Chilli, Feta and Spring Onion Cornbread

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Cornbread is not commonly known about, or eaten for that matter, here in the UK and yet it is the most wonderfully moreish and perfect little bread that works so well with a soup or salad or as a savoury alternative to scones with jam and clotted cream at tea time – not that I eat scones and jam with clotted cream every tea time……only on special occasions!

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My eldest is often famished after a day at school followed by clubs so naturally likes to have a little snack before supper and this bread is a big hit – even with the chilli in. The bread allows you to be creative and put whatever little filling takes your fancy. I like to use feta as it has the perfect saltiness to go with the chilli and the spring onion adds an additional layer of flavour, which I love. Equally courgette and ricotta or caramelised onion and goats cheese would also work really well. Do you have a favourite combination? I would love to hear so please leave a message in the comments section below for us all to see.

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I use Greek yoghurt and milk in my cornbread but you can also use buttermilk, try them both out and see which you prefer. For this recipe I used one egg this time, but if I use small eggs then I often pop in two. As for chilli, jalapeno works well or you can use a milder/hotter one or even dried chilli flakes. Have a go, experiment and let me know what you think. It’s perfect with my Mexican tortilla soup.

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Chilli, Feta and Spring Onion Cornbread

Dry ingredients

160g fine cornmeal (polenta)

60g plain flour

1 tsp sweet smoked paprika

2 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

1 red chilli (or 2 if you want that extra kick)

75g crumbled feta

1 spring onion, finely chopped

Wet ingredients

125ml Greek yoghurt

125ml milk

juice of half a lime

1 large egg (or 2 small eggs)

2 tbsp olive oil

1. Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees c.

2. Grease some baking parchment and place in your loaf tin. Mine is 24x14cm. By all means use a smaller tin – your loaf will just have more depth, which is good. Without baking parchment you may find your loaf is harder to remove from the tin after baking.

3. Mix all your dry ingredients together in one bowl.

4. Place all your wet ingredients together in another bowl/jug and then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Fold in gently with a wooden spoon.

5. Pour into your tin and level off with a spatula. Place in the oven for 25 minutes, or until it is golden and firm to touch on the top.

6. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for at least 5 minutes before taking the bread out of the tin and removing the baking parchment.

 Serve warm or toasted with Mexican tortilla soup


Embracing Autumn and Chutney Making

Autumn has definitely arrived here in England and I for one LOVE the season.

10 reasons to embrace autumn:

1) The dramatic burnt orange, golden and red leaves on the trees is breathtakingly beautiful and it always manages to impress me with its vibrant hue.

2) Kicking the crisp fallen leaves as you walk gives us all – old and young alike – that inner thrill.

3) Roaring fires to warm up by whilst drinking hot chocolate or warm apple cider.

4) Big warm jumpers to keep us roasty toasty. Everyone looks great in autumn fashion.

5) Harvest Festival, Bonfire Night, Halloween and everything that is associated with them.

6) Hearty comfort food such as casserole, stews and soups become regular staples.

7) The smell of woodsmoke – it has to be one of my all time favourite smells.

8) Foraging for blackberries, crab apples, rose hips, elderberries

9) Eating all the foods that are now in season: the above as well as, apples (cox, gala, spartan, egremont, russet), celery, endive, mussels, kale, fennel, spinach, beans, leeks, beetroot, swede, pumpkin, spring onions, carrots, turnips, cauliflower, squash cabbage (autumn, red, spring green, winter white and savoy), marrow, potatoes and parsnips

10) Making chutneys, pickles and preserves.

What do you like most about autumn? Don’t be shy, leave a message below.

Photo sourced by PicoCool 

Last year I cooked a huge batch of Kashmir chutney and sweet piccalill which made great little christmas gifts and recently I decided to make some pickled peach and chilli chutney. They were selling huge batches of peaches at the market so I thought that they would be perfect for this chutney. I tend to make double the portions of the amounts below as they last for up to 6 months so are easy to keep and store.

Pickled Peach and Chilli Chutney

Sourced from the Complete Book of Preserves & Pickles by Catherine Atkinson and Maggie Mayhew

Makes about 450g/1lb

475ml cups cider vinegar

275g light brown muscovado sugar

225g dried pitted dates, finely chopped

1 tsp ground allspice

1 tsp ground mace

450g ripe peaches, stoned and cut into small pieces

3 onions, thinly sliced

4 fresh red chillies, seeded and finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed

5cm/2inches fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated

1 tsp salt

1.  In a large pan place the vinegar, dates, sugar, allspice and mace and gently heat. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar is completely dissolved.

2. Bring to the boil and then add the peaches, sliced onion, chopped chillies, crushed garlic, grated ginger and salt continuing to stir occasionally.

3. Reduce the heat and simmer for 40-50 minutes – by which time the chutney should have thickened.

4. Spoon the hot chutney in steralised jars – either by boiling them in water first or putting them in the dishwasher. I place a waxed disc on top – waxed side down and then place the lid on top.

You need to store them in a cool, dark place where the chutney can mature for at least 2 weeks before eating. They will last up to 6 months.

Another great way to eat the chutney is with grilled chicken served in warm wraps or with ricotta or goats cheese and some crusty bread.

Taken just after point 2) above and before it has been cooking for 40-50 mins


Black Pepper Tofu

For those of you who are unaccustomed to eating tofu, I really urge you to give it try. Some people simply right it off as being rather bland tasting, but the fact is tofu has a fabulous melt in the mouth texture and absorbs some of the other flavours that you cook it with. Its a great vegetarian option to meat and is hugely versatile. This is my third recipe using tofu on my blog – the other two, Ma Po Tofu and Soba Noodles with Tofu I incorporate fairly regularly in our diet. This recipe is also heavenly and reminds me in fact of one of my favourite dishes of all time – black peppercorn crab – that I ate in Singapore last year at Red House  on Robertson Quay. This recipe is sourced from the Yotam Ottolenghi’s  book ‘Plenty,’ which focuses exclusively on vegetarian recipes.

The recipe itself is fairly straight forward, however, as there is a fair amount of chopping, slicing, crushing it does take a little bit of time on the preparation part. The finished dish though is totally worth the effort you put in to the preparation. I have made a number of alterations to the original as I found that when I followed his quantities exactly the pepper was too overpowering and I did not need quite as many chillies or spring onions. So it is a little toned down but see how you get on and if you prefer it with more pepper just add an extra 2 tablespoons to the 3 that I suggest below and throw in a few extra chillies.

Black Pepper Tofu

A Yotam Ottolenghi recipe adapted from his book Plenty (p44-45)

Serves 4

700g firm tofu

vegetable oil

cornflour to dust the tofu

100g butter

10 small shallots, thinly sliced

4 fresh red chillies (fairly mild ones), thinly sliced (seeds removed)

10 garlic cloves, finely grated/chopped

3 tbsp fresh root ginger, finely grated

3 tbsp sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)

3 tbsp light soy sauce

4 tsp dark soy sauce

2 tbsp caster sugar

3 tbsp coarsely crushed black peppercorns

5 small and thin spring onions, cut into 3cm segments

1. Carefully remove the tofu from its pack and cut it into large cubes, around 3 x 2cm, being careful not to break it.

2. Sieve a little cornflower over the tofu so that it delicately coats the cubes.

3. Heat  a little oil in a deep frying pan and add the tofu in small batches so that the tofu is evenly golden. Place on kitchen roll whilst you prepare the next batch.

4. Clean the pan thoroughly before adding the butter. Once it is melted add the shallots, chillies, garlic and ginger and saute on a low heat for 15 minutes so that the ingredients have softened and darkened slightly. Stir occasionally.

5. Add the soy sauces, sugar and crushed peppercorns and mix into the other ingredients.

6. Place the tofu in the pan and coat in the sauce, being careful not to break up the tofu cubes. After a minute or so add the spring onions and stir into the ingredients.

7. Serve immediately with steamed or boiled rice.

Do you have any wonderful tofu recipes that you would like to share with me? Leave a message below and let me know.


Bavani’s Cinnamon and Ginger Dal (Parripu)

Very recently I was served this comforting and fragrant dal by my Sri Lankan friend, Bavani. It tasted so darn good that I immediately asked her what she put in her red split lentil dal and proceeded to cook it the following night for the toughest of critics….my husband AND father-in-law. Yes I am definitely keen and eager when I come across a good recipe! They both gave it a definite thumbs up and declared it was unlike all the other dals they eat on a regular basis.

Don’t get me wrong I love my red split lentil dal, but this one tastes so completely different that I will definitely be cooking it from time to time. It’s not a true Sri Lankan dal or parripu, as it is known in Sri Lanka, but instead Bavani’s version of lentil soup for the Western diet. A true Sri Lankan dal would contain turmeric, green chilli mustard seeds, curry leaves, curry powder etc, but I think Bavani’s alternative will definitely appeal to a wide audience. It has a gentle chilli kick and subtle cinnamon and ginger undertones, very different from my red split lentil dal which has turmeric and panch phoron.

Red split lentils are the easiest of all lentils to cook as they are cooked in 10 minutes and do not need any soaking first – so perfect for a quick meal when you are tired and exhausted after a manic day. They are also really cheap and most importantly – healthy, so perfect for the bank balance and general well-being.

Bavani’s Cinnamon and Ginger Dal (Parripu)

Serves 4

400g red split lentils

2 tbsp mustard oil (or vegetable if you don’t have mustard)

1 whole garlic bulb, peeled and sliced

1 thai red chilli, thinly sliced

2 cinnamon bark sticks

half tsp of asafoetida

1 tsp cumin powder

2 inch of fresh ginger thickly sliced

2 carrots, sliced into small cubes

1 tsp salt

fresh coriander, chopped to serve

1. Place the red split lentils in a pan and run under cold water and wash through thoroughly, using your hands, a couple of times. This is to clean the lentils before cooking them.

2. Place boiling water into the pan with the red split lentils so that there is a good inch of water above the lentils. During the course of the cooking you may need to add more boiling water if all the water has been soaked up or if you prefer the dal to be more soup like in consistency! The lentils should be cooked after ten minutes – if you place one lentil between your forefinger and thumb it should be soft to touch; the colour will also have lightened.

3. In a large separate saucepan/wok heat the mustard oil and add the garlic and red chilli and gently cook for a couple of minutes before adding the carrots, cinnamon bark, cumin powder, asafoetida and the fresh ginger. (You want to keep the ginger fairly thickly sliced so that they are easy to identify and scoop out before serving). On a low heat mix the ingredients together for roughly 6 minutes.

4. Transfer a large spoonful of the cooked red split lentil dal to the saucepan and mix together and then place all the ingredients BACK into the saucepan with the dal. Stir in throughly and add the salt – to taste.

5. Let the dal simmer for a further five minutes or until the carrots are completely soft. You may find you need to add a little more boiling water at this stage. It is not an exact science but more one of personal taste. Add a little water at a time as you can always add a little more if necessary.

 6. Before serving scoop out the fresh ginger and cinnamon bark. Serve with fresh coriander and eat either on its own, with rice or a chapati.

It also works really well accompanying Speedy Salmon Curry,  Goan Hot and Sour Pork Curry, Chicken Liver Curry, Goat Curry


Duck, Pomegranate, Coriander and Mint Salad with a Raspberry Vinegar Dressing

Long gone are the days when salads consisted of a few lettuce leaves, some tomatoes and grated carrots, a la 1970’s. Today there are so many inventive recipes that ordering, cooking and most importantly, eating, salads has been given a new kudos and a certain status that it is now totally acceptable to serve up a salad or two as the main dish when guests come over.

Personally I like them to be colourful and a little bit unexpected in as far as ingredients and taste go. Mixing and marrying ingredients that are salty and sweet and creating the right ying yang within the dish is so important. Over the last year I have cooked a few that stand out for me – check them out here – watermelonmangotofulentil. If you cook a couple when friends come over you’ll have a real feast and they can all be cooked in advance so that there is no stress when your guests arrive. People often like a choice so I normally prepare two or three. Leftovers the day after also work providing you keep them in the fridge.

 I had a very similar duck salad to the one I have cooked here at a friend’s house a couple of years ago and was eager to share it with you. Other than the fact that the duck needs to cook slowly in an oven for an hour and half, the dish is very straightforward to make and will definitely get a positive response from those you serve it to. The raspberry vinegar you can buy at large supermarkets here in the UK and I am sure they have something similar overseas. The sweetness mixed with the duck and salad is really tasty. You do need to get hold of duck legs (ideally with the skin on) as opposed to breast, as the meat is far more succulent on the bone.

Which salads stand out for you? Post a comment to let me know and perhaps you’ll see your salad idea up here on my blog over the summer – with all credit to you.

Who said salads are boring?

Duck, Pomegranate, Coriander and Mint Salad with a Raspberry Vinegar Dressing

Serves 4

4 duck legs

110g pomegranate seeds

1 handful of fresh mint, chopped

1 generous handful of fresh coriander, chopped,

5 spring onions, finely chopped

1 red chilli, finely chopped

4 tsp of raspberry fruit vinegar

rock salt and ground black pepper

70g lambs lettuce

 1. Place the duck legs in a preheated oven at 150 degrees (if using a fan oven and 10 degrees more if not) for an hour and a half. Cooking the duck slowly at a low heat will allow the meat to become tender and the fat to reduce considerably.

2. I used the speedy option of pre-prepared pomegranate seeds but obviously if can get hold of fresh pomegranate I encourage you to use them. Tapping the fresh pomegranate gently on its side will allow the pips to dislodge from the pith allowing them to break free more easily. I used 110g but if you use a little more that is absolutely fine, it does not have to be exact with regards to the pomegranate seeds. Place them and the juice into a mixing bowl.

3. Finely chop the spring onions and add to the mixing bowl along with the fresh chopped coriander and mint.

4. Finely slice a red chilli and if you prefer it to have less of a kick remove the seeds. Add to the mixing bowl. If you are feeding this dish to young children then obviously just omit the chilli part.

5. When the duck legs are cooked it is important to let them cool completely before shredding them with a fork. I tend to remove most of the skin, but it is up to you.

6. Place the duck into the mixing bowl and add 4 tsp of raspberry fruit vinegar and mix in well to the ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.

7. Place the lambs lettuce on a serving dish and lay the the duck salad across the top and serve.


Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Quail Scotch Eggs – with a twist!

For those who like a bit of tradition and flag flying this coming weekend is going to be super HUGE in the UK as it’s the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, which marks her 60th anniversary on the throne, impressive by anyone’s standards.

The celebrations will stretch far and wide and, for the most part, everyone seems to be really embracing the whole event. I, for one, am looking forward to watching the ‘Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant’, which is going to be one of the largest flotilla of boats to ever sail down the Thames. I was fortunate to be in Amsterdam a number of years ago, during their famous ‘SAIL Amsterdam’, which only occurs every 5 years and consists of thousands of boats, including the  impressive tall ships, gathering together on the waterways that make up Amsterdam. If the Thames Pageant is going to be anything like Sail then we are going to be in for a real spectacular treat.

High streets and retailers have gone into cool Britannia overdrive with a plethora of merchandise celebrating the Diamond Jubilee. British designers such as Vivienne Westwood  have even created a whole collection – the ‘Capsule Collection’ – to honour, in her own rock hard/edgy way that we so love, the Diamond Jubilee. There are scents, patterened tights and even make-up lines who are all adding their own twist and mark on the occasion. The National Portrait gallery in London has even dedicated a whole exhibition to Her Majesty the Queen.

Union Jack bunting is literally up everywhere and similarly to when Will and Kate tied the knot, street parties will be happening up and down the land. It’s neighbourly, jolly and brings everyone together over a glass of Pimms and a scone with jam and clotted cream or whatever English fancy floats your boat.

There are certain foods which scream ‘I’m British’ such as the trifle, scones (as above), sticky toffee pudding – well perhaps not in this heat,  cocktail sausages, egg, salmon or cucumber sandwiches, Eton mess….but for me I thought the scotch egg was synonymous with Britishness. I have made up my own recipe for making them and instead of using hens’ eggs, I thought that using quail eggs would be a dainty alternative and more attractive finger food. I have made two varieties, which give them an individual twist – either black pudding scotch eggs or fresh red chilli scotch eggs.  I initally prepared 12 however in a very short space of time they were consumed, so another batch of 12 was made the following day.

What little dainties will you be cooking for your Diamond Jubilee party?

Queen’s Jubilee Quail Scotch Eggs

Makes 12 scotch eggs

12 quail eggs

325g sausagemeat

50g black pudding

1/2 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

50g panko breadcrumbs

2 hen eggs, beaten

sunflower oil

1. Separate the sausagemeat out evenly into two separate bowls. I used sausages and then split them open and discarded the outer skin, but you can also simply buy a packet of sausagemeat.

2. Place the black pudding into one of the bowls of separated sausagemeat and the finely chopped red chilli into the other. Use your hands to mix together the ingredients.

3. Place the panko breadcrumbs (I also used these Japanese breadcrumbs here) in a separate bowl and whisk the hen eggs into another bowl.

4. Gently place the quail eggs in boiling water for just under 3 minutes, then drain under cold water and peel the shells and set aside.

5. Using damp hands create a layer of  the sausagemeat/black pudding around 6 of the quail eggs so that they look like little meatballs. Damp hands will allow you to work more easily with the sausagemeat. With the remaining 6 eggs cover with the sausagemeat and red chilli. Then dip each scotch egg into the whisked hen eggs to coat completely and then into the breadcumbs.

6. Fill a third of a small deep pan with sunflower oil and gently heat up. When it is hot – drop a couple of panko breadcrumbs into the oil and if it sizzles the oil is ready.

7. One at a time, place the scotch eggs gently into the hot oil. I suggest cooking in batches of three at at time as you want to make sure that they are evenly cooked. Using a slotted spoon turn the scotch eggs over so that they are evenly cooked through and are golden brown. After 3 minutes transfer them to a preheated oven (160 degrees if using a fan oven), for a further 2-3 minutes.

8. Serve warm or  at room temperature.


Soba Noodles with Tofu, Aubergine and Mango – it’s totally addictive BEWARE!

It’s always a joy cooking for a foodie friend who eats everything and shares a similar enthusiasm for exciting flavours, textures and foods. Said friend is off to pastures new in California so I wanted to prepare a simple and yet interesting lunch that he may not have tried before, but that he was hopefully going to remember fondly.

In the last couple of years my love for tofu has grown exponentially, on average I would say I eat it once a week as a main meal. One of my all time favourite recipes – Ma Po Tofu – I  sometimes cook without the pork mince and add loads of spinach to compliment the tofu instead. I would really recommend you give this dish a go if you haven’t already, it’s absolutely superb.

Another dish using tofu, which I discovered more recently, is the one that I want to share with you today. It’s a perfect spring/summer dish bursting with colour and if the truth be told, totally addictive. Between the two of us we almost saw off a portion which Yotam Ottolenghi says ‘serves 6’. I know, I know, it  makes us sound rather piggy. Look we were hungry and it is so delicious I bet you too would have seconds or maybe thirds ;o). I think that as a main dish it’s serving is better suited to 4 than 6, unless your guests have sparrow appetites that is!

 Don’t be shy, once you’ve cooked it do write a comment below to let me know how you got on and  that you too had seconds/thirds.

Soba Noodles with Tofu, Aubergine and Mango

Adapted  from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

Serves 4-6

120 ml rice vinegar

40g caster sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/2 red chilli, finely chopped

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 lime, zest and juice

300ml sunflower oil

2 aubergines, cut into 1cm dice

396g firm tofu, cut into small cubes (a little more or less is fine so don’t worry about getting exact amount)

250g soba noodles

2 ripe mangoes, cut into strips or dice

small handful of Thai sweet basil, chopped

handful of fresh coriander, chopped

1 small red onion, finely sliced

1. To prepare the dressing warm the vinegar, sugar and salt in a pan for a minute so that the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and add the chilli, garlic and sesame oil and leave to cool. Once it is cool add the lime juice and zest.

2. In a frying pan heat up  half the sunflower oil and gently fry the aubergine in batches. To save time I cooked the aubergine in two frying pans cooking simultaneously. When they have bronzed place on kitchen paper to cool.

3. Using the remaining sunflower oil (if necessary – you may have enough left from cooking the aubergine!) gently heat up the tofu and cook until it has a crispy light brown appearance. This should take 6-8 minutes. Similar to the aubergine place on some kitchen paper to soak up some of the oil.

4. Heat a pan of boiling salted water and cook the soba noodles for around 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and rinse under cold water, shaking off as much excess water as possible. Place on a tea towel to dry.

5. In a mixing bowl toss the noodles with the dressing, mango, aubergine, herbs (save a few to scatter on top when serving),  red onion and tofu. Transfer to another serving plate/dish. You can eat immediately or set aside for a couple of hours.

The dressing resting whilst I prepare the rest of the ingredients (above)

The final result (below)

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Garlic Roasted Butternut Squash, Lentil and Feta Salad

Butternut squash are one of those wonderful fresh ingredients that you can buy and store for a reasonable amount of time. I haven’t tested their longevity as such, but I know that they are fine for at least a month. (Any other educated guesses then let me know?)

If you can get past the fact that peeling them can be a bit labourous at times, you are treated to a sweet tasting, vibrant and versatile vegetable that generally passes muster with most people. It’s generally not one of those vegetables that people are known to turn their noses up at, unlike perhaps this, so it’s a great vegetable to feed the whole family. It’s bright, vivid colour is clealy a mood enhancer and with all this terrible weather we have been having lately, I welcolme it wholeheartedly into my cooking.  

I love all manner of lentils and pulses and cook with them most days in some capacity. This dish I cook in bulk and then eat over a few days. It stores well in the fridge, although I tend to keep the feta seperate until ready to serve, as I find it tends to crumble if I mix it in too early with the other ingredients. As with all my recipes if you are feeding it to your young children I omit the chilli.

The dish has some wonderful flavours going on, that combined together works really well. I sometimes add pomegranate seeds and had planned to put them in, but somehow managed to forget this time around. So if you fancy throwing in another bright colour to make the dish even more cheery and summery then add some pomegranate seeds.

 

 Garlic Roasted Butternut Squash, Lentil and Feta Salad

Serves 6

250g lentils

8 garlic cloves, chopped

1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed

3 tbsp olive oil

1 red chilli, finely chopped and deseeded

200g feta

1 small red onion, finely sliced

handful of fresh parsley

2 tbsp pomegranate seeds (optional)

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

2 tbsp sherry vinegar

1 tsp sugar

1. Preheat an oven to 180 degrees.

2. Peel a small/medium sized butternut squash and cut into bite sized cubes. Place on a baking/roasting tray along with the chopped garlic cloves. Using your hands cover the cubes and garlic with olive oil.

3. Place in the oven and leave to cook for 40 minutes.

4. Rinse the lentils in cold water to give them a good clean and then place them in a pan with cold water so that they are well covered and leave on a medium heat for 20-25 minutes (see packet for details). They should be nicely softened by this stage. Drain and leave to cool.

5. Finely slice a small red onion and red chilli (de-seeded if you prefer it less hot) and cut the feta cheese into small cubes.

6. In a small bowl mix the red wine vinegar, sherry vinegar and sugar and season to taste.

7. Gently mix all the ingredients, aside from the feta, together in a bowl first. Serve sprinked with feta cubes and a generous portion of chopped flat leaf parsley.

Serve at room temperature.

As the feta is so naturally salty you will probably find that you do not need to season with extra salt.


Roasted Cod with Fennel, Red Onion and Tomatoes in a Lemony Balsamic Jus

OK I admit it, I wasn’t telling the whole truth when I put together the grand title for this dish. It only takes a passing glance at the photo above for you to see that there is a sprinkling of fresh chilli in this dish. It’s totally NOT essential, so if your palate prefers the absence of chilli – or if you are feeding it to little ones, then please omit the chilli part as it still tastes really good.

We try and eat fish and seafood a couple of times a week, which reminds me, I must put up another of my squid recipes as squid gets a big thumbs up in our household. My six year old, known as big A in this blog (as she is my eldest daughter) has loved it for as long as I can remember; she is a joy to cook for as she eats and tries everything. She has her sights set on junior Masterchef, way to go girl.

This dish is perfect with white fish and cod works particularly well as it does not flake too readily during cooking. This dish is rustic and juicy and has the definite thumbs up from Mr B. There are a lot of flavours going on in the dish, from the sweetness of the balsamic vinegar, red onions and tomatoes to the subtle aniseed taste of the fennel and the wonderful kick from the chilli. I find they compliment each other so well, I hope you agree.

Roasted Cod with Fennel, Red Onion and Tomatoes in a Lemony Balsamic Jus

Adapted from a recipe by ‘Delicious Magazine’

Serves 2-4

600 g filleted cod

1 red onion, roughly chopped

1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced (set the fronds to one side)

juice of one lemon

2 tbsp olive oil

200g cherry tomatoes, halved

3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 large red chilli, sliced (not essential)

seasoning, as required


1. Prepare the fennel, red onion and chilli and place in an oven proof dish with 1 tbsp of olive oil and the juice from one lemon. Place in a preheated oven at 180 degrees if you are using a fan oven and 20 degrees more if you are not or gas mark 6, for 10 minutes

2. Add the tomatoes and roast for a further 5 minutes. Now place the cod fillets, balsamic vinegar and remaining olive oil on the vegetables and roast for 10-12 minutes. Do not overdo the cooking of the fish as it will begin to dry out. It needs less cooking time than you think!

3. Serve immediately with the fennel fronds scattered on top to garnish. I like to eat this with rice, although it would also work equally well with little cubed roast potatoes.