Sunday, 9 October 2011

Mackerel and spinach stew

Call this my introduction into autumn; although at the moment the weather feels more like Takoradi Beach, Ghana, than Peckham, south London. The kids are back to school, the clothes are minimal, the chicken shops are full – it could only mean one thing, an Indian summer! The local markets are bursting with colourful, seasonal vegetables and my culinary senses are like a police radar racing down Cold harbour lane – well, that’s partly a lie – it’s never seasonal along Rye lane – it’s plantains, yams and red snapper all year round. I did pick up some Mackerel, Pumpkin and fresh thyme for this tasty stew that’s gonna get you reminiscing about school day conker fights, bonfire nights and onset of the dreaded winter. It’s rich, warm and spicy and it just loves a bowl of brown rice in which to smother its juices all over. Mackerel is great for this dish, but substitute it for any variety of robust fish, like tuna or halibut


1/2 small pumpkin
1 400g tin peeled plum tomatoes
A bunch of spinach, roughly chopped
10 okra fingers
1/2 large onion
A 2 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 Mackerel fish scaled and gutted and cut into three pieces
1/2 Scotch bonnet pepper
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 sprigs of thyme
3 tablespoons olive oil.

1) Begin by sweating the onions in the olive oil over a low heat in a large pot.
2) Chop the tops and ends off the okra fingers and cut in half and add to the pot along with the ginger, nutmeg, cumin, paprika and salt. Continue cooking over a low heat, stirring occasionally.
3) Add the peeled plum tomatoes, spinach, thyme, garlic and the scotch bonnet pepper, stir and resume cooking for five minutes
4) Add the pumpkin and the mackerel, cover the pot and cook for 25 minutes on a low heat.