A couple of weeks ago I spent a reviving and nourishing day at Daylesford Farm to soak up new healthy tips and skills at their Eat To Be Healthy cookery course. It was a truly uplifting day of vibrant free-from food, wonderful people, fresh country air and rich organic soil underfoot, and I returned to London with a new string to my bow of ideas about what it means to live well.
Steven, the resident cookery school chef, is classically trained, and his fearless adaptation of his skills to our increasingly urgent need to eat well inspired me no end. Not for him our humble spiralised carrots or chickpea blondies… With years of French cooking behind him, he hails from completely the other end of the spectrum than I, with zero training and nothing but a lust for life fuelling my quest in the kitchen. For him and his glowing team, venison carpaccio and filleting a sole hold no challenge, and I enjoyed how we met somewhere in the middle to create a series of really beautiful and innovative healthy dishes.
The first one is this light, quick and restorative sole with nutritious root veggies in calcium-rich fish broth. Since I know you are all usually low on time and loathe to go trawling the shops for long ingredient lists, I thought I would share it first as it is just such a lovely little creation and something I now dream of as the weeks roll by.
The fish stock sounds arduous but it is in fact really easy and quick, and packed with calcium and vitamins. It is great to have on hand to add to other dishes, so freeze down what you don’t use. You can leave it simmering while you chop your root vegetables and it will be done before you know it.
Enjoy, beautiful friends, and more to come.
2 large fillets lemon sole
1/2 stick celery
A small bunch of parsley, chervil and / or dill
1 inch ginger, peeled
150ml fish stock
450g fish bones, soaked and rinsed
Finely chop the vegetables, place them in a pan with the fish and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes until clear. Remove from the heat, strain and freeze or refrigerate until ready to use. You can season it accordion to the dish you are adding it to.
Start by preparing a steamer pan for the sole fillets, seasoning them lightly with salt and pepper.
As it warms up,finely julienne the carrot, celery and leek and finely chop or grate the ginger. Heat the fish stock to a low simmer in a medium sized pan and add the vegetables with salt and pepper, simmering until they are soft (about 3 minutes). Then remove from the heat, season more if needed, and add the ginger, herbs and lemon.
During this time you can steam the fish fillets for 2-3 minutes until they are just cooked.
Serve the fish on a bed of veggies and stock in bowls, finished with a sprinkle of cracked black pepper.