Cook the week – Swedish fish stew or Fiskgryta
Dropping elder teen at the airport on Friday morning so she could fly back to Uni left me with a heavy heart. Heading straight to the farmers’ market helped lift my spirits and veggie teen was appeased with a heavenly cream puff from Baker and Spice while I whizzed round.
Hooray! I snapped up some of the first broad beans of the season – they are so fragrant and sweet that I ate a few raw when I got home. Veggie teen got started on the peas in the pod and soon there was a mountain of shells on the kitchen table. It’s strange to have just four in the house to cook for after a month of visitors (one houseguest remains).
Here’s what I made from the bounty shown above:
Truck drivers Friday – Almost home alone with veggie teen out, houseguest out, KP with flu not hungry. Truck drivers pasta (from Georgia Locatelli’s Made In Sicily) which is basically some raw, fresh tomatoes chopped and seasoned, stirred through some hot spaghetti with some fresh basil from the garden. The only way this dish works is if your tomatoes are really ripe, sweet and make an umami sauce with their juices.
Saturday night comfort food – Finally went back to yoga, followed by a quick paddle in the sea and then home for my first green smoothie (that’s where the kale and cucumber went this week) for Jumpstart 15. KP looked at it in disgust but when I persuaded him to take a sip he then asked for a whole glassful.
Crunchy baked pork chops, roast potatoes and a salad based on one in Smitten Kitchen’s book but with the amazingly fresh, crispy Romaine lettuce, some shredded celery leaves, fried onions instead of bacon and this blue cheese dressing (without the chives). Loads of the breadcrumbs leftover and stashed in the freezer – that’s the problem with cup measurements. Veggie teen had a pea and feta tartlet (from freezer) – Annie Bell recipe.
Macaroni cheese Sunday – While I was discussing We are completely beside ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler with the best Book Club in the entire world, I left a macaroni cheese, lamb and rosemary sausages (from Prime Gourmet) and a salad of lettuce, cucumber, radish and some shelled broad beans for veggie teen, KP and houseguest.
In our gang, whoever chooses the book tries to theme the food to what we’ve read but edible references were very thin on the ground with this novel. C made Fiskgryta, a fish stew from her home country of Sweden which we ate in her lovely garden. At least three people asked for the recipe including me so you can find it below. She bought the salad from the Farmers Market so I’m not cheating by including it here.
Best ever Gnocchi Monday – In the past I’ve had disappointing results with homemade gnocchi, so was delighted when a recipe from Jamie’s Comfort Food for potato gnocchi with butternut squash sauce turned out a treat. The sauce was flecked with chilli and garlic, topped with grated Parmesan over hot, soft, melting gnocchi, honestly, what’s not to like? Veggie teen wolfed it down uncharacteristically (for butternut). KP swears he didn’t say he’d eat anything in Comfort Food – and made himself pesto pasta due to a complete aversion to a) gnocchi b) butternut. Houseguest tucked in (he can stay).
NOT Clé Tuesday – Bronchitis returned (boo) and instead of swanning off to the launch of Greg and Lucy Malouf’s new book at Clé (the swankiest new Middle East restaurant in town), I stayed in feeling like I had a ton weight on my chest and having smoked the contents of a cigarette factory. Two people who called during the day called me ‘Sir’ as I did a passable impression of the (old) Marlon Brando in the Godfather down the phone . Slow-cooked beef (using fresh coriander, parsley and cherry tomatoes) and cauliflower tagine (buckwheat ragu for veggie teen) with some broad bean and preserved lemon rice provided succour. The recipe was from Paula Wolfert’s wonderful The Food of Morocco which I got for Christmas (available in Jones the Grocer). I used an enamelled cast iron pot but would make in the slow cooker next time (or maybe it’s time to buy a flameproof tagine?).
Minestrone Wednesday – alternatively known as leftover Wednesday, with buttery sweetcorn, the gnocchi, the tagine and a salad with kale pesto dressing. Sadly, I missed yoga and a preview of P&B Smokehouse’s Smokin’ Fair at the Madinat to stay in and watch Broadchurch while nursing my excoriated lungs!
No-cook Thursday – this is my day off from the kitchen. Veggie teen likes a home delivery pizza and we are usually going out, but tonight we stayed in and tucked into a huge pot of minestrone soup (green beans, carrots, kale and turkey stock from the freezer) to satisfy us all. Houseguest leaves on Friday so we’re down to three next week.
P.S. If the eagle-eyed among you have spotted the fresh fenugreek (methi) in the picture but not in my menus, it was for a friend.
Swedish fish stew or Fiskgryta
The fish stew is traditional Swedish except for the fact that it’s got a bit of curry power.
- 700g white fish (C used hammour* and added some prawns)
- 1/2 leek, rinsed and sliced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 400ml water + 1 fish stock cube (alternatively make your own stock)
- 200ml créme frâiche
- 5 ripe tomatoes, chopped
- 4-5 drops tabasco
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Optional: chopped, hardboiled egg, chopped parsley
- Add the butter to the pan and fry the curry powder for a minute or so. Add the leek and fry for another minute.
- Add the stock and créme frâiche. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Cut the fish into large bite-sized pieces and add to the stew with the chopped tomatoes.
- Let it all come to the boil then remove from the heat. Add tabasco, salt and pepper to taste. Let it rest for about 7-8 minutes or until the fish (and prawns) is cooked through.
- Serve with garlic bread, and the hard-boiled egg and parsley if desired.
*Use the Choose Wisely guide in the UAE for a sustainable option.
How was your week? If you shopped at a farmers’ market what was on your menu? How do you cope with fussy eaters in your family?