Now I know that this next post is a departure from my original theme of ‘franglais’ cuisine – but this is a recipe that I discovered while visiting Liverpool. As foreign food is not so widely eaten in France as it is in the UK, I thought that I would introduce it to some of my French friends and family – needless to say, my willing ‘guinea pig’, Mireille, loved it (I’m sure she will confirm!) even after an accident with the salt mill!
Monsieur le Frog loved it also, but I did ‘soften’ the flavours with a dash of coconut milk for him………
Once again, simplicity is the key here, and though this dish excites the senses of sight, smell and taste, it requires minimal preparation and. very little cooking time, and is a nice ‘transition dish’ for spring.
As I mentioned in ‘About me’, apart from my love of cooking and eating, I also love literature, (hence the literary link in the name of this blog), and feel positively lost if I do not have at least two books on the go!
As coincidence would have it, I have just finished reading a wonderful book set in Burma. So in keeping with the Burmese theme, I thought that I would treat you all too a little taste of some wonderful writing.
“……..Did you hear the birds this morning Mi Mi? Were they louder or quieter? Did they sing any differently? Did they deliver my message? Last evening I walked through the garden telling them in whispers, and they promised to pass word along from bush to bush and tree to tree all night long across the delta and up the Sittang, up into the mountains all the way to Kalaw. They said that they would perch in the trees in front of your house and tell you. I hear you laughing, and I hear the beat of your heart, the loveliest sound I have ever heard. I see you suffering, but not discouraged. I see you sad, but not without joy and happiness. I hope that I am not deluding myself. Something inside me tells me that you feel the same way I do………..”
This is an extract from ‘The Heart of Hearing Heartbeats’ a beautiful, evocate first novel by Jan-Phillip Sendker set in Burma (Myanmar).
It is a multi-layered tale, which has at its heart a tragic love story. but it is much more than that, it is the type of book that takes you on both a literary and a personal journey, plunging you into the sights, sounds, smells and culture of the far east, and causing you to re-evaluate your concept of what it means to love and gives an entirely fresh view of the world.
A Thought provoking, sometimes unbearably sad, but mostly uplifting, reaffirming and hope inspiring read. The type of book that I will read again and again, just to wallow in its glorious prose.
I hope this inspires you to read the book and cook the curry and take yourselves off on a voyage to the Far East……………………………………..let me know, I love to hear from you.
Ingredients Serves 4
500g of white fish fillets (I used ‘sea bass’ but either cod. Haddock or hake work well)
3 fresh plum tomatoes, roughly chopped (do not use regular tomatoes, as they are too watery and not ‘fleshy’ enough)
1-2 shallots, finely chopped (depending on size)
1 fresh green chilli, finely sliced
1 large clove of garlic
1 inch cube of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
¼ teaspoon of dried red chilli flakes
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon of paprika (sweet rather than hot)
Freshly ground sea salt (or pink Himalayan salt if you can get)
1-2 tablespoons of *Thai fish sauce (available in M&S in Paris)
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
Freshly squeezed lemon juice (alternatively lime juice gives a softer sweeter flavour)
Lemon wedges and fresh coriander leaves to garnish
Basmati rice to serve
Heat the oil in a deep sided frying pan and sauté the shallots over a low heat until just soft, taking care not to brown.
Add the garlic, ginger, chilli flakes, turmeric, paprika, and a little salt then stir in the tomatoes and gently simmer uncovered for 5 minutes, stirring often.
Add the chilli and fish sauce and enough water to make a thick ‘soup’
Add the fish, cover and simmer for around 10 minutes until the fish is cooked through (test after 7 or 8 minutes, so not to overcook the fish)
Taste and add a little lemon juice and more fish sauce if required.
Garnish with lemon wedges and coriander leaves
Serve immediately with Basmati rice or warm pitta bread.
This goes down a treat with a nice crisp Chablis or alternatively a light Oriental beer………..