The concept of comfort food is a deeply personal yet beautiful thing. It changes from one person to another. It’s a dish that has the power to invokes feelings of warmth, security and content. For me that dish can only be one thing: smoked fish chowder. As a kid, if my mum was cooking this in the kitchen I knew everything was alright in the world. Even if I had school the next day. This is a feeling I still get to this day. Below is a pretty simple recipe, note that I have called it smoked fish, because you can use haddock, cod or anything else. A lot of recipes say to avoid dyed smoked fish, but hey, I like it and I think it adds to the dish. Mum, this one is for you.
450g smoked cod or smoked haddock
1 pack of smoked lardons
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp light olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
2 leeks, thinly sliced
3 celery sticks, thinly sliced
140g/5oz frozen sweetcorn
900g potatoes, diced
3 garlic cloves
Chopped fresh parsley
Put the fish in a deep frying pan with the bay leaf and 600ml/1 pint boiling water. Cover and simmer for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave to stand, covered, for a further 5 minutes. Drain, reserving the liquid, then flake the fish.
Heat the oil and butter in a deep saucepan. Add the lardons and fry to until coloured. Followed by the vegetables and garlic. Fry over a high heat until starting to soften. Stir in the reserved cooking liquid and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until the vegetables have softened.
Mash lightly with a potato masher or fork to create a level of luxurious thickness. Add the milk and fish. Simmer for 3 minutes, taste and season if needed (plenty of cracked pepper for me). Sprinkle with chopped parsley to serve with crusty bread.
Once again we come to my favourite food event in the local calendar; the Southsea Thai Food & Craft Festival. A cornucopia of thai food, beer, produce, song, dance and much more. Like all the other years I’m still not learning about the chilli quantity in papaya salads. Mine was so hot I went into the future. Thankfully, like with most Thai food, the heat is sharp but short. And before you know it you are going back for seconds. Great job all, already looking forward to next year.
A bevvy of beautiful coloured fuego and super chillies courtesy of a good friend. In fact the former being pretty much the exact same colour as the new kitchen. Will premier them in tomorrow night’s con carne.
Not exactly the mackerel we were expecting. However an undulated ray, various dogfish and a lobster from the Thefano wreck will do just fine. Quick spot of water skiing and home. Life is alright down here right?
A good number of months ago, Matt from a freshly rebranded Feed Ltd kindly got in touch asking if I fancied dropping by to sample their new gourmet burgers. However due to a crazy busy summer, finding the right time proved tricky. That was until the better half suggested that we spend our Friday night by watching Predator at the truly excellent No6 Cinema, and since we were in that part of town why not drop by for a late dinner at Feed Ltd? Sold.
I had in fact stopped by Feed for a bacon baguette many many years ago whilst on my way to cycle the Isle Of Wight. It always seemed to me like a stylish independent cafe, which made it slightly at odds with it’s corporate neighbour Gunwharf. The Hard is a funny old place; it mixes old, new and the downright neglected. However you can’t help but feel that the area is on the change. Feed Ltd seems to fit in nicely with these juxtapositions. Located under the train track arches, the insides are bare brick, industrial metal stools and wooden tables. The rumble of the trains above add to this feeling of an urban food joint. But what about the burgers? One word: outstanding. I was raised in France, so for me a rare burger (or a steak haché) is what it is all about, and this is how Feed Ltd deliver them: the patty is still nicely pink in the middle, the condiments liberal, the pickles and other crunch are in full effect. I would go as far as saying that it was just as good, if not better, than my burger at the hallowed London joint Meat Liquor. Not to mention half the price. With the main we had fries with celery salt and chilli, washed down with a Budweiser. For dessert two boozy vanilla ice cream based milkshake with dark rum. The bill: a very respectable £34.
My conclusion; burger bars are very much de rigueur, and I know some people have started to turn their nose up at “dude food”, but the all new and improved Feed Ltd rocks. The service was super friendly and we came away feeling beyond satisfied. I will certainly be back, no doubt after another film at No6 Cinema, to work my way through their menu. Part of me couldn’t help but think how good the arches in Old Portsmouth could be if they became interesting niche food outlets. Especially with the tourism that BAR will bring to that area.
Hey guys, what about adding deep fried pickles to the menu?
Catch Feed Ltd on their FB here.