Fish Tacos, Red Velvet Cupcakes and Star Wars

I’ve just come out of my family birthday fortnight – my mum’s birthday (28th May), my niece’s (30th May) and my husband’s (4th June) and whilst they’re not that demanding or needy (apart from my niece, but she’s 11 so it’s allowed. When she’s 13, I’ll be having words), it always feels like a very busy time of year.

This year, the wino and I went to Secret Cinema presents Empire Strikes Back. In costume. If you’re a fan of the Star Wars franchise (I’m not) or if you like a bit of immersive, interactive theatre (I do), then go to it. I can’t say too much for fear of being caught by the Stormtroopers but it’s worth every penny of the £75 for a ticket (I know, it’s expensive, but it’s worth it). You get given a character hence the ridiculous outfits (although I think I may well wear boilersuits every day for all eternity).

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But this post isn’t about Star Wars, it’s about birthdays. This year, for my mum’s birthday, we took her to afternoon tea at the Laura Ashley Hotel in Elstree. Wasn’t quite sure what to expect, other than cakes and sandwiches – and I’ve got to be honest, these were a little disappointing – nothing that interesting and some stuff that was just a little bit bland. But the grounds at the hotel were stunning – including this awesome human sized chessboard that my niece and nephew loved.

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Rix, at that tea, decided she wanted red velvet cupcakes for the second of her two birthday parties, so I spent most of the Saturday baking 48 of them. I know, it’s a well known recipe and I won’t pretend mine is any better than any other, but they do take beautiful photos. And buttermilk in any recipe is amongst my favourite things ever.

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But what I am going to share is my recipe for fish tacos. I love me a taco. Or a burrito. Or a wrap. Or anything that involves food wrapped in bread. I’m a woman of simple tastes. So on red velvet Saturday, I decided that I’d make fish tacos for dinner. If you’re in the US, these are probably quite regular things you can find in any restaurant (of Mexican ilk) but you don’t really find them here. So after a bit of googling and a bit of cupboard staring and realising we didn’t have a lot of stuff, I made my own version -and darned delicious they were too. So here it is, Fish Tacos a la basic storecupboard and garden herbs.

Fish tacos (makes enough for two) 

  • 500g firm white fish
  • 1 tsp fennel seed
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • A twist of ground black pepper
  • A table spoon of fresh oregano leaves
  • Three cloves of garlic

Preheat the oven to gas mark 6. Lightly toast the spices in a small frying pan till the aromas are released, then move them to a pestle and mortar. Add the salt, pepper and grind till it forms a sandy texture. Add in the peeled garlic cloves and oregano and grind again, finish with a drizzle of olive oil, then rub into the fish (skin still on) and leave to marinade whilst you prepare the rest of the ingredients

  • 2 x peppers (we used red and orange) sliced
  • A head of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Cucumber
  • Spring onions
  • Half a head of iceberg lettuce
  • 6 x tortilla wraps

Cut the garlic head in half and throw into a roasting pan with the peppers, a twist of salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Cover with foil and roast for 20 mins until the peppers are soft.  Meanwhile, chop all the other vegetables into strips (cucumber), circles (spring onions) and shreds (lettuce). We (Marcel) weirdly sliced the spring onions into strips, which made them impossible to eat.

Our dressing was a combination of buttermilk and sriracha (chilli sauce) and a little bit of salt.

About 10 mins before the peppers are due to come out of the oven, make the fish – simply fry it or griddle it (or BBQ it if weather allows), skin side down first then flip over for the last minute of cooking time (should only take 5-6 mins total). Flake the fish into a bowl, off the skin to serve. Heat your tortilla breads according to the instructions (we did ours in the oven but that uses a lot of foil so I’ll leave it up to you) and plate. To serve, simply put the salad toppings into one big dish, fish in another, breads on a plate and then make up your wraps at the table.

Lovely light simple supper. Will be making again when the BBQ is out.

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