8th January 2011
Pants For Jenny
Jenny Loves Fanta
I lured Doctor Jenny over for dinner with the promise of food and Fanta (she loves Fanta, and is easily lured - especially when she's supposed to be studying),
and so eager was she that she rushed over without her toothbrush, her revision books or clean pants.
But she did stay for two meals!
Lucky me, I got to cook twice. And all it cost me was a pair of pants.
Jenny loves Fanta and boys' pants.

There was a very nice little seafood restaurant in Edinburgh called Sweet Melinda's now closed :( and I particularly remember a delightful combination of fried cod and black pudding that I had there. So I decided to have a go at it, and at the same time use up some quince I had left over from Christmas.
The combination of cod and black pudding was as nice as I remember it, although I think it would have been even better if my fillet still had some skin on to blacken up, but hey - you take what the fishmonger has.

Jenny arrived desperate for feeding, and in no mood to endure my usual ridiculous cooking time, so I made up a starter by slicing a grapefruit in two halves, sprinkling them with brown sugar and grilling them until the tops caramelised.
Quick and easy - though it would definitely have been easier to eat if I'd cut the fruit into segments and freed them from the peel before sugaring and grilling.

The main course was the Cod, Quince and Black Pudding stacked on a blob of Pea Purée and served with boiled potatoes dressed with chopped mint and butter.

For dessert I made Individual Chocolate Soufflés (which I overcooked slightly), but they had chocolate in them - so Jenny was happy.

The quince didn't really work with the cod and black pudding, but I thought it was worth trying.
The peas, on the other hand, went very nicely I thought.

Since I'd bought too much cod, and had a very nice thick chunk left over, I decided to try wrapping it in bacon and roasting it for dinner the next day.
Funnily enough both Jenny and I had exactly the same idea about how to cook it - as she says Anything I put in my mouth would be improved by wrapping bacon around it, though I must admit to being reluctant to take her up on her offer of a demonstration.

So we had Roast Cod Wrapped In Bacon with Potato and Celeriac Gratin and Steamed Savoy Cabbage with Caraway Seeds with crème fraîche, and a quick salad of spinach leaves with chopped tomato, capers and black olives in a lime juice and olive oil dressing.

The cabbage was something of a return of the favour Jenny did me by reminding me of it with her broccoli with caraway seeds.
Since she wasn't absolutely ravenous this time, she actually had time to enjoy the food, and agreed with me that it was a very tasty meal.
Even if she didn't have time to stay for a dessert.

Roast Cod in Bacon
main fish meat
Pre-heat the oven to Gas 4.
Debone and skin the cod fillet and wrap it in bacon slices.
Pan-fry the wrapped cod on all sides in olive oil until the bacon browns and stiffens up.
Deglaze the pan with a glass of the vermouth.
Put the cod onto a sheet of aluminium foil, pour over the deglaze liquid and wrap the cod in the foil.
Get out your trusty meat thermometer and bake the cod in a roasting tin for about 10 mins per inch of thickness until the inside reaches 65°C/145°F.
Slice into thick rounds and serve drizzled with the juices.
Very tasty.
I opened the foil for 10 minutes to finish off my 2½" thick fillet (until the inside reached 60°C) since it wasn't quite ready after 20 minutes.
I'm not really sure you need to wrap it in foil at all, though in that case you might not need to brown the top of the wrapped fillet or bother with the vermouth either.

I used unsmoked bacon, but smoked would probably be fine too.
You could season the cod with herbs or spices before wrapping with bacon if you wanted - Jamie Oliver has a recipe using rosemary and finely grated lemon peel, accompanied by asparagus and lemon mayonnaise.

Fried Cod with Quince and Black Pudding
main fish meat
The cod and the black pudding complement each other beautifully.
The peas go nicely too.
The quince not so much. You should leave that out!

Per Person:

Peel the quince, core and cut across into ¼" rounds (or cut first, then remove the core).
Heat the oil in a frying pan, and fry the black pudding slices until they crisp a little, and the quince slices until the turn golden.
Set aside to keep warm and fry the cod fillets, skin side down (if they have skin) until they skin crisps and the fish is cooked (turns opaque) almost all the way through, then flip them over briefly until they are done.
If you have two frying pans, you can do all the frying at once, otherwise it's probably a good idea to clean the pan in-between or you'll find yourself choking your guest with all the smoke from the oozing quince juice left in it.

Serve in a stack of black pudding, quince then cod fillet skin-side up.
Place this stack on a ladleful of pea purée if you're making it.
Veery tasty - if you're not in too much of a hurry to appreciate it. Jenny!

Pea Purée
side veg
A classic combination.

Serves 2

Blend the peas with the herbs and yoghurt, adding a little water if necessary.
I used (thawed) frozen peas, possibly if you used fresh ones you might want to blanch them first.
Heat the purée through gently in a pan just before serving.
Season to taste.
A lovely, fresh, sweet purée.

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