Geoff Tennant - Promoting access to mathematics for all
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17/1/16: no frills cooking (2): three ways to cook fish

No, I haven't turned my blog into a permanent repository for recipes, but I have a few more things I'd like to share with you.  Something different for next week based around a session I'm due to be teaching this coming week, but I thought I'd teach it first before sharing.

So, fish.  Fish need to be fresh to eat.  Ideally, you catch them, cook them and eat them all within a few hours.  Before I moved out here I bought fish from a van with a freezer in it which came to my house - so the fish came out of the sea, straight into their freezer, straight into my freezer - almost as good as fresh but not quite.  Doesn't matter if the fish market is somewhat stinky, nor even if the fish in the market have flies swaming over it.  Check that the eyes are nice and black and not filming over.  Once you've washed and cooked the fish any ill effects of the flies will be long gone.  But cooking cannot make the fish any fresher, alas.  If in doubt, chuck it out, you really don't want to be poisoning yourself or other people.

So, adapted from cook books long since lost and forgotten, I have developed three ways to cook fish which I'd like to share with you, in approximate growing order of difficulty.  The first is so easy - well, judge for yourself!

Instant fish pie
Open a tin of mushroom soup and pour into a saucepan.  Open a tin of tuna flakes in oil, drain the excess oil and empty into the same saucepan.  Heat gently until warmed through.  If available and you feel like it, add breadcrumbs.  Alternatively, add plain crisps.  Add Worcester sauce to taste.

Don't know how this reads, believe me, it is extraordinarily easy, tasty and fills a gap on a busy work evening.  No frills cooking at its best!

Fish stew
Heat some vegetable oil in a large saucepan on about electric 2 out of 6.  Cut up an onion nice and small and add (all stews and soups have at least one onion in them, that is the law of cooking).  Cut up fish fillets nice and small and, once the onion has browned a little, add them as well.  If available and you feel like it, add other 'hard' vegetables, eg. peppers, baby sweetcorn.

Turn up the heat to maximum and add some fluid.  Quite what, that's up to you.  I like coconut milk, mushy sweetcorn, chopped tomato - all from tins, obviously.  A litlte bit of white wine vinegar or white wine itself if so desired.  Water would be fine if you've got a fish stock cube or two to add also.  Salt maybe, fish sauce if you have it.  Bring to the boil and turn the heat down to a simmer, taste the mixture and decide what, if anything, else needs to go in.

Tin minutes before serving add any 'soft' vegetables, particularly mushroom and sliced courgette.  Meanwhile, cook some rice or spaghetti, following directions on the packet, or potatoes, boiling from cold water and then 20 minutes once reached the boil on simmer.

Whole fish
Start with fish which has been gutted, here it is often necessary to do this yourself even from fish bought frozen from a supermarket.

Make a marinade with chopped onion as finely as possible, soy sauce, olive oil, lime and / or lemon juice.  Fresh or dried coriander is nice, anything else which comes to mind.  Quantites - well, we no frills chefs don't really worry about that, whatever feels good at the time.

Put the fish onto some tin foil, put some of the mixture into the gap where the guts were and then over the fish.  Wrap the tin foil around the fish to make a parcel, then stick in the oven at 190 degrees Centigrade / 375 degrees Fahrenheit / gas mark 5 for 30 minutes.  (Incidentally, as far as we no frills chefs are concerned, ovens have two settings, 'off' and 190 degrees Centigrade / 375 degrees Fahrenheit / gas mark 5.  Presumably there are reasons for cooking at other temperatures but I've yet to discover them).

You'll probably want some vegetables and potatoes or rice to go with this, I'll leave that up to you.

So that's it!  Three entirely different ways to cook fish.  NO ONE can persuade me that the first way is beyond them, NO ONE!!!!  Anyway, need to go, have a chicken in the oven for myself, Tommy and Peace, only now here for one more week so I need to enjoy having them here before they go!  Also have freshly squeezed watermelon juice, have a device which does this in a totally effortless fashion.  Remember: cooking is easy, fun and social!  Hurrah for no frills cooking!

2 Comments to 17/1/16: no frills cooking (2): three ways to cook fish:

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Jenny Spence on 18 January 2016 07:50
No.3 also works well on the barbecue. One of our best ever Christmas lunches was in Bahrain, a whole large hamour, rubbed with spices inside and out, cooked in foil on the bbq until the flesh falls away from the bones. Wonderful (mind you, being able to eat Christmas lunch outside in the sunshine surrounded by bourgainvillea and date palms probably helped).
Reply to comment
Geoff on 18 January 2016 07:58
Thanks, Jenny, may try that sometime. Hope you agree that this is not difficult to do!

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