Wary of degradation from a slightly longer than ideal stint in the freezer, I wondered what to make with our last portion of last year’s skrei (beautiful Norwegian cod from the Barents sea). Fish pie was on my mind, but I didn’t fancy the cod and boiled egg fish pie recipe we have made previously; and with just short of 600 grams of cod, I didn’t want to make a mixed seafood fish pie either, though I’m sure salmon, smoked fish or perhaps some big juicy prawns would be a tasty combination.

Instead, I remembered how much I like the combination of chorizo and cod in this baked chorizo, cod and potatoes recipe that we’ve made several times.

An idle search on Google revealed surprisingly little variation in fish pie recipes, so I decided to go out on a limb and pull together a recipe using flavours I felt would work well together , even if no one else had combined them in a fish pie before – we made a chorizo, pea and cod filling topped with buttery mashed potato and it was marvellous; definitely one to make again!


I used a full 200 gram Unearthed cooking chorizo, which was a generous amount. Reduce to 100 grams for just a hint of chorizo, 150 grams for a decent hit or stick to my 200 grams for a chorizo feast. We only had 100 grams of frozen peas left, but I’ll up to 150-200 grams next time, as per my original intention. Although cooking chorizo releases some oil as it cooks, I add more to the pan to ensure sufficient flavoured oil to make the white sauce.

Kavey’s Chorizo, Cod & Pea Pie Recipe

Serves 4

100-200 grams cooking chorizo, 1 cm dice
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 pint milk
570 grams cod fillet, skinned and checked for bones
4 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
Generous knob of butter
1-2 tablespoons plain white flour
150-200 grams frozen petit pois


  • Cook chorizo and cooking oil over a medium flame until chorizo is just cooked through.
  • Remove chorizo from the pan using a slotted spoon. Pour chorizo-flavoured oil into a separate bowl or jug. Set both aside.
  • Heat the milk in a saucepan and poach the cod over a low flame until cooked through, approximately 15 minutes depending on the thickness of your fillets.
  • While the cod is poaching, put your potatoes on to boil, drain once cooked and mash with a little butter.
  • Once the cod is cooked, strain the milk from the pan, set aside in a jug or bowl.
  • Gently break the cod into small pieces, set aside.
  • Combine 3-4 tablespoons of chorizo-flavoured oil with the flour and cook for a few minutes, then add strained poaching milk and simmer until the sauce thickens.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 C (fan).
  • Place cod, chorizo and peas into a casserole dish, pour over the chorizo-flavoured sauce and gently mix to combine.
  • Spoon the buttery mash over the pie filling and use a fork to create a spiky surface.
  • Transfer to the oven and cook until the potatoes brown nicely on top, about 20-25 minutes.
  • Serve immediately.

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I think this recipe is a winner and I’d love you to give it a try and let me know how you get on and what you think!

Need more inspiration? Check out these Ten Fantastic Fish Pie Recipes:

And two related recipes:


Four years ago a course at Billingsgate Seafood Training School changed my life.

If that seems like it might be an exaggeration, rest assured that it really isn’t because, in a roundabout kind of way, it lead to me finally making it to Japan, a country I’d long yearned to visit. That’s a story for another time, but probably goes some way to explaining why I was so keen to accept the school’s invitation to attend one of their newer evening classes.

Known as Every Which Way Techniques, there are a range of courses to choose from, each one based around a seasonal fish or seafood.  In July, crab was on the menu. In September, the theme was scallops. In October the focus will be on Lemon Sole and in November, on Seabass. Our August class was based on mackerel, a fish that’s at its best in late summer.

Smoked Mackerel Billingsgate KaveyEats (c) KFavelle-175728

Classes are £55 per person for a group of up to 12 people and start at 6.30 pm. During the next 2.5 hours you will learn a variety of skills to prepare and cook the chosen fish. At the end you have time to grab a stool and tuck in to your efforts.

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During the class, our tutor Eithne taught us how to gut and clean out our mackerels, how to fillet  them and what to do if we wanted to cook them whole. With her patient guidance, this seemed very straightforward and all of us mastered the techniques.

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The cooking focused on smoking using wood chip shavings and specialist domestic smokers, but Eithne made clear that we could adapt equipment we would likely already have in our kitchens just as well.

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We smoked fillets of salmon and whole mackerel and also oven cooked fillets of mackerel with a delicious marinade applied, which we mixed from recipes and ingredients provided.

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As an added bonus, when I removed the innards of one of my mackerel, I spotted an intact liver. Asking Eithne if she’d ever cooked one (she hadn’t) I decided to give it a go and see what it was like. Turns out it was delicious, so there’s a top tip for you – mackerel livers for the win!

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We also learned a simple smoked fish pate recipe that Pete and I made the next day with the whole smoked mackerel we brought home with us. It was simple, delicious and I shall definitely make it again.

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Kavey Eats attended the Smoked Mackerel Every Which Way Techniques class as a guest of Billingsgate Seafood Training School.

News: The school have just introduced gift vouchers. Wouldn’t these make a great Christmas gift? The lucky recipient recipient could book onto a course of their choice, on a date that works for them.


Given how much I love salmon, it’s a glaring omission that I’ve not yet shared any recipes here for cooking with this beautiful and popular fish. I am vowing to rectify this as soon as possible!

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Norwegian salmon images from Shutterstock

I’ve recently had my eyes opened to the quality of Norwegian salmon, a fish that is abundant in the cold, clear waters off Norway. It has smooth, red flesh and a rich, fresh flavour, it turns a pretty delicate pink colour when cooked and the well-defined flakes fall apart easily. It’s perfect to enjoy in hot dishes and cold in summer salads. It’s also often described as one of the superfoods – this oily fish is rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and vitamins A and D – so is a healthy as well as tasty choice.

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Look for the NORGE logo on pre-packed Norwegian salmon in Morrisons this month. This logo is a guarantee that the product is of Norwegian origin and can only be used on products caught, farmed and processed in Norway and on licenced products in foreign markets.


It is also comforting to know that Norway is considered to have one of the most responsible fishing industries in the world. In 2007 an independent research institute carried out a survey of the ways in which fishing nations are dealing with the challenges presented by illegal fishing and unregistered and unreported fish, as well as the United Nation’s rules of governance pertaining to responsible fishing practice (the FAO Code of Conduct). This detailed analysis concluded that Norway is a world leader in fishing management. In assessing the extent to which different countries are acting in accordance with the UN’s Code of Conduct for responsible fishing management, Norway ranks top followed by the USA, Canada, Australia and Iceland.



Kavey Eats and the Norwegian Seafood Council are offering one reader of Kavey Eats a hardback copy of Signe Johansen’s book Scandilicious, Secrets of Scandinavian Cooking and a £25 Morrisons voucher. The prize includes delivery within the UK.


You can enter the competition in 3 ways:

Entry 1 – Blog Comment Leave a comment below, sharing your favourite way to eat salmon.

Entry 2 – Facebook Like the Kavey Eats Facebook page and leave a (separate) comment on this blog post with your Facebook user name.

Entry 3 – Twitter Follow @Kavey on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then tweet the (exact) sentence below.
I’d love to win £25 Morrisons vouchers + a copy of Scandilicious from @norwayseafood and Kavey Eats! http://goo.gl/VxiGqh #KaveyEatsSalmon
(Do not add my twitter handle into the tweet; I track entries using the competition hash tag. And please don’t leave a blog comment about your tweet either, thanks!)


  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Friday 22nd August, 2014.
  • Entry instructions form part of the terms and conditions.
  • Kavey Eats reserves the right to alter the closing date of the competition. Changes to the closing date, if they occur, will be shown on this page.
  • The winner will be selected from all valid entries using a random number generator.
  • Where prizes are provided by a third party, Kavey Eats accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of that third party.
  • The prize is a hardback copy of Signe Johansen’s book, Scandilicious and a £25 Morrisons voucher. It includes free delivery within the UK.
  • The prize cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • The prize is offered and provided by the Norwegian Seafood Council.
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. One Facebook entry per person only. You may enter all three ways but do not have to do so for your entries to be valid.
  • For Twitter entries, winners must be following @Kavey at the time of notification. For Facebook entries, winners must Like the Kavey Eats Facebook page at time of notification.
  • Blog comment entries must provide a valid email address for contacting the winner.
  • The winner will be notified by email, Twitter or Facebook. If no response is received from a winner within 7 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

Kavey Eats received a Morrisons voucher from the Norwegian Seafood Council.


On a rainy day in February, when it seemed that half the country had turned into an inland sea, we unexpectedly found ourselves with over four kilos of incredibly fresh, top quality Skrei (line-caught Norwegian cod).

We’d been expecting a far smaller delivery but a miscommunication somewhere along the line resulted in “individual portions” being swapped out for “kilos”, and we were the happy if slightly bemused beneficiaries of the error. After an hour of carefully cutting three gargantuan sides of fish into portions, double wrapping them all in cling film, labelling them with their weight and squeezing all but a couple of them into an already groaningly-full freezer, I took to the web in search of cod recipes.

My recipe

With the wind outside slamming never-ending needles of cold rain against the thankfully solid walls and windows, I yearned for something hearty, filling and cheering – the weather howled approval of my demand for punchy flavours, plenty of protein, comforting carbs and copious colour.

A recipe for baked cod with chorizo, potatoes and saffron fit the  bill.

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Original recipe

We liked this recipe a lot but agreed it needed quite a bit of tweaking. Against the strong flavours (and colour) of the chorizo, the saffron was lost; I decided it was superfluous. Our sauté pan is pretty large but the half kilo of sliced potatoes was difficult to move around the pan. The potatoes also made it difficult for the heat to reach and soften the leeks in the short time they had to cook before the liquid was added and came to a boil; I decided to cube the potatoes and add the leeks at a much earlier stage. Lastly, instead of plain oil, I used oil that I’d flavoured and coloured with the chorizo to drizzle over the fish before baking.

My recipe

My new recipe was everything I hoped.

Cubing the potatoes made them cook more evenly, and also provided lots of edges and corners to crisp up a little in the oven. The softer leeks integrated much better into the chorizo and potato base. And the chorizo-infused oil gave the baked fish a little extra colour on the plate.


Baked Chorizo, Cod & Potatoes Recipe

Serves 2-3

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
120 grams soft Spanish chorizo*, cubed or thinly sliced
1 leek, white and pale green parts sliced into thin half-discs
500 grams potatoes, peeled and cubed
120 ml (half cup) water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
500 grams fresh skrei or cod fillet, cut into two or three portions as required
Handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnish (optional)

Note: Spanish chorizo can be purchased either as a fresh, soft sausage that requires cooking, or a harder and drier cured version which can be eaten as is. Make sure you buy the soft cooking chorizo.


  • Preheat oven to 180 °C (fan).


  • Heat three tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large oven-proof pan, add the chorizo and cook over a medium heat until the chorizo starts to change colour, about 2-3 minutes. The oil will take on plenty of colour from the chorizo spices.
  • Carefully retrieve a tablespoon of the cooking oil from the pan and set to one side.

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  • Add the leek and continue to cook for a few minutes, until the leek softens.


  • Add the potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for 12-15 minutes, until the potatoes soften a little around the edges.


  • Add the water, salt and pepper and bring to the boil. As the pan is already hot, this should only take a few moments.

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  • Place the pieces of fish over the contents of the pan and drizzle with the reserved chorizo-flavoured oil.
  • Transfer pan to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, until the cod is opaque. If your fillets are much thicker or thinner than those shown, you may need to adjust cooking time by a couple of minutes in either direction.


  • Either serve the pan to the table, family style, or plate individual portions. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.


This is a really simple dish to make. Prep (of chorizo, leeks and potatoes) doesn’t take very long and the entire cooking time is not much more than half an hour, so it’s ideal any day of the week.


Kavey Eats received samples of fresh skrei (line caught Norwegian cod) from the Norway Seafood Council.

Feb 062014

In December I was invited to a seafood cookery class hosted by my friend Signe Johansen (blogger, food writer and food anthropologist) on behalf of the Norwegian Seafood Council, to showcase the quality of Norwegian seafood and share some ideas for how to make the most of it. Having cooked several different dishes with the skrei they sent me last year – miso marinated cod, fish and egg pie, fish and chips and a cod and chive dish, I was keen to try some of the other seafood available.

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Signe and Hannah (her sous chef for the class)

Sig’s menu included prawn and crisp bread canapés, smoked salmon with horseradish crème fraiche, beetroot and pickled cucumbers, some deep fried cod fritters, a warming Norwegian seafood soup and a fantastic rice pudding with whipped cream and berry compote. There was warming gløgg too!

The recipe I’m sharing below is for the seafood soup, which Sig called a Norwegian chowder, in recognition of the American side of her family background. Unlike the American chowders I’ve had, it’s not thick – the soup is broth-like in consistency – but it does have a great depth of flavour and plenty of richness from the cream. Sig recommends serving with crisp bread but I enjoyed it with regular white bread to soak up the liquid.

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Signe’s Norwegian Fish Soup

Serves 6-7 as a starter, 3-4 as a main

For the chowder base
200g Norwegian cold water cooked prawns, shell on
1 small onion, finely diced
1 large carrot, finely diced
1 small fennel, finely diced (keep the fronds for garnish)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 bay leaf
2 litres fish stock
2 star anise
2 parsley stalks
2 threads saffron
5 allspice berries
For the soup
500g Norwegian salmon, sliced into bite-size chunks
300g cooked new potatoes, sliced in half
300ml double cream
100ml good cooking brandy
1 large leek, thinly sliced
Chives for garnish
300ml crème fraîche to garnish at the end (optional)
Salmon roe to garnish (optional)

Note: We didn’t have any prawns on the day, so these were omitted (which meant we didn’t need to strain the stock-flavouring vegetables out). We used a mix of salmon and other fish. We didn’t garnish with crème fraiche or salmon roe.


  • Start by making the chowder base. Sauté the onion, carrot and fennel in a skillet or frying pan over a low heat until soft and translucent. This should take about 5-10 minutes depending on the pan.
  • Peel the prawns and keep the shells, adding the latter to the pan with the sautéed vegetables and fry for about 5 minutes (keep the prawns to one side to add as garnish to the chowder).
  • Transfer this mixture over to a medium-large saucepan along with the fish stock, allspice berries, star anise, parsley stalks, bay leaf and saffron. Simmer for 30 minutes until the stock turns a pale orange from the shells and saffron, and then sieve the stock into a slightly smaller saucepan. Throw away the prawn shells and other flavourings, as you don’t need these anymore.
  • Flambé the brandy or cook off the alcohol in a small saucepan and add this to the stock. Boil this soup base until it has reduced by half; if the base tastes bland at this stage, keep reducing until the flavour takes on a concentrated seafood note. Every fish stock is different, so judge to your taste.
  • Meanwhile sauté the leek in a little butter until soft and add to the stock, along with the double cream. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add all the salmon. Allow to cook for a further 3-5 minutes until the fish is pale pink and opaque.
  • Adjust the seasoning if necessary then add the cooked, sliced new potatoes, the prawns and serve while warm with a chive, fennel frond and salmon roe garnish. Rye bread complements this tasty chowder perfectly and a dollop of crème fraîche is an indulgent optional topping.

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Kavey Eats attended this cookery class as a guest of the Norwegian Seafood Council.


Although it’s been around for many years, the technique of cooking food sous vide (under vacuum) in a carefully temperature-controlled water bath has mainly been the preserve of chefs. Professionals have long appreciated the accuracy, consistency and sheer ease of a method that allows them to do the prep and (most of) the cooking of many dishes in advance. For example, they can portion, pack and cook steaks ahead of service, leave them in the water until needed, then quickly finish in a very hot pan to create an appealing brown crust, confident that the interiors will be cooked exactly as expected.

More recently, as the line between professional and domestic kitchens blurs, home cooks are investigating sous vide too.

The History of Sous Vide Cooking

Food historians attribute the idea of cooking under vacuum to Sir Benjamin Thompson, an 18th and 19th century physicist and inventor. Although he invented many items including a double boiler, an insulated drip coffee percolator and a new design of fireplace, he never actually created a sous vide machine, but he did document the idea of cooking under vacuum back in 1799, albeit using air as the heat transfer medium rather than water.

In a related development, the French navy prompted Parisian confectioner and chef Nicolas Appert to develop an industrially viable canning process in response to their competition, launched in 1795, seeking new methods of preserving food. Appert observed that food cooked inside a jar did not spoil unless the seal leaked. Boiling the jars in water killed harmful bacteria and yeasts; it also created a vacuum seal that kept jars airtight and stopped recontamination. After almost 15 years of work, the process he submitted won him a substantial 12,000 francs prize. Later, the method was applied to food sealed in tin cans, hence the process became known as canning.

Modern sous vide has been around since the 1960s, when French and American engineers mastered the process of making food-grade plastic films and pouches. Ingredients could be vacuum-sealed at sufficiently high pressures to compact textures and concentrate flavours. Sealing into such plastic is sometimes referred to as cryovacking after American company Cryovac Inc.

French chef Georges Pralus made the leap to using a sous vide water bath as a cooking technique when he was asked in 1974 by 3-Michelin-starred chef Pierre Troisgros to help find a way of cooking foie gras without losing so much of its weight during cooking. The foie gras, vacuum-sealed in food-grade plastic and cooked at a consistently applied specific temperature, not only loss far less fat during cooking, but had a more even texture too. The technique spread quickly and is now a common tool of many professional chefs.

Since then, there has been much more research and documentation of the effects of different cooking temperatures and times on different foods, with particular attention to food safety and food preservation. A pioneer in the food science of sous vide cooking is Bruno Goussault who presented a study on this very topic back in 1974. He and Pralus both went on to provide professional training in the technique for top chefs from around the world.

How Does it Work and What’s the Point?

Detractors often dismiss sous vide as nothing more than boil-in-the-bag in an attempt to associate it with those dreadful ready-made dinners of decades ago. Of course, there’s more to it than that: for sous vide cooking, raw food is vacuum-sealed in the bag – the removal of air allows heat to be transferred by the water outside the bag directly to the food inside, far more efficiently than when air gets in the way. The cooking temperature is far lower than boiling; accuracy of temperature is critical. Boil-in-the-bag food has already been cooked and pasteurised (at high heat) so the consumer is simply reheating by immersing in boiling water. Sous vide cooking involves cooking in a bag, in water, but it’s definitely not boil-in-the-bag!

When cooking food in a conventional oven (or in a pan on the stove top) the usual method is to set the temperature to high (we typically bake things at about 180 C) and leave the food in the oven (or on the stove) until it reaches the required internal temperature to transform from raw to cooked. The internal temperature the food needs to reach is far less than 180 C so the risk is that leaving the food cooking too long results in a continual rise in temperature, to the extent that the food becomes dried out or burnt. Of course, it’s also possible to underestimate the time needed, and remove a large item such as a roasting joint too soon, when it’s still raw at its centre. Temperature probes can help with this, but the cook still needs to ensure that the food is taken out at just the right time. Experience makes that less hit and miss, as does a temperature probe, but it’s still not an exact science given the different size and shape and moisture content of ingredients.

When cooking sous vide, the temperature of the water bath is set according to the internal temperature required to transform the food from raw to cooked. Of course, it’s still possible to remove the food too quickly, before the heat has transferred to the centre of the food. But the converse is not a problem – leaving the food in the water bath for longer doesn’t cause it to overcook, as it cannot become any hotter than the temperature of the water itself. This can benefit the home cook as much as the professional, as it allows the cooked food to be left in the water bath until such time as other elements of the dish are ready, or diners are ready to eat.

The accuracy of temperature achievable in a water bath means that meat can be cooked at precisely the right temperature to allow tough collagen to break down into soft gelatin, whilst avoiding the higher heats that denature protein and can make it tough. Choosing the right temperature allows the cook to target their preferred finish, whether that’s rare, medium rare, medium… Additionally, all the moisture is retained in the meat as it can neither evaporate nor drain away during cooking. When cooking fish such as salmon in a frying pan, it can be hard to apply heat evenly enough that the outer edges do not dry out before the centre is done, especially as this is a fish that is so good when it’s a touch under- rather than over-cooked. Using lower temperatures makes it easy to cook salmon evenly all the way through, and also avoid the unpleasant streaks of dried white albumen that are excreted when cooking fish at higher temperatures. There is less advantage over traditional methods when cooking vegetables, however adherents appreciate the intensity of flavours that cooking sous vide achieves.

Lastly, vacuum sealing the food means it can be stored (sealed and refrigerated) for longer after cooking, protected against oxidisation.

Limitations & Food Safety

The advantage of cooking, say, a steak or joint of meat in a hot oven or pan is that the exterior develops a caramelised brown crust, as the sugars and amino acids react to high heat – the Maillard reaction, as it’s known. And we love it – a beautifully seared chop with a tender, pink interior is surely the epitome of meat cooking!

Sous vide cannot achieve this, because the entire piece of meat, from exterior through to the centre, is heated only to the temperature needed to take it to medium rare, for example. So, a sous vide steak really needs to be finished briefly in a very hot pan, to sear the exterior and give us the crusted appearance, texture and taste we yearn for.

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That’s not an issue with all ingredients – salmon fillets are beautiful served straight out of the sous vide, evenly cooked all the way through. And foie gras, the ingredient that inspired the development of the modern technique, needs only to chill in the fridge before it’s sliced, plated and served.

Another issue to keep in mind is that of food safety, particularly for those with compromised immunity. The bacteria that is commonly found in food can be categorised into three groups – pathogens (which are harmful to us), spoilage (which, as the name implies spoil the taste and texture of food but are not, on their own, harmful to us) and friendly (which confer health benefits). Pathogens such as Clostridium botulinum (which produces the deadly toxin that causes botulism), Clostridium perfringens (one of the most common causes of food poisoning), Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes are all capable of growing in a vacuum. They can be eradicated by the application of minimum temperatures for sustained periods. Of course, for some ingredients, the temperature required to achieve a desirable texture in the food is not high enough to destroy any pathogens. In this case, it’s crucial to consider the source and quality of the raw ingredients and to observe strict hygiene practices. If storing food after sous vide cooking, it’s also advisable to reduce the temperature quickly, by immersing the sealed pouch into an iced water bath. Read more from sous vide expert Douglas Baldwin, here.

Sous Vide in a Domestic Setting

There are a number of brands that sell sous vide equipment to commercial kitchens. These are generally too expensive, and potentially too bulky, to be of interest to, or in the financial reach of, home cooks. Many have resorted to jury-rigging contraptions using digital thermometers and rice or slow cookers. Some even manage with the tap, a kettle and an insulated cool box! And a few have even attempted sous vide cooking on the stove top, necessitating constant addition of hot or cold water and minor adjustments of the heat level, to maintain the required temperature.

But for home cooks with a serious interest in the technique, and the budget to afford it, appliances aimed at the domestic market are now available.

One such brand is SousVide Supreme, founded by Doctors Michael and Mary Dan Eades. They were motivated to investigate the technique after enjoying a particularly excellent pork chop served by a Las Vegas hotel’s room service team, during a visit to attend a medical conference. The nutritionist couple promote a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet and also have a background in the restaurant trade, so when they realised there was a gap in the domestic market, they resolved to jump in and launched their domestic sous vide products in 2009.

Their range includes two vacuum sealer machines, two (different sizes of) sous vide water ovens and accessories including plastic pouches and cookery books.


The SousVide Supreme Water Oven is currently available on Amazon for £354, the Vacuum Sealer is currently £99. Alternatively, a Promo Pack of water oven, vacuum sealer, basic sous vide cookery book and 50 vacuum pouches is currently £450.

Our SousVide Supreme equipment arrived shortly before Christmas and we’ve had it out a few times already since then. Thus far, Pete and I have made a foie gras terrine (our first project, in deference to the role of Georges Pralus) and we’ve cooked steak (plain) and chicken (with flavourings). We’ve been very pleased with how all three came out and we found the vacuum sealer and water oven very straightforward to use. I’ll be sharing some recipes and feedback with you going forward.

Do take note that the oven is large, and needs some strength to lift when full of water.


Kavey Eats received a SousVide Supreme Promo Pack in exchange for sharing four posts about SousVide Supreme and my experiences with the equipment. This is the first such post with more to follow in coming months. As usual, I will be 100% honest about my opinions, whether good or bad.


Thanks to a sample of Skrei from the Norwegian Seafood Council, we’ve been enjoying more fish, specifically cod, of late. One portion was stir-fried with mirin and chives, another was battered and deep fried and one smaller portion was stretched into a filling fish, leek and egg pie.

Next on the list was miso cod.

A signature dish for many restaurants all around the world, it’s probably most strongly associated with Nobu Matsuhisa who makes his recipe with black cod.

Black cod is part of the Notothenia genus whereas the species we’re more familiar with, such as Atlantic, Pacific or Greenland cod are from the Gadus genus. To confuse things further, Sablefish, an unrelated species, is often colloquially called black cod, as is Maori rockcod. If you are keen to recreate the Nobu black cod version of this dish, make sure you buy the right fish (Notothenia microlepidota) and be aware that it’s fattier and more fragile than Gadus cod.

Matsuhisa steeps the black cod in his marinade for a few days before cooking, but for my Skrei fillets, I was happy to make a far quicker version – mixing a simple marinade, smearing it generously over my cod fillets and grilling straight away, until the fish was cooked through and the miso marinade bubbling and charred.


Miso is a key seasoning and ingredient in Japanese cooking. Produced by fermenting soybeans, grains and salt with a mould fungus, the result is a thick, intensely savoury paste which is high in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals.

There are many types of miso available in Japan, the most common two being red and white. Both are made with soybeans and rice, though white miso has a higher percentage of rice than its red counterpart. There are also other types that are made with different grains such as barley, buckwheat or rye. Miso also becomes darker with age, with some vintage red misos turning almost black in colour.


Simple Miso Cod

Serves 2

2 fillets of fresh cod (please buy sustainable fish)
2 tablespoons mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
2 tablespoons white miso paste
2 tablespoons sugar

Note: White miso has a slightly sweeter and milder flavour than the red version, which suits this recipe well. However, you can use red miso instead if you wish; you may want to use a touch less, in that case.


  • Preheat your grill to a medium hot setting.
  • Heat the mirin, white miso paste and sugar in a small saucepan, over a gentle heat, until the sugar has completely dissolved.
  • Place the fillets of fish skin side down on a piece of foil.
  • Spread the paste generously over the surface of the fish, top side only.
  • Grill until the fish is cooked through and the paste is bubbling and starting to char. For these fairly thin fillets, this took about 4 minutes; for the thicker fillets we did the second time, they needed 7.

MisoCod-0169 MisoCod-0171

Sesame Pak Choi

Serves 2

2 medium sized heads of pak choi
2-3 tablespoons of sesame oil

Note: Last time we made this we added a handful of wild garlic leaves into the stir fry too.


  • Carefully pull all the leaves from the pak choi and wash thoroughly.
  • As you put your fish under the grill, heat some sesame oil in a wok or large frying pan.
  • Stir fry the pak choi for 2 to 3 minutes, until the dark green leaves have wilted and the harder stems have softened just a little.


I love this simple miso marinade – an earthy savoury flavour balanced with a touch of sweetness. And the same marinade can also be used on vegetables – indeed the popular dish, nasu dengaku, is made by spreading it onto halved aubergines, though you usually need to grill them a little first, before applying the marinade and grilling again.

Both the fish and the pak choi need minimal preparation, and take only a few minutes to cook, so this is an ideal dish to make when cooking time is short. If you keep miso paste, mirin and sesame oil in your store cupboard, you just need to pick up fresh fish and pak choi on the way home.

These days, many supermarkets stock both miso paste and mirin, but if you can’t find them, try online suppliers such as Japan Centre and Sous Chef.


With thanks to the Norwegian Seafood Council for the Norwegian skrei (cod) sample.


A nice, fresh but rather small fillet of fresh Norwegian skrei cod we were sent recently necessitated a recipe that could stretch it into a filling meal for two. Pete remembered the cookery book we bought after our day at The Billingsgate Seafood Training School and sure enough, their fish pie, bulked out with eggs and leeks, fit the bill.

Skrei FishPie-5071 Skrei FishPie-5069

The fish is first poached in milk, with a bay leaf. The strained milk is set aside and the skin and any pin bones are removed from the fish. Sliced leek is cooked in butter to soften before flour, cayenne, nutmeg and mustard are added. The reserved milk is added and the sauce cooked until it has thickened. Hard boiled eggs, herbs and the fish (in pieces) are stirred into the sauce and the mixture is transferred into a large oven dish. Potatoes are mashed and blended with butter and milk before being spread over the filling. Some grated cheese is sprinkled over before the pie is baked until golden brown.

Skrei FishPie-5073

This is a great recipe to make a piece of fish go a little further and is a comforting and warming dish.

Skrei FishPie-5061 Skrei FishPie-5062 Skrei FishPie-5064
Skrei FishPie-5065
 Skrei FishPie-5067 Skrei FishPie-5072
Skrei FishPie-5074

With thanks to the Norwegian Seafood Council for the Norwegian skrei (cod) sample.


I’d never heard of Skrei until I was contacted by the Norwegian Seafood Council about it. Apparently it’s “a very special type of cod, line caught, and a much loved Norwegian delicacy”. As far as I can tell, skrei is actually just the Norwegian word for cod, though I can’t work out whether it’s Atlantic Cod, Pacific Cod (unlikely), Greenland Cod or some other species entirely. It doesn’t help that Google Translate tells me that torsk is another Norwegian word for cod, but doesn’t differentiate between it and skrei.

Still, I’m hooked by the information that it’s line caught – which I know has a massively smaller environmental impact than trawling with massive nets, as there is less bycatch (of unwanted species and undersized fish). Of course, I’ve read that cod is one of the species that has been overfished and should therefore be avoided until stocks recover, but I’ve also read that sustainability depends on which region or fishery it comes from and some cod fisheries are alright. It’s confusing and makes it hard to know what the responsible choice is.

The press release also tells me that skrei annually migrate thousands of miles from the Barents Sea to the Lofoten Islands in northern Norway to reproduce, and this long journey through icy waters results in a “lean, bright white firm flesh [that] is rich in protein, vitamins and minerals”.

It goes on to boast that top chefs Mitch Tonks and Michel Roux Junior both love skrei, with the latter featuring it on his menu for the last two years. I complete the unstated suggestion – that if it’s good enough for them it’s good enough for me – and accept the kind offer to review a sample.

The cod fillets are firm, plump and a pleasingly subtle shade of ivory. As you’d expect from fresh fish, they have very little smell at all. They’ve not been pin boned very well so we make a slight mess of them trying to pull out a couple of large bones, before cooking.

We make three meals with the fish:

  • An adapted recipe from the Jekka’s Herbs Cookbook which calls for sea bass and garlic chives but tastes fabulous with cod and regular chives.
  • A fish pie recipe from the The Billingsgate Market Cookbook which bulks out a small piece of fish with hard boiled eggs and leeks, and is everything warm and comforting that a good fish pie should be.
  • And lastly, beer battered fish and chips, which we discover is an excellent way to appreciate the texture of the fish, as it stays moist and flaky inside its protective coating.

Skrei Jekka-4849 Skrei Jekka-4855Skrei Jekka-4859
Norwegian Cod & Chives Stir Fry

FishNChips-4875 FishNChips-4878
Beer Battered Norwegian Cod and Chips

Skrei FishPie-5062 Skrei FishPie-5065Skrei FishPie-5073
Norwegian Cod Fish Pie

Whilst we really enjoyed all three meals, I’m not sure whether we would have noticed a huge difference had we used a different white fish such as hake, haddock or pollock.

Of course, as I said above, it’s not as simple as some species being ok and others not, but a case of taking fishing method and area into account too. The Marine Conservation Society’s website, Fish Online, is an excellent resource for anyone keen to eat great fish and protect our marine environment and wildlife.

if you are lucky enough to have access to a quality fishmonger, they should also be able to advise you on which fish you can use for a given recipe or cooking method, and all their produce should be sustainably sourced.


Kavey Eats received review samples of Norwegian skrei.


Addendum – following my original post, I was sent some additional information about Skrei, which I wanted to share with you. I’ve summarised it below:

Hundreds of millions of Norwegian cod make the migratory journey I described above but only a small percentage of all landed cad meet the standards to be branded as Skrei, which is a registered trademark.

To be classified as Skrei the fish needs to be caught fully grown (approximately five years old), have immaculate skin with no scratches, bruises or injuries, be packaged within 12 hours of being caught, be stored on ice between 0° and 4° Celsius and, if sold whole, have Skrei branding fastened to the dorsal fin.

It is fished in the Barents Sea, which can be classified as the North East Arctic, so not Pacific or Atlantic. All Norwegian cod is sustainable – indeed Norway has had cod quotas increased this year because stocks are so strong.


Burren Smokehouse are one of the wonderful Irish producers I met at Dublin’s Bloom In The Park last year.

Burren Smokehouse
Birgitta Curtin of Burren Smokehouse

This family business was set up by Birgitta & Peter Curtin back in 1989 and takes the best from the smoking traditions of both Ireland and Sweden to produce a high quality Irish product. Their salmon is sourced from Irish fish farms on the Atlantic coast. Once it arrives it is checked for quality, filleted, salted with pure sea salt to cure and then cold or hot smoked in oak smoke. Finally it’s vacuum-packed to maximise shelf-life.

It’s a quality product and tastes fabulous. I tried a number of the Burren products at Bloom and found them all excellent.

Burren Organic Salmon cropped



Burren Smokehouse have generously offered a side of Irish organic smoked salmon, worth approximately £50, to one lucky Kavey Eats reader. The prize includes free delivery anywhere in the UK and Republic of Ireland.



You can enter the competition in 3 ways:

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
Leave a comment below, sharing your favourite accompaniments to serve with smoked salmon.

Entry 2 – Facebook

Like the Kavey Eats Facebook and leave a (separate) comment on this blog post with your Facebook user name.

Entry 3 – Twitter
Follow @Kavey on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter!
Then tweet the (exact) sentence below.
I’d love to win Burren Smokehouse products from Kavey Eats and @BurrenSalmon! http://goo.gl/Qos4K #KaveyEatsBurren
(Please do not add my twitter handle into the tweet; I track entries using the hashtag. And you don’t need to leave a blog comment about your tweet either, thanks!”)



  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Friday 29th March 2013.
  • The winners will be selected from all valid entries using a random number generator.
  • Entry instructions form part of the terms and conditions.
  • The prize is a side of Burren Smokehouse Irish organic smoked salmon and includes free delivery anywhere in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
  • The prize cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • The prize is offered and provided by Burren Smokehouse.
  • Where prizes are to be provided by a third party, Kavey Eats accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of that third party.
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. One Facebook entry per person only. You do not have to enter all three ways for your entries to be valid.
  • For Twitter entries, winners must be following @Kavey at the time of notification. For Facebook entries, winners must Like the Kavey Eats Facebook page at time of notification.
  • Blog comment entries must provide a valid email address for contacting the winner.
  • The winners will be notified by email, Twitter or Facebook. If no response is received within 7 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

Kavey Eats received a sample of smoked salmon from Burren Smokehouse.

The winner for this competition was Rocky (Wildfood).

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