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Waking up early on Sunday to make crêpes or pancakes for breakfast is something of a ritual at my place. Crêpes are and still remain in my belief, delicate, lacy creations that one can gracefully flip over on a crepière until they are just golden and ready to be served with a spoonful of pineapple jam. The idea of savoury crêpes struck me as being absurd and I was never tempted to try one till I was pleasantly surprised by a salmon filled crêpe at the Pancake Festival held at Grain d’Sel restaurant years ago. In a feeble attempt to recreate this rich gastronomic experience, I managed a close replication of the flavours as I remember them using a basic crêpe recipe from Nigella and deliciously creamy seafood filling from Kraft Cheddar cheese. Not all crêpes have to be sweet, right?

SEAFOOD CREPES

Ingredients:

For the Crêpes

30g unsalted butter, melted

150g all purpose flour

375 ml full cream milk

1 egg, room temperature

For the Filling

3/4 cup cooking cream

150g Cheddar cheese, grated

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

100g smoked salmon, sliced

300g peeled shrimp, cooked

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

2 tablespoons spring onions

Method:

  • For the crêpes, put the flour, milk and egg into a blender and whiz to amalgamate.

  • Pour the mixture into jug and stir in the melted butter. Heat a seasoned crêpe pan.

  • Ladle 1/4 cup batter into pan, then quickly hold it up and swirl it around carefully.

  • The batter should form a thin pancake covering base of the pan. Cook for 1 minute.

  • Flip crêpe over and cook for another 20-30 seconds on the other side, then remove.

  • Stack the crêpes between layers of baking paper on a hot plate until ready to serve.

  • For the filling, place cream in a small saucepan and heat gently over medium heat.

  • Stir in grated cheese and stir until smooth. Stir in lemon, pepper and spring onions.

  • Gently fold seafood through sauce. Place a spoonful of seafood sauce on each crêpe.

  • Fold in half, then in half again and serve immediately with extra cheese. Serves 5-6.

Seafood Crêpes

SPAGHETTI WITH SMOKED MARLIN & ROCKET

Ingredients:

250g spaghetti

125g smoked marlin

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 small red chilli, finely chopped

Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated

2 tablespoons capers

4 tablespoons olive oil

30g breadcrumbs

Method:

  • Soak spaghetti in a large pan of boiling water and cook for about 9 minutes until al dente.

  • Drain cooked pasta in a colander and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Season with salt to taste.

  • In a small frying pan, toast breadcrumbs with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil till golden and crisp.

  • In a larger pan, heat the remaining oil. Add chopped garlic and chilli. Sauté until aromatic.

  • Add the lemon zest and capers and remove from heat. Pour this mixture over the spaghetti.

  • Toss it well to coat. Add marlin, flaked into large pieces, and rocket leaves. Mix to combine.

  • Serve immediately topped with the toasted breadcrumbs in hot plates. Serves 2-3 persons.

Simple & Easy Pasta Dinner

Today we commemorate the anniversary of the abolition of slavery in Mauritius after 182 long years of this horribly inhuman practice introduced under colonial rule of the Dutch, followed by the French and the British. Slaves, mainly of African descent, were brought to Mauritius to work in fields and construction sites where heavy manual labour was sought. In spite of its official abolition by the British government in 1807, it was not until 1835 that the shoddy business of human trade and exploitation was abandoned in favour of recruitment of indentured labourers from India. The post abolition period was also a time of considerable struggle for those given freedom but no support or resources to start life afresh and consequently fell back into poverty and deprivation.

On this special day many chose to visit the Le Morne Slave Route which traces the footsteps of our ancestors back in time and helps us better understand their plight as maroons as they fled from their merciless master to find refuge in the wilderness of Le Morne Brabant. They were then confined to subsist on meager reserves at the cost of freedom and dignity. In the memory of all those who fought and died to make their voices heard, I dedicate this blog post and the following recipe, riz frit poisson salé/ fried rice with salted fish, a local delicacy you can find in tuck shops and roadside snacks and probably derived from Creole cuisine, fashioned by slave descendants who went on to build and empower the generations of slave-free population who enjoy a far better life than their forefathers ever did.

RIZ FRIT POISSON SALE – FRIED RICE WITH SALTED FISH

Ingredients:

80g salted fish/ snoek

150g boneless chicken

100g corn kernels

100g carrots, diced

1 small onion, diced

100g peppers, diced

150g basmati rice, soaked

2 eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon dark soy sauce

1 teaspoon fish sauce

1/2 teaspoon ginger paste

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 small bunch spring onion

Method:

  • Soak rice in cold water for 15 minutes, drain and cook in a pan of boiling water until firm but not mushy.

  • Soak salted fish in water to wash away most of the salt. Place in another pan of water and bring to the boil.

  • Cook the fish for about 8-10 minutes until softened. Drain well and remove fish bones. Flake fish coarsely.

  • If using precooked salted fish, remove from packaging and use directly without prior boiling and frying it.

  • In a frying pan, heat 1 teaspoon oil and add the ginger paste. Roast lightly until fragrant then add the fish.

  • Dice the chicken into bite-size pieces and season with salt and pepper. Leave it to marinate for 15 minutes.

  • While chicken marinates, prepare vegetables by dicing the carrots, onion and assorted bell peppers finely.

  • Beat eggs lightly and fry as for an omelette, cut it into strips and set aside. Now cook chicken in same pan.

  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wok or a deep heavy based pan. Add the cooked rice, sauté for a minute or two.

  • Stir in chicken, salted fish, carrot, onion, corn kernels, peppers and eggs. Add the dark soy and fish sauce.

  • Stir fry for about 5-7 minutes, stirring at regular intervals, to prevent rice sticking at the bottom of the pan.

  • Cover pan for 2 minutes, then sprinkle with chopped spring onions and serve immediately. For 4 persons.

Fried Rice with Salted Fish

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PrerrnaMirchi
Mauritius

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