Occasional recipes: sardine and anchovy traybake

An entirely made-up recipe this week, though based heavily on last week’s roast sea bass & vegetable traybake. See if you can spot the similarities.

Serves 2, but can scale up infinitely by adjusting quantities.


  • 1 jar anchovies
  • 1 tin sardines
  • red potatoes
  • cherry tomatoes
  • olives
  • beans

Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees (fan) / 180 degrees otherwise. Slice potatoes as thin as you can – half a centimetre or less for maximum effect. As noted last week, this makes the body perfectly tender and the skin around the edges exactly crisp enough.

Line tray with potatoes; scatter on the tomatoes; sprinkle with olive oil like there’s no tomorrow; season with salt and pepper; mix it all together; bake for 25 minutes, turning halfway through.

Add the fish, olives and beans; sprinkle with a little more oil; mix it up again; give it another 10-15 minutes while you enjoy your G&T.

The result is a delicious fishy blend of flavours and also extremely rich, so don’t go fooling yourself that the potatoes don’t look like much. Believe me, they are plenty.

Occasional recipes: roast sea bass & vegetable traybake

This was a Mary Poppins recipe, practically perfect in every way. Minimal energy or supervision required from the chef; the most arduous part is slicing the potatoes thin enough and minding your fingers while you do it to avoid adding extra animal iron-rich protein to the mix. I could get them safely down to about 3mm, which roasted perfectly in the time allowed, giving each slice a nicely tender and tasty whatever-you-call-the-bit-inside-the-skin and a thin, crunchy layer of skin itself.

The recipe: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/roast-sea-bass-vegetable-traybake

We did however add a handful of asparagus spears at the stage where you also add the fish. I only noticed afterwards that it also says half the olives – but you know what? Stuff that. I’d already sliced the potatoes, so what more did they want?

And the timing for the last stage – “a further 7-8 mins” – might be a bit optimistic. We could comfortably give it >10mins to allow time for a proper savouring of the pre-prandial G&T and it turned out fine.


Occasional recipes: chickpea and chorizo casserole

From The Times Saturday magazine. I feel like a cheat calling this a casserole, because in my old-school understanding a casserole meal is a meal cooked in a casserole dish in an oven, not in a wok on a hob. But I guess you could cook it in an oven if you so so desired and either way, hey, it works.

Some alteration was required to bring this meal for 4 down to 2, but not always reducing by 50%. I mean, 200g chorizo for 4 people? What are they, vegetarians? Homeopaths? Nah, we stuck with a Tesco Finest Spanish Chorizo Ring at 225g and didn’t feel remotely full. We also stuck with the half cabbage and again that was just the right quantity. Everything else we did indeed cut by 50%.

And we saw no point in adding another meaty flavour to a deliciously meaty recipe by using chicken stock. Vegetable stick is far more delicate and in no way overpowers the lovely chorizo.