Thursday, 17 November 2011

Thai style Mackerel & Vegetable Spaghetti

I’m trying to multi-task. Sadly I’m not very good at multi-tasking despite being supposedly of the right gender in which to do so. I apologise to my fellow females for letting the side down.

I am attempting to write this blog and clean my wardrobe up so that stuff is either lying neatly on a shelf or hanging in a vertical fashion. Less of the crumpled, stuffed-in glob of clothes and more of a neat, well looked after array of lovely things. At this very moment it’s a bit of both.

Living in the crew house during the winter season is wonderful because I can have my very own wardrobe full of clothes. Unlike living on the boat in the summer season where I have 2 drawers and share a wardrobe the size of a shoe box. However it does mean that the potential for clothes explosions are vastly limited.

So dinner tonight needed to be simple or I really was going to be struggling with the whole multi-tasking shenanigans. A meal not just quick and easy to make but a meal of tasteful simplicity; an uncomplicated honesty of ingredients to un-clutter my brain.

Mackerel it was. A fish that needs very little doing to it if you have a lot on. I teamed the mackerel with a gentle, Thai flavoured coconut sauce and some steamed vegetable spaghetti (which I make with a clever little tool). The mackerel was infused with fresh coriander, slices of lemon; some cumin and fresh ginger before being stuffed in the oven which took literally seconds but tasted heavenly.

It did look good, it certainly tasted fantastic and I felt healthy and serene whilst eating it.

Back to the wardrobe.

So for a tasty meal of simplicity and calm whilst all else is in a crumpled heap you will need;

One Mackerel per person, gutted and cleaned
1 lemon
2 inch knob of ginger
1 bunch of fresh coriander
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tin of coconut milk
1 fresh red chilli
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp ready cut lemon grass from a jar
3 kaffir lime leaves
½ tsp turmeric
3 courgettes or carrots or both
1 red pepper


  • First make the coconut sauce so that all the flavours can be mingling and mulching together as you get on with the rest of it. Peel (with a teaspoon) the ginger and grate or finely chop, set half aside for the mackerel. Finely chop the fresh chilli, and the fresh coriander stalks, setting the leaves aside for later. Crush the garlic and slice the kaffir lime leaves into very thin strips.

  • In a frying pan, heat a little sunflower oil. Add the garlic, ginger, coriander stalks, chilli, lemon grass and the turmeric and let it all come to a little sizzle. Let it sizzle for a minute or two and then add the coconut milk. Add the kaffir lime leaves and a good pinch of salt. Bring to a gentle boil and then turn the heat right down to low and leave to simmer very gently. Remember tranquil.

  • With a sharp knife score the mackerel three or four times on both sides, fairly deeply. Rub the saved fresh ginger into the slashes and also into the cavity of the fish. Stuff the fresh coriander leaves into the cavity of the mackerel and then season the fish with the ground cumin and some salt rubbing it all over and into the mackerel well. Add some slices of lemon into the mackerel and drizzle with a little olive oil.  Then pop into your hot oven.

  • If you haven’t got a vegetable spaghetti tool then you can slice the courgettes finely and all will be just as tasty. Courgettes and carrots are great vege’s to make into spaghetti though and they steam quickly and easily and make a great substitute for pasta or noodles if you’re feeling… light.

  • As your vegetables are steaming and the mackerel has had 15 minutes in the oven, turn on the grill and grill the mackerel till they are a crispy golden brown.  The fish and vege’s will be ready at the same time as the vege’s literally need only a few minutes to steam.

  • Stir some fresh lemon juice into the coconut sauce and flood your serving plates with it. Arrange a pretty little pile of the steamed spaghetti vege’s and lay the mackerel beside. A very little drizzle of sesame oil and soy sauce and serve.

All this serenity is good for varnishing, the main focus of the jobs onboard this week. The sunshine we’ve been having is well timed and the boom, gaff and spinnaker pole have all had a good coat of Epiphanes. They look so good with their new coat of varnish on, which sort of makes up for the work involved in having to sand them. Just.

Hope you’re enjoying some cheery winter sunshine too?!

Thanks for reading