28 November 2015

In The Kitchen: Seafood and Saffron Winter Warmer Stew

Seafood and saffron stew recipe, food bloggers, lifestyle bloggers, FashionFake

Last week, Travelodge invited me to get involved in their #TravelodgeFoodies challenge which was to cook a meal inspired by Bournemouth - eeks! I love Bournemouth, living so close to the seaside town I usually go to the beach every year - and they have an awesome food festival. Now when I think of Bournemouth food fish and chips immediately spring to mine, as well as rock and ice cream. But I wanted to do something a little bit different and really dig into what Bournemouth food is about. 
I found out that Bournemouth, alongside Poole, has become the first Sustainable Fish City in 2015 - in the world! This means that restaurants and food joints in Bournemouth have pledged to serve only sustainable fish - helping the environment and local fishermen. Now, when I posted a sneak preview of this meal on Facebook I got greeted with a comment suggesting that cod wasn't sustainable and I should do my research. Well, as it happens I do a lot of research on the topics I write about and I can tell you all: MSC have certified cod which is sustainable and is readily available from good supermarkets and fishmongers. Although there has been controversy about eating cod back in 2013, most cod are now good to eat if they have the blue MSC label. And feel free to ask your fishmonger if their fisheries bring in sustainable fish - they will tell you! 
I wanted to pay homage to this achievement which Bournemouth should be super proud about and cook a meal with sustainable seafood (MSC certified cod and delicious Scottish mussels) - this is the perfect winter warmer with plenty of flavour. 

Seafood and saffron stew recipe, food bloggers, lifestyle bloggers, FashionFake

What you'll need (for 4 people):
- 1tbsp olive oil
- 1 roughly chopped onion
- 1tbsp tomato puree
- large pinch of saffron
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 400g can haricot beans
- 450ml hot fish stock (as in warmth, not spicy!)
- 2tbsp white wine vinegar
- 450g mussels, washed and de-bearded (you can ask your fishmonger to help you - or in my case Liam is a pro!)
- 500g skinless cod cut into chunks  (if you haven't go cod, haddock will do!)
- handful of freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
- Sea Salt & Sea Weed from Bart
- ground black pepper

Before cooking the mussels, you've got to make sure they're safe to eat: throw away any mussels with broken shells and also those which don't open when you tap them; also any mussels which don't fully open once cooked. 
This is a convenient one pot dish and I love a deep large pan for making these stews - sauté the onion until soft then stir in the tomato puree. Add in saffron, tomatoes, stock and beans - bring this mixture to a boil and leave to simmer for 20 minutes. All the flavours combine together and stew in the most delicious flavours! 

Seafood and saffron stew recipe, food bloggers, lifestyle bloggers, FashionFake
Seafood and saffron stew recipe, food bloggers, lifestyle bloggers, FashionFake

Stir in the white wine vinegar and season with ground black pepper and something which I find goes incredibly well with this dish: sea salt and seaweed. I saw this speciality salt from Barts in Waitrose and just had to have it! I love seafood dishes which the seaweed salt compliments very well.
Gently stir in the mussels and add cod chunks - cover the seafood with liquid, put a lid on it and let it simmer for 6/7 minutes. The dish is cooked once all the mussels have opened.

Seafood and saffron stew recipe, food bloggers, lifestyle bloggers, FashionFake

Turn the heat off, stir in parsley and season more if the dish needs it. You're ready to serve your Seafood Winter Warmer stew! I like to serve it in the dish and let everyone dig in and fill their bowls. This dish tastes awesome with some soda bread - you can mop up all the juices!

Seafood and saffron stew recipe, food bloggers, lifestyle bloggers, FashionFake
Seafood and saffron stew recipe, food bloggers, lifestyle bloggers, FashionFake

The cod and mussel stew tastes delicious, is made from sustainable fish which Bournemouth is known for and although I called it a Winter Warmer can be served and will taste light and fresh during the summer too! Just imagine the sandy Bournemouth beach, a fire lit with a pan getting hot, fresh seafood, chiller full of wine, and mess tins for serving - now this is he perfect night on the beach!

*Thank you Travelodge for getting me involved in this challenge and for providing me with a gift voucher to buy the ingredients!
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