A few years ago I came across a Church bazaar in Stellenbosch that specializes in selling used goods, almost like a “white elephant” table or a car boot sale. Many of the vendors had kitchenware at their stalls. I was amazed at this treasure cove filled with stuff that I could use for food styling and photography, but also for cooking.
It was a total blast from the past. I bought many different items, including a 60 year-old meat carving set with wooden handles (from an 82 year-old lady that got it as a wedding present back then), a crate filled with vintage Consol and Ball jars dating from the 1950’s (perfect condition), a 1970’s mandolin cutter (that would later chop off the tip of my finger) and a beautiful copper fish mould that looked like it had never been used.
I’ve used the copper mould a few times and absolutely fell in love with the retro-ness of it. I had a recipe for a salmon mousse that I adapted for using with fresh trout. After turning out the mousse on a plate, Tasha broke the news to me that she thought it was way too ugly and that we needed to make it look prettier (the mousse lost the scale patterns on the surface because I had to dip the mould in warm water from the outside to turn it out successfully). I then sliced some fresh cucumber with my mandolin cutter like they did back in the heydays of moulded fish dishes, and the result was quite astonishing to all of us. Totally retro, totally fabulous.
This is a great way of stretching one trout fillet into a crowd-pleasing starter. It is light and creamy and perfect for summer entertaining. Enjoy.
- one fresh trout fillet, about 350g
- 1 cup water
- 20 ml (4 teaspoons) powdered gelatine
- 1/2 cup cooled chicken stock
- juice of a small lemon
- a large handful of chives/dill/parsley, chopped
- 250 g plain cream cheese
- salt & pepper
- 1 cup cream, whipped
- thin cucumber slices and green leaves/microherbs, to serve
- Place the trout fillet and water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Close the lid and simmer for about 8 minutes until the trout is just cooked. Remove the fish from the water and leave to cool slightly, the remove the skin and bones and flake the meat.
- In a cup, mix the gelatine and chicken stock, then leave to sponge for 10 minutes. Transfer to a small saucepan and heat while stirring to melt the gelatine without boiling. When melted, remove from the heat to cool slightly.
- In the bowl of your food processor, add the flaked fish, cooled gelatine mixture, lemon juice, herbs and cream cheese. Process to a smooth pulp, then season generously with salt & pepper.
- Now add this mixture to the whipped cream and fold in gently to mix thoroughly. Transfer the mixture to your fish mould (sprayed with a non-stick spray), then cover with plastic wrap and leave to set in the refrigerator for 3-6 hours.
- To unmould, dip the mould on the outside in hot water for about 3 seconds, then carefully turn out on a large plate. Decorate with cucumber slices and greenery, then serve with crackers.
Recipe, food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe
Assistant: Elsebé Cronjé
Photography: Tasha Seccombe
Styling: Ilse van der Merwe & Tasha Seccombe
Venue for shoot: the demo KITCHEN