The Cottage Smallholder

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Recipe for delicious breaded cod and a simple love story

Delicious breaded cod

Delicious breaded cod

I must have been about five or six years old when I first noticed The Man.

We were on holiday in Hunstanton. A favourite family holiday destination when I was a child. My childhood memories are of weeks of sun, shrimp nets and feeling a bit embarrassed about my knitted woollen bathing suit.

I hated that knitted suit. When it was wet it would droop in heavy folds towards my feet and the thin straps cut into my shoulders as I exposed my chest to the world.

In fact these holidays were just a long weekend and once a whole week. It was during this ‘extended’ holiday week that I fell in love with The Man.

Over fifty years later I can still remember his smile and bright blue twinkly eyes. Not having a father around I was always fascinated by men and fell in love a few times. Yes small children can fall in love. It happened to me three times before I was eight. Those three men are still held close to my heart.

This kind, smiley Hunstanton man was probably on a very different holiday than me. I didn’t see him on the beach, just in the dining room of the hotel. If I close my eyes I can hear that clatter of old fashioned hotel china, feel the starched white tablecloth and the large napkin that always fell off my lap. How could I get close to him?

The answer was simple. Eat the same food that he had ordered.

Looking back now this was a very cunning ploy to get him to notice me. When the waitress asked me for my order she would have to go to his table and check what he had ordered.

He liked fish. In fact he ordered fish every day. So I ate fish and also incidentally won the hotel’s gold medal for guzzling an entire bottle of tomato ketchup in just a few days.

Perhaps it was the lasting influence of The Man but I have always loved fish. Unfortunately fish is now rather expensive in the UK so it’s a rare treat for us. We always check out the fish counter at Waitrose on a Sunday, an hour before closing – great bargains can be had then. Also the CFC* at Tesco often has great fish bargains – bottom shelf towards the back. This is where Danny purloined a pack of skinless, boneless cod loins.

What to do with them? Breaded fish with our own crispy breadcrumbs. Here’s the recipe – crunchy breadcrumbs and melt in the mouth fish. So much more than grilled or fried fish fillets – a meal to tempt even a fish hater to dive in.

Simple delicious breaded cod recipe for two

350g of cod loins/fillets
1 small egg – whizzed up with a fork in a large flattish bowl
2 tablespoon of plain flour sprinkled on a large dinner plate
6 tablespoons of homemade dried breadcrumbs sprinkled over a large dinner plate
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Half a lemon to drizzle over the fish when served


Heat your oven to 200c/180 fan
Prepare an oven proof dish by smoothing half the olive oil gently over the surface
Rinse the fish and pat dry
Scatter the flour on a plate and dunk the fish fillets into the mixture. Coat every surface including the sides
Dunk the fillets into the beaten egg, carefully coating all
Finally coat the fish fillets in the breadcrumbs, pushing the fish firmly so that they adhere well
Place the fish gently on the oven proof dish and bake for 25-35 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets. There is no need to turn the fillets over. Test after 25 minutes – I use a knife to hook out the fish from the thickest part of the fillet. The fish should be totally opaque when cooked. With this recipe the dried breadcrumbs retain their crunch if left in a warm place for ten minutes

We served this with lemon slices (to squeeze over the fish) chips and garden peas. A parsley garnish would be the perfect accompaniment but the slugs had got there first. Delish Fish.

CFC* Tesco Condemned Food Counter

On an aside, you can buy Coarse Fishing Tackle from Tackle Fanatics.


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  1. sounds good and will try it,but cant find what the other half of the oil was used for?

  2. That was pretty funny kate but I once wanted to ice skate so I hopped on frozen water and fell straight in the water I was frozen

  3. thinking of the days

    Fiona, oh how I hated those bloody awful swimming costumes too…the itchiness, the scratchiness. And the swimming caps -they were torture too.

    It’s a wonder any of us learnt to swim…

  4. Pamela

    Still chuckling at KateUk’s knitted swimming suit story. I didn’t have the knitted suit but I do remember having a costume made of some sort of silky material which didn’t stretch at all but was shirred all over with elastic to provide the stretch thus producing a sort of bubble effect. Its hidden downfall though was that the fabric went see-through and clingy when it got wet. I don’t remember being bothered by this at the time and suspect I didn’t stay in long after it got wet anyway as I was the kind of child who went blue and shivered crazily when I got cold.

  5. KateUK

    I remember sitting in a pool of warm sea water beside a big rock filling my knitted red swim suit with wet sand, it stretched very obligingly to hold a massive amount. Then stood up. Much hilarity ensued. Swim suit was never quite the same, but it wasn’t replaced, “you will grow into it”.

  6. Eric Robinson

    Absolutely epicurian! I have something similar about every ten days. Being in Spain I mostly use a fish called rosada, a type of dogfish (aka in UK as ‘rock salmon’) with a rose-pink skin. I mix chopped parsley in with the breadcrumbs. being inordinately fond of parsley ( I graze on it). May I say in passing that I’m unable to find a single fault with your website, try as I might. Form, content & style all perfecto. I keep having to add stars. Definitely Best in Class.

  7. Terry Golson

    Great minds think alike! I have fish on my kitchen counter right now, and this is exactly how I was going to prepare it. (I don’t, however, have your memories of woolen bathing suits!) I was going to serve it with rice, but to be totally in sync with you I will have to have peas and chips, too 🙂

    • Fiona Nevile

      Go for it Terry! The chips were good with a mayo dip ;0)

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