Archive for January, 2013

Biff the Boar

Monday, January 28th, 2013

On a still and snowy evening in January the girls are quietly enjoying their evening meal, no doubt discussing how calm and peaceful life is without 24 greedy piglets to feed.

enjoying the quiet

Their peace is short-lived.  Just around the corner Biff the Boar is making his entrance.

Biff makes his entrance

Big Biff is so big that he can’t turn around in the trailer and has to exit backwards, which he finally manages with limited elegance.

Biff exits backwards

But once on the ground it doesn’t take long before he spots the hut and suspects there may be ladies lurking within.

Biff spots the hut

 Introductions are duly made.

introductions are made

 And things seem to be going quite well.

things going well

Which is unsurprising given what a looker he is.

what a looker

 There was a slight hiccup when we thought that Biff was going to be too big to get into the pig hut.

too big for the pig hut

But luckily he eventually made it in.

kipping in the pig hut

It doesn’t take long before romance is in the air.

romance is in the air 

And the rest, as they say, is history.

the rest is history 

So fingers crossed for another batch of squealing little monsters in the spring.

Recipe 15 – Smoked Trout Burgers

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Hurray for another exciting new way to cook smoked trout – and as with the best recipes this one is easy to prepare and straightforward to cook.  You can even choose whether you grill or fry (an ongoing debate in our house) – see To Grill or To Fry below.

almost finished trout burger

I took an original recipe for un-smoked trout fishcakes and did some doctoring to transform what might have been a regular and slightly bland fish cake that tasted more of potato than fish into a serious culinary delight.  It was mmm hmm mmm delicious and lucky Olly has a couple left over for his lunch today while I pace around London searching out the best deli’s to partner with as our London suppliers (any ideas very welcome please).

delicious trout ingredients


Makes 8 smoked trout burgers to serve 4 people

 – 200g Smoked trout*

– 300g mashed potato

– 2 bunches spring onion

– Generous bunch of fresh parsley or coriander or similar green herb

– 2 stems of fresh or frozen lemongrass

– Pinch of dried chilli flakes

– Pinch of cayenne pepper

– Salt n’ pepper

– Juice from 1/2 lemon

– Breadcrumbs**

*I used hot smoked trout for easy flaking into the mashed potato but I’m going to experiment with the smoke roasted for a deeper flavoured burger and also with heating up the cold smoked and seeing if that works.  Wouldn’t it be great to have a versatile recipe that works with all three types of our smoked trout?

**To confess or not to confess.  Father Christmas gave me a pot of dried flavoured breadcrumb crust which worked a treat, though obviously if you have the time and energy to do your own breadcrumbs then so much the better.

cheat trout crust

Recipe Steps

1. Boil your potatoes.
2. Tear or chop your parsley/coriander. 
3. Flake your smoked trout. 

4. Make your spring onion, lemon grass, smoked trout and herb mix:

Slice and then finely chop your spring onions (don’t be afraid to keep going further along the green leaf than normal; this is good flavoursome greenery) and lemon grass.

wizz double blad

Introducing another useful gadget: the double bladed chopper

trout burger chopped spring onion

Gently fry your chopped spring onions and lemon grass in a tea spoon of olive oil and once soft add the chilli flakes and cayenne pepper.

simmering spring onions for trout burger

Add your flaked smoked trout for an extra 3 minutes of cooking to allow the spring onion and chilli flavours to infuse up and through the trout.

flaked smoked trout

5. Next step mashed potato:

Once your boiling potatoes are soft drain the water, add a splash of milk and mash up.  Avoid adding salt to the potatoes (there is plenty in the smoked trout) and no need to add butter for the mash, just a splash of milk will give the potato the creamy texture it needs. 

6. Now make the burger mixture:

Transfer the mashed potato, flaked smoked trout and spring onion mixture to large bowl.

Add your chopped parsley/coriander, lemon juice and salt and pepper. 

cinco scissors for trout blog

Mix well with a spoon or your hand.

making trout burgers

7.  And finally make your burgers:

Make your burgers by taking a handful of the mixture and patting from palm to palm into round flat burgers.  

trout burger palm patting

Put a generous amount of breadcrumbs into a flat bottomed bowl and drop your burgers in one-by-one, turning them over to ensure a smooth covering of breadcrumbs all over.

beautiful trout burgers

 Top Tip: Keep your burgers relatively small to enable easier cooking and handling (the larger they are the more inclined they are to fall apart and less likely to heat through during cooking).

Grill or fry your burgers as preferred and serve with a salad or vegetable of your choice, we had lots of lettuce, rocket and red onion to hand which was a light companion to the richer burger.


To Grill or To Fry

As two head-strong and amateur food enthusiasts it is surprising how little we argue about cooking but one frequent debate is whether we grill or fry, with Olly advocating frying and Shara preferring to grill.

To put the matter to bed once and for all we decided to run a trial.

Shara grilling trout burgers

Shara grilled…

Olly frying trout burgers

…and Olly fried.

Result: both looked and tasted great but the grilled burgers were more robust,easier to handle and looked and tasted better than the slightly softer fried version.  Hurray for a clear outcome and, for a few weeks at least, some peace in my kitchen.

delicious smoked trout burger

Grilled on the left, fried on the right

 Some Garlic Mayo with that?

quick garlic mayo for trout burger

As a greedy extra you can also make a quick garlic mayo by adding a crushed garlic clove and black pepper to some (home-made or bought) mayonnaise.  Olly took responsibility for this, made it in 5 minutes flat and it was delicious.

More Kitchen Gadgets

new mini super juicer for trout blog

As promised in the last blog update, here is the mini hand-held juicer ideal for those smaller lemon juice moments.  Thank you Father Christmas.

Receipe 14 – Malaysian Steamed Trout with a Lime, Coriander and Coconut Filling

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

This recipe, inspired by a traditional Malaysian cooking technique, opens up a whole new world since it completely simplifies the sometimes hazardous process of steaming fish.


You will need two chunky trout fillets (large trout fillets are increasingly available on wet counters in fishmongers and supermarkets), fresh coriander, limes, chilli flakes and desiccated (unsweetened) coconut and a steamer.

ingredients for trout sandwich

A word on steaming

I love steaming.  It avoids boiling all the goodness out of your food, retains moisture and, especially if you are lucky enough have one of those versatile metal flower steamers that you can use in all metal bottomed saucepans, is easy and clutter free.  As such I steam all my vegetables (with the exception of potatoes) and aspire to steam as much fish as possible but usually run into problems either with the fish meat falling apart (in the case of fillets) or the fish kettle being cumbersome to handle (in the case of whole fish).

So imagine my excitement and delight to discover a new way to steam fish without any of these problems, namely wrapping your flavoured fillet in a parcel of baking paper and popping it into your regular flower or saucepan steamer.  Straightforwardly simple and perfect.  You can expect many more trout blog recipes to use this technique.

Back to the actual recipe which as you by now may be guessing is really just a trout fillet parcel packed with a coriander lime and coconut filling.

trout sandwich skin off

First make your filling by mixing together a generous handful of chopped fresh coriander, plenty of fresh lime rind (I used 2 limes for each parcel) and a couple of pinches of desiccated (unsweetened) coconut.   


Then make a sauce by adding the juice from the de-rinded (if such a word exists) limes to a tea spoon of olive oil, salt, pepper and a pinch of dried chilli flakes.


Next take a square piece of baking powder (large enough to wrap and seal around both fillets together) and place one of your rainbow trout fillets skin down in the middle.  Add all of the filling and drizzle approximately half of your sauce over the top of the filling.  Take your second fillet and place skin up on top of the filling, effectively making a trout sandwich. 

trout filling of coriander lime and coconut

Brush both fillet skins with the remainder of your sauce and fold the parcel up taking care to seal the edges. 

lime juice for trout sandwich

Place the folded up trout parcel in your steamer and steam for 10 minutes before serving on a bed of whatever you feel like; I chose salad to help combat Christmas excess but under usual circumstances I might be tempted by rice noodles and spring onions.

The result is an original, delicate and healthy delight, though I do confess that at the last minute I added some sweet chilli sauce to help make my rocket and water cress bed a bit more interesting.  There is only so much purity one can take.

trout sandwich skin on

Depending upon your preference you can serve with the skin on or skin off.  I think leaving the colourful and glossy skin on produces a stronger visual impact and since the skin peels away so easily it doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of eating.

Christmas Gadgets

Thank you to my family for indulging my gadget obsession.  Starting from left to right we have the super-retro-juicer for when you know you are doing significant quantities (next week’s upload will present juicer junior which is useful for smaller quantities), then the established but under-appreciated de-rinder and finally, brand new to my kitchen this Christmas, the cinco-scissor wonder. 

trout gadget super juicer   trout gagdet derinder   trout gadget cinco scissors

  So if you are ever sceptical of my prep time estimates then perhaps now you will realise how spoilt I am and what a difference they make.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Friday, January 4th, 2013

Apologies that Trout Blog was a bit quiet over Christmas, we were literally run off our feet with Christmas orders which were brilliant but didn’t leave much time for experimental cooking and blogging. 2013 is going to be an exciting year for the Trout Blog, for Moffat Water Foods, for British trout and for anyone lucky and sensible enough to enjoy healthy delicious sustainable food. We have loads of exciting plans and initiatives to bring you – all involving food, cooking, eating, farming, home-grown, foraging, health and lots more.  As a brief taster…

Highlights of 2012 

 A year in pictures bringing out the best and the worst of life on a Scottish hill farm, with the final triumph surely being this most decorative of Christmas starters ever, produced by Moffat Water Foods friend and customer Hilary Cole.

christmas smoked trout
Hilary Cole’s Christmas Day Creation

Recipe 14 is …

A new and entirely novel way to steam rainbow trout fillets; inspired by Malaysian cooking and coming to a Trout Blog near you this weekend. 

novel steamed trout

A New Boar About Town

 Ethel and Mildred have rejected Dudley the Frenchman for a new rare breed boar from the Scottish Borders, the blind date commences next weekend.

Ethel and Dudley on first date
Mildred and Dudley while romance still bloomed

Shara’s Troutastic Challenge I am still fine-tuning this but in essence it’s going to involve lots of trout, lots of wild or home-grown produce and not a lot else.  Nutritionist expert Sam Thorburn will be on hand to stop me wasting away (not a serious concern) and I might even throw in a half-marathon challenge to up the ante. Expansion into Rare Breed Ducks, Poultry and Quail

The hut has been built, the ground prepared and current residents Percy and Penelope (below) forewarned. We now need to source the occupants so if anyone has any ideas for rare and wonderful breeds please let us know.

Percy and Penelope
Percy and Penelope taking the news calmly

And so much more so keep watching this space.