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!


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.

Quite probably the best fish in town!

The Ship, in Leith’s trendy shore area is touted as a ‘seafood restaurant and champagne bar’ and you know, they aren’t kidding either. The fish and chip menu has several unusual and discerning side options on offer – a bottle of Veuve perhaps, Krug? Decadent booze treats aside, The Ship is gradually becoming one one of Team Stovies’ favourite haunts. The surroundings are perfect for any occasion from a long and lazy Sunday lunch, to a romantic dinner with dark wood panelling, fresh white roses on the tables and oceanic charts in place of wallpaper, there’s a real sense of intimacy and calm conducive to good conversation.

Image © The Ship

We were greeted with a warm welcome as always, and left to peruse the menus. This is one restaurant where you never feel rushed. Even when it’s hoaching, which is both charming and refreshing in the churn and burn society we live in. Drinks in hand we settled back to decide on eats. Although we had only intended to have main courses, a half pint of shell on native prawns and some steamed surf clams with spanish ham were too delicious sounding to miss. They didn’t disappoint either. The prawns, served simply with lemon mayonnaise, reminded us why prawn cocktail once ruled the starter world and the clams were amongst the best we have ever had. Rich with bacon, wine and garlic sauce but wonderfully light at the same time! The only problem is they have quite probably spoiled all other clam dishes for life!

As this was the last meal out before Baby Stovies arrived, the good lady opted for a real treat of Shetland langoustines with garlic butter and Ship’s chips. The three grilled crustaceans were monstrous in size, melt in the mouth, meaty and delightfully sweet. On the other side of the table, a classic of lobster thermidor arrived with an apology from the chef – the lobsters were a little small today so he’d served up two halves instead. Was this ok? Oh yes! Rich and cheesy yet still light enough for the plate to be squeaky clean, the accompanying Ship’s chips were just the right kind of chunky to mop up any surplus sauce. Both dishes came with a house salad, which we feel deserves a mention for being so well executed – vinaigrette dressed rocket and green leaves with posh deseeded cucumber, red onion and peppers, it’s always a perfect match to the seafood here.

No space for pudding, She: too full of baby; He: lobstered to the max. We’ll save room for it next time though, when we’re back with the baby.

Fishy good times + drinks £70.00

The Ship on The Shore, Leith. Tel: 0131 555 0409

Piece of cake

A different take on regular Thai Prawn cakes. When we say different we mean easier… and when we say Thai Prawn cakes we mean Thai Prawn & Crab cakes!


Ingredients (makes 6-8 cakes)
200g raw prawns
200g crab meat (we get our crab dressed from the fish man on Broughton St, you could also use really good quality canned crab)
1 finely chopped red chilli
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tbsp thai green curry paste
1 big handful fresh breadcrumbs
1 egg for binding

Finely chop your prawns, if your lazy use a food processor – be careful not to get too carried away and turn your prawns into some kind of fish-shake! Stir in the crab meat, chilli, fish sauce, curry paste and lime juice. Mix well. The smell at this point will most likely make your mouth water – you’ve been warned.

Beat the egg and add that to the prawn/crab mix. Stir in the breadcrumbs and set the mix aside in the fridge for around half an hour – this will make it easier to form into cakes.

Divide the mix into fish cake shapes, top with LOTS of black pepper and a touch of salt. Now, here comes the tough decision…fry or bake?

If you are frying heat a few tablespoons of oil in a pan. When the oil is smoking add the cakes – they will take around 2-3 minutes a side. If you want to bake them (like we did) then lightly oil a baking tray and place the cakes on that. Bake for around 10-15 minutes at gas 6. Frying gets a much crispier coating.

Serve with sticky rice and sweet chilli sauce as a meal, or serve with dips (equal parts soy and rice wine vinegar with some slivers of ginger is particularly good!) and cold, cold lager as a snack.

For a Japanese take on these why not leave out the fish sauce, replace the lime with lemon and replace the curry paste with wasabi – yum!

Real men don’t use cm, or eat quiche

Apparently. Good thing this isn’t a quiche then, it’s a tart! Tarts are a great way to use up leftovers, whatever you have hanging around will do if you use your imagination. Here’s what we rustled up from the fridge the other day……


For the pastry:

175g plain flour
75g butter
1/2 tsp mustard
A little milk

150g smoked salmon, torn into small strips
1 head of fennel, sliced
Olive oil
2 tbsp dry vermouth
2 eggs
100ml cream
1 tsp horseradish sauce
1-2 tsp small capers
Black pepper

Make the pastry up by mixing the cold butter with the flour and mustard powder, a food mixer is the easiest way to do this. Once you get a breadcrumb texture add a little milk to bind it together, keep adding the milk a wee bit at a time until the pastry turns into a firm dough. Pop in the fridge for half an hour to rest before rolling out, lining your dish and blind baking. Gas mark four for 20 minutes will do a lovely job. A quick tip for a tidy edge is to leave the edge rough and longer than the dish while you are blind baking then trim it afterwards. The pastry will do it’s shrinking thing but as there’s an excess to trim off it won’t disappear to nothing.

In a large frying pan gently cook the sliced fennel with a little pepper, you want it to soften but not colour. Before you take it off the heat add the vermouth and let the heat of the pan bubble the alcohol off. Spread a thin layer on the pastry base, then a layer of torn salmon, then another fennel then top with salmon. Beat the eggs with the cream and horseradish. Mix in the capers and pour the eggy mix into the pastry case covering the salmon and fennel. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the middle has set.

Munch hot or cold with salad and a drizzle of lemon juice