Flavour packed poached tuna with a veg broth, polenta and red cabbage salad

This has been quite a tough week. I feel physically, mentally and emotionally drained. My character, patience, resilience, tolerance, have all been tested this week.

Work has been so busy! Seeing over 25 people in 2 hrs is no joke. It’s physically impossible, quite honestly. It means the consultation is limited to less than 5 minutes, do the math. I pride myself in my job and when I see my patients I see the whole being not the flu or abdominal cramps etc. How can you take a history, do the examination, come up with the most likely diagnosis, discuss the diagnosis and the management plan with the patient and still document all of this, in less than 5 minutes! It’s impossible, frustrating and exhausting.  And obviously I’m not going to be able to do the best job I’d like to do.

And outsiders don’t get this. To them it’s; we have 50 patients, 2 doctors and 2 hours ‘meant for emergencies’. We don’t want to turn the patients back, we don’t believe in triage,  and we can’t give the doctors more time, so deal with it. But the topping on the cake is that these patients do not even have the emergencies I’m supposed to be treating. It’s: I have pain on my arm for the last 3 years, I have a headache since an hour ago and didn’t take any painkillers, my toe is sore after wearing new shoes. But they don’t want to make an appointment, they need to be seen immediately!

After the 2 hrs of ’emergencies’ and rushing to get everyone seen, then it’s booked appointments lasting 30 minutes per appointment… It really doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

Back to the order of the day, I need to cook to destress today! I need to be in my special place. The place  that gives me peace, inner joy and excitement. And be there for as long as possible. So I’m taking my time in the kitchen tonight.

I think it’s quite evident in my food selections that I love fish. I bought this whole fish, tuna, from my beloved harbour fishermen. I only used half previously and froze the other half. With me springcleaning my freezer, I’m inspired to do some feel good food, hearty but still with my elegant touch. What better way to add flavour to fish than by poaching in a flavour rich liquid. And where else to improve this flavour than in vegetables. So I’ll be making a veg broth, then poaching the fish in this broth to absorb all the beautiful flavours, and then injecting moisture into the fish as tuna tends to dry out very quickly. Served with a creamy polenta and citrus red cabbage salad for a fresh finish.

What do you need? serves 4  cooking time: 1h15min

  • vegetables chopped

  • 1/4 of a small red cabbage, 2 turnips, 1 bouquet of garlic, half a yellow pepper, 1 whole onion

  • 4 back bacon rashers

  • spices- cinnamòn sticks, bay leaves, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, star anise, cardamom, yellow and black mustard seeds, salt & pepper

  • 1 cup of polenta

  • the remaining half Tuna fish

  • red cabbage

  • 1 lemon

What to do?

Start by making the broth as it takes the longest time to cook. In a pot, brown chopped bacon with a drizzle of olive oil, then throw in all your veg and spices( bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, 1 tbs cumin seeds, 1 tbs coriander seeds, 1 tsp of red and yellow mustard seeds, 4 star anise, 1 tsp of cardamom). Add water to the top and turn up the heat. When it starts to boil, lower the heat to level 4 on an electric stove and let it simmer  for 45 min.

image imageimageSieve the broth and transfer to a pan or casserole dish, whatever that’ll fit your fish. Place on a hot stove, then gently place your fish seasoned with salt and pepper. Cook each side for 20 minutes. Then out of the pan/ dish. We’re doing a quick poach.But if you have more time you can poach at lower heat for much longer, which infuses a whole lot more flavour.

imageimageimageimage

While the fish is poaching, let’s get on with the polenta. Boil water. Pour the boiling water into a hot pot on the stove, add a pinch of salt. The proportions water to polenta are 1:0.75. We are making thIs like we make pap (as described in previous posts), it is the same consistency. I’ve never made polenta before so I’m starting where I’m the most familiar; pap. Add the polenta bit by bit to the boiling water whisking continuously until thick. It actually cooks While you whisk, it takes 5-7 minutes. Then cool.image imageimageThe red cabbage salad- do the dressing: mix 10ml of olive oil, 7,5ml of squeezed lemon juice, zest of lemon, salt & pepper. And dress the thinly chopped cabbage. We we are all done! I feel so much better already, the smells around my kitchen are therapeutic. Now dish up. imageimageimage Now let’s enjoy. I feel so much better already, and the fish is so deliciously moist and flaky. The flavours have infused beautifully. The polenta is standing strong against the big bold flavours. The cabbage giving the balance of citrus, freshness to that richness. But the best component of this dish for me is that veg broth. It is so complex and delicious. I can honestly put it in a bottle and drink it, it tastes that good. Mission accomplished!

Author: preciousgarnett

I'm a multi-faceted young woman. I'm a proud mom to a now 5 year old 😜. I'm a daughter, I'm a sister and a friend to a few people. I'm a medical doctor by profession, passionate about infectious disease, primary health care and public health. I live food, from thinking about it, cooking it to eating it. Health and Nutrition fanatic. I live by a few chants...: 1. Before I do anything whether related to food or not, I ask myself ' Is it worth the calories?' Whether literally or figuratively( i.e. Is the decision worth the stress, effort, investment) 2. What you put in must come out! If you don't let it out, it settles on your tummy and hips. 3. 'Everything happens for a reason'. I try reflect on situations I find myself in, whether by choice or not. And look for Lessons I'm meant to learn from them, in order to grow.

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