Sea bream in ‘crazy water’

I can’t tell you why this dish is called sea bream in ‘crazy water’. Even when I tried to do a little digging via the internet, there were only articles that repeated the question surrounding the name. I can tell you, however, that this is a very good dish, with simple and clean (no crazy) flavours. Just good fresh fish, amped up a bit with garlic, parsley, tomatoes, and chilli. This dish has little to it, but you don’t need a dictionary’s worth of ingredients to make something good.

Serves 2-3, as a light dinner.

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Passion fruit & lime marinated tuna

The days are finally getting a little bit longer and brighter, and I’m loving it. It’s not that I don’t like autumn or winter (I love them!), but after December and if there’s a decided lack of snow, my interest tends to wane a little…it’s not even that I long for warmer temperatures, I just prefer to come home and not have it be so pitch black my brain thinks it may as well be the middle of the night!

This dish was created when we were having an abundance of gorgeous tuna — whether we went to the farm shop halls or the local supermarket’s fish counter, slabs of tuna steaks were waiting for us, and often at a much cheaper price than usual. So I mean, we had to buy it then, right…?

And as much as I love a grilled piece of tuna steak, there’s something so amazingly fresh about tuna that it sometimes seems a shame to do anything to it. It’s probably why my family and I love sashimi so much — when you have a piece of fish this good, why try and change anything about it?

So here we have it; a dish that’s a bit of a ceviche and a bit of sashimi combined together. The passion fruit part is a little fussy, but goes wonderfully with the tuna to cut through its richness. It’s pretty handy for serving at a party or gathering, since you can pre-slice the fish and arrange on a plate, and make the dressing, and keep both in the fridge before plating up just before serving.

Feeds 4 as a starter. Read More

Parmesan & garlic stuffed swordfish rolls

I have never been all that crazy about pasta. Sorry, but it’s probably just not gonna happen. It hasn’t happened yet for twenty years, and I’m still not nuts about it. Like it’s good, but I will probably pass on it if I have the chance. Sometimes, this means people stare at me like I’m from outer space and ask “so that means you don’t like Italian food, then?”, which is totally false. But I guess for some people, Italian food begins and ends with pasta and pizza (which is probably why I have so many friends who have been rather whiney about the food when they’ve returned from a holiday in Italy).

And that just shouldn’t be the case. Yes, the Italians win at pizza and pasta (sorry Chicago, but your deep-dish style is just too much bread for my liking, and I love bread), but their cuisine goes beyond that. Which is why, we come to this recipe. I find it just as comforting and slightly-naughty like a bowl of pasta, but betterYeah, sorry, I went there. It’s the perfect way to keep the meatiness of swordfish still succulent, but keeping all the great flavours from the slightly burnt, crusty bits that sear on the pan, and when those crispy bits get soaked up by the white wine sauce? Oh, man. This one’s a goody. I hope you love it just as much as my family do, because it’s become a real favourite treat when set on the dinner table at our house.

Serves 4 with sides.  Read More

Lemon sea bass with pomegranate and mint cauliflower ‘couscous’

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Obviously, I loved the Maui trip. And the amount of food — fresh fish, amazingly crafted sushi, American bar snacks, traditional Hawaiian feasts and treats — was mind-boggling, and that was partially the problem. I felt like a walking watermelon.

Thus, when we returned, I was excited to test out a nice and light recipe, with ‘faux’ grains. My dad honestly did not know it was cauliflower. He was convinced it was couscous. That either says something about the quality of my cooking…or his intelligence! Perhaps I should have bet money on it before asking him to guess what it was.

As ever, I’m such a sucker for the colours in this recipe. The tartness of the lemon and the slight pop of the pomegranate seeds really lift this dish, and brighten it up where it’s needed. You could swap the rocket for any other nice, flavourful salad you’ve got, or perhaps even some kale?

Serves 4, a a light dinner or lunch.  Read More

Captain Kirk’s Seafood, Downtown Naples, FL.

captkirkcrab

As I’ve mentioned before, there was so much food and sweet treats and just generally delicious things on my most recent trip to the USA just before Christmas, that I’m not doing a one-by-one posting schedule (if you’re interested, however, I totally recommend checking out my instagram feed!).

But, this place is worth a special mention. Most people were confused/surprised at the thought of  a Naples in Florida, but those who did know the place almost always mentioned one thing; stone crabs.

Now, I’m totally a seafood person. I can’t get enough of it. It’s amazing. But crab? It’s great, it just doesn’t seem to taste of all that much. I guess it’s just in comparison to other types of seafood that makes me not get all that excited about crab.

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But was I really going to say no these amazingly huge jumbo stone crab claws?

Um, yeah. Of course I wasn’t!

Course’, it wasn’t cheap (at all). But was it worth it? Definitely. Massive crab claws (seriously, huge, like the size of my whole hand), plus a deliciously sweet-sour mustardy sauce to go alongside. Yes.

captkirkcraaaab

On top of that, I couldn’t resist sampling a little of their (rather reasonably priced) seafood bisque (plenty of crab was in there too!), since a cup of it was like less than 7 dollars or something. Superb. If you are ever in the Naples area, then yes, I too will totally recommend you try the stone crabs, even if just once!

Sea bass ceviche

sea bass ceviche

Ceviche, a dish originating and popular in the central and southern Americas, is one of those dishes I’ve always wanted to try. It’s typically fresh fish quickly cured in citrus juice, such as lemon, and seasoned. Somehow, I never got round to preparing it myself, but I took the chance now, with sea bass. More commonly you see tartares with fish such as tuna and salmon, but sea bass worked surprisingly well, better than I thought actually.

Naturally, if you’re not a fan of sushi and the like, this one’s probably not for you! But it’s a very clean, fresh dish that makes brilliant use of fresh fish, so obviously freshest is best. The lemon juice here quickly “cures” the fish, but not for long enough to actually cook it. You can prepare the ingredients in advance; just keep the lemon mixture separate from the fish until you’re just about to serve.

seabass ceviche

Serves 4 people as a starter.
You could use other fish, such as lemon sole, if you prefer.  Read More

Lunch at Hotel Ta’ Cenc

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This year, like we have for a while now, my parents and I went on our yearly visit to Malta for a week. This time we spent a little more time on the island, Gozo, and as usual, ate loads of good food. So much in fact, that I don’t think I could have the heart to post every single picture from our time there. However, this lunch I have to post, because it was that good.

It was merely meant to be a light lunch at the hotel during a lazy day spent by the pool. Above, we have the sharing platter of fish carpaccio–swordfish, salmon and tuna, and the quality was fantastic. The swordfish was meaty and textured, the salmon smooth, and the tuna exquisite.

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On top of that, we were cheeky and ordered the two other side dishes made for the platter–and in this way, I finally got to try deep fried stuffed squash blossoms (these with cheese and anchovies). Oh my goodness, if there was ever any more reason for me wanting to find some squash blossoms….I totally understand the hype now!

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And a delicious caponata. Yummy!