Saturday, August 22, 2009

Baked Cod with Harrissa on Potatoes and Tomatoes

This recipe is my variation of one of Claudia Roden's in her book Arabesque. It's a great book I can highly recommend.

To serve 2
a big dollop of harrissa - Belazu rose harissa is my favorite
juice of half a lemon
2 thick pieces of cod fillet
about 300g of small potatoes such as charlottes, scrubbed and cut into 1cm slices
2 large tomatoes cut into quarters
half a red onion finely chopped
extra virgin olives oil

Mix the harissa, lemon juice and some olive oil in a bowl then add the cod pieces and make sure they are covered with the mixture. Leave in the fridge to marinade for a couple of hours turning for time to time.
Pre-heat the oven to about 200 C.
Put the potatoes on to boil.
Put a splash of olive oil in an oven proof dish and add the onions. Put the dish in the oven for five minutes or so. Remove from the oven and scatter the tomato quarters in the dish. When the potatoes are just starting to go soft drain them and leave to dry out for 5 minutes or so and then add them to the dish. Season and give the dish a good shake to mix in the onion, oil and tomatoes with the potato slices.
Put back in the oven. After about 30 minutes move the contents of the dish around a bit to ensure the potatoes get evenly browned and mix in the juices that will have come out of the tomatoes by now.
Cook for another 15 minutes and then put the marinated cod on top spreading any remaining marinade over the potato mixture.
Cook for about another 15 minutes until the cod is done.
Serve with a green salad.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Music and Food

Mad as a box of frogs and always puts a smile on my face. The French Toast Man.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Volcano Choir

Volcano Choir is a collaboration between Justin Vernon of Bon Iver and a band called Collections of Colonies of Bees who I'd not heard of until now. They're all mates from Wisconsin apparently and the track they've pre-released as a download to trail the up coming album "Unmap" puts them in the Fleet Foxes/Grizzly Bear/Bon Iver compartment in my mind.
The song's called Island, IS and you can download it from the Jagjaguwar record label web site - although you may want to avoid reading the blurb on there - it's toe curlingly pretentious pseuds corner material.
Or listen to it here

I like it a lot and I'm looking forward to the album being released at the beginning of next month.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Big Chill - how was it for you?

Well, I had a great time. The weather helped - sunshine throughout. Not being able to take booze on sight coupled with an exorbitant 3.50 a pint for crap lager and bitter only available at one bar is still a massive downer for the Big Chill. It means you really have to smuggle booze in - which luckily isn't difficult if you use the right gate(s).
Musical highlights were Spiritualized, who I've seen half a dozen or so times now, but this was one of their best. Maybe the shorter set meant they compressed all the goodness into a zinging, full blast performance.
Noah and the Whale were a revelation - all trace of whimsy has been wiped away and they delivered a powerful set - the violin owing more to John Cale style viola than folksy fiddle and just when I thought they reminded me a bit of Neil Young the tune they were playing morphed into Rockin' in the Free World.
David Byrne delivered the goods even if the dancers reminded me a bit of Rolf Harris and the Young Generation at first.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Big Chill

Off to the Big Chill Festival at the weekend. Let's hope summer starts before then.
One of the bands I'm really looking forward to seeing is Noah and the Whale. I really liked the last album - i like a bit of English whimsy now and then - and what I've heard of the new one, "First Days of Spring", sounds like they're getting better. The Twelves remix of Blue Skies (the first single from the album) is particularly good in that kinda funky disco style that The Twelves do. You can download it for free at

I'm also looking forward to a bit of Dennis Bovell reggae in the sun (yes there is going to be sun), but looking on his My Space he seems to think the Festival is in Brighton so lets hope he makes it to Eastnor OK

Sunday, August 2, 2009

cooking for one ....

... just me this Sunday so I'm roasting half a duck marinated in the Hugh F-W's Ginger & soy marinade that was in yesterday's Guardian - it's the second recipe down on this page.
It should go nicely with some charlotte potatoes i've boiled and then squashed a bit and then put in the roasting tin with the bird along with some par-boiled parsnips.
There was a lonely little gem lettuce in the salad drawer in the fridge so that's going to get braised to have with it -

1 Little gem lettuce per person
1 shallot per lettuce finely chopped
Olive oil
About 20g of Butter per lettuce
Half a glass of white wine (more if you're doing more lettuces) and/or 1 rounded teaspoon Marigold bouillon powder

Half the lettuce length wise and wash carefully, fanning the leaves slightly but making sure it doesn't come apart. Dry on kitchen paper and then leave, cut side down, on a double layer of kitchen paper to dry some more.
Heat the olive in a saute pan big enough to hold the lettuces and gently fry the shallot until it starts to go transparent but not brown. Add the lettuce halves cut side down and turn the heat up a bit. Fry for 2 or 3 minutes until they start to soften round the edges. Add the butter a bit at time and keep gently moving the contents of the pan about making sure the lettuce doesn't break up. When the butter is melted and starting to foam chuck in the glass of wine or a wine glass of water and the bouillon powder. Taste the liquid and season with salt if necessary and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to the boil then turn the heat down to its lowest and cover the pan. Leave to cook very gently for about 5 minutes. Take the lid off the pan and reduce the liquid if it needs it until it is thick and glossy.

Magic Arm

I'm enjoying the bleepy, lo-fi feel of Magic Arm's Bootsy Bootsy at the moment.

You can download a remix by Real Dolls for free here

or check out the original (which I prefer - it's more bleepy and lower-fi ...) on the the Magic Arm web site