Green herb sauce

Sea Bass with a Simple Green Herb Salsa

Sea Bass with Simple Green Herb Sauce

Sometimes the simplest ways of eating fish are the best.   It may be a clichee used to excuse a lack of imagination.  But not always.  Sometimes it’s really true.   This simple green herb salsa served with sea bass is one of the times when simple really is the best and not just a popular catchphrase.

To make the simplest things taste great it really helps to have the best quality ingredients.   In this case fresh herbs and garlic, good vinegar and of course a tasty extra virgin olive oil.  I had been sent some Italian Antichi Frantoi Francescani extra virgin olive oil and I wanted to use it in a recipe where a good olive oil would make all the difference.

Once I’d made up the green herb salsa with the oil I had a fiery, garlic and herb paste that was a perfect match for the fish but it could be so versatile.   I think it would also be great with halloumi or chicken, drizzled or dotted on a salad, or even used as a marinade.  The Antichi Frantoi Francescani olive oil has a strong green olive taste and would also be lovely for dipping bread in.   You could imagine you were on holiday in Italy even if you weren’t.

Simple Green Herb Sauce

Sea Bass with a Simple Green Herb Salsa

Yield: Serves 2


  • Large handful of coriander
  • Small handful of parsley
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 green chilli pepper
  • 2 tbsp white wine vineger
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Small pinch of salt
  • 2 fillets of sea bass (or another white fish)


  1. Put all the ingredients except the fish into a food processor. Process until smooth.
  2. Taste. Add a little extra oil, vinegar or seasoning if necessary.
  3. Cook the fish and serve the salsa with it.
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I am linking this to Tasty Tuesdays at Honest Mum and Cook Blog Share at Hijacked by Twins.

Tasty TuesdaysCook Blog Share

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dukkah fish fingers 2

Cod and Dukkah Fish Fingers

Cod and Dukkah Fish Fingers

Now, before you say my fish fingers are a little messy and that I haven’t coated them very evenly I want to say that I didn’t actually make the fish fingers.   No no, it’s not just an excuse because they are not quite as pretty as they could be.  I’m actually rather proud of them even though I didn’t make them.

Well, I got out three bowls, one with flour in, one with egg and one with breadcrumbs and dukkah.   I lined them up and put a baking tray next to the last one.   I demonstrated and then I let Little Miss Spice do all the rest

She seemed to think it was a race – dipping each one in each bowl as quickly as possible and then throwing them on the baking tray.  She was like a little whirlwind but she was at least doing exactly what I’d shown her.  I have never seen anyone coat fish fingers quite so quickly.  It would have taken me far longer, although admittedly they might have looked a little neater!   however as she’s just turned 2.5 I think they are rather good.

You could of course adapt these to use any dried herbs or spices and if you make them as quickly a Little Miss Spice did, then they are almost as quick to get on the table as ready-made fish fingers.

Ingredients – Serves 2

300g cod loin

3 tbsp plain flour

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 egg, beaten

4 tbsp breadcrumbs

2 tsp dukkah

How to Make Cod and Dukkah Fish Fingers

1. Slice the cod into strips about 2cm wide.

2. Get three bowls ready to coat the fish in breadcrumbs.   In the first bowl mix the flour and the cayenne.   In the next bowl put the egg.   In the last bowl put the breadcrumbs and dukkah. Lightly oil a baking tray too.

3. Roll the fish fingers in the flour, then dip them in the egg and finally roll them in the breadcrumbs.  Put them on the baking tray.

4. Bake the fish fingers in the oven at 200c for 15 minutes.

5. Serve with a squeeze of lemon.

I am linking these to Tasty Tuesdays at Honest Mum.   They are also my Recipe of the Week at A Mummy Too.

Tasty TuesdaysRecipe of the 'Week


Salmon Marinated in Ketchup and Indian Spices

ketchup salmon (700x539)

I’m always looking for new ways of serving fish.   I love the fact that because there are so many types of fish, it never becomes boring.   There’s always something new to discover, either a new fish or a new way of cooking it. Well, this dish just uses salmon, which is not unusual, but what is different for me is mixing spices in with ketchup to form a marinade.  I came across the idea on Goan Imports and knew straightaway that using ketchup as a base for the marinade was something I wanted to try.

I’ll admit that normally I’m not a big fan of ketchup.   I like it with chips and I use it when making barbecue sauce, but apart from that, I don’t really consider using it.   I tend to think of it as a kid’s thing.   My daughter loves ketchup though, and maybe that was why the recipe I saw caught my eye.

Now, even if you’re not a big fan of ketchup either, the balsamic vinegar and Indian spices completely change the dish from just salmon and ketchup.   In fact, even if you don’t like ketchup, you might like this, and if you are still determined not to get the ketchup out, I’m sure you could swap it for tomato puree.

Or maybe you couldn’t care either way whether this uses ketchup.   Maybe you’re just looking for a quick and tasty way of cooking salmon and getting dinner on the table so you can relax after a long hard day.   Well, this is perfect for that too.   It takes just moments to mix together the marinade and although you then have to wait for the oven to heat up and the fish to cook, it’s still a relatively quick and definitely easy dish to cook.

Ingredients – serves 2

2 pieces of salmon

2 tbsp tomato ketchup

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp garam masala

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp vegetable oil

Black pepper

How to Make Salmon Marinated in Ketchup and Indian Spices

1. Mix all the ingredients for the marinade and taste it.   Spread it on both sides of the fish and leave for at least 30 minutes.

2. Wrap the salmon in a tin foil parcel and bake in the oven at 180C for about 15 minutes.

I am linking this to Four Seasons Food, which has the theme Something Fishy for March. Four Seasons Food is hosted by Delicieux and Eat Your Veg. I am also linking to Sweet and Savoury Sundays.

fsf-springsweetsavoury sundays

Lemon and Parsley Sauce for Fish

I was sure I had published this post back in June as I made it just after the chicken in mushroom and parsley cream sauce, but I must have forgotten to hit publish as I just found it in my drafts folder.   The first line just doesn’t make sense if you didn’t know that!

Another cream and parsley sauce?   Yes I know, it’s been a week of cream and parsley sauces, but these were completely different dishes and this cream and parsley sauce was most definitely not over-reduced.   I erred on the side of caution and if anything, it would have been fine left to cook for just a bit longer, although that would have made it seem a little heavier.   In fact, the dish is not heavy at all and I would actually say it seems fairly light.   Yes, I did say light.  Although the dish has cream and butter in it, it also has lemon, which I always think makes a savoury dish taste lighter.

However, the lemon is the sauce is not too strong and it’s definitely not an overwhelmingly lemony dish.  However, I know some people really love strong citrus flavours and you could certainly squeeze an extra quarter of lemon  in if that’s how you like it.

I am linking this to Cooking with Herbs, hosted by Karen at Lavender and Lovage.

parlsey and lemon fish sauce (500x328)

Ingredients – served 2 (but could serve 3 easily)

150ml vegetable stock

100ml double cream

Juice of 1/4 lemon

1 spring onion, finely sliced

1 clove of garlic, crushed

Handful of parsley, chopped

Black pepper

Small knob of butter

How to Make Lemon and Parsley Sauce for Fish

  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan.   Add the chopped spring onion.   Soften then add the garlic.

  2. Add the parsley and vegetable stock.   Let it reduce a little.

  3. Add the cream, black pepper and lemon juice.  Bring up to the boil and then reduce a little.

  4. Serve the sauce over white fish.



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Inspired by Masterchef: Thai Fish Cakes

For my honeymoon 3 and a half years ago we went to Thailand, to Bangkok and Koh Samui.  I loved it – the atmosphere, the scenery, the weather, and the food of course.  So, last week on Masterchef I was delighted when the contestants were flown to Thailand to cook in a market and then for a royal banquet.   Some of the best food we ate was also in a market, so I was especially interested in the street food.   Like with lot of Thai food, the paste is the base of the dish and so the contestants spent a long time pounding away with pestle and mortars.   I was a little lazier.   I used my pestle and mortar to crush the galangal, as it’s quite tough but then put it in the blender with all the other ingredients to make the paste.    I then just added the fish to the blender once the paste was made.   So, really easy fish cakes, much easier than making them in a Thai market.   Nevertheless, I’m fairly confident that I’ve managed to make quite good ones.    I didn’t use any flour, which leads to a denser, heavier fishcake so they stayed really light and juicy, but held together well and were bursting with flavour.  Definitely one to make again.

I just served these with a little squeeze of lime juice but they would normally be served with sweet chilli sauce.  However, I’m not keen on sweet and savoury together so didn’t bother to make any.   But, after this week’s show focusing on pastry, I will now be making something sweet and next week is the last week so there’ll only be two more Inspired by Masterchef posts to go.   For now anyway.

Ingredients – Makes 6 fish cakes

4 largish red chillies, most of the seeds removed

2 tsp lemongrass paste or a fresh lemongrass stalk

4 shallots

2 cloves of garlic

Small knob of galangal

Handful of coriander leaves

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp cumin

3 kaffir lime leaves

1 tsp fish sauce

200g white fish

1 lime (to serve)

How to make Thai Fish Cakes

1. In a pestle and mortar, crush the galangal then put in a food processor.   If using fresh lemongrass, also pound first in the pestle and mortar.  Add all the other ingredients to the food processor except the fish.   Blend to a paste.  Taste and made any adjustments if necessary.

2. Roughly chop the fish and add it to the food processor.

3. Take the mixture out of the food processor, using a tablespoon.   Place spoonfuls on a plate and flatten slightly.    Put in the fridge for half an hour.

4. Heat some oil in a frying pan and then fry the fish cakes for about 3-4 minutes on each side.    Serve with lime wedges or sweet chilli sauce.

Inspired by Masterchef: Fennel Salad with Sea Bass

I really couldn’t decide what to make at first for my Inspired by Masterchef post after last week’s show.   I considered making a pearl barley risotto with fish, but I’ve already made a potato risotto with fish this series.   Also, the contestant who made it rather spoiled it by adding whiskey, so it’s probably not the ideal recipe they’d prefer to be remembered for.   Another option was beef with braised red cabbage, carrot puree, walnuts and rosemary.   I have to admit that this option came very close to winning out, but in the end, I opted for the fish with fennel salad, which has probably turned out quite differently to the recipe on the show.   It certainly looks very different.  On Masterchef dainty pieces of red mullet were arranged among fennel and tomatoes.   There certainly wasn’t a big pile of salad as on my plate.  There were also scallops with the dish on Masterchef, but as I’m allergic to them, they stayed well away from my plate.   So, as you can see, not really a winner for presentation, but it tasted delicious and made a relatively easy but very healthy midweek meal.

Ingredients – serves 2

1/2 bulb of fennel

2 tomatoes

4cm piece of cucumber

Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 tsp mind

1/2 tsp parsley


Black pepper

Extra virgin olive oil

2 sea bass fillets or other white fish

How to Make Fennel Salad with Sea Bass

1. Sliced the fennel very thinly.    Cut the cucumber in half and also slice thinly lengthways. Slice the tomatoes too and put all the vegetables in a bowl.   Add the dried herbs, salt and pepper.   Finally add lemon juice and olive oil.   Mix well and leave for an hour before serving.

2. Panfry the fish and serve alongside the salad with extra lemon wedges.

Inspired by Masterchef: Salmon en Croute

This week my Inspired by Masterchef  challenge involved not only making salmon en croute for the first time, but making my own puff pastry for the first time too.   And I have to say, I am seriously impressed with myself.  The pastry actually had little layers in it – just like in real puff pastry!   I’d always heard that puff pastry was too much effort and that there was almost no point making it, it would be nowhere near as good as shop-bought, and you’d have wasted lots of time over it.  Well, it turns out I was wrong, conned, deceived because it is possible to do it yourself.   It might take a couple of hours but the smug self-satisfied, I did it feeling is definitely worth the effort.   Not that I’m saying you should never buy a block of ready-made puff pastry again, just that for special occasions and to feel that sense of achievement, it is something you should try at least once.    Now, I hope that has convinced you.

I did of course consider just using ready-made puff pastry, but the rest of this recipe is so simple that it would have felt like a cheat to do that.   To be honest, I don’t know if my salmon en croute is similar to the Masterchef one at all.   They were cooking canteen style for lots of people and served it with a fennel and orange salad (I think), but if I hadn’t watched Masterchef, I certainly wouldn’t have made this.  I adapted the recipe for the puff pastry from a Gordon Ramsey recipe.   I was shocked at the equal quantities of butter and flour so I did cut the butter down a little and it still made a very rich buttery pastry so the amount could be reduced even further still if you wanted to.  In fact, that is possibly the only problem with making certain things yourself.   When they are unhealthy, you know just how unhealthy!

Ingredients – Serves 2

For the Puff Pastry

120g strong white flour

100g butter

1/2 tsp salt

Approx 50ml cold water

For Filling

2 salmon fillets

2 tbsp cream cheese

Handful watercress

Black pepper

How to make Salmon en Croute

  1. Make the puff pastry.  Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl.  Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the bowl.   Rub the butter into the flour but not as much as with normal pastry.   Leave relatively large lumps of butter.

  2. Add the water a little at a time and mix with a knife so it binds together and forms a dough.    You probably won’t need all the water. cover the dough in cling film and put in the fridge for 20 minutes.

  3. Flour the work surface, your hands and the rolling pin.  Give the dough a quick knead and then roll it out.   Roll in one direction only so you get a long thin piece of pastry in which you can see streaks of butter.  Fold the top half down by one third and then fold the bottom half up.

  4. Turn the dough around by 90 degrees then roll out again and repeat the process twice more.

  5. Put the folded up dough back in the fridge for about half an hour.

  6. Roll out the dough.  This time I did roll it in both directions as it would have been the wrong shape if I hadn’t.

  7. If necessary remove the skin and any bones from the salmon. Season.   Place the salmon on the pastry.

  8. Using a fork, mash the chives into the cream cheese.   Season with black pepper.   Then, spread the top of the salmon with the cheese mixture.    Fold the pastry around the salmon and seal the edges of the parcel well.   Use a fork to fold slightly and press the edges together.  Cut away any excess pastry.  Make slits on top of the pastry so excess steam can escape.

9.  Bake the parcels in the oven at about 200c for 35 minutes.

  1. Serve the salmon with salad or vegetables.


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Inspired by Masterchef: Chorizo Potato Risotto with Sea Bass

My favourite food programme is back on: Masterchef!   Last year when watching it I started a series of posts called Inspired by Masterchef and so this year I’m hoping to do the same.   Each week, after watching Masterchef, I will try to make something inspired by the show, to post by the end of the following week.   As each year gets harder and the processes and ingredients used get more complex for just an ordinary cook at home, I know that this is going to be a real challenge for me, especially as I have only just over a week to get the right ingredients and make each recipe.  Some of the recipes used on the show do get posted on the BBC food website, but that would be just too easy, I want to be a bit more creative.   Therefore, some of the recipes I post will attempt to recreate the recipe exactly, but based on my memory, whereas others will be a looser interpretation.

Well now, on to my first recipe.  I’d heard of potato risottos before and loved the idea of making a risotto with finely diced potato rather than rice.  So of course, when one of the contestants decided to make a potato, chive, chorizo and orange risotto with sea bream, I liked the sound of it.   Well, except for the orange juice, and neither did John and Greg.  Of course, for my recipe, out went the orange juice, and in came some lemon juice as a replacement, which I’m sure would have been much more popular among the Masterchef judges, if only the contestant hadn’t tried to be so ‘interesting’.

It’s important to use waxy rather than floury potatoes for this, as floury ones will disintegrate in the stock as they are in such small pieces.  I know when you look at my picture, the pieces of potato don’t look that small, but they did look small to me when I was chopping them up!    Maybe next time I will attempt a bit more refinement and dice the potato more finely.   That’s the only change I’ll make.   The chorizo and pimenton give the dish a lovely slightly smoky flavour and the taste really soaks into the pieces of potato.   The lemon juice is very subtle and keeps the whole dish light.    So overall, I’m very pleased with my first dish of the series and looking forward to my next one.  In fact, I’m so pleased I’m planning to cook this for quests, not just me and my husband!

If anyone else is as big a Masterchef fan as me and would like to join me in this challenge, let me know and I’ll provide a link to your recipe as well.

Ingredients – serves 2

2 sea bass fillets

5 small waxy potatoes (depending on size, enough for 2 people)

15g chives

1 clove garlic, crushed

100g fresh chorizo sausage, diced

A little chicken stock (approx 200ml)

1/2 tsp pimenton (sweet smoked paprika)

Black pepper

Juice of 1 lemon

How to make Chorizo Potato Risotto with Sea Bass

1. Dice the potatoes into small rectangles.   Heat a little oil in a saucepan.   Add the chorizo.   Cook for about three minutes, stirring occasionally.  Then add the garlic and cook for another minute.

2. Add the potatoes to the saucepan.   Stir to cover in all the oil from the chorizo.   Sprinkle with the pimenton.

3. Add the stock, so the potatoes are just covered, but not swimming in the liquid.   Bring to the boil then lower to a simmer.    Cover the pan.

4. Check the pan every so often and stir.    If it does start to get too dry, before it is fully cooked, add a tiny dash of water from the kettle.   It will take about 20 minutes for the potato to be fully cooked, soak up the flavours and become a little soft.  During this stage, cook the sea bass.    I like to fry in a little oil so the skin goes crispy, but you could grill or steam it.

5. Just before serving, stir through the chives, season with black pepper and add the lemon juice.

6. Serve the sea bass on top of the risotto.

Baked Sea Bass with Lemon and Olives

I know this is not very Christmassy.   What a thing to post on Christmas Eve!    Well, the truth is,  I don’t really do Christmas cooking(except truffles).    I spend all my Christmas visiting family and enjoying what everyone else has cooked.   I love looking at Christmas food, but to be honest, I know I’m not actually going to go out, get the ingredients and make it.    I eat everyone’s mince pies, biscuits, chocolates and puddings, and when I am at home to cook, I feel like I need to eat something a little healthier, something I’m not going to be given at the next meal out.   In fact, this year, I haven’t even bothered watching any  of the usual Christmas celebrity cook/chef cooking shows and I’m looking forward to January when everyone starts blogging about something a little different.   Sorry, please don’t misunderstand that, I’ve loved reading about everyone’s Christmas baking, but, as I know I’m not going to be making those things myself, I’m just getting ready to read about something else.

Anyway, this will be my last post until New Year’s Eve so Happy Christmas everyone.   Hope you all have a fantastic time and enjoy all the lovely Christmas food.  And if you do fancy something a little lighter instead, well…

Ingredients – serves 2

2 sea bass fillets or other fish of your choice

Handful of olives

1 tbsp capers

1 lemon


Black pepper

Olive oil

How to make Baked Sea Bass with Lemon and Olives

1. Take a large piece of tin foil.  Season the fish and lay skin side down in the middle of the foil.

2. Slice half of the lemon into thin slices.   Lay the slices on top of the fish.

3. If the capers and  olives are in vinegar then rinse them and sprinkle onto the fish.  Drizzle with a little olive oil and lemon juice.

4. Bring the foil up at the sides to make a parcel and scrunch the sides together to seal.

5. Bake the parcel in the oven at about 180C for 15 minutes.

Serve with homemade (don’t feel you have to) chips and salad.

Salmon Pasta Bake

Sometimes you want to try and recreate a favourite childhood dish – but with a few twists – and this is exactly what I did here.   The dish in question is my mum’s macaroni fish pie, a dish made with a mixture of fish, pasta and mushrooms, baked in the oven in a cheesy sauce.   Even today I like it when she makes it for me, which unfortunately is not very often as I usually have my husband with me, who doesn’t share my love of cheesy fish pies.   He would say he has more sophisticated tastes.   I would say I have an appreciation of a wider range of foods.   In my mum’s dish, the mushrooms are a more recent addition.   An addition I’m happy with.  When I’m not there, she likes to use smoked haddock too,  but I find it a little strong and so prefer white fish, salmon or a mixture.  This time, I chose to add layer of spinach to the bottom of the dish as the vegetable component, but in retrospect,  I think I prefer mushrooms and would miss out the spinach layer next time, or maybe just have a spinach salad on the side.

So, given the choice, would I choose mine or my mum’s pie?   For now, my mum’s.   But with a few mushrooms instead of spinach, I’d be spoilt for choice.

I used Dreamfields’ rotini pasta which was once again successful.  I am also submitting this to Presto Pasta Nights, this week hosted by HoneyB of The Life & Loves of Grumpy’s Honeybunch.

Ingredients – Serves 1-2 (depending how hungry you are)

1 small piece of salmon

50g pasta

1 tbsp plain flour

250ml milk

2 tbsp Oil

1/4 tsp nutmeg

2 tbsp wilted spinach

2 handfuls grated cheese approx (I forgot to measure it, but taste the sauce and add more to get the right level of cheesiness)


Black Pepper

How to Make Salmon Pasta Bake

1. Cook the pasta for about 5 minutes then drain.

2. Heat the oil in a small saucepan.   Add the flour and keep stirring for at least 2 minutes, being careful that it doesn’t burn.

3. Start adding the milk. Add a little at a time and keep stirring so it makes a smooth sauce.   If you add too much at once it will go lumpy.

4. Add the nutmeg, season and stir in the grated cheese.  Then stir in the pasta.

5. Spread the wilted spinach on the bottom of the dish.   Cut the fish into cubes.   Put on top of the spinach.   Top with the pasta and sauce.

6. Bake in the oven at about 190C for about 25 minutes.   The dish should be piping hot and bubbling when it is ready.

7. Serve with lots of salad.