Not Fish or Chips

It’s been a while folks. Sorry ’bout that. Here’s a little treat for you, especially the veggie ones of you. Fish Friday fill you with fear? Here’s an alternative that pays homage to the great British classic Fish & Chips, without the fish. Or the chips.

Essentially, what we have here is battered halloumi with a quick & dirty potato rosti and mushy peas. To feed 2-3 you will need:
For the Rosti:
4 Medium potatoes
Salt & pepper
A little oil for frying

Peel the potatoes then grate finely, our ancient but still going steam powered Magimix is great at this, it definitely saves on injuries! If you don’t have a food processor with a grating attachment, we’ll warn you now, it takes elbow grease to grate potatoes.

Once grated, bundle the potato up in a clean tea towel and twist into a ball to squeeze the juice out. Twist in both directions for maximum drying. Random fact: The icky juice that comes out? That’s what Hula Hoops are made of.

Lay another clean tea towel on top of a large baking tray. Spread the grated potato evenly over it, breaking up any clumps as you go and season with salt & pepper. Leave for an hour or so then squeeze the juices out again.

Heat a little oil in a frying pan, shape a handful of potato into a round about 1cm deep, pressing together firmly. We used a small pie/tart tin which was perfect, just use your hands if you don’t or make one large rosti in the pan and do the squeezing down with a spatula while the rosti cooks. Fry lightly on both sides until the outside starts to turn golden. Trasfer to a baking tray and bake at Gas 6 / 200’c for 10 – 15 minutes.

For the Halloumi ‘fish’:

1 Block Halloumi (cut into 1cm thick slices try carefully not to break them)
100g Plain flour
125ml Beer, we used Brewdog’s Punk IPA
A couple of pinches of salt
1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda

Everyone has their preferred saucepan for frying things, our weapon of choice is actually a wok. Whatever you use, heat plenty of oil until it is hot enough to turn a cube of bread golden in 40 seconds. While the oil is heating, thouroughly mix the batter ingredients. Once the oil is hot dip the Halloumi slices into the batter and carefully place into the hot oil, frying 2 or 3 slices at a time. Make sure they don’t stick together.

The fish won’t take long, just two minutes or so until the batter is crisp. Remove from the oil when crisp and dry on some kitchen towel. Repeat the process until all of the Halloumi is cooked. Dish up with the rosti and mushy peas.

Note: The beer will make the kitchen smell amazingly hoppy, we recommend having an extra bottle or two on hand to enjoy in liquid form too!


A nice big slice

Veggie? Meat feast? Caviar and gold leaf? Dress it up, dress it down, any way you like it. Pizza is perfect.

We were wandering around Stockbridge market a few weeks ago and found a phenomenal fennel salami which we would have happily munched on it’s own but as we all know, everything is better on a pizza. Paired with some finely cut broccoli and creamy mozzarella it worked a treat and we hope you like it too.

It won’t be a great pizza without a great base:

200g Strong white bread flour
100g Semolina
1 Sachet instant yeast
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Caster sugar
2 tbsp Rapeseed oil or EV olive oil
200-250ml Water

Mix the flour, yeast and salt together in a large bowl and stir in the oil. Gradually add the water and mixing well to form a soft dough. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes) then cover and set aside in a warm place to prove for at least an hour and a half.

Next up, you need a really rich tomato sauce to spread on the base. This is our go to recipe and it features in a fair few of our other recipes on here too. You will have leftover sauce, you can freeze it or whip up something else with it. Our parmigiana perhaps? Simply slowly simmer all of the ingredients for an hour or so.

1 can of good quality chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp sugar
1 tbs balsamic
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
2 crushed garlic cloves
Salt & Pepper

Preheat the oven to gas mark 5.

When you’re ready to roll, dust your work surface with flour and roll the dough out into a large rectangle, enough to fill a large baking tray. Make the base as thin as you can without making any holes then arrange onto the baking tray, covering the entire surface. Rectangular pizza’s rock, there are more crispy edges and some special topping only pieces in the middle too.

Spread a thin layer of sauce over the base then sprinkle with grated hard mozzarella (or smoked scamorza for a taste sensation). Cut some broccoli into micro florets and scatter on top of the cheese before layering on plenty of salami. Bake in the oven until the base is crispy and the cheese is bubbled all over.


Mini Meat Munchies

It’s nearly been a year since our 9 month baking project arrived and it seems that she, like us, loves her food. So far Mini Stovies has a preference for strong tastes, Vegemite, curry, pesto, paella, she’s even sampled frog’s legs! (whilst Mrs Stovies shuddered in disgust)

Now that we’re well and truly moving away from the days of purees we thought we’d start sharing our child friendly recipes with our readers too. Some of them are definite kid eats, but most of them are happy grown up eats too, like these meatballs. They’re great as finger foods for little ones (cut into semi spheres) or for grown ups serve as tapas with spicy salsa or douse in fresh tomato sauce and serve with pasta.

500g good steak mince
1 large handful grated mozzarella (the hard type)
2 handfuls dried breadcrumbs
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp thyme
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt (omit for children)

Mix everything together with your hands. Roll into little balls, about 1 inch wide works well, although smaller for mixing through pasta opt for a much smaller ball and knock 5-10 minutes off the baking time. Lay the meatballs out on an oiled baking tray and bake for 20 minutes at gas mark 5, covering with foil for the first half of the cooking time.


The Owl and the Pussycat went to Sea….

… a beautiful pea green boat.
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.

Well, they’d have had a rare old time if they happened upon a floating gin palace with a cash bar but they probably wouldn’t have eaten very well once the honey was gone. Thankfully the clever pussycat also had with him a Sea Pie. Despite the name Sea Pie has very little to do with fish. It’s a great, warming and filling dish designed to keep fishermen going when they’re out at sea. Mr Stovies’ granny was a fine North Eastern fishwife and our version is an ode to her epic meaty dish.

This recipe will serve 6-8 people and is great for a relaxed late Sunday lunch. We would say on a winter’s day but really with a traditional Scottish summer any day will do!

For the meat stew:
750g Oxtail
500g Boiling beef (just ask the butcher, it’s a funny cut)
2 Onions, cut into large slices
3 Large carrots, in 1 inch chunks
1/4 Medium turnip, in 1 inch chunks
1tbsp Flour, heaped
750ml Water
1 or 2 Bay leaves
A good pinch of white pepper

Put all of the ingredients except the flour into a large, oven proof, lidded pan. Bring up to simmering point on the stove then turn the heat down low, cover with the lid and cook for a long time. A 4 hours plus long time, all day if you can. Stir occasionally. When the meat is falling away from the bones, fish the chunks out, pull the meat away from the bone with a fork and return to the pan. Discard the bones and the bay leaves. Mix a little cooking juice with the flour to make a lazy roux, thin it down with some more cooking liquor and stir through to thicken the stew.

For the dumplings:
200g Self raising flour
75g Suet
1tsp Dried thyme
Salt & pepper
Water to mix

Mix the dry ingredients together, add enough water to make a sticky dough then form into dumplings either by getting your hands dirty and rolling golf ball sized balls between your palms or get a little cheffy and use two spoons to make quenelles. Make sure you have one dumpling per person, although a couple of extras are a good idea too!

Asses the stew, the dumplings will suck up lots of water so you may need to add some more to compensate. Ideally there will be about 1/2 a cm of stew juice above the body of the meat. Place the dumplings evenly on top of the stew, cover with the lid and cook on a medium to low heat for half an hour.

Serve with crusty bread, a good red wine* and good chat.

*or a craft brewed ale, Harviestoun make some beautiful beers…..

Lightning fast!

If you have a hankering for a zingy and fresh sauce to top off your pasta with you got it. This sauce takes the same time to prepare AND cook as the pasta does to boil. Eat your heart out Jamie Oliver – this is the Ten Minute Tea.

The recipe will make enough red pepper pasta sauce for four.



1 Red pepper, core & pith removed
4 Fresh flavoursome tomatoes (watery ones just won’t do it justice)
1 Red chilli (medium hot), deseeded if you prefer a mild sauce, leave them in for piquant
3 Garlic cloves
Olive oil
Dried Pasta

Fill a large pan with boiling water and add the pasta with a little oil and a sprinkle of salt.

Take all of the ingredients bar the oil and blitz to a pulp. Pour into a saucepan and heat over a medium heat. Don’t allow the sauce to boil, we’re aiming for a hot fresh sauce rather than cooking it down.

Drain the pasta and return to the pan. Pour in the sauce, mix through then serve with a drizzle of oil, a sprinkling of parmesan and a dusting of pepper.

Stovies’ Mouthwatering Mango Cod

This may be an odd creation but it is a brilliant one. When the weather was awesome a few weeks ago it seemed like the perfect middle class concoction to celebrate the sunshine. Cook at home or over a BBQ in the park.ImageMango Cod
Serves 4

2 Smoked cod fillets
1 tsp Dried chilli flakes
2 tbsp Mango chutney
200g Pancetta slices (or thinly cut streaky bacon)

Cut the fillets in half length ways. Now, we shouldn’t ever have to say this but if you are using smoked fish that is the colour of fake tan then just stop cooking right now and have a word with yourself. Anyway, lay the slices of pancetta out in four sections, each big enough to wrap the halved fillets.

Place (plaice?) the fish on top of the pancetta, spread evenly with mango and sprinkle with chilli. Wrap the pancetta gently, yet tightly around the fish.

If you are barbecuing these they will only take about ten minutes, just turn them every so often to ensure even cooking and that they aren’t sticking, even better, cook on top of a sheet of tinfoil.

If cooking at home lightly oil a baking sheet and lay out the wrapped fish. Bake in a preheated oven at gas 6 for around 15 minutes.

Serve with a nice crisp, fresh salad. Or in a flatbread. Or sliced cheffily and on a plate with some lentils. Or with roasted toms and braised lettuce. We could go on but you get the idea.

Use your loaf!

Meatloaf hasn’t enjoyed a particularly good rep in Stovies’ house, purely because in movies the prospect of meatloaf us usually met with a groan and eaten under duress. Perhaps it’s just the name that makes it seem unappealing, Mr Stovies solution to this would be to rename it meatcake. Mrs Stovies just wants to cook it more often! This recipe will feed eight fairly ravenous folk for a celebration feast.

Stovies’ Mighty Meatloaf:

500g Minced beef
500g Minced pork
200g Breadcrumbs
12 Slices Parma ham
1 large Red onion
1 tsp Garlic powder
2 Eggs
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp Brown sauce
2 tbsp Tomato ketchup
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Small handful fresh mint
2 Sprigs fresh rosemary
A handful fresh parsley

Very finely chop the onion, it needs to be really small so even better, grate it (and suffer onion flavour hands for ever!) or pop it in a magimix type contraption. Transfer to a large mixing bowl with the minced pork and beef.

Make the breadcrumbs and sling them in too. Top tip here: use breadsticks instead of stale bread and simply chop up in a blender. They come out a lot like panko crumbs.

Next put the garlic powder, eggs and condiments into the blender with the herbs. You will need to remove the leaves from the stalks although not each and every one, just enough to get rid of the woody or stringy stalks. Whizz until finely chopped then add to the meat. Thoroughly mix the while lot together with your hands. Yes, it’s messy and feels squelchy but it’s worth it. Alternatively use a food mixer with a dough hook or a bread machine with the heat turned off. Please don’t use a mixer with knife blades, you’ll end up with sludge!

Roll out a piece of clingfilm about 80cm long onto the work surface then place another next to it, overlapping enough to make a square. Repeat, this time at 90 degrees to the first layer. Make one last layer then lay the Parma ham on top, in the middle, towards the front. To make the ham wrapping paper the right size lay out eight slices vertically, overlapping slightly. Use the remaining four slices horizontally above the other strips to make a large rectangle. Dollop the meaty mix in a line across the ham, leaving an inch or so of space at either side. It’ll be 2-3 inches tall when its all on. Using the clingfilm as an aide, wrap the ham around the meat then tightly roll the whole lot up, twisting the ends to make a neat sausage shape.

Cocoon the meatloaf in another couple of layers of clingfilm the place in a roasting tin half filled with water. Bake in a medium oven, gas 4, for 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 hours. To test if it is ready, pierce the centre of the loaf with a knife. It the juices run clear, Bob’s your uncle. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 30 minutes before unwrapping and carving.

Dish up with mash or roasties, plenty of seasonal veg and a simple red wine gravy.