Tunisian seafood stew with fennel

This is a delicious recipe, you can use it with just about any seafood you like. We made it with some fish that Hector gave us, and some squat lobsters. Any mixture of fillets of white fish, mussels, prawns, etcetera could be used. I started with a recipe in ‘Jerusalem’ by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. A few adaptations were made – I want to use local fresh seafood, and good cooking tomatoes are not always available. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 2 fennel bulbs, cut into thin segmental wedges
  • 1 large firm-fleshed potato such as Maris Piper, or 200g of any waxy potatoes, cut into 1.5cm cubes.
  • 700 ml fish, vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1/2 a medium preserved lemon, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • a pinch of saffron
  • chopped fresh parsley
  • mixed prepared seafood – enough for four people, around 600g
  • 3 tbsp raki or similar spirit
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Put a wide casserole dish over a low heat, and add the olive oil, and gently fry the garlic for a couple of minutes
  • Add the fennel and potato, and cook for a further three to four minutes
  • Add stock, preserved lemon, a pinch of salt and black pepper, and bring to a simmer. Cook for around 12 minutes, until the potatoes are done. 
  • Add the chilli, tomatoes, paprika, saffron, half the parsley, tarragon, and cook through for another few minutes. Add the raki and bring to the boil.
  • Add the seafood, and enough boiling water to cover, bring back to the boil and cover, cooking fast for three to five minutes, until the fish is just done. 
  • Serve over couscous, garnished with chopped parsley.

The original recipe suggests taking out the seafood once it is cooked , and then adding the raki, reducing the sauce then adding the fish back in. I didn’t have the patience. 

 

Fish tagine with potatoes, tomatoes and olives

We had some white fish in the freezer, so I had another go at making this, from a recipe book called Moro. The first time I made it, the fish was wildly over-cooked, so it is adapted to take cognisance of the random bits of fish we sometimes get. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • Approximately 600g fish – white fish fillets, prawns, etcetera
  • A bag of approx 20 small salad potatoes
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 15 cherry tomatoes
  • 4 green peppers
  • 2 tbsp oily black olives
  • 100ml water
  • salt and pepper

Marinade ingredients:

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander
  • 1 tbsp olive oil. 

METHOD:

  • Make the marinade. Crush the garlic to a paste with the salt. 
  • Add the cumin and paprika, and continue to crush together, adding the other ingredients until reasonably well blended. 
  • Cut the fish into portions
  • Mix about two thirds of the marinade mix with the fish, cover and set aside. 
  • Next, prepare the other ingredients:
    • Boil the new potatoes in salted water for 15 minutes, then drain, cool and peel. Cut into halves.
    • Slice the four garlic cloves
    • Cut the cherry tomatoes in half
    • Take the stems off the green peppers, and scrape out the seeds. Put them in a microwave dish with a lid and cook on high for about seven minutes. Take them out, and remove the lid after a couple of minutes. Peel the outer skin off the cooked peppers. Chop the peppers into strips. 
  • In a medium pan, heat the olive oil, and over a medium heat, fry the garlic for a couple of minutes until it starts to brown. 
  • Add the tomatoes, and continue to cook for a couple of minutes. 
  • Add the green peppers and the rest of the marinade, and cook for a couple of minutes
  • Put the cooked potatoes in the bottom of a large flat casserole dish or tagine dish. Cover with most of the tomato mixture, then add the fish in a layer, still coated with the marinade. Then complete with the rest of the tomato mixture, and the olives.
  • Add 100ml hot water, and cook for a further 6 minutes or so, until the fish is just cooked through. 

Serve with bread and salad. 

Prawn Biryani

We adapted this from Madhur Jaffrey’s book, Curry Easy. Her recipe uses farmed tiger prawns, which are available frozen. We used fresh local prawns. It was really delicious. We had to adjust quantities as well, as we are only cooking for two people. I added some spices and herbs from similar recipes from Iran. 

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 1 kg fresh prawns
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • 1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • chopped coriander and mint leaves
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 150g rice
  • Small pinch of saffron in 1 tbsp boiling water
  • 1/2 tsp Caraway seeds
  • 1 tbsp butter

METHOD:

  • Put the rice in a large measuring jug of cold water, and leave to soak. Drain off and refresh the water from time to time. 
  • Cook the prawns for a couple of minutes in boiling water, then drain. When the prawns are cold, peel the tails, and cut them in half around the middle. 
  • Put the prawns in a bowl with garlic, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, a pinch of salt and pepper and mix well. Cover and set aside.
  • Bring a large pan of water to the boil, flavoured with salt, half a teaspoon of caraway and 2 cardamom pods. 
  • When the water is boiling, add the drained rice. Bring back to the boil and cook until the rice is not completely cooked, but almost. Drain the rice.
  • In a frying pan, heat up a tbsp of vegetable oil and fry the prawns for 2 minutes or so. 
  • Mix the cooked prawns with the lemon juice, coriander and mint leaves. 
  • Grease the bottom of a large pan with the butter, then add half the drained rice, then the prawns, and then the rest of the rice. Sprinkle the top with the saffron water. 
  • Cover the rice and cook over a low heat for another ten minutes or so, until the rice is fully cooked. 
  • Carefully mix the rice and prawns, and serve. 

Goan prawn curry with coconut

We made this with some really great quality local prawns. Looks like a tradition is starting. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 kilo medium or large prawns, shelled
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp hot paprika
  • 250ml coconut milk (or 50g creamed coconut dissolved in 250ml boiling water)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • juice of 1/2 lemon (or 1 tsp tamarind paste)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 1cm cubed fresh ginger, finely diced

METHOD:

  • Heat the oil in a wok, or large frying pan
  • Add the onion, and fry at quite a high temperature. 
  • Add the ginger and garlic when the onion is translucent. 
  • When the onion starts to brown, turn off the heat and stir in the pepper, cayenne, paprika and turmeric. Stir to mix. 
  • Return the pan to the heat and add the coconut milk. When it starts to bubble and cook, add the prawns and lemon juice, stir and cook until the prawns are hot.

Serve with rice. 

Prawns, Garlic, Chillies, Mustard Seeds

I made these with prawns from DA and Tina. There are some great food producers locally, and they need our support, having lost their overseas markets during the Covid-19 pandemic. DA and Tina have had such a good experience selling their catch locally, they may be able to continue working this way in the future. 

https://eatdrinkhebrides.org.uk/ takes you to an evolving website for purchasing local produce.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 kilo of prawns. 
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 to 2 chopped green chillies
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 large clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 15 curry leaves or 10 basil leaves
  • 5 tbsp peeled chopped tomatoes (or grated tomatoes)

METHOD:

  • Shell the prawns (easier if they are quickly cooked first)
  • Put the prawns in a bowl with the cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt and chillies, and mix well. If you are working ahead of time, they can be covered and kept in the fridge for a few hours. 
  • Put the oil in a wok, medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds. After a few seconds they will start to sizzle and pop. 
  • As soon as the mustard seeds start popping, add the chopped garlic, stir and then add the prawns and curry leaves. 
  • Stir a few times, and then add the grated tomatoes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for two or three minutes. 
  • Serve immediately. 

We served the prawns on a bed of noodles, but they could be served as a starter on their own, or with rice. 

Prawn risotto

Eating locally caught prawns, delicious. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 200g prawns, cooked and peeled
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 40g butter
  • 200g risotto rice
  • 200 ml dry white wine
  • 500 ml stock, simmering
  • 50g parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

METHOD:

  • Fry the onion very slowly in half of the butter, until it is soft and translucent. 
  • Stir in the rice and continue to cook until the rice is glossy and hot. 
  • Pour in the wine and heat until the alcohol has evaporated. 
  • Add the stock slowly, allowing the rice to absorb each ladleful before adding the next one. 
  • When the rice is almost cooked, about 15 minutes in, add the prawns, and continue to cook, adding the stock as before. 
  • When the rice is cooked, but still a little firm to the bite, remove the risotto from the heat and stir in the remaining butter, parsley, parmesan and adjust the seasoning. 
  • Serve after a couple of minutes, in warmed bowls. 

Scallop Risotto

More food for the wet cyclists. They said they liked fish, so I made Scallop Risotto using locally sourced scallops. I served a side dish of carrots and asparagus. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 600g prepared scallops
  • 100g butter
  • 4 tbsp brandy
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 500g risotto rice
  • 1.2 litres of fish stock
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley
  • 1 handful of chive flowers
  • 4 tbsp double cream

METHOD:

  • Separate the scallops from the corals, and chop the scallop meat into chunks the size of the end of your thumb
  • Heat half the butter, and fry the scallops for 3 minutes or so. 
  • Pour over the brandy, and when it is hot, light it to flambe the scallops. When the flames die down, season with salt and pepper
  • Next, heat the rest of the butter in another pan, and gently fry the finely chopped onion until soft. 
  • Add the rice and fry until the rice is really hot. 
  • Pour on the stock, one ladleful at a time, waiting for each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. 
  • When the rice is mostly cooked, add the cooked scallops with all the juices, along with the corals and the parsley. Stir together, and keep adding the stock as before. 
  • When the risotto is creamy, and the grains still have a little bite to them, take off the heat and stir in the cream. 
  • After a couple of minutes, transfer to a warmed platter and garnish with chive flowers before serving. 

 

Marinated sweet and sour fish curry

Another new recipe book with a middle eastern flavour, ‘Jerusalem’ by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. This book is actually not so new to me, but I haven’t used it much. But then we had visitors who were looking at it, and Hector came in with a large pollock. This makes 4 very large portions. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, peeled and sliced (1cm slices)
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 peppers (red and/or yellow), sliced (1cm slices)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 bayleaves
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes 
  • 2-3 tsp sugar (I used basra date syrup instead)
  • 5 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 pollock, or around 500g of white fish, divided into pieces
  • plain flour seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • salt and pepper to taste

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 190C
  • Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large pan, and add the onions with the coriander seeds. Cook on a medium heat for around five minutes. 
  • Add the peppers and cook for a further ten minutes
  • Add the garlic, bayleaves, curry powder, and tomatoes. Cook for another eight minutes.
  • Add sugar, vinegar, around 1 tsp salt and pepper, and cook together for another five minutes. 
  • Meanwhile, heat the other 2 tbsp of oil in a frying pan. Sprinkle a little salt on the fish, dip into the seasoned flour and then into the egg, and fry each portion for around 3 minutes, turning once. 
  • In a casserole dish, add the fish and the cooked sauce, so that the fish is at the bottom of the pan. Add around 250ml hot water to ensure that the fish is immersed. 
  • Place the pan in the oven for 10-12 minutes until the fish is cooked. Remove from the oven and allow the curry to cool to room temperature. 

This dish can be eaten warm, as it is. It is better after a night in the fridge. Try garnishing with coriander leaves. We served this with bread. 

Mackerel curry with fennel and coconut

This is a fab recipe in Curry Easy by Madhur Jaffrey – I adapted it a little, and checked quantities against reality for Uist mackerel.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 mackerel, boned and split – to make six sides with skin on.
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3cm ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped (or equivalent chopped shallots)
  • 6 tbsp coconut milk

METHOD:

  • Cut the mackerel sides in half, and sprinkle with salt
  • Combine the ginger, garlic, cayenne, paprika, black pepper, turmeric, lime juice and 1/2 tsp salt in a small bowl
  • Put the oil in a large frying pan, over a medium-high heat. When hot, add the fennel seed and cook for a few seconds before adding the onion/shallots.
  • Within a few minutes, when the onions are softening,, add the bowl of spices and fry for another minute.
  • Add 250ml water, and bring to a simmer, turn the heat to low and simmer for another 7-8 minutes
  • Add the coconut milk, and bring back to a simmer
  • Add the fish, skin side down, and spoon the sauce over the fish. Continue to cook for another 7 minutes, moving the fish around and spooning the sauce over the fish.
  • Once the fish is cooked, serve with brown rice

Mackerel with paprika and garlic

A third Moro recipe. This, we had one night, quite late, after a friend came over with some very fresh mackerel. It was unbelievably good.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 mackerel, gutted and split (butterflied)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 bunch of parsley, chopped
  • 2 tsp sweet smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Heat the oven to 220c
  • Butterfly the fish – from the belly side, split the fish open and cut on either side of the back-bone, and pull this away. Open out the fish and remove any obvious small bones.
  • Take a pan that can accommodate all the fish, and place it on the stove top, cover the base with olive oil and then turn the heat high.
  • When the oil is hot, put the mackerel in, season with salt and pepper and put the pan in the oven for 8 minutes.
  • Put the mackerel onto serving plates, and sprinkle with garlic, paprika, parsley and serve with a quarter lemon.

We had new potatoes with this the first time, and bread and salad the second time.