Salt and chilli Sea Bass – Recipe

sea bass

Salt and Chilli Sea bass

Inspiration for this dish came from my recent trip to Turkey. As mentioned in previous posts the region I stayed in was a small fishing village called Gulluk. There was fresh sea food available everyday – from jumbo shrimp to king prawns.

One of my favourite types of fish is Sea bass slightly lighter than other white fish it has a distinct taste and is very versatile – you can even barbecue it!!!

I believe fresh sea food is seriously underestimated here in the UK. This is my own recipe and I wanted to share it with you to show that sea food can be tasty when cooked at home too. Furthermore, this dish was a bargain at under £4 pounds. It serves 2 and all ingredients purchased from Lidl!

I’ve chosen the healthy option and not used any oil. If you prefer you can use a splash of olive oil depending on how you like the taste of your fish.

You will need:

2 fillets of sea bass

1 red chilli (chopped)

4 cloves of garlic (finely sliced)

salt

spray oil (fry light)

crusty bread to serve.

1. Spray the pan with spray oil and add the garlic and chilli. Coat in the spray oil. Add a dash of water regularly to stop it from burning and a good couple of pinches of salt. Fry for 1 minute until softened.

2. Add the sea bass to the pan and sear on both sides for about 3 minutes on each side or until cooked.

3. Continue to coat both fillets with the chilli and garlic.

4. Serve with crusty bread.

There you have it salt and chilli sea bass. Healthier than a take away and cheaper than a restaurant. Let me know if you try this. Enjoy x

Köpoğlu – a real Turkish delight!

Having returned from Turkey on holiday I can confirm that it boasts some of the most delightful cuisine this side of the Aegean Sea. Located in the remote Güllük village on the southwest coast of Turkey this quaint fishing village is a far cry from the busy, cosmopolitan hubbub of the cities. With a short selection of about 5 restaurants – all situated on the harbour – indulging in the local cuisine was a very personal experience. Rather than show you all the pictures of the food I ate there I’d rather show you how I recreated these dishes myself at home with ingredients all bought from Lidl! Not only that but cooking them cost less than £1.00 per person. My aim is to show you the taste of the Aegean here in rainy Glasgow.

For me the dish that stood out the most was definitely the Köpoğlu (pronounced kop-og-loo). This plate belongs the Turkish Mezze selection which is basically just a starter or appetizer. Similar to Spanish tapas you can order a selection which varies from hummus, olives, samphire (salted sea weed) and other yoghurt based small plates.

The Mediterranean diet includes heavy use of olive oil. My personal belief olive oil only works within a Mediterranean life style. Us Brits don’t have the capacity to handle it in a daily diet. This is down to variables such as climate, life style and other social factors. You’ll see from this recipe that I have omitted the use of olive oil and used an alternative.

Bread in Turkey (and in other Mediterranean countries) is really light. It’s not doughy or moist but very low on heavy processed ingredients such as sugar and flour. Anyone suffering from gluten or wheat allergies like myself will be familiar with difficulties in digesting bread. Again, I personally believe this comes down to British diet. Bread abroad is clearly fresher and healthier and you never hear of anyone of Mediterranean origin suffer digestive or food allergies.

For me Köpoğlu certainly was my favourite dish of the holiday. The creamy delight will have you eating it as a starter and main course.

You will need (serves 2):

1 aubergine

3-4 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)

Tin of tomatoes

Tomato paste (1 dessert spoon)

Yoghurt (2 cups)

Vegetable stock cube mixed with 100ml hot water (or olive oil if you prefer)

Salt and pepper

Fresh bread to serve

  1. Cut the head off the aubergine and dice into small chunks. Heat a frying pan with spray oil (or olive oil – as mentioned above olive oil may not be the healthiest option and this works fine without). Add the aubergine chunks and stir. Add the vegetable stock. Boil and continue to stir so it doesn’t stick to bottom. Simmer until aubergine is cooked through. Remove from pan.
  2. No need to wash pan – add a tin of chopped tomatoes and the tomato paste to the pan and continue to stir. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Boil and simmer until mixture has reduced. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. In a separate bowl add the garlic to the yoghurt. With a hand held blender (or just with a fork if you prefer) whip the yoghurt as you would whip cream. It is better if you use normal yoghurt rather than fat free or reduced fat versions – this way you will get the full advantage of the whipped creaminess.
  4. In a bowl gently fold the whipped yogurt into the tomato and aubergine mixture. Don’t mix too much, instead opt for a marbled effect.
  5. Serve with fresh bread.

From my pictures you will see the loaf I used has Kalamata olives baked through it. I got this from Sainsbury’s for £1.65. The bread is good quality but in comparison to the bread used on the continent it is very heavy, doughy and moist. If you can’t find light bread opt for crackers instead – not so traditional but won’t leave you feeling ‘sluggish’. Let me know what you think!

Recipe:

Shopping locally – fruit and veg markets ….

I usually use my blog for restaurant reviews and eating out however I think it’s important to highlight that eating in can be just as fun!!

For me shopping at one supermarket every week would be boring and repetitive. I find exploring different food retailers can liven up eating times. Many people will complain that it is too expensive to shop anywhere other than their local supermarket chain – I disagree.

I’m fortunate enough to live in the Southside of Glasgow. On Victoria Road, in Govanhill there is a fruit and veg market selling lots of fresh produce much cheaper and more appealing than any supermarket products.

I bought these cherries yesterday and 400g cost me £1.50. OK, so it’s probably about the same price to buy a bag of apples from Asda but definitely not as enjoyable.

If you want to feel better and eat healthier you have to invest a little. By visiting local fruit and veg market stalls rather than supermarkets you will see a visual difference in quality and taste. I find it off-putting buying tomatoes from a supermarket that are more of an orange colour than red and are all identical in shape. Independent stall holders provide a huge rise in quality for this type of produce not to mention a variety of colour and size.

If you have children they may also enjoy eating healthier if their fruit and veg is more varied and not so bland as the usual supermarket apples and bananas.

So next time try something new from your local market stall. My favourite is the Victoria Road market next to the Royal Bank of Scotland in Govanhill. You’ll be surprised you may actually save money and feel better.

The Bowery, 35-41 Queen Street

Forgive me if it appears that I’ve only been targeting new restaurants – I’ll try to be kind. Having heard a lot about ‘The Bowery’ which has just opened on Queen Street I decided that it would be the perfect venue to review as I was meeting a friend in town. Located near Argyle Street it is in prime position for eating out after a day’s shopping or meeting for dinner after work.

On arrival it appears a lot has been invested in the interior with a whole new refit. Modern and fresh would describe the relaxing vibe of the restaurant. It was strangely quiet with more staff than customers but that was probably due to it being a Wednesday evening and to be honest the whole town seemed quiet.

After the review of Ranjit’s kitchen I’m going to try and take it easy on the staff at The Bowery. The restaurant has just opened so it’s likely there will be some teething problems. Having booked the table earlier in the day I arrived and gave the waitress my name. My friend had already arrived and we were both seated conveniently in what seemed like the dining area as opposed to the bar area -which was convenient and peaceful. When ordering drinks we were asked once then asked a second by another member of staff. From previous reviews you will know that these things can annoy me. Not about the staff themselves but the overall management of the place. Communication should be key throughout the whole system of service.

The menu was extremely good value considering the city centre location. Until 6.30pm all meals start at £4.95. The menu had a range of traditional burgers and fish and chips but also boasted interesting dishes of sea bass with sweet potato mash and lemon infused quinoa. I was particularly hungry so my friend and I ordered the homemade guacamole and tortilla chips. The tortilla chips were straight from a bag. However, the guacamole was really chunky and full of flavour served in 2 mini ramekins along with a third filled with pickled cabbage. Unfortunately, the ratio of tortilla chips did not match the portion of guacamole which was disappointing. Was it worth £4.95? – Definitely not!

Back to the staff: when they removed our plates from the table they didn’t seem to notice our glasses were empty. We had to call over to them to order more drinks. I’m of the belief waiting staff should automatically check for this regularly – especially if they’re at the table anyway.

Then to make matters worse the waiter came over to inform us that the sea bass I ordered, well, they didn’t actually have any left. They did offer hake instead – ok not so bad I guess, at least I didn’t have to order something completely different. Also, at the price of £6.95 it was still very reasonable.

When it arrived it was beautifully presented not to mention delicious. The Hake was cooked to perfection and was really soft. I was worried about this as I really don’t like dried out fish – but I couldn’t complain.  Two fillets of hake served on a bed of sweet potato mash, with a lovely citrus oil dressing. The balance of sweet potato with the acidic notes was perfect. You could be forgiven for thinking you were in an upmarket A la Carte restaurant. The burger my friend ordered also went down well with no issues. She removed the bun and it took some initiative from the waitress to inform us that you can actually order a ‘naked burger’ without the bun. Ideal if you’re limiting your carb intake.

It would’ve been impossible to eat dessert as we were so stuffed. However, the Bowery boasts a wide selection of dessert options and cocktails. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to order any of them with it being a week-night. I would look forward to returning to try them however. The Bowery food and drinks menu has a nice balance of pub prices meets bistro dishes and with that you may want to stay there for the whole evening!

Food – 4/5: Bistro food! However the tortilla chip starter could be moved to bar ‘nibbles’.

Service – 3/5: New staff all standing around looking awkward, unsure of the overall system. An extra mark for telling us about the ‘naked’ burger though!

Value for money – 4/5: Unfortunately lost a mark for starters. Overall, excellent value for the mains.

Décor – 3/5: New and fresh décor. Lots of space for bar and restaurant customers

Total – 14/20: A good start for the Bowery, slight teething problems with management etc. Great food ! Overall I’d like to experience the ‘social’ scene the Bowery has to offer at the weekend as well as the food.

Ranjit’s Kitchen – Pollokshaws Road, Southside

This week’s review is on the Panjabi ‘street food’ of the newly opened Ranjit’s Kitchen on Pollokshaws Road in the Southside of Glasgow.

Having changed hands regularly the newly refurbished venue takes form more of a canteen than a restaurant and boasts a cool street food eclectic vibe.

On entry we were seated at a long bench next to other diners. This reminded me of eating out in Thailand. In fact, I was under the impression the whole dining experience would be the same in that when the food was ordered it would just come as and when ready. However, there was no way of knowing how the food would arrive or in fact how the menu worked as no one explained it to us which was disappointing.

Nonetheless, Ranjit’s Kitchen was indeed busy, certainly a thriving eatery on a Saturday night in the Southside. We thought maybe we were holding out too much hope for a space. We asked the waiter if there was space for 2, he looked around gormlessly and shrugged his shoulders. A waitress from behind him – who appeared to be the only one working – gestured to a tiny space at one of the benches where in fact one of the waiters was sitting chatting to the diners. Feeling awkward now for interrupting his conversation he kindly moved and allowed us to sit down.

Seated at a huge bench there was a backpacker-esque, traveller feel, not to mention the wall art and decor looked hip. The gormless waiter who seated us asked if we’d ordered…… well how could we have? We had just sat down and didn’t even have any menus. We kindly asked him for some and he brought them over. Very strange.

As mentioned this is not a straightforward menu as like the venue itself it hints at a different dining experience. The menu was a list of around 10 items with some things that I’d never heard of before. Which is fine but I thought maybe the waiter would have taken time not to only explain the items but explain the starter to main course set up. After some time a different waiter – the one who’s conversation we disrupted – came over to take our order.

We thought it was the same street food café set up that the dishes you ordered arrived when they were ready, in no set order – not to mention the fact that the couple sitting next to us had all their dishes at once.

So we ordered a Mango Lassi- Ranjit’s Kitchen is not licensed – and a Lemonade. The Mango Lassi was lovely and really light. A Lassi is just like a milk shake but instead of milk, yoghurt is used. It was really refreshing!

When it came to ordering the food no one was on hand to explain or even offer an explanation – we had to guess. There were 2 dishes on a ‘Sabji’ and a ‘Daal’. Some of you may be familiar with these terms some of you not. I had to google ‘Sabji’ (I’m so glad I had 4G). We decided to try 1 of each and a Pakora and samosas. Expecting it to all come at once it sounded like a good idea- no it wasn’t.

To make things worse the waiter said “oh yes…. The sabji today is ‘gourds”. I apologise if I sound ignorant of such terms but I had no idea what gourds are, again I had to ask Google. Delighted it was similar to butternut squash, now we just had to wait.

And wait we did.

Ranjit’s Kitchen lacks atmosphere and it was a boring wait. The staff were not exactly chatty or helpful, they seemed more interested in their own personal image than giving their restaurant any sort of friendly atmosphere.

Eventually our food arrived, but it was only the pakora and the samosas. Ok that was fine, we just assumed maybe there was a starter to main course layout in place and the soups would arrive afterwards.

But hold on ….. there was at least 12 pieces of pakora on the dish – yes 12 – and 2 large samosas with a chick pea curry on the side. Can you imagine eating 12 pieces of pakora??? As a starter???? I was truly hungry and not to mention bored waiting on it. Half way through it the waitress who at least seemed slightly more competent brought over the lime pickle, but we ordered a trio of pickles which never arrived – just the lime pickle alone.

Needless to say well and truly stuffed after the heavy fried ‘starters’ and bored with the atmosphere a good hour later, the waiter came back to take our plates away. Trying to make out “oh you’ll be wanting your soups now” when in fact I believe they had actually forgotten about us.

Now the pakora was indeed lovely , heavy yes, but that is pakora. It was lightly fried and not greasy. The yoghurt dressing was light and fresh. But again an unnecessary 12 pieces – unless you want it as a main course. The samosas also were lovely and lightly filled with potato and veg. The curried chick peas to accompany were also a delicacy.

The ‘sabji’ which was like a stew was nice. Different from my usually culinary tastes. It was thick with green peppers and the mystical ‘gourds’ indeed were a different taste. However, I was expecting spicy? Where were the chillies? The dish was laden with oil, you could actually see a ring of oil forming around the top of the stew. It was lukewarm too. I don’t know about you but I really like soups, stews, curries all piping hot. It did come with a roti bread but to be honest I could barely eat it more than half of the full dish, by far the heaviest food I’ve ever tried. It lacked flavour and intensities. Not to mention the fact I’d also ate more than enough pakora.

As for the ‘Daal’ like a bland Indian inspired lentil soup, well you can imagine sat in the stomach like a lead weight was not finished either.

A party of 7 arrived and were planted on the end of our bench – all squashed up – and made it quite evident they were waiting on others. It was time for us to leave – gladly.

The bill itself was reasonable at £21.50. However we weren’t given a receipt- it would’ve been interesting to see if there were any mistakes on the bill as the gormless waiter rang up the bill from memory.

Overall Ranjit’s kitchen is ideal for a quick snack perhaps midday. As for dinner and weekends I could suggest plenty other local eateries you would enjoy better.

Ranjit’s Kitchen may just be suffering teething problems as it is newly opened but it certainly lacks a management system. Ranjit’s kitchen should be offering more training to their staff or failing that the gormless waiter probably shouldn’t be in the service industry. Furthermore, informing customers of the menu structure and layout would also be beneficial.

Food – 2/5 : A different take on a stereotypical curry. Good pakora.

Service – 1/5 : Explanations and information are required when running a different ‘type’ of menu. A management system unclear.

Value for money – 3/5 : OK, but a receipt would have been nice to check.

Decor – 3/5 : Appealing, cool and eclectic gives a good street food vibe.

Total – 9/20 : Maybe just teething problems, got a long way to go before a revisit would be reconsidered.

Please note – Ranjit’s Kitchen is unlicensed and is a meat free menu.