Fish for dinner? Baked Fish with Fennel, Leek & Tomatoes

The husband felt like fish for dinner the other night so true to form he can not just bring home some fillets of fish liked asked he had to bring home a tasting assortment of the entire seafood shop..

Anyone who knows him well would know how big of a seafood lover he is. Fishing/crabbing is in his blood, it is his passion, hobby, his way of unwinding. It is his ultimate, he thrives on it. Same goes for the love of seafood. If I asked him what is something he couldn’t live without or what would his last meal would consist of it would most definitely, 100% be Seafood. So when I agreed for him to buy some fresh fish fillets for dinner as he hasn’t been out to fish in a while, naturally he comes home with 1kg green prawns, 2 dozen fresh oysters, 4 squid hoods and the fillets of fish that he went in for. Just can’t seem to help himself like most men at Bunnings hareware store. For now it has turned into a mid-week seafood extravaganza!

To start off with I hadn’t prepared anything so I got him working. “Right you’re on the calamari for the kids start crumbing, then onto the garlic prawns for the wok. Make an avocado salsa and top the oysters with lemon and ponzu and let me get this fish in the oven.” I said in an assertive tone. We were in full gear. “kids fix the table and then get out of the kitchen!”

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imageFor the fish I love a simple pairing of sweet fennel and leek, the sourness of lemon, the hit of chilli and juiciness of blistered tomatoes to compliment the delicate flavour of the fish without over powering it. The aromas that emerged from the oven were ones of sweet sensations, adding the fish for the last 7-8 mins delivers the most perfectly cooked soft flesh that just break apart and melts in your mouth. Combining all the flavours of leek, fennel with the lemon, garlic and thyme marinade you have a simple, healthy meal that is fit for a king or to impress any posh seafood connoisseur.

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We could not indulge in such extravagance without going all out and popping a bottle of Moet champagne to top the night off.

So there we sat on a Thursday night sipping on Moet, eating our entrée’ of Oysters with avocado salsa with ponzu, wok fired garlic and chilli prawns. Main of Baked Flame Tail Snapper with Leek, Fennel & Tomatoes whilst the kids enjoyed their home cooked crumbed calamari and garlic prawns.

The pressure was on but with a little team effort we pulled it off!

Needless to say I turned to hubby and said I’ll be getting the fish from now on.

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Baked Fish with Leek, Fennel and Cherry Tomatoes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 45mins
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Ingredients

4 pieces boneless white fish fillets ( I used local flame tail snapper)

2 tbsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic

zest and juice of 1 lemon

1/4 tsp each salt and pepper

fresh thyme sprigs or parsley

1/2 red chilli sliced (optional)

1/2 leek top removed and sliced

1 fennel top removed and sliced

1 punnet cherry tomatoes

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 200’C
  2. Cut fish in half to make 8 smaller pieces
  3. In a medium size bowl combine, olive oil, garlic, lemon zest only, salt and pepper and thyme. Mix well
  4. Place the fish pieces in the marinade and coat the fish. Set a side
  5. In a lightly oiled baking dish place fennel and leek evenly over the base of the dish
  6. Drizzle with half the lemon juice toss through. Top with the cherry tomatoes, season with salt and pepper.
  7. Cook in the oven for 30 mins
  8. Add the fish pieces to the baking dish pouring over any remaining marinade and cook for a further 7-8 mins until fish is just firm and cooked through
  9. Remove from the oven pour over remaining lemon juice and serve with baked leek and fennel

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Family Friendly Oven Baked Fish Cakes

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Feeding the family can be challenging at times  becoming a dreaded chore. One doesn’t like carrots, while the other hates those little green trees, but there is one vegetable that most kids seem to all love and that’s mashed potato. The creamy buttery mash is a definite winner with my boys and as much as they do like other veggies whenever mash in on the menu they tend to cheer a big yesssss and give a fist punch with excitement. Not the most healthiest vegetable in the world and as much as I’d rather them eat their little trees and rabbit food, on occasion I don’t mind making it for them when I’m in no mood to play repetitive counting games with ridiculous songs of enthusiasm after a long day.

I decided to make the good old mash a little nutritious with adding some cooked flaked fish mixing it with some other flavourings and coating them with breadcrumbs then moulding them to make crispy patties and wa-la you have a crispy oven baked ball of mashed potato with the added goodness of fish. Giving  kids some omega 3 in their diets is very important in the development of growing children as I mentioned before. Served them with a salad and ha they ate them with no fuss and no annoying naming games either. Mum- 1 fussy kids- 0

Note: If your kids dry reach at the sight of little green things then I suggest to leave the herbs out. You can add some corn or peas to the mix too if you like also.

Crispy Oven Baked Fish Cakes

  • Servings: makes 12
  • Time: prep 20mins cooking 30mins
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Ingredients

500g potatoes, peeled and cubed

500g firm white skinless fish or salmon

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tbsp butter

1/3 cup milk

1 tbsp lemon rind

2 tbsp lemon juice

4 green onions sliced

1 cup parsley chopped

2 eggs

salt and pepper

4 cups panko breadcrumbs

2 tbsp olive oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 200’C
  2. Boil potatoes in a small saucepan of boiling water until tender
  3. Drain thoroughly and mash with a fork or masher
  4. In a large bowl place mashed potato, butter, milk, garlic, lemon rind, lemon juice, green onions, parsley, eggs, salt and pepper to taste and 1 cup of the breadcrumbs mix to combine, set a side
  5. In a medium frypan on high heat add 1 tbsp oil place fish pieces into the pan and cook for 2-3 mins on eat side until cooked through. Season with salt and pepper
  6. Let fish cool and flake into small pieces making sure there is no bones. Then add to the potato mixture and fold through
  7. Place the rest of the breadcrumb into a bowl and Shape potato cake mixture into 1/4 cup size round  patties and press into the breadcrumb coating each side well.
  8. In a large baking dish place 1 tbsp oil then the potato cakes. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes until golden and crispy, turning over half way through.
  9. Serve with some tartare sauce and a squeeze of lemon, a fresh green salad or you favourite vegetables to accompany.

Note: If your kids dry reach at the sight of little green things then I suggest to leave the herbs out. You can add some corn or peas to the mix too if you like also.

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Brown Rice Nasi Goreng with Salt n Pepper Fish

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Lately I have been making a conscious effort to eat more fish for myself and the family. Actually I have just come to like fish the past couple years honestly, before that I never touched it from a very young age. My father always likes to retell the story of when I was a young child and he wittingly joked one night at the dinner table whilst we were having fish that we were eating the pet fish from our fish tank and as you can imagine ever since then I never wanted to eat fish again. I can not remember this what must of been a traumatising event however it’s probably in my character to take things fully to heart and feel for the pet fish as I would any other pet so it was most probably true. As a young adult I did try to eat it again and then again though with no success I still did not require the taste for it. The fishy flavour of the sea did nothing to impress my taste buds quite the opposite.

Now as I am getting older just a little that is, I have come to realise that it is all in the type of fish and some types are better than others. The more ‘fishy’ varieties are still a no-no for me though the more subtle flavoured fish are quite delicious. Now I know which varieties I prefer  it’s easier to know what fish to cook or order at a restaurant. Red Emperor, Snapper, Mahi Mahi, Coral Trout, Blue Eye Trevalla and Salmon are now on top of my list of fish I enjoy to eat. Baked or Pan Fried with a simple sauce or seasoning is now a healthy dinner option.

Fish contains so many amazing nutrients with the best source of Omega 3 which aids healthy brain development and functioning, helps to maintain a healthy mindset, reduces the risks of mental associated disorders such as anxiety, depression, Alzheimer’s etc. Also known in children to aid in healthy behaviours. Improves attention and reduce hyperactivity, impulsiveness and aggression. Bottom line we all should most definitely be adding more fish in our diets from pregnancy to young kids and especially as we get older.

I’ve shared a recipe with you, a variation of the famous Indonesian dish Nasi Goreng. Which is really just fried rice containing a sweet soy sauce called Kecap Manis. I have used my own mix of regular soy sauce and honey as Kecap Manis contains a little too much sugar for my liking. You can also use shrimp paste to make it more authentic but if you prefer an easy make at home version just leave it out like I have. Normally accompanied with chicken, meat or prawns I have substituted and served it with a salt and pepper pan cooked fresh snapper fillets.

Have to say I am rather liking the fish thing after all only taken me 30 years to figure it out,  oh well better late than never.

Caz

Brown Rice Nasi Goreng with Salt n Pepper Snapper Fillet

Ingredients

4 skinless snapper fillets

salt and cracked pepper

2 tbsp sesame oil

4 eggs whisked

4 cloves garlic crushed

2 tbsp grated ginger

2 long red chillies sliced

3 green onions sliced

1 cup green beans cut in half

2 x 250g microwave brown rice, cooked per packet instructions

1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari

1 tbsp honey

1/2 Lebanese cucumber sliced

1/4 cup toasted cashews

1/2 lemon

Directions

  1. Heat a large fry pan on medium/ high heat. Add half the oil, once hot place fish fillets in pan and season generously with salt and cracked pepper and squeeze the juice of half lemon
  2. Cook for 3 mins each side then set aside
  3. Heat remaining oil in a metal wok over high heat. Add whisked eggs constantly stirring the eggs as they scramble and are cooked
  4. Add garlic, ginger, half the chilli, half the green onions and the green beans saute for 1-2 mins
  5. Add cooked brown rice, soy sauce, honey and a little more sesame oil if needed.
  6. Cook for a further 2-3 mins until well combined
  7. Take off the heat mix through cucumber, cashews and top with remaining chilli and green onions.
  8. Divide into bowls and top with flaked cooked snapper fillets

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Spaghetti with Garlic Prawns, Tomato, White Wine & Chilli with a Toasted Sourdough Crumb

I have finally got around to posting this absolutely sumptuous seafood dish sorry for the delay life just gets in the way sometimes. Now with school holidays in full swing I find I have a little extra time to do catch up.

With Easter weekend only days away does anyone else eat meat free on Good Friday?

In our family we have been brought up in continuing this tradition. Which isn’t too hard for me as I don’t eat a lot of red meat these days anyway and my husband doesn’t need any more excuses to lash out and enjoy a seafood feast. We usually get together with the family and indulge  in all things from the sea. From fresh prawns and oysters to cooked calamari and baked fish even if you aren’t that religious how could you refuse, after all you have another 364 days to tuck into a roast or steak if you feel the need. Easter Sunday follows with the usual roast lamb with baked vegetables, a typical Easter spread like most Australian families. Whether you celebrate this time of year of not and besides the religious attachment to it food is a great way of bringing people together, friends, family, partners, kids to share a special meal together.

This spaghetti & prawn dish is about as simple as it comes anyone can whip this up and you have a perfectly impressive seafood meal for Good Friday feasting.

Spaghetti with Garlic Prawns, Tomato, White Wine and Chilli with a Parmesan Crumb

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 20mins
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[recipe- ingredients]

500g spaghetti

salt

2tbs butter

2 garlic cloves crushed

1/4 cup chopped parsley

400g green raw prawns shelled and de-veined

1 tb olive oil

1/2 -1 small red chilli sliced

200g cherry tomatoes

1 cup white wine

1/2 lemon juiced

Sourdough Crumb

1/4 cup sourdough breadcrumbs

1-2 tbs olive oil

1/2 lemon zest

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

salt and pepper

extra chopped parsley to top

[/recipe-ingredients]

Directions

  1. In a bowl mix butter, garlic, parsley together then cover the prawns in the butter mixture and set aside in the fridge until needed.
  2. Heat a large pot of boiling water. Once boiling add 1 teaspoon salt and spaghetti. Cook per packet instructions.
  3. Meanwhile heat a large pan over high heat. Add 1 tbs olive oil then add the garlic butter prawns and sliced chilli. Cook for  1-2 mins then add the white wine and cherry tomatoes and lemon juice. Cook for a further 2 mins.
  4. Once the pasta is cooked drain reserving a little of the water, add to the pan along with the pasta and toss through the prawns.
  5. To make the sourdough crumb heat a small frypan on medium heat add the breadcrumbs olive oil and lemon zest to the pan. Cook the breadcrumbs until become toasted and crisp. Take off the heat and add the parmesan stir to combine.
  6. Top pasta with the parmesan crumb and extra parsley and a drizzle of extra olive oil.

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Pan Seared Sumac Salmon With Freekeh & Broccoli Tabbouleh

After having been dealing with a family tragedy recently I have had some down time, soul-searching so to speak. After such deep loss and sadness we tend to question our purpose and way of life. It is important to find the positives even when faced with such difficult times. There is always something to be grateful for even if it is just the air that we breathe and the roof over our heads.

Someone very dear to me said remember to stop and enjoy life because it can all be taken away from you in an instance. We can all get caught up in working and providing for ourselves and our families and wanting to buy the latest and the best, it human nature. But it is when you are faced with such tragedies do we stop and think why? and for what? At the end of it all we only leave behind the memories so make them count and plentiful.

I know this has nothing to do with Salmon.. well yes it does actually indirectly because looking after ourselves and nourishing our bodies with healthy nutritious food can help in the prevention of illness and diseases more than you realise. Provide your body with good food  and can only hope that we are never faced with the pain and suffering of the sick.

Live Well. Eat Well. Love Well

Caz  ♥

Pan Seared Sumac Salmon with Freekeh & Broccoli Tabbouleh

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 20mins
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Ingredients

4  fresh salmon fillets skin off

1/2 cup uncooked freekeh rinsed

1 broccoli head cut into florets

1/2 bunch fresh asparagus finely chopped

1/2 small red capsicum diced

3 green onions finely sliced

400g tin chickpeas drained

200g grape tomatoes sliced

1 cup fresh flat leaf parsley finely chopped

1 sliced chilli optional

1/2 cup pistachio nuts roughly chopped

Lemon Sumac Dressing:

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1 garlic clove crushed

2 tsp sumac

1 tsp salt

cracked pepper

Directions

  1. Place all the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake. Set aside
  2. Place salmon in a dish and Add 4 tablespoons of the sumac lemon dressing to the salmon. Place in the fridge to marinade till needed.
  3. Bring 2 cups of water to the boil in a small saucepan
  4. Once boiling add freekeh and cook with lid on for 25 mins. Drain and cool
  5. Place broccoli, asparagus, capsicum, onion, tomatoes, chickpeas, parsley, chilli and pistachios in a large bowl with the freekeh. Mix to combine
  6. Add the rest of the dressing and mix well
  7. Heat a medium pan or grill pan to high heat. Place salmon fillets in pan and cooked for 3-4 mins and each side.
  8. Serve with Freekeh & Broccoli Tabbouleh and extra lemon if desired.

Notes- you can easily substitute salmon or white fish

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