Ciopinno – Italian Fisherman’s Stew

Happy New Year! I’m not sure you can still say that when you’ve passed the middle of January but I still feel like I’m finding my feet in 2018. It hasn’t quite gone as smoothly as I’d hoped, nothing serious thankfully, but this year I was planning to ‘be my best self’, or whatever it is the lifestyle magazines throw at you, but I still feel like I’m chasing my tail. This year is a big year for me, I’m due to hit a milestone birthday any day now. I won’t say which one it is, but I’m definitely not half a century (yet) and can only wish I was about to exit my 20s, so by process of deduction I think you can guess what it is. I am completely fine with it. No mid-life crisis happening here. No plans on buying a Porsche (N breathes a sigh of relief) and definitely no new piercings or tattoos in the pipe-line(!) but it does make me feel that it’s about time I took control of my life. Why have I not nailed this thing called life yet, I’ve had years of practice. This year I would love to be more organised, the house will be cleaner, the kids will obey my every word know their boundaries and I will aim to be be a bit more presentable at all times! That would be the dream of course, and all of which I will aspire to, but above all my resolution for this year is to be kinder to myself. I will stop running on half empty and learn to recharge more. I will stop giving myself a hard time and do more of the things that bring me joy. One of which is cooking (and maybe blogging if I can find 5 mins spare). So with that thought the one resolution I’ve made is to try out lots of new dishes and recipes, hopefully once a week, but I’m not going to put any pressure on myself. That wouldn’t be kind to me.

Ciopinno – Italian Seafood Stew


Those of you who follow this blog will know my drama with seafood soups and stews. N loves them, but they scare me. I won’t eat them in a restaurant because I fear what’s in them. I have visions of fish eyeballs and octopus tentacles. So it has been my quest to make the ultimate fish stew. I think this may be it. It’s better than any I’ve made before and I know the reason why. You can’t rush it. The tomato base needs to be cooked slowly. It needs time for the flavours to infuse. So if you have a love for seafood and a bit of patience do try this recipe out. We eat it French style with crusty bread, cheese and a my knock-off rouille (garlic mayo).

Serves 2 plus extra for lunch! | total prep and cooking time 1 hour 15 mins 


  • olive oil
  • half a pack of sofritto or 1 onion, diced +/-1 diced carrot and 1 diced celery stick 
  • 4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes/ dried chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 400g can diced tomatoes in natural juices
  • splash of white wine (optional)
  • 500ml fish or chicken stock (cubes are fine)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 haddock fillets (or other white fish e.g cod or coley) cut into 2 inch chunks (or if cooking frozen fillets you can flake it in the soup once it’s cooked)
  • 180g raw jumbo prawns
  • cooked mussels – I use Waitrose Scottish Mussels in Garlic Butter 2 x 250g
  • Chopped parsley – fresh or frozen
  • Vegetables e.g. green beans (optional)


  • Heat the oil in a very large pot over medium heat.
  • Add the soffritto mix (or equivalent) and saute for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes/chilli flakes (if using) , and saute for 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the tomato puree
  • Add the tomatoes with their juices, wine (if using), stock and the bay leaf. Cover and simmer on medium-low heat for approximately 30 minutes.
  • Add the fish, cover and cook for 5-10 mins
  • Add the raw prawns and mussels. I normally take the mussels out of the shells except for a handful which I keep in for aesthetic reasons! I often add some green beans at this stage for an extra veggie boost
  • Simmer gently until the prawns are pink and cooked and the fish is flaky.
  • Stir in the chopped parsley

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