1 Pour a little oil into a good-sized pan or saucepan and sweat off a finely chopped leek and a few cloves of crushed garlic (optional).
2 Add 3 or 4 chopped tomatoes (you could used tinned), some fresh thyme and a pinch of saffron threads soaked for 5 minutes in a tablespoon of boiling water. Cook this together for a few minutes and season well with salt and pepper.
3 Thinly slice some peeled kumara and potatoes and mix these through the sweated vegetables.
4 Layer this in a baking dish and cook in a moderate oven until tender, about 30 minutes.
5 While this is baking, toss some firm-fleshed white fish fillets (eg cod, hapuka, hake) in olive oil, picked thyme leaves, another pinch of soaked saffron and freshly ground black pepper. Do not add salt as this may cause the fish to dry out.
6 Place these fillets across the top of the vegetable mix in your baking dish. Pour half a cup of hot water or fish stock (recipe below) over this and return to the oven. The liquid will steam cook the fish and be absorbed by the vegetables.
7 In less than 15 minutes, the fish will be cooked and ready to serve with some winter greens.
You may want to make your own fish stock in these recipes. It is the quickest of stocks to make, and you can make a big batch and freeze it in smaller portions for future use. If you go fishing, freeze all the bones you have left after filleting until you have time to make stock. Good fish shops can also supply you with fish frames and heads.
1 Rinse your fish bones, heads and trimmings in cold water. Avoid including too much skin; the fat layer that sits below the skin will muddy your stock.
2 In a large pot add a bay leaf, parsley stalks, a sprig of thyme, a few peppercorns, diced celery, carrot and white onion. Sit the fish frames on top of this and cover with cold water. On a gentle heat, simmer for 20 minutes. Do not stir, just let the water bubble through the ingredients. Skim off any debris that forms on the surface. Remove from the heat and allow to settle.
3 Carefully drain off the stock. You can pass this through a fine sieve or muslin for a clearer result.By Grant Allen