Eat more Fish

SALMON PARCELS, PAN FRIED SEA BASS, ROASTED VEGTABLES & A HOME MADE TOMATO SAUCE

Rachel tells me I should back information up with statistics and facts, so here are some. Within three weeks of me buying my last electric car, two of my neighbours bought the same car, so I must have impeccable taste in cars! IT’S NOT A FACT Its just coincidence. When I had a heart attack two other people went and had a heart attack within two weeks of me, I have impeccable taste in Heart Attacks NOT A FACT. So now I have cancer I know three other people who also have cancer THATS A FACT!

In fact 1 in every 2 people currently living in the UK will go on to get, develop or have cancer at some stage in their life. In 2017 there were 367,000 cases of cancer in the UK. Break that down into minutes thats one person every two minutes gets diagnosed with cancer. Now you can see why I stick with food, its just a nicer subject. When I started this blogging stuff I did it, to stay sane during chemo, and to raise money for some charities that I felt, were worthwhile and to help people like me to cook some food. I never started it with the intention of becoming a zealot or fanatic about food. This has been a gradual process in fact I would go so far as to say, I was a slow Paul on the road to Damascus..

For obvious reasons I have become very interested in cancers and in turn what causes them. This will never ever make me a doctor or even an expert but what it will do, is make me an interested individual with two young kids,whom i have every intention of making sure do not become a statistic. The only way I can hope to ensure, that they have an increased chance of not developing cancer, is by ensuring that the building blocks I am laying down with them now in their diet are anti cancer ones. If you research the most common causes of cancers in the UK right now you will get a list that will include genetic, environmental and lifestyle. So the ones that we can influence now as parents are lifestyle and environment. With this the world they live in, and also the home environment. I am making an effort to be more present with my boys and also less reactive to them. Rachel is teaching us how to recognise our emotions and how to respond rather than react, and with this reducing our anxiety levels. I am working on their exercise regime but mainly their diet and what they eat and drink. So for this post we are going to talk about fish and what it can do for you, how to cook it and some other healthy food to go with it.

We don’t eat enough fish, and when I say that please dont include the fish and chips once a week, or when you convince yourself that by ordering the fillet of fish from a certain fast food retailer that you are actually doing yourself some good. So lets do a quick tutorial on the different types of fish and what they can add to your body and your mind. Then I shall follow up with some accompaniments. Don’t be scared, fish is easy to cook, you can’t use the excuse that it stinks up the kitchen, because there are easy ways to get rid of that smell. Such as putting a squeeze of lemon on the pan at the end. or cooking it en papiollet(Fancy name for a tin foil parcel).

Here are a few of the health benefits of eating fish. It can lower the risk heart disease, It can reduce the risk of alzheimers (I better put that one in before I forget), also certain fish contain high levels of selenium which in studies has shown to disrupt the formation of cancer forming cells in the body. A Swedish study of 6000 men over a 30-year period showed that those who didn’t eat any fish had between double and treble the risk of developing prostate cancer, compared to those who ate moderate or large amounts ( I should have eaten more fish). It decreases the risk of depression and finally fish consumption has shown anti ageing benefits and is benefical to skin rejeuvenation and we all know skin is our largest organ.

Oily Fish or sometimes smelly to cook fish

Oil-rich fish are those that have oil distributed through their body, as opposed to white fish, whose main concentration of oils is located in the liver. Although oily fish contains higher levels of oil, they are an essential part of a healthy diet due to the presence of the fatty acid, long-chain omega-3. Oil-rich species include the mackerel and tuna group, herring and anchovy group, as well as salmon and trout. The most sustainable varieties of oily fish are mackerel, pilchards, sardines, herring and skipjack tuna.Tell who doesnt love fresh sardines sprinkled with sea salt on a grill plate.

Omega-3 is reported to be essential for maintaining good health and preventing diseases in old-age. It’s also important for brain development in young children. However, the Food Standards Agency advises a limit to the quantity of oily fish that we should eat because these fish contain more mercury than other types of fish. The FSA recommends that women who may wish to start a family, and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding eat up to two portions of oily fish per week. Other women, men and boys can eat up to four portions of oily fish a week. In addition, marlin, shark and swordfish are not recommended for consumption by boys or girls under 16 or by pregnant women or women who may wish to become pregnant. So heed the health warning above but dont worry because there is another type coming right up and then I am going to do some simple ways of cooking fish with a few easy recipes to follow.

White Fish.

Cod, sea bass, haddock, plaice, pollock, coley, dab, flounder, red mullet, gurnard and tilapia are all examples of white fish. low.

These fish are easily available from most supermarkets or if you are lucky to have a good fishmongers then have a chat with them.

White fish are lower in fat, making them healthier, High in proteins so when going through chemo is an added bonus. Some species can be a source of omega 3 fatty acids, e.g. sea bass, sea bream, turbot, halibut, but at lower levels than oily fish. The most popular fish in the UK is salmon followed closely by Sea Bass, Haddock, Cod and Tuna so for this little exercise we are going to concentrate on Salmon (oily fish) and Sea bass (white). Once you master a few ways of cooking two types its an easy step to just swap one out for another.

The secret to enjoying fish is to buy the freshest that you can find if thats not possible and you are buying frozen then follow the packaging instructions as many are better cooked from frozen. Just be careful as some are glazed before freezing. If this is the case just wash off before using, just check the packaging. If you are buying fish to freeze at home from a fishmonger, ask them if this fish has already been frozen as refreezing fish is the same as meat, its a no no!! Also if you do home freeze fish fresh fish, try not to keep it for longer than two weeks as freezing it does lose its flavour.

So lets start with Cooking a piece of Salmon in a little parcel of baking paper and foil.This perhaps one of the easiest and least smelly ways of cooking fish plus if done properly you also get a little sauce pre made with the fish for your dinner. It also has the advantage that by cooking it this way you seal in all of the goodness of the fish.

Salmon parcels recipe and method

1 Fillet of salmon skin on or off it makes no difference

Salt and pepper to taste

A little know of butter (optional but i like the taste of it)

1 small clove of garlic thinly sliced

1/4tsp Paprika

Dash of olive oil

3 Slices of lemon

1/4tsp of dried herbs or any soft fresh herb such as tarragon or dill

Method:

Cut your baking paper and tin foil to the size of your fish fillet allowing about 3cm over the lenght (See Photo)

Fold up the sides and then add all ingredients and seal tightly on the top and sides

Bake in the oven at 160C for about 15 minutes and be carefull when you open as it will contain a lot of steam. Simply slide onto a plate and serve as I have done here, with a little spaghetti with some homemade tomato sauce. I always keep some tomato sauce frozen in little individual pots in the freezer which can be used if you fancy some quick pasta or you can also use it to cover a piece of cod or chicken and roast it in the oven. Tomato sauce a bit like sweet chilli sauce is always handy to have and tastes so much better homemade and not shop bought. I will put a recipe for it on at the end.

Marinated salmon on the parcel before closing
The closed article

The next simple fish recipe we will look at is Pan fried Sea Bass.

Method and Recipe:

2 fillets of sea bass (one per person) Put three or four cuts through the skin to stop it buckling in the pan as it cook (See Photos)

Dash of olive oil

Dash of salt and pepper

Squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of paprika.

Thats it simply heat up a non stick frying pan with a little sunflower oil and pan fry for three minutes on either side and serve with some roasted vegetables or with some new potatoes and shredded greens, it does not get any easier than this, its super healthy and nutritious. You cannot go wrong, its a subtle tasting fish so it wont offend anyone.

Sea bass in a marinade of salt and pepper with paprika and a little olive oil and lemon
Scoring the skin of the sea bass

Roasted Vegetables Recipe

(These can be served on their own or with the fish, you could add some of your homemade tomato sauce to them for a super fresh ratatouile style dish.

1 Aubergine sliced lengthways

1 Courgette sliced length ways

2 Red onions sliced in quarters

8 Cloves of garlic peeled and lightly crushed

1 Red and 1 Yellow pepper sliced into 8 lengthways

2 Carrots peeled and sliced as thinly as possible lengthways

1 Leeks sliced into rounds about 2cm in thickness.

2 Beef tomatoes cut in quarters

Method

Very simply pan fry, in as little oil as possible, all the vegetables individually. Then layer on a roasting tray.

Season with salt and pepper, a sprinkle of paprika, also a little dried thyme or oregano on top, and roast gently in an oven at 150C for about fifteen minutes. Then remove and allow to cool. Then simply arrange on your plate and put your salmon or sea bass on top.

To increase the calories on this dish you can serve with some spaghetti or some new potatoes.

Lightly pan fried vegetables after being finished in the oven these are beautiful

Homemade Tomato sauce:

2 carrots roughly chopped

2 medium onions roughly chopped

6 cloves garlic chopped

1 leek washed well and chopped

1/4Tsp dried crushed chilli (This is optional but I like the slight kick of chilli)

1tsp paprika

2 Stock cubes

2 x 440gr tins of chopped tomato

1 x 500mls water

Salt and pepper to taste

20mls white wine vinegar

1tbls Brown sugar

Method

Cook all of your veg in a heavy bottomed pan on a low heat for fifteen minutes and don’t worry if they brown in fact it adds to the flavour.

Add you chilli and brown sugar, stock cube and salt and pepper.

Add the tomato, the water and vinegar, place on a lid and cook on a low heat for a further 40 minutes. If you have time this is a great sauce to cook with a lid on in the oven at 140 for approx an hour and a half, as it gets better with a slow cook.

Now some people will tell you to dice all of your veg small and then leave it chunky. But I like to cool the sauce down and then liquidise it. This makes the sauce more versatile.

This is a very versatile sauce and because its got cooked tomato, its fantastic for your health. Its great if you have kids they will love it ! and its a great way to sneak in the veg they they normally may not eat. You can add diced cooked chorizo or diced smoked bacon lardons to it and make a fantastic pasta sauce. You can as I said earlier use it to coat some Chicken breast or cod and roast it gently in the oven. Or simply break it down into smaller portions and freeze for future use. Like I said earlier I am no expert but I do have the present knowledge of living through cancer and a desire to reduce the prospects of my kids getting it in the future.

Here we go the finished food and honestly this all got demolished in record time tonight.Thank you and stay safe and enjoy!

Oven baked salmon with tomato sauce and spaghetti
Pan fried sea bass with shredded greens and some minted new potatoes and a drizzle of tomato sauce

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