Sunday, 29 January 2012

That's a Different Kettle of Fish!

I used to think about buying fish for dinner but I would change my mind at the last minute, at the fish counter because I was afraid that when I got the fish home I wouldn't really know what to do with it. I hate bones in fish and preparing it at home meant the chances of getting a bone in your mouth was much greater!

I tend to order fish in a restaurant or on holiday to avoid the 'how shall I cook it' syndrome so when I joined Fish Fanatics and was offered by to be sent some fish and a recipe I was rather nervous to say the least. The package of fish arrived last Thursday and was wild Scottosh haddock fillets (relief I didn't have to play with any bones) provided by Delishfish from Peterhead in Scotland ( and a recipe for 'Shallow Fried haddock with French Beans' The fillets were vacuum packed for freshness and when opened smelled lovely and fresh and had not been previously frozen so the extra ones could go straignt into the freezer, and I have to say the recipe was fairly short and looked easy with only a handful of ingredients.

As it happened, my daughter Caroline and 2 1/2 year old grandson were coming to visit on Thursday for the weekend and Caroline loves fish but as her husband doesn't like it at all she is resigned to ordering it in a restaurant or holiday as well. If she visits in the summer I do try to get some fish for her to BBQ as a treat. So armed with recipe and haddock fillets I got to work making supper on Thursday night.

Shallow Fried Haddock with French Beans
(Recipe provided by Chef Allan Pickett, Head Chef, The Plateau Restaurant in London)
Serves 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

1 or 2 haddock fillet per person (depending on size - ours were quite large so we had 1 each)
French Beans
80g butter
10g chopped almonds
20g plain flour for dusting fillets
1 Tbsp vegetable/sunflower oil

How do you do it?
1. Cook your French beans in boiling water and set aside.

2. Dust the fillets of haddock in flour.

Heat vegetable oil in a pan and shallow fry the fillets, you will see the flesh turn to opaque as it cooks, take it out and keep warm on a plate while you do the next part.

3. Add in the butter and allow to brown in the pan slightly then add your cooked French beans (chopped in half) and the almonds.

4. Put the haddock on a plate and spoon over the butter, almonds and French beans.

5. Add a lemon wedge to garnish.

6. Serve with boiled or roast potatoes (sprinkle some chopped corriander on top of the potatoes)

I was really pleased and surprised how easy it was to make this recipe and how tasty as well. I am looking forward to my next fish challenge. If you want to know more about 'Fish Fanatics' and 'Fish is the dish' ( you can also find them on Twitter (@fishisthedish) and Facebook (

Monday, 23 January 2012

Time to slow down!

Time to slow down!!

With a slow cooker that is.  I had a large piece of silverside beef in the freezer and wanted to make it for supper on Sunday night.  Because I was showing my products (My Secret Kitchen – at Woolmer Green Farmers Market on Sunday morning I wanted to get the dinner underway and cooking whilst I was out.

I defrosted the beef, rolled it in Lemon & Chipotle Sea Salt from My Secret Kitchen and browned it on all sides.  I put it in the slow cooker with about 3 Tbs water, put on the lid and went off for the morning.  I got home, tested the meat and left it cooking for the rest of the afternoon.  The beauty of the slow cooker is that you can just get on with your day and have a lovely result when you are ready.

When I got a minute I par boiled some potatoes and parsnips and put them into the oven with a little sunflower oil (on my Pampered Chef stoneware – and when they were roasted to perfection served them with the beef (which just fell apart and all the great taste was preserved) and some sliced runner beans that were in the freezer from my father-in-law’s summer garden.  An effortless meal that was absolutely delicious. Result!! 

Saturday, 14 January 2012

The Spices of Life

This year I intend to try to spice up my cooking and with the help of Schwartz ( I plan to do just that.  Schwartz have a new range of recipe inspiration kits out now, in major supermarkets, and each kit has a recipe and all the spices in little pods that you will need to make the meal.  Schwartz sent me the range of their new kits to try and last night I made the Rosemary Roasted Chicken & Potatoes.

I resisted the urge to add a little here and there and made the recipe up according to the recipe card (cut-out-n-keep) and it was easy to follow.  On the back of the pack you are told what is included and what you will need to get.  I just had to buy the chicken thighs and baby potatoes as I already had the oil, honey, salt and onion in the kitchen.

I used my Pampered Chef Rectangular Stoneware Baker to cook the recipe ( but it would work equally well in the Pampered Chef Covered Baker or any ovenproof tray or stoneware.

The total cooking time was just over 60 minutes and well worth the wait.  The full recipe is for 4 servings so Clive and I had it for brunch this morning too!! It re-heated very nicely and in fact benefited from the overnight keeping.

I served the dinner with a mixed salad with blue cheese dressing and a glass of dry white wine.

I will definitely be trying the other three recipe inspiration kits in the new range: Beef & Beer Stew with Herb Dumplings, Creamy Pan-fried Pork with Apple & Sage and the one I am looking forward to trying next Tray-baked Piri Piri Chicken. Who wants to come to my house for dinner?

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy New Year

Well that is the end of another year and now we are at the exciting place of the first day of a new year.  Another chance to get it right, to wipe the slate of 2011 clean and really make a difference in 2012.

I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has read my blog and those who have commented on it too.  Hopefully 2012 will bring in more readers and lots more topics to discuss.  I had been very busy in the lead up to Christmas which meant the blogging slowed down a bit but there are lots of topics in the pipeline so please keep on reading and enjoying.

I got a new camera for Christmas from my husband so that the photos on the blog should be a much better quality (It even has a category for food photographing!).

Once again Happy New Year and please keep reading and pass on the link to your friends too.