Tuesday, 14 April 2015

You CAN teach an old dog new tricks


Some of you may know that last year I put out the to the universe a long held dream.
That I wanted to design & make my own tableware.
I wanted to master throwing pottery on a wheel.

You may or may not know that straight after school I studied to become an Art Teacher.
Art has always been a passion.
And while I felt like I was ok at most mediums, well Pottery always had the better of me.
I could never ever seem to master that dang wheel. So many failed attempts.

image via Rob Ryan

I don't really like NOT being good at stuff.
It doesn't sit well with me.  Are you the same?
I am learning to let go of my unreal expectations but it isn't easy.....

You know the saying 'You can't teach an old dog new tricks'?
Well I call BOLLOCKS to that.
I am an old dog & I quite like learning new tricks.

One of the things I think is super important as an adult is to keep learning.
And one of the most important & best things I have learnt as an adult is how little I know.
And how much stuff there is to learn. So much good stuff. Endless in fact.
Encouraging myself to try new things & learn new skills allows an appreciation of the world.
You get to see things in a new light. Be more humble.  Be more aware of how hard stuff is.
Appreciate things more. Be more grateful.

NOT being good at stuff is actually really important. I have come to learn and accept this as I get older.
It is good that other people are better at things than me.
It is good to NOT be good at all the things- as uncomfortable as that leaves me feeling.
Not being the winner is important.
It is something I have written about in terms of parenting before. The notion that we are not doing our children any credit by not letting them experience the sting of defeat or hardship.  It is one of the hardest of all things to do as a parent- to stand by and watch your child not win. None of us want to see our children feel sad but surely resilience and an ability to get up and try again and to be able to congratulate the winner is ultimately just as much an important life skill as winning? To be able to admire someone else being better at something is a pretty good thing I think. And one that brings with it it's own rewards.  Being able to be joyful for someone else's success or mastery feels really good. A selfless but joyful act.
When I see it happen out there in the real world it is pretty darn special.

I think about this stuff a fair bit. The idea that consulting experts is a good thing.  That acknowledging that years of expertise in any given area gives people a deep understanding of things that others skim across or could only ever understand in a superficial kind of way.

For instance- try learning another language as an adult gives you a keen awareness of how hard it is for others to learn English.  We take our primary language for granted but sheesh it is SOOOOO hard.  Learning another helps give us a sensitivity to the people who come here and are expected to speak our language.  That is a good thing I think.

Last year, after many tries, I had the help of a friend to help teach me crochet.  I am a left hander & it has been hard to learn as most of my pals are right handers. I have been wanting to learn since I was a child but it never really happened until last year.
My friend & I sat side by side and I just copied her. She taught me chain stitch and then I just experimented from there.
That was when I started my Rug.  It was supposed to be a granny square but I missed the corner and it became a circle that just kept on going.
It is now a beautiful reminder of my gorgeous friendship & a reminder to try new things.
I really like how it didn't turn out at all as what I had expected but is actually more beautiful than I could ever have hoped. And as my friend has moved away *sob* ,  I LOVE that it will always be my smiley colourful reminder of her.







At the beginning of this year I took a Pottery Wheel class and fell in LOVE with it.
I have bought my own wheel and am busy creating bowls by the dozen.
I had a great teacher & somehow it just worked this time despite all my other failures in the past.
Another message to me to keep trying new stuff- sometimes for whatever reason it is the right time & it works.
I hope that soon I will even have some GG Coffee bowls for you to purchase.  Watch this space.

All these things are wonky and not perfect.  My favourite sort.

This week my new project is a Crochet Cape. It looks a bit like a rainbow at the moment & I kind of like it.

Are you learning anything new?
Or making something wonky & not perfect?
DO tell!

Until next time:
LIVE BETTER
HELP OFTEN &
WONDER MORE

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

How to make perfect Hot Chips.

While most people will agree that Hot Chips are one of the most delicious and comforting foods of all time- and surely deserving of their own food group- there is not much agreement on how to make them.

Some people soak them in water, some par boil them, some leave them once par-cooked, to dry out in the fridge overnight- the list is endless.

While there are myriad methods I think that one of the most important of all factors is perhaps NOT discussed and that is the TYPE of spud.

You see spuds are NOT spuds.

And by that I mean you need to understand a little more about potatoes before you can really have success with potato dishes.

Potatoes are divided into two main groups- waxy & floury.

For a good chip you want a floury potato to get that super lovely fluffy interior.
Save the waxy varieties for salads.

Floury potatoes have less moisture & a higher starch content than their waxy counterparts making them more suited to frying & mashing.

Waxy potatoes tend to retain their shape more than floury ones and so are the ones to choose when stewing or boiling for salads etc. If you try to mash waxy potatoes you may find it hard to get rid of lumps and it can go gluey in texture.

It wasn't until I started to shop at Farmers Markets that I REALLY learned to understand about potatoes. This is one of many reasons I love shopping at Farmers Markets- the people who grow the food are masters of knowledge & are keen to share!  I have learned sooooo much about food from these people. More than google or any cookbook could ever teach me. Our producers are one of the best (and most under-utilised) resources out there.

For chips I love to use SEBAGO potatoes- they are a white skinned & white flesh potato.  I think they give a great fluffy interior and are delicious and crunchy on the outside.

I use the twice cooked method- sometimes three. I am usually ill prepared and wanting hot chips NOW, so the methods that require excessive amounts of waiting time in between are not my friend.

And I LOVE mine to be crinkle cut - relying on a very old and very fave piece of kitchen equipment that was gifted to me by a very gorgeous friend. It features in one of the pics below.
I think the crinkles allow for more crispy edges. Total win in my book.

So, for me there are 3 things that are vital to making the perfect Hot Chips.
They are:

  1. the type of potato
  2. the temperature of the oil (and the freshness of the oil! Use FRESH oil!)
  3. the cooking times
And whilst I love the way my chips turn out I am sure there will be people out there for whom this method will not be their favourite.

Vive le difference!

NB: Poh has a wonderful list of Australian spuds to refer to here for all you Aussie readers.
If you are in other countries your varieties will be different. 


HOW TO MAKE THE PERFECT CHIP:
You will get best results using a deep fryer for this.
If not you will need a cooking thermometer.


WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
  • 1kg Sebago Potatoes
  • rice bran oil
METHOD:
Preheat the oil (my deep fryer requires 4 litres of oil- if using a saucepan use enough to allow the chips to be well covered- I would say at least 2 litres) to 130C.

Meanwhile peel (you can leave the skins on if you have washed the spuds really well!) and slice your chips into 1.5cm batons. I use my trusty crinkle cut chip cutter for this job- an antique but much loved piece of kitchen arsenal. 

Carefully place the cut chips into the oil being careful not to overcrowd. You may find it easier to do this in two batches. (if using a sauce pan it will be much easier of you have a mesh chip basket as you need to lift the chips out half way through cooking)

Now set a timer for 9 minutes.

After this time lift the basket up and let strain.

Turn up the heat to 190C & do not lower basket until the temp has been reached.

Once temp is 190C, lower basket and fry for another 3-4 minutes. (and again if you are doing the 3 times method).

I recommend draining on a wire tray with paper towel below to let air escape- this prevents the chips going soggy.

Salt well & let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

The symphony orchestra & choir at my big kids school performed this recently.
I - of course- burst into tears when the voices began.
Music is a very special thing. Just like Hot Chips.
I like to play this music very loud for maximum effect.
xx


Monday, 2 March 2015

Let's practice less Comparison and more Compassion



Parenting five children is relentlessly busy.
And I was under the impression that it was the busiest when they were little.
I missed the memo that as they went to high school it would get busier and busier.
It's not just a physical busyness- the getting them to all the things they love to do,  but it is the mental busyness.
My job is like being a corporate PA to five different executives. Without the payslip.

Dealing with the new & big things to do with parenting children as they enter the early adult years feels pretty darn big.
Negotiating friendships, first love, first heartbreak, an ever increasing schoolwork load. Negotiating the rules of social media & technology and learning ways to help that fit in with a family that prioritises time with each other while letting them engage with their friends online too.

When we were growing up we sat on our corded phones, the coiled cord pulled as far as possible stretched to it's limits in our efforts to have a private conversation.
Or maybe like my husband, there was no phone at all. All that was needed was your bike to skoot around to see your friend face to face & conduct that private conversation in real life.

We had lots of 'spare' time. Time where we did nothing, where we learnt how to do nothing at all and to be at peace.

Life now is fast & complicated & as parents we are in a generation where change is so rapid that we are having to learn to negotiate technology that we never had in our childhood. Setting rules about stuff we don't fully comprehend yet ourselves.

I am struggling with how fast it is.  And I am struggling with how fast my children are growing up.
Our eldest is doing VCE.
And yet we have children across the age ranges, so we have a little one in Grade one also.
A reminder of how fast it all happens. Right there before us a physical reminder. It is very real & very confronting.

I used to think that when mine were really little, when they were toddlers and in the early years of Primary school that it was the busiest of all and that when they got to high school it would be simpler & easier.
I miss them being so little and things being so much simpler.  Yet it is exciting to see my people turning into young adults.
But I feel so unsure of all of it. As a parent I have never second guessed myself so much.
Am I doing the right thing?
Am I being too strict?
Am I understanding the issue or missing it all together?
Am I too involved?
Am I helping?
I don't feel like I know the answers anymore, whereas once upon a time I just knew I was doing the right things.  I felt confident.

I now know less than I ever did. Ain't that the truth.

What I do know is that there is no such phase as the 'easy' part of parenting.
Whether you are parenting one child or many;
Whether you are dealing with 'normal' parenting situations or tricky complex parenting situations;
Whether your child is fully able or has special needs;
Whether you are a young parent or an older parent;
Whether your children are little or big;
Whether you are a working parent or a stay at home parent;
the list goes on............

It is all hard.
It is all consuming.
It is all rewarding.
It doesn't necessarily get easier but it changes.
It is sometimes overwhelmingly awesome.
It is sometimes just plain overwhelming.

What I would love is if we could all just stop for a bit and acknowledge all of this.  Stop & breathe it in.
It is enormous. Really enormous. The single most important thing of all. No wonder we find it takes us to the brink every now & then.

Maybe what we all need to practice a bit more is less comparison of one another and more compassion.

Everyone is fighting a battle you can not see.  And as we all muddle through parenting in the way we see best works for us on any given day, let's try & practice a little more kindness to all of the other parents who are doing the very same.

For we are all just trying to do and to be our very best.


ZUCCHINI KOFTA CURRY with Tomato coconut sauce:
I took inspiration from this recipe but I made several changes- (there were steps missing in this recipe & the first time I made it the koftas collapsed.)
Zucchini is abundant at this time of year and lots of people having them coming out of their ears!
This is a delicious way to use them.

The sauce doesn't need a long time to cook & I recommend serving the sauce over the top of the kofta rather than heating through together as it tends to collapse the kofta.
I recommend using a deep fryer to fry the kofta. If you do not have one you will need a thermometer to ensure your oil is at correct deep frying temp of  180C.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

for the Kofta:

  • 2 large zucchini, grated
  • 2 medium size potatoes, steamed & mashed
  • 4 spring onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 bunch fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 2 green chillies, chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup besan (chickpea) flour
  • 3 tablespoons Rice flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon bi-carb
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 3 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons coriander 
  • salt & pepper
  • rice bran oil for frying
For the Curry sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon Ghee (use oil if making it vegan)
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon amchur (available at Indian grocers)
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 2 teaspoons coriander 
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 can coconut cream
  • juice of a lime.

METHOD:

Heat the oil to 180C. 
While the oil is pre-heating you can prepare the Kofta.
To prepare the kofta, simply add all ingredients listed together well & let sit for 10 minutes to help the flours bind.

Now take a small amount & shape it into a ping pong size ball.  Carefully drop into the heated oil.
Cook for about 3-4 minutes each and then remove & drain on paper towel. 
Repeat with up to 5 at a time.
Repeat until all mix is used. You can keep them warm in an oven heated to 100C while you cook the remaining Kofta mix.
In a large heavy based pan, heat ghee to medium high and add garlic & ginger.
Add all spices and fry gently till aromatic- about 2 minutes.
Now add tomatoes and reduce heat to low.
After about 15 minutes, when you can see the oil starting to separate, add the coconut cream & simmer for 10 minutes. Add lime juice just before serving.

Serve sauce over Kofta & enjoy with Lemon Pilau Rice 



This is the perfect song- lyrically & musically for todays post.....



Thursday, 29 January 2015

The Kool Kids Cooking Club


Most of us want to encourage our children into the kitchen.
Some of us struggle with how to do this.
Maybe we are worried about what to start off with, maybe we are worried about the mess, maybe we don't have the skills ourselves or maybe you were just waiting for this!

I designed this pack as a way to help everyone to be able to get their kids in the kitchen and have some fun while you are at it.


For me, being in the kitchen is my happy place.
I would love it if I can encourage this for lots of children.
Helping them find their groovy feet in the kitchen is the aim I have.
To be able to grow up knowing what a great feeling it is to be able to make something delicious from scratch is one of life's simplest and greatest pleasures.

I think it is really important to get our children helping in the kitchen from as early as possible. Children are much more capable than we often let them be.
One of my children was able to make scrambled eggs from scratch without my help when he was 3 &1/2 years old.  Not because he was born with some sort of cooking super powers but just because I give my kids the skills and the space to do it.
I was cooking a meal once a week for our family of seven when I was aged 10. The only skill I was given was the belief that I could do it. And so I did. Often the only thing stopping us is our mindset.


 "Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can't.
You are RIGHT".
Henry Ford.


YES - it is messy.

NO- that is not a good enough reason to not get your kids in the kitchen.
Teaching them to be responsible for their own mess and teaching them the skills to clean up as you go is JUST as important as the actual cooking.

Most kids want to start off cooking sweet things. That is A-OK.
Cooking ANYTHING from scratch is what we want to see. It is about using REAL ingredients and learning new skills.
Every time your child bakes or cooks, they are developing confidence, learning how to read a recipe, working out the science behind cooking, understanding flavours, knowing what utensils to use, tasting new flavours, working out the physical actions required, learning about ingredients,  learning skills for life, and hopefully gaining an appreciation of how great real food cooked from scratch really is.

The pack I have created has 6 different recipe cards, each using different skills and with different flavours and levels of difficulty.

The recipe cards are Black & White hand illustrated (by me) cards with the recipe on the back.

There is no picture of the 'finished' product, but instead hand drawn illustrations of the ingredients, so each child can rejoice in their own success of how their final dish turns out without the stress of looking at a picture and thinking that theirs 'doesn't look anything like that'.
As grown-ups we don't realise how it is those kinds of things that can worry kids and stop them feeling like a success.
The success part is that they gave it a go- and if they are not happy with how it turned out let's encourage them to try again and see what happens next time. They would have learnt something every single time.

There are Good Food puzzles and coloured pencils and a fun surprise gift in each pack.
We all know that the best learning happens when we play- when learning is fun.
Cooking is no exception. So this pack is designed to be playful and fun.

By practising in the kitchen using the cards in this pack as a starting place, my hope is that your children go on with new confidence & all the skills necessary and feel as if they could pick up any recipe book in your collection and be able to have a go.



"No-one was born a great cook"

Julia Child


Practice is what makes anyone a great cook.

Each SINGLE PURCHASE pack contains:

  •  6 Black & White hand illustrated (by GG) recipe cards
  • a pack of mini-colouring pencils to decorate your recipe cards
  • 1 GG Kool Kids wooden spoon
  • A page of 'Tips n Tricks' advice for supervising adults
  •  GG Good Food puzzle cards
  • A secret Goodie gift in each pack
  • Detailed recipe notes for each of the six recipe cards explaining origins, techniques and it's Clog-O-Meter level of difficulty (1 clog easy - 5 clogs hard). 


The recipe cards are put into a hand sewn Recipe card pouch and posted in a Kitchen Proof plastic pouch with the other goodies.
The pack is designed to get your kids into the kitchen and to have fun.
They will develop skills that will help them be able to tackle more difficult techniques and recipes as they develop confidence.
It is all about HAVING A GO and Cooking with a SMILE.

A big YAY to Kool Kids in the Kitchen!

These packs are suitable for children as young as 3 up to teenagers.

(NB: this pack is available for International buyers- HOORAH.
Please email gourmetgirlfriend@me.com for rates)

xx
GG

You can click HERE to go to my online store to order.

Friday, 23 January 2015

The Family Table: Part 13: Caro Webster



A couple of years ago when I first started writing this blog I thought about what it was that I wanted to share.

It started as a way of me sharing my food knowledge and my passion for preparing real food for our families.

More importantly though I like to think that I give people the confidence to appreciate that the magic that is the Family dining experience is NOT just about the food.


While the food is what draws us to the table it should be considered but ONE of many things that are shared and indeed NOT the most important one.

LOVE to me should always be the single most important ingredient that is shared at our family table. Without LOVE the food and the entire dining experience is just another meal. But with it our souls as well as our tummies are nourished.

It is with this in mind that on Fridays I will be sharing with you my series- The Family Table- where super special guests share their family dining experiences with us. It is a way of appreciating that there are infinite ways of dining together & that the term 'Family' is a wide & wonderfully differing thing.

My wish is that every single one of my readers makes The Family Table part of their own family life.

It has been WAY too long between Friday Family Tables!
I am so sorry- what can I say? Life in 2014 proved to be WAY busier than even I could have imganined.
So here are in 2015 reviving this much loved Friday series.

This week I am sharing with you another lady of the interwebz.
Caro Webster is a keen cook and writes of her adventures on her blog Caro & Co.
We share quite a lot in common but it is our combined love of encouraging children into the kitchen that cemented our friendship.
We have talked online for a long while but we finally got to meet and have breakfast together in real life last year, along with our dear pal Barry Humphries- who thankfully had worn purple corduroy slacks for the occasion. Phew!

I am thrilled to have Caro share her Family Table with us this week.

1.) Can you please share a little about how your family shares food? 

It starts by cooking together every day. My daughter Grace is a mean baker, which is ace because I am not. She’s currently trying to perfect Pavlova and Tiramisu, so we are eating them over and over (no complaints from me). My son enjoys whiz-bangery so he’ll happily blend, chop, grind or grate ~ anything that involves a machine.  We eat about 90% of our meals together. It’s much-cherished family time.  My husband would readily admit he’s not a cook so he’s the pot scrubber of the family. It’s the perfect arrangement.


2.) Do you have hard & fast eating rules?

Only that ALL technology is shut off and put away so there’s no competition with conversation or fighting to be heard and so we can fully engage with one another.  I must admit to being a bit of a stickler for table manners and the way the table is set. We use fresh linen serviettes every night, condiments in dishes rather than jars, fresh flowers, no elbows on the table, cutlery must be held the right way, no licking plates with fingers (Grace and I are notorious for that). When the kids were little I used to tell them that Mickey Mouse would never come for dinner if our manners were bad and we didn’t make the table look pretty and colourful….

3.) Can you share with us where your cooking influences/inspiration are from?

My passion for homegrown, seasonal food and cooking initially came from my grandmother.  She wasn’t an adventurous cook but had a few old-fashioned recipes that were super yummy. Tuna Mornay with pineapple (yes, pineapple), homemade chocolate custard drizzled over her sponge cakes, lamb loin chop stew with rice, the best-ever crumbed veal schnitzel with lemon sauce and piles of creamy mash, golden syrup puddings and so on.  Although she horribly overcooked any vegetable that came her way, so we always preferred her casseroles and stews! She took great delight in feeding her grandchildren and made me want to spend time in the kitchen. My Mum, however, would have to be my greatest influence. She was a corporate housewife so nearly every Friday or Saturday evening she and Dad entertained business acquaintances and clients. This was always followed by family lunch on the Sunday which I recently wrote about here.
I was paid a pittance to be helper in the kitchen and serve the food. I actually did a silver service course so was able to impress guests with my deftness using serving implements!  It was the seventies, so I remember lots of dishes like Avocado and Prawn cocktail, Garlic Prawns, French Onion Soup, Beef Wellington, Chicken a la King, Chicken in a Basket, Fondues, anything cooked using a crockpot, stuffed vegetables, gratins. Our greatest triumph for one dinner party was to make a croquembouche from scratch, complete with drizzled toffee like a spider’s web and vanilla ice cream.  I remember being very proud of my choux balls. Mum continues to inspire me, often sending me recipes she’s found and whilst she’s now only cooking for herself, she still enjoys being in the kitchen. I love her to bits.

The talent of chefs such as Stefano Manfredi, Yotam Ottolenghi, Hetty McKinnon of Arthur Street Kitchen, Nigel Slater, Maggie Beer, and my mate Ruth Bruten ;) inspire me no end. And, um, I also have a huge soft spot for Rick Stein and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

4.) Do you have a favourite cuisine?

If I had to be restricted to one type for the rest of my life (sigh) I’d have to say Mediterranean ~ because that gives me all the countries hugging the Mediterranean Sea to choose from right? Or is that just plain greedy?  I adore everything Yotam Ottolenghi, and avidly watched his fabulous “Mediterranean Feast” series on SBS. 

5.) Can you recall a super special meal or eating experience that has stayed with you forever?

It was at our farm in the dead of winter about 10 years ago.  I did a 23-hour slow-cooked pork shoulder.  The recipe called for basting every two hours. I felt like the mother of a newborn, getting up regularly to breastfeed! We served it the next day with the creamiest mashed potato, homemade apple sauce and wintergreens from the garden. I remember because it was ‘old-fashioned pork’ (none of that new fangled stuff thank you very much), the crackling was a triumph. The meat was meltingly good. By the time we sat to eat, the fire was blazing, corks had been pulled from a couple of sensational reds, the table had been set beautifully, with small vases containing Hellebores from the garden running down the centre. The room was slightly steamed up from cooking, with misty condensation on the windows. It was so happy and snug and inviting.  It was the most convivial afternoon shared with friends and family that I can think of.  If I remember rightly, we even had snow in the afternoon. Perfect, just perfect. 

6.) Would you please share the recipe of your favourite family meal with us?

Crikey, there are so many that I’d love to share with you, but I’ll choose my oven-baked Ocean Trout because it’s dead easy and spans across the seasons. I make it often and love the delicacy of Ocean Trout.

Oven-baked Ocean Trout with roasted Kipfler potatoes and greens
Serves 4

You will need:

4 Ocean Trout fillets (skin on or off depending on your preference)
Juice of half a Lemon
Juice of one Orange
EVOO
S&P
10-15 sprigs of Lemon Thyme, leaves only
10-15 sprigs of common Thyme, leaves only
10-15 sprigs of Tarragon, leaves only 
Fennel seeds
24 Kipfler Potatoes, washed and scrubbed, cut lengthways into long thick chips
100g toasted slivered or flaked almonds
Butter

For the greens:

Cold outside? Then you’ll need:

1 large bunch of washed English Spinach roughly chopped stems and all
2 bunches baby asparagus or baby zucchini
25-30 trimmed French green beans

Warm Weather? Then you’ll need:

Small bunch of baby rocket
1 baby fennel sliced thinly (include the feathery tops)
1 Orange halved and sliced finely
150g snow peas sliced finely, lengthways
Red Wine vinegar
EVOO
Some orange juice
S&P

Preheat the oven to 180.

Place your potatoes in a roasting pan, drizzle with oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and fennel seeds and put into the oven.  They’ll need to roast for about 30 or so minutes. Turn them once during roasting. 

Get 4 square pieces of tin foil and place a piece of trout on each one. Drizzle with EVOO and turn to coat well. Splash each with some lemon and orange juice and sprinkle the herbs on top. Give them a generous crack of salt and pepper. Now wrap the foil around the fish to create a little airtight parcel.  Put into a roasting pan and place into the oven.  The fish will need 10-15 minutes (tops) to cook, depending on how pink you like it.

If using the wintergreens, take a large heavy-based fry pan, add a knob of butter and melt. Add the beans and turn regularly until only just starting to cook. Add the asparagus and do the same.  At the last minute add the spinach and cook until just wilted. The whole process should only take 5-8 minutes. Remove from pan and put into a large serving bowl. Top with a knob of butter and sprinkle with toasted almonds.

If making the salad: combine the rocket, fennel, orange, snow peas in a salad bowl. Make a very simple dressing using EVOO, red wine vinegar, some orange juice and S&P ~ you might need to add a small tsp of sugar. Shake all in a jar, adjust to taste, then pour over salad and mix gently with your hands to combine.

Remove your fish and potatoes from oven. Take fish out of foil.  Arrange both across four plates (that you’ve warmed either in the oven or microwave). 

Serve immediately. So simple and bloody yummy.

7.) What music would be playing? (youtube link if possible)

Hmm, that’s hard because we all have such diverse musical tastes.  I’m a bit of a head banger from way back but also adore jazz.  My children love anything in the top 10 and my husband would always select something classical.  However, given I’m the only one who actually knows how to work our music system, I’d choose Blossom Dearie.  Blossom was a NY jazz singer and pianist of the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. She has the most beautiful youthful, lilting voice.  Listening to this particular song makes me want to curl up in front of a fire with my family, our two pups, a book and a fine glass of red.

It might as well be spring ~ Blossom Dearie