I apologise outright for the brevity of this post (I know some of you might think that's a good thing), but the need to keep this brief has just dawned on me. You see normally on the weekends I spend a fair bit of time here in "blogland", churning out a few posts, dabbling in the kitchen without the normal time constraints and pressures of the busy week.
This weekend, however, is going to be different - I am off to Auckland tomorrow for my nephew's wedding. I've got to tell you that I'm pretty excited about that - a wedding is always a special occasion - but a wedding in the family seems to take on an extra degree of "specialness" (I know that probably isn't a proper word, but I'm sticking to it). Can't remember the last time we had a wedding in the family - maybe it was one of mine, but perhaps its best we don't go down that road just now. Anyway, there is something so "hopeful" about the family coming together for such an occasion - friends and family (on both sides begin to gather from all over the country) looking forward with great anticipation to this special day.
So I have been making my own preparations for this occasion: book plane ticket (tick - did that several weeks ago); arrange accommodation (tick - get to stay the weekend with my brother and hang out with him and his "soon to be wife" - yes we have another wedding in a month's time); can't wear yoga clothes to a wedding, so get a new dress (tick - lunch and shopping spree with girlfriend last weekend - highly successful); get shoes to go with new dress (tick - got lucky with a shoe sale on the way to the supermarket yesterday); get wedding present - completely torn - they have a wedding register set up at a well known local store or a fund set up at the travel agent for their honeymoon - wedding registers always make me want to go outside of the box, but then the travel fund seems like a good idea - still no idea what to do but will have to make a decision and act today; as I will be out of internet action for three days, get all essential blog posts (including next week's "Make it with ... Mondays" post) set up for publication by tonight - yikes, how did I not see that coming?!
So, with much to do between now and the time I fly out tomorrow, brief this post must be - though it does appear that, having just explained all that to you, my attempt at brevity has been somewhat lost. Anyways, this is my contribution for the week to I Heart Cooking Clubs, where we are cooking with Giada de Laurentiis, and our theme for the week is "Let's Get Roasted". I had a browse through Giada's Kitchen looking for inspiration - roast beef didn't particularly appeal (not one of my favourites) and, although the roasted pork loin with roasted garlic vinaigrette appealed a lot (you know after all how I feel about a bit of pork), I decided against it since I am on my own right now (I've mentioned before that my partner is in India for a couple of months - read more about his journey on his blog, Arunachala Kiwi). In the end, I settled on this recipe for Roasted Halibut with Grapefruit Fennel Salsa - a piece of fish, simply prepared, with a fresh, simple, tangy, crunchy salad makes a perfect dinner for one. I'm pretty sure we don't actually get halibut in New Zealand, so I used monkfish instead, but any firm-fleshed white fish would do. I also reduced the original quantity of the salad - as I didn't make any other vegetables or sides this was a perfect quantity for one person, but with some other vegetables would be just right for two.
Roasted Monkfish with Pink Grapefruit & Fennel Salsa
Adapted from recipe in Giada's Kitchen
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe
2 pieces of firm-fleshed white fish
flaky sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 pink-fleshed grapefruit
1 small (or 1/2 large) fennel bulb
handful of black olives
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
red pepper flakes
flaky sea salt
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C (375 degrees F).
Place a sheet of parchment paper in the base of a roasting dish, placing the fish on top of the paper. Drizzle with a hint of olive oil, sprinkle with flaky sea salt, and a good grinding of black pepper. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10-12 minutes - this will depend on the thickness of the fish. While the fish is cooking prepare the salsa.
Using a zester grate a little of the zest from the grapefruit (about 1/2 teaspoon will be enough) into a medium-sized bowl. Cut all the peel and pith away from the grapefruit. Then hold the grapefruit over the bowl containing the zest, and using a sharp knife cut down in between each of the fruit segments and the membranes and let the grapefruit segments fall into the bowl as each one is removed. Once all the fruit has been removed, squeeze the membrane over the bowl to extract all the juice.
Cut the fennel bulb in half lengthwise, slice it as thinly as possible, and add the fennel to the bowl containing the grapefruit. Place the olives on a chopping board; using the bottom of a glass or cup, press on each one to split the olive and prise out the stone. Chop the olives roughly and add to the fennel and grapefruit. Add the extra virgin olive oil, chopped parsley, sprinkling of flaky sea salt and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes. Taste and adjust any of these seasonings as necessary.
As soon as the fish is cooked, transfer it to a serving plate, add the grapefruit and fennel salsa and serve immediately.
Verdict: will definitely make again - fresh, healthy, plenty of flavour, quick and easy to prepare - what more could you want.
Interested in getting to know Giada a bit better? Then do go and visit my friends at I Heart Cooking Clubs and see what they've all been cooking up ....
.... or check out Giada's Kitchen and many of her other titles, available from Amazon, Book Depository UK and Fishpond NZ
P.S. Thanks to all those of you who have linked up so far to "Make it with ... Mondays". There is still time to link up for both challenge saffron (closes Monday 17 January) and challenge vanilla (closes Monday 24 January). I'd love you to join in if you haven't already done so, and keep watching for next week's special "Make it with ... Mondays" ingredient - we'll be making it with quinoa.