About the columnist

Joey de Larrazabal-Blanco started cooking in earnest out of absolute necessity-a continent away from home with no one to feed her. She then promptly and totally flung herself into a one-woman love affair with food-procuring it, preparing it, and ultimately, consuming it. She carries no credentials except for her passion and is firm in her belief that anyone can learn to cook.

Description: Joey de Larrazabal-Blanco

Joey de Larrazabal-Blanco

Let’s be honest: Even the bright-side-seeking and positivity-infuse among us fall victim to the evil clutches of stress. You’d be hard-pressed to find a person juggling less than three “balls’ at any given time. Often, however, it is not so much the presence of stress, but how we handle it that is important.

Some people hit the gym or indulge in their favourite form of physical activity. Some burry themselves in a good book, A few lucky ones literally escape through travel. I love a good book and choose this route often. I also love to travel, but time and budget does not always allow for this. And physical activity is more likely to cause me from it. So I turn to cooking.

I love hiding away for a weekend to make stews, stocks, and soups from scratch. It’s manual, contemplative work that fills and engrosses me, and delivers my mind from all other worries. Working with my hands and turning various parts into a nourishing and delicious whole makes me feel like all is right in the world.

But more often than not - and I believe this may be true for most of us-I don’t have a couple of days with which to do nothing but cook. I have a family, a job, and other things that vie for my time and attention. Nevertheless, that doesn’t stop me (and neither should it stop you) from finding a few pockets of time in the middle of a busy workweek to head to the kitchen and prepare a dish or two. It’s a form of stress relief that comes with the bonus of being able to place a homemade meal on the table in the process.

This dish is quick, easy, delicious, and for the most part, healthful as well. The herb paste is the most complicated part of the whole procedure, although in truth, it’s not that complicated at all. It only entails tossing ingredients into a food processor and blitzing everything in a few quick pulses. Once you have this ready, the rest can be done in the blink of an eye. If you want this to be a complete meal, just toss some asparagus in the pan along with the fish, rubbing them liberally with some of your extra herb paste.

Make time in your day for the things you love, whether it be cooking, reading, hiding out in a too-small princess tent with your little one, or enjoying a few gin when dealing with stress and will help you face challenges with new energy!

Herby bacon – wrapped fish fillets

Serves: 4 Prep

Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 25 to 30 minutes

Description: Herby bacon – wrapped fish fillets

Herby bacon – wrapped fish fillets

·         ½ cup cilantro leaves

·         ½ cup parsley leaves

·         2 tablespoons chopped green onions (white and light green parts only)

·         1 clove garlic, chopped finely

·         Zest from 1 lemon 2 to 4 anchovy fillets or to taste, divided

·         ¼ cup olive oil

·         400 grams sole fillet or any white fish fillet

·         4 to 6 strips bacon (one strip per piece of fish)

1.    Preheat oven to 350oF.

2.    Place cilantro, parsley, green onions, garlic, lemon zest, 2 anchovy fillets, and olive oil in a food processor or in the bowl of a stick blender. Process until it looks like pesto; taste. If it needs more salt, add another anchovy fillet. You can do this by half fillets until it is seasoned to your liking. Set aside.

3.    Cut fish fillets into 4 to 6 pieces that are equal in size. Use 3 to 3 tablespoonfuls of the herb mix to coat fillets. Wrap each fillet in strip of bacon. Place on a parchment-lined baking tray and roast in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until fish and bacon are done.


After making this recipe, you will have some of the herb mixture left over. I like to keep this in a little jar topped with a thin layer of olive oil as it is fantastic in so many ways: you can toss it with some new potatoes before roasting, mix it with cream cheese for a simple appetizer spread (or mix the herbed cream cheese through scrambled eggs), or toss it with some short pasta and peas for a quick lunch. You can also freeze it if you don’t think you’ll use everything in one go.

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