Growing up, weekdays were filled with school and other activities; we spent most Saturdays with friends and on Sundays we would either have lunch at a restaurant or have this fish stew.
Making the stew and preparing the meal was lots of fun and involved every single member of the family. Some of us went to the fish monger to buy the freshest available fish and shellfish that was in season while the rest of us worked on the other components of the meal.
The main course was always the fish stew; we would prepare it using fish with soft and firm flesh to have a contrast of textures. My mom and aunt would prepare the fish stock and the fish while my uncle would work on the aromatic tomato base for the soup. I was mostly responsible for side dishes and salads but I vividly remember the process.
We served the stew with rouille which was a mayonnaise based one, I usually don’t make it when it’s the three of us but when we have company, I like to use the recipe.
The original recipe feeds 12-15 people easily for a main course, so I scaled it down significantly and made it a lot lighter, while I think it reheats beautifully, it’s best as soon as it’s made. Oh and I rarely go through the trouble of making fish stock because I find it easier to buy fish fillets but if you are using whole fish, making a homemade fish stock definitely intensifies the fish flavour. These days, most fish mongers and even some grocery stores sell fresh fish stock which is also a good option.
- 3-4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion
- 3 celery stalks
- 3 medium carrots
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 28oz. cans diced tomatoes or 7 cups peeled, diced fresh tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 10-12 parsley sprigs
- 3 thyme sprigs
- Pinch of saffron
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4-6 cups of fish stock or water
- 2-3 pounds white fish fillet such as halibut, tilapia, monk fish, basa, mahi mahi,
- Shellfish (optional)
Peel the onion and carrots, chop into large chunks and place in a food processor with the celery, pulse until finely chopped. Heat the olive oil in a very large pot or a Dutch oven, add the onion mixture and sauté lightly until the vegetables wilt but do not take on much of a colour, add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes.
Make a bouquet garni with bay leaves, parsley and thyme; add it to the vegetables along with the tomatoes and 4 cups of water of fish stock. Add the saffron, if using, season generously with salt and pepper and simmer over low heat for about half an hour to 45 minutes.
Meanwhile cut the fish size pieces and prepare the shellfish, if using shrimp, leave the tails on and refrigerate the seafood until ready to add to the tomato base.
Once the tomato base is ready, adjust the seasoning, add the fish and shellfish, if using and simmer over low heat until cooked; at this point more fish stock or water can be used to reach the desired consistency. Remove the bouquet garni and serve the stew piping hot with rouille and crusty bread.
My husband loves the Seinfeld show, to be honest, about 11 years ago, when I first met him, I wasn’t a big fan, I mean I could watch one episode, maybe two, but watching the same one twice or even multiple times sure wasn’t for me! Or so I thought, the characters slowly grew on me and I started to like it, then I too learned most of the jokes our friends were making referring to the show and finally I started to take part in the conversation.
Remember the Seinfeld episode where they go to the coffee shop with their own maple syrup and they are told the maple syrup would be confiscated next time they bring it to the coffee shop because the coffee shop doesn’t accept food from outside? Well, we had a good laugh about that when I suggested bringing these muffins for little Sara and Georgia.
Anyway, at the risk of getting the little muffins confiscated I brought each girl one and I am happy to say that no one really cared about me bringing food from outside and I am even happier to say that I think they gave me their seal of approval.
These muffins are not very sweet, if you have a sweet tooth increase the sugar to about half a cup or more if you prefer.
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup Sucanat or brown sugar
- ½ cup yogurt or buttermilk
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil or virgin coconut oil
- ¾ cup spelt flour
- ½ cup quinoa flour
- ¼ cup arrowroot powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 ½ cups frozen blueberries
Preheat the oven to 350F, line a muffin tin with 6 jumbo or 12 medium muffin liners.
In a bowl mix the dry ingredients, set aside. Whisk the eggs with the Sucanat for about a minute, add the yogurt or buttermilk and olive oil, slowly incorporate the flour mixture using a spatula, and do not over mix the batter as it would make the muffins dense and tough. Fold in the frozen blueberries and spoon the batter in the prepared muffin cups.
Bake for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the muffin comes out clean; the baking time will vary depending on the size of the muffin cups.
This flourless cake is made with whole clementines, that includes the rind, the pith and the pulp, basically everything except for the seeds get pureed then mixed with eggs, sugar and ground almonds. I love adding citrus zest to desserts, they add such a nice flavour but anyone who has ever watched food network or read a few recipes knows to avoid the pith, simply because it’s bitter, well, the cake is not bitter at all, each bite is full of clementine flavour and has the delicate texture of the ground almonds which also makes it gluten-free.
Not only is the cake gluten-free, it’s also dairy free, so, there is no butter to cream, no sour cream, yogurt or buttermilk to add, with just a few simple, basic ingredients you get a delicious cake. It’s also super moist, to the point that the crumb looks like the crumb of a cake drenched in syrup. The ingredients are simple and so is the preparation, once the clementines are cooked, everything gets blended in a food processor, a few sliced almonds or a light dusting of icing sugar right before serving is more than enough. Nigella recommends baking it the day before and I couldn’t agree more, I think the cake improves with time, besides being able to make a dessert ahead of time makes it perfect for entertaining.
I think it’s worth mentioning that since the cake is both flour and dairy free, it’s also a good dessert to make for Passover, well, I know, I know, there is that small detail, the baking powder, but that can simply be omitted without sacrificing taste or texture and the cake will still rise like the one with the leavener. To make this cake kosher for Passover, I separate the eggs, whisk the egg whites to firm peaks, combine the yolks with the rest of the ingredients and mix the egg whites into the cake batter.
Adapted from Nigella Lawson
- 4-5 clementines
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
- 2 1/3 cup ground almonds
- 1 tsp baking powder
Preheat the oven to 375F; prepare a 9 inch springform pan by layering a piece of parchment paper on the bottom and on the sides, set aside.
Wash the clementines very well and place in a saucepan and cover with cold water, bring it to a boil, lower the heat and cook until the clementines are very soft, drain and let them cool.
Halve the clementines to remove any pits and place in a food processor, pulse until pureed, add the eggs and the sugar, pulse to combine, add the ground almond and baking powder, and pulse again briefly until the mixture looks smooth.
Pour the cake batter into the prepared springform pan and bake for about 40 minutes, a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake should come out clean. To prevent the top of the cake get too dark, tent it with a piece of aluminum foil about 20-25 minutes after placing it in the oven.
This is my new version of the hot spinach artichoke dip, most recipes call for lots of mayonnaise, sour cream, cream cheese and sometimes flour to thicken it,
I love this dip but I find most versions a little too rich without being that rich in the flavour department, so I slowly started changing the recipe I have been making for years, one ingredient at a time. I think the key ingredient is the goat cheese; it gives such a light, tangy flavour to the finished dish.
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 10 oz. packages chopped frozen spinach, thawed
- 1 can artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped
- 6 oz. fresh goat cheese
- ½ cup sour cream (full fat)
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Freshly ground nutmeg
- ½ cup shredded Swiss cheese
Heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the onion and sauté for about five minutes, until the onion has wilted but do not let it take on a colour, add the garlic. Squeeze the spinach to remove as much water as possible and add to the onion and garlic, cook for a few minutes, finally add the artichokes and cook for a minute or so and let it cool a little before adding the rest of the ingredients.
Crumble the goat cheese and add to the spinach while still a little warm, this makes blending it easier, add sour cream, mayonnaise and parmesan cheese, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and transfer it to a baking dish, sprinkle with the Swiss cheese.
At this point the dip can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or baked immediately in an oven preheated to 425F until the dip looks bubbly and golden.