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Smoked oyster puffs December 24, 2009

Posted by Helen in fish, nibbles.
1 comment so far

These were the easiest things in the world to put together, yet looked rather impressive and tasted wonderful! They were less about cooking and more about assembling!










100g cream cheese
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 tin smoked oysters
10-12 frozen puff pastry vol-au-vent cases
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, pepper and one of the smoked oysters in either a blender or food processor. Bake the vol-au-vent cases according to the directions. Put a spoonful of the cream cheese mixture in each case and top with a whole smoked oyster.


Mirin-glazed salmon November 28, 2009

Posted by Helen in fish, salad.
1 comment so far

This was this week’s second recipe from Nigella Express, and the second not-quite-success. This had some good flavours, but I was promised a crispy salmon and it didn’t really deliver on that. It was also far too sweet. I think we’ll be putting Nigella back on the bookshelf for a while.

I served the salmon over fine noodles with an oriental cucumber salad (recipe below) and some sushi ginger on the side. The cucumber salad wasn’t Nigella’s recipe and I thought it was actually the best part of the meal.

60ml mirin
50g light brown sugar
2 tbsp rice vinegar
60ml soy sauce
2 spring onions, halved and shredded into fine strips
4 salmon fillets

Mix the mirin, brown sugar and soy sauce in a shallow dish that will accommodate all 4 pieces of salmon. Marinate the salmon for 3 minutes on one side, then flip and marinate 2 minutes on the other side. Meanwhile, heat a large nonstick frying pan.

(I found the marinade far too sweet. I think 50g is too much sugar, but it does help make it sticky. I’m not sure what effect reducing the sugar would have.)

Cook the salmon in the hot, dry pan for 2 minutes, then turn over, add the marinade and cook for another 2 minutes.

(This wasn’t nearly long enough to cook the salmon. After 4 minutes of cooking, mine was still very raw inside. I think I wound up cooking it a good 10 minutes.)

Remove the salmon to the serving plate, add the rice vinegar to the pan, and warm through.

Pour the sticky glaze over the salmon and top with the spring onion strips.


1 cucumber
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 red chili, seeded and chopped finely
1 green onion, chopped finely
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Peel the cucumber and slice very finely. Put the slices in a colander and salt lightly. Leave to drain for at least 30 minutes. Then gently squeeze out any remaining moisture with kitchen roll.

Place in a bowl and chill for at least 10 minutes.

Mix all the dressing ingredients together and toss with the cucumber just before serving.

Rick Stein’s fish pie November 18, 2009

Posted by Helen in fish.

This is my favourite fish pie recipe. Rick Stein never disappoints, especially when it comes to fish. The recipe doesn’t include prawns, but you could easily add them – I don’t because I’m allergic.










(Apologies – half-eaten fish pie does not photograph well!)

1 small onion, thickly sliced
A few cloves
1 bay leaf
600ml milk
300ml double cream
450g cod or haddock fillets (or any other similar white fish) with skin on
225g undyed smoked cod or haddock fillets
4 eggs
100g butter
45g plain flour
5 tbsp chopped parsley
Freshly grated nutmeg
1.25kg peeled floury pototoes (Maris Piper or King Edward)
1 egg yolk
Salt and white pepper

Stud the onion slices with a few cloves and put in a large saucepan with 450ml of the milk , the cream, all the fish and the bay leaf. Bring to the boil and simmer for 8 minutes.

Lift the fish out onto a plate using a slotted spoon, and strain the cooking liquor through a sieve into a jug. When the fish is cool enough to handle, break it into bite-size chunks, discarding the skin and any bones you might find. Sprinkle the fish over the bottom of a large oven-proof dish.

Hard-boil the eggs for 8 minutes, then chop into quarters and scatter on top of the fish.

Melt 50g of butter in a pan, add the flour and cook for one minute. Take the pan off the heat and very gradually add the reserved fish liquor, stirring constantly. Return it to the heat and slowly bring it to the boil, still stirring all the time. Let it simmer gently for about 10 minutes to cook out the flour.

Remove from the heat once more. Stir in the parsley, and season with nutmeg, salt and white pepper. Pour the sauce over the fish and leave to cool. Once cool-ish, refrigerate for about an hour.

Boil the potatoes for 15-20 minutes. Drain and mash with the remaining butter and the egg yolk. Season with salt and white pepper. Beat in enough milk to make a soft, spreadable mash (softer than normal mashed potatoes).

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Spoon the potato over the filling and mark the surface with a fork. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until piping hot and golden brown.

I usually serve it with peas or carrots.