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Nutritionist, Nicky’s recipe for Christmas

December 07th, 2021

Fish Stew


from Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro Contaldo (Two greedy Italians)


This recipe is recommended as a great dish to serve up on Christmas eve and I can see why. It doesn’t take long to prepare, which is always a good thing if you still have presents to wrap or guests arriving and it uses a variety of fish. Traditionally Christmas has always been dominated by meat and so to have some easily digested fish at the beginning of the festive season makes a lot of sense.




·        2kg/4lb 8oz mixed fresh fish fillets and shellfish, such as red mullet, small sole, gurnard, monkfish, sea bass, cuttlefish, baby octopus, prawns, mussels, squid or scallops

·        8 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

·        1 large onion, finely sliced

·        2 garlic cloves, finely chopped, plus an extra clove for the toast

·        1kg/2lb 4oz ripe tomatoes, skinned and chopped, or 2x400g/14oz tins of chopped tomatoes

·        125ml/4fl oz red wine

·        chopped fresh chilli, to taste

·        3 tbsp finely chopped flatleaf parsley

·        ½ tsp fennel seeds

·        salt and freshly ground black pepper

·        6-8 slices good bread, slightly stale or toasted




If your fishmonger hasn’t already done so, clean and prepare your chosen fish and shellfish. Cut fish fillets into large chunks and seafood into manageable pieces.


Put the oil, onion and garlic into a large pan and fry briefly.

Add the tomatoes, wine, chilli, parsley and fennel seeds and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 15 minutes.


Start to add large pieces of fish to the sauce first and those that will take the longest to cook such as monkfish, then add the more tender fish such as red mullet or sole and the shellfish, ending up with the mussels if using. Cook for five or so minutes, or until the fish is cooked and the mussels have opened. (Discard any mussels that haven’t opened.)


Rub the bread with garlic, drizzle with olive oil, and put each slice in the bottom of a deep soup bowl. Pour over the soup and serve.



Nutrition Notes


Fish oils are anti-inflammatory and a regular dietary intake is important to prevent heart disease and strokes and nourish the brain. Omega 3 oils are however prone to oxidation and so it is important that you have a good intake of antioxidants at the same time. Parsley, in this recipe is rich in antioxidants. Red wine contains a flavonoid called resveratrol which has a range of anticancer properties.



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