recipes for healthy living

Tag: comfort

Fish Smokies

Fish smokies



There are bugs in the house, Coughs, aches and pains (but that could just be from my recent gymnastics class). Nothing too serious and at least the shopping is done, presents are wrapped and all the cooking is prepped. Quick controversial poll, how many women out there did all the food shopping, present shopping, wrapping, card writing?…..
Thought so :-), as my husband points out, I would not have it any other way and he’s quite right of course, but I milk it anyway.

Nothing like comfort food to sort our house out and this fish dish is the best. Straight from my mothers recipe vault so its hey day was the ’70’s. A visit to ‘le Coq hardi’ would have been a rare special occasion and this dish is from there. Throw in a delicious poached pear galette and you have a meal to sooth away any aches and pains.

So, Happy Christmas all and I hope you enjoy these.

Smokies by John Howard of Le Coq Hardi
Serves 4

8 oz smoked haddock
1/2 pint milk
1/2 chopped onion
1 bay leaf
2oz tomato concasse or 12 cherry tomatoes, 8 quartered, 4 whole
1/2 pint cream
2oz gruyere

Put fish milk onion and bay leaf into pot and bring to boil.
Turn off immediately and let fish sit in it until cooked
Remove fish with slotted spoon and gently separate into pieces. Don’t shred!
Put alternate layers of tomato and fish into ramekin dishes, season well, top with final tomato if using cherrys.
Divide cream into the 4 dishes, top with the grated gruyere and a final season.
Bake at 180 for about 15 mins until bubbling and gorgeous.
Serve with crusty bread and devour.

Poached pear galette
4 pears peeled cored and poached until tender and sliced
5oz shortcrust pastry
2 oz each of brown sugar and almond meal mixed
Egg wash and more brown sugar to coat

Oven at 180c

Roll out the pastry into a circle
Spread a thin layer of almond meal and sugar mix over the pastry
Starting in the centre, layer the pear in a circle extending output leaving 2 inches free all the way round.
Fold the pastry inwards towards to centre so you have a nice border but can still see plenty of pear.
Brush the pastry edges with the egg wash and sprinkle over the sugar.
Bake for about 25-30 minutes and serve warm with cream.



Casseroles – Perfect comfort food for this cold weather

The weather has turned cold and although we don’t have the blanket of snow we had this time last year, thoughts still turn to the right kind of food when there is a chill in the air. Casseroles are the perfect comfort food whether it is beef, lamb or pork, since you are in the house anyhow, are really easy. Just brown your meat, add your veg and liquid and then into the oven until it is meltingly tender. I always make twice the recipe below and freeze one batch for a day when I’m feeling really lazy. This weekend we were having a gang over so I made it with rib of beef and it was delicious. I took all the veg out and reduced the sauce to make the dish a little more refined. Served with a gratin of Swede and sweet potato, buttered carrots and Savoy cabbage with lardons, the dish was delicious and all the plates were practically licked clean. To test that the meat is done, after about 1.5 hours I take a piece of meat out on to a chopping board. If I can pull it apart easily it is done, if not back into the oven.

Oven at 150 Deg Fan
Serves 6

3 lbs rib of beef cut into 2” chunks.
(Alternatively you could use lamb shoulder or pork)
Oil for frying
3 carrots peeled and chopped
3 Shallots peeled and roughly chopped
5 garlic cloves crushed
1 bunch thyme (and rosemary if using lamb)
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 bay leaf
13 fl oz veal stock if using beef or lamb stock (if you have it) when using beef
110ml red wine
3 handfuls Flat leaf parsley chopped finely

In heavy pan heat the oil over high heat until smoking and add your seasoned meat in batches and sear until caramelised on all sides. Remember brown = flavour so do brown all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add the vegetables, garlic and herbs, season and cook for 5 minutes until the shallots are slightly translucent. Moderate the heat under the pot if it gets too hot.
Add the wine and reduce until a glaze.
Return the meat to the pot and add the chopped tomatoes and stock.
Bring to the boil and transfer to preheated oven or cook at a gently simmer on the hob (covered) for about 1.5 hours. Keep cooking if not meltingly tender as I describe above. Do check from time to time and remove any scum which rises to the top of your cooking pot. You can serve with the veg it cooks in, however I like to strain the cooking liquid, reserving the meat pieces only. Reduce the meat sauce on the hob by boiling uncovered until it is a consistency I like. Then I return the meat to the pot and if needed bring meat up to hot temperature and serve. Sprinkle over some chopped flat leaf parsley just before serving.
If freezing some, spread it out on a flat tray to cool quickly and when cool pop into freezer bags, date and pop into the freezer to enjoy at a later stage. Im thinking this will be great on a day over Christmas when no one feels like doing any cooking.

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