Salmon and Watercress Quiche

Before the heavy Christmas meal you need a starter that sets the tone for what’s to come. This impressive quiche will make the perfect starter centrepiece. The combination of salmon, watercress, and cream all housed in a shortcrust pastry case is delicious and won’t fill you up for the main event either!

Serves:  6
Preparation time:  25 minutes plus resting time
Cooking time: 30 minutes

You will need
1 quantity of savoury shortcrust pastry
A little plain flour, for dusting

For the filling:
3 salmon fillets (approx. 350g)
Juice of ½ a lemon
Good knob of unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely sliced
200g new potatoes, ideally Jersey Royals, cut into 1.5cm chunks and parboiled
50g watercress (leaves picked and any tough stalks discarded), finely chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill leaves
3 medium eggs, whisked
300ml double cream
½ tsp pink peppercorns, lightly crushed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

1. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry to about three millimetres thick and line a loose-bottomed fluted rectangular tart tin with it, making sure the edge of the pastry stands just a little proud above the rim. Trim the edges, then prick the base with a fork and return it to the fridge for a further 30 minutes. Don’t be tempted to skip this step – it helps prevent any shrinkage in the oven.

2. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6 and put a baking sheet in to heat up. Tear off a sheet of foil big enough to enclose all your salmon fillets and lay it on a work surface. Put the salmon in the middle, add the lemon juice and some salt and pepper, and scrunch to seal tightly. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes, then remove and set aside to cool.

3. Take the pastry case out of the fridge, line with non-stick baking paper and fill with baking beans. Place in the oven on the hot baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Then remove the paper and beans and return the case to the oven for a further five minutes. This will allow the pastry base to dry out before you pile in the filling.

4. Reduce the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and let it soften for eight minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool, then spoon evenly into the pastry case. Thickly flake the salmon (discarding the skin) and scatter it over the onions along with the parboiled potatoes and most of the chopped watercress and dill.

5. Whisk together the eggs and cream, season well with salt and pour into the pastry case. Scatter with the remaining watercress, dill and peppercorns. Place on the hot baking sheet in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the filling has just set and the top is turning golden.

Enjoy!

 

Merry fish-mas! Smoked Trout Mousse with Beetroot & Dill

INGREDIENTS

  • 200g (7oz) smoked trout, roughly chopped
  • 2 pinches cayenne pepper
  • 300ml (½pt) double cream
  • ¼ lemon, juice only

FOR THE BEETROOT AND DILL RELISH

  • 1 cooked beetroot, drained and finely chopped
  • Small handful fresh dill, chopped
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

METHOD

To make the mousse, place the smoked trout in a food processor together with the cayenne pepper and blend for 2-3 minutes, or until it has achieved a smooth consistency, and then place in the fridge until it has thoroughly chilled. Whizz the trout in the food processor again for 2-3 minutes and then, with the motor running, slowly add half the double cream. Chill until needed.

Whip the remaining cream until it forms soft peaks, and then gently fold into the chilled trout mixture. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Pipe or spoon the mousse into small glasses and chill for at least 2 hours before serving. To make the relish, finely chop the beetroot and mix with the rest of the ingredients. Spoon on top of the mousses and serve.

Enjoy!

Merry fish-mas! Creamy Festive Fish Pie with Pernod

INGREDIENTS

  • 100ml (3½fl oz) dry white wine
  • 500ml (18fl oz) ready-made fish stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 600g (1lb 5oz) white fish, skinned and cubed
  • 150g (5½oz) smoked haddock, skinned and cubed
  • 50g (1¾oz) each butter and plain flour
  • 2tbsp double cream
  • 2 gherkins, drained, rinsed and chopped
  • 1tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
  • 2-3tbsp Pernod
  • 150g (5½oz) uncooked tiger prawns, peeled
  • 75g (2¾oz) queen scallops
  • 500g ready-made puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten

METHOD

Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F, gas 6. Heat the wine, stock and bay leaf in a pan, add the fish and poach for 5 minutes. Remove the fish and pat dry. Strain the liquid into a jug. Melt the butter in a pan, stir in the flour, and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in the liquid, reduce the heat and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the cream, gherkins, tarragon and Pernod. Stir in fish, prawns and scallops.

Spoon into a pie dish. Roll pastry slightly larger than the dish. Place over the filling and stick to the rim of the dish with the egg. Cut snowflakes out of the pastry trimmings and use to decorate the pie. Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden.

Enjoy!

Merry fish-mas! Scallops with Pancetta & Hazelnuts

INGREDIENTS

  • 50g (1¾oz) whole blanched hazelnuts
  • 1tbsp walnut oil
  • 3tbsp olive oil
  • 1tbsp white wine vinegar
  • Salf and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3-4 rashers pancetta
  • 35g (1¼oz) butter
  • 12 king scallops
  • Baby salad leaves
  • Clementine segments
  • Pomegranate seeds

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 220°C/fan 200°C/gas 7. Place the hazelnuts on a baking tray and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Remove and blitz the nuts in a food processor.

Whisk together the walnut oil, olive oil and vinegar, and season. Add the chopped hazelnuts and set to one side. Lay the pancetta on a baking tray, top with another baking tray and cook in the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until crisp. Drain on kitchen paper.

Melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the scallops and fry for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. When ready to serve, snap the pancetta into a few shards.

Place a handful of baby salad leaves on to plates, top with the clementine segments and scallops and sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds. Top with the pancetta, drizzle with the dressing and serve.

Enjoy!

Merry fish-mas! Spicy King Prawn Christmas Cocktails

Fancy something a bit different this year? Why not try scallops with pancetta, a platter of poached salmon or spicy prawn cocktails

INGREDIENTS

  • 300g (10½oz) uncooked king prawns, peeled
  • 5tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1tsp brandy
  • Pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 Little Gem lettuce leaves
  • 4 red chicory leaves
  • 150g (5¼oz) king prawn tails, cooked

METHOD

Put a little oil in a small pan, heat gently and add the prawns. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side or until pink and cooked through.

Set aside. In a large bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, ketchup, brandy, chilli flakes and a squeeze of lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Fold in the king prawns.

Shred 2 of the lettuce leaves and divide between four serving glasses. Place one chicory leaf and one lettuce leaf into each of the glasses and spoon over the prawn and sauce mix. Top with the prawn tails and serve.

Enjoy!

Merry fish-mas! Poached Whole Salmon with Dill and Citrus Dressing

Fancy something a bit different this year? Why not try scallops with pancetta, a platter of poached salmon or spicy prawn cocktails

INGREDIENTS

  • 2.5kg-2.75kg (5lb-6lb) whole salmon, gutted and descaled
  • 1 each onion, carrot and celery stalk, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • A few peppercorns
  • ½ cucumber, very finely sliced

FOR THE DRESSING 

  • 3tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 1tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1tbsp honey
  • 1tsp grated orange peel
  • 2tbsp fresh chopped dill
  • 3tbsp olive oil

METHOD

Put the onion, carrot, celery, bay leaves and peppercorns into a fish kettle and fill with enough water to come up to 7.5cm (3in). Bring to the boil then simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Carefully lower the salmon into the fish kettle, bring back to the boil then reduce the heat and poach gently for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and leave the salmon in the kettle. Check every 15-20 minutes to make sure it is not overcooking – the fish is ready when the large fin in the centre of the back pulls out easily (about 35-40 minutes).

Allow the salmon to become completely cold – if the fish is ready before the stock has cooled simply place the kettle into iced water. The fish will remain moist if you cool it in the stock. Lift the salmon out of the kettle, carefully remove and discard the skin, and place on a fish platter.

Whisk together the orange and lime juice, honey, orange peel and dill in small bowl. Add the oil and season. Decorate the fish with the cucumber. Drizzle over the dressing, and garnish with baby watercress.

Enjoy!

Smoked Haddock Chowder in 3 Easy Steps

 

Ingredients

  • 450g undyed smoked haddock fillet, skinned
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 850ml milk
  • 25g butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 125ml dry sherry
  • pinch of paprika
  • 225g floury potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 100g frozen or canned sweetcorn kernels
  • fresh parsley
  • hot garlic bread

To serve

Method

1)    Put the fish in a frying pan with the bay leaf and milk. Bring to a simmer, then cover and set aside for 10 mins. Lift out the fish with a slotted spoon, flake roughly, discarding any bones, and strain the milk.

2)    Melt the butter in a large frying pan and cook the onion over a low heat for 3-4 mins until softened. Sprinkle in the flour and stir for a minute, then tip in the garlic and red pepper and cook for a further 5 mins. Now stir in the sherry and simmer until almost all the liquid has disappeared.

3)    Add the paprika and potatoes, pour in the poaching milk and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 15 mins, add the sweetcorn and cook for 5 mins more. Remove from the heat and gently fold in the fish. To serve, scatter over some chopped fresh parsley and accompany with the garlic bread. Enjoy!

Fish Pie in 4 Easy Steps

Ingredients

  • 400g skinless white fish fillet
  • 400g skinless smoked haddock fillet
  • 600ml full-fat milk
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 eggs
  • small bunch parsley, leaves only, chopped
  • 100g butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1kg floury potato, peeled and cut into even-sized chunks
  • 50g cheddar, grated

 

Method

  1. Poach the fish. Put the fish in the frying pan and pour over 500ml of the milk. Stud each onion quarter with a clove, then add to the milk, with the bay leaves. Bring the milk just to the boil – you will see a few small bubbles. Reduce the heat and simmer for 8 mins. Lift the fish onto a plate and strain the milk into a jug to cool. Flake the fish into large pieces in the baking dish.
  2. Hard-boil the eggs. Bring a small pan of water to a gentle boil, then carefully lower the eggs in with a slotted spoon. Bring the water back to a gentle boil, with just a couple of bubbles rising to the surface. Set the timer for 8 mins, cook, then drain and cool in a bowl of cold water. Peel, slice into quarters and arrange on top of the fish, then scatter over the chopped parsley.
  3. Make the sauce. Melt half the butter in a pan, stir in the flour and cook for 1 min over moderate heat. Take off the heat, pour in a little of the cold poaching milk, then stir until blended. Continue to add the milk gradually, mixing well until you have a smooth sauce. Return to the heat, bringto the boil and cook for 5 mins, stirring continually, until it coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg, then pour over the fish.
  4. Assemble and bake. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Boil the potatoes for 20 mins. Drain, season and mash with the remaining butter and milk. Use to top the pie, starting at the edge of the dish and working your way in – push the mash right to the edges to seal. Fluff the top with a fork, sprinkle with cheese, then bake for 30 mins. Make up to a day ahead, chill, then bake for 40 mins.

Enjoy!