Friday, 3 September 2010

Post 123: Monkfish on Garlic Roasted Potatoes, from Bridget Jones Comfort Food Cookbook

Last year I got a new cookbook - Comfort Food by Bridget Jones - not Helen Fielding's fictional lady of big pants and neurosises, but a proper cook book writer. Then again I don't know the real-life author, so she may indeed be a bit scatty with unsexy knickers. I do hope google doesn't grab hold of too many of these words when it comes to putting its adsense adverts on here.

Back to the plot, I've cooked a couple of things from the book and been pretty impressed. The recipes had been both simple and generally fairly quick. Seizing upon a moment of weakness form Mrs VegBox when she said a fish dish looked nice, I took my cue. We endeavoured to stay fairly close to the original recipe:

- 1 chopped and onion fried for 5-6 minutes and a couple of cloves of garlic
- About a 1 lb of potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes
- 3/4's pint of stock (NB: We went wrong here: use half this)
- These were all placed into a baking tray and a medium oven for 50 minutes, along with 2 bay leaves and some sage (Bridge used thyme, but I didn't have any), giving the spuds a stir half-way through
- The breadcrumb topping was made with 1 cup of breadcrumbs, another 2 cloves of garlic, parsley and a big knob of butter; jsut enough to bind it all together
- After the 50 minutes the fish (just under 1lb of Monkfish tail) was nestled in to the potatoes and the breadcrumb topping spooned and pressed down
- Back in to the oven for 20 minutes, periodically basting with a little remaining stock. Bridget used white wine as well to baste, but I had none, so took the top off some red instead, but was banned from using it due to fears of discolouring the dish)
After 20 minutes the breadcrumb topping for cripsy and golden.

I'd got some cabbage from my VegBox still and added this for a bit of vegetable and colour: pan fried with garlic. Iust in case there wasn't already enough garlic on the plate:
Looked ok, to me.

1) Bridget's recipe had called for Monkfish fillets. I think any chumy white fish fillet would have worked. However, when I got to the fish mongers, they had Monkfish tails. I hadn't realised quite (1) How expensive this stuff is, it cost me £7 for a bit barely big enough for two (2) How much tail you get in a monkfish tail. There seemed to be an awful lot of £7's worth which had to be chucked.

2) Are here's where we went properly wrong. Bridget's original recipe was for 4 people; we'd downscaled to a 2 person size - apart form the stock. If we'd used the required amount of stock, then the potatoes would have ended up cripsy. Instead they and the fish were pretty soggy. So much so that Mrs VegBox who likes all meats to be done so far past well done as to be cremated thought the best item to be the cabbage.

All in, not cheap, not quick and not really worth it.


  1. Oh dear! I love monkfish, but it definitely isn't cheap.
    Don't you think Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones would have written rather a fun recipe book?

  2. You might have hit on something there; fictional character based cook-books. Be good, maybe a next challenge for you now you're such a busy bee.


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