I am on holiday – yippee!  But, if you are a burglar reading this, I have a big dog with sharp teeth looking after my flat.

Here on Mersea Island every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon you can buy fish directly from the fishermen on the jetty.  I love it!

Yesterday there were lots of flatfish like Dover sole and plaice


lots of lobsters

and crabs

and nestled in one of the boxes a GURNARD!  I asked if there was another one knocking around and one of the fishermen went into the shed and found one for me and gutted it.

So, Bernard and Bernard, the gurnards made us a very pretty dinner.

We are starting to behave like O.A.P.s on our holiday.  We like our traditions and on our fifth visit here we’ve more or less got the week sorted out.  We always have the same thing for dinner on our first night here (Hairy Bikers Spanish Style Chicken Bake). 

We always go to The Company Shed on Tuesday (my favourite eaterie in the whole world) for a fishy brunch

and I have my photo taken holding up a prawn 

Our folks always come for a visit on the Wednesday and we have lunch at the Victory pub and a cup of tea at our holiday cottage afterwards.

On Thursday we walk up to the village and have a rummage around in the Poop Deck

and on Friday we go out for dinner (usually to Titash)

So perhaps after two times of making Sophia’s dish here, this is a tradition now too?  

I have a couple of reminders for myself if I decide to make this again next year, which might be useful for anyone else who wants to try this recipe.  I baked this on the middle shelf at 130 degrees C (it’s a fan oven so 150 degrees probably good for a non-fan) for 35 minutes. For gurnard I think that was perfect.  I deboned as much of the fish as I could while it was still in the baking tray, keeping it warm.  I brought a stock cube from home (Oxo of course!) and my tiniest Tupperware containing a handful of capers.  I poured all the stock into the baking tray (180ml) but I think next time I might use a bit less to baste the fish.  I used about 50g of olives. I guess if you are a fancy chef, you might want to add something to the stock to make a sauce to serve alongside, but I liked it just as it was, a little bit poured over the fish to serve.

Here’s Sophia’s ace recipe.

This is such an easy thing to pull together, I do really recommend it.  Mr Rathbone had THIRDS even though he made me laugh by saying, “I’m not sure if I eat capers.”

Perhaps I’ll find another movie star fish dish for next year then…

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