Fish Tacos

Fish tacos make a fantastic DIY dinner and are great served for playdates with older children [I just double the quantity if we are eating too]. Battered fish has a bad reputation but as long as you are cooking fresh fish, in fresh oil, at the right temperature and for the right amount of time then you are essentially poaching it so don't shy away- you'll be missing out! 

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Enough for 2-4 small children 

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250g white fish, cut into roughly 3 cm dice

1 egg

1 tbsp full fat natural or greek yoghurt

60g self raising flour

1 tbsp corn flour

2 tbsp cold water

to serve:

tortillas

yoghurt

diced cherry tomatoes

sliced spring onions 

baby gem leaves

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Whisk together the egg, yoghurt, flours and water until you have a thick batter. Add the fish and coat. Set to one side.

Fill a small saucepan with sunflower oil about  3-cm up the side of the pan. Heat the oil- it is ready when a piece of bread lightly sizzles once lowered in on a slotted spoon. Once ready, lower the fish in with your slotted spoon and cook in batches of 4 for 2-3 minutes or until golden and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon onto kitchen paper to suck up excess oil and sprinkle over sea salt. [Note: do not cook for less than 2 minutes or in hotter oil as you need this length of time to get the crispy exterior and cook the fish through.] Serve immediately in warm tortilla with diced cherry tomatoes, spring onions, crisp gems and a spoonful of yoghurt (and some sriracha sauce if you or your kids like some added heat).

Salmon Fingers

My daughters' adore fishfingers and these homemade salmon ones are no exception. The process of bread crumbing the fish takes 5 minutes and kids love to get involved so please don't shy away from giving these a go. I normally serve them with homemade fries and garden peas... (and a helping or two of ketchup) ! 

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Feeds 2-4 children depending on age and appetite

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200g salmon fillet, cut into 4 'fingers'

3  tbsp flour

1 egg, beaten

4 tbsp panko breadcrumbs

1 lemon, zest only

sea salt

freshly milled black pepper

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Preheat the oven to 200oC and line a baking tray with baking parchment. Set aside.

Place the flour on a small plate and lightly season with the salt and pepper. Place the egg in a shallow open bowl and the breadcrumbs on another plate. Season the breadcrumbs with salt, pepper and the zest of 1/2 lemon.

To coat: lightly coat the salmon 'finger' with the flour before placing each one into the egg and lightly coating. Remove and place in the breadcrumbs. Roll each finger until they are evenly coated and then place on the prepared baking tray. [Note: At this stage you can place in the fridge to cook later or cook straightaway]. 

When ready to cook place in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.

Tuna + Pea Fishcakes

These fishcakes are lighter than the usual breaded variety and the smooth mash interior is completely addictive. Tuna is a fantastic source of Omega-3 and a gentle introduction to the world of fish which makes these ideal for kids. The soft texture also means that they are perfect for podgy little hands to pick up and feed themselves. If your kids aren't that into fish yet then try these patties in a toasted burger bun with tomato sauce. 

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Makes 10-12

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140g tinned tuna, drained weight

250g potato, peeled and cut into large cubes  

2 tbsp mayonaise

4 tbsp frozen peas, defrosted 

3 spring onions, roughly sliced

1 egg, beaten 

5 tbsp plain flour

Sunflower oil for frying

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Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain into a sieve and allow to steam dry for 10 minutes over the empty saucepan. 

Meanwhile, place the tuna, peas, spring onion and egg in a food processor and blitz down until a rough purée. Set aside.

Pass the potato through the sieve into the bowl with the tuna mixture. Add the mayonnaise and mix to combine everything and then place in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up or overnight.

When ready to make your fishcakes, put the flour on a large plate and using a tablespoon make large patties of the tuna mixture and lightly coat with flour. Place the lightly coated patties on a clean plate and continue until all the fishcakes have been made. 

Fill a small saucepan with sunflower oil- you need it to be about 3-cm up the side of the pan. Heat the oil- it is ready when a piece of bread lightly sizzles once lowered in on a slotted spoon. Cook the patties in batches of 3 for 2-3 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon onto kitchen towel to suck up excess oil and sprinkle over sea salt if using. [Note: do not cook for less than 2 minutes or in hotter oil as you need this length of time to get the crispy exterior.]  

 

Quick Fish Pie

Fish Pie is certainly not a meal you can prepare in minutes but this version is as simple and delicious as you can get plus you can prepare it all ahead of time and then assemble whenever is convenient. I've scrapped the traditional white sauce for a quick combination of leeks, vegetable stock and creme fraiche. For the mash you can leave out passing the potato through the sieve but I assure you its absolutely worth it (takes less than 5 minutes) and the results are incredible!

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Makes enough for 2 adults and 2 children

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400g fish, cut into 2-cm chunks (I use a combination of white fish and prawns but use whatever you have or prefer)

25g butter

2 leeks, finely sliced

500g vegetable stock

300g creme fraiche

2 tsp cornflour

650g potato, peeled and cut into 3-cm chunks

25g butter

4tbsp whole milk

1 egg [optional]

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Preheat the oven to 200oC and get out a large oven-proof dish- I generally use Le Creuset. Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 15 minutes or until tender when pierced with a cutlery knife. Drain and set aside to steam dry.

Meanwhile, melt 25g butter in a large saucepan and add the leeks. Cover and cook for 5-8 minutes over a medium heat until softened. Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Cook uncovered for 5 minutes and add the creme fraiche. Whisk in the cornflour and bring to the boil. Cook for another 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside whilst you make the mash potato.

for the mash: using a fine sieve and a wooden spoon push the cooked potato through the sieve and back into the empty saucepan. Add 25g butter and the milk and place the saucepan back over a medium heat. Let the butter melt and then stir everything briskly until you have a smooth silky mash. [Note: once done I pop the mash in a piping bag as I find it easier to distribute over the pie that way but equally you can just spread it over with a spoon].

to assemble: place the fish in the bottom of your ovenproof dish and then pour over the sauce. If using a piping bag then zig-zag the potato as in the image above (or alternatively just spread over with a spoon) - for an extra crispy top lightly brush the pie with egg - and place in the oven for 20 minutes or until piping hot and cooked through. 

 

 

Fish Pie Fishfingers

I wanted to find easy ways to include fish in Madeleine's diet and since she loves feeding herself so much I thought it would be pretty handy if I could make a fish pie that she could feed herself without there being a terrifying amount of mess afterwards! These are the wonderful result and they are utterly delicious if I do say so myself.

Makes 16 'fingers'

10g butter

150g leek, cut, quartered and rinsed

125g cod

5g fresh parsley

5g panko breadcrumbs

5g cheddar cheese, coarsely grated

1 egg (you will not need all of this- I use approximately 1 tbsp)

1 tsp mayonnaise

4 tbsp fine polenta

Preheat the oven to 200Oc and line a baking tray with baking parchment.

Melt the butter over a medium heat and add the prepared leeks. Cover and leave to sweat down for 10-15minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent them catching and add some water if they do. Remove and allow to cool fully. [Note: I often do this the day before I am making them and just leave in the fridge until I have a moment to make the fish fingers].

Place all the ingredients apart from the polenta in a food processor and blitz down until there are no large pieces. Using a tablespoon scoop out 16 portions and roughly shape into 'fingers. Place directly on the prepared baking tray and place in the fridge for 15-20minutes to firm up. Once firm remove and roll each finger in the polenta to create a thin coating. Place back on the prepared baking tray and straight into the oven for 15 minutes or until cooked through. 

Super Quick Salmon Fishcakes

I have tried so many fishcake recipes over the years and always been unhappy with the result- too dry, too sloppy, too potato-y etc etc - who would have thought that the quickest and simplest recipe would win! Packed full of omega-3 these little cakes are perfect as a stress-free, transportable lunch. My oldest daughter loves these served in a bun as a fish burger with homemade potato wedges.

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Makes 6 small fishcakes (or 18 bitesize) 

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220g salmon fillet, cut into 1-cm dice

4 spring onions, finely chopped

1/2 tsp paprika

10g panko breadcrumbs

2 tsp shop-brought mayonnaise

1/2 lemon, zest only

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Preheat the oven to 200oC. Line a baking tray with baking parchment and set aside.

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz down until everything is combined and there are no large chunks of salmon left. Do not overmix otherwise the fishcakes will be tough.

Divide the mixture into 6 even patties and place directly on the prepared baking sheet. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 12 minutes or until cooked through. Allow to cool before serving. [Note: cook for 8-10 minutes if making bitesize cakes]

 

 

Thai Red Curry

You may think that a curry is a little too adventurous for young taste buds but the sooner you start to introduce flavours the more versatile and adventurous your baby will grow to be! I often use salmon for this recipe as its a fantastic source of protein and is also loaded with Omego-3 but prawns also work wonderfully.

Serves 2 adults and 1-2 small children

250g salmon, cut into 3-cm dice or 250g prawns

2 tsp mild curry powder

5g fresh ginger (prepped weight), peeled and roughly chopped

300g butternut squash (prepped weight), peeled and roughly chopped

150g red pepper, half finely sliced

2 garlic cloves

2 spring onions

400ml coconut milk

1 tbsp sunflower oil

2 sticks of lemongrass

juice of 1 lime

1 tbsp tamari soy sauce, optional

1 tbsp fish sauce, optional

100g basmati or brown rice

handful of spinach

80g french beans, cut in half

Place the curry powder, ginger, butternut, half the red pepper, garlic, spring onions and 100ml coconut milk in a blender and blitz until smooth. Remove and coat the salmon with the paste. Leave to marinate for 30 minutes or for up to 4 hours.

When ready to cook, prepare the rice to the manufacture’s instructions and set aside. In a large frying pan or wok add the oil and fry the remaining half of red peppers, green beans and spinach for 2 minutes before adding the salmon and paste. Cook for a couple of minutes and then add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for 8-10 minutes. Serve immediately alongside the rice.

for early weaning purees: remove 50g of the sauce/salmon/veg mix before you add the tamari and fish sauce. Combine with 1 tsp cooked rice and blitz down until smooth.

just for adults: serve scattered with fresh coriander and sliced red chilli.