20 June 2011

The Reckoning (recipe: Fish Terrine)

In restaurants in Germany, when you finish your meal you don't ask for the bill. You ask for 'die rechnung'. It's what tells you how much you have to pay for your excesses at the table. As you may have guessed, this word is the root of our English word 'reckoning'. Which also has to do with paying for your excesses.

I've reached a day of reckoning; a day (in the metaphorical sense, because it's going to last longer than a day) when I need to pay for my excesses. This reckoning has come about for several reasons: first, my blood pressure is slowly climbing; second, my cholesterol is doing the same thing. And finally, I have a BIG birthday coming in November and I'd like to be in better shape for it than I am in now.

So, to that end I've done some research. It's how I approach problems. I've looked high and low and near and far to find a magic solution. There is none. Sigh. The truth of it is that I have to lose 14 kilos. That's 30 pounds. Yikes. So I've started a diet. Because I know that I need structure I looked for a diet that would give me that. I've tried to just cut back, to not eat desserts, to do all the reasonable things. None of it works for long. Let's face it, I'm just not a 'reasonable' type person when it comes to diet. So I looked for a diet that was reasonably strict.

I also know that I need feedback. Interaction. Encouragement when I reach a plateau. And exercise. I know that I need more exercise. And even more important, I know that after I've lost the weight I'm not finished. I need to stabilize my weight at the new level or it will all just come right back the first time I look at a potato.

My reckoning comes in the form of a French doctor/nutritionist named Pierre Dukan. This is not a plug, nor is it an endorsement. It's just to tell you that I've chosen this way to help me lose weight. What I like about his program is that you can get daily feedback in the form of emails (ok, I know they're programmed, but there are also live people available for advice). The diet has several phases, the last one being a phase of consolidation to help ensure that you don't gain the weight back. It is similar to a diet I used years ago that helped me lose weight and keep it off for a very long time.

So, if you're still reading my blog I invite you to participate in the journey with me. Not the diet part, 'cause you probably don't need it like I do. But the feedback part. The encouragement part. We'll begin today: Day 6, 2 kilos lost. (you say: Yaay!)

On the website for this diet there are lots of recipes. Not that I use them, mind you, but they give me ideas. Like this one for a fish terrine. I changed it, of course. In the original there were chopped scallops in the outside part, and the inside 'sausage' was composed of the white fish mousse wrapped around with smoked salmon. I couldn't find any scallops that I liked, but I DID find a lovely piece of salmon. So I wrapped the smoked salmon around the plain salmon and put that in the middle.

When I unmolded the terrine, it looked—well, ugly. It was sort of white, with no color at all. So I covered it with some smoked salmon and played around with some herbs and spices on the top. I was pleased with the result. I would serve this to company.

You can use any white fish for this. I used cod, but I could also have used sea bass or haddock. I used yogurt with 0% fat, but of course you could use regular greek yogurt. I also used fennel flowers, an herb I can only find in Italy. If you don't have them you can chop or grind some fennel seeds or use a lot of dill or fennel leaves. You just want a little touch of that fennel flavor. I don't think this needs any salt, as the smoked salmon is pretty salty.

Fish Terrine

500 g / 1 lb white fish
250 g / ½ lb smoked salmon
100 g / ¼ lb salmon filet
1 egg
2 big soup spoons of greek yogurt
1 teaspoon fennel flowers

  • Preheat oven to 160 C / 350 F
  • Put the white fish in the food processor with the egg, the fennel, the pepper and the yogurt. Pulse to form a loose mixture.
  • If you're making this in a loaf shaped mold, line the mold with baking paper. If you're making it in individual casseroles or ramekins, you won't need to line them.
  • Cut the salmon filet so that it fits in your mold: if you're using a loaf mold, cut the filet to the length of the mold and about as big around as your finger. If you're using individual casseroles or ramekins, just cut it in pieces to fit in the middle surrounded by the white fish.
  • If you're using a loaf mold, wrap the salmon filet with the smoked salmon.
  • Put about half of the white fish mixture in the mold and make an indentation for the salmon. In the loaf mold, lay the salmon packet in the middle and cover with the rest of the white fish mixture. In the smaller round molds, lay a piece of smoked salmon in the indentation and put a chunk of filet on top. Cover with another piece of smoked salmon and then with the rest of the white fish mixture.
  • Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes for the loaf pan, 20-25 for the small casseroles. They're done when the top is slightly dry.
  • Cool, and serve chilled.

Serves 4 if they like it and 10 if they don't.


  • You might add some other herbs in the salmon packets in the middle of the mold: pink peppercorns, coriander, dill. Cardamom and pink peppercorns would be wonderful here.
  • If you're not on a diet, this would be amazing with a dollop of sour cream mixed with chives. 
  • If you're not on a diet you could substitute cream cheese for the yogurt in the white fish mousse.  


La Table De Nana said...

This is gorgeous..Good luck..I hope all your healthy plans work out..

Susan Lindquist said...

Two kilos already? Great work, Kate! Best of luck on this healthy venture!

Barbara said...

I'm going to encourage you a lot, Kate, 'cause I just did the same thing. I've lost 35 pounds since January. I'm nearly through...just a couple more to go. It's boring, annoying, and sometimes I just wanted to throw in the towel, but it has been worth it.
I'll be your biggest booster and biggest fan!

Donna said...

Kate - what a great recipe - I can't wait to give it a try. Kuddos to you for loosing 2 kilos already. As you live in such a lovely area, why don't you buy a pedometer (one that measures how many steps you take and how many miles/kilometers you do) and start walking. The first day, I'd walk a 1/2 - 1 hour then, see how much that is on your pedometer - the key is that you want get up to walking 10,000 steps a day to lose weight - for me, that's 5 miles but as I walk just about that in my everyday life, I have to walk much more. As you're in the mountains and not the city, you'll get more steps in and they'll be more efficient as you walk up nd down hills and through pastures hills. Good luck and I'll keep checking back. Miss talking to you. D

WizzyTheStick said...

Good luck on your journey and I hope you achieve your goal. well done on styling the terrine Some foods need a little help to make them shine. If you had left it plain I doubt I would have given it a 2nd glance. job well done!

Hungry Dog said...

Good luck, Kate--although you don't need it--I sense you are the type of person that does what she sets her mind to! Great job on what you've already accomplished. Luckily you live in Europe where people seem to walk of the many reasons I loved visiting there. And, this fish terrine looks lovely, what a perk that it's healthy too!

The Gypsy Chef said...

Hey Kate! Good luck! but HD is right, Your are the type of person that does what she sets her mind too. I will make this and I am so excited to use the fennel flowers you gave me. My son and I are lusting for the chocolate sauce and oh those candies. Yikes! Ok I have to email, too much to talk about. The snaps are lovely. I miss you!