Friday, February 11

Winter warmers

Today, as every other winter day in England, is a bit gloomy and grey.
It's morning and my darling dog(rescued ex-racer greyhound Blaze) is covered tail to snout with a thick, soft blanket. That means the weather is not good even for a dog(Slovak saying).
I look out and see my neighbour through a fine, misty rain shower pulling his collar up higher than it can go and think to myself: "Today, I definitely need something to warm my heart and body up." And I am not talking about a chunky Norwegian jumper and knitted socks either. I am talking about those traditional English 'winter warmer suppers' that are served steaming hot and stay hot whilst you eat them. Think of 'Sausage and mash', 'Chicken casserole', 'Sheperd's pie' or 'Lancashire hot pot'. Now, that's what I call few hearty meals that will make your body glow in seconds.
But before I start with 'be a good a girl and make hubby a lunch' magic, I will treat myself to a good old English strong breakfast tea with hot milk. That's how the English supposedly come to life.(do they? maybe with a few shots of rum in it, as we, Slovak people like it!)

Poached cod and spinach mash

500 ml milk (I use soy milk, it has a nice sweetness)
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp salt
1 medium carrot (sliced into circles)
1 bay leaf
350 g cod fish(or other white fish, or smoked fish if you like)

Put all ingredients into a saucepan and simmer over a very low heat until the carrots are soft. Fish will then be definetely ready and it will be easy to pull apart from the skin.

6 potatoes (peeled and cut into 1 cm thick circles)
fresh spinach leaves (2 big handfuls)

1/2 onion (fried in butter)

Prepare the potatoes in a saucepan with salted water and spinach in a steamer above it. Cook over a medium heat until the potatoes are very soft.
(now you can prepare and cook the fish)
Once the potatoes and spinach are cooked, put the spinach in a steamer aside.
Drain the potatoes and mash with a wooden round spatula. Add 1 tbsp of butter, 1 tsp of salt, pepper, fried onions and mix well.
Add some of the fish milk stock and mix in. Add the spinach and mix in vigorously to get an even mixture of spinach and potatoes. It will look good too!

Put 2 dollops of the mash in the middle of a plate, take few small pieces of poached fish and stack on top of the mash. Take few carrot circles and stick them under the fish from both sides like cards(overlapping one another).
Combine olive oil with balsamic vinegar = shake well(or just whisk in a bowl) and drizzle around the mash.

Beatiful hot mash with steaming hot poached fish and a bit of vinaigrette to complement the sweet taste.


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