Galette

It´s Shrove Tuesday, an exciting time when I was young as it meant it was pancake day! Instead of the traditional crêpe, this year I wanted to make some galettes, which are the typical pancake of Brittany. Galettes are made from buckwheat flour and have a slightly heavier, more savoury flavour than a crêpe. More often than not they are topped with something savoury.

Galette ingredients

The quantity shown made around 12 galettes.

Ingredients:

330g buckwheat flour

75cl water

10g salt

1 egg

Method:

Sift the flour into a bowl, and mix in the water. Make sure you stir thoroughly to remove any lumps. Add the salt, keep mixing, and add the egg last. Leave the batter to chill in the fridge for at least 30 mins.

Galette batter

Heat a bit of butter in a heavy skillet, and pour out some batter, so you have a thin layer covering the pan. When the galette is cooked, flip it for the last 30 seconds to cook on the other side.

Once you have a nice big pile of galettes, you can start to top them with whatever you want. These were topped with some crème fraîche, dill and beetroot cured salmon.

Happy pancake day people!

Beetroot cured salmon

Since making Gravlax before Christmas, I´ve wanted to cure some salmon using beetroot. Other than being really pretty to look at, the salmon is much sweeter, after being cured this way. It only takes 2 days to make, but gives you a lovely piece of fish to slice up and nibble at for days!

What you will need

Ingredients:

650g salmon fillet

2 tsp coriander seeds and red pepper corns, crushed

2 medium beetroot, chopped

fresh ginger, finely sliced

120g smoking salts

50g sugar

1 lemon, zest only

chives, small bunch chopped

Method:

Mix the salt, sugar, chives, spices and zest together in a bowl.

Dry salt mix

In another bowl mix the ginger and beetroot.

Beetroot and ginger

Remove any bones from the salmon and leave the skin on the bottom side. Place the salmon on some baking paper.

Lovely salmon steak

Pour the salt mixture on top of the fish and press down firmly, making sure the salt is touching all sides.

Salmon covered with the salt mix

Pour the beetroot mixture over and cover the fish evenly, make sure you pack some beetroot up against the sides of the fish. Wrap tightly in baking paper, then in 2 layers of cling film. Place on a baking tray, and weigh down with something heavy. Refrigerate for 2 days, turning the fish over after a day.

Beetroot mix on top

Ater 2 days….the beetroot and salt mixture, will draw lots of juices out of the fish.

After 2 days of curing

Unwrap and place the salmon on a chopping board, and start to slice into thin slices.

Beautiful, what a colour!

The stunning salmon has been infused with the crimson colour of the beetroot.

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Serve simply as it is, with a dollop of crème fraîche and some dill.

This salmon makes an appealing appetizer or starter

Healthy Fish & Chips

I really miss a British Fish ´n´Chip shop! When I was younger, a trip to the chippy was a weekend treat, when no one fancied cooking at home. As I hit my late teens, it became somewhere you stopped on your way home, after a night out on the town! Now that I don´t live in the UK, I have really nostalgic feelings when I think of the chip shop. Since I´m a lot healthier than I used to be, I´m sure I wouldn´t be at the chippy very often, but the idea still holds a warm place in my heart!

These days I try to recreate some of the joys of fish ´n´chips, but with much less fat. Instead of everything swimming in oil, this healthier version uses oil sparingly (and I even serve it with a hand full of green leaves). The chips are roasted, not fried. Not a deep fat frier in sight! And they´re made more colourful by using potato, sweet potato, red pepper and red onion. I hope you´ll agree that the result looks more appealing than the beige chip shop standard! This recipe made enough for 2; an easy, healthy and colourful mid-week meal. And what´s more, the ingredients here are probably cheaper than 2 portions of fish and chips from a take-away!

It´s been a while since any of you have sent me photos of my recipes, that you´ve made. If you do try out one of my dishes, please remember to tag #pescetarianpleasures on social media. Thanks, and happy Thursday!

Ingredients to make Healthy Fish & Chips

Ingredients:

2 sea bass fillets

2 potatoes

1 sweet potato

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 red pepper, julienned

rocket leaves, 2 large hand fulls

10-12 black olives

1 lime

parsley

50g brown flour

1 tsp dried rosemary

1 tsp red pepper corns

Oil for frying

Method:

Ahead of time make the Romesco sauce (you may need to thin the sauce with some olive oil).

Preheat the oven to 180°. Cut the potato and sweet potato into thin chips, drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle with the crushed rosemary and red pepper corns.

Chips, ready to roast

Bake for around 40 minutes, then add the julienned red pepper. Bake for another 15 minutes and add the red onion. After 10 minutes, everything should be cooked and you can take them out of the oven.

Put some brown flour onto a small plate and dip the fish fillet into the flour, until coated on each side. Heat some oil in a frying pan, and lightly fry for a few minutes on each side (until the fish is cooked).

Put some rocket and black olives on a plate, add the fish fillet and a generous serving of colourful chips! Drizzle the romesco sauce over the fish, sprinkle with some parsley and serve with a wedge of lime.

A colourful, tasty, lower fat version of fish & chips

Romesco Sauce

Yummy Romesco sauce!

Romesco sauce originates from Tarragona, which is here in Cataluña. It is often associated with Calçots, although it was initially made to eat with fish. The nutty, sweet, garlicky flavour, with a slightly coarse texture goes really well with most fish and seafood dishes.

Ingredients for Romesco sauce

Ingredients:

4 red peppers, sliced and roasted

500g almonds

3 garlic cloves

3 tbsp tomato purée

parsley, small bunch chopped

5tbsp white wine vinegar

2 tsp smoked paprika

500ml olive oil

salt & pepper

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180°. Remove the stem and seeds from the peppers, cut them into strips. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.

Roast until soft and starting to brown. For me that took about 25 minutes.

Nicely roasted, sweet red peppers

The last 10 minutes of baking I put the almonds spread out on a baking try into the oven, to toast them slightly.

Almonds before toasting in the oven

Blend all the ingredients in a food processor, adding the oil slowly. Transfer the mixture to jars, wipe the seal clean and refrigerate until needed.

This recipe made enough to fill these 4 jars; adjust quantities to make more or less sauce

Dana´s Jambalaya recipe

I spend a lot of my time talking about food! Whilst chatting to a good friend Dana, we got onto the topic of Creole food, as Dana is from Louisiana. I haven´t eaten much Southern (American) food, but I really wanted to make a Jambalaya.

The first recorded mention of Jambalaya was in the 1870´s, a time when there were many slaves in Louisiana. The word Jambalaya, is said to be a combination of ´jambon´ (the French word for ham) and ´aya´ (meaning rice in some african languages).

This Creole dish has a lot of influences from Spanish and French cuisine (it´s similar in a way to paella). The rice dish typically contains meat (sausage and chicken or pork), seafood and vegetables. As we´re making a pescetarian version we stuck to shrimp and some vegetarian sausages. Seafood is one of my favourite things as you know, and this dish is hearty and full of flavour! We made enough for 8 and invited some friends over to help us eat it.

Dana says to me “we´re going to put our feet into it”….I look at her, slightly concerned….I hope she doesn´t mean it (but you never can tell with Dana)! She reassures me by saying that in Louisiana “to put your foot into it” means that someone puts all their love and passion into something. Ok cool, we will definitely do that!

Why make this dish?

Prawns are full of vitamins and minerals (including iron). They contain lots of protein as well as the sought after Omega-3 fatty acids. It´s filling, hearty and tasty, as well as being easy to make.

Ingredients to make this dish

Ingredients:

1 kg fresh prawns,

500g round rice

4 vegetarian sausages, sliced

2 peppers, diced

4 sticks celery, diced

1 onion, diced

4 garlic cloves

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tin whole tomatoes

2 tbsp tomato purée

A few dashes of hot sauce

small bunch of chopped parsley

Method:

The most time consuming part of this recipe is the ´mise en place´ (preparing the vegetables). Dana put some Southern blues on the radio and we got settled into a chopping session.

Dana chops the peppers

A lot of Creole dishes use what they call ´the trinity´ as a base. The ´trinity´ is pepper, celery and onion that has been finely diced. Make your trinity and mix together in a bowl with the garlic.

The ´trinity´

Heat a little oil in a pan and start to sauté the trinity.

Peel and de-vein the prawns.

Fresh prawns, just waiting to be peeled!

After around 20 minutes, add the prawns and sausages, until the prawns are cooked. Cook the rice.

Add prawns and sausages to the pan

Add the tomato puree and tin of tomatoes, breaking the whole tomatoes (using a wooden spoon). Add the parsley and combine with the rice in a bowl. Stir it well and season with lots of freshly ground salt and pepper and a teaspoon of cumin powder.

Combine all the ingredients, smell those aromas rising!

Dana tells me this is often served with garlic bread. We served it with some long stem broccoli, drizzled with some good quality olive oil. Yum!

Valentine´s day crab cakes with red pepper & edamame

Looking for the perfect pescetarian recipe to kick off your Valentine´s day meal? Whether cooking for yourself, a friend or your lover, these crab cakes will go down a treat!

Love is in the air!

February, what a relief! We´re no longer in January, which is always a bit glum, and anti-climatic after Christmas and the New Year. February brings the first signs that spring is on it´s way, and then of course there´s Valentine´s day! Food and love! So much has been written about this relationship over the years. To me there’s no doubt about the connection between the two. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the love of my life is a professional chef. For me there is a great attraction to a man who can feed me well. And that he does. On request! I love cooking almost as much as him, so I thought we would fight over our kitchen at home, but it’s become my domain! The thing is, he is busy feeding people in his cosy little restaurant, the last thing he wants to do is come home and cook for me!

Nothing displays love better than preparing a meal for the people who are important to you. I was trying to decide what to cook for Valentine´s day. Mentally, I ran through all my seafood dishes and decided this special meal had to contain crab (we´re both cancerians after all). I do love crab meat, but don´t often cook it. For me it´s a nice treat and I´ve wanted to share these crab cakes with you guys for ages.

Feeling a bit rusty on my ´crab skills´ I phoned a friend Sarah, who´s a fantastic chef. She´s had a lot more experience cooking crabs than me (you can check out her website here). First, she quizzed me on what type of crab I was going to use. Apparently it´s a sacrilege to use whole fresh crab in crab cakes (such a waste of that delicate flavoured meat to shred it, then fry it)! We talked about fresh, and tinned crab meat, before settling on these frozen crab claws. If you don´t fancy the hassle of smashing crab shells and extracting the meat, you can buy it pre prepared (just make sure it is from a sustainable source).

She then asked me what I was going to use to bind the crab cakes together? Forget egg, apparently these red potatoes, after being microwaved, peeled and grated make a fantastic binding agent. They turn all sticky and glue-like! A nice little tip I thought I would pass on to you dear people.

Red skinned potatoes, microwaved for 3-4 mins, peeled and then grated. They act as glue!

Crab is a great source of protein (which is used for tissue repair in the body). Crab contains almost as much protein as red meat, but with much less saturated fat (yay)! It contains a lot of Omega-3 and is rich in vitamins and minerals. Like a lot of shellfish, contains high amounts of selenium, which is a much needed antioxidant for our defence system.

To prepare, make the Sweet chili tomato sauce in advance.

Ingredients:

300g crab claws (or 150g shredded cooked crab meat)

1 red pepper

2 spring onions, chopped

parsley, small bunch chopped

50g Panko breadcrumbs

2 medium red skinned potatoes

fresh ginger, 1 thumb sized piece, peeled and chopped

1 tsp black sesame seeds

40g edamame beans

watercress leaves to decorate

Salt & pepper

Sunflower oil for frying

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180º.

Follow the steps in how to julienne a pepper until you have a flat rectangular piece of pepper. Using a heart shaped cutter, cut out pieces of pepper and place them on a baking tray. Bake them for around 20 minutes, until they start to soften and brown slightly.

Heart shaped pepper, baked in the oven

The crab claws were thawed in the fridge over night. I boiled a big pan of water (with a little salt) and dropped the claws in, to boil for 4 minutes. Once out of the pan, I plunged them into iced water to stop them cooking anymore and to help the flesh to shrink away from the shell. I put the claws into a plastic bag, covered it with a tea towel and smashed it with a hammer, to break the shell. I then extracted the meat, taking care to remove any little bits of shell.

Beautiful white crab meat, extracted from the shell

Microwave the potatoes for around 3 minutes, peel and grate them. Put them into a bowl. Add the crab meat, spring onions, parsley, sesame seeds and season with a little salt and pepper.

Mix well by hand, until the mixture forms a large sticky ball.

Use the heart shaped cutter to form the crab cakes. Pour the Panko onto a small plate and roll the crab cakes, until they are covered in breadcrumbs.

This recipe made 8 crab cakes

Don´t worry if you don´t have a frier (like me). Heat about an inch of sun flour oil in a frying pan, until it´s hot. Drop in the crab cakes, be careful as the oil may splash.

Fry on each side, until golden brown

Fry them for a few minutes, until golden brown, then flip them over for another 2 minutes. When cooked, put them onto some kitchen towel to drain off the oil.

Crab cake, cooked with golden brown breadcrumbs

Garnish the crab cakes with the pepper, edamame beans, watercress, and serve with the sweet chili tomato sauce. What a lovely starter to get you in the mood!

A tasty starter, for that special meal

Sweet chili tomato sauce

WARNING! This sauce packs some serious heat! I´ve mentioned my love of hot sauces before, in my Chipotle Salsa recipe post. I needed a spicy dipping sauce, and for once the Chipotle Salsa wasn´t going to do the job! This sauce is great for dipping spring rolls, crab cakes, or being diluted in a vinaigrette style dressing for salads. I thought using dried chili may be less potent than using fresh ones, but boy was I wrong!

You can use fresh chilies like these, I used chilies oven dried for 5 hours at 80 degrees

Char´s tip: Remove the stem ends of the chilies, half them and scrape out some of the seeds (if you want to reduce the heat). Also, use gloves when handling them. It´s not fun when you get it in the eyes or around the mouth!

Why make this sauce?

As well as adding a fiery kick and zing to food, there are also health benefits associated with chilies. They contain a wide range of vitamins, even though we never usually eat them in large quantities. Chilies can help to lower your blood sugar levels, which can be great news for people suffering with diabetes. They do have anti inflammatory properties, and have been credited with helping to reduce cholesterol.

Ingredients for the recipe

Ingredients:

10-12 Chilies, chopped

60g sugar

150ml water

70ml white wine vinegar

10-12 cherry tomatoes, quartered

2 tsp corn flour

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

chives, a small bunch chopped

Method:

Some people like to purée the garlic and chilli with a blender, but I prefer the rough texture when you chop them by hand.

Finely chop the chilli and garlic and add to a small saucepan with the cherry tomatoes. Add the water, sugar and vinegar and bring the mixture to boil. Reduce to a simmer for around 20 minutes.

Reduce the heat to a simmer

Add the cornflour to thicken the sauce (sift it to remove any lumps) and stir thoroughly. Remove from the heat. As soon as it has cooled, add the chives, and pour into a small jar.

The quantity in this recipe filled 2 of these cute 100ml jar

Blogging & Content Marketing – a Shaw Academy course review

What was my experience like completing the Blogging & Content Marketing course online with Shaw Academy? Read my review to find out…

I´ve enjoyed sharing my food journey with you guys so much, I´ve been thinking about how to take Pescetarian Pleasures to the next level (and turn what is a hobby into a longer term project). Your feedback so far has been pretty positive, so I´d like to build on that and grow the Pescetarian Pleasures brand.

A good friend and business mentor Naz from Midas Touch Training gave me a subscription to a Blogging & Content Marketing Course at Shaw Academy for Christmas. What a fantastic present! Big love to Naz for being so thoughtful, as always.

I´d never heard of Shaw Academy before and after a quick bit of research online, I was pretty impressed by what they offer. They claim to be the largest online educators on the planet and after completing the course, I can see why!

The course is broken down to eight 1 hour sessions spread over 4 weeks, where you log in to a Webinar online at a fixed time. Each week guides you through the basics of what you need to know to run a successful blog. The host/educator is David Howard and he obviously knows his stuff! He´s very clear and concise while guiding you through the information, managing to deal with live students questions, effectively and seamlessly! An hour of someone talking to you could be a bit boring, but it´s all done with a touch of humour, which is great. The presentation slides are very thorough and we did a live blog review at the end of each session, which was really useful.

I was so excited to begin the course, I clicked the log in link, almost an hour ahead of the allotted time. What a looser!! I sat there with my notepad and pen lined up anxiously waiting, like it was the first day of school. David´s voice eventually came though, to do a sound check. I could hear him, exciting stuff! Then when the session finally started (exactly on time by the way) there was a glitch and the sound kept cutting out. It was pretty frustrating and I gave up after about 20 minutes. I contacted Shaw Academy to tell them I´d had problems and they were great. In their defence they received 3 times the usual number attendees that session, hence the technical problems. But they repeated the lesson the following day and after that there were no more issues. Amazing! Apart from this minor false start, the experience of the course has been fantastic. We covered a range of topics, which are all relevant and needed when trying to run a successful blog.

I have learned a lot in this month and can´t wait to put some of it into practice. Let´s see if you notice any difference in the posts going forward. They suggested that weekends are very busy times to post; my new posts will now be published on Thursday instead of Saturday (sorry for chopping and changing guys).

For me, the most important thing which came out of the course is how to get your message heard in the busy/loud world online. Reader interaction is very important, as well as creating a buzz on social media. As always, feel free to comment and share my posts on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to help me spread the word!

P.S. Pescetarian Pleasures will be back next Thursday, with the usual tempting recipe post! Stay tuned people.

P.P.S. This review was not sponsored by Shaw Academy (but if they do want to sponsor me, I´m sure something can be arranged)!