A fine kettle of fish!!

Monday, 8 August 2011

New Holland Publishers recently sent me the new Cookery Book entitled Fishy Fishy Cookbook to review. It coincides with the Brasserie of the same name down in Brighton, which was the inspiration of James Ginzler, Dermot O'Leary (yes that one, the Presenter on X-Factor) and Paul Shovlin.

Opening the first restaurant in Brighton was a long held dream of these three friends and is doing very well by all accounts. So well, in fact, that they have opened a second one in Poole. Their success has rightly established them as champions of fresh, local and seasonal fish and shellfish. You can read more about their restaurants, mission and success here, but this is not about the restaurants . . . it's about this, their very first cookery book!

I have to say from the outset that it's a very attractive book from the get go. It's a nice large size, sturdy, with a beautiful cover, but not too large or ungainly. It is filled with lots of information about the ethics of responsible fishery . . . the methods and the ethos . . . it tells you how to look for and how to buy fresh fish . . . It explains the different types of fish and how to fillet and prepare them. I have found it to be very informative indeed.

It's also filled with beautiful recipes and photographs, with chapters on everything from Starters to desserts. (Of course the desserts do not include fish!) There's a chapter on Barbeque and Alfresco eating, Everyday fish and shellfish, Special occasions and of course the special section on sauces, side dishes and the desserts.

It's very well laid out and even includes a handy calendar at the back showing which fish are in season at any given time of year, which is really great if you are like me and prefer to eat local and in season.

There are such tasty offerings as Monkfish Scampi with Sweet Cider Sauce, Barbequed mackerel with Jonathon's Uruguayan Potato Salad, Scallops with Chorizo, Lemon Sole Stuffed with Ratatouille and there is also a very tasty looking Brownie Recipe tucked away on page 180 that is calling my name for sure!

We eat a lot of fish in our home, but I tend to mainly stick with Cod, Haddock and occasionally Salmon. Mostly because I am not well versed in the cooking of other varieties, and when I was growing up . . . I'm ashamed to admit it . . . all of the fish we were served came in a frozen block some 4 inches by 10 inches in length. My mother would simply cut the block into 5 bits and then we'd each get a small 2 inch piece of fish to ourselves. It was always Cod or Haddock.

The sight of a fish with it's head and fins still attached, has always intimidated me a bit. No longer!!

I think this book will be invaluable in not only showing me how to prepare and present some other varieties of fish, but also in helping to stretch my fish "palate" that little bit more. All in all I would give this book a 10 out of 10, and I think you would too. If you are fond of fish and seafood, and are wanting to discover some fresh, new and innovative ways of preparing it, then this is the book for you.

It is available direct from New Holland Publishers at a price of £16.99 here. Well worth it I think. Many thanks to Iain and the people at NHP for sending me this lovely book to review!

*Classic Fish Burgers*
Makes 6
Printable Recipe

Move over Filet O Fish, this burger is a lot tastier and quick and easy to make to boot!

600 g line-caught pollock fillet (or any other white fish), skinned and boned
(about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 large shallot, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon cornichons
1 tablespoon capers
2 tablespoons chopped parsley flour, for dusting
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 ciabatta rolls, to serve
1 large tomato, sliced
few lettuce leaves

Dice the fish into 5-cm cubes, place in a food processor and process to a rough purée. Transfer the purée to a large mixing bowl. Put the shallot, cornichons, capers, parsley and seasoning in the food processor and purée until evenly blended. Tip out and mix with the fish purée.

With floured hands, shape the mixture into 6 burgers. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour to firm up.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and fry the fishburgers, two at a time. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned. Take care not to overheat the pan or the fishburgers will burn. Once cooked through and crispy set aside and cook the remaining burgers. Serve in a ciabatta roll with a slice of tomato, a lettuce leaf and some mayonnaise.

*Sea Bass with Summer Herbs and Lime*
Serves 2
Printable Recipe

Wild sea bass, preferably line caught is great to cook on the barbeque. It's thicker skin helps to keep the high heat of the barbeque at bay and helps to seal in the firm white flesh of the fish. Fresh herbs support the great taste of the sea bass without overpowering it.

2 x 500–600-g whole wild line caught sea bass, skin on, gutted and scaled
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the marinade:
a large handful of fresh herbs, such as marjoram, parsley, basil, dill or oregano
1 lime
2 tablespoons pomace olive oil

First make the marinade. Finely chop all the herbs, top and tail the lime and dice, skin and all. Mix together in a separate bowl with the olive oil and set aside.

Carefully remove all the fins from the sea bass, taking care as the dorsal fins are quite sharp. Leave the head on and gently score both sides of the fish. Rub the marinade into the skin and into the cavity of the fish. Season with salt and pepper and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Preheat the barbecue and rub the grill with sunflower oil.

Alternatively, put the sea bass in a fish holder and place on the hot grill. Cook for about 6 to 8 minutes on each side, until the inner flesh starts to turn white.

Serve whole with new potatoes.

Note: If you can't get sea bass, a red mullet of any thick skinned fish will do. Red mullet is a smaller fish, so you should reduce the cooking time accordingly.
Pomace olive oil is obtained from the second pressing of the olives and has a higher smoking point than other oils.

*Red Mullet Salad with Sauce Vierge*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

A colourful and flavourful fish served with some salad and a warm sauce vierge.

1 TBS olive oil
15g butter
9 red mullet fillets
4 handfuls mixed salad leaves
1 small red onion, peeled and sliced
Sauce Vierge (see below)

Heat a frying pan until hot and add the olive oil and butter. When the butter starts foaming, place the mullet skin side down in the pan and cook slowly until the skin goes cripsy.

Divide the salad leaves and sliced onion among 4 plates and place the cooked fillets skin side up on top. Finish by drissling some warm sauce vierge around the edges of the plates.

*Sauce Vierge*

100ml olive oil
1 shallot, finely diced
2 tomatoes, skinned, deseeed and diced
the juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp capers, chopped
2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 tsp fresh basil, chopped
2 tsp fresh tarragon, chopped
2 tsp fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped

Put the olive oil in a saucepan and heat slowly over a low heat. When the oil is warm, add all the other ingredients, remove from the heat and allow to infuse.


  1. Looks like a lovely book and anything with fish recipes will catch my interest, as we eat a lot of fish in our house!
    I will look out for that book when I am back in the UK in a few weeks time!

  2. very nice marie.We didn't eat a lot of fish here in Ontario either, my dad caught some or traded for white fish but fishing was'nt big in our farming community.Dad had no time really to fish and we were so far from the grocery store things thawed brfore we got home.

  3. Love this book Marie!! what amazing fish burgers, we love fish at home specially María Esperanza, nice recipe dera, send you huggs and blessings!! LOL gloria

  4. What a great book - especially love the recipe for the fish burgers - yum
    Mary x


Thanks for stopping by. I love to hear from you so do not be shy! Please don't attempt to leave spam or comments with links. They will be deleted immediately. I don't even read them. Your comments will also not be posted if they are nasty either to myself or to other readers. Play nice.