Cob in foil on the fire

A friend of ours rang us up the other day and offered us a fish which he had just caught.  How can one refuse such a generous offer.  Even better was the gift of it being scaled, gutted and filleted.  BONUS!  Thanks Bernie, you are a star.

Cob in foil 1

All ready to be wrapped up an put on the coals

With having Pete home the last while and the weather being so lovely in the evenings, it is no surprise that we braai (barbecue) just about every other night and enjoy dining al fresco.

This cob was so moreish that we have enjoyed it twice in one week.  Now to wait for another kind offer of more fish or get on the river and catch one ourselves.  You can substitute the cob with any other fish – the simple flavours will compliment anything from sole to stock fish.

There really is no recipe for this, more a guideline, a un-recipe if you like.

Fish in Foil


Fish fillet of choice
Olive oil
Coarse salt
Black pepper
Lemon zest
Fresh Dill


  1. Place the fish on a piece of tin foil.
  2. Place all of the ingredients over the fish.
  3. Wrap the fish in the foil tightly.
  4. Hand the package to your husband to cook over the coals.
Cob in foil 2

No prizes for this pic but the fish was delicious!


Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 8

Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book – Part 8

The chapter on Fish and Sea Food reads:

“Lake Trout, deep-sea mackerel, New England clams, Florida pompano and shellfish from Chesapeake Bay – surely the people of a country bounded by two oceans, great lakes and a gulf were meant to like fish.  Today, refrigeration carries the catch, icy-fresh, to all inland America; and ‘Oyster R in season’ the year round as frozen food.

Adventures almost as breath-taking as that of the man who ate the first raw oyster still reward those courageous enough to try new varieties of sea food.  You may never eat an octopus and never really care for caviar or herring.  But how about deviled crabs, shad roe, flounder, scallops and smelts?  How about new ways to serve the familiar salmon, tuna, shrimp and cod?

Buying Fish

Season, locality and method of cookery must be considered when buying fish.  Modern refrigeration and the quick-freezing process make many fish available out of season and in localities remote from the source of supply.  Salted, smoked and canned products offer additional variety.  In a whole fish look for bright bulging eyes; fresh bright red gills; firm elastic flesh which springs back when lightly pressed.  In fish which are cut, boned and otherwise prepared before sale; freshness is best determined by general appearance and odor.  The flesh should appear firm, elastic and moist; the fish should smell fresh.

Cuts of Fish:  A FILLET is a side of fish or section of side cut length wise, with bones and usually skin removed.  Its thickness will depend on size and variety of fish.  The fish most commonly filleted are: cod, haddock, mackerel, perch, halibut, whiting and flounder, often called sole.  The true sole is an English fish; in this country certain kinds of flounder go by the name sole.

A STEAK is cut crosswise from a whole large fish, scaled or skinned.  A steak is usually ¾ to 1 inch thick.  Commonly used steaks are salmon, halibut, swordfish, bass and cod.

Amount to Buy:  Allow about ½ pound of whole fish or ¹/³ pound of fillet or steak for each serving.

Quick-Frozen Fish:  Quick-frozen packaged fillets and steaks are read to use with or without thawing as directed on the package.

Preparing Fish

The marketman will scale and clean the fish ready for use; he will skin it and remove fin bones and large bones if requested.  In that case a whole fish need only be washed before cooking; cut-up fish should be wiped with a damp cloth.  If the fish is frozen it may first be thawed just enough to melt the ice.

The following directions for preparing fish are for the benefit of the homemaker confronted with fish direct from the water.

Scaling:  Hold the fish by the tail and with a short heavy knife scrape against the scales.  Do this outdoors if possible, since the scales will fly, or hold the fish under cold running water while scaling.  Insert a sharp pointed knife along each side at the base of the fins to free the fin bones; then pull out fins with the small fin bones attached.

Cleaning:  If the fish is to be cooked whole, make a small opening under the gills, just large enough so that entrails may be removed.  If it is to be but up it may be split along the bottom from head to tail.  head and tail may be removed or not as desired.  Wash the scaled and cleaned fish with cold water and wipe dry.

Skinning:  Skinning is not usually desirable because the skin helps to retain flavour and juices and is often necessary to keep the delicate fish from falling apart during cooking.  Some fillets, however, such as cod and flounder, are usually skinned.  Have the fish scaled and cleaned, but do not remove heat and tail.  Cut out the fins.  Slit the skin down the back and underside from head to tail.  Cut through the skin all around the head.  Using a pair of pliers, grasp the skin near the head and pull off from  head to tail on each side, working carefully to aoid the flesh.  With a flat fish it may be easier to work from tail to head.  Steaks and other cuts of fish may be skinned by loosening at one end and carefully stripping from the flesh.  Cut off head and tail after skinning.

Boning:  Clean the fish, splitting it on the underside all the way from the head to tail so that it will lie flat.  With a sharp knife cut close to the bone all along each side and remove the backbone.  Pick out small bones with tweezers.  Some fish have so many small bones that it is not feasible to attempt to remove all.  Fillets are prepared y separating the two length wise halves of boned fish.  These may be skinned if desired, but for some fish, such as haddock, mackerel and perch, it is preferable to leave the skin on to hold the meat together during cooking.  Head, tail, and all small bones should be removed.

Using the Trimmings:  Unless the fish is to be poached, a fish stock my be made from the trimmings – the head, tail, fins and bones.  Place in a saucepan with salted water to cover;cover and simmer about 30 minutes.  Strain and use for soups and sauces.

Storing Fish:  Fresh fish should be kept in the coldest storage space in the refrigerator, well wrapped with paper to prevent the fish odor from spreading to other foods.  If the fish is not to be used soon, it may be lightly sprinkled with salt and pepper.  If it is to be thawed before cooking it should b exposed to room temperature no longer than absolutely necessary.  Salt fish and light smoked fish require cool air but not necessarily refrigeration, except in warm weather.

The chapter has 40 pages for fish dishes, including shellfish.

I am very excited about being at home for the variety of wonderful fesh fish available that I know how to prepare.  I was not very adventurous while living on Mauritius with the fish available as there was a lot of very colourful skinned fish which I have been taught is poisonous so I was nervous to buy it and it was also extremely expensive so I only occasionally bought  snapper and Capitaine which I pan fried in a little butter and olive oil.

Cindy’s Fishcakes

I interrupt my own scheduling to share with you a recipe that a new blogger friend was kind enough to post on her blog for me – so special.  Cindy is a fellow South African who blogs about her fiction, poetry and recipes.

Patience has never been one of my strongest virtues so I pushed aside my original dinner plans for last night to make these super yummy fishcakes.  Sadly I am out of ginger so omitted this from the recipe and didn’t think that it was missing at all, however will be making them again soon including the ginger to appreciate the full Thai flavour.  Due to the heat here I popped them in the fridge for 20 minutes just to firm up slightly before cooking.

Best of all, these are an absolute cinch to make – just my kind of recipe.  Thanks again Cindy.


Cindy’s Fishcakes

(slightly adapted from The Only Cin)


1 tin Alaskan or Norwegian salmon – (I used a 418g tin of John West Wild pink Salmon)
2 slices brown bread crusts removed – (I only had white so used that)
1 large egg lightly beaten
½ cup chopped parsley
½ cup chopped coriander
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 chilli finely chopped – (I used a small red chilli and removed the seeds)
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon crushed ginger – (I omitted this and added salt and pepper instead)


  1. Drain the fish and reserve the liquid.
  2. Remove the skin and bones from fish and place in a bowl.
  3. Soak the bread in the reserved liquid and squeeze out the excess before adding to the fish.
  4. Add all the other ingredients and mix together.
  5. Divide the mixture into desired size cakes – I made 8.  Cindy does them in tablespoon size.
  6. Fry over a medium heat in olive oil until golden brown on both sides. 


Fish Curry

I was introduced to this magnificent recipe by my husbands PA, shortly after we settled here in Mauritius.  It is true authentic Hindi cooking at it’s best.  Nanda knows it to be one of my favourites and I always get a portion when she makes it for her family.  She was even kind enough to make a special batch for my parents when they were visiting.

Fish Curry



5 tomatoes
3 garlic cloves
3 curry leaves
2 small onions sliced
2 tbsp curry powder
Pinch chilli powder
Pinch turmeric powder
Salt and pepper to taste
45ml oil
Pinch fenugreek seeds
1kg hake fillets


  1. Grind the tomatoes, garlic, curry leaves and one of the onions to form a paste.
  2. Add the curry powder, chilli powder, turmeric powder, salt and pepper to the paste and mix through.
  3. Heat the oil in a pan and add the fenugreek seed and the remaining onion and fry for 5 minutes.
  4. Rub the paste over the fish and place in the pan with the oil and place any remaining paste over the top of the fish and cover with a lid and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes per side.

Serve with basmati rice and a cucumber salad.


Submitted by:  Nanda Seebaluck, Mauritius

Baked Fish

I am all for comfort food and easy food and this recipe encompasses both.  I didn’t have any white cheddar so used yellow and it was equally as yummy.

Baked Fish



500g hake fillets
1 packet white onion soup powder
250ml milk
250ml cream
Lemon juice to taste
Salt and pepper to taste


375ml fresh bread crumbs
250ml white cheddar cheese
125ml fresh parsley chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Place the fish in a baking dish.
  3. Combine all the other ingredients and pour over the fish.
  4. Combine all the topping ingredients and place on top of the fish.
  5. Bake for approximately 40 minutes.

Serve with a crisp garden salad.

Submitted by:  Mandy Frielinghaus, Mauritius

Fish in Cream

This is one of my all time favourite meals from as far back as I can remember.  The taste holds such fond memories.  It is incredible what a “taste-explosion” three ingredients can make, plus it takes all of 3 minutes to prep – brilliant!  You can also replace the hake (stock fish) with sole.

Fish in Cream



500g fresh hake fillets
250ml cream
Juice of a medium lemon


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Place the fish in a baking dish.
  3. Cover with the cream.
  4. Juice the lemon over the cream.
  5. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes.

Serve with mashed potatoes and baby peas.

Submitted by:  Val Olsen, Johannesburg

How to fillet a fish

Filleting a fish can be a daunting task for some of us.  With just a little practice using this step by step guide , you will have perfect fillets for the pan in no time at all.



How to fillet a fish