Lidl Sol Mar Cod Croquettes

I do quite like the country special weeks that Lidl have. I find it gives you a chance to try new things and be inspired to cook a different kind of meal.

At the recent Spanish week, I picked up some frozen Sol Mar Cod Croquettes.

These are cod and potato croquettes (or fishcakes).

You cook them by deep frying them, though I have shallow fried them with excellent results.

Lidl Sol Mar Cod Croquettes

You get a lovely crisp outer layer and then soft tasty fluffy inside.

I really quite enjoyed them.

I wasn’t sure what I was in the mood for…

Sometimes having too much choice can be a bad thing. I was up in Sheffield for an event and aiming for a quick meal I popped to the dining quarter of Meadowhall within there are a range of eating options.

The lower level is mainly fast food chains, but I was intrigued by Yangtze, a Chinese takeaway, but the queue was quite long and I really fancied taking my time being waited upon. On the upper level I did like the idea of the Spanish Tapas place, but felt it was quite expensive for what was on offer. There was also Las Iguanas which I don’t think I’ve been to, but looked tempting.

In the end I decided to go with Wagamama. I wanted to try out the Tama Squid, crispy fried squid balls, drizzled with okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise. finished with aonori and bonito flakes. I thought to myself I wouldn’t also mind trying Wagamama’s hirata steam buns to see if they are as good as the ones from She Sells Sushi. For the main course I thought Yakisoba would be a good choice.

As I queued for Wagamama, which seemed to be taking a long time, I thought about it, well of the three dishes I wanted, I could get the same three , well three similar, dishes at YO! Sushi as part of their blue plate Monday offer. So reflecting, I turned away and headed off to YO! Sushi.

As I arrived I could see how busy YO! Sushi was, but was given a warm welcome and they found me a seat very quickly (which was simplified because I was on my own).

The thing about YO! Sushi is you can look at the menu or just take things from the conveyor belt.

While I perused the menu I took a plate of avocado maki.

I then ordered some hot dishes, which took a little time to arrive, but I was expecting that so didn’t mind.

The maki were nice and fresh and was a great start to my meal.

Whilst the ordered dishes arrived I took another dish from the belt, the Beef Tataki Sashimi, which is pepper-seared rare beef and a tangy coriander pesto.

Beef Tataki Sashimi

I’ve wanted to try this dish for a while and it matched my expectations. The beef was nice and tender and I did like the tangy coriander pesto which enhanced both the beef and the grated mooli on the dish.

The next dish was the Vegetable Yakisoba, described as yakisoba noodles in a tangy sauce served with crunchy, fresh vegetables.

Vegetable Yakisoba

I wasn’t impressed with this dish, the tangy sauce wasn’t to my taste and I didn’t like the texture of the noodles so much. I think I should have gone with a rice dish instead. I did wonder if the Wagamama version would be better?

I really like the Spicy Pepper Squid from YO! Sushi.

Spicy Pepper Squid

The spicy marinated squid, fried until crisp was garnished with red chilli and spring onions. I really like the texture and taste of this dish and it did not fail to impress.

When I was placing my order, the server recommended the Cod Nanbanzuke, which though not on the blue plate menu was part of the blue plate deal. The menu describes it as “Japan’s answer to sweet and sour! Crispy fried cod bites in a sweet and sour sauce.”

Cod Nanbanzuke

Though I did think it could have been a little more crispier than it was, I really did enjoy this dish. The cod was tasty and the sweet and sour sauce didn’t overpower the taste of the fish. This was quite a big portion as well.

A little later the final of my four hot dishes I had ordered arrived, a portion of Takoyaki.

Takoyaki

The menu says that this is Osaka’s number one street food! Lightly battered dough balls with octopus, topped with mayo, bonito and lots more.

I thought this was a really nice concept, but wasn’t too hot on the execution of it. It was too much dough and to little octopus.

My final dish was fish. Salmon Sashimi Our freshest cuts of thick-sliced Scottish salmon, with mooli and lemon.

I hadn’t planned to take this dish, but seeing the chef preparing them and thought if there’s any left on the conveyor belt then I will have one. It was a nice clean refreshing dish to finish the meal off with.

Overall I had a really nice meal and the blue plate offer made a difference to the value for money.




Quick’ish Paella

DinnerMade a quick paella the other day. I took a large frying pan and added a splash of olive oil. To this I added some diced onions and cooked them until soft. I then added the paella rice and it always makes sense to use paella rice, and never any other kind of rice. I ensured that the rice was well coated in the oil and onions before adding some chicken stock and saffron. Always got to use saffron.

Simmer for twenty minutes adding more stock if required.

While this was cooking I grilled some cod and prawns that I served on top of the paella rice.

I didn’t have any “proper” chorizo so I cooked some sliced chorizo which I placed on the finished dish with the cooked prawns and cod.

Though delicious and all eaten up, I was slightly disappointed with the paella rice I had used, which was from Sainsbury’s. My normal paella rice is the one from Tesco, so I think next time I will buy that instead.

Books on Paella and Spanish Cooking.

Resting on your laurels…

Aldeburgh Fish and Chips

If you read a comment like:

I still can’t visit the place withough going to The Aldeburgh Fish and Chip shop. Best chippy in East Anglia, I reckon…

Then in my opinion having eaten recently fish and chips from the Aldeburgh Fish and Chip Shop, I hate to think how awful fish and chips is in the rest of East Anglia!

Now let me put this post in context. Lots of people rave about the fish and chips from the Aldeburgh Fish and Chip Shop.

The Observer named it their number one fish and chip shop.

Scene of the longest queues since the petrol crisis, this is rightly regarded as one of the UK’s premier chippies. Eulogised by the likes the of Rick Stein and OFM’s own Nigel Slater, its popularity is such that, come the summer, this small Suffolk fishing town resembles Rourke’s Drift, as thousands of salivating punters appear on the horizon and stampede their way to its door. But with cod and chips from just £2, and the not inconsiderable benefit of having the wonderful White Hart pub on hand while you wait, it’s not difficult to see why the Fish and Chip Shop commands such respect among fish fans. And the secret of their success? ‘I never add flour to my batter,’ insists owner Margaret Thompson, who’s been frying fish for over 30 years. ‘I fry in pure vegetable oil, never in beef dripping. I think vegetable oil lets the flavour of the fresh fish shine through.’

Number one in the UK…

Well that top ten was done back in 2002…

I use to use the fish and chip shop a lot twenty five odd years ago, so this was the first visit back in a long long time.

Well was I really disappointed.

These are suppose to be the best fish and chips in the country.

Well sorry that may have been the best, but the portion of cod and chips I had on a Saturday night were terrible and very poor.

Let’s start with the chips which really weren’t too bad, crisp, good size, however the oil they had been cooked in was either very old or rancid. Despite the quote from the Observer, they did taste like they were cooked in rancid beef dripping.

As for the fish, sorry if I want battered cod I expect the fish to be boneless and skinless. I know it’s fish, I don’t need the bones and skin to prove it’s a real fish. If I want that experience I’ll pop down to the proper fish stalls on the other end of the beach.

The reason you batter the fish is to protect the fish from the oil, so when coating in batter, ensure that the whole fish is coated. Mine wasn’t so as a result the fish was very greasy (and remember this was the rancid flavoured oil the chips were cooked in).

I was very disappointed, nothing like the reviews and a very bad experience. Next time must do better, but I doubt there will be a next time.

Finally when asked and I ask for no salt, I prefer not to have salt.

Fish Supper

One thing that I cook quite often and enjoy during the summer months (though not that we have had much of a summer) is a fish supper.

Fish Supper

This photo is from a recent version and included baked cod, griddled scallops, griddled squid and prawns cooked in olive oil.

The cod was drizzled with olive oil and baked in the oven for ten to fifteen minutes.

The scallops were scored with a checked pattern on one side and griddled on a hot pan.

The squid “pockets” were sliced on one side and opened out. On the inside I scored a checked pattern. These were then griddled inside face down. When cooked on one side, turn them over and cook the outside; at this point they will curl into rolls. Serve with the tentacles cooked as well.

The prawns were simply cooked with a little olive oil and black pepper.

Served with lemon wedges, salad and crusty bread.

Delicious.