It's officially Winter in this neck of the woods. Dark early, light late, gee my bathroom is fucking cold in the morning, once-in-a-generation raintorm-ingly Winter. Ok, sure, no snow drifts, blizzards or whatever people in the Northern Hemisphere deal with in Winter. Agreed. But still, when you are used to a temperate climate it kind of hits when it's not so. Temperate that is.
Anyhoo. Lately I've taken to dreaming of nummy, warming Winter comfort food on my long commute home. Sometimes this morphs into can't-be-bothered-pizza-delivery by the end of my loooong commute, but in the past week I've been in the mood to cook better and eat better. I've been reading cookbooks and foodie books and that is definately both a cause and a symptom.
So last night I decided that what I really craved [strict vegetarians LOOK AWAY NOW] was a fish stew. Buttery. Garlicky. Frenchy sort of fish stew. I stopped by the supermarket on the way home and bought potatoes, leeks, a red capsicum, some fish (sadly frozen was all I could get), fish stock and some sourdough bread. I knew I already had some butter in the fridge and some garlic in the pantry cupboard, so I was all set.
So I thought, I didn't count on the garlic being well past its natural life span. Small setback. So I crossed 'garlicky' off my expectations and soldiered on.
It was good. I put the potatoes, leek and capsicum into a pan with a little butter and the lid on to sweat over a low heat until the veggies were soft, but not mushy. (Have you ever smelled potatoes and leeks cooking in butter? I would marry that smell if I could.) Then I threw in the fish stock to cover and upped the heat until it was simmering. Next the cut up fish went in to simmer until opaque and cooked through. Once all that was done I lifted it all out with a slotted spoon, and cranked the heat to reduce the stock left. I mixed a little butter and flour into a beurre manié (That's French, bitches. All of a sudden I'm Julia Effing Childs!) and whisked that in to cook a bit and thicken the sauce. Parsley from my garden, then salt and pepper next and I was done.
Pretty easy really as much of the time it was just busily sweating or simmering without too much attention from me. With a couple of slices of sourdough to sop up the juices it was perfect cold night fare. I would have liked to have tried it with a good whack of garlic in it. Maybe even having roasted the garlic in the oven first to give it a mild flavour. Perhaps next time.