Saturday, 19 January 2013


...with crispy potatoes, mangetout and yellow courgette

Sprats are great if you like fishy fish. My partner wolfed them down happily and said it was a great meal. I gingerly ate some then stuck to veg! They are small herrings, but I don't know what a herring tastes like, so I'd say they are a lot like mackerel...except more so. That slightly metallic taste of mackerel is there but they are not as meaty and mild as mackerel (which I've learned to love). From my point of view they are not worth the phaff but I'm sure my partner will be begging me to make them again!

I started off gutting them. This was so much easier than I thought. A small cut behind the head at the top of the back bone and then pull the head slowly. All the guts come out in one this way and you can do a quick rinse in a bowl of cold water, pat dry and they're ready to cook.

Sprats ready to cook
I decided to use a spice mix I got in Turkey last summer that went well with mackerel. I think you could replace this with something along the lines of: dried garlic flakes, sea salt, chilli flakes and cumin in equal quantities. I used about a teaspoon of this and a tablespoon of plain (all-purpose) flour to lightly coat the sprats before shallow-frying in sunflower oil. After about 2 mins the fish feels a little harder and the skin starts coming away and crisping up, this seemed to be the right time to take them out!

I served them with steamed mangetout (overcooked - oops) and yellow courgette, as well as some little cubes of baked crispy potato. I used a trick found on pinterest for these, soak them for 20 mins in cold water before draining, patting dry and baking in olive oil. They go crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, and this did seem to work quite well. I've attempted to write the full recipe for this meal below including a couple of tweaks I'd use next time.


Serves 2


  • 20 Sprats, beheaded and gutted (yum!)
  • 1 Tablespoon Plain All-purpose Flour
  • 500ml Sunflower oil
  • Pinch each of garlic flakes, chilli flakes, sea salt and cumin
  • 2 handfuls Mangetout
  • 1 Yellow Courgette, cut into strips
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled,cut into cubes, and soaked in cold water for 20 mins

1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6/220C/425F. Drain the Potatoes and pat dry. Put them on a baking tray, coat with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.Bake in the oven for 40 mins turning half way through.

2. Mix the flour and spices together and lightly coat the sprats using this mixture.  

3. Put the sunflower oil in  a large pan over a high heat. Drop in one sprat, when it begins to bubble then drop in a few more. The sprats should be crispy and cooked through after about two minutes in the oil.

4. Add the vegetables to a steamer at this point and steam whilst cooking the sprats in batches. 


Hopefully, the potatoes veg and sprats should all be ready about the same time if you follow this order, though you may want to start them ten minutes before step two (my potatoes were done too soon as I started them way too early).

The veg will literally only need a few minutes or it'll be overcooked like mine!

I would serve the fish with some sort of dip, like garlic mayonnaise, and a wedge of lemon.

Happy experimenting!

Friday, 18 January 2013


Today ended up being a snow day in the West Midlands so I had pretty much the whole day off. I got restless pretty quickly waiting to cook my sprats so I decided to have a look online and find some baking to do. Pinterest offered the answer (obviously). 

I decided to have a go at this recipe: This blog is lovely and has loads of ideas with stunning pictures.


These pita breads are incredibly easy and if you don't have the fancy machinery (dough hook and the like) it still works!

I started with the mixture of warm water and yeast mentioned in the recipe and then added the flour in two batches and kneaded by hand on a floured work surface. The resulting rounds are shown above. I think that I should have rolled them thinner and maybe made more than six, as suggested in the recipe as they were BIG.

The finished results were great. They are seriously the most entertaining things I have ever cooked. I shrieked 'They're rising!!' to Mr F and he came running thinking I'd burnt myself!

I would definitely recommend giving these a go. They are 10 times better than shop bought and I got them made in half an hour. Yay!

Happy Experimenting!


About six months ago I discovered pinterest and started trying things that I never thought I would be interested in. I had never attempted making jewellery or paper snowflakes - granted some of my experiments have been more useful than others! 

This new inspiration to just have a go led to me taking a long hard look at the rapidly growing collection of food porn (recipe books) that is weighing down my bookshelves. I have been one of those people who 'reads' recipe books every night in front of the T.V. for about...Oh God I think it's four years.

Yes, I like Jamie a lot (he has the best pics)

That is quite shocking considering I tried about two recipes in all that time! But recently I started trying at least one new recipe/ingredient per week. This is quite an expensive undertaking I must say, but great fun and really worth it. Some of the experiments have ended up being part of my regular repertoire of meals making evening meals a lot more enjoyable and varied. 

I adore food, and now love trying new things in the kitchen - with variable results. 

Tonight it's sprats. Got to gut them and everything! Eeeek! Will take pics and report back on whether it's worth it.