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Posts from the ‘Fish’ Category

Campfire Cockles on a Winters Day


Did you think I had forgotten you all? Were you beginning to think I wasn’t cooking anymore?

Quite the opposite, as those of you who follow my Facebook page will know, I have been baking tons and tons of pastries, pies, tarts, quiches and desserts for my Pop Up Patisserie in Waimauku which opened at the beginning of this month. It’s been a busy but fun three weeks, meeting lots of new people in my neighbourhood, getting used to my new kitchen, experimenting with new recipes and eating lots of  what I make! There just wasn’t enough time to sit down and write about it all.

A day off on Sunday, the sun was shining so hubby decided he was cooking dinner and he were going to eat al fresco. We headed down the coast, foraged for our own dinner of cockles and set up camp along beach river inlet. A few other ingredients we had brought along to jazz up our foraged cockles; lemons, coriander, salt & pepper, a bit of chili, a big wedge of sour dough and a bottle of vino. A beautifully simple dinner, cooked on a little camp stove, watching the sunset whilst sipping vino and dunking hunks of bread into the cockle juice. Life is good, it may have been a mid winters day and I had a blanket to keep me warm (even though the Kiwi hubby had a t’shirt on as he doesn’t seem to feel the cold like most Kiwis) but it certainly beats sitting indoors. I am sure you will agree looking at the photos.

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No specific recipe for this just enough cockles or clams to feed whoever you are cooking for. 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1/2 lemon thinly sliced, salt & pepper, 1 glass of white wine, 1 small chili chopped, handful coriander and bread to mop up the juices.

Heat the olive oil in a pan with the lemon slices over a low heat for  a few minutes, Throw in the cockles, wine, chili, salt and pepper and cover pan with a lid. Cook for 8 minutes. Remove lid, add the coriander and serve. You could use parsley if you don’t like coriander.DSC_0070 (1)

Paua with Tarragon & Lemon Butter and a Nod to Al Brown

DSC_0008Again we are enjoying the bounty of our local beach. With low tides and virtually no wave swell the boys had been out snorkeling around the rocks just off our Bay and diving for Paua. They didn’t get huge amounts, but one is enough for two people and you want to leave some to the sea so we have it in the future too. I had never cooked Paua, but I had been told it needed to be tenderized and cooked very briefly otherwise it would be like eating elastic bands. Google is every chef’s friend and I found Al Brown’s recipe, his posh version of shellfish & chips. For those who don’t know Al Brown he is one of New Zealands favourite chef’s and I am a frequent dinner at his restaurant The Depot.

The recipe below is for two people using one Paua.  I have added shaved fennel and rocket to make it more of a warm salad with the pan fried potatoes but I didn’t use garlic of parsley.

Below are a few more photos from our West Coast beach which turned on it’s spectacular waves this weekend.


1 large Paua, removed from shell

2 cups of small potatoes, pre boiled but still firm

Olive oil for frying

Handful of fresh tarragon leaves, roughly chopped

2 Tbsp butter, softened

1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced

2 handfuls of rocket salad leaves

Salt & cracked pepper


Arrange the fennel and rocket leaves on two plates

To tenderize the Paua, beat it with a tenderizer tool or a rolling pin as I did. I also cut away the muscle that attaches it to the shell and the tough frilly edges edges.

Slice the Paua ‘wafer thin’, as thin as you can possible slice it.

Mix the chopped tarragon into the butter and put it aside.

Cut the pre cooked potatoes to the size in the picture.

Put a few 3 tablespoons of olive oil into  cast iron frying pan over a high heat. Season with salt. Once it is hot add potatoes and fry on at least two sides till golden brown.

Remove the potatoes from the pan and put aside.

Place the frying pan back on the high heat and allow the pan to get really hot before you cook the Paua.

Because I only had one Paua I cooked it all in one batch but if you have more Paua meat then do the next  stage in batches and do not over crowd the pan.

Add a teaspoon of olive oil to coat the frying pan base then add the Paua slices. You want to only sear the Paua on eat side for 30 seconds. Remove from the pan onto a plate.

Turn the heat off and add the potatoes back to the pan, add the butter and everything will sizzle. Cook for barely a minute to heat butter through. Add the Paua to the pan too.

Spoon out the potatoes & Paua slices and arrange over the top of the rocket & fennel on each plate.

Spoon or pour the remainder of tarragon butter over the salads, season with cracked pepper.

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Pacific Inspired Smoked Fish Pate and Living Like a King


I really do have a royal life here in Muriwai, New Zealand. We have just enjoyed a long weekend for Auckland Anniversary Day, the sun shone every minute, the Wild West Coast behaved itself and put on a special small clean glassy surf and the boys had success fishing right of our coast. It’s not often you get to launch a boat straight off our beach, as you will have seen in previous pics I have posted of the wild waves but this weekend was exception. Snapper, Kahawai and Tuna where all on the menu and we enjoyed it as sashimi, BBQ grilled and hubby even turned on some fancy pants Portugese dish…. I’ve got competition you know! The pate recipe here is made from smoking the fish heads, there is a lot of meat left if you fillet fish and we don’t waste a bit here you know. Our friend across the road smokes the fish in his top of the range flashy smoker, well actually it not flashy it’s our old electric oven which he converted into an outdoor smoker. The warmer draw at the bottom of the oven is where the fire and wood smoke goes and the oven racks are what the fish lay on to be smoked. It’s called Kiwi ingenuity, such resourceful people the Kiwis, I love them.

Here’s the recipe in rough quantities, play around with the flavours if you make it as it will depend on the fish you have smoked and how much! I have used coconut powder in the recipe which you should be able to buy from and Indian or Asian grocer.


100g smoked fish, approx (mine was a mix of tuna & kahawai)

Large handful coriander leaves, finely chopped

1-2 chilies, finely chopped

1 small lime, juice and zest

1 spring onion, finely chopped

50 ml coconut milk

1 Tbsp coconut powder (if you can’t get it dont’ worry but add a little more coconut milk, pate will be a little softer and less coco-nutty)

Salt & pepper, to season


Add all the ingredients except for the salt and pepper into a bowl and mash them together with a fork to form a rough pate (no need to use a food processor).

Season with salt & pepper then chill in the fridge.

Serve with crackers or bread. Enjoy!

Salmon Quinoa Cakes


We love pulses and grains in our house and not because we are trendy, hippy or health freaks, as you will gather from all the cake recipes on my blog. Although I have been know to pass through all those phase at on point in time! We eat pulses because they are a great vessel for flavours and bring new texture to dishes. We often swap a spicy lentil braise for spuds and there is nothing more satisfiying than a bean and sausage casserole bubbling away on a winter’s evening but as the saying goes “you can take the lass out of Liverpool but not the Liverpool out of the lass” and therefore I will always crave a ‘chip butty’ with lashings of butter and fluffy white bread now and don’t forget the side of mushy peas. There are a lot of quinoa burger recipes out there but I doubt I would get hubby to enjoy a ‘pure’ one without a little of something extra in it and I don’t mean his favourite malt whiskey either. My quinoa cakes have a good dose of lime, fresh coriander and soy to boost the flavour and compliment the salmon. Serve the salmon quinoa cakes with a fresh mint yoghurt and a fennel and raw courgette salad dressed with a simple lime juice, olive oil and salt dressing.

Make 6-8 small cakes
50g Quinoa (I used mixed coloured grain)
200g Pacific salmon fillet, skinned & pin boned
2 Tbsp cornmeal (or breadcrumbs)
handful fresh coriander, finely chopped
handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
zest & juice of 1 lime
1Tbsp soy sauce
1 clove garlic, finely chopped or crushed
2 small free range eggs

Put the quinoa grains into a pan with 3 cups of water, bring to the boil then simmer for 8 mins until the quinoa tail sprouts and the grains are soft but still have a bite.
Drain and cool quinoa place in a large bowl.
Cut the salmon into 1 inch squares and place in bowl with quinoa.
Add all the other ingredients to the bowl and stir through, it will be a little liquidly from the eggs.
Place a large frying pan over a low heat, I prefer to use a cast iron pan.
Add a splash of oil to the frying pan.
To make the cakes a nice shape use a cookie cutter and place it in your pan.
Add approx 2 tablespoons of mixture into the cookie cutter and cook for half a minute so the egg seals the bottom then remove cookie cutter carefully. The mixture should hold.
Repeat to form 4-6 cakes, depending on the size of your pan. You want to have enough space to flip them over so less is better and make two batches.
Once the cakes have cooked for about 3 minutes you will see they start to firm up from the base and the salmon turns pale pink and cooked.
Gently flip the cakes over, any mixture that falls away push back into the cake, it will re-set as the egg cooks on the second side.
Cook second side 3 minutes, both sides should be golden.
Remove from the pan and repeat with rest of mixture.
Serve warm.

Fisherman’s Pie with Cauliflower and Kumara Potato Top


As the winter rolls in and the wild west winds start to rattle the house, its time to crank up the indoor heating and firing up the oven on is one sure way of heating an old kiwi Bach. Coming from a country of central heating and double glazing the flimsy Kiwi houses made from gib and weatherboard without insulation or heating were a bit of a shock when I arrived in NZ. Winter is short here and relatively warm compared to Europe but I still didn’t get the ‘no heating’ malarkey but if you meet a Kiwi through winter you will see they are a hardy bunch, still wearing their Jandels (that’s flip flops to the Brits and Thongs for the Aussies), shorts and T-shirt as the temperatures dip below double figures.

Put another jumper or thermals on we’re the words often uttered by my Kiwi husband and there’s me a obviously spoilt Brit thinking thermals were for expeditions to the Antarctic or fancy ski trips to the Alps not for keeping oneself warm on your sofa! Sometimes we have to get a little creative and we all know a way to a mans heart is his stomach so I started making more casseroles, breads and pies, the perfect way to heat up the house and make it smell great too without someone complaining about the heating bill! So if you need a winter warmer this easy fish pie is a sure thing. It’s based on Jamie’s easy method, no white sauce to prepare and just potatoes and leek to pre cook. I have replaced the regular potato with our New Zealand golden Kumara (sweet potato) and added some cauliflower to the base.

This pie is best if you can use a variety of firm white fish, mixing a little bit of smoked fish for flavour, salmon or even prawns. Make sure that all the fish is scaled and pin boned, nothing worse than scales or bones with a mouthful of creamy mash.

1kg mixed fish fillets (I used salmon, smoked fish and Hoki), cut into 1 inch chunks
1 large leek, finely sliced
1/2 small cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 Tbsp butter
1.5kg golden kumara potatoes, roughly chopped
200ml single cream
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
50g grated cheddar style cheese
100g Feta cheese, crumbled
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 180C.
In a ceramic or Pyrex dish that can be used on direct heat add 1 tablespoon of butter and place over a low heat.
Add the leeks and cook for 10 minutes until they are soft.
Put the Kumara with 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a large saucespan of water and bring to the boil, cook until just tender.
Drain the Kumara and add a tablespoon of butter and mash with a potato masher. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the cream, feta and mustard to the leeks in the dish and stir thoroughly, turn off heat under dish.
Add the fish chunks, lemon juice, zest and cauliflower florets to the dish and stir so everything is coated with sauce.
Spread the mashed Kumara potato over the top of the fillings.
Sprinkle the grated cheddar over the top.
Cook for 45-50 minutes or until golden and crisp on top and the filling is bubbling.

Cape Malay Pickled Fish


We like our pickles in Britain, whether on a cocktail stick with cheese, jazzing up a butty (sandwich), part of a ploughman’s salad or accompanying a roast but this was a new dish introduced to me by a South African friend, Cape Malay Pickled Fish. Having eaten plenty Ceviche and Ika Mata and being a pickled ‘anything’ fan I had no doubt that I would like this dish as we discussed the ingredients but I wasn’t expecting the fish to be cooked before it was marinated! So if you are introducing anyone to marinaded pickled fish this is probably a good place to start if they are squeamish about trying ‘raw’ fish. The curry spices give it an interesting twist and it has the makings of a traditional pickle so for those pickled vegetable fans out there this is one its to try.

500g firm white fish, filleted
2 onions, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 cup white vinegar
10 black peppercorns
6 cloves
1 small cinnamon stick
2 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
4 allspice berries
1 tbsp curry powder
Sea salt
Vegetable oil

Cut the fish into 2 inch size pieces.
Put a few tablespoons of vegetable oil into a large heavy based frying pan over a medium heat.
Fry fish on both side until cook through, you don’t use any flour as this will make go gluggy in the marinade.
Once cooked lay the fish into a glass casserole dish and put aside.
Add all the other ingredients Into a small pan over a medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cooking for 6 minutes until the onions are cooked but still firm.
Pour the hot marinade over the fish and place in the fridge.
Marinade for several hours or if you have the time overnight so all the flavours infuse better.

Latin American Style Ceviche


I was introduce to Pacific style ceviche here in New Zealand a few years ago and became addicted to it, it’s not a dish we Brits would eat back home, we like our fish dipped in batter and deep fried! If you gave me the choice now of both dishes I would always pick the ceviche over good old fashion fish and chips, ok..ok if it was cold, wet and windy I probably would take the sole warming battered and deep fried dish.

I was over at Cook the Books a few months ago where Grace and Felicity were introducing us to Latin American style ceviches, we sampled many and they were all delicious, they are my new favourite with lots of lime, chillies and no coconut milk. Unfortunately I have lost the recipes they gave me so I have cobbled this one together in Pacifc style but without the coconut milk. I really must get the prawn ceviche recipe off them, it was truly delicious.

We are fortunate out in Muriwai as we have many friends who go fishing and bring us fresh snapper only a fews hours old, this make the perfect ceviche. If you’re not as lucky as us do make sure you use the freshest fish available.

200g Snapper fillet, shinned
juice of 2 limes (approx 100ml)
Thumb size piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1 hot chilli pepper, seeded and finely sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed or finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely sliced
Handful coriander, finely chopped
1 small cucumber
Salt to season

Slice the cucumber down the centre and remove the seeds by running a teaspoon along the centre.
Then slice the cucumber into 1 cm thick pieces.
Slice the snapper into 2 cm thick slices.
Mix together all the ingredients except the snapper and cucumber and season the juice with salt to your taste.
Toss the snapper and cucumber through the juice and refrigerate for 15 minutes, this will start to ‘cook’ the snapper. It doesn’t need long but if you prefer it cooked through more leave it for 30 minutes.
Serve in small bowls or on clean banana leaves!

Soy Salmon with an Avocado, Lime, Wasabi Salsa


I hope you all enjoyed a long weekend break over Easter, for me it was nice to be home for four days and the sun shone all weekend long. The last of our summer days I think, the gannets have all but a few flown from the colony, leaving just me behind till they return next year.

We often cook this dish on the BBQ as part of several dishes but Easter weekend we decided to have it on it’s own for our Sunday brunch served on a piece of whole grain toast, very decadent. It’s a really versatile dish that can be served as an entree on its own, as a main with steam veg or even as a canapé on little crispy croutons

Salmon cooks well on the BBQ, you need to remove the skin though as it will stick to the BBQ grill. The method is the same if you decide to cook it on your barbie. The marinate of soy and sugar caramelizes beautifully on the flame grill but here I cooked it in my cast iron pan and it was almost as good, I wasn’t going to fire up our charcoal BBQ for just one fillet so it was a good compromise.

I usually only buy one 4inch wide salmon fillet between the two of us, although I really enjoy salmon it can be quite rich and a small amount goes a long way so I have based my recipe on one fillet but you can easily double the quantities if you are cooking for more.

Ingredients for two
1 Salmon filet, sliced in half length ways
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
1 ripe avocado
1 tsp wasabi paste
juice and zest of 1 lime
2 spring onions, finely sliced

Remove the skin from the salmon, it marinates better this way.
Warm the soy and sugar together so that the sugar dissolves.
In a small flat bottom container pour the soy and sugar, add the skinned salmon.
Marinate for 15 minutes turning every couple of minutes.
While the salmon is marinating make the avocado salsa.
Cut the avocado in half and remove the stone and scoop out the flesh.
Place the avocado flesh in a bowl with the lime zest and juice and wasabi paste.
Mash together to a lumpy texture rather than smooth purée.
Add the sliced spring onions and season with salt and pepper to taste, put aside in fridge.
Heat a cast iron or heavy bottom frying pan with a tablespoon of veg oil and place over a medium heat.
Once the pan is hot put the salmon fillets in and cook for 1 minute, turn the fillets over.
Brush the cooked side with more marinate and cook the second side for 1 minute.
Turn the fillet over and repeat the process on both sides, brushing with marinate and cooking each side for another minute (cooking time altogether 4 minutes).
Test the fillets are cooked to your liking, I prefer them a little undercooked.
Serve with the avocado salsa.

Summer Sandwich Series – Hot Smoked Salmon with a Lime Kelp Cucumber Pickle


Here is the next sandwich in my series, smoked salmon with a fresh zingy pickle to go with it. The sharp zesty pickle compliments the richness of the salmon. I hadn’t eaten hot smoked fish much until I moved to New Zealand but the Kiwis are mad on hot smoking and living out by the beach there always seems to be someone out catching or smoking fish. We are very lucky, we have very generous friends who often drop off a fish or two, sometimes raw, sometimes already smoked. In fact our old electric oven which we were about to throw away got converted into an outdoor smoker by our neighbour, it’s very effective and you have to love the Kiwi ingenuity of it.

The salmon for the sandwich was bought from the local farmers market, smoked with lime and a local Horopito leaf. The Horopito has a peppery taste to it and has been used by the Maori as a medicinal and culinary herb for centuries.

Ingredients for Cucumber Pickle
1 cucumber, peeled
1 tsp Lime Kelp Seasoning – Pacific Harvest
1 inch fresh ginger, finely grated
Juice of one small lime
Handful coriander leaves, chopped
1tsp honey or brown sugar
Pinch of chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Use the peeling to peel the cucumber into ribbons.
Add all ingredients except cucumber to a bowl and combine.
Add cucumber ribbons and toss through dressing.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Assemble sandwiches immediately as you want the cucumber fresh and crisp
The rest of the sandwich is the hot smoke salmon and slices of avocado.

Harissa Sauce

At the farmers market last week there was a stall selling Harissa and giving out samples of it too. It’s not something I have tried before but as soon as I had sampled it I knew iI was hooked and this was going to be my new flavour of the season. I have to confess I didn’t buy any, instead it was like a red flag to a bull that challenged me to make my own. There are so many version of Harissa, with most regions in North Africa, where it originates, having their own version that I took a combination of several to produce what I thought would be similar to the one I had sampled. Not all Harissa contains sweet red peppers I discovered but the one I wanted the balance between the sweet and chilli peppers with the spices. The Harissa turned out exactly how I expected it to and I have a new bag of peppers in the fridge to make a new batch since we managed to consume two jars in ten days.

So what did I use the Harissa for? I tossed it through some stir fried vegetables. I used it in a vegan lasagna instead of a tomato base and I used it as a sauce over grilled fish. I have added a link if you would like to read more about the origins of Harissa and some more recipe ideas.

Ingredients – makes approx 400ml

  • 6 red peppers/capsicum
  • 1 medium chilli (the amount of chillies you use depends on how hot you want it, start with less then add more)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp olive oli
  • 3 tsp cumin seeds, ground
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds, ground
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, ground
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika powder


  1. Place the peppers and roast in the oven for 20 minutes or until the skins have started to blister and bubble.
  2. Remove from the oven and place in a bowl with a plate on top so they sweat for 5 minutes (loosens the skin). Remove all the skin and seeds from the peppers and place in a blender or food processor.
  3. Place all other ingredients in with the peppers and blend to a smooth paste.
  4. Taste and season with salt & pepper and more chilli if required.
  5. Pour into a jar, cover harissa with a little oil and store in the fridge, will keep up to 10 days. Or you can freeze it in batches if you want to make a larger quantity.
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