Two weeks of school holidays have just begun and as usual, it’s very important to think of activities to keep the kids occupied and happy or face days of endless whining and bickering. So I am very pleased to say that I am off to Spain for a few days with my two little angels and my Mum…Just what the doctor ordered.

We are so lucky to be able to hop in the car and drive for a mere four hours to reach the Spanish coast. The weather is milder there although calling it ‘sunny’ might be a bit of a stretch. But it should be about 12-14 degrees, certainly nice enough to take walks on the beach and grab some tasty tapas.

Random Recipes LogoBut before I go, I wanted to write up a recipe to enter into the Random Recipe Challenge hosted by Dom from Belleau Kitchen. This is my first time on Random Recipes and I think it’s a great challenge, the idea being to just let a cookery book fall open on a recipe and then cook it, forcing you to experiment with dishes you may otherwise never have made.

For this round you could pick the cookery book of your choice so I went for Goose Fat & Garlic by Jeanne Strang. I picked this one as I have not cooked much from it but I always mean to as I am fascinated by traditional recipes from South West France (where I live). Normally the simplicity and frugalness of ingredients come together to produce dishes that are powerful and remarkable. And the random recipe that I landed upon was no exception.

Les Sardines Fraiches en Escabeche (Sardines in a Spice Sauce) pg 141 was the recipe and my goodness it was just perfect for me! I love sardines so I was delighted to have alighted on this one, simply fried and then strewn with vinegary peppers, onions and herbs. Typically simple and completely delicious.

Sardine Escabeche Spicy Sauce

Escabeche is a Provencal word which is fitting as this dish feels very Summery, light and Mediterranean. A great dish for me to talk about before I head off on a mini break as it evokes that holiday feeling, fresh flavours and lovely warm colours on your plate.

Being of greedy disposition, I jiggled the portions a little to make a more substantial meal than the recipe caters for. And I served my fish with some couscous fluffed up with lemon juice and mint.

So if like me, you’ve just about had it with the Winter, than this dish will cheer you up and remind you that warmer times are just around the corner.

Les Sardines Fraiches En Escabeche (Sardines in a Spicy Sauce)

Serves 2


6 fresh sardines (I bought mine ready butterflied)

2 tbsp plain flour

salt, pepper

3 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, sliced

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 red pepper, deseeded & cubed

a pinch of thyme

4 leaves of fresh mint

2 tbsp vinegar ( I used Red Wine Vinegar)

  • Put the flour on a plate and season well. Then dust your fish lightly in the flour. Heat 1 1/2 tbsp of oil in a pan and fry your fish until cooked through and golden, around 3-4 minutes each side. Transfer to an oven dish and keep warm.
  • Add the rest of the oil to the pan and fry your onion, garlic, peppers and herbs. Cook until your onion begins to colour and then pour in the vinegar and let it reduce a little.
  • Pour your sauce over the fish and serve either hot or cold.

Now how simple is that? Believe me, this dish packs a wonderful punch and I can’t wait to cook it again. I look forward to eating it alongside a glass of cold rose wine outside in the sunshine….hopefully not too far off now!

Sardine Escabeche Finished Dish

I am also entering this recipe into Lavender & Lovages Herbs On A Saturday challenge.

Herbs on Saturday