Saturday, January 26, 2013

Roast Cod with Couscous Crust

With our much anticipated visit to Manchester's branch of Livebait just around the corner and all the local bloggers singing its praises, I thought it would be fun to get ourselves in the mood by dipping into the Livebait Cookbook I've had sitting around unused on my cookbook shelf for a while.

This book was recommended to me by a chef. He gave me lots of cookbook tips and this one I did especially like as it has lots of very interesting recipes that are mostly quite simple to make. Although you can sort of see why a chef would recommend it, it isn't as 'cheffy' a book as some of the other books I bought on the back of his recommendations and does have advice on how to elevate the recipes from 'family meals' to meals worthy of 'showing off'.

Having never been to Livebait, this book would suggest a trip to the restaurant is all about delicious fish and delicious bread. Two things that I am a big fan of. However, I am well aware that the book was published in 1998 and that the Livebait restaurants have been through a great deal of changes since then. Using this cookbook is therefore a nice way to dip into the history of the place.

Although our version of the Roast Cod with Couscous Crust would certainly fit much better into the 'family meal' category than the 'showing off' category, it was blooming lovely, super easy to make and I will definitely be making it again as a healthy midweek meal. The book recommended you accompany the fish with their Black Pudding and Chickpea stew but we went for a more veggie friendly (and Bailey friendly - he doesn't like chickpeas) Ratatouille.


For the Ratatouille
1 aubergine
2 courgettes
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 onion
3 garlic cloves
6 tomatoes
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tbsp Splenda
1 pinch chilli flakes
Salt and pepper
Large bunch fresh basil

For the Roast Cod
125g couscous
225 ml water
Juice of 1 orange
2 Cod Fillets
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to gas mark 6/ 200 degrees C. Then start the ratatouille by chopping the aubergine and courgette into chunks and frying in a large pan over a medium heat, adding the aubergines first for around 3 minutes on their own followed by the courgettes for another 3 minutes. Cut the red and yellow peppers into bitesize chunks and add to the pan. Fry for a further 3 minutes.

Finely chop the onions and garlic and add to the pan with the rest of the Ratatouille ingredients. Cut the tomatoes into quarters and add to the pan. Reduce the heat to low and allow to sauté slowly.

Meanwhile, prepare the couscous by bringing the water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the couscous to the pan and allow to cook for a few minutes until the water is absorbed.

Take the couscous pan off the heat and add the orange juice. Leave to stand for a bit. Season the cous cous.

Lay the cod fillets down in an oven dish and season.

Top with the couscous crust - lay it on nice and thickly (according to the Livebait book should be about 1.5cm thick) before placing in the oven for 10 minutes.

While the cod is in the oven sort out the ratatouille. Add the wine vinegar, Splenda, tomato purée, chilli flakes and season to taste. Finally, tear up the basil and add to the ratatouille and mix well.

Once the cod is out of the oven, place under the grill to allow the couscous crust to go crispy. Serve up portions of the ratatouille on plates.

Top with the cod and serve! The picture in the book had a load of rocket leaves on top of theirs which looked pretty nice but we didn't have any.


  1. What a brilliant idea, to use couscous as a crust. Thanks for sharing!


    1. Cheers, yes I'd never have thought of it. Definitely going to try it again with other fishies, could be a posher alternative to fish and chips couldn't it!! x


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