Bacalao ceviche (Punheta de bacalhau)

Posted in: DF, LF, S, SF, WF

In honour of this weekend’s Lisbon trip, I thought it fitting to share a Portuguese salt cod ceviche classic. I claim no credit, this one comes direct from a local, my Lisboa love. Or more specifically, his mother; it’s the real deal. Super easy, tasty and healthy, it’s a busy food lover’s dream. And yes, it also ticks the paleo, clean eating, fit-fooder boxes. Thank you Portugal.

Easy Portuguese bacalao ceviche

Feeds: 4


6 tbsp bacalao (salt cod), tuna or normal cod.
2 tomatoes
1 white medium – large onion, depending on your preference
1 green pepper or half red, half green (red adds a sweeter flavour)
1/2 cucumber
2 cloves of garlic
4 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp cider vinegar
Good grind black pepper


Rinse bacalao in cold water, squeezing out with your hands (really) at the end. If using normal cod, simply chop and add salt at the end.

Chop all veg finely into 1-2 cm pieces and mix with bacalhau, oil, vinegar and pepper. Add in salt at this point if using cod as opposed to bacalhau.

You can eat right away but the flavours are best when left to develop for 15 – 20 mins or even overnight; perfect tupperware or advance prep supper fodder!

Delicious with a crusty white sourdough to dip into the juice.

The cooks, Wholesome Seduction

FYI: The literal (and more polite) translation for Punheta de bacalhau is ‘Tossed’ (ahem) salt cod. I kid you not.


Prawn, coconut & tamarind curry

Posted in: DF, S, SF, WF

A healthy, tangy and creamy curry to help you on your way to summer body. That’s right, curry needn’t be laden with ghee and consumed only in the early hours. In fact, the spices and coconut oil in this recipe are even good for your gut. I’ve used prawns for a potentially wider appeal, but I also make this with any white, sustainable fish as a less extravagant mid week supper.

Feeds 4


2″ piece ginger
2 red chillies
4 cloves garlic
6 tsp coriander seed, toasted and ground
1 tin tomatoes or 6 ripe tomatoes

1 tbsp coconut oil
2 onions
3 tsp tamarind paste
1 dsp Agave syrup
1 x 400ml can coconut milk or coconut powder if you can get it.
1 tsp sea salt
500g raw, shelled, uncooked tiger prawns or white sustainable fish, deboned.
1 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped


In a blender, blitz ginger, garlic, chillies, tomatoes and coriander seeds to make rough paste. Depending on how many I’m cooking for, I often leave half aside at this point to make a fresh curry another day. If you’re going the whole hog, however, use the lot.

Heat coconut oil in heavy based pan, chop onions and fry on medium to low heat until they’re translucent.

Add your tomato paste to the onions and cook for 5 mins, stirring intermittently. Follow with tamarind, Agave, coconut milk or powder and sea salt. Cook on a medium heat for 10 mins.

Check for seasoning, put the prawns or fish into the pan, stir and cook gently for 3 – 4 mins, or until meat is cooked through.

Serve with brown rice, roti or wholemeal paratha and chopped coriander. I also like this on it’s own for supper, effectively as a chunky soup… when carb baby needs curbing.


Tip: Tinned coconut milk can vary widely in flavour from the real thing, often altering the curry considerably. Even if fresh coconuts were readily available in the UK, however, I’m not about to start tackling them. So, I was very pleased to come across coconut powder in the world food isle, which somehow tastes far more authentic. You just add to the curry, diluting with water to your taste. Frozen roti and paratha are pretty easy to come by in most supermarkets too.

Tip: Don’t throw away coriander stalks. Instead, keep in the freezer to add a clean, freshness to other curries. See Spring lamb with apricots & chilli for example.


Tamari Wild salmon

Posted in: DF, S, SF, WF

We’ve just come into Wild salmon season so I had to share this long-standing favourite Toolkit recipe. It takes about 20 mins to get on the plate and tastes as good cold as it does hot. I always make extra so I have a quick fix protein for after work or yoga. It’s delicious in salads or added to stir-fry or soup – try a fish version of Cheat’s chilli chicken & veg soup from last week.

Tamari Wild salmon

Feeds: 2. Takes: Less than ½ hr.



2 salmon steaks
1 clove garlic, crushed
1” piece ginger, finely chopped
1 dsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
Lemon juice, squeeze only


Preheat oven to 200C / 400F / Gas 6. Line a baking tray with silver foil – a piece big enough to fold over the salmon steaks. Place the salmon on the foil and score the flesh 3 times on each steak.

Cover with the garlic and ginger, gently pushing some bits into the incisions. Pour over the oil, tamari and lemon, fold over the foil to make a parcel, leaving an opening at the top and transfer to the oven.

Cook for 12 – 15 mins, or until the salmon is cooked through. I like the flesh to still be almost raw in the centre but that’s up to you.

Serve with purple sprouting broccoli or a leaf salad. Or, willpower permitting, store in the fridge to eat cold for up to 3 days.

Note: Eat the the salty tamari sauce while it’s hot; it’s addictive in a junky, cheap crisp way so Little Miss Piggie can’t help but scrape every last bit off the foil. I guess that’s what happens when you forbid yourself junky, cheap crisps…

P/100g steak: Kcal: 203, Pr: 18.0g, Carb: 2.1g, OWS: 0.2g, Fat: 13.8g, Sat Fat: 2.0g, Salt: 1.7g


Zesty Fish Pie

Posted in: S, SF, WF

In light of the almost sub-zero temperatures, I’ve deviated from the Tortilla plan to a fish pie feast. Because who doesn’t love a (tangy and creamy, chunky and cheesy) fish pie? This recipe feeds 8 – 10 and doesn’t skimp on the fish, so you can bribe your friends to visit and still have left overs for Sunday. Seasonal, cosy comfort: perfect winter week-end sharing.

Fish Pie Pots Wholesome Seduction

Feeds 10


5 eggs
2 lemons, juice and zest
1.4kg potatoes: Rooster or Maris Piper both good for mashing
600g Pollack, filleted bones and skin removed
200g smoked haddock, filleted, bones and skin removed
340ml milk: I swap between soya and cow’s and no-one notices.
20g butter
3 tbsp flour: plain or rice
2 tsp Dijon mustard
60g low fat cream cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
1 dsp wholegrain mustard
250g tiger pawns
5 scallops – optional
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
120g mature cheddar, grated

Fish Pie Wholesome Seduction

Fish pie calls for a bit of pan juggling. Don’t stress about timings, it all goes into the oven at the end so there’s no roast dinner co-ordination called for.


  1. Put eggs to simmer in a pan of cold water that just covers them. From the point the water begins to boil, set the timer for 6 mins.
  2. Pat fish (not shellfish) with lemon zest and put to one side.
  3. Peel potatoes and set to boil with pinch of salt.
  4. Remove the eggs and stand in cold water.
  5. Lightly poach fish in milk then turn off heat.
  6. Meanwhile, melt butter in a pan and stir in flour, slowly add milk from fish pan to make the white sauce. Add Dijon mustard and stir continuously until the sauce begins to bubble and thicken. Remove from the heat and set aside. You’ll have a little milk left over, should you need it for the mash.
  7. Pre-heat oven to 180°C and grease baking dish.
  8. Drain potatoes and return pan to a low heat to dry off – See my Mash not Smash tips for perfect creamed tatties.
  9. Add low fat cream cheese, olive oil, wholegrain mustard salt and pepper and mash. A lot. Then whisk with a fork to get lots of air in, giving you fluffy, creamy mash heaven. You may want to add the retained milk from earlier. If not, discard.
  10. Peel boiled eggs and cut into quarters. Mix with fish, shellfish and white sauce and pour into baking dish. Make sure your fish isn’t swimming in liquid, or you’ll end up with a sloppy pie.
  11. Top with mash, then grated cheese and bake in oven for 30 mins, until cheese has started to brown and sauce begins to erupt around the edges.

Zesty Winter Fish Pie Wholesome Seduction

Serve with green salad. Crunchy freshness with creamy pie.

PP: 385 Kcals Protein 29.5g  Carbs 32.8g OWS 2.6g  Fat 16.1g Sat Fat 7.4g Salt 1.2g


Gooseberry & elderflower relish with grilled mackerel

Posted in: DF, S, WF

We’re thinking BBQs – in the sunshine that we’re sure is just around the corner. But, if our optimism is proved misplaced, you can grill, bake, or griddle the fish instead. Whatever the weather this dish tastes of summer.

1 inch piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 tsp mustard seeds
400g gooseberries, trimmed
80ml elderflower presse
1 dsp agave nectar

Put all ingredients (apart from the fish!) into a saucepan, stir, cover and cook on a very low heat for 45 mins – until you reach a consistency of runny jam.
Transfer to a clean jar and leave to cool.
Store in the fridge for up to a week.

Delicious with mackerel. Whole, gutted and scaled:
On a hot BBQ, grill the belly side for approx 5 mins, and the reverse for 2 – 3 mins. Just long enough for the skin to crisp and golden.

Serve with your relish and piles of salad.

Saving the world, one recipe at a time.

Posted in: Uncategorized

There’s an awful lot of information to take in about the humble fish. We’ve trawled through it (sorry…) and we think we now have a better understanding of what’s going on.

It seems clear that things aren’t well in the underwater world. There’s more radiation, more plastic, more chemicals and more oil. The only thing that there is less of, it appears, is fish. Here in Europe, we’re fishing so fast, supplies can’t keep up. The fish can’t reproduce quickly enough to fulfil our appetites. Quite simply, the ones that make up most of our weekly supermarket buys are running out.

And the problems don’t end there. The methods we use to catch our dinner make things worse. Huge trawl nets capture more fish than they need (or are allowed to bring ashore) – and these are just thrown back. Dead. At the moment, half the fish caught in the North Sea alone is thrown back this way; with young fish making up a scarily high percentage. It doesn’t bode well for the future.

As if all this wasn’t enough, as well as catching too many, we’re often catching the ‘wrong’ sorts. ‘Fish aggregation devices’ (FADs – a kind of floating raft in the sea that certain fish (especially tuna) are attracted to), are a key example. They attract more than the tuna they are aimed at – they lure in turtles, sharks and rays too. FADs are becoming notorious for bringing in fish that are too young and so upsetting growth rates as well as for disrupting the general migration patterns.

It’s a huge story. And not one that we can tell as well is Hugh. But what we can do is talk you through the Wholesome Seduction way of being friendlier to fish, and to be honest it’s very simple.

Eat more of it!

Try out different types, rather than sticking to poor old cod, tuna and salmon. Here’s a list of some of the most plentiful fish in our oceans:

Coley, pollack, pouting, sea bass, lemon sole, gurnard and Dabs. Herring, mackerel, sardines, kippers, tilapia and whiting.

We think it’s a pretty inspiring list. Who knew that saving the world would be so tasty?

Check back on Friday for a weekend BBQ recipe for Mackerel. In the meantime, find out more about Hugh’s Fish fight.


Back to the Future, terrifying technologies & fish fights.

Posted in: Uncategorized

Returning to the UK after months in Asia, we’ve found ourselves in a science fiction story. Kindles (both of us had to ask our Mums to explain these to us), iphone 4 (with 5 on the way) and intelligent technologies that follow you around your home (did nobody else see the 1992 film, Homewrecker? No? Never mind).

Having spent months in India, where hot water and electricity were a luxury, it’s all been a little overwhelming. The western world feels like an alien place right now.

Let’s talk food (after all, this is a food blog). Our first trips to the supermarket took our breath away. We both walked around our respective local stores with our mouths slightly open, attracting nervous glances from the other customers. And it wasn’t just the prices (friends weren’t kidding when they said things had increased in the last year or so!). It was the variety that hit us most. Butternut squash and parsnips in June? Mangetout flown in from Thailand? As they say in India, ‘everything is possible!’.

And the fish. There was so much variety! Coming from a village in the Himalayas, where the only kind of fish was the sort in a tin, this was a welcome sight for Nadine. But it did get us both asking questions. Wasn’t there a problem with cod still? And swordfish, that was in danger too wasn’t it? Perhaps this modern world we’d returned too had fixed the problems, we thought…

As a girl with a little too much time on her hands, Nadine decided to investigate. Clare pointed the direction to Hugh’s Fish Fight and the mind blowing discovery that half the fish caught in the North Sea are thrown back, dead. Mum Sharkey added food for thought (sorry), with a passing comment about nuclear fish in the oceans around Japan. It crossed our minds that perhaps we’d returned to a different kind of Sci-Fi movie altogether.

But it didn’t end there. It turns out that there’s food dye in our farmed salmon. That the EU is in trouble with Greenpeace and local African fishermen for ‘stealing’ their fish, destroying their ecosystems and damaging their livelihoods. That it takes more quantities of mackerel to feed farmed fish than the farms produce in return. And that turtles and rays are under threat from tuna fishing methods.

Quite frankly, it’s a little frightening.

But at least it’s not being ignored. Everyone from Prince Charles to Elle McPherson have got involved with the Project Ocean campaign at Selfridges on London’s Oxford Street, while Stephen Fry and Richard Branston are firm supporters of Hugh’s Fish Fight. There are petitions to sign all over the place. And change is happening! Tesco and Princes have changed their tuna for a start.

All of which was a bit of a relief to find out. So, leaving the big gestures and political change to those with a bit more influence, we decided to set about finding out what little things we can do to make a difference.

Firstly, you could sign some petitions. These are a good place to start:

Secondly, if you have a little spare cash, make a donation:

Thirdly and, in our minds most importantly, change the fish you eat. Start simply:
Cut out cod, munch on mackerel, limit yourself to line caught tuna, and make sure it’s MSC certified if possible.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be running a series of posts on sustainable fish and fish farming to help you make your own decisions about what to eat and what to avoid. We’ll also throw in some of our favourite fish recipes.

Start now by buying MSC certified salmon and making Tamari & Sesame Wild Salmon with Purple Sprouting Broccoli.