Clam, Prawn and Smoked Haddock Chowder

Fuz loves fish. I am not that keen. Upon Ocado delivering the ingredients for this, we realised the cat also loves fish! This is quite a rich recipe and not one I would make on a regular basis, but for a nice dinner with friends it was the perfect choice. It didn’t take long to make either and is based on a recipe by Marcus Wareing in How to Cook the Perfect….

For 4 portions you need
500g frozen, cooked clams, defrosted
300g cooked and peeled prawns
450g smoked haddock, skin left on and cut into four portions
200g waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm dice
1 large leek, cut into 1cm dice
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
50g plain flour and 50g butter for a beurre marnie
100g butter
200ml dry white wine
750ml fish stock
150g can sweetcorn, drained and rinsed
150ml double cream
Handful of roughly chopped fresh parsley

Begin by mixing the butter and flour together to make the beurre marnie. Leave to one side.

Melt the 100g butter in a large heavy pan and fry the onion, garlic and leek until softened. Add the potatoes and cover. Cook gently for 10 mins until slightly softened. Make sure it doesn’t catch or colour.

Meanwhile, place the wine and stock in a shallow pan and bring to the boil. Add the fish and poach for 2-3 mins until cooked. Remove the fish and leave to one side. Thicken the wine and stock mixture with the beurre marnie and add the cream.

Pour the stock into the cooked potato mixture and leave to simmer gently until the potatoes are 1-2 mins away from being cooked. Add the sweetcorn, clams and prawns and bring back to a simmer. Finally add the cooked fish to the soup to re-heat gently.

Serve in large bowls, garnished with the parsley.

Thai Fish (or Tofu) Cakes

I adore fish cakes but have never ever made them before. And they were one of the things I didn’t actually eat in Thailand. So I rectified that as soon as I got back. If you’re vegan/veggie then tofu instead of fish makes a delicious alternative without the dead animal.

For 6 people as a starter you need:
300g fresh fish or tofu
3 tbsp fish sauce or mushroom soya sauce
3 tbsp red curry paste
3 kaffir lime leaves
1 egg (omit if you’re vegan and add a little water if necessary to blend to a paste)
1 tsp palm sugar
juice 1 lime
1 inch ginger or galangal
oil for deep frying

Puree everything in a food processor till it goes sticky. If using fish, keep pulsing till it thickens and becomes really sticky. If using tofu, take care not to overmix, especially if doing the vegan version sans eggs.

Heat enough oil in a deep pan to deep fry. Place small teaspoonfuls into the hot oil and turn over after about 45 seconds to ensure even cooking. Fry till browned and drain on kitchen paper.

Serve with a sour cucumber salad or sweet chilli sauce or frankly anything else you want to dip them in. if you have left overs they are delicious served in a cold salad of rice noodles with left over cucumber salad and soya sauce.

Thom Kaa Soup

I went to Thailand for Christmas this year with my son and we both really enjoyed sampling the gorgeous food out there. Since returning home I have been trying out some recipes and trying to recreate the delicious food we ate out there. This soup is based on one in the awesome Thai Food recipe book by David Thompson (p268; Chicken and Galangal Soup). Here, the chicken and galangal is substituted for seafood and ginger. If you don’t eat fish, simply use fresh tofu cut into chunks instead of the seafood and use mushroom soya sauce instead of the fish sauce.

For 3-4 portions you need:
500ml veggie stock
1 can coconut milk
pinch salt
1 tsp palm sugar (or just use regular sugar)
3 stalks lemon grass, trimmed and then bashed with a pestle to release the juices
3 shallots, peeled and left whole
small handful coriander roots, finely chopped
4-5 bird’s eye chillies, bruised (adjust to taste, I like mine HOT!)
10 slices peeled ginger (or galangal if you can find it)
3 kaffir lime leaves, left whole (use fresh if you can or dried if you can’t)
250g raw tiger prawns
250g scallops
100g firm white fish

2-3 tbsp fish sauce or mushroom soya sauce if you’re veggie/vegan
juice of 1-2 limes (depending on taste)
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
3-4 mushrooms, thickly sliced

To serve:
additional bird’s eye chillies, cut into thin slices
1 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
soya sauce
fish sauce/mushroom soya sauce

Place everything apart from the fish/seafood, mushrooms and lime juice in a pan and gently heat. Simmer very gently for 4-5 mins until the carrots are firm but beginning to soften. Add the fish/seafood (or tofu) and mushrooms and cook for 2-3 mins till everything is done. Take off the heat and season with lime juice and fish sauce/mushroom soya sauce.

Spoon the soup into bowls and serve with additional chillies and sauces to allow people to season to taste. It should be salty, sour, spicy and rich.