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Sea Perch with Apple-Cranberry Chutney

Have you had sea perch lately? I must admit we often fall into the trap of just buying the big 3 – tuna, salmon and cod, although salmon is a particular favourite around here. The ‘big 3’ are the most eaten fish of all, and a lot of people forget there are so many other wonderful choices. For example, sea perch is really flavourful. The filets are quite delicate and thin when compared to meatier fish like salmon or halibut, but they should hold together during cooking. The skin is edible and tastes nice so there’s no reason to remove it. Sea perch, or ocean perch, are small, so you will need several per person.

As for the chutney, this goes so well with the fish. You might take a look at the ingredients and think it would be better with turkey but I promise you it’s also great with the fish, and makes a nice change. Served with white rice or potatoes this is a fish recipe the family aren’t going to complain about! Chutney is popular in the UK and served with everything from a cheese sandwich to a salad lunch or even an Anglo-Indian curry recipe!

You will have some chutney left over, most likely, so just put it in the fridge in an airtight container and it will stay fresh for up to 2 weeks. Then you can add some to your next cheese sandwich or cold turkey salad perhaps. Start the chutney first because it needs time to cool down to room temperature, and then you can get on with the fish while the chutney cools. Also consider whether you want to have rice or potatoes with this. Oh, and try not to pick at the chutney too much. It smells and tastes really good and if you’re like me, you will want to grab a teaspoon and eat it (or ‘taste-test’ is, which is my excuse!) Continue reading

Rustic Oat-Crusted Herring

If you’re looking for hearty peasant food rather than something elegant, consider this tasty Scottish recipe. Small fish such as herring or sardines are perfect for making this dish, or you could even try mackerel, croakers, dabs or similar. If you make friends with your local fishmonger, perhaps he will remove the bones for you. If you have to do it yourself, cut along the underside and hit the backbone a few times. Next, pull the backbone out along with as many of the bones as you can. Now scrape the scales off using a knife, and discard the heads and tails. It’s easy to fillet herrings, I promise you!

The flavour is really nice, and you will find the mustard cuts through the richness of the fish. The oats make me think of cosy autumn or winter. The traditional Scottish way of serving oat-crusted herring is mashed or boiled potatoes or thick slices of bread and butter, although modern cookbooks featuring this recipe suggest lemon and parsley, or even crispy bacon (yum, we like that idea!)

My family loves creamy mashed potatoes on the side, and plenty of them, but sometimes bread and butter is good too. You don’t need many ingredients for this tasty Scottish recipe so you can rustle it up quickly when you want something hot and tasty to eat for lunch or dinner. The herring fillets are covered in salt then soaked in a creamy mustard mixture. They are then coated in oats and pan-fried until crispy. Herring and oats are both Scottish staples, so it makes sense to combine them and make this wonderful rustic dish. Give it a try and see how it compares to your family’s usual crispy fish dinner. I bet you’re going to love it! This recipe serves 2 people but it’s easy to make more if you’re feeding a crowd. Continue reading

British Style Fish Cakes

The type of fish cakes you can order at a British chip shop are more often than not the frozen variety. Although these are alright if you are hungry and just want a quick, economical dinner, they cannot compete with homemade fish cakes. You can use any kind of fresh or thawed fish filets you want to make these – salmon, mackerel, cod, hake, or a mixture. The fish is poached in milk with a bay leaf, then combined with mashed potatoes, egg, spring onions, and some dill and parsley for aromatic flavour. Coat the patties in bread crumbs and then pan-fry them in oil until golden brown and crispy.

These are traditional served with chips (fries) and perhaps some green peas too. Why not serve tartare sauce (spelled tartar sauce outside of the UK) with the fish cakes, since this always complements the taste? This recipe makes four servings but you can double it if you prefer. These British style fish cakes are beautifully moist and flavourful on the inside and crunchy and golden brown on the outside, for perfect balance.

Making homemade fish cakes is a great way to sneak some vegetables into your family’s diet too. Finely dice carrots or other vegetables and incorporate those into the fish cakes. You could also cook them with the potatoes and mix them into the mash. Whether you choose to make the recipe exactly as it is written here or tweak it to your own requirements, the whole family is sure to enjoy these wonderful fish cakes. Continue reading

Old-Fashioned London Eel Pie

When we say old-fashioned eel pie, we really do mean old-fashioned – this recipe dates back to the 1600s! Despite its age, eel pie is still very popular in London, England and in some other parts of the country. Here we are cutting the eel into slivers, then adding it to a pastry crust along with raisins, onion, ginger and melted butter. The pie is then baked in the oven until done. Enjoy this with mashed potatoes and perhaps some green peas on the side too. You can make one large eel pie or several smaller ones, using your favourite type of dough to make the pie crust. This recipe is hearty, filling and very tasty.

Eel pie houses (their actual name) have been around since the 1700s, when the pie men would carry their pies on trays and sell them on the streets of London. The eels for the early pies would have come directly from the Thames River and stewed in stock and spiced before being used to fill the pies. In later years, eels became too expensive and then the eel was swapped for meat.

Today you can still get eel pies but beef pies are also popular, as are other types of pies such as chicken, lamb or even cheese and onion. In London, pie and mash is often served with green ‘liquor’ which is made with butter, flour, milk, water, parsley and malt vinegar. Some people use eel stock instead of the milk or water. If your eels are not already prepared you need to wash and skin them, then discard the heads and tails. You can then use the heads and tails to make a nice fish stock for a future recipe. Continue reading

Fish Pie with Haddock and Cod

This delicious, creamy fish pie is easy to make and it is perfect for the whole family. If you use bone-free, non-smoked fish and omit the mustard, you could even give this to your baby as it is or blended. We like to use haddock and cod to use this, but any skinless, boneless fish is good, so consider sole, salmon, pollock, or even a package of mixed chopped fish filets. We are adding peas and corn for colour, along with mustard, chives and green onion for extra flavour. You can add cheese to the fish layer and also add more over the potato topping if you want your pie extra-cheesy. Cheddar is great for this recipe.

Although most people would make this in an ovenproof dish and scoop out servings using a ladle, you might prefer to make individual pies using ramekins if you have enough. The cooking time should be similar, maybe slightly less, and you can serve the little ramekins on plates perhaps with some vegetables arranged around it. Consider asparagus, broccoli, snow peas (mangetout) or something similar to complement the taste.

We are using mustard in this pie and you can choose from Dijon mustard (which is medium) or English mustard (which is very hot, so be warned!) Fish pie, also known as ocean pie, is one of those dishes it pays to make yourself. You can get frozen fish pie in the UK from the supermarket, and while the flavour is acceptable, it is nowhere near as good as homemade fish pie. Continue reading

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Christine Szalay-Kudra

Hi, my name is Christine and I would like to welcome you to TeaTime Recipes. Tea has always been a favourite of mine and I adore the tradition of serving this wonderful beverage with all kinds of little snacks both sweet and savoury. Read More