Keeping your Gut Happy!

Haddock and Prawn Gratinee – Serves 8

With the fine weather we’ve enjoyed in the last few weeks, I really fancied some fresh fish. I’m a really big fish-lover especially of tuna, salmon, tartar and sushi. We placed a few orders with the local fishmonger, here in Cranleigh and I have to say the quality was amazing. We are lucky in our village to have suppliers like them! I’ve worked 20 years in fine dining, and you will not find better quality in any Mayfair or Knightsbridge restaurants. Well done to Cranleigh Fish, please keep up the good work!

This recipe is a real comfort food classic, in this at a time of restarting and reinventing ourselves after this long lockdown. So, we need to treat our self and enjoy time with our loved ones. This dish will make the perfect starter for a family dinner.

450g Haddock fillet, skinned
25g Butter
1 Medium onion, skinned and finely chopped
30g Plain flour
300ml Milk
30ml White wine
175g Peeled prawns
75g of Gruyere or mature Cheddar cheese, grated
2 Handfuls of chopped parsley
Salt and Black pepper

1. Cut the haddock fillet into 16 small strips. Fold the strips in half and place two of each in eight individual ramekins or gratin dish.
2. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the onion and fry gently until soft. Add the flour and cook gently, stirring, for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually blend the milk and wine. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly, then simmer for 3 minutes.
3. Remove the sauce from heat, add the prawns and 50g of the cheese with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Spoon a little sauce into each ramekin, to cover the fish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
5. Bake in the oven at 190C mark 5 for 30 minutes. Serve immediately with some crusty bread and chopped parsley to garnish. I’m sure it will uplift your spirits.

Recommended Wine: Albarinho (Spain)

Salmon baked in Sea Salt – Serves 4

Cooking in rock salt is one of the oldest cooking techniques, it keeps the flavour clean from oil or butter. The salt acts like a little oven but also seasons the fish perfectly. I like to serve it with a fresh tomato and avocado salad full of vitamins and omega3.

1x 2-2.5kg Salmon farmed salmon, gutted (skin and fins left intact)
3kg Rock salt
2 Medium avocado
16 Cherry tomato, halved
Small bunch of basil leafs
50ml Olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 180c mark 4. Mix the salt with 150ml of water in a large bowl to make a salty sludge. Spread a flat bed in a large roasting tray. Put the basil into the cavity in the salmon and add a sprinkle of salt. Lay the salmon on the salt bed and cover with the remaining sludge so you form a salt pack that covers the salmon completely. Bake for 1 hour.
2. Begin the salad: once you have cleaned the avocado from the skin and the stone, chop it into pieces around 1inch thick. In a large mixing bowl, place avocado pieces and the halved cherry tomatoes. Now to dress our salad add the olive oil, salt, the juice of half lemon and 3-4 basil leafs. Toss salad to blend all the ingredients and place it in the fridge, the lemon will prevent any oxidation to happen like the avocado turning black.
3. Remove the salmon from the oven and set aside for 30 minutes. After that using a bread knife, carefully cut around the salt crust so that it comes off in big chunks and exposes the fish. With a sharp little knife, cut up from the tail so that the skin comes off in one piece. Serve the salmon warm with avocado and tomato salad, making sure to remove the salad from the fridge so when it is served it will be room temperature. I often add a bit of hollandaise sauce on the side, mayonnaise or guacamole will work too. Enjoy!

Recommended Wine: Riesling (Austria)

Home-made Italian Ice Cream – Serves 6

When I speak to customers or friends in Britain, many of them tell me how much they love the ice cream when they go on holiday to Italy. To buy an ice cream maker is expensive and is something we don’t use all year around. I will tell you a little secret…you don’t need an ice cream maker to enjoy a good Italian gelato. This simple recipe will surprise you.

500g of whipped cream
300g of condensed milk
120g of dark chocolate powder
2 Kinder eggs

1. Place the whipping cream in a large mixing bowl and, with the help of an electric whisk, bring the whipping cream to a firm consistency. Now add condensed milk and with a wooden spoon (or a silicon spatula) gently mix until it is well blended in.
2. Now out of this main mix we will obtain 2 ice cream flavours: in this case dark chocolate and Kinder egg (children love this one), but you can personalize it to your own taste by adding other ingredients, for example strawberry jam or Nutella.
3. Divide the mix into 2 mixing bowls. Into 1 add the dark chocolate powder and mix it gently with a whisk until well blended. In the other bowl, add 2 Kinder chocolate eggs roughly broken into pieces.
4. Finally place the two mixes into freezable containers with a lid and put the containers in the freezer for a minimum of 6 hours.
5. After 6 hours we are ready for our Italian ice cream. Delicious!

Simone Conti

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