Don’t panic Don’t panic! I’ve not completely lost all of my marbles! All will make sense! By now you will have clicked that I have a, some would say, an obsession, for the fantastic Hake, and also an admiration for the fishermen who ” do their thing ” to enable me to, well, do my thing, so I’m constantly looking for ways to cook and showcase ( hate the term, but it fits) this glorious fish that has taken over my later cooking years

Most of the dishes I do are either fillets of, or steaks of, Blah Blah Blah, but I’ve not cooked the whole beauty! So…………. here is the one, I’m a huge spice fan also, I don’t claim to know a huge amount about the subject, other than I enjoy eating it! Hake takes on spices well, as long as not too over powering, As for the hay! I’ve read somewhere that it is a method used in Goan cookery, but again I’m not an expert so please! No heckling x

This recipe is best cooked in a pizza oven, on a BBQ, over charcoal or open fire

Shopping list

For the Goan curry paste

6 large mild, fresh red chilli

4 tsp cumin seeds

4 tsp coriander seeds

10 cloves

20 black peppercorns

4 tsp ground turmeric

20 large cloves of garlic, peeled

2 large pieces of fresh ginger, peeled

1 whole piece of cinnamon stick

4 tsp tamarind paste

4 tsp sugar

4 tsp salt

300ml white wine vinegar

Method for the Goan paste


Blend all the ingredients together to make a fine paste.

For the hay baked hake

1 whole hake (gutted and cleaned)

Sack full of dry hay

Salt to taste (rock salt)

You can even wrap the Hake in banana leaves and cook in the same way.

Method for cooking the Hake

1. Liberally dampen the hay with cold water

2. Carefully make slashes in the flesh of the Hake on both sides

3. Place a thick layer of damp hay on a grill tray

4. Rub your Goan spice paste into the Hake on both sides and inside the cavity

5. Carefully lay the Hake onto the damp hay and top with another layer of damp hay

6. Make sure that the hay completely covers the Hake leaving no gaps

7. Slowly and carefully place onto the hot coals, or on the pizza oven, the heat and steam will cook the Hake beautifully, cooking time will vary depending on how hot the oven etc is, but it’ll take about 25 minutes, keep a water spray to hand so you can keep spraying the hay with water to prevent burning

8. Remove the top layer of hay and serve immediately with some freshly chopped parsley and a liberal squeeze of lemon

Happy cooking



If you, like me, need absolutely no excuse to fire up the outside wood oven, BBQ, fire pit or just cooked on an open flame, then give this a whirl, No matter how many weird and wonderful things I’ve cooked on planks the easiest recipe is, and for me the tastiest, will always be Wild Salmon on an oak board. Scottish Salmon is in my opinion the best, so it’s time to fire up the grill.

Shopping list

An oak plank ( you can get these specifically for the job online)

A side of Scottish Salmon

Brown Sugar


Salt + Fresh Ground Pepper

Things you may want to know

1. how does plank cooking actually work? The salmon is cooked and picks up the oak flavour, When the soaked plank is placed on the hot grill, it releases the moisture along with the aromatic oil that it picked up from the wood during the soak. This steam helps cook and flavour the fish while also keeping it moist, Wood and Heat creates smoke, In this case an oaky smoke which helps to cure the outside of the salmon, The end result of cooking salmon on a plank is perfectly cooked fish and lot’s of flavour.

2. Don’t oil the plank. There’s absolutely no need to. When the fish is done, you can just slip a spatula between the meat and the skin

3. Do however soak your plank. I’d suggest about 1-2 hours soaking time is enough to get just the right amount of moisture. If you’re really pressed for time, just run it under the tap and make sure to keep a close eye on it while you’re cooking.

4. Try and fill the plank, not always easy I know, but this helps prevent flare-ups during the grilling process, flare-ups often happen anyway. Wood and hot grill will almost always result in fire, just Keep a spray bottle of water on hand, spray flames when necessary.

5. Do brine your salmon, not essential, but it’ll help make your salmon taste better Dissolve 50g of salt, 40g of sugar in 1ltr of water, then add your fish to the solution for 1 hour. The brine helps the salmon take on the fantastic smokey flavour

6. Do season the salmon, There is an awesome delicious marriage between salmon, garlic, and brown sugar, so keep your seasoning simple. Just rub the fish with freshly chopped garlic, then liberally sprinkle the top with brown sugar. The brown sugar caramelizes the fish and helps bring out a fantastic depth of flavour, Add salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.

7. Once your plank is soaked, your fish is brined, and the seasonings are in place, it’s time to put it all to the heat. Place your plank with the seasoned salmon on the grill, BBQ, Big Green Egg, open fire, whatever you are using make sure it has a lid to keep in all that flavorful smoke, cook until the fish is done to your liking. If your salmon fillet is about an inch thick, I reckon this should take about 20 minutes.

And finally!

Remove salmon from the heat, garnish with freshly chopped parsley, chervil, chives and freshly squeezed lemon, place in centre of the table and tuck in!

Happy cooking


Pigs cheeks braised with Wild Craft Brewery Wild Summer Pale Ale

Absolutely wonderful things are the humble pig cheeks, full of delicious flavours, cheap as chips, cooked well are utterly sublime

I was wandering aimlessly around my local supermarket I spotted these beauties, and bought them, more out of the shock of actually seeing them in a supermarket!!

I’ve also been asked by the lovely people at Wild Craft Brewery to use some of their wonderful ales in my recipes, their Wild summer Pale and Hoppy Ale works beautifully in this dish


Shopping list

1 onion

1 carrot

½ garlic bulb

1 fennel bulb

2 Braeburn apples

600g pig cheeks

a splash of rapeseed oil

10 sage leaves

2 bay leaves

500ml Bottle of Wild Craft Brewery, pale and hoppy Wild Summer ale

2 tbsp wholegrain mustard

250ml chicken stock

½ – 1 tbsp honey (to taste)


1. Preheat the oven to 150°C.

2. Peel and finely chop the onion and carrot. Halve the garlic bulb

3. Halve the fennel and thinly slice it. Peel and core the apples. Cut each in to 8 slices.

4. Heat a medium sized heavy based casserole dish. Rub some oil in to the pigs cheeks.

5. place them into the hot pan. Cook for 4 mins on each side until lightly browned. Lift out on to a plate and set aside

6. Add the fennel slices to the pan. Place the garlic bulb cut side down. Cook for 3-5 mins till golden and slightly caramelised. Remove from the pan and place onto the plate with the pig’s cheeks.

7. Now Add the onion and carrot. Cook on a gentle heat for 5 mins till softened. Add the apples, sage leaves and bay leaves. Cook for a couple of mins. Add the pig’s cheeks, fennel and garlic.

8. Pour in the beer. Spoon in the mustard. Bring to a bubble then add the chicken stock. Bring everything to a gentle simmer. Pop on a lid. Slide into the oven for 2 ½ hours.

9. Carefully Remove the pigs cheeks and Cover with foil to rest.

10. Place the pan on a medium heat and reduce the cooking liquor by half. This could take about half an hour. Taste and season. Add ½-1 tbsp honey.

11. Pop the pig’s cheeks back into the pan and warm through

12. Serve the pig’s cheeks with creamy potato and celeriac mash, buttered greens Spoon over the flavourful beer, apple & mustard gravy. And of course a chilled glass of Wild Summer Ale, PERFECT

Happy cooking