Monday is a bit like January. Everybody hates it. The weekend is over and works starts again. However, an entire week lies ahead and you can make all your plans for it (I have discovered somebody who even writes up a week meal menu!).
All your good resolutions and propositions waiting for you to be formulated. For this 2011 I have promised myself to:
- stock up a bit more the larder (so that when we want to make ragu' we do have plump tomatoes and do not have to rush to the local Co-op in whatever state we are)
- keep at least one loaf of bread in the freezer for emergencies (like on Sunday evening when the only shop opened at that time would be Tesco and we cannot break our vows on never step in it)
- finish reading the entire recipe so that I know that I have all the ingredients and don't have to rush to Co-op (again!)
- be realistic and grow the vegetables that our little garden can physically sustain forgetting about the rugby pitch-size a' la Nigel Slater. In fact I am proud to say that yesterday we made a concrete plan of what to grow, where and when. Now it is only a matter of going to buy the seeds (only...!).
So Mondays and Januarys can be full of hopes. On a colour scale, both Monday and January are blue. I forgot to list my fifth 2011 resolution: make at least one recipe from one of the trillion cooking magazines which are higgledy piggledy piled up in a corner of the kitchen, and one from a cooking book. In fact this Christmas I got two brand new books - "Ottolenghi, the cook book", and "Gourmet Food for a Fiver" by Jason Atherton.
And that is what I did on Saturday. The fish recipe comes from the Gourmet Food with a few modifications - in fact it is probably more a Threer (i.e. £3!). Which is even better. I give you my version of it.
Pollock with leeks, potatoes, and apples
For 2 people
2 pollock fillets (Sainsbury's basic are perfectly fine)
1 apple (any providing it has a pungent taste)
10 new potatoes or 4-5 medium roasting potatoes
2 tbsp white wine
4 tbsp olive oil
1 knob of butter
1 small lemon
1 garlic clove
a handful of parsley
1. Prepare the marinate by mixing the wine, 2 tbsp of oil, the juice of the lemon, chopped parsley, chopped garlic clove, and chopped shallots. Leave it aside for at least 20 minutes
2. Clean, and pat dry the fish fillets and leave them in a cool place (which in our case it's anywhere in the house considering the average temperature). Scrub a couple of tsp of salt on each side of the fillet.
3. Cook the potatoes in salted water.
4. Cut the leek in rings and cook until tender in a knob of butter.
5. Wash the apple and then cut it in four parts and cork it. Without peeling it, slice each quarter reasonably fine. Plunge into water with lemon juice to avoid it darkens up.
6. Heat a tbsp of oil and melt a small knob of butter (together) in a large heavy pan. When it starts fizzling, place the fish fillets and leave them to cook on each side for a couple of minutes.
7. When the fish is almost cooked, drain the potatoes (if they are also cooked!), and remove the leeks from the pan.
8. In a bowl combine the leeks with the potatoes and apples.
9. Arrange each fillet on the serving plate. Cover the fillet with the mix of leeks, potatoes, and apples. Pour some of the marinate over and grate a little bit of black pepper before serving.
As this book from which the recipe took inspiration was a Christmas present received on the Southern English coast, I thought of sharing with you a few snaps I took while the rest of the family was Sale shopping (can you think of anything worse than fighting with a crazy crowd over post-Christmas leftovers? I can't....).
These are all images from the Victory, the famous ship that was used by Nelson during the battle of Trafalgar in 1805 moored at Portsmouth. Sadly I didn't encounter any Jack Sparrows..