Jansson’s temptation

I have always though of this as Finnish food, however I have a feeling this food might also be served in other Scandinavian countries. This dish tends to be something children hate (I would guess it’s because of the anchovy being quite a pungent fish), however most people turn around at the beginning of their adulthood, and love this food. I, too, have followed this evolution path. Ingredients wise, you really don’t need much.  This is one of those foods that I make semi regularly, and if I’ve had too long a break my husband starts asking for it. Other variations of this is Salmon temptation, where you replace the anchovy with salmon, however I would really like to encourage you to try this with the anchovies if you’re not a hater of the fish. As the anchovies are salty, you don’t need to add any salt into this dish, however if you make this with salmon you would probably want to add some salt too.

8 medium to large potatoes
2 onions
1 jar of anchovy fillets (100g)
black and white pepper
5 dl cream
1 tbsp bread crumbs
50g butter

1. Peel and finely chop the onions, and fry in half the butter.

2. Peel the potatoes, and cut into this strips, like matches or French fries. Rinse with cold water, drain and dry.

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3. Butter an oven dish. At the bottom, place half of the potatoes. Season with pepper. Put the onions next, as a second layer. Next, put all the fish in as a third layer, then cover with the remaining potatoes. Pour all the oil from the fish tin over the potatoes, and add 3 dl of the cream, as well as some more pepper. Put pieces of butter on top, and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.

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4. Bake in a preheated oven 200°C / 390°F (fan) for about 40 minutes. After this time, add the remaining cream, and bake for another 10 minutes. I love the crispy potatoes you will end with on top.

Fish pie

Before moving to Britain, it was quite an alien idea to me to eat pretty much anything in a pie (the savoury kind). From chicken to steak – and to fish. Pies  are very versatile, and you can add whatever your favourite ingredients are, which make it an ideal kind of food. Your next pie might also be very different from the last. For example, I might often add ingredients depending on what I can find in my fridge, and the next time that might be something completely different. This recipe will make quite a lot of filling. You could double the amount of pastry and make eight instead of four pies, or even have some of it with pasta the next day.

makes 4 pies

320g puff pastry (I use ready to use, rolled sheet)
125g salmon, chopped into cubes
170g cod, chopped into cubes
120g smoked haddock, chopped into cubes
100g prawns
250ml milk
150ml double cream
100ml vermouth
2 bay leaves
small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/4 large leek, finely chopped
1dl peas
1/4 broccoli
salt
white pepper
black pepper
~~~~~
25g butter
1/2 dl plain flour
1/2 dl milk
~~~~~
1 egg

1. Put the onion, leeks, bay leaves, milk, cream, vermouth and the chopped fish in a pan. Bring to boil, and simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.

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2. Cut the broccoli florets into small ones. Place in a pan with hot water and boil for 30 seconds. Pour the hot water out, and cover with cold water.

3. In another pan, melt the butter, and add the flour. Mix together. This will form quite a firm dough. Pour in the milk, and mix with the dough. Ladle by ladle, add some cooking liquid from the fish, mixing to the dough, until it becomes more of a runny texture, then pour to the fish, and mix together.

4. Add the peas, drained broccoli, prawns and parsley, and stir until it’s all mixed together. Let the mixture cool.

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5. Cut the pastry into four pieces. Brush the edges of one half with the egg. Put some cooled filling on the same half, and fold the other half over. Press the edges tightly together. I use a fork, to go around the edges, pressing them firmly together. The pies will seems quite small at this stage, but will get bigger once cooked.

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6. Preheat the oven to 200°C / 390°F (fan). Brush the pies with the egg, and cook for about 20 minutes.

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Sea bream with mango and crab salad

This plate of food is like sunshine on a plate. It’s so fresh and colourful, and all the flavours just simply work really well. Even though raw garlic and chilli are used, when eating this you don’t notice it. It’s also a quick dish to make.

1 mango

1 avocado

2 large red chillies (mild, or to your liking), finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

3 spring onions, chopped into thin slices

100g cooked white crab meat

100g king prawns (I tend to use raw and cook them myself, but cooked are ok too)

1 lime (juice)

1. Cut the mango and avocado into cubes.

2. Add finely chopped garlic and chilli (deseeded). Add all the other salad ingredients.

3. I usually use raw prawns so I put the mixed salad into fridge, and pan-fry the prawns. I then let them cool, while cooking the fish (pan-fry for about 5 minutes, then finish under a grill in the oven for another 5 minutes). Then mix the prawns into the salad, and serve with the fish.

Beetroot and dill cured salmon

Cured salmon is one of the foods often enjoyed as part of the Scandinavian kitchen. There are many variations to it, however the basics you will need are sugar and salt. The whole process is based on the reaction called osmosis, and is an ancient way of preserving foods that wouldn’t last fresh for long otherwise. During the curing, you will notice a lot of liquid will be drawn out of the fish. The cured fish will last in the fridge for few weeks, however I doubt you will have anything left for that long.

2 raw beetroot, grated
500g piece of fresh salmon
50g table salt
90g caster sugar
1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tbsp black peppercorns
a bunch of fresh dill

1. Dry roast the mustard seeds, until fragrant and popping. Cool, and crush together with the peppercorns with pestle and mortar. Mix together with salt, sugar and finely chopped dill.

2. Place a large piece of cling film to cover the dish you’re using for your curing. Place half of the raw, grated beetroot at the bottom. Then add half of the mixture of the other ingredients.

3. Add the piece of salmon on top of the beetroot and sugar / salt mixture. Leave the skin on the fish.

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4. Add the salt / sugar mixture and the beetroot on top of the fish too.

5. Tightly pack the fish and curing mixture. I used three different layers of cling film, however some of the liquid will still seep through. Place something to act as weights on top of the fish, and put in to fridge.

5. About every 12 hours (or every morning and evening), turn the fish upside down. I also change the direction my weights are, to try to ensure they are covering as much as possible during the process.

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6. After two days, your fish is ready. Drain all liquid, and wipe the fish piece clean.

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Sea bass with Greek salad

This simple, healthy meal is perfect for those evenings when you get home from work very late, and don’t really have that much energy for cooking, as it requires minimum amount of effort and cooking. Greek salad itself is very simple, with only a few ingredients, and there are many variations of this basic salad. You can always adjust it with additional ingredients to suit your taste. I served my dish with boiled baby potatoes and samphire. The below Greek salad recipe may be salty to some tastes, you can reduce the amount of feta and olives, or increase the amount of other ingredients to change the ratio of ingredients.

serves 2
2 sea bass fillets
splash of olive oil
salt
black pepper
~~~~~
2 leaves of romaine heart lettuce
few handfuls of cherry tomatoes
half a cucumber
red onion
200g feta cheese
200g olives
2 tbsp capers
1/2 dl olive oil
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp dried oregano

1. Cut the tomatoes, salad leaves, cucumber, feta, and onion, and add the olives and capers.

2. Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar and oregano together, and pour over the salad. Mix well, turning the ingredients so that all are coated with the oil mixture. Rest in the fridge whilst cooking the fish.

3. Heat a splash of olive oil in a pan, and place the fish in the pan, skin side down. Season the flesh with salt and pepper, and cook for 3-5 minutes, to crisp the skin up.

4. Place in a preheated oven 180°C / 355°F for about 7 minutes.

Hake with scallop, brown shrimp and samphire

When I planned for this dish, I didn’t have anything in particular in mind. I chose hake because I try to alternate fish I use. I normally use smoked hake and make the same dish with it, so it was perfect time to experiment with unsmoked and cook it like I would normally cook cod, pan fried. For the accompaniment, I was just browsing throught the seafood section (I do my food shopping online and have it delivered, to save my precious time after work), and when I saw the small scallops and brown shrimps they sang out to me, wanting to be part of this dish. My husband would like me to get samphire more often than I do, so I decided to get that too. This recipe makes big portions, so you could probably also make this for 3, maybe even 4 people. I had some leftover puy lentils and quinoa, so I served the fish with that.

serves 2
400g fillet of unsmoked hake, cut in two pieces
70g brown shrimp
180g small scallops
90g samphire, washed
2 shallots
50g butter
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 dl frozen peas
1/2 dl cream
salt
white pepper

1. Melt the butter in a frying pan, and add the hake fillet pieces. Season both sides with a little bit of salt and pepper, and fry for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Move to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

2. Add finely chopped shallots to the same pan, fry for a minute or two, and add the scallops and lemon juice. Fry for few minutes, stirring.

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3. Add the peas, followed by samphire and shrimp. Season with a dash of pepper. You probably won’t need much salt, as the samphire itself is quite salty. Fry, stirring, for couple of minutes,  until all ingredients are warmed through.

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4. Add the cream, and warm through.

Marinated oriental salmon

This salmon dish is something I make very regularly. The salmon itself can be steamed, pan fried, grilled or oven cooked. Today I added roasted bone marrow (which I’ve never cooked before) to this dish. In terms of flavour, it doesn’t really contribute much, but it’s supposed to offer some health benefits. I marinade the salmon, and then use the same liquid for the fried vegetables. I tend to use plain basmati rice for this, as the marinade mixture is full of flavour.

serves 2
salmon fillets
(beef bone marrow)
3/4 cup of basmati rice
~~~~~
Marinade
20ml light soy sauce
30ml dark soy sauce
10ml rice vinegar
50ml sesame oil
10ml fish sauce
20ml lemon juice
2 garlic cloves
thumb size piece of root ginger
1 small green chilli
1 shallot
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2 mushrooms
1 carrot
1 courgette (zucchini)
handful of mangetouts
handful of baby sweetcorn

1. Finely chop ginger, garlic, chilli and shallot. Mix all marinade ingredients together. Put the salmon fillets in a re-sealable bag, and pour the marinade in. Marinate for 30 minutes, turning over half way through, so that both sides marinate.

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2. Chop the vegetables, to be ready for frying later.

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3. If using bone marrow, season with salt and pepper, and roast in an preheated oven 180°C / 355°F for 20 minutes. Cooked marrow will easily come off the bone with a spoon.

4. Measure 3/4 of a cup of basmati rice. Wash the rice in a bowl or sieve, until the water doesn’t get cloudy anymore (this washes off the starch). Put the washed rice in a pan, add a pinch of salt. Add 1 1/4 cups of boiled water (use same cup /measure you use for the rice). Bring to boil, stir, then reduce to simmer. It should take about 15 minutes until all water has been absorbed.

5. Salmon cooks quickly, which ever way you cook it. I think gentle steaming is a great way to keep the salmon juice and moist. You’ll only need about 7 minutes on a low heat, cover with a lid.

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6. Fry the vegetables in hot oil (I used ground nut oil for this, but you can also use other vegetable oils) for about 5 minutes. Pour the salmon marinade liquid into the pan, and fry for another few minutes.