Wholefood Cooking

Category: autumn

Chocolate + Beetroot Cake, with love

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Why cake ? Because joy and deliciousness are nutrients in their own right, as our love and beauty. With the cooler weather, the cakes I bake become a little richer and with Mothers Day coming up, I threw in a couple of frostings as well. We’re getting dressed up and special.

Now, this cake is an old recipe – it was hands down the best selling cake back in my Earth Market days (the wholefood cafe and store I co – founded back in the late 90’s), and one of the most popular recipes from my first book Wholefood – heal, nourish, delight. This post is going to be all about the cake, I’ve got to get it finished, and then finish of packing up my house as I move in 2 weeks (equal measures of arrrrgggghhhhh and excitement). All of these beautiful photos ©Harriet Harcourt 

The cake itself:

  1. If you choose to use the rapadura sugar it will be less sweet, more whole and possibly a little drier (a bit similar to my Coffee and Walnut Cake from Wholefood Baking) – this is because sugar makes up part of the liquid percentage in baking. But, I reduced the amount of sugar from the original also, and I give you the option of increasing it in the recipe (this will help to moisten it up). You can also get around this by baking it as one 20cm cake, then cutting it into 3 – I chose to divide the batter as 3 individual cakes, but think it suffered for that – mind you, there were very few complaints from the WACA (West Australian Cricket Association) testing crew – some did find it a little dry.
  2. This cake is largely dairy free – see cake itself recipe. The chocolate fudge frosting is dairy free but I chose to use the raspberry better buttercream for the in-between layers. If you would like to use all chocolate, there will be enough frosting to layer the cakes, and top and side  it. The raspberry BB will only be enough for the 2 layers – you will need to double it if you want some for the top and side.
  3. The cocoa powder. Please, do not use raw cocoa powder – you won’t find any in my pantry. This recipe is designed for, and uses a dutched cocoa – this is a less acidic cocoa. It’s tricky to know which good (organic) brands are, but certainly Organic Times is, and generally freely available.

How to put the cake together:

1: I didn’t stress about making a perfect cake, hence I put it basically together on the workbench. But you can put it together on a cardboard round (making it easier to move onto the cake stand), and also do it on a cake turntable stand. I’m using my 15cm palette knife, here and for pretty much the entire cake.

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2: Start by placing a very generous amount of chocolate frosting on top of the cake, then push it towards the edge, taking it down the side of the cake. continue this until the entire cake is covered. When it is entirely covered, pick it up using a larger palette knife and place on the cake stand.

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3. I use my stainless steel squared off dough scraper, and gently turn the cake around while I even out the frosting on the side, then on to my trusty 15cm palette to tidy and clean it all up.

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4: Onto decorating and eating !

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Being a mum of my beautiful daughter Nessie, is without doubt the blessing of my life – here we are (when I still had dark hair) circa 1986, and how grateful I am to my mum, without whom I would have not been able to do a fraction of what I’ve been able to do in my life. Blessed indeed, and I wish the same for you… x jude

Smoky Beetroot, Lentil and Millet Burgers

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This recipe is a bit of an out take from my new book WHOLEFOOD From the Ground Up (which I can excitedly say, is out 1st June). It was one of the very first recipes I toyed with and it evolved on to become something else, but I wanted to see it come to realization. I do love a nice, deeply flavoured and toothsome vegetarian pattie (too many are just mushy) to put in a burger, or just as happy without. This pattie follows the path of one of my favourite principles – try and be prepared for the week, cook a pot of grain (in this case hulled millet) and cook a pot of legumes (in this case green lentils), to use in any number of ways – but here, as the smoky beetroot burger. I’m writing this up for the Easter break as I think it would make a perfect lunch, or dinner over this most wonderful break.

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There are a few things I need to tell you about this recipe. These are really quite quick to throw together, especially if you have lentils already cooked. I would suggest you cook the millet (and make extra if you would like for another use) just before you need it – the warmth will make it a little stickier, which is helpful here (you will have a little left over, but it’s far easier to get the liquid ratio perfect with 1/2 cup millet, so use it for a stuffing, or a salad !). Also, the lentils need to be well cooked – once drained, it will help the whole sticking together thing if they are mashed just a little bit. In the end however, they will stay together, no matter how unlikely you think that will be – the 2 eggs will do the trick. I also absolutely recommend that you soak your millet and lentils (this will make them more digestible), but if you forget or run out of time, cooking them in a bone stock such as chicken will buffer any nutrient losses, and make digestion just that bit easier. Also – the smoked paprika. I can tell you that all smoked paprika’s are not equal. Many of them can be quite bitter, especially when you have to add a fair bit to get a good smoky flavour. I use one that is a dulce (sweet) smoked paprika, and in Perth, Western Australia this is the brand I use. And a word in regards to the miso – both shiro (white) or chickpea are fine, and in Australia I have a preference for this brand (though, to be fair it is only available in limited places, and only on the east coast), otherwise this brand.

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I’ve served it here with great organic, wood fired sourdough that has been grilled, avocado, and homemade sweet chilli and sultana sauce. The greens you see there are the beetroot greens, but take note beetroot (especially the greens) are a high oxalic acid food. Heat breaks down oxalates, so I have cooked them gently in a little ghee – this way you will get all their goodies. Pile it all on the bread, slather it and it’s a hearty and delicious meal. A bit of goat curd would not go astray. And, finally if you are after a cake for the (hopefully) cooler Autumn weather over easter, can I suggest this Walnut and Yoghurt Cake. It’s an old post, so not brilliant photos, but I can guarantee, the cake is very good.

Wishing you all a restful, safe and heartfelt Easter… x jude

All photography ©Harriet Harcourt

My new book is available for pre order – in Perth, Western Australia here, Australia wide here and worldwide Book Depository here

Pumpkin and Date Scones

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As you can see, I like a bit of scone with my butter, and it seems that many of you do too, if the facebook post is anything to go by :) I’m making this post quick and short, so I can get this up in time, just in case any one would like to make these for Mothers Day morning tea.

I’ve been making these just recently to have something in the freezer to quickly take out and heat, for morning tea. Autumn has bought some very cold mornings recently, and my house is even colder, so when I’m sitting at my desk (editing the new book), a warm cup of tea and scone is just what the doctor ordered. I love scones, any flavour just about (so long as it’s not chocolate or too weird), and think pumpkin and date is in the top 5. And, there’s no reason you can’t chop up a lot of glace ginger and put that in also.

So whether you are making these for a Mothers Day treat, or just a warm something on a busy working day, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. I’ll be making a batch at Mum’s tomorrow for her freezer, so she too has some treat goodness for a cold morning on hand….   x  Jude

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Apple, Parsnip and Sage Fritters

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It’s been a long time since I’ve been here with you, and done a blog post, lots of very good reasons for sure, but at the heart of it was a plate that was full to overflowing, and an entirely new email and web system being built, both on different platforms than before. Doing a blog in between platforms just felt a little too daunting.Totally rebuilding the website from scratch demanded that I also have a very good think why I continued to keep a blog in the new website. I loved this article on maintaining a long term blog by Heidi Swanson, and others at that time – Heidi talks about this being her practice and the commitment to that practice, and it made me query just actually what my practice was. Along with cooking, writing and photography, the blog itself was a part of her practice. It became immediately clear that for me, my blog was not an essential part of my practice – but rather teaching and writing, that formed that coreI’m not a great photographer and to be honest, I don’t want to learn too much more there – I just don’t have room in my brain for that. That room is saved for learning more about how fats – or any food really – works. I don’t have the ability to run a consistent weekly, fortnightly or monthly blog – some times I am just loaded with teaching commitments (the Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training for example), and sharing my knowledge with in the books I write.

Knowing this, I settled with going ahead with the blog and that I will make it here monthly as best I can, but I knew that I also wanted to be here with you and share what is going on, life and recipe or two. But I also know that I share all those things with you in each of my books, and most certainly in the new book (May 2016) – the book is just about finished (just a few more recipes to go) and editing to commence. I’m incredibly happy with this new baby, I think you will be too. My plan is to post here monthly, and to send out a quarterly newsletter with information and cooking for the season ahead – you can subscribe to that newsletter here

For now, I’d like to give you this yummy and simple recipe, using very seasonal ingredients and to say how lovely it is to be back here with you. Right now, parsnips are being pulled and apples are being picked, and they are a glorious combination. Combined with sage and herbs, a little left over cooked grain and a couple of eggs, they make the most wonderful fritters to eat, any time of the day. I think they will be perfect for the cooler Autumn weather over the long weekend.

x Jude

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Forget The Green Smoothie

IT’S CALLED A SALAD, WITH A DRESSING

EVOlive Oil Mayonnaise and Yoghurt Dressing with Seasonal Herbs

Once upon a time, when by all accounts and my life experiences, people were healthier and happier than they are now, food and life was a lot simpler. I’m talking about my parents generation – those in their 90’s, many still living independently – though now needing help – and vibrant lives, those that lived simpler and less complicated lives. We hear often, that the young generation today is the first generation in a very long time considered to have a shorter life span than current generations, and that we are sicker and unhappier than ever. Somehow my mum, and those of her generation managed it all without the green smoothie or green smoothies with chia seeds. Now those of you that are familiar with my work, know that I tend to be interested in fundamentals – you can read more about those here (you will also find a fabulous rustic tart of greens recipe there, perfect for this time of the year). You will know that after 25 odd years in the ‘healthy’ food industry – which I prefer to call the ‘whole and natural foods’ industry – I am alarmed by the rapid escalation of fractionalisation that seems to be happening in the past few years. The green smoothie is a case in point. Honestly, I didn’t take much notice of it when it first appeared a few years ago, it just seemed silly and made no sense what so ever. But somehow, it’s become the poster child for ‘healthy’ eating, or ‘real, natural or whole food’. I’ve decided I’d like to weigh in on the discussion.

As always, I like to find the original source from whence things come – where did this belief that throwing lots of greens into a blender is a leading edge healthful thing to do? As it happens, from a book called Green For Life by Victoria Butenko. Now before I go on, I would like to point out that I believe we all have a path to follow and none of us have the right to question another’s path. I understand and respect this, but given this book is a treatise on the green smoothie, I think it’s worth noting a few things. The gist of it is this: the author and her family came to the US from Russia, where food was scarce and limited to mostly grains, dairy and some fruit.  On settling in the United States, they were amazed at the variety and availability of food, they especially loved the convenience food and used a microwave often. Within 3 years, all of them were extremely unwell, doctors told them there were no cures for their diabetes, asthma, allergies, heart issues etcetera. So they looked elsewhere, and turned to raw food. Now I’m not going to go to deeply into this issue, but you cannot discuss the green smoothie without discussing raw food, but it would seem obvious to me that they could also have simply stopped eating highly processed food / junk food / and frequenting the microwave. However, a vegan, raw food (most likely because it was at least real) diet turned things around but after several years, they began to have problems such as a heavy feeling in the stomach, grey hair and simply no longer desiring some of the allowed foods. So, the author searched for what was missing (I’m assuming in the vegetable world only) and discovered that greens was the food group that offered everything humans needed, and they weren’t having enough. But how much did a human need to eat? For this answer, she looked for an animal that was close genetically to a human – with an approx.99.4% genetic match, enter the chimpanzee.

The author observed that humans had lost their natural way of eating – but rather than recognising the blindingly obvious problems with refined, processed and junk foods – instead considered that “it is logical to hypothesise that our diets are supposed to be 99.4% similar” (to the chimpanzee) and that understanding the chimpanzee eating habits may help us to better understand the human dietary needs? Seriously? The only thing that I can keep thinking is that we might share a lot of genetic material with a chimpanzee, yet in that difference we are most definitely not a chimpanzee. Given that the main argument here is that this is the ‘natural’ way to eat, we absolutely have to consider another blindingly obvious point – the fact that man climbed down from the trees, stood erect on two legs and developed a bigger brain. Biological anthropologist Richard Wrangham (Catching Fire) (this is the guy that Michael Pollan talks about in his new book Cooked) holds the belief it was the discovery of fire, whereby cooked food enabled more and easier access to nutrient density, thus facilitating the evolution from a large to smaller gut and from a smaller to bigger brain. Others share the belief it was access to nutrient dense animal foods – notably the softer and nutrient dense bone marrow and brain that did the trick. Neither considered that it was an abundance of uncooked greens. Whilst we might share that large amount of DNA with the chimpanzee, we are yet, quite obviously not the same, and to say it is logical to hypothesise our diets should be 99.4% the same beggars belief.

At the very least, chimp and orangs have a larger colon to gut ratio, strong jaws and large teeth –perfect to chew and digest the large amount of fibrous fruits and tough high cellulose leaves (with stems) which along with fermentation in the colon, provides enough calories to support the animal. Humans have the opposite – a smaller colon to gut ratio, with a weaker jaw and smaller teeth – perfect for cooked foods, which require less energy to digest and softens the strong cellulose fiber. It was because of this absolute fact, that the greens had to be blended, otherwise they simply could not be broken down (and then because they were having so many green smoothies and not chewing – which is essential for our bone and jaw health, the author devised a rubber chewing device which you can buy from their website). Whilst certainly heat (fermentation, cooking) does destroy enzymes, denature protein and can destroy vitamin C and some heat sensitive minerals such as thiamine, it remains that cooking food provides incredible nutrient density and energy that is easily accessible – lightly cooked meat for example, makes it more easily digestible – it starts breaking down the protein molecules. Eating cooked foods has also been quite obviously, simply spectacularly successful – we did climb down from the trees and are now the leading animal (I know, we’re not looking that good right now, neither are the cultures that we’ve built, but that is another discussion).  But cooking can also make some big differences to vegetables – it can soften and break down that fibrous cellulose, it helps to improve the digestibility of complex carbohydrate (especially the starch – cooked potato or sweet potato is more digestible cooked than raw) and it can break down some problematic aspects of raw foods – oxalic acid and goitrogens for example. Whilst I believe there is some hysteria around the internet in regards to oxalic acid, it does remain that it is problematic, especially if you have a less than optimal gut ecology.

I’d like to talk a bit more about that gut ecology. If you have a ‘delicate’ or troublesome digestive system (bloating, intolerance to gluten and dairy etcetera) you will most likely have a less than healthy gut ecology. This means you don’t have enough beneficial bacteria to do the many, many jobs they actually do – including most importantly, their intimate involvement in digesting food –  in particular the full and proper digestion of gluten and dairy proteins, and oxalic acid. But, what those good bacteria can’t do however, no matter how much you will it (or blend it) is to be able to fully and appropriately digest some of those more complex carbohydrates (more than 1 or 2 sugars) that include cellulose, fibre and those known as FODMAPS. This is why, even when blended some of those carbohydrates are still tricky to digest. Unless a kale leaf is very, very young it is going to be difficult to digest, even when blended – it is far easier to digest when cooked, which is how the cultures that have most experience with it (such as the Italians) generally use it.

In the end, this seems to me a discussion on eating a balanced diet. All healthy human groups include raw food  (where appropriate to the food) and understand the value of that life force.  However, no healthy human groups solely eat raw food – this is the findings of many, including that same Richard Wrangham who postulated the theory that cooked food is responsible for our evolution from the apes, and as a biological anthropologist found no human group eats all their food raw, as did Weston Price many years before. Nowhere is this issue of balance more evident than in a discussion on cooked versus raw. I have always (as my parents generation before me) consumed raw foods – including the goitrogenic cabbage in my mum’s favourite coleslaw and we called it a salad – indeed we had a salad generally around 3 times a week, more in summer.  We consumed raw, fresh seasonal fruits and called it an apple or pear, not a ‘raw food’, but we also ate all of those same foods we ate as salads and fresh fruit, cooked. We also consumed raw animal products meats (steak tartare), raw milk and raw eggs in raw milk (mum’s egg flip) but we also had them cooked. But perhaps of most importance, is that what and how we ate was all in the context of those fundamentals I spoke of earlier, that you can find here. 

There is also much more to the issue of the green smoothie – promoted by the author as a time saving way to include these greens in your diet, and their nutritional value. I’d simply like to say that in regards to the issue of nutritional value, as much as you would like to think that you are getting all those minerals in that kale or dark leafy green, if you don’t have some fat soluble vitamins with it, you won’t and those minerals can’t do what you want them to do. Those fat soluble vitamins are A, D, K and E. And, if  you think that the kale or dark leafy greens (or the chia seeds)  are giving you Omega 3 EFA’s, well yes they are but in the form of Alpha Linolenic Acid, which has to go through many conversions to become the derivatives that really are essential – Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and especially Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA). There are some foods that just happen to be especially rich in both ALL the fat soluble vitamins and those longer chain essential fatty acid derivatives EPA and DHA – they are ALL animal foods and are :  all animal fats eg butter (ghee), egg yolks, offal (especially liver) and fish (including their eggs). This is why we consistently see raw vegetable and green salads traditionally paired with dressings such as mayonnaise based, or topped with soft cooked eggs, presented with lovely crunchy fatty bacon bits or strips of barely cooked liver. You might immediately recognise these pairings as classic, traditional and delicious French, Italian or European pairings. Yes, some land sources such as extra virgin olive oil do have vitamin E, but they don’t have the others.

When choosing vegetables to eat raw, it pays to bear in mind that nature tends to provide season appropriate foods – lighter, less carbohydrate dense and higher water content vegetables and fruits in summer. These all require less cooking – they are easy to eat and digest raw – and blended if that’s how you would like them. Yet, it gives us the almost opposite in the cooler months – these denser and more complex carbohydrate root vegetables, thicker and more cellulose dense leaves (cabbage, kale and collards) and fruits (apples, quince, pears ) provide us with more fuel to keep us warm, but will need cooking to make that goodness fully available. Yes you could blend those leaves up and break down the cellulose, but that is often not enough for some and I would also ask why? I simply don’t agree, because this is what I have seen, that is offers more (better) nutrition than when cooked. And, in regards to healing, there are many paths to the one door and I’ve seen a cooked food diet do the same thing – but this is a deeply complex area, with many other co factors and one for another day.

I think it is an incredibly admirable thing to be advocating eating greens, but extreme and unbalanced to believe the best way to do so is to blend them, raw, into a smoothie (mostly with lots of fruit). They have been eaten by all healthy cultures for generations, and they called it a salad. They knew which greens needed cooking to make them optimally digestible, and what to serve with them to make all their greeny goodness and mineral bounty more bio available. The tragedy of our time is that this traditional knowledge, which served it’s people well, has been undervalued and lost. There are some beautiful greens around right now and so many delicious ways to include them in your day – uncooked as salads, and cooked (that tart I suggested earlier is delicious). This was my morning tea yesterday…..

Quick and Simple Salad – no need for a blender

Autumn is a great time for the easily digested family of lettuce – here I’ve used one of my favourites, Buttercrunch. I’ve added microgreens from the garden, celery heart, pink lady apples and toasted walnuts for a bit more density. Can I say, microgreens are ridiculously easy to grow, nutrient rich with little carbohydrate development at such a young stage – kale is great in this format. To make the dressing I used equal amounts of mayonnaise and yoghurt (thus supplying some beneficial bacteria), lemon or lime juice to taste, a touch of honey to taste and a touch of a nice curry powder, with lots of fresh (and easily digestible) herbs – coriander which is now in season. This dressing will keep in the fridge for at least a week, and gives me the ability to put a salad together quickly. It would be delicious with lentils tossed through it also.

As you can see, I used the thinner skinned Myer lemons, because that is what I had

 

Fish Pie for Easter

FISH PIE AND THE ROAD TRAVELLED

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Finally the weather is cooling and with it the food we cook. It’s been a busy time since my last post, with classes here in Perth and then travelling to country NSW to do seminars and classes. I love to travel and most often, it’s with  my dear friend Jeanie – we realise that we have both done more road trips together than with anyone else (family, children etc), and we’ve done them all around the world it seems! We road tripped from Jean’s home out of Murwillumbah to Coonabarabran in Central New South Wales – abut 10 hours, for the Warrumbungle Food Festival, where I gave 2 seminars and we both did classes. Organised by the very inspirational naturopath Jen Berthet, from the Warrumbungles Holistic Health Care Centre, it was a wonderful opportunity to meet new people share information. 

But, my goodness, it’s lovely to be home – and very exciting to come back to two book parcels – April it seems is the time for new book releases  –  My Darling Lemon Thyme by Emma Galloway, and Tasty Express by Sneh Roy (the very aptly titled Cook Republic). Incredibly exciting, I love, love receiving books and they are both beautiful. Can’t wait to take them down south with me after easter for our holiday, I am going to pour through them and start cooking! I’ve also been tempted by two from overseas – Whole Grain Mornings by Megan Gordon, and the new one by a favourite of mine, Bryant Terry – Afro Vegan (sorry, I couldn’t connect you to his website, I think it has been hacked !) 

There’s not going to be a lot of talk here today, just some photo’s of what and where, and fish pie. It’s the easiest thing to make, and deeply nourishing – perfect for the cooler Autumn weather. We are having it for dinner tonight, but it would be perfect for the Easter Weekend coming up. It’s easy to digest and a great option for young children, or anyone with a dodgy digestive system or simply anyone looking for a delicious and deeply nourishing meal. If you’re looking for a cake, why not try this Apple Shortbread (oh, it would be delicious with Rhubarb and Quince too) or this delicious Walnut and Yoghurt Cake

Have a lovely Easter weekend and I’ll see you after…

x Jude

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With the beautiful Jen Berthet and Jeanie

In Sydney with my dearest friend, Holly Davis. We had just had breakkie at the Boat House in Pittwater

Back home to launch Emma’s beautiful, beautiful book My Darling Lemon Thyme, here with Emma and Sam

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Use a fish that is sustainable where you live – this will vary from place to place. I like to choose a some strong tasting oilier fish such as sea mullet, bonito or mackeral and something a little lighter – black bream, flathead or one of the snapper family is great also. If you can, buy the fish as a whole and ask the fishmonger to fillet it for you. Keep the skin on or off, it’s up to you – it will just be a textural thing in the mouth. In the picture I’ve used Spanish Mackeral (skin on)  and Goldband Snapper (skin off). Please, no salmon. Unless it’s being flown in from the northern hemisphere, in Australia,  this is all farmed – this is not the place to go looking for your very desirable long chain fatty acids, when we  have plenty of high omega fish that are wild caught and not farmed. If you live in the northern hemisphere, and they are in season, go for it. 

The recipe is incredibly loose and forgiving – basically, if vegetables have less water in them (onion or leek instead of spring onions), or more carbohydrate or cellulose such as carrot and celery, cook them first. Today, I lightly cooked some leek from the garden, finely sliced celery, fine diced carrot in good dollop of ghee and a sprinkle of sea salt. Added that to the baking dish, then sprinkled roughly chopped garlic chives and lemon thyme. And, honestly? I don’t even bother weighing the fish, I just decide how much I’d like in the dish. 

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2 – 3 medium potatoes, well scrubbed and cut into 2 – 3 cm dice

100 or so gm broccoli – roughly cut

sea salt to taste

1 generous tablespoon butter or ghee

1 – 2 extra tablespoons butter or ghee

2 stems spring onions, roughly chopped or 1 small onion finely diced (I used leek today)

2 tablespoons fresh herbs – lemon thyme, parsley or basil

grated zest of 1 small lemon and generous juice

Vegetables  –  you can read above what I used, with corn in season, that would make a lovely addition too. English Spinach and Silverbeet (Chard) can be added straight to the dish, but some of the kales might need a little cook with the root vegetables to help break down their strong cellulose structure.

4 – 6 tablespoons cultured or sour cream (be generous) 

1 teaspoon seed mustard

pinch sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

300 gm fish, checked over for bones and roughly cut into 3 cm chunks 

Pre heat oven 190c

Steam the potatoes and when nearly ready, add the broccoli and cook until the broccoli is just soft. Take care not to overcook and dull the colour of the broccoli. Add 1 generous tablespoon butter, salt to taste or ghee and roughly mash. Set aside.

Choose a shallow, ovenproof dish.

Melt the remaining butter or ghee in a small saucepan and if using onion or leek,  add this and cook over a gentle heat until soft. If using spring onion, just throw it in let it soften for a minute or so. Add any root vegetables to cook for a few minutes until soft, and if using kale, give that a little go in the frying pan also. 

Add your vegetables of choice to the baking dish and if using English Spinach, add that now too.  Top with the chunks of fish. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. 

Add the lemon zest, juice,  cream and  mustard t0 the warm frying pan. Stir through gently – the cream will ‘melt’ and relax. Spoon the mix over the fish and vegetables (and if you have more sour cream,  go ahead and use it – make sure the fish is well covered) and top with the mashed potato.

Place in the oven and cook for approx 20 mins or until the top is lightly golden and the juices are bubbling. I like to serve this with greens –  I’m serving this with green beans from the garden tonight.