Monday, May 31, 2010

Equipment essentials (non- electrical)

Have you ever stayed in a self-catering holiday flat or cottage? They don’t supply an awful lot in the kitchen, and it’s amazing how little equipment you can manage with. The extra fancy electrical stuff is nice to have and use but you can actually make do with far less and still cook healthy meals.

I couldn’t live without my wonderful knives, though I could probably dispense with quite a few of them. Mainly, I use a large butcher’s knife – even for de-hulling and cutting strawberries and filleting fish. And I like a small serrated blade for slicing tomatoes. If your knives have plastic or wooden handles attached, make sure to give the joint a good scrub when you wash them. Never put your kitchen knives in the dishwasher, it blunts them very quickly.

I have quite a collection of wooden spoons, but I seldom use them – stainless steel spoons are best for cooking. Wooden spoons are porous, so they absorb colour and flavour and never come entirely clean. And you have to remember which one to use for curry and which is safe for custard. A metal spoon is best because it washes completely clean and doesn’t get contaminated. Don’t leave it standing in the saucepan, though, or you will burn your fingers. I use my slotted spoon, large ladle, masher and fish slice all the time. And my steel whisk.

I don’t think you need more than three saucepans – preferably stainless steel, and ‘waterless’ if your budget can stretch to them; one small, one medium and one large. They are nice and easy to clean. Aluminium pans are not a healthy option. Then of course you need a large frying pan, with a lid. Mine is a non-stick, coated variety, but I trade it in about every eighteen months or so, because the coating does wear.

Wooden chopping boards are scary! Like wooden spoons, they retain smells and flavours – and if you have cut raw meat on them, then they will be full of bacteria too. No amount of scrubbing is going to get them properly clean. I use glass boards, or those inexpensive thin plastic bendy boards. The plastic boards need replacing quite often because they get scratched and cut allowing bacteria to build up.

Next week, I’ll be talking about essential electrical equipment. What do you really need?

Tuna basil pasta : Wk23/1

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quick
240gm pasta penne
1 aubergine, chopped
1 cup frozen peas

2 x 170gm tins tuna in brine, drained and flaked
150gm cherry tomatoes, halved
±10 large basil leaves, chopped
½ cup tomato puree
½ cup water

Cook the pasta in lightly salted boiling water for 10 minutes.
Add the chopped aubergine and the frozen peas and simmer for a further 5 – 10 minutes until the aubergine is transparent, and the pasta is al dente.
Drain and set aside.

Using the same saucepan, pour in the tomato puree and water.
Add cherry tomatoes and basil.
Simmer for five minutes.

Tip in the flaked tuna and the drained pasta and vegetables.
Turn gently to combine.
Allow to heat through.

Serve with a crisp green salad.

Friday, May 28, 2010


Today is miracle day. Just because I want it to be.

Be on the lookout for a miracle, not just today but every day – it could be a beautiful garden, or a bird on the lawn; a child’s laughter, or a welcoming hug. Look carefully or you might miss it.

Have a wonderful, miracle filled weekend.

Spanish style chicken : Wk22/5

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quick
450gm skinless chicken breast, cut in chunks
3 tsp paprika

1 large onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 x 410gm tin chopped tomatoes
140gm sweet pepper dews, sliced
12 pitless black olives, sliced
±16 large spinach leaves and stalks, chopped

Spray a large pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Fry the onion and garlic until the onion starts to soften.
Add the chicken and paprika and stir fry until sealed.

Tip in the tomatoes and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the pepper dews and olives and stir well.
Put the chopped spinach on top, cover with a lid and simmer another 5 minutes.

Remove the lid.
Turn everything gently to incorporate the spinach.

Serve with warm crusty bread.

I found crushed pepper dews at the deli counter of my local Pick and Pay, sold loose. They combine really well with the paprika to give a mildly spicy sweet flavour to this dish. You can also buy whole pepper dews in a bottle and shred them yourself.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Link to .pdf files for Week 23

Go here for the printer friendly recipes and shopping list for Week 23.


Sunday was my husband’s birthday, so we had a buffet lunch for 12. Here is the dessert – definitely only an occasional treat! It keeps well in the fridge, and I have even frozen it for a short time – not that there is usually any left to freeze.

Serves 12
1 packet Tennis biscuits
80gms butter
3 large eggs
150gms caster sugar
2 Tblsp lemon juice
Grated rind of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla essence
20mls gelatin powder/granules
100mls cold water
125ml cream
250gms fat free smooth cottage cheese

Spray a 19cm (diameter) spring form pan – or you can use a pyrex dish if you prefer.
Line the bottom of the spring form pan with baking paper.

Crush the biscuits into fine crumbs.
Melt the butter.
Combine the crumbs and butter and press into the base of the pan (or dish).
Set aside.

Put the gelatin to soften in the cold water.
Separate the eggs.
Put the egg yolks, lemon juice and rind in the top of a double boiler along with half the sugar and the vanilla essence. (Using a double boiler or a bowl over simmering water prevents the yolks from cooking too fast and becoming scrambled egg!)
Heat while whisking until the mixture thickens slightly.
Add the gelatin and keep whisking until it dissolves completely.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Beat the egg whites until thick and peaky, adding the remaining sugar a little at a time.
Whip the cream until thick.
Stir the cottage cheese into the cooled egg yolk mixture.

Gently fold the egg yolk/cheese into the whites, then fold in the cream.
Pour onto the biscuit base and allow to set in the fridge (about 3 hours).
Once set, remove from the spring form pan and carefully remove the baking paper.
Slide onto a serving plate and top with the fruit of your choice.

If you use a pyrex dish you can serve from there directly. The first slice is a bit difficult to get out, but after that it’s fine.
I know, using fat free cottage cheese is a bit silly, what with all the saturated fats in the butter and cream! But we save calories where we can, don't we?

Stirfry spaghetti mee : Wk22/4

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quick
240gm spaghetti (or egg noodles)
1 flat Tblsp beef stock powder

400gm beef fillet, finely sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
150gm mange tout, halved lengthways
2 bok choy, roughly chopped
100gm baby corn, quartered lengthways
2.5 cm root ginger, peeled and cut in fine matchsticks
1 Tblsp soy sauce
4 Tblsp BBQ sauce

Dissolve the stock cube in the water that you are going to cook the spaghetti (noodles) in.
Cook the spaghetti (noodles) until al dente.
Drain the spaghetti (noodles) retaining ½ cup of the cooking stock.
Keep the spaghetti warm.

Spray a wok (or deep saucepan) with non-stick cooking spray.
Quickly dry fry the steak pieces, and remove from the pan.
Dry fry the onion until it begins to soften.
Add the other prepared vegetables and ginger and stir fry for about 5 minutes.
Add back the steak and pour in the sauces and the retained stock.
Give everything a good stir to combine and coat with the sauce.

Tip in the spaghetti (noodles) and stir again.

Serve with extra soy sauce if desired.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Eating away from home

Our children will often eat away from home. They will perhaps have a sleep over at a friend’s house or go to grandparents for a weekend. Or perhaps they will be having lunch from the school canteen or at crèche. Do you know what they will be eating? Are they old enough and wise enough to choose for themselves?

If your child has an allergy or is on medication you will be sure to inform the temporary care-giver, won’t you? You have just as much right and need to inform them of your child’s normal eating habits.

I heard a story a while ago about a little boy of 5 who went to spend the night with a friend. The little boy’s parents were vegetarian, and so by circumstance, it seemed, was he. His host mother gave him a hamburger, which he tucked into with great relish and even asked for more. But he soon became very, very sick. It turned out that he had a rare protein allergy, and his parents had become vegetarian to cope with this – but they did not notify the friend’s parents of the reason. A lot of pain, suffering and expense could have been spared if they had.

Although a deviation from normal eating patterns is not necessarily life threatening, and occasional food indulgences are pleasurable, it is always advisable to be aware of, and maintain some control over, what your children are ingesting.

Even as adults, we don’t always acknowledge what is bad for us.

Winter salad : Wk22/3

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quick
4 hard-boiled eggs, shelled and halved
½ pillow pack mixed rocket and spinach (about 60-80gms)
Handful of watercress, torn
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
10cm cucumber, julienned
40gm herbed croutons

1 Tblsp capers, finely chopped
2 Tblsp lemon juice
2 tsp olive oil
1 Tblsp red wine (if you have)

Arrange the spinach, rocket and watercress in the base of a large salad bowl.
Scatter over the tomato halves and the cucumber.

For the dressing, mix together the capers, lemon juice, oil and wine.
Pour over the salad, and toss well to combine.

Scatter over the croutons and arrange the eggs around the edge of the bowl.

This dressing is lovely with fish, so you could add flaked tinned salmon to the salad before dressing.
I served this with cold boiled new potatoes in their skins.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is the last of the four fat-soluble vitamins; that means that, as with vitamins A, D and E, there must be some fat in your food for this vitamin to be absorbed. Vitamin K has 5 variants – K1 phylloquinone and K2 menaquinone occur naturally. K3, K4 and K5 are synthetic.

Vitamin K:
  • Aids in blood coagulation
  • Is necessary for fat digestion
  • Promotes calcium deposits in bone
  • Prevents bone de-calcification
  • Prevents calcification of arteries

 Sources of Vitamin K:
  • Liver
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Tomatoes
  • Cheese
  • Soya beans

 Deficiency symptoms:
  • Nose bleeds and gum bleeding
  • Diarrhea
  • Anemia
The average diet is not usually lacking in Vitamin K. Stringent dieting, bulimia, alcoholism and recent abdominal surgeries may cause a deficiency. People with cystic fibrosis, osteoporosis and coronary heart disease and those taking anticoagulants may also be at risk.

Always check with your doctor before taking supplements of any kind. An excess of any vitamin can have unpleasant side effects.


Pecan honeyed chicken : Wk22/2

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quick
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 spring onions
125ml white wine
125ml chicken stock
30ml honey
10ml Dijon mustard
65gm pecan nuts, coarsely chopped

100gm mixed lettuce leaves
1 Tblsp lemon juice
2 pears, thinly slice
10ml olive oil

Dip the pear slices in the lemon juice to prevent them browning.
Put the mixed lettuce in a bowl with the remaining lemon juice and the oil. Toss to combine.

Spray a pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Dry fry the chicken breasts about 10 minutes each side, or until cooked to your liking.
Remove from the pan and slice in half diagonally.
Keep warm.

Cook the spring onions in the same pan, until they begin to soften slightly.
Add the wine and bring to the boil.
Allow the wine to reduce by about half.
Add the honey, stock and mustard.
Continue cooking, stirring continuously until the liquid is again reduced by about half – about 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir through the nuts.

Divide the lettuce and pear slices between four dinner plates.
Serve two halves of chicken breast per person, and drizzle over the honey-nut sauce.

Honey and mustard make such a wonderful combination. They go really well with chicken, fish and red meat. I served this with sour dough potato bread.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Gaining experience

I enjoy cooking – most of the time – but a lot of people say they don’t like to cook, or don’t know how to cook. To me, this sounds like a lack of cooking experience or confidence. You can achieve anything you want to do. Food preparation is a natural, and largely instinctive, part of life.

Start with a simple recipe, with no more than 10 ingredients including spices and herbs. Broccoli and asparagus pesto pasta might be a good one to start with. Is the recipe for the right number of people? Scale it up or down, and write your alterations on the recipe sheet.

Make a shopping list and go to the supermarket. Read through the recipe at least twice before you even think about starting, then read through it again.

Assemble all the ingredients, and prepare each as directed. Wash, peel, chop, slice, measure. You can even line everything up in the order it’s going to be added. Read through the recipe again and check that you have everything. Now you can start to cook.

It takes a while to begin with, but you will speed up with experience. It doesn’t matter if you make mistakes along the way, keep learning and keep trying. Everything worth doing is worth doing well. Doing something well requires a bit of experience, that’s all.

Leek cobbler : Wk22/1

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quickish
300gm leeks, trimmed and sliced
4-6 courgettes, sliced
1 large carrot, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1 green apple, grated
200gm ham, chopped or shredded
400ml veg stock

100gm cake flour
2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
1 Tblsp olive oil
75gm natural fat free yoghurt

Combine the flour, oil, yoghurt, thyme leaves and a little salt to form the pastry.

Spray a large pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Dry fry the leeks, courgettes and carrot for a few minutes until the leek starts to soften.
Add the stock and simmer for ten minutes.

Stir through the ham, peas and grated apple.
Tip into a sprayed/greased casserole dish.

Roll or press the pastry to about 1cm thickness.
Cut out pastry rounds and place on top of the veg and ham mix.

Bake at 200°C for 20 – 25 minutes until the pastry rounds are browned and the vegetables are bubbling.

Serve with plain boiled potatoes, if you wish.

For a vegetarian version, leave out the ham.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Alone or lonely?

We all depend on others, however reluctant we may be to admit it.

What if you were the only person left alive in the world? Would you survive?

Who would generate your electricity, purify your water, supply you with gas for cooking, stock the supermarket with fresh produce, and be on hand to provide health care? There would be no television or computers; no telephones; no shops; no banks; no businesses; no crime; no wars; no other people.

Would it matter then if you had no money and no job? Would it matter then if you had loads of money, a huge mansion of a house and the fanciest, newest car?

Only then would you be truly alone. And lonely.

But in our ordinary humdrum existence, no one need - or indeed can - ever be completely alone and self sufficient, yet everyone experiences loneliness at some time.

Do you know someone who is lonely?

Spicy spinach and chickpeas

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quick
300gm potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 x ±410gm tin chopped tomatoes and onion
1 x ±410gm tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained
250gm spinach, roughly chopped
2 sprigs Vietnamese coriander, leaves chopped
1 tsp each: ground coriander, paprika, turmeric, chilli
1 Tblsp cumin seeds

4 whole wheat naan breads
Fat free natural yoghurt

Put the potatoes on to cook in lightly salted boiling water.
Drain when tender, and keep warm.

Spray a pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Dry fry the coriander, cumin, paprika, turmeric and chilli powder until fragrant.
Add the chopped tomato and onion mix.
Add the chickpeas.
Allow to come to the boil, and simmer for five minutes.

Add the potatoes.
Add the spinach and chopped Vietnamese coriander.
Keep turning until the spinach has wilted.
Warm the naan breads.

Serve the Spicy spinach and chickpeas in bowls.
Accompany with warm naan breads, natural yoghurt and chutney.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Link to .pdf files for Week 22

Go here for the recipes and shopping list for Week 22.

Dairy products

Milk, cheese and yoghurt are some of our main dietary sources of calcium, a mineral essential for healthy teeth and bones. Butter, cream and most cheeses (as well as full cream milk and yoghurt) are high in saturated fats, so the semi-skimmed (low fat) is better and the skimmed (fat-free) versions are best.

I occasionally use low-fat cheese spread, and I always buy fat-free cottage cheese. I have tried the fat-reduced cheddar, but I didn’t find it very palatable. I would rather use less of a strong flavoured full-fat cheese, such as Black Crow, for cooking.

Dairy products also supply us with phosphorous and magnesium, as well as good quality protein. Just because the fat has been removed doesn’t mean that the products are any less nutritious. 250ml of low fat milk contains almost 20% of your daily protein and calcium needs.

Cow’s milk is, of course, designed for calves and not for people. The digestive enzyme required for the proper digestion of milk – rennin – is only produced in humans up to the age of about two years. Some children initially suffer with lactose intolerance, though they often outgrow this. Soy milk is a convenient substitute, it has about the same amount of protein as cow’s milk but has very little in the way of digestible calcium. To overcome this, most manufacturers now enrich soy milk with calcium carbonate. Soy milk has little saturated fat (about 2%) and no cholesterol.

The South African Food Based Dietary Guidelines recommend no more than 400-500ml of milk per day (for adults). 250ml of milk is equivalent to 30gm cheese or 175ml yoghurt. Without even realising it, you probably use at least 125ml of milk in your tea and coffee throughout the day, and another 125 – 250 ml on your breakfast cereal.

Curry-ander fish

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quick
8 small hake fillets
2 tsp chopped coriander
2 tsp curry paste

1 small avocado, sliced
±8 cm cucumber, julienne
1 small green pepper, sliced
2 handfuls lettuce, torn
2 tsp chopped coriander
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon

240gm rice

Put the rice on to cook in lightly salted boiling water.
Drain when tender, and keep warm.

Combine the avo, cucumber, green pepper and lettuce in a bowl.
For the dressing, combine the 2 tsp coriander with the lemon juice and rind.

Combine the other 2 tsp of coriander with the curry paste.
Spray a ridged pan with non-stick cooking spray and put on to heat up.
Dry fry the fish, presentation side down, for 4 – 5 minutes.
Brush the curry mix on the wrong side.
Turn the fish, and brush the presentation side with the rest of the curry mix.
Cook for a further 4-5 minutes or until the fish flakes easily.

Serve 2 fish fillets per person with the rice and salad.
Serve the salad dressing separately.

Depending on the curry paste you use (I used Patak’s Tikka Masala), this can be very mild or very hot!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Is your child overweight?

Although it is fairly easy to calculate the number of kilojoules an adult requires per day - based on age, gender, health and activity levels – the same cannot be said for children. Children have different energy requirements to an adult, and a higher need for nutrient dense food; that’s nutrient dense, not kilojoule dense. If a child is overweight, rather look at the kind of food he or she is consuming and the amount of exercise he or she is getting.

A formalized diet doesn’t work for children any more than it does for an adult; children need to be shown, by example, how to make healthy food choices. This means choosing fruit and vegetables over sweets and fatty foods. Fish fingers, chicken nuggets and fruit juices are frequent menu items for most children – these are high in kilojoules for the nutrition they supply. Far rather offer plain fish or chicken, and always dilute fruit juice half-and-half with water. Just one teaspoon of fat equals about 792kjoules, as opposed to a teaspoon of protein or carbohydrate which equates to about 374kjoules.

Children are by nature energetic – they like to run about and explore, and they are continually testing and learning about their environment and the people and things in it. In contrast, when mum and dad get home from work, they are often mentally exhausted and just want to sit and relax. Generally, children want to spend time with their parents, and will choose a sedentary activity just so they can be in the same room. Sedentary activities such as playing computer games or watching television burn up far fewer kilojoules than taking the dog for a walk, doing some gardening or riding a bicycle. All of which can be fun for the family. If the climate you live in doesn't encourage outdoor activities, a Wii is a great indoor alternative..

As a parent, you are a role model for your children. Don’t apply rigorous dietary strictures to an overweight child – singling out one child and treating him or her differently from the rest of the family will only cause conflict, unhappiness and, possibly, future food related issues. If your child is overweight, then the only way forward is for everyone in the family to take steps towards healthy eating in the home.

Broccoli and asparagus pesto pasta

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quick
240gm pasta (I used farfalle)

250gm broccoli, broken into florets
150gm green asparagus, cut into 3cm lengths
3Tblsp pesto
250gm fat free smooth cottage cheese
4Tblsp pine nuts
16 cherry tomatoes, halved

Cook the pasta in lightly salted boiling water.
Drain when al dente, reserving about 3Tblsp of the cooking water.

Steam, microwave or boil the broccoli and asparagus.
Drain and keep warm.

Stir the pesto through the cottage cheese.
Put the pasta, reserved liquid, tomato halves and cheese/ pesto mix back in the pan.
Reheat very gently. (Cottage cheese tends to separate when it gets too hot.)

Serve garnished with the pine nuts, and a salad on the side.

This is just as good cold, so you can use leftovers for a packed lunch that needs no heating. I thought, after I had made this, that I could have dropped the asparagus and broccoli into the same pan as the pasta, and saved on the washing up!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Vitamin E: Tochopherol

Vitamin E (along with A, D and K) is a fat-soluble vitamin; that means that there must be some fat in your food for this vitamin to be absorbed. Vitamin E coats each and every cell membrane..

Vitamin E:
  •  Is an antioxidant
  •  Protects cell membranes
  •  Lowers cholesterol
  •  Protects against heart disease
  •  Improves fertility
  •  Aids with the absorption of Vitamin K
Sources of Vitamin E:
  •  Flax seed oil
  •  Grape seed oil
  •  Green leafy vegetables
  •  Whole grains
  •  Nuts
  •  Avocado
  •  Egg yolk

 Deficiency symptoms:
  •  Cold hands and feet
  •  Easy bruising
  •  Slow wound healing
  •  Loss of muscle tone
  •  Slow reflexes

 (Of course these symptoms may result from something other than Vit.E deficiency. Don't immediately reach for a supplement! Always check with your doctor before taking supplements of any kind. An excess of any vitamin can have unpleasant side effects.)


Meatball hotpot

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quick
300gm lean minced beef
½ tsp dried mixed herbs

2 carrots, chopped
2 medium potatoes, chopped
1 large leek, sliced
4-6 baby corn
8 – 10 button mushrooms, chopped

2 x ±400gm tins chopped tomatoes
200gm frozen peas

4 pita breads

Cook the carrots, potatoes, leek, corn and mushrooms in a little water until the carrots and
potatoes are soft.
Drain and leave in a colander.

Mash the mixed herbs into the mince.
Shape teaspoonfuls of the mince into balls.
Dry fry the meatballs, turning them over and around until they are nicely browned.
Remove from the pan and drain off any excess fat.

Put the cooked veg back in the pan and add the tomatoes.
Stir in the peas.
Lay the meatballs on top of everything.
Simmer for ten minutes.

Serve the meatball hotpot with toasted pita breads.

Kids seem to love meatballs. Here’s the perfect way to get them to eat lots of vegetables, too.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Meatless Mondays

Vegetarianism has been a way of life throughout the world for hundreds, if not thousands, of years and it is spreading.

Even if you are a carnivore, there is no reason why you shouldn't give your digestive system a break, at least once a week, by eating a vegetarian meal. Yes, some vegetarian recipes are high in kilojoules and fats, but a low fat vegetarian meal (or diet) is easy to achieve.

A balanced vegetarian diet tends to be low in saturated fats and high in fibre; also, because you are eating more vegetables, you get more of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals your body needs. Protein is supplied by eggs, milk, yoghurt, cheese and nuts - plus in many countries tofu, quorn and soya substitutes are readily available as ready-meals and 'in-the-raw'.

Most non-vegetarians seem to think that vegetarian food consisits of limp lettuce leaves or a plate of plain vegetables. This doesn't, indeed shouldn't, be the case. Vegetarians enjoy beans , peas, lentils, grains, nuts and seeds - they will happily eat other complex carbohydrates such as bread, rice, pasta, quinoa, bulghar wheat, couscous and potatoes too. Many enjoy eggs and dairy products.

I have fed three vegetarian family members (and many guests) on numerous occassions. My oldest daughter became an ethical vegetarian after studying philosophy at university - and remains a vegetarian twenty years later. She was not always healthy to begin with, but she has learned through experience to balance her food groups.

If you think about it, you don't have to give up much. And you will save on your budget and your health.

Tarragon mustard fish cakes

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quickish
1 x 350gm tin pink salmon, drained
350gm potatoes
250gm butternut
2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
1 large tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp dried tarragon
1 Tblsp Helman’s low-fat mayo
1 Tblsp tomato puree
4 Tblsp flour
1 egg, beaten
2-3 slices bread, crumbed
2 Tblsp olive oil

4-6 Tblsp fat free yoghurt
Snipped fresh chives

Peel the potatoes and butternut and cut into small chunks.
Cook in lightly salted boiling water.
Drain and mash and allow to cool.

Mix the mustard, tarragon, mayo, tomato puree and anchovies together.
Add this and half the salmon to the mashed potatoes.
Beat well then gently stir through the remaining salmon.

Shape into 8 cakes.
Dip each in flour, then in the egg, then in the breadcumbs to coat.

Fry the fish cakes in a little oil, about 5 minutes each side until nicely browned.

For the dressing, mix together the yoghurt and snipped fresh chives.

Serve 2 fish cakes per person, accompanied by the dressing and a fresh salad.

The anchovy is not essential, but does give the fish cakes a little more depth. Without, they
are a little bit bland.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Family meals

These days, what with work, school, home-work and extra-mural activities, it can be difficult to get the whole family to sit down to a meal together. But making the effort to share a meal around the dinner table is well worth the effort in scheduling.

A family meal, eaten together, nourishes the family bond as well as the body. It provides a time for communication. We often spend more time and effort cultivating our friends than our family members.
When did you last spend more than five minutes talking and listening to your children – or spouse for that matter – without instructing or criticizing?

Research shows that family meal times foster identity and a sense of belonging. Children who eat with the family show lower rates of smoking, drinking and illegal drug use as well as having higher academic achievement.

Try and eat together, as a family, at least five times a week. Turn off the television. If you feel uncomfortable without some background noise, then play soft music – preferably classical. The slower pace of the music will encourage slower eating, which is far better for digestion.

Have a great weekend.

Apricot chicken : Wk20 / 5

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quick
8 skinless boneless chicken thighs cut into chunks
1 Tblsp plain flour
1 onion, sliced
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
500ml chicken stock
12 soft dried apricots, quartered

240gm rice
1 cup frozen peas
2 Tblsp chopped coriander

Put the rice on to cook in lightly salted boiling water.
Add the frozen peas for the last 5 minutes.
Drain. Stir through the chopped coriander.
Keep warm.

Put the flour, cumin, coriander and paprika in a zip-seal plastic bag and shake.
Drop the chicken pieces into the bag and shake well.

Spray a pan with non-stick cooking spray
Dry fry the onion until it starts to soften.
Add the chicken pieces and fry to seal.
Slowly pour in the chicken stock stirring all the time.
Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the apricots.
Stir and simmer for a further 15 minutes.

Serve the chicken with the rice and a crispy salad.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Link to .pdf files for Week 21

Go here for the recipes and shopping list for Week 21.

Anytime eggs

I’m very partial to eggs. They are inexpensive, nutritious and quick and easy to prepare. Plus, if small children are ‘off colour’ and not eating well, they will pretty much always eat an egg custard.

Eggs are high in cholesterol (about 310 milligrams per egg), and the advised amount of cholesterol per day is 300milligrams, so they are best eaten one at a time and as the only protein source at that meal. The Heart Foundation of South Africa recommends a maximum intake of only 3 – 4 eggs per week, but recent studies have confirmed that saturated fat – not dietary cholesterol – is the cause of high blood cholesterol levels.

Eggs should always be well cooked – especially for young children and the elderly. Salmonella has been found even in clean uncracked eggs, so they should not really be eaten raw. Refrigeration helps to keep eggs fresh for up to three weeks, but don’t store them in the door as the continual fluctuation in temperature as you open and close the fridge can cause the shells to crack. Ideally eggs should be stored in a covered container on a lower shelf.

Eggs may cause allergic reactions in small children (under 3 years of age) so it’s best not to offer eggs before a child is one year old – especially if allergies run in the family. For the same reason, it’s best to avoid eating eggs yourself if you are breastfeeding.

Eggs are best eaten as an omellette or scrambled as they are more easily digested this way. Accompany with raw tomato and parsley to further aid digestion.

The best eggs to buy? Probably organic or free range, although unless you eat only organic foods as the norm I don’t think the organic ones are worth the extra cost. The same goes for Omega-3 eggs. If you want Omega-3 then eat a piece of fish. Always check the date-stamp on the packaging, and check the contents for cracks.

Curried chickpeas and spinach : Wk20 / 4

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quick
I large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tblsp Patak’s Rogan Josh curry paste
2 tsp chopped root ginger
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 red chilli, finely sliced (optional)
1 x ±400gm tin chopped tomatoes
2 x ±400gm tins chickpeas, rinsed and drained
250ml vegetable stock
400gm baby spinach, roughly chopped
3 Tblsp chopped fresh coriander
4 naan breads

Spray a large saucepan with non-stick cooking spray.

Dry fry the onion and garlic until the onion starts to soften.
Add the curry paste, ginger, cumin and turmeric and stir well.

Add the chilli and red pepper, the tomatoes and stock.
Allow to simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the spinach a little at a time, stirring well after each addition.
Stir in the chickpeas and simmer for 5 minutes more to heat through.
Stir through the chopped coriander.

Serve the curry with warm naan breads and mango chutney.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I've just updated all the recipe collections, up to and including the recipes for Week 22.

Tuck shops

When I was at school (millennia ago, it seems!) there was no such thing as a ‘tuck’ shop. We either took a packed lunch from home, or ate a ‘proper’ cooked meal in the school cafeteria (I can still conjure up the smell!), and at break we were given 1/3 pint of milk. These days, every school seems to have its own tuck shop, staffed by volunteer mums.

I find these venues to be easy roads straight to unhealthy eating. The menu may include ‘toasted sarmies’ , hot dogs, pies (of dubious vintage) and Chelsea buns the size of a small pick-up truck! Other than these delicacies, there are inevitably sweets (candy), chocolates, cold drinks (sodas) and chips (crisps). And the poor child who doesn’t have tuck money is sometimes pitied, oftentimes ridiculed.

We don’t have a Jamie Oliver in South Africa, and our volunteer tuck shop mums don’t seem concerned about the sort of tuck their children are tucking into. So our children fill up on starch, fat, sugar and E-numbers at break, and more than likely go home to a sandwich or 2-minute noodle lunch! Did they eat a healthy breakfast? Do they get a decent evening meal? I’m willing to bet that many of them have take-aways – pizza, fried chicken, burger and chips – more than once a week! Do they even know what vegetables are? Oh, they may have a passing acquaintance with lettuce (1 leaf), tomato (1 slice) and raw onion, because those come on a burger. No wonder most children are squeamish when it’s time to go to Gran’s for Sunday lunch, and they are expected to eat all their vegetables (although in South Africa, Gran is probably going to have a braai (BBQ) anyway, and the veg can be sidestepped yet again.

And where’s the fruit, other than in juice form in a box?

Take a close look at what your children are eating on a daily basis. Are they developing healthy eating habits? Do they get the opportunity to make healthy food choices? You are the only example they have, and you are the only one who can educate them. Now. Before they become overweight and even more unhealthy.

Salmon pasta : Wk20 / 3

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quick
240gm pasta twirls

400gm skinless salmon steaks
1 onion, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced

Freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh parsley

Cook the pasta in lightly salted boiling water.
Drain, reserving 2 – 3 Tblsp of the cooking liquid.
Keep warm.

Spray a pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Dry fry the onion. When it begins to soften,
Add the salmon steaks and cook 5 minutes per side.
The salmon will start to break up slightly.
Add the red pepper and cook while stirring gently.

Tip the salmon mixture into the pasta along with the reserved liquid.

Toss well to combine.

Serve with a fresh green salad.
Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and black pepper.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Vitamin D: calciferol

Vitamin D (along with A, E and K) is a fat-soluble vitamin; that means that there must be some fat in your food for this vitamin to be absorbed. Vitamin D has synergy with calcium, phosphorous and magnesium.

Vitamin D promotes:
  • Calcification of teeth and bones.
  • Calcium absorption by the blood.
  • Healthy eyelashes
  • Influences absorption of phosphorous.
  • Is said to inhibit breast cancer, and is thought to be useful in the treatment of prostate cancer.
Sources of Vitamin D:
  • Fish oils
  • Flax seed oil
  • Green vegetables
  • Egg yolk
  • Yeast
  • Fortified milk
  • Sunlight
Deficiency symptoms:
  • Rickets
  • Dental cavities
  • Osteoporosis
  • Arthritis
  • Excessive sweating
(Of course these symptoms may result from something other than Vit.D deficiency. Don't immediately reach for a supplement! Always check with your doctor before taking supplements of any kind. An excess of any vitamin can have unpleasant side effects.)


Green stir fry : Week 20/2

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quick
1 onion, sliced
300gm green asparagus spears cut into 3cm lengths
1 green pepper, cut in chunks
200gm frozen green beans
2 sticks celery, sliced
150gm button mushrooms, sliced
150gm spinach, chopped
1 tsp grated ginger root
1 Tblsp sesame seeds

240gm rice

Cook the rice in lightly salted boiling water until it is tender.
Drain and keep warm.

Spray a wok with non-stick cooking spray.
Dry fry the onion and celery until they soften.
Add the ginger, mushrooms, and green pepper .
Lastly add the spinach and green beans.
Give it all a good stir to combine.
Continue stir frying until the spinach wilts.

Serve the vegetables over the rice.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Talking recipes

I often think, while I’m typing up a recipe, that I should discuss ‘recipes’ as a construct. No recipe is cast in stone – baking may be an exception here, because you have to get the sugar to fat to flour balance just right – but you can do pretty much anything with a savoury dish.

If you are fairly new to cooking, or you’re trying to improve the quality of the food you prepare for yourself and your family, then it is probably best to follow a recipe fairly precisely. But if you have been cooking for years and you’re just looking to find healthy alternatives to your usual repertoire, you can afford to experiment a bit.

You can do a couple of things to ‘clean up’ family favourites.
  • Leave out any added fats and oils – use a non-stick cooking spray instead.
  • Buy the leanest meats you can find, and trim off any visible fat.
  • Stretch your mince dishes with lentils (or soy mince).
  • Always add beans, lentils and/or barley to a pot of soup.
  • Only buy low-fat, fat-free or fat reduced products.
  • Use a salt substitute.
  • Limit animal protein quantities.
  • Control portion sizes.
  • Fill up on fresh salads and vegetables.
If a recipe contains something you don’t like or can’t get, don’t reject it out-of-hand. Substitute.
My recipes usually call for a lot of vegetables, but if one that I use is your all-time pet hate then leave it out, or substitute with a vegetable of the same colour that you do like. I never used to like aubergines, because more often than not, recipes want you to pfaff around with them an awful lot, which really isn’t necessary. I have them growing in my garden, so I use them quite a bit these days. Peel them, cut them in chunks and they are wonderful for giving body to soups and stews – and I bet you won’t even notice them!

If you want to change the quantities in a recipe – say you’re cooking for 2 or 6, not the 4 stipulated – be careful with the quantity of herbs and spices; e.g. if you’re doubling the recipe DON’T double the spices unless you’re absolutely sure. You can end up with something that is unpalatable if you’re not careful. Rather under than over spice.
Whatever you do, don’t get stuck in a rut preparing and eating the same old recipes the same old way week after week. Even if they are healthy!

Stuffed chicken breast : Wk20/1

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quick
8 small skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 Tblsp pine nuts
Juice of 1 lemon
3 Tblsp raisins
3 tsp Moroccan spice

4 large lettuce leaves
400gm grated carrot
Grated rind and segments of 2 oranges
1 Tblsp chopped coriander
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Handful baby rocket

Preheat oven to 180ºC.
Spray an ovenproof dish and a small frying pan with non-stick cooking spray.

For the stuffing:
Dry fry the onion until soft.
Add the pine nuts and allow to brown slightly.
Add ½ the spice, raisins and ½ the lemon juice.
Remove from heat.

Butterfly the chicken breasts, and open out like a book.
Pile the stuffing onto one side of each breast and close the book.
Place the stuffed chicken pieces in the oven proof dish.
Brush with the remaining lemon juice, and sprinkle over the remaining spice.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

For the salad:
Grate the carrots into a large bowl.
Add the orange rind and segments.
Add the cinnamon and chopped coriander.
Give everything a good stir to combine.
Place a lettuce leaf on each plate.
Pile the carrot salad onto each lettuce leaf.
Top with baby rocket.

Serve 2 stuffed breasts per person alongside the salad.

Friday, May 7, 2010

We are NOT all the same.

I don’t like sweeping generalizations much. We are continually told that people are all the same, but then we are also told that each person is unique. So which is it? I think the truth lies in what criteria are in place at the time.

Hypothesis 1: We are all the same.
Yes, physiologically. Maybe. We all have bones and muscles; eyes, ears and teeth; arms, legs, hands and feet; hair and skin. Even that is a broad generalization – many people don’t have all those things. We can’t even say that we all have the same wants and needs - beyond food, shelter, health and world peace. And again, our needs and wants for food, shelter and health (yes, and world peace) are different from person to person, and different within each person at different times! The only criteria to satisfy the condition ‘we are all the same’ would seem to be…

I really don’t know. Everything I can think of leads to a quantifiable variable. Can you think of anything that makes every single person on our planet the same?

Hypothesis 2: Each person is unique.
I have to go with this one. It just makes sense to me; I don’t think I have to argue its logic or credibility. Do you agree?

So if each of us is unique, then it follows that we each have our own philosophy; our own path to choose and follow. Our own goals. We may share goals, such as weight loss or following a healthier lifestyle but we will each go about attaining those goals in our own way. And we each deserve respect for having set a goal, and continuing encouragement for striving towards it – by whatever means.

What I’m trying to say is that my way of doing things is not necessarily your way. I can show you my way to weight loss, but it may not suit your tastes or current lifestyle.

Let’s not criticize ourselves, or each other, for our different approaches to life and problem solving. Many years and experiences have made us the unique individuals we are. None of us is perfect.

Have a great weekend.

Seafood pasta : Wk19/5

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quick

240gm curly spaghetti
1 onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 x ±400gm can chopped tomatoes
1 Tblsp tomato puree
1 red chilli, finely chopped

400gm prawns, shelled and

Chopped fresh parsley

Cook the curly spaghetti in lightly salted boiling water until al dente.
Drain and keep warm.

Meanwhile, spray a pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Dry fry the onion until it starts to soften.
Add the garlic, chilli, tomatoes and puree.
Simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add the prawns and continue cooking for another five minutes.

Serve the sauce over the curly spaghetti and garnish with lots of fresh parsley.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Link to .pdf files for Week 20

Go here for the recipes and shopping list for Week 20.

Free radicals – but who wants them?

I’ll give you a very simplistic definition of ‘free radicals’. (I'm not a chemist)

Free radicals are atoms or molecules with unpaired electrons. The ‘missing’ electrons make these atoms and molecules highly reactive in that they will scavenge for an electron, attaching to and destroying other atoms and molecules. Free radicals occur naturally in the body, and not all of them are bad: some help to kill germs and fight bacteria. External triggers causing free radicals include tobacco smoke, chemicals, exhaust emissions, radiation and alcohol.

Free radical damage is thought to be responsible for: heart disease, many cancers, ageing and post-exercise muscle soreness. Unchecked free radicals can damage DNA, destroy enzymes and disrupt red blood cell membranes. They are undoubtedly involved in tissue damage in, for example, rheumatoid arthritis, emphysema, chronic bronchitis and malignancies.

What can we do to protect ourselves? Most of the external triggers are unavoidable in today’s polluted atmosphere. And free radicals occur naturally anyway.

Bring on the big guns – antioxidants.
Antioxidants disarm free radicals and render them harmless. So where do antioxidants come from? I’ll take the super large size package, please.

Antioxidants come from:
  • Vitamins A, C and E
  • Selenium
  • Carotenes
  • Flavonoids
  • Phytochemicals
and these are all in the top ten foods to fight free radicals:
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Plums
  • Oranges
  • Red grapes
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Beetroot
  • Kale
Which only goes to show that when you eat a good variety of foods from each of the different food groups every day, and you keep your food colourful, Nature supplies everything you need.

Beefy Stirfry : Wk19/4

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quick

400gm beef strips
1 red onion, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
±20 cherry tomatoes
2 large carrots, julienne
4 courgettes, julienne
6-8 mini corn, quartered lengthways
150gm mushrooms, chopped
1 aubergine, julienne
½ cup beef stock
2 Tblsp soy sauce
2 Tblsp teriyaki sauce
240gm rice

Put the rice on to cook in lightly salted boiling water.
Drain when cooked and keep warm.

Spray a large pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Dry fry the onion and celery for a few minutes, until the onion is softened.
Add the beef strips and stir fry to seal.
Add the remaining vegetables and the stock.
Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender.

Stir through the soy sauce and teriyaki sauce.

Serve the beef beside the rice, with extra soy sauce if desired.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Kids and their relationship with food

None of us wants to have to deal with eating issues in our children, so here are ten pointers to get you through those ‘picky’ stages that occur every so often.
  •  Don’t force your child to eat – if s/he doesn’t want to eat now, s/he’ll make up for it at the next meal time (maybe!).
  •  Don’t try bribery – yes, it may work, but what kind of a precedent are you setting?
  •  Try to eat meals with your child, and set an example with your own plate.
  •  If your child is old enough, let him/her help with meal choices.
  •  If you offer choices, limit them to 2 – e.g. scrambled egg OR fish fingers.
  •  Keep on introducing new foods – and keep on trying them.
  •  Let him/her decide when s/he has had enough – even if you don’t consider what s/he just ate to be a decent meal.
  • Your child may actively dislike a particular food. S/he has individual tastes and favourites just as you do.
  • Choose your battles wisely. Is it really worth the upset, tears and anger?(not just at meal times, either!)
  • You can always produce a ‘favourite’ meal of his/hers, like pasta or egg custard or yoghurt if you are feeling desperate about getting some (any!) nourishment down him/her.
Fresh air and exercise are great appetite stimulants – even running around the garden for 15 minutes

Home-made pesto pasta : Wk19/3

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quick

250gm whole wheat spaghetti
Large bunch spinach. coarsely chopped

2 Tblsp toasted pine nuts
1 Tblsp Olive oil
1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tblsp water
1 (±30gm) pack rocket , roughly chopped

Freshly grated parmesan


First, make the pesto:
Using a liquidizer or hand-held blitzer, grind the rocket, oil, garlic and water to a rough paste.
Add the pine nuts and blend to finish off the pesto.

Cook the pasta in lightly salted boiling water until it is al dente.
Drain, reserving 2-3 tablespoons of the cooking liquid.
Return the pasta to the saucepan with the reserved liquid.
Add the spinach, a handful at a time, and allow it to wilt.
Now add the pesto and give everything a good stir to combine.

Serve the pasta with grated parmesan and a crispy fresh salad.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Vitamin A: retinol, retinoic acid

Vitamin A (along with D, E and K) is a fat-soluble vitamin; that means that there must be some fat in your food for this vitamin to be absorbed. Vitamin A is produced by the liver from carotene – the stuff that makes vegetables and fruit red, yellow, dark green and orange.

Vitamin A helps maintain:
  • healthy skin
  • boosts immunity
  • maintains good vision
  • helps with the development of teeth and bones
  • heals acne
  • is an anti-oxidant
  • promotes longevity and is anti-aging.

Sources of Vitamin A:
  • fish oils
  • cold water fish
  • beef
  • mutton
  • veal
  • organ meats
  • egg yolk
  • dark green leafy veg
  • red, yellow and orange fruit and veg

Deficiency symptoms:
  • dry, flaky skin
  • recurrent skin infections
  • night blindness
  • cystitis and thrush
  • low immunity generally
(Of course, these symptoms may result from something other than Vit.A deficiency. Don't immediately reach for a supplement!)

Bacon and chickpea couscous : Wk19/2

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quick

4 slices extra lean back bacon, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced
½ red bell pepper, cut in chunks
4-6 courgettes, chopped
150gm mushrooms, chopped
1 x ±410gm chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 Tblsp sweet chilli sauce
2 Tblsp soy sauce
2 Tblsp lemon juice
2 Tblsp chopped coriander
120gm dry couscous

Put the couscous into a bowl.
Add a scant 1 ½ cups of chicken or veg stock.
Cover with a plate or cling wrap.
Stand for 5 minutes, then fluff up the grains with a fork.
Keep warm.

Spray a wok or large pan with non-stick cooking spray, and place over heat.
Stir fry the bacon bits, onion and celery until the onion softens.
Add the pepper, courgettes and mushrooms.
Stir fry until mushrooms are cooked.
Add the chickpeas and mixed sauces.
Stir well and allow to heat through thoroughly.

Serve beside the couscous, with extra sweet chilli and soy sauce if desired.

For a vegetarian version omit the bacon.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Making fresh food last

It’s all very well going to the supermarket and doing the grocery shopping for the coming week, but how fresh is the food you’re buying? I guess the best thing is to find out when the main fresh deliveries come in. My local supermarkets seem to restock on Mondays (after the weekend) and Thursdays (before the weekend). This didn’t seem to be the case last Thursday.

I’ve been feeling really weak and tired – I have a bad head cold and cough and I’ve been feeling thoroughly chilled. Because of this, my husband did the shopping for me on Saturday afternoon and reported that the shelves were bare! Very limited (and very sad looking) fresh produce. Okay, Saturday was May Day and, yes, the world and her husband were out shopping. Fortunately he managed to get the basic essentials for me, and I will just have to go again later in the week.

Anyway, I digress (sort of). I actually wanted to look at fresh fruit and vegetables, and extending their lifespan. The lifespan depends on whether the item is ‘ripe and ready to eat’ (a label not always to be believed – but store in the fridge) or intended for ‘ripening at home’ (store on the counter until ripe, and then refridgerate). And a lot depends on how you store the product.

All fruits and vegetables give off a harmless, tasteless gas called ethylene, but some give off more than others - specifically apples, apricots, avocado, bananas, figs, melon, nectarines, peaches, pears and plums. Ethylene can build up in the fridge and cause other fruits and veg to spoil, so these fruits need to be stored either on the counter (until ripe) or in a separate drawer of the fridge. In South Africa we get ‘multi-fresh’ bags which do seem to contain the ethylene and keep stuff fresher for longer.

Lettuce, watercress, basil and mushrooms can all go slimy in the fridge, because they are hydro-tropic (they attract moisture). I have found that sealing a piece of kitchen paper in with the product helps to keep it at its peak for longer (this helps prevent mould on cheese, too). But some things are best eaten within two to three days of purchase – they just taste better. Soft berries spoil very quickly, and green beans ‘rust’ while you’re looking at them.

And some things just never seem to ripen, like the mango I bought two weeks ago which is still rock hard.

Food waste is awful. And costly. Don’t buy more than you need for the week, and use it before it spoils. I don't care if it is marked down or on special, unless you know you're going to use it all, don't buy it.

Chilli lime fish : Wk19/1

Serves 4 : Very easy : Quick


8 small hake fillets
4 Tblsp sweet chilli sauce
Grated rind and juice of 1 lime
Soy sauce

240gm rice
1 large carrot, chopped
4 courgettes, chopped
200gm frozen green beans

Preheat oven to 200ºc.

Using a large saucepan, put the rice on to cook in lightly salted boiling water.
Add the carrots, courgettes and beans to the same pan and stir.
Drain and keep warm once cooked.

Meanwhile, cover a large baking sheet with foil (shiny side up).
Spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Place the fish on the foil and brush with sweet chilli sauce.
Scatter over the grated lime rind.
Squeeze over the lime juice.
Drizzle on a little soy sauce.
Cover with another sheet of foil, and seal all round.
Bake at 200ºc for 20 – 25 minutes.

Remove fish from the oven and take off the top sheet of foil.
Serve 2 fish fillets per person, with the veg and rice on the side,
Spoon any juices from the baking tray over the rice.

Serve with extra soy sauce and lime wedges

I nearly always cook my fish from frozen: if you are using fresh or thawed fish, reduce the time in the oven to 15 minutes. Also bear in mind that I am cooking at altitude; my oven doesn’t get as hot as it would at sea-level, so food doesn’t cook as fast.