Tag Archives: birds eye

haddock and oven chips

“The plaice to be”.
I’d like to think if BBC Radio Bristol ever did something fish-related, that’s what they’d call it.
This isn’t about plaice though, it’s about haddock. Actually….wasn’t it haddock week recently on the Steve Yabsley show?

Tonight, I decided if I was going to have chips on Thursday, I should have chips tonight, so I make sure I don’t have them two nights in a row. Why that matters, I don’t know – but it helps me make a decision about something trivial, that otherwise would take me hours.
Actually it did take me hours – I didn’t put anything in the oven til 9pm.

Anyway – what to have with chips? I decided on a Birds Eye chicken pie.
Sadly, when I went to the freezer, I remembered I went shopping last night and Tesco didn’t have any.
When I was shopping last night, I also wanted to buy Birds Eye ‘simply cod’. Pieces of cod, battered and frozen. I think I couldn’t see any, so I bought haddock instead.

My memory has been worse than useless lately – I can’t remember basic things from one day to the next and I certainly can’t remember passwords for users or servers. Someone told me at work today, that they didn’t want to tell me a code for something for security reasons. I told them I’d have forgotten it in 20 minutes anyway. I think they thought I was joking.

So yes – as fish is considered brain food, it seemed like a good choice for dinner tonight, even if it was by default.

So tonight’s meal consisted of:
– Birds Eye battered haddock
– oven chips
– Heinz baked beans

Oven at 220 degrees centigrade, 30 mins for haddock, 20 mins for chips, one baking tray, not much washing up.
Theres a pan and wooden spoon for the beans too, but not bad really.

I had the beans just because it’s a bit dry on it’s own, and I couldn’t be arsed to find any sauce for it.

Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever had haddock before, but I figured fish is fish.
So when it was cooked and I tasted a bit, I was quite pleasantly surprised at how different it tastes to cod. Nicer I think. Makes you wonder why we have cod with chips normally. Maybe it’s cheaper or easier to catch.
Anyway – all very edible. Will likely have it again.

Young’s Mediterranean Fish Bake

A load of Pollocks.

It’s been a while since I actually cooked anything on here, I know.
Basically it’s because last Monday I picked up a Nintendo Wii from Virgin Megastore (or whatever they’re called now.. zazzi, vazzi, something like that) and I’ve spent the best part of the last week pulling muscles getting overly enthusiastic at Wii Sports Boxing, shooting angry villagers in Resident Evil 4, and saving lives of fictional characters in Trauma Center: Second Opinion. I’ve never been much of a gamer, but the motion detection, angle detection, wirelessness..etc of it all appeals to me. Plus it’s a lot cheaper than an xbox360/ps3, and really tiny. About the size of a dvd/cd writer in a standard pc. Or for you non-geeks out there – imagine three standard-sized dvd cases on top of each other.

A friend came over Sunday night to have a go with one for the first time, and he’s a guy very much into his gaming. He seems to have had every console created at some point of another (and still has most of them littered around).
But put him in front of a Wii and he’s just as confused as the rest of the world.
You’ll be playing baseball and he asks questions like “which button do you press to throw the ball?”. Answer: none – just throw the remote as if it were a ball (but don’t let go of it).
Having spent years getting my ass kicked at every game he had, its interesting to see him confused at what I think is a much easier system than trying to remember combinations of buttons. It’s also amusing to hear him complain about how a kind of wireless mouse pointer should really be a D-pad. Whatever a D-pad is.

Anyway, back to food.

As mentioned – I’ve planned nothing in the past week, so tonight would have been another pie and chips. However, I stopped off for some toilet roll in Tescos on my way home on Monday, and grabbed some food products at the same time. Biscuits, croissants, some frozen oven chips, and I was trying to think what to have for tea, when I happened upon the frozen chicken/beef/fish aisle.

I’ve never been sure I like fish. For years I definitely didn’t like fish. The look, the fact that its about the only meat sold with the eyes still in it, the smell – there was something about it I just didn’t like.
Even as far as fish-fingers – I didn’t really like them. I ate them as a very young child apparently, but somewhen in between primary school and 18 years old, I had decided I didn’t like fish of any type.
I used to eat a lot of fish cakes at my parents’ house. But fish-cakes being fish-cakes, there’s not a lot of anything in them. Certainly not much fish – they’re mostly potato and batter/breadcrumbs. That said, I don’t really like mashed potato on its own either.

I have distant memories from when I was very young, of my gran on my mum’s side cooking some sort of fish that smelt absolutely revolting. Something a weird yellowy colour that may have put me off for years to come.

Anyway, at some point between leaving college and now, I discovered these Birds Eye cod fillet things – essentially pieces of cod in batter. Like a kind of adult-version of fish fingers. Having decided I quite like them again after all, I started about having things with them. The obvious choice is chips. Then I added baked beans.
I later switched from chips to new potatoes, then tried to find some sort of sauce to go with it. Brown sauce didn’t work, nor barbeque. Gravy just seems like it would be wrong.
I looked around Tescos some weeks ago to try and find something to go with it. There is a big collection of Schwartz sauces that go with fish. However, they’re all in non-resealable packets and serve 4-6. Unless I starve myself for a couple of days first, that seems a bit of a waste to me.

So Monday night I picked up something in Tescos that already has sauce with it. How’s that for a stroke of genius.
So product for dinner tonight is: Young’s Mediterranean Fish Bake.

It is described on the box as “wild Alaskan pollock fillets in a tangy mediterranean sauce made with red peppers and creme fraiche, topped with a sprinkling of cheddar cheese”. It’s also got tomatoes in it.
I’ve never heard of a fish called a “pollock” before, and on the back it says “Alaskan Pollock is from the same family of fish as cod. It’s white flesh has a firm, smooth texture and a delicate, slightly sweet flavour.”
I’ve never thought of fish as having families before – just referred to them all as “fish”. I guess that particular family is cashing in on the life insurance payout now anyway.

It doesn’t say how many it serves. My sister pointed out to me recently that you can work this out, because on it somewhere it will say “a quarter of a pack contains” or “half a pack contains” however much salt, fat, etc, and this is frequently used to show one person’s share.
I don’t watch these markers on food products a lot, but it is slightly worrying that half a pack contains 21.7% of my daily salt intake. Although I suppose if the marjority of an evening meal is only 21.7%, then that’s not so bad as long as I’m not eating 6 meals a day.

So on with the cooking.
The first negative point has to be the overall cooking time. 55mins in the oven. It’s a slow one. I was originally going to have this for dinner last night but I was playing Resident Evil 4 til gone 9, and with Charlie Brooker’s screenwipe on the tv at 10pm, I had to cook something in less time. And finish eating it too – so I don’t spray it across the screen laughing.
While this might be down to my bad planning last night, I’m normally home around 6pm. By the time you’ve got the oven hot and cooked the thing, it’s still nearly 7.30 allowing for nobody else in my shared house using the kitchen (which I was unusually lucky with, tonight), and me actually starting cooking dinner the second I walk through the door. Because of this, I doubt it’ll be a common meal. I’m rarely that well organised.

As far as cooking goes – it seems very odd. It comes in a container plastic, with a plastic “film” lid, much like a microwavable product might. However, it’s done in the oven. Some housemates who know my cooking ability isn’t amazing, mentioned I should remove this film lid, but according to the instructions from Young’s – it stays on for the first 35mins of cooking. It is then removed.
I followed it all to the letter, and as I had an hour, the one upside is I had plenty of time to wash and boil some new potatoes to go with it.

I was slightly concerned when I checked on the progress of the thing. While I was waiting for my dinner to cook, I was busy trying to stop the possessed monks in the castle getting to Ashley (Resident Evil), and I paused to go and check about 10-15mins before it should have been ready. It had gone a bit burnt down one side, but I didn’t want to remove it then in case the exterior looked like a sunbed addict, while the interior was as white as – well..me.
I gave it 5-8mins (give or take a few) and removed it.

Plated with potatoes, and time for the tasting.
It’s surprisingly very sweet. I wasn’t really expecting that but it was quite a nice surprise.
I’d say I can taste the tomatoes and the cheese. I can’t get over how sweet it is though, for something with no sugar, or e-numbers or anything.
I tried some of the fish alone, and I wouldn’t say it tasted exactly like cod, but the similarity is there. Quite bland, which I guess is why you need the very strong sweet sauce with it.
It’s quite nice.
It’s probably the nicest thing that I’ve cooked with a the film lid still on it.
It’s not something I’d eat every day even if it cooked in 20minutes, but was an interesting experience.

I ignored my half-pack-being-one-person theory and ate about three quarters of it, plus some potatoes. The last step of the instructions on the box says “portion as required” anyway. Clearly its hard to cut it in half before cooking, and you can’t refreeze it so they say – so it would have gone to waste otherwise.

As normal, I’m not selling myself out and saying I’ll eat it every week – or even that I like it enough to eat it every six months. If I commit myself, I’d likely get bored of it like most other things. My interest in the Oriental stir-fry has been fading lately due to overuse. I wish I could say the same about the other oriental things I saw chatting by Trenchard Street car park this afternoon. I don’t think my interest in them will ever subside.


Ok – this is slightly cheating as I only had a very small amont, and I didn’t even cook it.
But it is a great example of trying something and changing your mind about liking it.

I took a bit from the frying pan as a housemate’s girlfriend was cooking some and invited me to try some. The first bit I would say almost tasted like a cross between potato and parsnip. I like both of these things, so that should be good. Wasn’t sure about it though really.
I got on with my usual Monday night cooking-something-easy-because-I-can’t-be-arsed-after-work thing. Chicken pie and chips. Except I didn’t really have enough oven chips so I rummaged through the freezer and found some Mccain Smiles.

There’s never enough gravy in the pie for all of this, so I made up some extra Bisto to go with it.
By the time I’d finished cooking all this, my housemate had eaten what they’d been cooking, but had a bit of squash left over. She said I could have some with my meal, and as it was lacking a bit in vegetables (there are some in the pie though!), I took the opportunity for a second try at it.
I ate the first bit on it’s own but already it tastes a bit less like potato/parsnip and a bit more like something else. Something I didn’t really like. Regardless, I ate it with chips, and some with some pie, and ate the majority of what I took.
Might have it again at some point.