A Little About Us: Alex, Carl, Isla and Taran
And so, the minified daily dramas of family life have continued for yet another week.
It should have been Carnival time in Malta this weekend. In other years, Carnival has been the biggest of celebrations across this small rock. This year, due to covid restrictions, it’s a sad, deflated little affair of almost nothingness. Some tears came from Isla upon hearing Carnival would be cancelled. They dried up upon learning she could dress up in costume for school swiftly followed by a few more when she discovered that no, we would not be buying her a new costume when she had some perfectly good ones still in her wardrobe. A day later, following a swift fashion conversation with her friends, there was an emotional upturn again. Two of her bestest friends would be attending school in an Elsa dress (Elsa from Frozen 2). Since she also had an Elsa dress, they would all be the same – just like twins. (Parental cue for an explanation of triplets that I don’t believe quite sunk in against the excitement of being dressed like her friends.)
The day before, some specific daily functional thoughts occurred to me. Can she get up and down the stairs and can she go to the toilet by herself in Elsa’s long flowing dress? A quick practice revealed a problem with the train’s length of the dress, and I retrieved a dust-covered sewing kit to put a few stitches in and shorten the train. One problem solved. We bargained as regards wands, wigs, fake jewellery and gloves. Wand and fake jewellery were out, wig and gloves stayed in. Now, we just need for the day to arrive…
Taran, meanwhile, was less bothered about Carnival and more upset he missed an activity at school. Taran was told by his adored kindergarten teacher they would be making a gold spider that day. Quite the little bug admirer, he got so excited he jumped up and down fell against his desk, and a minor eye bruising resulted. Unfortunately, this was just enough to have his Mummy called to collect him from school. And so, my little man missed the gold spider making activity that had so excited him in the first place. I cunningly replaced the gold spider with chocolate icecream and a screening of The Highway Rat by Julia Donaldson (currently Taran’s favourite movie). By the end, the bruised eye, the gold spider and the disappointment were all forgotten. There isn’t much that chocolate and a good movie don’t fix.
For me, it was a week of frenzy and calm. Frenzied with trying to complete my last assignment on time and then calm when I did. I don’t feel confident about this one; in fact, quite the opposite. I was too panicked trying to get it done in time and feel I have done very poorly. At least I got it turned in on time, and I can hope for a pass which is all I need. Following that panic, I finally had time to sit for the first time in six months. What to do? What else does one do but binge-watch Bridgerton? I then spent a substantial part of a shift with an Italian, a Hungarian and two Maltese while we all tried to figure out how to pronounce Regé-Jean. I think the poor man in question might have been horrified at the mangling of his name.
A Little About The Recipe: Seabream Stuffed with Tomatoes and Shallots
I rarely make fish recipes mostly because when I eat, I want to gobble. I find picking delicately through my dinner looking for almost invisible bones frustrating. It’s the main reason I don’t eat much fish and, when I do, I pick the big ones. However, my husband, Carl, and my mum, otherwise known as Daddy and Grandma, are of a different opinion. The seabream (sometimes called sea bass) is a fish farmed in Maltese fishing waters and is relatively cheap in Malta; it’s great for culinary experimentation without breaking the bank.
There are plenty of different ways to cook seabream out there, each one more fabulous than the next. This is one of the simpler ones suitable for average size seabream of about 400 – 450g. They can dry out a bit when you overcook them, and most recipes will give a cooking time of around 15-20 minutes. To be honest, from personal experience, I have undercooked my fish far more often than I have overcooked them. Time and time again, I have to put the fish back in the oven and complete a cooking time of 30 mins. Now, I just set the timer for 30 minutes right from the beginning.
I Recommend This For: Seabream Stuffed with Tomatoes and Shallots
For the majority of diets I cover, this recipe is excellent. The only “beware” warnings I will give are for Atkins’ induction and keto. Tomatoes and shallots aren’t permitted on Atkins’ until you reach phase 2: ongoing weight loss, putting this out of bounds for Atkins’ induction. Place it aside for another week and take a plainer seabream recipe option instead. For keto, while this is a bit of an estimate, the fish itself is 450g, the meat is probably at around 220g – 250g; this would give you approximately 66g of protein. Be wary of other choices you make throughout the day, this recipe reaches close to your protein limit without much fat to balance it.
For everyone, I will recommend Salty Broccoli Bites as a side dish. The oven temperature for the broccoli is the same, and the cooking times come in with 5 minutes of each other. It’s best to prep everything while the oven heats up. Then, put the seabream in and wait 5 minutes before popping in the broccoli. You can even use the same baking tray! Go for saving on clean up!
Atkins’ Maintenance comes in at 13.6g of total carbs; this is nice and low for dinner giving you plenty of carbs to spend elsewhere. There is a good serving of protein over fat, so no worries on that score either.
Keto net carbs are around 9.1g, but, again, this is for a whole dinner. The oil used to cook the broccoli levels up the fat content a little, but I would still recommend something along the line of Easy Egg Salad for your lunch.
And Here It Is: Seabream Stuffed with Tomatoes and Shallots
Seabream Stuffed with Tomatoes and Shallots
- 2 450g seabream (about 1lb) descaled and gutted
To Stuff the Seabream
- 20 g finely diced shallot (1 small shallot)
- 100 g finely diced tomato (1 small tomato)
- 2 clove garlic
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 tbsp ghee (use butter for non-paleo)
To Roast the Seabream
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 4 pinches salt
- Preheat a fan-assisted oven to 200 deg C or 400 deg F.
- Take all the ingredients required to stuff the seabream except for the seabreams themselves and mix together.
- On the hob in a small frying pan over a medium heat (I use number 5), pre-fry the stuffing ingredients until the shallots are soft. Remove from the heat.
- Mix the olive oil, dried rosemary, dried parsley and lemon juice and rub evenly over both seabreams.
- Rub a pinch of salt into each side of both fishes.
- Place the seabreams on a roasting tray.
- Divide the stuffing ingredients from the frying pan evenly and place half each inside the seabreams' cavities.
- Place in the oven and roast for 30 mins.
- When the timer goes check if the fish is cooked. The spines along its back should pull out easily and the juices should run clear. A meat thermometer will read 63 dec C or 145 deg F.
- If the fish is cooked serve immediately; if not, return to the oven and check again after a further 10 mins.