Tag Archives: fishmonger

Mussels with garlic and chorizo

13 Jan
Mussels after a nice relaxing bath

Mussels after a nice relaxing bath

Some of you know this. I used to be a fishmonger. Long summers smelling like last week’s haddock, a car interior smelling like last week’s cod baked in the summer sun all day, fish scales in the most random places you can imagine (or maybe  best not to.) There was an upside to this, access to the very best of fresh fish. I still have a man on the inside and he never steers me wrong. So on a recent spin out to Howth I picked up some mussels. This is a recipe I love- 4 ingredients, sheer simplicity. I find the smokey flavour of the chorizo works really well with the sweetness of the mussels. Plus it’s nice to go for a tomato based sauce sometimes, mussels tend to be constantly subjected to wine, cream etc. Apologies about the photo not representing these delicious morsels as best it could. Manic dinner time, hungry people to feed- this food blogger chose survival over food-gawker.


about 3 inches of chorizo. skin removed and cut into discs, then quarters.

1 tin chopped tomatoes

3 large cloves of garlic. Crushed.

1 kg mussels, cleaned.


Take the chorizo, peel the skin off, cut into smaller pieces so that after a brief fry they will crisp up and give off their delicious chorizo flavour! You don’t even have to add any oil as the chorizo will render down all by itself.

Once they have crisped up, add the tin of tomatoes and the crushed cloves of garlic. Don’t be afraid to give this a good bit of hob time so that it reduces down. The juices/water in the mussels will thin out the sauce. As this bubbles away, clean your mussels. Take off their beards, and give the shells a good rub with your thumb to make sure anything loosely attached will come off. I do this under running cold water as it makes it a little easier. Any mussels that do not close after a good tap, bin them. Any ones that don’t open after cooking- bin them also. It’s just not worth it.

Add the cleaned mussels to the sauce and put a lid on the pot. Turn up the heat and let them bath in the sauce until they open up wide. I stir them around once or twice as they open to make sure the sauce gets everywhere.


P.S. Fiftieth blog post, time flies eh?

Sticky Moroccan Mackerel

23 May

Mackerel chilling in their marinade


Last week I asked for a few suggestions as to what my next recipe would be. Thanks to everyone for the comments and suggestions! Lizzy suggested something Moroccan or a fish dish- so I combined the two. And so was born my Sticky Moroccan Mackerel.

Yesterday evening I made the short jaunt out to Howth and got my hands on some incredibly fresh whole mackerel, which my obliging fishmonger cleaned for me. I don’t mind cleaning fish, I used to do it for a living, but I appreciate when they offer to do it!


2 whole gutted mackerel

2 tablespoons of honey

3 tablespoons of ketchup

juice of 1 lime

1/2 teaspoon of paprika

1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon of turmeric

1 tablespoon of sesame oil

For this recipe I took the barbecue out of hibernation, and it really added to the flavour of the dish. Fist wash the mackerel and pat dry with some kitchen paper. Take the heads off if you like. Then score the flesh as I have done in the photo- this allows the marinade to permeate into the flesh. This is important because the likelihood is if you barbecue the mackerel, a lot of the marinade will come off with the skin.

Then mix all the ingredients until you get a smooth paste. Place the mackerel in a long dish and spoon the marinade over them. Ensure the marinade gets into the cavity and then scores. Ideally if you can leave them to marinade for a few hours that would be perfect. If not, no worries! I didn’t have that long!

Ensure you have a nice hot grill/ barbecue. The mackerel cooks pretty quickly. As sizes differ, as will the barbecue, the best guide re: timing I can give you would be to look into the scores on the skin and you can see how far the fillets on each side have cooked. If you have a fish grill this is ideal, as it allows you to turn the fish without it disintegrating.

I served the mackerel with some greens and brown rice- on which I poured a little sesame oil and lime juice.

Saba, Clarendon Street

10 May

Saba, on Dublin’s Clarendon Street is a restaurant I have walked by hundreds of times in recent years but never had the opportunity to try. I remedied this situation recently when a few of us went for an Early Bird dinner. Well they call it their fixed price menu (available Sunday to Wednesday). Maybe they don’t like birds.

The front of house ably diffused a slight issue with the reservation (a problem on their end) and we were seated. The dining room was incredibly busy given that it was before 7 on a weekday. The service throughout the meal was fine. One thing that annoys me in restaurants is when as a group you ask for tap water and they don’t leave a jug. If they don’t for whatever reason, I at least expect that they will keep an eye on my water-glass to ensure it doesn’t run empty. At least not for two courses. It was only when we asked for them to be replenished that a mystical jug appeared. Overall the service was very prompt throughout- our drinks had barely landed when the starters arrived.

To start I had the Phla Salmon. Its presentation differed from what the menu promised.  To be fair, the salmon was cooked beautifully. It was moist and perfectly cooked which allowed the salmon to speak for itself. As an aside I have a soft spot for Clare Island Organic Salmon, as I used to sell kilo after kilo of the stuff in a previous life as a fishmonger, so I delight whenever it pops up on menus.

However the dish lacked a little punch from what was promised. The salmon was presented flaked in a bowl mixed with some chopped lemongrass and other fragrant mulch. The chilli sauce it came with provided some good punch- however I would have preferred to see the salmon served on the lettuce leaves rather than in the bowl as it would have allowed for the flaked salmon to be a little less wet.

For my main I had the Phuket noodles. A generous portion of noodles arrived, with a very acceptable number of prawns on board also. The promised holy basil, was not so present- and the dish was a little one-dimensional as a result. Given that Saba bills itself as ‘award-winning’ Thai food- I was hoping for vibrant, fragrant dishes, and in this regard it was a little flat. To be fair my dining companions  Phad Thai noodles were deliciously sweet and zingy so perhaps I erred in my choice of dishes.

Desert was a chocolate tart. The tart was fine, stock restaurant desert fare. The stand-out element was the pistachio ice cream. It was excellent. The name of the producer escapes me.

Overall for the price of the menu, it’s not bad value in Saba, given how busy it was, they are obviously doing something right.

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