Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Pan-fried Seabass with Pesto Tomatoes, Kale, Roasted Carrot & Butternut Squash

My mum is a pescetarian (meaning she eats fish but not meat) while her partner is a confirmed vegetarian  He is out of town for work for a few days, so I thought I'd be a good daughter and go round and cook up a fishy dinner as a treat for her. She likes to eat healthily, so sadly beer battered fish with chunky chips was out! Instead, I bought us two fillets of sea bass and then headed round to my mum's to see what I could whip up while she was at work.

I ended up making pan-fried sea bass with oven baked pesto tomatoes, kale, roasted carrot and butternut squash. I got the idea for the pesto topped tomatoes from Healthy Food Guide, though I fiddled with the recipe a bit to accommodate what I did and did not have in the cupboard and I also baked rather than grilled the tomatoes. Dinner was delicious, and considering that it was thrown together with what was in the cupboard and fridge it was quite economical too!

I'm sorry to say that I don't have a photo of the finished dish - we were so excited to tuck in I forgot to record the plate for posterity! I'm afraid you will just have to trust me when I tell you it was a plate bursting with colour and flavour!

If you want to make it, here's what you'll need:


  • 2 Sea Bass fillets
  • Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Butternut Squash (peeled and cubed)
  • 2 Carrots (peeled and chopped)
  • 3 Tomatoes (if using regular sized tomatoes like I did - if you use cherry tomatoes then you will need a lot more!)
  • 1 Slice Bread (I used brown wholemeal because that was what was in the cupboard, but you could easily use white bread instead)
  • 2 tbsp Basil Pesto
  • Curly Kale
  • Freshly ground Sea Salt & Black Pepper


1) Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4

2) Toss the cubed butternut squash and chopped carrot in 1 tbsp olive oil and season with salt and black pepper to taste. Put on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 40 mins, turning the cubes occasionally.

3) Slice the tomatoes in half and place on a baking tray. Bake in the oven for twenty minutes.

4) Mix together the breadcrumbs and pesto and then spread the mixture over the flat side of the tomatoes. Place back in the oven and bake for a further twenty minutes.

5) Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and add the Kale. Cook for approximately five minutes or until wilted. 

6) Heat 1tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan. Score the skin of the sea bass to stop it curling up while it cooks and then place the fillets skin side down in the pan. Cook on a medium heat for four minutes (though if you have a nice chunky fillet you might want to cook it for a few minutes longer) and then turn the fillets over and cook for one more minute.

7) Serve immediately, chow down and enjoy!


There are lots of variations that you could do with this recipe, from switching sea bass for another kind of fish to adding herbs and spices to the squash. Experiment with whatever takes your fancy and let me know how you get on! 

Friday, 12 April 2013

"Good Morning, Sunshine" Juice & Thrown-Together Vegetable Soup

I had a few days of overindulgence with old friends, homebakes and lots of lovely wine. It was fantastic at the time, but I woke up yesterday feeling bloated and somewhat guilty. My body was crying out for ‘real’ food after the succession of fried food, puddings and crisps over the past few days.  I love to juice – it always makes me feel very virtuous and its tastes pretty good too - so started the day with a juice that could turn even a Monday morning frown upside down!

The better your juicer, the better quality juice you get. I don’t have a fancy juicer so I know that I don’t get the best out of the fruit and vegetables I put through it. To combat this, I try to use the pulp that’s left over in both sweet and savoury recipes. I used the vegetable pulp from this juice in a pot of veggie soup I made up for lunch.

Here are my recipes for this juice and soup combo (I admit they aren't exactly complicated but despite that these dishes are pretty darn tasty!)

“Good Morning, Sunshine” Juice


3 Carrots, scrubbed
1 stick of Celery
2 Oranges, peeled
½ Lemon, peeled
Ginger to taste (I used about an inch of root)


This is less a recipe and more an assemblage of ingredients! The juice is zingy and refreshing and it’s the perfect Monday morning pick-me-up after a weekend of indulgence.

Juice the carrots and celery. Remove the pulp from the juicer and put aside – you will use this in the soup later.

Juice the oranges, lemon and ginger.


Veggie Soup


2 Onions, chopped
3 Carrots, peeled and chopped
1 stick of Celery, chopped
1 Celeriac, peeled and cubed
2 Tomatoes, chopped
Carrot and Celery pulp (from the  “Good Morning, Sunshine” juice – you don’t need to include this but I didn’t want to waste the veggie goodness!)
Olive Oil
Vegetable Stock Cube or Pot
Dried Herbs: Basil, Herbs de Provence, Oregano
Fresh ground Salt and Pepper to taste
To serve, 2 slices of Sourdough loaf


I make soup with whatever is in the cupboard and fridge, hence the inclusion of two random tomatoes! It’s still snowing intermittently up here (though not lying, thank goodness!) so a hearty bowl of warming soup is just what is needed!

Sautee the onions in a glug of olive oil. Once softened, add the celery, carrots and celeriac. Cover and allow to sweat on a medium heat for five mins.

Add the chopped tomatoes and mixed carrot and celery pulp.

Add the stock cube/pot with 500ml of water.

Season - I used freshly ground salt and pepper and a mix of dried herbs (1 tsp Herbs de Provence, 1 tsp Basil, 1/2 tsp Oregano)

Simmer for 20 mins (or until the celeriac is soft enough to blend)

Take off the heat and blend (I used my trusty hand blender!).

Enjoy! I served this soup with some sliced sourdough loaf and it was a perfect cold weather treat! If you prefer a thicker soup, add less water or add in some more root veg to thicken the consistency.


So there you have it - a tasty juice and soup combo to help restore a Highland lass back to normal after enjoying a few days of excess!

If you try either of these recipes let me know how you get on in the comments below!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

About The Little Highland Kitchen

Hi folks,

this is a blog where I can share my adventures in cooking in my (rather small) kitchen in the Scottish Highlands.  I'm not a chef, I'm not a nutritionist and, while I am Scottish, I'm not even a native Highlander! I'm just a normal girl (if you can someone on the cusp of thirty a "girl") who loves food - I love to cook it and I certainly love to eat it! 

My epicurean endeavours might not always be successful but they are always fun! I'll share my cooking and baking with you, as well as any delicious edibles I come across in the world outside my kitchen. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!