In partnership with Waitrose.
An easy starter for Easter, or a simple lunch with crispbreads, this Scandinavian-style recipe of smoked fish, horseradish yogurt cream and quick pickled samphire and cucumber ribbons is an easy way to impress.
Today’s recipe is almost too simple to even call it a recipe. But I just have to share this idea: yes, let’s call it an idea rather than a recipe.
Many of you will be noodling around on Pinterest and Instagram, and poring over magazines and websites in search of that perfect menu for Easter. Even if we aren’t religious, Easter is a time to gather the family around and just celebrate being together; and food is a big, big part of getting together. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. 🙂
I, however, have a confession to make: I will not be cooking for Easter. Actually I won’t even be home. Instead, on Good Friday my mother-in-law Ann, Rachel and I will flying to London for a full-on weekend of eating and gallerying. Mostly eating if I have my way.:-) The other two are proper culture vultures, and will no doubt attempt to broaden my horizons, but I will make sure that we slip in a visit to one of my favourite London spots, Ognisko (Polish fine dining, with killer homemade vodkas), handily by the V&A, Natural History Museum and Science Museum. And maybe to Jason Atherton’s newest restaurant, the Italian Hai Cenato, handily near Victoria Station. I like things handy. 😉 And, if all goes to plan, we will each be clutching a glass of Champagne at Soho oyster bar Randall & Aubin, elbows on the cool marble tables by the window, watching the world and his (tiny, bejewelled) dog go by.
But, if I was home, today’s recipe would be served on Easter Sunday. It is a no-effort affair, but tastes and looks like a dish I would happily scoff in a coolly Scandinavian restaurant in London. At least I think so! It has Scandi flavours of cardamom and coriander seed with the smoked fish, as well as slippery, cool, quick-pickled cucumber and samphire. I’ve shown it slightly more “fine dining”, as well as rough and ready, to be eaten solo with some crispbreads (below). It is a light starter but full of punchy palate-cleansing flavours.
I got the idea for this starter from an event I very recently attended with Waitrose at their superbly-equipped and staffed Finchley Road cookery school. There, under expert tutelage, we blow-torched (!) lightly cooked fresh mackerel and plated it up with a smear of horseradish sieved buttermilk cream, and dotted it all with pickled grapes and cucumber. Our cosy crew of bloggers also made a wonderful and very simple dessert of deconstructed Eton mess, with shards of freeze-dried raspberry meringue, cream and fruit in an edible bowl. Simple but very delicious and easy. My friend Lucy was in charge of the meringue making (she makes them weekly; I make them nonely) but I was the blow torcher-in-chief. So smitten am I with the blow torching thing that I used up data Googling “culinary blow torches” on the train home to Edinburgh!
After our “labours”, we sat down to the stunningly laid table and tucked into our handmade starters and desserts. But in between we were served an outstanding family-style meal, and drank specially-chosen wines. As with family meals there was a lot of chat and laughter (but no arguing as far as I am aware), even though some of us had only just met.
Some of you may have caught my Instagram Story of the evening and maybe even my live video, the latter freaking me out a bit as questions and comments popped up while I was trying to learn how to make a passionfruit, mango and yuzu pina colada. It was a hectic evening but so much fun. How could it not be? I came home brimming with ideas and a list of fab people to follow on Instagram and Twitter (once I upped my data allowance -oops).
To celebrate the joy of sharing this Easter, Waitrose has a great competition to win a luxury food gift box, premium flower garden bouquet and bottle of Leckford Estate Brut (English bubbly!). All you need to do is take a photo of your dish and tell Waitrose who you’d share yours with, using #CookAndShare and @Waitrose on Twitter and Instagram for the chance to win. Whether it is a sky-scraping cake topped with a nest of frosting and mini eggs, a giant roast cauliflower smothered in cheese sauce, or even a family pasta dinner, get creating and sharing.
I know for a fact that it’s worth doing as ages ago I won a Waitrose competition – a day at a Heston Blumethal and team barbecue. We even played games in the garden of his gastro pub! I was terrible at all of them, by the way…
Ts and Cs can be found at waitrose.co.uk/cookandshare. UK residents only. Enter now until 11.59 pm Sunday 16th April.
Smoked Mackerel, Horseradish Yogurt Cream and Pickled Samphire
An easy starter for Easter, or a simple lunch with crispbreads, this Scandinavian-style recipe of smoked fish, horseradish yogurt cream and quick pickled samphire and cucumber ribbons is an easy way to impress. Leave out the samphire if it’s not easily available, but it is lovely and adds a great texture too. Radishes would be a good sub for the samphire. This is easily increased to whatever size gathering you are planning. It’s more an idea than a firm recipe. xx
30g grated fresh horseradish (from a root or jar – not creamed stuff please), plus extra for garnish if liked
75g best Greek yogurt
1 tsp black pepper + 1 tsp coriander seeds + seeds from 3- 4 cardamom pods
75ml cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 rounded tsp cracked cardamom pods + 1 tsp cracked coriander seeds + 1 tsp mustard seeds (or just 2 tsp mustard seeds)
1 tsp salt
1 rounded tsp sugar
5 small ice cubes or 3 large ones
One medium cucumber, peeled and at least one side sliced into thin ribbons with a Y-peeler – use as much as you like
30g samphire, rinsed well and steamed for three minutes
2 half-fillets of smoked mackerel or one fillet, carefully sliced (sometimes they are whole, and sometimes they are halved already) – obviously use more fish if you like
Best olive oil, optional (I used a lovely organic Greek one given to me by GreyBe Fine Olive Products)
1. Mix together the yogurt and grated horseradish; coarsely grind together the spices in a pestle and mortar, old pepper grinder (what I keep handy), or spice mill. Mix in about half, keeping some for garnishing. Set aside.
2. Add the vinegar, water, sugar, salt and pickling spices to a small pan. Heat gently until the sugar and salt dissolve; add the ice cubes. When the ice is melted divide the liquid between two small glass or ceramic bowls and add cucumber ribbons to one and samphire to the other. Use your hands to turn the vegetables around in the solution. Leave for 10 minutes.
3. To plate up for two, smear half of the horseradish cream over one plate, wiggle over some of the cucumber and dot with samphire. Top with a mackerel filet and add more cucumber and samphire if you wish. Sprinkle over more pepper mix and drizzle with a little olive oil. Carry on with the second plate and serve.
If you like this recipe, why not Pin it? And you can follow me on Pinterest, too. 🙂
My thanks to Waitrose for a wonderful evening of fine food and drinks. I was not paid to attend or write this post, but Waitrose provided me with full hospitality.