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Tikka Style Monkfish

29 Aug
Tikka style monkfish on the BBQ © Jess Bruce 2015

Tikka style monkfish on the BBQ © Jess Bruce 2015

Lots of people have asked me, if I am enjoying married life. My answer, a resounding yes.

The thing I am enjoying most? Having time to cook again! Well, what did you expect from a girl who owns 100+ cookbooks?! Wedding prep did not leave me much time, or energy, for creativity in the kitchen. Thank goodness for a freezer full of leftovers!

Mr B is enjoying the fact I have the time, and more importantly, the energy to cook again too. He certainly doesn’t complain when he arrives back from work to a home cooked meal each evening.

Given the past 5 days of torrential rain, gusty winds and autumnal temperatures that the UK has just endured, it is hard to believe that just last weekend, we saw temperatures of 30ºC here in the south east of England. Global warming at full throttle I guess. Mr B and I ate breakfast, lunch and dinner outside on the patio which was glorious. We are still loving the novelty of having a big, peaceful, garden after the last few years of living in our flat with a view from the window of busy inner city railway lines!

We made the most of the sunny weather by having a BBQ – good job too because within 12 hours it was pouring down with rain. As the summer has progressed, we have graduated from the standard (but delicious) burgers and sausages to more adventurous BBQ meals; prawn kebabs, marinated rump steaks cooked medium rare and so on. This Tikka style monkfish was, hands-down, our best BBQ yet.

Grilled on the BBQ: carrots, asparagus, corn on the cob and Tikka style monkfish. © Jess Bruce 2015

All grilled on the BBQ: carrots, asparagus, corn on the cob and Tikka style monkfish. © Jess Bruce 2015

Dead simple to prepare – mix the marinade ingredients together and slather them all over the fish and leave to marinate for a couple of hours (the longer the better). And then whack it  delicately place it on the BBQ with a squeeze of lime and grill for 7-9 minutes each side. Et Voila – dinner is served. And of course if your weather is more akin to the typical British summer, this dish would be just as good grilled or baked in an oven. You would miss out on the gorgeous smokey charred crust akin to an Indian tandoor  that cooking over charcoal gives the fish. But nonetheless it would still be delicious and will definitely be something I do when it is no longer BBQ weather here (i.e. from now).

We used a whole monkfish tail, but I think the marinade would work equally well with chunky fish steaks such as salmon or tuna or whole fish such as sea bream or snapper. BBQ-ing a whole fish is my next challenge.

We paired the fish with grilled veggies – corn on the cob, carrots and asparagus –  and garlic rosemary potatoes, all also cooked on the BBQ. Though next time I think rice would be a good accompaniment, perhaps with a light vegetable curry and onion bhajis as the sides to make it a truly delicious Indian meal.

This was a great meal, not least, because once I’d made the marinade for the fish and prepped the vegetables, I was able to sit back with my glass of wine and watch Mr B, a.k.a BBQ king, take over – gender stereotyping clearly alive and well in our house!

Here’s the recipe:

Tikka Style Monkfish

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Gluten, dairy, egg, nut and soya free


  • 1 Monkfish tail
  • 1 lime


  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp curry powder (I used medium spice, increase according to taste)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened coconut milk yoghurt (or plain yoghurt of choice if not avoiding dairy)
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Mix the marinade ingredients together in a small bowl
  2. Coat the fish on all sides with the marinade
  3. Cover the fish and refrigerate until ready to cook.
  4. Lightly oil your BBQ rack
  5. Once your BBQ is hot (we let ours get up to 200ºC), place the fish directly on the rack and squeeze half the lime over it. Cook for 7 – 9 minutes each side.
  6. Check the fish is piping hot in the centre next to the tail bone (if not cook for a further 2 minutes and check again)
  7. Squeeze the remaining lime over the fish before serving. The flesh should be soft, white and moist but still holding its meaty shape, with a nice charred crust on the outside.

Serve with your choice of vegetables, rice or potatoes. We made rosemary garlic potatoes using this recipe, though I parboiled the potatoes first for 5 minutes.

If you make this, I’d love to know what you think, please comment below.

What are your favorite BBQ meals? I’m always on the lookout for new recipes to try – by try I mean cooking indoors, unless we get an Indian summer in September so we can eek out BBQ time a little longer. Always live in hope!

Thai Yellow Curry with Prawns

23 Feb
Thai Yellow Prawn Curry

Thai Yellow Prawn Curry. Photo by Jess B.

I’m a big fan of Thai food. Thai curries are fresher and lighter than their Indian counterparts so you don’t feel stuffed and bloated after eating one. Don’t get me wrong I love Indian curry too, but my heart lies more with Thai. Though it has to be said I am not a spice fiend. As I’ve gotten older my tolerance for spice seems to have waned. Mr B on the other hand loves spice, the hotter the better!

This Thai yellow curry is the best of both worlds. It is mild and mellow enough for me but gives a little kick of heat at the end of each mouthful which pacifies spice loving  Mr B.

Thai yellow curry with prawns. Photo by Jess B.

Thai yellow curry with prawns. Photo by Jess B.

If you’ve never made your own curry paste before, don’t be put off. This is honestly dead simple, just throw all the paste ingredients into a blender or mini-chopper, and you’re ready to go.

I use prawns here but tofu or chicken work just as well. Just brown your tofu or chicken before you start and then you can add it into the curry at the same stage as the prawns are added here, just remember chicken may take a little longer to cook through.

Thai Yellow Curry with Prawns, to serve 2 you will need:

For the curry paste:

Homemade Curry Paste. Photo By Jess B.

Homemade Curry Paste. Photo By Jess B.

  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass, peeled and chopped (tip: before peeling bash your lemongrass hard with the flat of a knife and your hand (or a rolling pin) to release the oils to enhance the flavour)
  • 2 small red chilies de-seeded
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 handful of coriander
  • 5cm piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 kaffir lime leaf
  • 1 tbsp ground corriander seeds
  • 1½ tbsp mild chilli powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp agave syrup
  • good pinch of salt (I use Himalayan pink salt, but sea salt or rock salt are fine)

For the curry itself:

Selection of Veg. Photo by Jess B.

Selection of Veg. Photo by Jess B.

  • 1 stalk of lemongrass , bashed, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 5 heaped tsp of the curry paste (the remainder will happily keep in the fridge for a week or so, make sure you cover it so you don’t make your whole fridge smell of curry ‘tho!)
  • 75g aubergine, halved and thinly sliced
  • selection of other vegetables – I used: cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas, yellow peppers, courgettes and pak choi
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 150ml cold water
  • 200g raw prawns, deveined, rinsed and dried
  • Tamari (gluten free soya sauce) to season to taste
  • Handful of fresh basil leaves
Love the coconutty citrus aroma as you fry the lemongrass in the coconut oil.

Love the coconutty citrus aroma as you fry the lemongrass in the coconut oil. Photo by Jess B.

Simmer vegetables in coconut milk.

Simmer vegetables in coconut milk. Photo by Jess B.

  1. Place all the curry paste ingredients into a small blender or mini-chopper and whizz until all ingredients are chopped and combined into a smooth consistency.
  2. Now set aside the curry paste and move onto the curry itself. Heat the coconut milk in a wok or large frying pan, add the lemongrass and sauté over a low heat for 2 minutes. Enjoy the amazing coconutty citrus aroma!
  3. Next add the curry paste and sauté for a further 2 minutes.
  4. Add the aubergine, courgette and peppers (or any other harder veg that you’re using) and 200ml of the coconut milk to the pan and mix. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes until veg is starting to soften.
  5. Add the remaining veg (any softer veg that you’re using) and remaining coconut milk. Then gradually add as much water as needed to reach your preferred curry consistency.
  6. Leave to cook gently until the vegetables are just tender.
  7. Add the prawns to the pan, stir and allow to cook for a few minutes until they have turned pinky white.
  8. Season to taste with a little tamari and stir in the basil.
  9. Serve immediately with brown rice.
Delicious served with brown rice.

Delicious served with brown rice. Photo by Jess B.

Recipe adapted from Honestly Healthy.

Salmon with a Basil Pesto Crumb Crust

16 Feb
Salmon with basil pesto crumb crust. Photo by Jess B.

Salmon with basil pesto crumb crust.                   Photo by Jess B.

As mentioned in Thursday’s post whilst away for the weekend, Mr B cooked us a delicious dinner of salmon with a pesto breadcrumb topping. Mr B and I are HUGE fans of basil pesto and would pretty much pair it with anything if we could. Pesto and salmon is an absolutely beautiful combo, one of the best. If you have never tried it, I urge you to do so! Try this recipe, it’s quick and easy and I’m sure you’ll love it!

Also, if you’re not a big fish fan, then the pesto does an excellent job of masking the fishy taste. No overpowering taste of the sea here!!

To make Salmon with a Basil Pesto Crumb Crust for two people, you will need:

  • 2 salmon fillets
  • A generous handful of (gluten free) breadcrumbs
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp of basil pesto (shop bought or homemade)
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil + a splash
Add lemon zest & juice to pesto crumb mix. Photo by Jess B.

Add lemon zest & juice to pesto crumb mix.          Photo by Jess B.

Lemon, breadcrumbs & pesto mix. Photo by Jess B.

Lemon, breadcrumbs & pesto mix. Photo by Jess B.

Ready for the oven. Photo by Jess B.

Ready for the oven. Photo by Jess B.

  1. Heat oven to 220°C/ 200°C fan/ Gas Mark 7.
  2. Grease a shallow baking dish with a splash of olive oil.
  3. Rinse salmon in cold water, pat dry with kitchen paper and place the fillets skin side down in the shallow dish.
  4. In a medium sized basin mix together the breadcrumbs, lemon zest and juice and pesto, until all are well combined.
  5. Divide the pesto breadcrumb mix evenly between the salmon fillets, press it down gently into a thick layer over the top of each fillet.
  6. Drizzle a little olive oil over the crumb topping (this makes the breadcrumbs crisp, and not go soggy, in the oven).
  7. Place in the preheated oven for 20 minutes until the crumb is golden and the salmon is cooked through.
  8. Serve immediately (though it is very nice cold too and will happily keep in the fridge for a day or two).
A simple supper. Photo by Jess B.

A simple supper. Photo by Jess B.

Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food

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