Wednesday, 23 May 2012

You shall have a fishy...and a little rant about Good Food mag

After all my efforts over the past few months to eat less meat, this week seems to be a carni-fest.  The gorgeous pork on Sunday, meatballs on Monday, there’s the left-over pork on the menu this evening.

On Tuesday night, we had fish. I don’t cook fish as much as I should, although I do love it. I’ve had a couple of disasters with it, but in the main it turns out OK, and I know we should eat more of it, but it usually feels like a big effort. Anyway, I’m glad I made the effort last night, because even with some frankly mediocre fish that I’d bought frozen from the supermarket, it was pretty good. The veg was especially delicious.  I got the recipe out of June 2012 Good Food – page 26 if you’ve got it. It doesn’t look as if the recipe is online yet, so I can’t put the link in. I’ve adapted the recipe to serve 4 of us, and left out the olives (if you care to find the original recipe).

I can be a bit ambivalent about Good Food. Some issues are brilliant and some issues there is just nothing I can see myself cooking. I also take issue with the fact that the June issue is out at the beginning of May. How does that work? Am I supposed to wait till June to cook the recipes in it? On the ‘In Season’ pages it just says “Now at their best” and then includes things like gooseberries and broad beans which are nowhere near ready in our garden. It’s not that I mind waiting till next month, but if I buy a magazine – which is rare these days, when faced with the competing needs of new school shoes and ballet lessons – I want it to be relevant now. So if anyone from GF ever reads this, please could the May issue be available IN MAY? And be about May food? Or else, could you make it clear that although the June issue is available in May we shouldn’t be cooking out of it until June.  Pathetic, but I just get irrationally annoyed by this every time I pick one up – even if the recipes are good.

Rant aside, as a result of flirting with subscriptions, and the odd one off purchase, I’ve got quite a stash of back copies. A couple of years ago, I went through all of them and weeded out the ‘bad’ issues, but I still have 40 or so, taking up room on a shelf, so I have 2 or 3 for each month. When I’m lacking inspiration, I’ll take down the relevant month (although which month is relevant is obviously debateable, as I think I have illustrated)’s worth and flick through. That didn’t help me for this recipe,  but my mum had this June issue when I visited (actually on the last weekend of APRIL – the JUNE issue. Do you see why I get annoyed?) and it’s full of things I want to cook. 

This was on the menu for last Friday (fish on a Friday and all that), but what with the camping trip and everything, I decided to give it a miss. However, Tuesday seemed like as good a night as any to put it on the menu and have a break from all the meat.

Pancetta Wrapped Fish with Lemony Beans and New Potatoes

500g new potatoes, 200 g green beans, topped and tailed if necessary and cut into half, zest and juice of a lemon, 3 tbsps olive oil, 4 fillets of sustainable white fish (about 150g each in weight), 8 slices of pancetta
Pre-heat the oven to 2000C/1800 fan/gas 6. Boil the potatoes in a pan of water large enough to take the beans. After about 10-12 minutes, when the potatoes feel almost done, add the beans for another 3 minutes, then drain well. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them into halves or quarters depending on how big they are to start with, tip into a large baking dish and toss in the olive oil, lemon zest and juice and season with salt and pepper. Wrap the fish in the pancetta (2 slices per piece of fish), place on top of the potatoes, grind over a little pepper, and bake for 10-12 minutes until the fish is cooked through and the pancetta is looking crispy. If you have any more lemon lying around, squeeze a little juice over the top and serve.

Provide mayonnaise for small boys who make a fuss about lemony beans.


  1. I know what you mean and I write for mags!

    1. about food? I would love to do that...

    2. Yes, when I'm lucky - so, so competitive when you're freelance like I am. I write for Vegetarian Living magazine frequently but I've contributed to delicious (website) and Cook Vegetarian too. Just done huge piece on Borough Market, it was fab. I'm now writing about security alarms, not quite as exciting! (Well I'm not really as I'm mucking around looking at blogs!)

  2. Replies
    1. It was pretty good. The fish that I used was a bit disappointing, from a frozen bag. With decent quality fish it would be amazing.


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