, garlic, salt and pepper into a small pot and bring the pot to the boil over a medium high heat.

Turn to a simmer and cook until the cream is reduced by half.

Use a potato masher to mash the garlic into the cream.

Put 2 – 3 tsp cream onto each mussel shell and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Bake 3 – 4 minutes (or you can grill them for a couple of minutes)

Serve sprinkled with fresh chopped parsley.

I’ve written this recipe as if you were going to have these as a nibbly thing. When I made this for dinner tonight I didn’t bother with putting them onto the shell. I just piled the cooked mussels into a shallow oven-proof dish, poured the cream over, sprinkled the cheese on top and bunged them in the oven.

We had these with rice and a green salad with a simple vinaigrette dressing.


These are rich and delicious, but also inexpensive. We are so lucky to have great mussels in NZ.

I’m a bit squeamish about shellfish sometimes – there are always bits in there that look pretty manky – it takes courage to eat them 🙂 – this recipe is good for wimps like me, because the creamy topping disguises the icky bits.

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>The only way this could get better would be to have it with bacon…

Beurre Blanc
1/4 cup (60 ml) dry white wine
1/4 cup (60ml) white wine vinegar
1/2 a small onion – thinly sliced
4 tsp lemon juice
200g butter – chopped and chilled

Put the wine and vinegar into a small pot and bring to the boil.
Add the onion, season and reduce the heat to low.
Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated – you need to leave about 1 – 2 tbsp.
Add 2 tsp lemon juice then strain – keep the liquid.
Return the liquid to a clean pot and bring back to hot.
Turn the heat down again and whisk in the butter piece by piece – wait until each piece is melted before you add the next – keep whisking.
Add the remaining 2 tsp lemon juice, season to taste and keep warm.

Pan fry your fish in butter.
Serve fish with sauce spooned over. We had ours with zuchinni, Rick had potatoes too.

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>I thought I would miss rice.
You’re not supposed to eat grains on this Primal/Paleo thing, and rice is a grain…
I’d seen cauliflower rice on several other blogs I look at, and thought it might work…
I put some chicken stock in a pot and boiled it to reduce it right down, then I added some finely sliced leek and reduced it until there was only a few tablespoons left.
I munched about half a cauliflower in the food processor – using the ‘large grate’ blade.
I put a knob of butter into the reduced stock.
Then I added the cauliflower, grated zucchini (that I had frozen earlier – thanks for the idea Ina x), prawns and grated parmesan.
It steamed for 3 – 4 minutes.
Then we ate it.

I’m still not sure that Rick realises it was not rice.
It was really tasty and the meal didn’t leave me sleepy – the way eating risotto used to do.
On the subject of sleep – since starting this way of eating… I hesitate to say ‘diet’, because that is a four-letter-word that means ‘failure’ in my personal dictionary…. I have slept like a rock.
The only thing that wakes me is a cat on my chest… and he’s only on my chest, because he hasn’t been able to wake me any other way!
It’s now 11:10am – I haven’t yet had breakfast… because I simply haven’t been hungry… I still feel really good 🙂

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>I’ve been craving sour and bitter flavours lately. Lots of lemon, rocket (arugula) salads, vinaigrette dressings etc. I don’t know why, but I’m happy to go with the flow. This pomegranate molasses marinade is brilliant with salmon. It is sweet/sour/salty and cuts through the richness of the salmon beautifully. Pomegranate molasses is dark garnet in colour, thick and luscious with a sharp tangy sweetness. I get mine at the Indian Grocery around the corner from us. I’m going to ask the young couple who own it (Nasmeen and Im Patel) if I can take photos in there – the place is magic, I’d love to share it.

Pomegranate Marinade for Salmon

4 tbsp pomegranate molasses
2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
2 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce

Stir it all up, put your skinned and boned salmon fillets in and turn over to coat in the marinade.
Cook the salmon in a very hot oven for 8 – 10 minutes.

I imagine this marinade would work really well with lamb, pork or chicken too…. mmmm

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>BBQ Scallops with Wasabi, Soy and Ginger

2 dozen scallops
1 cup gluten-free flour
1/2 cup instant polenta
2 eggs – beaten
1 tbsp lemon pepper seasoning
1/4 tsp wasabi paste
1 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
12 wooden skewers
fresh lemon wedges to serve

Mix soy sauce, ginger and wasabi together and set aside.

Mix the flour and lemon pepper together and set aside.
Put the polenta into another dish and set aside.

Skewer the scallops, using two skewers side-by-side for each kebab, 2 scallops per skewer. Skewering them this way makes it really easy to turn them over.
Roll the scallop skewers in flour mix, then dip into the egg, then roll in the polenta, patting the mixture onto the scallops.
Grill, bbq or fry for 2 minutes until the crumb mix is golden brown and crunchy.

Turn to grill the other side for 2 minutes.
Brush the top with the wasabi mix and serve with lemon wedges.

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>On with the cooking. I’ve made risotto before, but only by baking it in the oven – no stirring stock in ladle-by-ladle for this girl….. Until now. I was in cruise-mode, wanted to take my time, make it last. I There was a little bit of fantasy involved too – I imagined myself doing this from a farm-house in Tuscany. I would love to live that kind of simple life, but here in NZ – I would love to visit Italy, but NZ is home.
 Of course I understand that the simple life is hard, hard work. But so is this life – not mine – I’m a stay-at-home mother of two cats for heaven’s sake, but I’m married to a man who is married to his job. This has its advantages  – it meant, when I was made redundant, that I didn’t have to get another job – and as my job had taken its toll on me (especially in the lead-up to redundancy), I chose not to.
I keep house for us, I do his paperwork, I try to make his life run as smooth as possible. But I worry about him. He works long hours. Even when he gets home he is still thinking about work. He works part of most weekend. When he’s not working, he sleeps (it’s called watching sport on tv). Last winter he had something of a melt-down. It was nearly the end for us, we survived, but I can see the pressure building up again and it worries me. It’s not good enough. I want more for him. I want different for him.
And since he doesn’t listen to me, the only thing I can do for him is cook something nice. He likes to eat nice food. This was nice.

Zucchini Risotto with Prawns

the white part of 1 leek – finely sliced
3 cloves garlic – finely chopped
300g arborio rice
1 wine-glass of dry white wine
1.5 litres of gluten free stock – I use the Massel brand – heated in a separate pot
1 medium-ish zucchini – thinly sliced into batons
80g parmesan, plus extra to serve – grated
50g butter

Heat some oil (about 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil) in a large pan.
Add the leek, garlic and rice and cook a couple of minutes, stirring to coat all the rice with oil
Add the glass of wine and stir until absorbed
Add the stock a ladleful at a time, allowing each to be absorbed before adding the next.
Continue, stirring until almost all the stock is gone.
With a couple of ladlesful to go, add the zucchini
Stir to combine and continue adding the stock until it is gone. This should all take between 15 and 20 minutes.
Add the butter and then the cheese.
Cover and keep warm

Stir fry some prawns in a non-stick pan over medium heat until opaque 3-4 minutes.
Serve the risotto topped with prawns and sprinkled with some extra parmesan.

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