Lemon Sole with Oyster Sauce


Ok, this really is something you do on a Saturday or when you have the time. I did this midweek, after work. It was a stretch then for an evening dinner, but it was sunny and I wanted to try it. In the original recipe at Great British Chefs (do go to the site it really is wonderful) it does take a few days, for mine (given the time) it was a bit quicker as is the method set out below.

Whatever, the result was lovely. The saltiness of the oysters and cucumber sauce lifts a lovely piece of fish to a delicate place. It really is worth the effort.



  • lemon sole fillets, large
  • 200ml of vegetable oil
  • 40g of tarragon
  • large leeks
  • cucumber, roughly chopped
  • shallot, roughly chopped
  • 50g of horseradish cream
  • 50ml of white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp of caster sugar
  • egg yolks
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • oysters, shucked
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 300ml of vegetable oil
  • 10 spring onions
  • 120g of flour
  • 120g of Panko breadcrumbs
  • oil, for deep-frying
  • salt



  1. Tarragon Sauce: The day before (but I actually did it on the day) add the tarragon and oil to a blender and blitz until smooth. Transfer the oil to a sieve lined with a double layer of muslin or a coffee filter. Set over a container to collect the oil that drips through and leave in the fridge overnight – the oil should be bright green and crystal clear.
  2. Slice the leeks into rounds and blanch in salted boiling water for a few minutes. Refresh in iced water.
  3. To make the oyster sauce: add the cucumber, shallots, horseradish cream, vinegar and sugar to a blender. Blitz until smooth for 3 minutes. Tip the liquid into a fine sieve and allow to strain through to remove the pulp. Set the strained liquid aside.
  4. Add the egg yolks, lemon juice and oysters to a blender and blitz until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the oil in a thin stream to emulsify
  5. Scrape down the sides of the blender. Turn on the blender again and slowly add back the cucumber stock until you reach the desired consistency and flavour.
  6. Blanch the spring onions in salted boiling water then refresh in iced water. Drain and set aside.
  7. Preheat a deep-fryer to 190°C. Dip each oyster first in the flour, then the egg, and finally the breadcrumbs. Fry in the hot oil for 2 minutes until crisp and golden, then drain on kitchen paper and season with salt.
  8. Heat a griddle pan, brush the blanched spring onions with oil and cook until lightly charred.
  9. To cook the lemon sole: brush each fillet with a little oil, season with salt and grill under a hot grill for around 2 minutes, until just cooked through.
  10. To serve: sit the slices of leek in the centre of each plate. Pour the sauce around the leeks and drizzle over the tarragon oil. Place a lemon sole fillet on top of the leeks, arrange the spring onion on the plate and top with a crispy oyster. Serve immediately

Crab Linguine

IMG_1599Summer, and in England at least crab comes into its own. I have used it elsewhere on this blog but sometimes with the heat of some chili and silky smooth pasta it can make a lovely, but light dish. If you want to serve it as a starter then add some cream, which makes the whole thing very rich – I think too rich for a main course. Victoria Moore in her terrific book on wine suggests a Burgundian chardonnay or Chablis goes well with this – as ever she is spot on.

Serves 4

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Mackerel with Capers and Chili


Time to have a fish dish. Mackerel is probably my favourite fish, it is full of flavour and being an oily fish is very good for you. We are also heading into summer, so the meal needs a bit of that Mediterranean feel about it. I have taken this recipe and changed it out a little. While the original is nice, the peppers and potatoes can feel a little bland, so it has been perked up a little with pinch of chili flakes and I have exchanged the white wine for vermouth.

This serves two as a big meal or four as a regular one.

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Bacon Wrapped Mackerel with Side Salad


Bacon Wrapped Mackerel

So Spring has sprung. Yet the problem is that the weather can be so variable. Yes, I want to move (ok with some resistance) away from the heavier and warming foods of winter, but I am not yet willing to embrace the light dishes of summer; and anyway not everything is in fully in season. So, something must replace the intensity of flavours I am giving up if I am to embrace the change. Here it is. Mackerel. I love this oily fish, the rich, deep flavour, and it needs something equal to its weight and that is a wrapping of thin rashers of smoked bacon with a balanced side-salad as a (not so) welcome nod to the new year. Actually, you could look at this as a deconstructed BLT – but there is a reason why those flavours work so well and why that sandwich is such a hit. Anyway, this is something akin to that, but without the need of bread. It will serve two as good main course, or four as a starter.

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Lobster Rolls

Boston, Provincetown, Maine, Cape Cod you are taken to the East Coast shores by these classic crustacean sandwiches. Even better, they can only be accompanied by chilled beer or cold white wine. They are a perfect match. The cold chopped mayoed lobster sits inside a buttered, lightly toasted brioche hot dog roll and it all just shouts summer and seashore. Ok so we had these sitting in the garden, but the memories they bring back (or create) are worth the expense and very little effort. Honestly, you will want them every summer. [Makes about 16 rolls]

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Teriyaki Salmon

imageHow did it start that I wanted to eat teryaki salmon? First, I fancied a weekday supper dish that didn’t take too long to cook but it had to be fish. Then I wanted something with a sweet yet salty flavour. How often can you find that in a fish recipe? This is it. You get that ping of soy sauce, the hit of chilli and the clean sharp line of lime. On top of noodles, this fish stands out as a clear winner, and made in less than 30 minutes it is a sure favourite. This is changed from some other recipes you may find, I add a bigger hit of chilli and ginger then reduced the amount of noodles, but that is up to you. This feeds two.

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Spicy Coconut Soup

imageIs it the cold weather? Is it my age? My mind turned back to a soup that we would sit eating in a very cheap but fantastic Malaysian restaurant in Soho. The added entertainment was watching the punters going in and out of the building opposite. Anyway, the restaurant sold the most wonderful ‘Santan Soup’ (which probably means nothing), and it came with a veneer thin layer of chilli oil over the top and was served way above boiling point. This is a variation. It provides a nice basic but spicy coconut soup, and you can then add the variations of chicken, vegetables, fish and even duck to change it out. Cheap, warming and hot – just what the punters want.

Serves 2 as a Main Course.

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Red Mullet and Pasta

Red Mullet and Pasta

Red Mullet and Pasta

It has been a while since I posted any new cooking, but when something new comes along and tastes as good as this does and is easy to make it has to be shared. Fish in the autumn, usually something with potatoes and cream. However, this light dish is really filling and on the darker nights (at least in England) this bit of colour lightens a mood. This serves two as a large main course, but you could cut back a little and serve four as a delicious starter. It is also quick and easy to make. (Serves 4) Continue reading

Crayfish and Prawns on Toast

Crayfish Tails and Prawns

Crayfish Tails and Prawns

When the weather changes, something light is called for. This little number was pulled together at the weekend. It can be a starter or main course. Actually, if you make it for small rounds of toast then it can even be a small canape with some drinks. It is that versatile and easy to make. The list of ingredients isn’t too long, and it is brought together very simply. However, it packs a lovely fresh and light taste. Perfect for spring into summer.  This feeds four and the method is the simplest yet.

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Tian of Crab and Avocado

imageThe thing about Christmas lunch is that you want it to look special, but it helps if the appetizer isn’t overly filling or a pain to make. This one hits on both counts. First you make it in advance, and just take it from the fridge and put it onto the plate before serving. Second, the light crab flavour, with the coriander hit smoothed by that silky avocado mix is a magical start to Christmas lunch. This can feed six, personally I prefer this for four and get a bit more out of it. Some wholemeal toast on the side, with butter in the dish add to the delight of it all.

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