Chermoula is a Middle Eastern paste that is used in a range of dishes to add tang and spice to a range of fish, meat and vegetable dishes. You can buy it ready made if you are pressed for time but it really is speedy and straightforward to do yourself; you can make it in advance and keep it in the fridge until you need it. If it is covered then it will last for a few days if you want to make a larger amount and then use it for a couple of meals.
For the chermoula
Small bunch of coriander
1 mild to medium red chilli2 garlic cloves
50ml olive oil
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp each of smoked paprika, ground cumin and ground coriander
1 tsp runny honey
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
For the rest
2 cod fillets or loins
1 red onion- finely chopped
2 garlic cloves-crushed or finely sliced
Handful of baby plum or vine tomatoes- halved
2-3 jarred roasted red pepper- finely sliced
Handful of pitted mixed olives- roughly chopped
Fresh coriander- chopped
1. Get started by making the chermoula by simply combining all the ingredients either by hand using a pestle and mortar or a food blender to whizz it into a paste. Coat each of the pieces of cod and set aside to marinate.
2. To make the tomato and pepper base that the cod is going to be served on, add a good glug of olive oil to a large non- stick pan. Cook the onions until softened and then add in the garlic cloves along with a pinch of chilli flakes and continue to cook for an additional minute. Add the tomatoes, red peppers and olives into the pan and simmer until the sauce is thickening and reducing but so the olives still retain their shape. Sprinkle in some freshly chopped coriander to finish and lower the heat whilst you cook the cod.
3. Heat the oven to 200c/ 180 fan. Place the cod on a lined or lightly oiled baking tray and cook until the cod is cooked through. Serve on top of the tomato sauce and enjoy immediately.
Chermoula cod- brighten up your day with zingy, fesh flavours!
When the sun comes out, it’s time to get outdoors and enjoy a colourful meal before the clouds threaten again. In the UK we are about to see the end of this year’s asparagus season (boo!) so this is a perfect way of enjoying it before it goes. Orzo is rice grain shaped pasta which is great for cooking in risotto style as it is here as well as using for pasta bakes and salads. Unlike classic risotto, the stock can be added all in one go rather than one ladleful at a time. Next time you cook this try playing around with combinations such as cherry tomato, chorizo and red pepper which are equally as delicious.
Ingredients- serves 2
Glug of olive oil
1 red onion- finely chopped
2 garlic cloves- finely chopped
50ml white wine
150g cherry tomatoes- halved
100g asparagus- chopped
300ml vegetable stock
Slices of pancetta
2 cod loins
1/2 tsp paprika
1. Add a glug of olive oil to a large pan that is large enough to hold the orzo. Gently cook the onion and garlic together until softening but not so they are turning golden. Pour in the white wine and simmer until it is reduced by half.
2. Stir in the orzo until it is well coated in the onion mixture. Pop the halved tomatoes and chopped asparagus into the pan. Add the stock little by little until the orzo starts to turn tender and the tomatoes will break down to form a light sauce. If you are using fine asparagus then you may like to add this in slightly later in the cooking of the orzo. You are aiming for the asparagus to retain a little crunch to add texture.
3. Meanwhile, you can prepare the cod. Preheat the oven to 180c/ 160 fan. Depending on how big the cod loins are and the size of the pancetta slices, lay -pancetta slices on a chopping board so they slightly overlap and are the length of the cod loin. Season the cod well with salt, pepper and paprika and wrap one of the cod pieces in it; repeat for the other loin. Take a small frying pan and add a small splash of oil, heating it to medium. Place the wrapped loins seal side down into the pan and fry for a couple of minutes. If the pan you are using is ovenproof then pop the cod straight into the oven for around 10-12 minutes until the cod is cooked. If it is not ovenproof then use a baking sheet to cook the cod on instead. When the pancetta is cooked and crisped it is ready to serve on top of the orzo. Serve immediately.
Pancetta wrapped cod loin with tomato and asparagus orzo- a colourful dish to cheer up anyone’s day!
Fish pie is a classic recipe that is a firm favourite throughout the land. Each family’s repertoire needs one so look no further! I have used a combination of bite size chunks of salmon, smoked haddock and white fish with a few king prawns thrown in for good measure but play around to find a combination that suits you.
Ingredients- serves 4
600g potatoes- peeled and cut into equal chunks
2 tbsp creme fraiche
50g unsalted butter
4 eggs- hard boiled, peeled and quartered (optional)
150g each of smoked haddock, salmon and cod- cut into bite size chunks 200g peeled and deveined king prawns
1 leek- sliced
150ml fish stock
1 tbsp plain flour
1 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
600ml milk- skimmed or whole
Handful of flatleaf parsley- chopped
1. Start off by preheating the oven to 200c/ 180fan ready for later. If you like hard boiled eggs in your fish pie and haven’t yet cooked them then now is the time so they can be cooling whilst you get on with the other steps.
2. Take a large pan and boil the potato chunks until tender. Drain well and mash until smooth. Add the butter, creme fraiche and seasoning and set aside.
3. The fish pie needs to be cooked in an ovenproof dish. Place the fish chunks and prawns in the bottom of the dish ready for it to receive its saucy coating later. For the sauce, start by taking a smaller pan and cooking the leek and fish stock together for a couple of minutes over a medium heat. Next up goes the flour, stir well to combine and make sure lumps don’t form. If any do, take the pan off the heat and stir vigorously. Cook the mixture with the newly added flour for a further minute before adding the mustard for an additional minute.
4. Gradually add the milk to the pan and bring up to the boil. Stir continuously until the sauce has thickened before adding the parsley and pouring over the fish. Arrange the egg quarters if you’re using them. Allow the fish to cool for 20 minutes before covering with the mashed potato. You can either use a piping bag (just make sure the mash is the right consistency) or fork it on. If you like, you can pop a little cheese over the top. Cook in the oven for 30- 40 minutes until the mash is golden.
Serve with mixed greens, peas or green beans for a hearty winter meal or lighten it up with a side salad.
Classic fish pie- a touch of luxury for everyone’s dining table!
If you think a stew needs to be meat based then think on! Cod loin is robust and meaty in its own right and will convert even the biggest carnivore!
Ingredients- serves 2- 3
1 tin of butter beans- drained and rinsed
1 tbsp olive oil
200g chorizo- sliced
1 onion- chopped
2 garlic cloves- crushed
1 red chilli- deseeded and finely chopped
2 jarred roasted red peppers- sliced
1/2 tbsp smoked paprika
400g tinned chopped tomatoes
250ml chicken stock
Capful of red wine vinegar
Fresh thyme sprigs
Handful of shredded baby spinach
2 large cod loins
1. Take a large pan and heat the oil over a medium heat. Add in the chorizo and fry until golden and fragrant. Remove from the pan and set aside. Next up goes in the onion, garlic and chilli for a couple of minutes until softening. I then add the paprika and red pepper and cook for a further minute making sure it’s well mixed in.
2. The butter beans need to in next and stir gently so they get coated with the onion. Add the tomatoes, stock, chorizo, vinegar and thyme and bring to the boil. Lower to a simmer, cover and cook until the sauce is thick and reduced. Just a few minutes before the stew is ready pop thespinach through the stew and add the cod loins into the pan to steam. You can leave the fish whole or cut it into chunks of you prefer. Cod loin is best for this as it will stay whole.
3. Dig the thyme sprigs out of the pan and check the seasoning. Chorizo is quite salty so you may find you don’t need to do too much. Serve in deep bowls with hunks of warm bread on the side.