There are many foods that evoke childhood nostalgia for me – potato waffles, rainbow drops and Frosties with hot milk – and I am not ashamed to admit to still enjoying a bowl of sugary, warm cereal morning, noon or night.
Last month Birds Eye Fish Fingers celebrated their 60th anniversary as a freezer box favourite proving certain food types can stand the test of time, although this is one old staple I have never yearned for.
‘Fish Friday’ was the norm in my house for as long as I remember – an extension of the rule Christians should abstain from eating meat on Lenten Friday’s – a tradition I cared little for.
From the smell to the taste and the texture I did not like fish and before finding the courage to say “no mother I won’t eat that” attempted to eat the breaded variety if it was drowning in parsley sauce.
In my mid-twenties I decided to give fish another chance; perhaps it was the popularity of fish dishes on TV cookery shows or the incessant complaints of my family and friends about cooking for someone with a never ending ‘will not eat’ list.
Whatever the reason I succumbed to peer pressure as eating fish seemed to be the grown up thing to do. Now I actually enjoy eating mild, white fish like cod and haddock and then there is hake – my favourite catch of the day.
I love how flaky and meltingly soft hake is and its mild flavour means it is a versatile fish that goes with almost anything, try my version below with a lemon and fennel butter.
Ingredients (serves two)
- 2 hake fillets
- 1 lemon – juice and zest
- 10-15 fennels seeds – crushed
- 100 grams of butter
- Salt and pepper
- Remove any skin from the hake and season well with salt and pepper
- Melt half of the butter in a hot frying pan and add the hake.
- Fry the hake for roughly five minutes on each side, both should be golden brown.
- Remove the hake from the pan, wrap the fish in tin foil and let it rest for a few minutes.
- Dry fry the fennel seeds in the pan for a couple of minutes before adding the remaining butter and lemon juice and zest.
- Let the fennel and lemon cook and flavour the butter for a few minutes.
- Pour this over the hake and serve with homemade chips and a lemon wedge.