Some Dishes I Forgot To Blog About...

Whilst I recover from the Darkest Crepe Cake, I thought I'd share with you some meals that I have made recently but just haven't gotten around to posting. I have this funny feeling that most people prefer to look at dessert rather than dinner (and who can blame them?) but I rather enjoyed these meals and I'm quite proud of them because they were made, swallow-like, on the wing.
The first meal was my take on a restaurant classic from the 70s that involves piping mashed potato onto a thick piece of cod or haddock, then covering the creamy potato with scalloped potatoes to replicate scales. This is then baked until golden. Now, I had planned this for supper one night and then forgotten which cookbook I had found the recipe in so had to literally make it up as I went along.
I used smoked haddock instead of plain because I love the smoky, flakiness. I also considered omitting the mashed potato and just scalloping the fish but I can imagine very few meals that aren't enhanced by mash. I boiled up the potatoes with a clove or two of garlic which was then mashed up with the potato, infusing it with a delicate flavour rather than the 'knock your socks off' pungency you can get with garlic. I also stirred in some diced Gruyere. And, because I'm not very artistic at all, I reserved just one of the boiled potatoes to make a backbone of sliced potatoes. The whole thing was then sprinkled with grated Parmesan and baked in roasting tin filled with 1 centimetre of milk for about half an hour or until golden brown and bubbling. The milk helps to poach the fish rather than roast it, thereby reducing the intense smokiness to a mellow flavour. If time was really short, you could poach the haddock in milk first, use the milk in the mashed potato, skip the scalloping and just brown the whole thing under the grill for five minutes. Or, you could use any other fish of your choice providing it was a thick, meaty piece. The beauty of fish is that it can be as exotic or in this case, homely and comforting, as you wish.
You could also flavour the potato with perhaps some pesto, mustard, wasabi or tartar sauce.
Meal No. 2 was one I had originally made for a food event but I had gotten all my ingredients wrong (working from memory is always a bad thing in my case!) so we just enjoyed the supper, photographed it and filed it away under "must read food events properly."
Rainbow Trout with Potato Salad is now one of my firm favourites. I have only ever tried Trout once before in a restaurant and was pleasantly surprised at its delicate, salmon-like flavour. It is such a gentle fish that it requires almost no additional primping other than a sprinkling of salt and pepper before pan frying. A tip I accidentally stumbled across when cooking this particular piece of fish: fry skin side down as always in a little butter or olive oil until golden. Gently flip the fish but remove the whole pan from the heat to finish cooking. This ensures that the fish is not overcooked and dries out.
Potato salad is one of my most favourite things in the world ever yet surprisingly I had never made it before. I scanned back in my memory for years of watching my mum prepare it, taking a little bit of inspiration from Pauls own hot potato salad and stirred up some mayo, dijon mustard, spring onions (scallions), creme fraiche, chopped parsley and lots of black pepper. The potatoes, still warm, help the flavours mingle together deliciously but take care that they're not too hot otherwise the mayonnaise will just split and go horribly greasy. I served the trout and potato salad with some sprouting broccoli and it was a perfect meal for a warm spring night.
The final meal I can hardly remember making because it was ages ago but I want to share it with you because it symbolises the first time I prepared and ate veal.
Constantly tottering on the border of vegetarianism ensures that I am incredibly keen on purchasing organic, locally produced meat of great heritage. I would rather go without than buy non-organic meat. As it turns outs, organic meat tastes so much better than intensively farmed but even if this wasn't the case, I would still go for the humane option. Therefore, I had always staunchly refused to eat veal in light of the cruel conditions they were farmed in. Thanks to the RSPCA Freedom Food standards, the anaemic, milk-fed calves, deprived of light and movement are a thing of the past, at least for us Brits. Rose Veal is a much better solution and tastes great. Is wonderful to be able to enjoy this delicate meat with a guilt-free conscience!
Because Rose Veal is so delicate, it simply needs pan frying after being seasoned, in a little butter for maybe a minute or two each side depending on your preference. I made a simple red wine, Thyme and Shallot sauce with the juices from the meat and enriched it with a little butter and lots of black pepper. I also fried some tiny potatoes that had been cut no larger than the size of a £2.00 coin until golden. As someone who doesn't tuck into a steak with great relish usually, I thoroughly enjoyed the Veal whose flavour falls somewhere between beef and pork loin. I will definitely be giving this another go, perhaps next time Osso Bucco?



And onto other matters in the blogging world, I have memed (nearly maimed - by the Crepe Cake) twice in the last couple of weeks! Tigerfish, I have not forgotten you and I hope to respond to your meme later this week.

As for the other meme, well we are having to disguise our blushes for we have been given a Thinking Bloggers award! We are thrilled that Kirsten over at Home Cooking Adventures liked our blog enough to pass the accolade on to us and four others (my fellow DBs Patricia and Peabody, plus two new blogs that I am unfamiliar with, PHX Rail Food and Feasting in Phoenix). Paul and I strive to be fun, interesting and fresh with our blog. I know we don't always achieve that but we want to be much more than just pretty pictures with an extended caption. IF we are to be labelled food porn, hopefully it will be more of the Henry Miller ilk than Penthouse. And if we have managed to make one person think about the issues we raise (or even cook from one of our recipes) then we've achieved our goal! So, thanks to Kirsten and, as is the nature of the meme, I would like to nominate the following five food bloggers who have made us think (if you're already been nominated then go straight to the head of the class you girlie swots!!):

1) T.W. Barritt over at Culinary Types. His blog is always fun, informative and never predictable. I am currently in love with his Chocolate Malt Cake. You should just get over there to read this blog if you don't already and prepare for an education!
2) Brilynn at Jumbo Empanadas who unwittingly encouraged me to take wobbly baby steps into taking part in food events, plus her food always looks and sounds tantalising. Oh, and she has a wicked sense of humour too.
3) Steven at Mad Chilli who produces the most stunning and original food I have ever seen but needs to post more! You left us hanging at the Passion Fruit Pud!!
4) Doodles, Maltese Parakeet and Mooncrazy hanging out at Peanut Butter Etouffe just because of their intelligent and witty posts.
5) Ulrike at Kuchenlatein for translating her blog posts much better than the Google Translater, for making her own Dandelion Honey and just for having a great blog!
And to all those who I haven't nominated, you are all worthy of this because if you're on my blogroll, you've made me think enough to put you there but I can only pick five! And those five now have to nominate another five blogs each that have made them think!

21 comments:

mooncrazy said...

You've included us in some lively company and hopefully can live up to this honor. Thanks.

Ulrike said...

Ach du liebes Lieschen....
Thanks, now I have to think, who makes me think...

Try to type the ├╝ from K├╝chenlatein with holding the alt-button and typing the numbers 0252;-)

Freya and Paul said...

Alt+ codes don't work on a laptop so you'll never see umlauts here I'm afraid.
-Paul

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Wow, all three of those meals look terrific. I really like the garlic in the potato water.
I must remember to pipe the mash potatoes sometime soon.

Kelly-Jane said...

I agree all three look lovely. When you make potato salad next time if you toss the hot potatoes with 2 - 4 of tablespoons of vinagrette and leave to cool a little before adding your mayo dressing it adds in a whole new subtle layer of flavour. I think that came from Ina, but not entirely sure atm.

Congratulations on your Thinkers Bloggers Award. You are thought provoking and often witty too!

Kristen said...

That fish is calling my name! Looks fantastic!

Lydia said...

I love the idea of the potato slices that make the fish look like a fish! And your creamy warm potato salad sounds like a winning recipe, too. Thanks!

Brilynn said...

I love the idea of adding "scales" to your fish, look at you, making ME think all the time!

T.W. Barritt said...

Coming from you, I consider this a great honor! I love reading about what's happening at your kitchen table (William will never be forgotten), and so glad you are enjoying my culinary adventures. Many thanks!

Kirsten said...

Hey you two!! Well deserve award, especially with this lovely dinner post!! You know I am *much* more into food than dessert, so it made me happpy. :)

Your awarded blogs are great, can't wait to check the ones out that I don't know!

Kirsten

Kathryn said...

Congratulations Freya and Paul! You definitely make me think (I keep remembering William!). And the meals look great too. I'd love to try rose veal; I might try and locate some.

Paul, the accents work if you type in Word and use the symbol menu, then cut and paste into blogger.

Kathryn x

Katie said...

Your meals all look lovely!
We grill whole trout in the summer with a couple of slices of lemon and some branches of lemon thyme inside - light and delicious!
In Andorra we had 'country veal' - they were less than 1 year old and were fed in open pastures in the high mountains. Much less 'delicate' than milk veal and a lot more flavor. We normally ate that rather than the beef which tended to be very, ah, 'full' flavored (old bull)

Gemma said...

Congratulations Freya and Paul!

Your meals all look fab. I adore veal but don't buy it very often. I hear so many meat-eating friends say they'll never eat veal because it is so cruel and always have to put them right about how it is produced in this country and remind them that using dairy products and choosing not to eat what is essentially a by product of the dairy industry when you do eat meat is a little odd - ok, rant over! I'm a little nicer about it when I'm actually telling them though!

Gemma x

Sophie said...

I'm glad you wrote about the rose veal Freya. For some reason it doesn't seem to get mentioned all that often but it seems like a great a thing to spread the word about. I must try your trout cooking tip too!

(Gemma - if you're reading, I have similar rant too!)

Saffron said...

I like all: rose veal, potato salad! You both are becoming every day more inspirational!
Baci

tigerfish said...

No worries...do the meme at your own pace...slowly but surely. :D

valentina said...

Congratulations you two! Lovely recoginition. Now, your meals..love them all. I love the potatoes on the fish, the potato salad ( I have a potato obsession). I so totally agree about the trout. I have a very dear Spanish friend who used to make with and prepared the trout by giving it little cuts and inserting thin slices of garlic. salt and pepper and then drizzled with olive oil.so delicious Freya. You would love it too I suspect. i love learning about new blogs so I will visit the ones you recomend which I am not familiar with.o

Callipygia said...

I'm a little slow to post, but realized I nominated you as well...so congrats again!

Melting Wok said...

I haven't had scalloped potatoes in a while, this might just be the recipe for it, hmm..haddock, haven't had that before either, thx, yet another fish for me to try, which by the way, does it have a texture similar to halibut ? :)

Doodles said...

Wow I am slow on the uptake here but do appreciate the nod and the company you have put us with. Scalloped spuds are husbands oh so very favorite way. I must post my recipe as well but yours are a must try.
Thanks guys!

Sophie said...

Just to say thanks for the trout cooking tip - I just tried it and it cooked the fish perfectly!