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This is my idea of the perfect comfort food. You have to eat it with your hands – getting a bit messy is part of it. I’ve made some changes to the traditional recipe, which usually has lots more sauce and is served in a bowl rather than on toast. The sardines are also usually grilled, not fried. I’m also using potatoes to thicken the sauce, rather than picada, as I think it makes it all the more comforting.


50ml olive oil 2 large onions, finely chopped 1 green capsicum, finely chopped 1 tablespoon pimenton (paprika) 500g small waxy potatoes 1 dried choricero pepper* 300ml fresh fish stock


4 small fresh sardines, filleted 1 garlic clove, finely sliced zest of 1 lemon and a squeeze of juice 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley olive oil for deep frying 3 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour, seasoned with salt and pepper 1 free-range egg, beaten 4 slices sourdough, toasted extra virgin olive oil to drizzle

Put the sardines in a dish with the garlic, lemon zest and juice and parsley. Set aside to marinate while you make the suquet.

Heat the olive oil in a pan and gently fry the onions and capsicum for 20 minutes until really softened. Add the pimenton and cook for a minute. Insert the tip of a sharp knife into the potatoes and twist to crack them open ( instead of slicing). Add them to the pan with the choricero pepper, stock and plenty of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and simmer gently for 40 minutes until the potatoes are tender and the sauce thick.

In a small deep pan, heat the olive oil for deep-frying to 180°C – or until a cube of bread browns in 20 seconds. Remove the sardines from the marinade and pat dry with kitchen paper. Dip in the seasoned flour then in the beaten egg. Carefully drop into the oil and fry for just a minute or two until golden and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

Spoon the suquet onto the toasted sourdough, top with the fried sardines and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil to finish. *Substitute with a dried ñoras pepper, available at sabato., or dried ancho chilli, available from specialty food stores and Mexican food suppliers

I’ve made saffron ice cream many times, and each time I do, I find I make a little change to the recipe. Here’s my best one so far. The pine nuts take the ice cream to another level, giving it a really earthy flavour.





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