Zesty lemon and butter baked angelfish

As I was wandering through my favourite Woolies food on Thursday and found an irresistible bargain- two pieces of fresh angelfish fillets (with an expiry date for the next day) for the price of one.  I love angelfish, and knowing that it is on the SASSI green list, as well as caught responsibly for Woolies, it was a must have.  I don’t often eat fish and have stopped eating canned tuna altogether. Unfortunately, all of our SA caught tuna is canned in Thailand, and although I know Woolworths goes out of their way to ensure that it is done in a sustainable and dolphin-friendly manner, the carbon footprint of canned tuna is too big to support with a good conscience.

 

Hence my excitement about the angelfish!  Caught locally and sustainably, I could dig into my angelfish with a clean conscience and had a fantastic time trying new recipes… I cooked the first angelfish in a more traditional manner: I lightly floured the fish, heated butter in the pan, and grilled the fish in the pan until done and golden on both sides. I added some lemon zest and parsley to the fish, and removed it form the pan. I then deglazed the pan with a drop of white wine, added two blobs of butter, and reheated the fish in the sauce.  Although delicious, this is not the recipe I am sharing with you today.  The next fish fillet was done in the oven and this is how I did it:

 

1 large angel fish fillet

lemon zest of 1/4-1/2 a lemon

handful fresh, chopped parsley

70 grams butter

juice of 1/4-1/2 a lemon

handful breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Grate the lemon zest, and add to the breadcrumbs. Add the parsley to the breadcrumbs and mix well.  Melt the butter in a microwave proof dish in the microwave, and mix well with the lemon juice.  Lightly flour the fish, and place in a greased, oven proof dish. Cover the fish completely with the lemon-butter sauce, and cover with the breadcrumb mix.  Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 15 minutes or until done.  I switched the grill on in the last 2 minutes to ensure y breadcrumb coating is crunchy. The fish dries out very easily so it is important to keep an eye on it whilst in the oven. It is ready when the fish is flaky and can easily be pulled apart with a fork.  I tested it at 10 minutes where after I gave it another 3 minutes and 2 under the grill. Serve with fresh lemon and a side of salad.

 

Delicious vegetarian cottage pie

This is one my favourite winter recipes- easy to make, delicious and nutritious. And of course, completely vegetarian! It is also great for left overs. This recipe gives 4-6 portions and will fit any budget.

For the potato mash topping:

3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed

a pinch of salt

a dollop of butter

salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon milk

Bring water with a pinch of salt to boil on the stove. Once boiling, add the cubed potatoes and cook until soft. Decant the water, and the milk and butter to the potatoes and mash until fine. Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

For the cottage pie:

1 cup brown or black lentils, cooked

1 onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 table spoon ground coriander

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 tin/sachet tomato paste

3/4 cup frozen peas

1 carrot, grated

lemon zest and juice of half a lemon

2 tablespoon fruit chutney

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Heat a dash of olive oil in a large pan. Once heated, sauté the onion and garlic for 5-8 minutes. Add the coriander and paprika and sauté for another minute. Add the lentils, carrot and peas and fry for 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and 1/3 cup water and mix well. Allow to simmer for another 5-10 minutes before adding the chutney, lemon zest and lemon juice. Add a bit more water if the mixture is too dry. Allow to simmer for another minute or two and add salt and pepper to taste.

Grease a large baking dish. Spread the cottage pie mixture evenly and top with mashed potato. Grate some cheese over, if you want to. Bake for 30-40 minutes and 180 degrees Celsius or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve warm with a fresh salad on the side.

Cinnamon sugar pancakes

I have already posted a recipe for savoury pancakes on this website, but I thought I would share the recipe again in a sweet format. I grew up with pancakes as a treat. We used to call them bazaar pancakes, and could usually by them for a next to nothing whenever the church or school or a charity event held a bazaar to raise money. It is quite common throughout South Africa, and you are sure to find a couple of retired ladies baking pancakes in aid of something or another in every small town in South Africa. My gran used to be one of those ladies, and this is her recipe…

The recipe gives approximately 20 large pancakes

2 cups water

2 eggs

30 ml white spirit vinegar

63 ml oil

2 cups cake flour, sifted

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 ml salt

Whisk all the wet ingredients together. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt. And whisk gently together until the batter has a smooth consistancy. The batter should be very runny and thin-if not the case add more water until the batter is runny (less thick than pouring cream!).

Heat a dash of oil in a pan, or use a non-stick pan. Add the batter, swirl acros the surface of the pan, and allow to bake for 5-8 minutes. The pancake is ready to flip, once all the sides have curled inwards. Flip the pancake once, and bake for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat, place on a plate and sprinkle with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.  Repeat the process. Serve with a wedge of lemon and enjoy!  These pancakes can also be frozen once made.

Moroccan lemon meatballs and herb cous cous

This is one of my all time favourite recipes!  I absolutely love the fresh Moroccan flavours and colours, and of course it is not difficult to make. The recipe for the meatballs originate from my current favourite recipe book, aptly entitled World Kitchen Morocco. We received the book as gift after we returned from a week-long, whirlwind visit to Morocco-a place that I absolutely loved and will return to as soon as the opportunity presents itself.  Some of the main flavours in Moroccan cuisine is cumin, coriander and parsley, and have become essentials in my cupboard. Except for the amazing food, spices and colours, it is filled with friendly people and stunning landscapes and scenery. I will tell you more about Morocco and its fantastic food in other posts.

Typical spice stall in Marrakesh

Typical spice stall in Marrakesh

For now, back to the recipe:

Enough for 4 main portions:

For the meatballs:

1/2 brown onion, finely chopped

400 gram lean mince

2 tablespoons ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 heaped teaspoon good-quality paprika

2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro (coriander)

1 egg

1/2 cup-3/4 cup white bread crumbs

Add the onion, meat, herbs, spices and egg into a mixing bowl. The original recipe suggest using 2 slices of fresh bread and mixing everything together in a blender, but I mix everything by hand and use bread crumbs instead of fresh bread.  You are welcome to mix everything together with a spoon, but I literally use my hands (I realise that the idea of mixing raw eggs and meat by hand might be off-putting for the more squeamish)-you generate a much finer texture for the meatballs by doing so.  Now slowly add just enough bread crumbs to bring everything together, and ensure that your meatballs will stick together.  Once the mix comes together, wet your hands and form the meatballs.  In this case, smaller is better!

Refrigerate until needed (this also helps to keep the meatballs together)

For the lemon and herb sauce:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 a brown onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon good quality paprika

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons fresh, chopped cilantro (coriander)

375 ml water (or stock if you prefer)

lemon zest from half a lemon

juice from half a lemon (approximately 2 tablespoons)

Heat the olive oil and butter together in a pot over moderate heat. Add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes. Now add the paprika, cumin and turmeric and fry for another minute. Add the fresh coriander and water and bring to boil.  Once the mixture is boiling, gently place your meatballs in the pot with a spoon, turn down the heat to simmer, and place the lid on the pot. Let it simmer gently without stirring for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes add, the lemon zest and juice and simmer for another 5 minutes. The original recipe adds preserved lemon (as pictured here. I made a batch last year, and will share the recipe later), and suggests serving the meatballs with fresh, crusty bread to mop up the sauce.

For the cous cous:

1 cup cous cous, made according to instruction

1 cup frozen peas, blanched

2 tablespoons fresh, chopped parsley

salt to taste

2 fresh chillies (optional)

Once your cous cous is prepared, add the peas and parsley. Again, you can add anything you like to this, but I added these ingredients specifically for colour. I use plain, supermarket cous cous to which you add boiling water, let it steam for 5 minutes whilst blanching my peas separately. Once done, mix and serve with the meatballs and a generous serving of sauce.