Tin Tins Chinese Restaurant AKA I FOUND GLUTEN FREE CHINESE!!!

So it’s been very quiet here lately, I’ve had big changes afoot, moving house, city and job is a stressful business and since settling back in my beloved Brummy home town I’ve quite appreciated the lack of blogging pressures. But I couldn’t resist this one because I’ve finally found a Chinese restaurant that for one responded to my email asking about gluten free options and two, were so lovely and accommodating when I attended said restaurant that I just had to give them a little shout out.

I’ve got no photos of the food or restaurant (bad, bad food blogger I know), I was so busy shovelling the food down my gullet that the thought did not even enter my delirious food obsessed brain. What I can say they is that they are very helpful there and we managed with the help from the awesome Brian, the manager (? I’m not sure but he should be because he’s ace) to eat a delicious birthday feast of steamed seabass with ginger and spring onion (gluten containing sauce on the side for my lucky non coeliac family,) Kung po king prawns, duck with plum sauce (the best in my humble opinion) and chicken with cashew nuts. It was great to finally eat in a Chinese restaurant again and the service was outstanding. So if you happen to be in need of gluten free Chinese food in Birmingham and want to give it a try I totally recommend the wonderful Tin Tins in Brindley Place.

So anyways I might dip my toe a little further back into the blogging water shortly with perhaps some of the pics of food I’ve encountered this summer so watch this space and please comment below.

See you soon lovely readers, I hope to be back again soon life permitting!

My Instagram Feast

Clockwise from top left: the ever amazing cress (sewn by my even more amazing 3 yo on cotton wool, can’t beat it), a griddled courgette, aubergine, mozarella and tomato salad; good old strawberries and ice cream; pesto and spinach potato salad with carrot, tomatoes and fruit salad for al fresco eating on the grass outside our flat, more potato salad with yummy smoked salmon; home made ice pops – a daily habit at the mo; feta, cucumber, spinach and mint salad with the new Genius tomato and basil pittas – approved, very scrummy cheese and potato pie from Clives at the Allergy and Free From show; and my lazy dinner du jour of pasta, pesto and sugar snap peas – I know I’m a real gourmet!

Mackerel Fish Cakes (gluten free)

In a continued attempt to be more frugal I’ve been delving deeper into my  store cupboard lately and this week I found the ubiquitous mackerel.  I remember that for some reason mackerel fillets tinned in tomato sauce are actually cheaper than their brine or oil contained counterparts so it makes sense to add a bit of tomato to you life.

Mackerel is one of those amazinge eye sight strenghtening super food type things which packs an excellent omega 3 punch and in tins has to be the most penny-pinching way to enjoy a bit of this tasty, oily fish.  Another benefit of using the tomato clad mackerel is the wicked (did I just say wicked?) pink the fish cakes go inside and the fuzzy feeling you get when you realised you’ve smuggled another of your 5 a day into your dinner.  If you don’t have this wonderous ingredient in your cupboard but do have a tin of tuna then you could try this instead, if not then, onwards, my friends, the recipe is closer than you think…

Makes about 6  fish cakes which serves 2 with salad or 3 for people with small bellies


  • 4/5 medium potatoes
  • A tin of mackerel in tomato sauce (you can use the oil or brine ones but drain them first and don’t expect that nice shade of pink I was talking about)
  • 4 spring onions, washed and chopped fairly finely
  • Salt and pepper
  • A handful or 2 of breadcrumbs (I always blend up any gf bread going stale and whack it in a big bag in the freezer)
  • An egg
  • 2 tablespoons of gluten free plain flour
  • Oil for frying


Boil and mash the potatoes, leave to cool.   Break up the mackerel into the potatoes, toss in the tomato sauce, add the spring onions season and mix.  Form into burger shapes and chill in the fridge for a while until set.

Lay out your other ingredients on plates or shallow dishes, whip the egg slightly to combine.  Dip and roll the cakes first into flour, then egg, and then into the breadcrumbs.

Heat a large frying pan.  Add about 2 tablespoons of oil (more if you can stand it).  Once the oil is hot, fry the fish cakes until golden on each side then serve with salad, or whack in bun for a full on fishy carb fest.

Escabeche Sea Bream with Crispy Smashed Potatoes

Escabeche Sea Bream with Crispy Smashed Potatoes

I made this two weeks ago but forgot to post about it.  Escabeche is a great sweet and sour type sauce to serve with and cook fish in.  To be honest I can’t remember the quantities I used so I’ll just be crap and say it involved white wine vinegar, sugar, water, celery, onion and carrots and the fish.  I sliced the veg very thinly and cooked them in the vinegar and sugar mixture then poached/steamed the fish  on top of it.  The end result should be light and fresh with the veg still crunchy and the fish delicate and soft.  I believe I scattered this with some basil at the end to lift it slightly.  And that’s about that folks, less a recipe more of a vague memory but give it a go, it’s good to experiment now and again!

Oh, yeah, the smashed potatoes, these are gorgeous and make a brilliant accompaniment to many a dish, boil your new potatoes until just cooked through.  Pre heat the oven then plop the potatoes into a baking a tray, break or smash with a fork, drizzle with oil, season with salt and pepper (or you could add spices or herbs) and whack in the oven at 220 degrees until golden and crispy. Bang! Spud heaven!

Pan Fried Mackerel with a Quinoa and Mango Salad

I’ve been trying to up my fish intake recently, I’m on holiday so can make more of an effort to get down to the fish mongers and see what is on offer.  Mackerel is one of my favourite fish. It’s full of flavour, packed with healthy omega 3s and a reasonable price. This is a fresh summery way to serve this rich fish and would work well packed up for lunch as well.  The mango and lime cut through the oily meat of the fish and the flavours meld perfectly with the light quinoa grains.  So, errr, yeah,  it tastes good, OK? Try it…

Serves 2


  • 2 mackerel, filleted and boned
  • 1 large mango
  • A ramekin full of quinoa
  • A handful of coriander
  • A handful of mint
  • 1 or 2 spring onions
  • 1/2 a lime


Cook your quinoa following the instructions on the packet or check out these instructions here.  Peel and chop your mango into little chunks (about 1/2 cm dice), finely chop your spring onion, coriander and mint and mix together with the quinoa.  Squeeze in the juice of half a lime, season and spoon onto plates.

Heat a dry pan.  Oil your mackerel fillets and place in the searing hot pan skin down.  Cook until for a couple of minutes or until the fish is almost cooked through then flip and cook for a further minute.  Sit the fillets on top of the quinoa salad and serve.



A Pint of Prawns

I had this, well the half pint version, in a lovely little seafood restaurant in Hythe a couple of weeks back.  It’s super simple to assemble and makes quite an entrance with the pinky, orange prawns piled up high in their shells.  You can buy these prawns, frozen, cooked, shell on, sometimes from the supermarket, almost always from Wing Yips and from your local fishmongers.  They’re much more reasonable than the peeled frozen ones you get and make for a fantastic deconstructed prawn cocktail where you have to get all involved, ripping the heads off and peeling the shell away.  Despite this possible palava, I quite like it, the prawns are sweeter and juicier that way and it makes a lovely starter or light lunch.  I had my ‘pint’ for lunch on Saturday served with some seriously old ‘skool’ Marie Rose sauce, a wedge of lemon and a slice of buttered brown bread (gf).


Shell on, cooked, frozen prawns


Bread to serve

For the Marie-Rose Sauce:



Creme fraiche

Worcester sauce


Defrost your prawns in cold water.  Shovel the prawns into a pint glass, I chose a rather pretty Stella glass.  Mix up the Marie-Rose sauce, a couple of teaspoonfuls of mayo and creme fraiche, a squirt of tommy k and a splash of Worcester.  Set up your sauce in a little dish or a ramekin and serve alongside.  To be really kitsch, like me, add a round slice of lemon to the glass and a nice slice of buttered brown bread cut into triangles (don’t you know?!).  Make sure you provide an empty vessel for the heads and shells and eat with someone who loves you or someone you hate and spray them with prawn juice as you get stuck in! Yum, yum!

Breaded Fish and Tartare Sauce

Happy Good Friday readers!

So like a good girl I’m obeying the fish on Friday rule, despite the fact I had ham for breakfast and left over meatballs for lunch, I prepared a good old fish supper for dinner tonight. 

The version I did was totally gluten free and my other diners who are not coeliacs were non the wiser.  However this can be done just as easily using normal breadcrumbs, I don’t like to discriminate see! 

I had great plans to serve the fish with home made potato wedges and some posh mushy peas but after a long sunny day of parks and shops (I got a little carried away on the summer wardrobe expedition, shhh don’t tell anyone) I decided to keep it simple and serve it up with some oven chips and traditional marrow fat peas (see almost a proper chip shop dinner!).


Cod fillet portions, skinned

Breadcrumbs ( I have started keeping a stash in the freezer ready for things like this, any time your bread is beginning to get a bit stale just whizz them up in a blender and bag em up and pop in the freeezer, you  can pretty much use them from frozen and that way they are always there)

An egg

A couple of tablespoons of plain flour (gf for me)

Salt and pepper

For the tartare sauce (makes a little pot ful):

2 tablespoons of mayonnaise, shop bought or home made you decide

5 mini gherkins/cornichons

A teaspoon of capers

A handful of parsley


For the fish:

Lay out three dishes or plates.  One for the flour (add some salt and pepper), one for the egg lightly whisked and one for the breadcrumbs.  Portion your fish then flour, egg and breadcrumb and set aside until your ready.  I did mine this afternoon and popped in the fridge until dinner time just to save extra hassle.

When you fish is coated, shallow fry in a hot pan with about half a cm of oil in.  It really depends on how big your fish is, mine took about 3 min each side and I finished it off in a hot oven whilst the chips were cooking for a couple of min.

For the tartare sauce:

Finely chop the parsley.  Chop the the capers and gherkins fairly small and then add them and the herbs to the mayo and stir.  Easy peasy and much better than that hideous stuff you get in sachets or bottles.  You can add a bit of chopped egg if you wish as well.

Happy Easter!

Sea Bream and Samphire Take 2 – Thai Style


I had a fillet of sea bream and a handful of samphire left over from yesterday’s dish so I decided to make a little lunch Thai style.  This is another super simple recipe that was delicious.

Serves 1


A fillet of sea bream

A handful of samphire

A small handful of dried flat rice noodles

Thai green curry paste (this was a quick lunch, so I used shop bought and tinkered with it)

A teaspoon of palm sugar

A sprinkle of fish sauce

A good squeeze or two of lemon (lime would be better, I didn’t have any)

Half a tin of coconut milk

A little oil for frying


Soak the noodles and the samphire in boiled water, every noodle is different but I like to do this and then repeat with freshly boiled water after a couple of minutes to ensure the noodles are softened.  Leave these to soak. 

Make the sauce first, fry about 3 teaspoonfuls of green curry paste in a little oil for about a minute, then add coconut milk, simmer gently for a couple of minutes, taste, then add the fish sauce, lemon/lime juice, palm sugar to taste.  (I always find I have to tinker with the shop bought pastes in order to get a brighter more authentic flavour) Set the sauce aside. 

Heat a frying pan until hot.  Coat your fish in oil.  Place fish skin side down in pan and hold for a minute or so to ensure the fish cooks flat and the skin goes crisp.  Fry skin side for 2/3 min then flip for a min or so depending on size of fillet.  Place fish to one side.  Add sauce to pan (you might not need all of it) then add noodles and samphire, simmer briefly so everything is hot and coated in the green curry sauce.  Pour noodle and samphire mix into shallow serving bowl and top with fish.  If you want to be really fancy sprinkle a little chopped coriander on the top and shout ‘da da!’ when you present the finished dish to it’s diner (this may involve talking to yourself).

Sea Bream and Samphire with a Garlic and Parsley Butter

I had a little trip to Borough Market today and on my travels I picked up a couple of ingredients I had heard of but hadn’t tried before, at least haven’t cooked before anyway.  Samphire is something I’m always on the look out for as I love the sound of it and when I saw it today in one of the fruit and veg stands I grabbed a couple of handfuls for this dinner.  Now I knew I really needed a bit of fish and after browsing round the fishmongers I saw a nice Sea Bream, not a fish I’ve cooked or eaten before so I thought, why not. 

This dish was really simple to make and sooo tasty.

For 1


A sea bream fillet

A handful of samphire

A clove of garlic

A small handful of parsley

A little oil

About half a tablespoon of butter or there abouts

Lemon wedge to serve


Finely chop your parsley and garlic, set to one side.  Rub the fish fillet with olive oil, set to the side.  Boil the kettle.  Heat frying pan.  Rinse samphire and pop into pot.  Pour over boiling water and leave to sit as you cook the fish, I wanted to keep this fairly crunchy if you want it softer, boil it for a min or so.  Put the fish skin side down into the hot pan, hold the fish down for a min to ensure the whole side stays flat and goes crispy.  Cook for a couple of minutes depending on size of fish then flip when skin side is golden and crispy.  Drain your samphire and plate.  Place fish along side and keep warm in the oven.  Throw chopped garlic into hot pan from fish, add butter, let foam and fry for a few seconds then add parsley, stir and then pout over fish and samphire. 

No need for seasoning with this as the samphire is so salty.  Serve with a couple of lemon wedges if you like.  Enjoy…

Retro Saturday Lunch

So I still had some iceburg lettuce in the fridge from last weekend, that stuff really lasts well, and I was thinking what else could I do with it and then prawn cocktail sprung to mind.  I love a nice prawn cocktail and as dated as it might be, done right it is a delicious little starter or light meal.  Easy to make and light and crunchy served with some yummy iceberg and one of my  favourite ingredients the delectable avocado. 

My Marie Rose sauce was made with some creme fraiche, tomato ketchup, a splash of Worcester sauce, a squeeze of lemon and a little salt and pepper.  I mixed it up, defrosted some prawns and mixed them into the sauce.  Served very simply and very seventies styley on some shredded iceberg and some sliced avocado.  Yeah baby!