There is little in our culinary world that comes close to a ‘just out of the pan’ fried fish. Whenever I get the aroma of freshly fried fish I am automatically transported back to one of my most unforgettable meals. I was twenty, standing alone on the quayside of the Bosphorus River in Istanbul. It was my first overseas trip, it was Christmas day, I had bronchitis and was feeling desperately alone and dreadfully homesick … until I came across a boat filled with Turkish fisherman, unloading their catch. At the back of their boat, they were braaiing fresh fish and selling this on a bread roll with onion rings and a beer. A few minutes later I was munching on this simple meal and all of a sudden, I was lonely no more. I shall never forget that day, nor the happiness I suddenly felt sitting on a bench, eating a simple take-away.
I recently made my own beer-battered fresh fish and onions. It is a simple recipe. Take one cup of self-raising flour, 1 cup of beer and a large pinch of salt and voila! There you have it.
Just so you know I did not place the onion rings in ice before tossing them in the batter – as the batter tends not to stick properly… the trick with the batter is to ensure that all your ingredients are dry before dipping it in the batter.
Fish and onion rings in beer batter
250 ml self-raising flour
250 ml beer
2.5 ml salt
4 hake pieces, patted dry with a paper towel
2 big onions, peeled and sliced into rings (not washed nor placed in ice)
Oil for deep-frying
4 bread rolls
Mix the flour, beer and salt. Dip both the fish and the onion rings in the beer batter to ensure they are well coated in batter, fry until brown and crisp. Sprinkle with Maldon salt and add a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve on a freshly baked bread roll with an ice-cold beer. Enjoy!
I think for me Easter has always been different to the somewhat traditional religious Easter festivities, you know the Friday fasting, the curried fish, chocolate eggs and Easter Sunday feast….
You see, my father was the station master at Wepener in the Free State for many years and once a year the South African Railways would give its employees and their families a free rail ticket. So every year, my mom, dad, three brothers and me would take the train down to Durbs for our Easter school holidays. It was such an adventure for us because Durban was fun … there was sun + beaches + sand. It was singing on the stages trying our best to win prizes, fighting with my brothers, building sandcastles in the sand with dad, swimming in the ocean with mom and losing ourselves in the summers of our youth.
For the short few days we spent there we lived on ice cream and sandwiches during the day, but at night when we were all sunburnt and after a long soak in a soothing bath, my mom used to make us fresh fish and salad for supper. The fresh salmon salad I made today is a dedication to the happy memories of those Easters past and to my folks for affording us this once a year seaside adventure.
Apart from the salmon and the avocado, I got all the ingredients for the salad out of my garden. Instead of placing the salmon on top of the salad as it is usually served I decided it would be more fun to put the salad on top of the salmon – and I must say I think it looks amazing! It would be unfair for me to dictate the quantities of salad ingredients you should use as this is best left to your own discretion and mood.
I also like my salmon somewhat rare, so I prepared it that way. But the thing that really adds to the overall pop-up-flavour is the rather delicious lime and soya Asian dressing. So here’s to family, Easter, lasting memories and fresh food. Blessed Easter everyone!
sand + sunburn + salmon salad = happy family easter memories
Author: anél potgieter . lifeisazoobiscuit.com
- 2 x 200g Fresh salmon steaks
- For salad
- Avocado – sliced into small blocks
- Baby tomatoes – halved and then in three
- Cucumber ribbons – I take my potato peeler and run it over the cucumber
- Spring onions – finely sliced
- Radishes – sliced into thin slices
- Fresh coriander
- Salad dressing
- 50 ml Soya sauce
- Juice of one to two small limes
- 1t Sesame oil (optional)
- 2t Grated ginger
- 1t Fish sauce
- 1T Fresh coriander – chopped
- ½t Chillie flakes
- Fry your salmon for three minutes with the skin side down in a non-stick pan till skin crispy - say about 5 minutes - don’t turn it around and don’t season at this stage and let it stand to rest. The intention is to serve it luke warm not piping hot.
- Chop up all your salad ingredients and make your dressing by mixing everything together.
- Now just place this beautiful cut of fish on a plate. Place the salad on top and put the dressing on the side.
- I don’t add any salt at this stage and leave it to the guests to decide how much salt they need because the dressing is quite salty.
Open fish cake lasagna + tomato and gherkin relish – I grew up with fish pasta made with tinned pilchards for Saturday lunch so when Babs invited me for lunch this Saturday past – I knew what was on the menu. I asked my mom to wait for me to get to her place – I grabbed my copy of You can with Fish by Tamsin Snyman and rushed over to her house all inspired. I wanted to show her something different …for all too often we get caught up in the routine, making the recipes we know in the same way we have always made them.
We decided to try Tamsin’s fish cakes (love her use of potatoes in the dish) but replaced the tuna with pilchards – and as I am always prone to do… I added lots of fresh herbs, extra lemon and a Dhanya and Chillie sauce I discovered. We served it with a lasagna sheet and a tomato and gherkin relish. The gherkin gives it that beautiful tanginess and just complements the dish in an extraordinary way. It is kind of like “Viskoekies en tamatie-smoor” just dressed up and off to see the opening night of Verdi’s famous opera, La Traviata… and so, so simple.
Try it. I promise you it will make your heart sing!
10 Famous Italian Operas
1. Aida, by GiuseppeVerdi
2. Cavalleria Rusticana, by Pietro Mascagni
3. Il Barbiere de Siviglia, by Gioachino Rossini
4. La Gioconda, by Amilcare Ponchielli
5. La traviata, by Giuseppe Verdi
6. L’elisir d’amore, by Gaetano Donizetti
7. Madama Butterfly, by Giacomo Puccini
8. Nabucco, by Giuseppe Verdi
9. Norma, by Vincenzo Bellini
10. Pagliacci, by Ruggero Leoncavallo
Opera info from yusypovych.com
“viskoekies en tamatiesmoor” - dressed up for a night at the opera
- For fish cakes
- 1 ½ Medium potatoes
- ½ Tin sardines + tomato sauce [210g]
- 1 Egg
- 1T Bread crumbs [my mom uses all the crumbs from the bottom of her rusks packets – very good idea mom!]
- 2T Fresh parsley - chopped
- 1T Fresh coriander – chopped
- ½ t Chillie flakes – optional
- ½ T Dhanya and chillie sauce (i discovered this last week in the shop - it adds a lovely zing to this particular dish)
- 1 Spring onions – chopped
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- Sunflower oil for frying
- For lasagna sheets
- 4 Lasagna sheets – one sheet per person
- For tomato and gherkin relish
- ½ Onion – chopped
- 1T Olive oil
- 250g Small rosa tomatoes
- 200g Dill gherkins – chopped finely
- 1T Dhanya and chillie sauce
- 2ml Salt (or to taste)
- For potatoes – peel potatoes and boil till soft. Drain well and mash. Set aside.
- For fish cakes – mix all the ingredients for the fish cakes and the mashed potatoes together. In a non-stick pan add some oil and fry the little patties until golden brown on both sides.
- For relish – fry the onion in pan till the onion is soft and translucent. Add the tomatoes and close the lid for about 8-10 minutes. The tomatoes will burst open, bringing a splash of flavour. Add the gherkins and the salt and mix together. Cook for another minute or two.
- For the lasagna sheets – boil with salt as per the instructions on the packet.
- To assemble - Put some of the Dhanya and chillie sauce at the bottom of the plate, place or arrange the lasagna pasta sheet on top of the sauce then place the fish cakes on top of your lasagna pasta sheet adding the relish to top off this awesome, but so easy little dish.
Fish – I just love fresh fish. But… I am a “no fuss fish” person – I am not one for these complicated fish recipes…the simpler, the better. Just baked or grilled or with the some subtle flavourings of lemon and herbs or just cooked whole over the coals – that’s my preference.
My most memorable meal consisted of fish. I recall so vividly the time I spent in Istanbul, Turkey…I had the most dreadful case of bronchitis and was feeling significantly sorry for myself. I was ambling along the Bosphorus River when I smelt this amazing aroma…. A local fishing boat was tied up alongside the pier and the fishermen were selling freshly grilled fish on ciabatta bread, with just a squeeze of lemon juice. A bite … and at that moment I felt so much better and I knew someone loved me.
I buy my fish from Julie Carter from Ocean Jewels in Cape Town (http://www.oceanjewels.co.za/ 083 582 0829) – if you don’t know Julie – go to her website and subscribe to her mailer. She is such a wonderful woman with the most beautiful smile and is always there to deliver ONLY the freshest of fresh fish to you! You simply cannot get better than that.
This past Saturday, down at the market, Julie recommended that I sample two little Pangas (Pterogymnus Laniarius its Latin name and it’s also on the sustainable green list). I decided to combine the fish with real Mediterranean flavours of olives, origanum, tomatoes and lemon. This dish reminds me of Turkey – and all the wondrous colours, sights, sounds and smell of the Mediterranean. It makes me feel loved and happy.
Enjoy its delicious!
whole baked fish + origanum + lemon + olives + tomatoes = mediterranean feast
- 2 Small whole fish - I used Panga +-500g each
- 2 Cloves garlic sliced
- Olive oil for drizzling over the fish and at the bottom of the baking tin
- ¼ t Dried origanum
- 1 Lemon, sliced
- Juice of one lemon
- 1 Bunch of spring onions
- Olive oil
- 250g Cherry tomatoes
- 100g Calamata olives
- White pepper for seasoning (I love white pepper with fish)
- Salt for seasoning
- Preheat oven to 200 °C.
- Pat fish dry with kitchen towel.
- Make small incisions into fish, placing the sliced garlic in the slits + fill the tummy of the fishes with olives, spring onions and sliced lemon.
- Drizzle with olive oil and season with origanum, salt and pepper.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the pan and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
- Bake for 20 minutes with foil on or closed.
- Turn the oven onto grill, remove the foil + squeeze the lemon juice over and grill for 5-10 minutes.
- Serve with a fresh salad and bread.
- Enjoy its delicious.
This is my all-time favourite winter soup recipe. It lies very close to my heart for two reasons – I was introduced to this recipe by my wonderful chef friend, Louis Verwey (the recipe was very different then and I developed it as I went along into what it is today) and secondly this recipe took me through to the Top 50 of Masterchef SA and earned three overwhelming and resounding yes’s from judges Andrew, Bennie and Pete. My Masterchef journey was an incredible experience, it was an amazing roller coaster ride of emotions, nerves and sheer excitement but the best part was meeting all the fantastic people who all share a common passion – cooking! This adventure re-ignited in me the fire and a burning desire to learn and share in the fun, frivolity and sheer pleasure that comes with cooking and everything culinary. I am very proud to have made it into the Top 35 only to be booted out on the potato challenge. Needless to say I have not cooked or peeled a potato again – but that is a story for another day…enough about me…back to this exquisite soup …
malay infused seafood soup
Author: Anél Potigeter . lifeisazoobiscuit.com
- For the stock
- 1 celery stick, chopped (with the leaves)
- 1 onion, cut in half (I keep the skin on - I only peel the onion if I want to make a clear stock)
- 1 carrot, chopped (…again keep the skin on – didn’t we learn that all the nutritional value lies in the skin?)
- 5 black pepper corns
- 2 cardamom pods
- 1 clove of garlic cut in half
- 1 small bunch of parsley
- 350g white fish – I use small whole hakes which I cut into chunks
- 800ml water
- 1 clove garlic, finely grated
- 24 mussels in ½ shell
- 400 g kingklip (or any other firm white fish), cut into cubes of +- 2.5cm x 2.5cm
- 12 de-veined prawns with shells – I love to keep heads on – if you do take the heads off, don’t discard these….add them to your stock
- Other ingredients
- 30g butter
- 45 ml flour
- 10 ml masala (I mix my own from the following ground ingredients: 15 ml turmeric, 15ml cumin, 10 ml coriander, 10 ml fennel, 15 ml hot “curry powder” this you can get from your local spice shop or supermarket)
- 30 ml tomato paste
- 1 ½ chicken stock cube, crumbled
- 2 large tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
- Juice of ½ small lemon
- For the gremolata
- 30 ml chopped parsley
- 1 clove garlic, finely grated
- Zest of one lemon
- One big squeeze of lemon juice
- 30 ml olive oil
- Prepare your stock by adding the first 9 ingredients in a pot and let it simmer for 20 minutes.
- Take the mussels and place them in a sieve and then put it in the stock to cook for 2 minutes. I do this to infuse the juices in the stock (and to defrost if still frozen). Take out and leave aside.
- Repeat the same process with the prawns – leave to simmer for about 3-4 minutes in the stock. Take out and set aside
- Take the stock and strain through a very fine sieve. Set aside. (You can discard the stock ingredients but it does make for a very nutritious and fishy treat for my two canine children!)
- Add the finely grated garlic to this stock.
- Now, melt the butter in a pot. Add the flour to make a roux. Stir for about 2-3 minutes. Then add the tomato paste and masala. Stir well.
- Add the warm stock - ladle by ladle - whisking briskly to make sure it does not form lumps. Once you have added the stock, bring it up to simmer - you will see that it has now thickened.
- Add the stock cube and the chopped tomatoes. Cook for about 5 minutes. Stir well.
- Now add the raw fish and let it simmer for +-3 minutes, then add the prawns and mussels.
- Add the lemon juice and stir lightly – be careful not to break the fish! Season for taste by adding salt and pepper, lemon juice.
- Simmer for a 5-10 minutes.
- Lastly, mix the last 4 ingredients together to make the gremolata and set aside
- To serve – in the bottom of a soup bowl put a dollop of the gremolata. Take the prawns out of the soup and place 2 prawns on each plate, add 3 or more pieces of fish. Strain the fish soup through a sieve and pour in the bowl around the fish and prawns. Add 3-4 mussels on top.
- Garnish with a few drops of gremolata on top. Serve immediately.