I adore fish, so any cookbook dedicated to the subject is fine by me. My heart sank a little when I saw the restaurant on which the book is based is part-owned by Dermot O'Leary but, in fairness to him, he manages a forward which is not at all `show-biz'.
The book is large and substantial to hold but not so huge that it is unusable. At over 190 pages, containing more than 90 recipes, it also represents good value for money. The photos of the dishes are clear, not overly `staged' and very tempting.
The recipes are simple, appetizing and unpretentious. Most people who have any interest in cooking whatsoever could find the majority of ingredients in their store cupboards and freezers. Inexperienced cooks will find the hints and tips very useful, such as cooking a pastry pie lid separately to avoid the filling boiling up and making the underside soggy.
Many recipes come with numerous variations so a technique, once learned, can be used over and over again without boredom setting in. Examples include 3 ways with mussels (Marinere, Thai, Provencal) and eggs (Benedict, Florentine and Royale).
There are a sprinkling of non-fish dishes, including a goat's cheese tartlet and a variety of scrumptious desserts, and I particularly enjoyed the interesting snippets scattered throughout the book. For example, did you know that clam chowder has been served at every US president's inauguration since 1981?
One very small point about this book, but one that makes such a difference, is that the page numbers are HUGE. This makes it so easy to find the recipe you want.
There are very few minuses to this volume but I would mention two:
I've said the pictures are good but, unfortunately, not all recipes are accompanied by a photo of the dish itself. Often there is no picture at all or else it is one of trawlers, hunky fishermen or boxes of fish.
Finally, bizarrely, there are absolutely NO fresh salmon recipes. I find this difficult to fathom as the book supports the use of fresh farmed salmon in view of the fact that the wild variety is expensive and rare. Also, a lot of the recipes are clearly made with entertaining in mind - whether a full sit-down dinner party or impromptu barbeque - and, for a lot of people, Summer entertaining means a buffet. Mine are rarely complete without a quiche, coulibiac or poached side of salmon and none of these appear in the book..
These small niggles aside, I would fully recommend this book since it is simple enough for beginners yet inspiring for the experienced.
on 26 July 2011
The Fishy Fishy brasserie is the result of a long held dream of three close friends: James Ginzler, Paul Shovlin and Loz Talent. Importantly all the fish served is local, seasonal and sustainable. The first Fishy Fishy opened in Brighton with a second restaurant in Poole.
Bizarrely as someone who loves fish, I do not cook it that often. With all the recent coverage on waste and sustainability, knowing what to buy can be tricky. The Fishy Fishynofollow cookbook is not just a recipe book, but also is crammed with fish facts, explaining how fish are caught, how to select which fish to buy and how to prepare them.
There are over 90 recipes, most with a full colour photo. The book is divided in to starters, BBQ & al fresco eating, everyday fish & shellfish, special occasions and sauces, side dishes and desserts.
By and large the recipes are simple, concentrating on the quality of the ingredients to showcase the flavours. As long as you can source good fish (which the book tells you how to do) all the other ingredients will be available in any supermarket and you should be able to product restaurant quality dishes at home.
Recipes that have caught my eye are scallops with chorizo or tempura oysters with chilli jam for a first course. The marinated Asian style fish fillets can be adapted to any fish and cooked on either a griddle or BBQ. An everyday classic fish pie is made both luxurious and economical by using off cuts of lots of different fish. For a special occasion there is a lobster feast with three different ways of cooking lobster, or a mixed fish platter with roasted potatoes.
The sauces section tells you how to make every accompaniment in the book encompassing mayonnaise, flavoured butters through to sauce vierge, rouille and mushy peas. Puddings are simple featuring chocolate brownies, tarte au citron and pear tart tartin amongst others.
All in all a fantastic first fish cookbook giving great achievable recipes, and, importantly, the knowledge and confidence to buy and cook fish successfully.
on 2 August 2011
Fishy fishy - what a brilliant collection of recipes. Such simple ingredients, easy-peasy methods and absolutely delicious results. Since I bought this book I haven't been able to stop cooking from it... favourite recipes so far are...
1) Marinated asian style sea bass (no need to buy any fancy ingredients for the marinade - I already had them all in my fridge and cupboard)- really delicious and perfect for a hot summer evening.
2) Kedgeree - simply yummy
3) Fish goujons with lemon creme fraiche - my kids LOVED this!
4) Lemon sole stuffed with ratatouille - I made this for some vegetarians (who eat fish) when they came round - really easy and very impressive.
I can't rate fishy fishy highly enough - packed with useful extras such as dressings, sauces, side salads... Don't let the celebrity endorsement fool you - this is a proper recipe book that you will turn to time and again.
on 19 October 2011
I have pored over this cookbook for a week or more and I am very impressed with the recipes, beautiful patchwork of photos, information and diversity of the book. The cookbook takes its name from the relaxed and informal brasserie called Fishy Fishy in Brighton which is well known for promoting fresh, local and seasonal fish and seafood, and, as well as sharing the name, the book showcases the ethos of the restaurant whilst showcasing some of the most popular recipes that are served there.
The Brasserie's mission statement is echoed throughout the book and explains sustainability in a clear and sensible manner.
Fishy Fishy Mission Statement:
We love Fish at FishyFishy, we love it so much we named it twice, but we still want there to be some fish left for future generations, so we source all our fish and seafood from sustainable sources.
We work closely with our suppliers to make sure the fish we serve is caught in the least wasteful way which can mean line caught fish, pot caught seafood or fish caught in gill nets with big holes in them so they only catch the larger fish and let the small ones through.
We only serve fish and seafood when it is in actually here in the channel. That's why there's no cod on the menu in the summer or lobster in the winter. You will never see tuna or red snapper on our menu because we don't believe you should import fish from other countries when we have perfectly good alternatives here.
We avoid using fish which are being over stretched. So you may be a little surprised at some of the fish in the fish pie, Brightonbaise or even the fish and chips. But who knew that Trigger fish tastes so good and Huss may look a little weird but it batters up perfectly.
And finally we may not always have everything on the menu. Sometimes the fish don't bite, or come late into season, or are not big enough for us to feel comfortable about buying them. It's the price we have to pay to do the right thing and we'll always try and have an alternative.
The book is attractively set out with some really lovely photos of the recipes as well as the owners themselves, the restaurant, fishing boats and surrounding area. There are five chapters that cover Starters, Barbecue & Al Fresco Eating, Everyday Fish & Shellfish, Special Occasions and a very informative chapter on Sauces, Side Dishes and Desserts, the latter I can assure you is fish free!
In addition to the chapters covering the recipes there is an introduction by Dermot O'Leary and several other informative entries to include the Fishy Fishy Ethos, Controls & Quotas, Fishing Methods, Fishing for Cod, How to buy Fish and How to prepare Fish. There is also an extremely useful Seasonal Fish chart at the back of the book, which is perfect for me as I like to cook with the seasons on all culinary fronts.
The recipes are diverse and imaginative, some immediate favourites to leap out at me were ~ Fishy Fishy Fish Pie, Cod and Kale Champ, Smoked Trout Pate, Scallops with Chorizo, Monkfish Scampi with Sweet Cider Sauce, Classic Fish Burgers, British Fruits des Mer Platter and Brown Trout with Lemon and Dill Butter.......as well as some lovely desserts such as ~ Crème Brûlée, Chocolate Pecan Brownies and Pear Tarte Tatin. There are over ninety recipes to choose from in the book and more than a enough variety to appeal to everybody, all of them clearly laid out and easy to follow.
The overall feel of the book is unpretentious, and yet the passion of the authors is evident and the ethos of the restaurant and book is well represented, yet promoted in a simple, fresh and modern way. Many of the recipes are charming in their simplicity and lack of fuss, as well as not being too "cheffy" in using "trendy" and usually unwanted ingredients.
If you want a fish and seafood book that supports seasonal produce and sustainability, this would be a prefect addition to your cookbook library, as well as offering other accompaniments and desserts alongside the piscine pleasures. I wholeheartedly recommend this book, it is like a breath of fresh air on the cookbook front, emphasising uncomplicated and simple fish suppers whilst promoting British sustainable seasonal fish and seafood.
It must have been so easy at one time. You learned to cook, got a bit of capital together, found a promising outlet on the high street and started flogging whatever kind of food your own ethnic background dictated.
Of course, that was before the restaurant criticism industry really got going, and forced a situation wherein restaurants felt they needed some sort of selling point for journalists to write about. These days, no new restaurant is complete without it's own manifesto/philosophy, usually pertaining to some sort of organic/local sourcing/sustainability issue. ("All of the ingredients used in our dishes are scraped from rocks found within a 500 yard radius of the restaurant. Organic rocks." )
Brighton's Fishy Fishy restaurants USP is that they only cook with sustainable, seasonally caught fish and seafood, which is all very praiseworthy and a good reason to patronise the establishment, no doubt.
But why it's felt that where a bistros' ingredients are sourced from is reason enough for publishing a cookbook of their recipes is a mystery. It's like buying a CD from a band and expecting the songwriting to be of a higher quality solely on the grounds that their guitars are made of sustainable hardwoods, surely?
And so it proves. The recipes here range from main dishes to starters, side dishes and even desserts, and are all perfectly acceptable modern brasserie staples, but nothing more. There's almost nothing you here you wouldn't find in a great number of contemporary general cookbooks: It certainly doesn't compare with Rick Steins books.
So, whilst the books beautifully produced and presented, and the content concerning ethical consumption of fish is interesting, I don't really think it could be described as a vital addition to any cooks bookshelf.
I love cooking, cookery books and fish. This book is lovely to look at and easy to read - the photos are splendid and the recipes very simple and make you want to go out and make them straight away. I am going to try out the Marinated Asian-style fish fillets and the Barbecued bream with spring onion, coriander and ginger as soon as I can.
I think that this is a good book for a novice cook as the recipes just require a few other ingredients besides the fish and there are explanations on how to prepare the fish.
Although the book is beautifully presented I have just one small quibble - in a few places there is a lot of black text superimposed over a blurry photograph - this is is trend found in many magazines nowadays - this is very difficult to read especially in artificial light.
Another quibble is with one of the accompanying recipes near the end of the book for "Mushy peas" - "the classic accompaniment to fish and chips". I live in the North of England and here mushy peas are made from dried peas which are rehydrated/soaked and then cooked - the peas are very starchy and fall apart into a "mush" and tinned mushy peas are a very poor replacement. I myself make up large batches and then freeze it in portions. The recipe in the book is NOT in anyway "Mushy peas" - made from frozen peas and blended - these are Puréed peas and will be much sweeter and not have the starchy texture so loved in mushy peas. I know the authors are from the South - their recipe might be good but NOT MUSHY PEAS. - OK a bit of a rant I know! - all the other recipes look very good.
Overall a very good fish cookery book.
'The Fishy Fishy Cookbook' was inspired by the Brighton seafood restaurant of the same name. As such there are plenty of familiar aquatic classics, such as fishcakes, calamari, bouillabaisse and fish pie. Slightly more exotic offerings, such as crab linguine, oysters with chilli jam, and baked plaice with garlic and thyme new potatoes are also featured, though the ferocious-looking grey gurnard didn't really tickle my fancy! Lobster gets its own chapter, and you can also learn how to pickle fish and make your own pates. A few sauces, side dishes and garnishes are included, among them mayonnaise, citrus butter, sauce vierge and mushy peas. Fish-free offerings, like the goats cheese and red onion tartlets were (perhaps not surprisingly) quite limited, and the token puddings not terribly inspiring it has to be said - lemon tart and brownies to name two of the three or four desserts offered in total - again probably typical fare at the restaurant in question.
The book also has info on fishing techniques (trawling, line-fishing, pots and creels), how to fillet and gut your catch, plus discussion on the ethics of buying species known to be overfished. There is a handy table at the back, showing you which fish are `in season' when. The overall presentation is quite nice - matt paper, good quality photography, and nice styling such as the little tin pails containing fried fare. But Rick Stein is still the fishy guru par excellence for me, I'm afraid.
Put together by three enthusiastic young men from Brighton with a passion for fish who run a restaurant there (and now also Poole) under the same name, Fishy Fishy is based on the menus served in their establishments. The introduction covers various aspects of fish and the team, from their ethos and the different methods of fishing to how to buy and prepare fish.
The ninety plus recipes are broken down into Starters; Barbecue and al fresco eating; Everyday fish and shellfish; Special occasions; Sauces, side dishes and desserts. The book includes a section (digram) on when fish are in season, and an index.
The recipes are well laid out and clearly explained with numbered steps in preparation. The measurements are in metric only, and most of the recipes are illustrated with appetising photographs. Each recipe also opens with a few brief words by way of comment, something I always like to see in a cookbook.
My one reservation is the the recipes tend to be 'complicated', I do not mean by this that they are involved and requiring a great deal of work, but that maybe the dish is often very much enhanced by additional ingredients. I would have liked to see included a few recipes that showed how to cook the various fish simply but well. But of course the recipes here are based on those served in the writers' restaurants.
Excellent photography brings an atmosphere of the sea. However I found myself more interested in the photography - beautifully styled in blue, than the recipes. There are some good recipes in here - there are some that are too simple to need a recipe and there are plenty of recipes without a photograph. If you are a real fish lover, then I would buy this book. If you want to expand your simple repertoire, give it a go - you'll find many dishes you perhaps have not thought of. If you are looking for fantastic gourmet recipes to dish up to friends then I would give it a miss. A well priced book that offers good value. This review first appeared on Karen Platt's book review website.
Fishy Fishy is a small chain of seafood brasseries set up by Dermot O'Leary, James Ginzler and Paul Shovlin and this book is a spin-off from that venture, contributed to by Ginzler, Shovlin and Loz Talent (who, appropriately enough, is the food talent in the mix). At 191 pages what struck me first was how very 'Jamie Oliver' the book's presentation was (it particularly reminded me of The Naked Chef).
The serious material in this book starts about 20 pages in with two pages of notes on how to buy and preparing fish. I like my fish but I'm no expert at choosing them, so although the information here is minimal, it was certainly welcome.
With that the book dives straight in to the recipies. Split into five sections (starters, barbecue and al fresco, everyday fish, special occasions and finally sauces, side dishes and desserts) there are a wide range of recipies and plenty of photographs. At the back of the book there is also a guide showing when the various fish are in season and should therefore be available fresh and/or more cheaply.
In general the book is well laid out and easy to read with a wide range of fish-based dishes. This book is certainly not '101 ways to cook Haddock' and will definitely widen your horizons although there are a few faults. Considering that this is a cook book, the recipies state the ingredients and number that can be served but does not give a guideline preparation or cooking time - so you have to read through the recipies and work it out for yourself. Further, for a particular main dish it would have been nice to see some guidance on appropriate fish and non-fish starters and perhaps guidance on wine - to me these recipes are primarily dinner party material rather than family meals.
Finally, unless your taste in seafood is very broad (and your pocket deep) you may find the range of fish that you are able to use too limiting. I won't persuade anyone in my house to try Oyster, Squid or Octopus for example - so your choice of recipie could start to be rather limited. Finally I think the authors missed an opportunity to put in some really appealing dishes such as a fish Paella and bouillabaisse that would give the book the wider appeal it currently lacks.
When all is said and done however I can't fault the recipies that we've tried so far. They've been relatively straightforward to make and have delivered everything that they promised. Good fish isn't cheap (and is sometimes hard to come by), I feel we've had the best out of the fish we've bought, thanks to this book.