Easter Time is not just a time for eggs
There is nothing like waking up on Easter Morning to the smell of fresh spicy Hot Cross Buns baking in the oven, filling the house with its tantalizing aromas, but besides the Hot Cross Buns what I really look forward to at Easter Time is a plateful of delicious sweet/sour pickled fish with lots and lots of crunchy onions.
The onions absolutely have to be crunchy – I cannot reiterate that enough. There also has to be lots of sauce to spread onto toast with the onions once all the fish has gone. Could it be that although I love the yummy fish, it is really the onions that make my mouth glad? I am going to give that some thought.
Anyway, if you are going to make pickled fish for Easter I suggest you get started and make enough to last for a few days. I do, and it actually freezes quite well. You can use any firm white flesh fish for this. I have friends who only will use yellowtail; my mother used to make it with Barracuda that was really delicious and I loved the firmness of the flesh. It isn’t so easy trying to find fresh fish these days, but there is always the old standby Hake.
It is said that the Cape Malay Fishermen used to pickle the left-over catch to preserve it. Every household has its own way of making pickled fish, whether it be skin on or skin off, and would argue that their way is best. Some people put lots of aromatic spices into their sauces; some keep it simple. I say keep the balance. Keep the onions crisp and make a lot of it and share some with the old lady on the corner. I once served my version of pickled fish to Al Gore, the Vice President of America and our Vice President at the time and they loved it!
Whatever your reason is for making and eating pickled fish this Easter, whether it is religious or other, I say pickled fish unites us, so let’s eat pickled fish and be merry!If you are not allowed to cook on Good Friday, then I suggest you get into that kitchen right now and lets cook – this dish needs a few days for the flavours to get to know each other and that sauce to seep into those onions.
There are a few other spices you can add to your mix if you wish like cardamom, mustard seeds, chillies, cumin seeds, fennel seeds – the recipe is really yours to own. Taste, after all, is a very private thing, so make it your own my darlings.And for those of you that don’t do fish well, have a crumpet!
Tip from an old Cape Malay lady:
To firm up the flesh of the fish if it is fresh and not frozen, sprinkle a little coarse salt on both sides of the fish fillet and let it rest for 20 minutes, then rinse under cold running water and pat dry with a paper towel and then cut the fish in portions with the skin attached.
- 2 kg firm white fish fillets
- Salt and milled black pepper
- 40 ml (8 t) flour cake
- 750 ml (3 c) vinegar
- 250 ml (1 c) water
- 250 ml (1 c) sugar
- 15 ml (1 T) turmeric
- 30 ml (2 T) curry powder
- 5 ml (1 t) salt
- 15 ml (1 T) black peppercorns
- 4 onions, peeled and sliced
- 6 lemon leaves
- 15 ml (1 T) crushed ginger
- 2 bay leaves
- 250 ml (1 c) sultanas
1. Cut the fish into pieces and season. Dust with flour.
2. Heat oil in a large frying pan and fry the fish on both sides until cooked through. Drain on paper towels.
3. Make the curry sauce. Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, turmeric, curry powder, salt and peppercorns in a large saucepan. Bring to the boil.
4. Add the onions, lemon leaves, crushed ginger and bay leaves. Simmer for approximately 10 minutes. Do not overcook the onions; keep them crunchy!
5. Mix 15 ml (1 T) flour into a little of the sauce. Stir over high heat until it thickens.
6. Fling in the sultanas and stir well.
7. Layer the fish and onions in a glass dish. Pour the sauce over. Cover, cool and then refrigerate.
8. Let the fish stand for 3 days before eating.
Pickled fish will keep for up to 1 month, stored airtight in a clean glass container, in the fridge.
It’s only OK to lick the spoon if it’s not going back into the dish; otherwise you are going contaminate the contents. Always use a clean spoon when dishing up.
© Jenny Morris® 2004 – 2012 all rights reserved
Easter Chocolate Chip Crumpets
How about a little bit of crumpet? Everyone likes a bit of crumpet, right!
My grandpa Bob made crumpets for tea every single afternoon of the week; this he did without fail. I would wait for the call, “Sookie put your shoes on” and with that I galloped over to the next property for my daily treat. What I enjoyed most about the crumpets was licking off the delicious salty butter when it melted and mingled with the runny honey. I think I ate one of these crumpets and licked 5 clean.
- 25g butter
- 500ml butter milk
- 1 tbls honey
- 2 eggs
- 60 ml caster sugar
- 500ml sifted cake flour
- 20 ml baking powder
- 100g chocolate chips or 100g,
- 70% dark chocolate
Melt the butter with half of the buttermilk over a low heat, cool.Beat together the eggs and caster sugar.Mix the baking powder with the sifted flour, make a well in the centre of the flour.Now add the remaining butter milk to the egg mixture, give it a good stir. Pour the buttermilk mix into the flour and mix till smooth; stir in the chocolate chips. Lightly butter a non-stick frying pan and heat it, now cook a few teaspoonfuls at a time.When the surface of the crumpet is covered with little air bubbles, turn them over and cook till golden on the other side.
Bananas just love chocolate – spread with Nutella and top with sliced bananas. The banana has to be fragrant and have freckles on its skin, or try them topped with sliced banana, a few slices of crispy bacon, a blob of natural yoghurt and a drizzle of runny honey for breakfast.
Or just drop the bacon and keep the rest and serve as a dessert with chocolate mascarpone cream.
- Coffee Chocolate Mascarpone
Great in crepes or for topping crumpets or pancakes with toasted nuts and caramelized pears.
- 200g 70% dark chocolate melted
- 250 g mascarpone cheese
- 2 tbls coffee liqueur
Stir the coffee liqueur into the mascarpone cheese and then the cooled melted chocolate.
© Jenny Morris “Cooking with Jenny Morris” 2012 all rights reserved