French classic cod with olives

This French classic is one of those instantly look healthy, and it is incredible easy to prepare. It is very hard to get cod fish in South East Asia, however any white fish can replicate this dish easily.

  • 20g butter
  • 2 rashers of bacon cut into strips
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 250g cod fillet, skinned and cut into chunks (or any white fish will do)
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 8 pitted black olives
  • 1 ball of mozzarella, torn into chunks
  • 20g pine nuts
  • parsley, roughly chopped
  1. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over a medium to high heat. Add the bacon and onion and fry for 2 minutes or until the onion is starting to soften and bacon is cooked. Add the garlic and cook for a further 30 second or so.
  2. Drop in the chunks of cod (or any fish of your choice) and fry, turning the chunks every now and then, for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes an bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the olives and mozzarella, then take the pan off the heat and let the mozzarella melt in the residual heat.
  4. Serve the cod topped with the pine nuts and the parsley.

This dish could make ahead if you short of time, by that mean you could cook the sauce and fish separately and keep them in the fridge until you needed.

Food trip with Andrews

I been not active with my blog for over many months, simply because I had over indulgence with good food on my holiday in United Kingdom, I felt like back to the great food land. Simple food from breakfast porridge to fresh charcuterie, from farm of Yorkshire to London cosmopolitan city to seaside of Bridlington.

Not only I enjoyed the food but the architecture as well. As being art student many years ago, these only can be seen from books of history and reference but until I saw it, stood in front of me, it does made me teared for good because that is the power of traveling, it helps you to relax and appreciated the history of human; celebrate we had been through so much from wars and evolutions.

The understanding of food history was in my part of this itinerary, how the food had changed the Britain from proper local produce food to factory made, and now every celebrity chef working very hard to revert to the real culture of real food and support the local community. Encourage to make your own bread, managing leftover food, buying fresh produce from the fish monger & butcher.

I like cosmopolitan of London simply because of there are culture diversity in the city, not only British food, but other culture as well, as a food lover diner like me is really spoil of choice.

I going write about few places I went for delicious meal in London and Liverpool as well as at East Riding of Yorkshire – Hull, where I spend most of my time with Andrews Family.

Arrived at Manchester airport and took a two hours train to Hull to meet Andrews, not only I got a good welcome nibbles at mid afternoon in September, on the same night I had been treat with their home cooked dinner, a simple homemade Italian pasta, and finished off with some beautiful cheese. It is very exciting walking in town and seen everything remain the same apart some shop had closed down, new shop pop-out. Surprisingly, there is one little cafe doted at the Humber street and over watching the marina, this place called Thieving Harry’s a very unusual name for a cafe, the food is simply delicious, they are very passionate about their coffee, they understand proportion is very important in a cup of coffee, they measured from ground coffee to the amount of liquid pouring into your cup, and still keeping the coffee temperature hot, it does take sometime for them to prepare your perfect coffee. The setting of this cafe is using the old fruit warehouse, obviously it added the character to the cafe, wooden floor, and well maintain the existing walls and ceiling, it does still lightly smell of fresh fruit; even their crockery is remained as retro, so you felt relationship is very close to your childhood, some plates reminds me of my mother using that for my dinner.

I departed to London for short visit, and stay in the smallest hotel room you couldn’t imagine but  First place I stopped by for lunch is at Princi 135 Wardour Street, this Italian restaurant is pack with working-class people during lunch hour, because of their good & freshly cooked food. They made everything from the premises from crunchy grissini wrapped with parma ham to luscious dessert.  I’m lucky to get it for a quick lunch, I had the pizza, fresh salad, sandwich and of course Italian tiramisu as well.

In the evening, I went to Ronnie Scott’s jazz club in at Frith Street enjoyed the most fabulous evening I ever had for many years, Tierney Sutton sung at that night, her soulful voice does lift the night up, the way she sung every song are incredible and easy. The rule in jazz club are not allow photography therefore I can’t snap any picture of the place and food, that will keeping you curious to visit this wonderful place. I’m surprised most of the famous jazz singer came here to perform as well such as Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Jamie Cullum etc. Do you believe the piano need tuning in daily basis for performance every night.

Walked in British Museum seems like a place that kept a lot of knowledge, I came to visit the eight identified mummies and understanding the life style in ancient Egypt. From this mini exhibition I learned the dietary of ancient Egyptian, the food they consumed and how they suffered from dental abscesses, atherosclerosis, tooth decay and gum disease; from these point of evidence shown the diet of ancient Egyptian had sugary products and high fiber foods that may caused they suffered from these disease. Imagined the pain that they are they must had suffered with a lot of pain compare to our dental treatment these day are far beyond their comfort. We are lucky in that sense we are not dying from dental abscesses.

A well-known restaurant – The Ivy, located at West Street in London, Unforgettable lunch I had in The Ivy, from their good service to the delicious food served on the perfect lined table, the waiter were always keeping an eye on every table as soon as you are running low on your drink or even water they will quickly fill it up. To started off with fresh sliced bread with their home made butter, then follow by crackling pork belly, it is really crackling in your mouth indeed when biting on it. The crispy skin and succulent,  with green bean on side. I finished off with Mayan chocolate, the bitter rich chocolate does made me felt like I having Mayan chocolate in Guatemala, when mixed with the luscious vanilla ice cream is just wonderfully, it goes well with the bitter of the chocolate. Remember their signature design of the diamond glass at the window with colour dotted around the diamond.

Walked around in London admiring their patisserie shop is a good treat to my eye. Some of them look like a Christmas ornament, and very inviting to bite it. Admiring the architectural and understanding the reason behind these building, the ornament and the detail of it some are related to food, such as grapes, pineapple. When you think again in Roman time, the wealthy people celebrate some occasion with grapes, apples and laying on couch and eating them. Building like this usually are commercial building such as arcade was to show off the wealth of the person or the company who built it.

I wishing my return for more enjoyment of good food and visual enjoyment of the architecture and it does refreshed my mind, I believed travel does good for mind and soul.

Dory fish with celery, peas & beurre blanc

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I should really tell you the meal I had this evening is very much pleasing with the beurre blanc sauce over the fish. Albert Jack’s book said the beurre blanc sauce was discovered after a mistake from a chef. Here is the story.

“One of famous sauce, beurre blanc (white butter) apparently evolved from a mistake made by French chef Madame Clémence Lefeuvre towards the end of the nineteenth century while she was working in the kitchens of the marquis de Goulaine. On one occasion, the story goes, intending to make Béarnaise sauce for a pike dish, Lefeuvre ran out of eggs at the crucial moment and had to quickly improvise, using wine and lemon juice instead. Legend has it that her new sauce became so popular she opened her own restaurant, La Bubette de la Marine, on the banks of the Loire River near Nantes, on the strength of it with beurre blanc as her signature sauce”.

Here is my recipe for you to try it at home. It’s important that you have all of the ingredients for the sauce ready prepared before you start to cook the fish, or the fish will become dry and cold while you’re making the sauce.

Marinate for the fish

Vegetable side

  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 50g sweet peas
  • pinch of salt

Beurre Blanc Sauce

  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 6 tablespoons of dry white wine
  • 4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons double cream
  • 100g butter, cubed
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Herb of your choice: mint, parsley, basil or tarragon
  1. Marinate the fish by putting all marinate ingredient into freezer bag and put the fish into the bag and give it a mix with the fish and set aside so that the flavours can infuse the fish. The fish can marinate in the bag for 1 hour in the fridge, or less if you’re in a hurry.
  2. Cut celery into bite size then set aside. Bring a pot of water to boil then add pinch of salt into boiling water, reduce the heat to medium and then add in the celery and let it boil for about 3 minutes and add in the pea to finish up to 5 minutes. After that drain it off, put on a lid and set aside somewhere warm.
  3. Heat up a frying pan to medium heat, place the marinated fish in the heated pan and pan fry until golden colour at the edge and is not pale in colour. Put the cooked fish on a warmed serving plate with the vegetable, and set aside somewhere warm.
  4. Simmer the shallot, wine and vinegar in a pan until reduced to 1 tablespoon, remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the cream followed by 1 cube of the butter at a time. Make sure to whisk energetically. If the butter isn’t melting, put the pan back on a very low heat. Once all the butter is incorporated, season with salt and little cayenne. Serve immediately by spoon it over the cooked fish. Chopped herbs, such as mint, parsely, basil or tarragon, make a nice addition.

Beurre blanc should taste creamy, frothy, light and tangy. This simple yet classic French sauce is probably the quickest way to add extra flavour to fish, meat, poultry and vegetable. It’s quite quick to make, apart from melting a little butter. Remember, this is for one portion, if you have a guest, you’ll need to double the ingredients., Bon appetit.

Papillote – Trout in a parcel with lemon

P1140769APapillote sounds like a fancy dish that you could think of, it is simply popped into paper parcel and then baked. The only thing to remember is to seal the parcel well and do not let the delicious juices escape.

The thing I loved about this dish because you could use any fish you like. I prefer trout is simply it is oily fish that is really good for health. Cooking fish in this way is the most safer way to cook as it won’t over cook it and as the parcel keep the goodness inside; it is sounds like open a Christmas parcel. Hope you enjoy it too, Bon appetit!