Mealtimes have become a challenge of late in our house. The tinies are rebelling. I am holding my ground and continue to cook a wide variety of dishes to broaden their palettes. I will be honest and tell you that there have been evenings when they, or I, become a little watery eyed at the dinner table.
I have some new tricks up my sleeve though… in fact, not so much tricks as methods. You might remember this was one of my goals for 2022. Serving family style has been a game-changer and I am learning the art of not giving a damn. Truly. It works wonders. Take the pressure off. The four year old chooses what he fancies and dishes his own – without any encouragement or commentary he mostly winds up trying everything and often goes back in for seconds. Hurrah. And when he does not, I work on not caring.
And I have my arsenal – my fail safe dishes which, so far, they still love*. This is one of them.
First found in a copy of Red Magazine, I have heavily adapted it to be quicker, with fewer ingredients and, no doubt, substantially less authentic. You know what? It still tastes great.
PORTUGUESE FISH STEW W SAUTÉED LITTLE GEMS
Ingredients (Serves 4)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, halved and finely sliced
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
200ml white wine
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp caster sugar
2 bay leaves
pinch of saffron (if you have it, I often do not… £££)
375g cod loin, cut into 3cm cubes
350g raw tiger prawns
1 lime, juice of
small handul fresh parsley, roughly chopped
2 little gems, halved lengthways and stalk removed
1 tsp olive oil
Heat the oil in a deep frying pan (I use this one), add the onion and cook for 10 minutes until softened. Throw in the ginger and spices and fry for a further 3 minutes before adding the wine and boiling for another 5.
Stir the tomatoes, sugar, bay leaves and saffron (if you have have it) and bring to a simmer. Season and cover.
Meanwhile heat the remaining oil in a deep frying pan, generously season (this is important to the flavour) the little gems with salt and pepper and place cut side down. The pan should be hot but not burning. Clamp the lid on tight and resist the urge to shake or move the lettuce too much or it will come apart. Gently turn after 5 minutes with a pair of tongs and replace the lid which should be creating a nice steamy little situation for those gems.
Add the cod, prawns and lime juice to your tomato sauce and continue cooking for a final 5 minutes until the fish is translucent and the prawns are just done. Be careful not to overcook the fish and also not to break it up when stirring.
Divide the stew amongst four bowls, sprinkle with parsley and add a wedge of lime. Serve with the sautéed gems and crusty bread.
*The tinies do not eat the lettuce – that would be ludicrous.
Please tag #ThankfifiFood on your Instagram pics if you try it – I love seeing them.
Find my other recipes here.
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