Fishy Munching

Orange Thai Curry

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If like me, you are cutting down on the meat and swapping those succulent lamb shanks for a slippery fillet of fish, then you will be in for a treat with this dish. White fish is perfect for curry’s and stews as they soak up the flavours and add that meaty texture that often vegetarian curry’s can lack.

River fish, or otherwise known as freshwater fish, is one of my favourites. I’m a huge fan of Thai, Indonesian, Malaysian and Chinese style cooking, and these types of fish work really well as they have a subtle flavour, tend to keep their shape and also are extremely good for the ol’ purse strings.

Butternut Squash is another favourite of mine, especially for this type of cuisine as it adds a well needed sweetness and texture, and in this case it brings a vibrant, juicy orange colour. So let’s stop talking and let’s get cooking.

Ingredients: Two Fillets of River Cobbler Fish (250g) // Half of one large Butternut Squash // 1 carrot // 1 large orange pepper // Button Mushrooms (handful chopped in half) // 10 mange-tout (green and purple if you can find them) // Bunch of green beans // Half a courgette // 1 Lemon Grass // For the paste: 1 large red chilli // 1 Orange Scotch Bonnet Chilli // 3 cloves of garlic // 2 cm knob ginger // 2 sweet shallots // large bunch of coriander // 3 lime leaves // 2 limes // For the sauce: Zest of half orange // Can of coconut milk + dash of water // fish sauce // Rice vinegar // Palm Sugar // For the rice: 1 cup of brown rice // pinch salt // hot water // To serve: Chilli & Coriander

Method: I tend to chop all my ingredients up before making the curry paste so I can just chuck and go – makes things a little easier. Gab two bowls or containers if you can. Chop your butternut squash into 2cm diced chunks, and pop into bowl 1. Slice your carrot on an angle and place with your squash. Into your second bowl add your chopped mushrooms, whole mange-tout, beheaded green beans and slices courgette. Leave to one side. (This just helps you determine what veg goes in at what time as some take longer)

Now it’s time to blend your paste together. In your food blender add your scotch bonnet chilli, garlic, ginger, shallots, coriander, lime leaves and the juice of one lime and blitz until you get a gooey paste. You may need a tiny dash of coconut oil to help the blender. In a pan heat up a tsp of coconut oil, then add your paste and simmer for 5 minutes – you want all the flavours to coat the pan so don’t rush this bit and keep the heat gentle so not to burn. Grate the zest of half an orange into the pan and stir. Now add 1 tbsp. of fish sauce, a tsp of rice vinegar and turn the heat up a little stirring frequently.

With the heat turned to simmer, add the coconut milk – I tend to fill the can up with water and shake to make sure I get any creamy bits of coconut left on the side of the can. Stir well and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Add 1 tbsp palm sugar (if you don’t have this brown sugar will work) and then the zest of your second lime. Do not throw your lime away as I like to cook the rice with the lime halves to add some zesty flavour. Pop your carrots and squash to the sauce and let the vegetables simmer and soften for 15 minutes.

Whilst the carrot and squash is cooking, kick start the rice. In a sauce pan, pop your brown rice and add cold water – you want the water to be about a cm taller than the rice. Pop onto a high heat and bring the water to the boil. Sprinkle some salt, add your used lime halves and turn the heat to simmer. Pop a lid on and leave for ten minutes – which should coincide with your sauce timing.

Back to the all important sauce, add the remaining veg to and stir well. Chop your fish into bite sized pieces, and add to the mixture. Slice your red chilli at an angle – keep them thin, add to the pan and then place a lid on for a further 5-8 minutes to let the fish slowly cook.

Check your rice, it should have soaked up all the water now but may still have a hard bite. Take it off the heat and leave with the lid on for a further 5 mins to keep cooking in it’s own steam.

Check the sauce and have a taste – sometimes you may need to add some salt and/or sugar here to enhance the flavour but use your own judgement.

Serve the rice, add the sauce and serve with some coriander leaves and extra chilli if you are feeling daring. Enjoy! If you are a coconut fan it is also a nice touch to sprinkle some desiccated coconut on at the end but its completely up to you!

Where to buy? River cobbler or freshwater fish is always under £4 – if you are reading this early January 2015, Sainsbury’s have it for £2.50 so grab it now! All other veg can be purchased where you see fit. Coconut milk is one to be wary of – never spend over 90p, otherwise you are being ripped off. Before heading to the super market try your news agents or off licence. It may sound weird but mine sells it for 59p. If you have no luck there, when in the supermarket ask for brands such as KTC, Pride or SunTropic. These should all be within the 90p mark.

Super, Sexy, Seafood

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As I enter my last week of being a strict pescaterian, I’ve fallen in love with seafood, even more than I was before. It’s meaty, it’s fresh, and even better, it is good for you…plus you’ll rarely find a ‘clean’ blog called Fishy Munching!

I’ve always known both seafood and fish are great for silky hair and smooth skin, so it’s a great diet tool to keep in mind if your looking to ehance certain parts of  your body. Scallops and Salmon in particular, have a great source of vitamin B, which not only fuels strong, healthy hair growth, but also supports a great metabolism and ensures you blood is looked after – which is always a bonus. Just think of that long luscious hair ladies…

Fish and seafood are also a great source of zinc, which not only supports your immune system but it esures your bones are kept strong and steady – plus it helps with the ol’ sex drive, so it’s advisable you keep a few tins of tuna for a rainy day if you get my jist…

On that note…

…0Fancy a seafood salad? Try out my hot and cold Scallop and Salmon salad:

3-4 slices of smoked salmon // 3 juicy scallops, cooked (check this recipe for tips) // 1 whole beetroot, oven roasted with some garlic (roughly chop to bite sized pieces) drizzle with ground nut oil and shake // Fresh rocket leaves // Red Onion (optional – thinly sliced)

Chuck your rocket, beetroot & garlic and red onion into your bol, drizzle with balsmaic vinegar. Place some smoked salmon on top – if you can drizzle with half the juice of a lemon, and sprinkle with black pepper, and then place your steamy hot scallops on top. Season to taste!

 Where to buy?

Scallops: Sainsbury’s Scallops £5.00 // Tesco’s Scallops £3.50 // Morrisons Scallops £4.14 // Aldi Scallops £5.99

Smoked Salmon: Sainsbury’s Salmon £4.29 // Lidl Salmon £3.20

Give Kipper A Go This Winter

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My gran used to love the ol’ ‘fish in a bag’ when we were growing up, and there is nothing better than the taste of cod and parsley sauce. It’s a great way to eat on a budget, but also take a stab at trying some other fish, that perhaps you may have turned your nose up at before.

Smoked kipper in a bag is my new must have for the freezer. It’s so versatile and is a great dish if you’re at a loose end. If like me, you try to eat well during the week, and use your weekends for a treat, this dish will work perfectly, especially after a work out at the gym.

Kipper in a bag // Green Split Peas // Green Lentils // Water // Any Veg You Like, Try: Beetroot // Red Onion // Spring Onion // Sweet Corn // Grated Carrot // Baby Spinach

Defrost your kipper if it’s been in the freezer; do this by simply popping it into cold water for 30 mins. Start by pouring some split green peas and green lentils into a saucepan and cover with boiling water. I always estimate the amount of lentils/split pea’s when cooking- go for 3/4 cup. Cover by about a centimeter, and simmer gently. Now you can literally add what ever you have left over in the fridge; the first time i cooked this I had a one day overdue beetroot, one red onion, half a red pepper, green beans and some garlic. You can add any left over veg, so don’t stick to mine if it means spending more money.

Chop your veg up finely – think about how you are going to eat your dish; this dish will be a warm salad, so you’re likely to eat with a fork or spoon – so chop your veg up nice and small to avoid big chunks. Now the lentils and split pea’s should have been simmering for 10 minutes now, and should have soaked up most of the water. If using things like onions and garlic (i would recommend using one or the other) then pop these in now and let them soften. Add a small pinch of salt and pepper and stir well.

Now put your kipper in the microwave as directed on the package – the beauty of boil in the bag is it’s mess free and easy. Whilst this cooks nicely, add your other veg and get all those flavours combined together. Taste your dish, and add salt/pepper to taste.

I’m a sucker for heat, so i always add some chilli flakes in at this point, but it’s entirely up to you. Once your kipper is ready, take out of the bag (carefully) and flake into your veg & lentil mix. The smoked flavour will wrap itself around your other ingredients. At this point, if you have fresh herbs available, then grab some leaves and rip into your dish. Coriander, basil, parsley – anything works. Dried will also work great but I’d add this in earlier for intense flavour.

Now pop this into your bowl, add some additional herbs and seasoning and curl up on the sofa with a fork and a green tea. It is so easy and you can adapt the dish to taste however you want.

I’d like to dedicate this dish to my gran, who we called Kipper, as her fringe was so yellow from 70 years of smoking! She loved a fish in a bag, and now I do too…

Where to buy?

Tesco Kipper in a bag £1.69 // Ocado Smoked Kipper in a bag £1.59 // Sainsbury’s boil in a bag £1.43

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