Tuesday, 27 January 2009

So how keen ARE you on fish?

Interesting, the feedback - or rather lack of it - on the two recent posts I've done on fish, both of which have excited (if that's the right word) much less response than the ones I've done recently on meat and veg.

I'm intrigued to know why this is. It's possible, of course, you didn't like the sound of either recipe (well, I did say the skate smelt of ammonia which is hardly a come on) But the chowder was actually pretty nice.

Does this mean you're not really that keen on fish? And is that because you don't like the bones or the smell or don't really know what to do with it?

Trout, for example, is a really thrifty buy (see the newspaper-wrapped trout recipe in the Frugal Cook book which is easy, delicious and fun). Tinned sardines, mackerel and tuna are still cheap despite the recent price rises. Healthy as well. Frozen prawns are great value, especially the little North Atlantic ones, as are frozen white fish fillets - great for a fish pie. And you can actually make quite a tasty fish stew or chowder with those compacted frozen fish 'steaks' which have the advantage of no skin or bones.

So do tell - I'd love to know.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

I loathe any kind of fish and seafood. The smell just makes me feel ill, it's been the same all my life.

mrs green said...

my 7 year old daughter loves any type of fish and is always begging me to take her to our local fish market.

However, she likes quite 'plain' food - chowder, for example, she would not eat. But the other night for tea she ate a tin of sardines and a plate of steamed vegetables! I thought it looked vile, but sheh wolfed it down and asked for more.

Another of her favourites is fish pie - again, nothing glamorous, just a tin of fish (usually tune or salmon) mashed up with some cooked veg, some cream and topped with mashed potatoes. That's what I am doing for dinner tonight.

I also make fish cakes - just left over fish, mashed with potato and shallow fried.

So yep, big fish lover here, but I probably wouldn't go to the hassle of doing something quite so recipe-like, iykwim? She would prefer trout or mackerel with veggies so that she can really taste the fish and it doesn't disappear into the recipe I think.

notSupermum said...

I love fish, and so does my 9 year old daughter but the older one hates fish and seafood, so I tend not to cook fish unless the older one isn't at home. That's when I take the 9 year old to the fish counter and she chooses something for tea. She can be quite adventurous, and we've tried most types of fish but her absolute favourite is sushi. She even takes it to school for her packed lunch (she says she gets some strange looks from the other children!)

I nearly always choose fish if I got out to a restaurant, particularly something I might not cook myself.

david321 said...

its strange with fish it seems to be so hit and miss with people. im always surprised here in ireland being a maritime country and yet fish doesnt appear that often in peoples diets.

Anonymous said...

Myself and my fussy six year old son will eat tinned tuna, as in tuna mayonnaise or in something like a tuna and pasta bake. My four year old daughter will eat tuna (minus the mayonnaise) or fish fingers, but that is it for us.

Robin said...

Big fan of fish - in response to comment #1 I'd say, if you've learnt to hate the smell, it's probably because the fish was not fresh!

I'd heartily recommend re-trying fish to anyone who's grown to hate it or not given it a chance. Fresh fish from a good fishmonger is on a level with say, your favourite steak. It's VERY easy to cook and is very versatile. Don't buy fish from supermarkets (generally) get it from a specialist. Get recommendations from the seller and get into it that way.

Kadeeae said...

I like fish, but I can't be doing with the bones! If I've got to be picking out bones every 5 seconds, I'd rather go hungry.

My favourite fish is salmon, but like most all whitefish, will do tuna in pasta bakes etc. Honestly I don't know very much about other types of fish, and would probably be more keen to try them if I could be guaranteed of no bones :-)

lilymarlene said...

I love fish but don't often buy smoked fish. And I certainly don't keep it in the freezer like I do various easy meat cuts. I think that it has a shorter freezer life than non-smoked......I am probably wrong on that but it is my perception...
I didn't eat meat for may years but did eat fish so I am quite confident with cooking it. I think many people aren't though so that maybe why you didn't get so many comments.

Lizzie said...

I've only be following your blog this week, but I love fish and all seafood - shame it's so expensive and difficult to buy when you're out of the house 8am - 7pm :(

Anonymous said...

For those of us inland in rural locations, good fresh fish just isnt part of our daily shopping round.

The butcher has excellent local meat, the market gardener (and my allotment) the veggies - but fish? A few bits in the Co-op freezer and tinned tuna etc. Supermarket fish counter = 20 mins each way.

A real live "good fishmonger"???? Can't remember when I last saw one.

Fiona Beckett said...

OK, OK - I take it all back. That was a veritable shoal of comments!

To the fish - or bone-haters - like anonymous and kadeeae - my sympathies. probably not a lot I can say to convince you though might be worth trying something like Thai fish cakes which don't taste very fishy.

Kids. Good points from mrs green. Kids aren't automatically prejudiced against fish - when our eldest daughter was small she was really keen on herring which she used to call 'eye fishy'and I've seen quite a few tuck into mussels - and sushi, as you've found, notsupermum. But peer pressure often wears them down. Fish cakes are a good solution. Frugal too.

Good point about fish being easy to cook, Robin. It is - and quick, too.

Point taken though about fresh fish not being easily available, David, Lizzie and anonymous. Which is why I think that frozen isn't a bad solution. I found some fantastic frozen scallops in Aldi the other day, for instance (£4.99 for a decent-sized bag) Also there are some firms like the Fish Society who will deliver by mail order. Not cheap though.

Fine to keep smoked fish in the freezer lilymarlene - though obviously not for months on end.

Karen said...

I'm trying to eat more fish but I don't think I'll ever be that bothered by it. It never seems decadent.

And the fish I enjoy most are always the more expensive ones, unlike meat when the cheap cuts are great.

Fiona Beckett said...

Interesting thought, Karen: which fish, if any, are decadent?

Personally I'd put anything you can eat with your fingers in the decadent category which would include shellfish like oysters, mussels and great big, garlicky prawns. Lobster is pretty decadent too though hardly frugal so maybe beyond the remit of this blog.

What do the rest of you reckon?

Signe said...

Really intrigued by all these comments. I grew up in a country where we have fresh fish in abundance so I love everything from razor clams to salted cod. It never ceases to amaze me that fishmongers don't really exist in this island country anymore, and the level of antipathy to fish here in the UK is frankly a little odd. Tastes change though and perhaps mounting concerns about the ecological consequences of our meat consumption (and this pains me because I also love a good steak or meatballs!!) will force many non-fish lovers to think again. If you're not a committed fish fan, opt for the non-oily fish such as haddock, or even more frugally - hake. And if you really get hooked, then go to Scandinavia :-)

Slice of life said...

It is hugely expensive. Plus I used to live on the coast where you could by straight from the boats.

I am also a little worried when I see it in the supermarket, milky eyes, and it is defrosting on the ice slab in the supermarket, so really you shouldnt be refreezing it.

we only ever have it as a treat. :(

Even Tuna fish in a can is expensive now, it is actually cheaper to buy tinned salmon in some shops now.

Fiona Beckett said...

Hake is pretty expensive here, sig, I'm afraid. The Spanish snap it all up. But yes, agree we don't have the respect for fish you'd expect as an island nation.

Agree about not refreezing fish, sliceoflife but frozen fish seems the best deal if you're looking for bargains (and can't buy off the boat) Have a problem with canned salmon though. Know it's good value but can't stand the smell!

Gerrymh said...

I LOVE fish, but as we live on a sailboat and it is often our only source of fresh meat I need to. What you realise once you have dined on really fresh fish, I mean the stuff you have just caught, is how different it is from shop bought stuff.
I have learned to catch, clean and cook all kinds of fish out here and can't imagine life without it now!

Fiona Beckett said...

Ooo, lucky you, Gerry. I envy you!

Greenlady said...

I think I've fishcommented before so I don't really want to repeat mysef but - detest all kinds of tinned fish, UGH, and all kinds of strong tasting " fishy " fish. I enjoy really fresh firm fleshed white fish - which tastes sweet, not strongly fishy - and some forms of shellfish. I can get fresh fish as I live by the sea, I could also get free mackerel if I wanted it but can't stand the stuff.

If I never ate fish again it wouldn't bother me though. I would miss crabs, clams and shrimps a bit.

robert said...

I love eating fish. As dor instance canned Sardines can be substituted for tuna in spaghetti alla puttacaneca reducing the cost of the dish.

A certain frozen food chain (not the one associated with Kerry Katona ) has good deals on frozen seafood and fish which are handy for quick cheap meals. Unfortunately there is a serious lack of fishmongers locally due to big supermarket chains dominating the fish trade but relying upon tried and tested favourites ignoring fish like skate knobs in favour of prepared fish like marinated salmon which has a big profit margin. I work for one....

Fiona Beckett said...

Crab, definitely greenlady. Couldn't give up that. Have you tried Japanese ways with mackerel. Or Indian? Spiciness counteracts oiliness.

Oh, and Robert do tell which chain has good fish bargains. We need to know!

Local Lass said...

The only problem fish in this household is monkfish - leaving aside the price, my husband will not eat it and can detect it at 100 yards. I suspect he once saw one! We both love smoked mackerel but can't abide fresh mackerel - I'm sure it's to do with texture.
Your version of Cullen Skink is a winner - and that from a Scot! Hey, a recipe is only a template.

Fiona Beckett said...

It's the Scottish ancestry, local lass ;-) My grandfather was a pure-bred Scot and my grandmother a mixture of Scottish, English and Irish. Glad you liked it anyway!

robert said...

it's farm foods. Their frozen fish range is pretty good. I think I paid £3.75 for a 450g of scallops. Lovely pan fried with bacon served with a crusty buttered baguette.

Fiona Beckett said...

Ooo, yum. That's even cheaper than Aldi!

recipes2share said...

I love fish, but tend to buy the oily, meaty varieties. White fish can often leave me uninspired and often still hungry!

Fiona Beckett said...

You might find this works recipes2share: put a couple of chunky fish fillets (such as cod) in a baking dish, pour over some thick tomato sauce (olive oil, garlic, tin of tomatoes, cook down till reduced) and add a few black olives. Bake for about 15 mins in a moderate 190°C oven and serve with rice or couscous - and a green veg like broccoli, peas or beans. Filling and substantial!

Kay Sexton said...

We like fish but I hate the smell of it cooking and lingering aromas in the house later, it just reminds me of Fish Fridays at school and how my stomach turned at the stuff they made us eat - our compromise is to cook it on a barbecue at the allotment - that way the smell is dispersed and we eat off paper plates that I then burn. Favourite recipe, cod in sweet and sour sauce cooked in tinfoil - delicious¬

Fiona Beckett said...

That's the problem, Kay and yours is a good solution (though unfortunately I don't have an allotment or even a garden to cart it off to). Like the idea of the sweet and sour sauce which might also appeal to recipes2share. How do you do it?

Kay Sexton said...

Allotment Cod

Marinate slices of cod in a mixture of teriyaki sauce, home-made marmalade, soy sauce and any old leftover plonk. Put in a tinfoil dish for cooking purposes and top with a thinly sliced onion and some chopped cherry tomatoes (in summer, on the plot, just pick these as you pass them!) Fire up the barbecue and cook, in the tin dish, for twenty minutes. It is succulent with a glorious tangy sauce you can mop up with bread.

recipes2share said...

Sounds delicious! Thank you, you have some great ideas here. Fiona

Fiona Beckett said...

Love the name of the dish, Kay! And the combination of marmalade and teriyaki - bet that's a first! Thank you for posting that.

Anonymous said...

My whole family loves fish but I had a bit of a shock last weekend which did temporarily put me off it!

I was making a ''Nigella'' fish pie (the one with saffron in)with haddock, salmon and cod - always a crowd pleaser. This was to feed 9 including a 1 year old and so I was being really careful to make sure there were no bones in the cod. Anyway, as I was poking them out, I came across 3 live wiggly worms!

We took them straight back to Asda, Bedminster and got a refund and a voucher but they weren't especially surprised and said that it showed the fish was fresh! Yuck! Makes me wonder how many we might have gobbled up unknowingly although I'm sure they're harmless.

We got some different cod from another supermarket and the pie was delicious by the way :)

Fiona Beckett said...

Yuck indeed! And pathetic excuse from Asda. Pie sounds very tasty though.

robert said...

I made rillette of sardines with asda budget sardines in tomato sauce today and used preserved lemons instead. Which I brought back from Marrakech. I was wondering whether you use fish in oil instead? It was a tasty cheap lunch though. I also think pilchard would be ideal too.

Sue McGettigan said...

I love fish, and don't eat meat, so fish posts are just fine by me :)

Fiona Beckett said...

I made something similar with pilchards in tomato sauce, Robert just to see if I could overcome my dislike of them (just about!) I used vinegar instead of preserved lemons and capers though I have used sardines and preserved lemons in the past. And loads of chopped parsley which is good. It's amazing how much better sardine 'rillettes' sounds than sardines on toast :-)

I'll try and keep up the fish posts too Susan, though there's been a bit of a plea for more veggie recipes so have to prioritise that!

Term Papers said...

Frozen prawns are great value, especially the little North Atlantic ones, as are frozen white fish fillets - great for a fish pie.

UA-3466976-1