Monkfish a l’Armoricaine

Food & Travel, Make, Eat, Drink

Mamie Annie

Meet Mamie Annie, Guillaume’s mother from France. “Mamie” means grandma in French so “Mamie Annie” is what our kids call her.

In true French tradition, Annie is a wonderful cook, so over the coming weeks I’ll try to document some of her dishes for you because they are in one word – delicious!

On Sunday we visited the Auckland Fish Markets where Annie chose some fresh Monkfish and prepared “Lotte à l’Amoricaine” for dinner. This dish originates from Armorica, the name given in ancient times to Brittany and its surrounds. The name means “small sea” in Britannic language.

You should give it a go; it’s simple to cook. This is what you need:

1 kg monkfish fillets

1 kg ripe tomatoes

250ml dry white wine

1 shot glass of Cognac

2 – 3 tablespoon tomato paste

10 shallots sliced

5-10 drops of Tabasco (depending on taste)

Extra virgin olive oil

Freshly chopped parsley

Salt and pepper

Rice to serve with



Peel and de-seed the tomatoes, remove any juice, chop and put aside.

Wipe the fish with a tea towel to remove any moisture and cut into large bite size pieces, heat 2 -3 tablespoons of oil in a heavy based pan and bring pan to very high heat (to prevent fish boiling) and sear fish in batches until almost cooked, return all of the fish to pan and throw in the cognac and light it to do a “flambé”. Put the fish aside.

peel tomato

chopped tomatoes

Meanwhile return pan to low heat and sweat the shallots then add tomatoes, Tabasco, white wine and bring to a gentle boil and then lower to a simmer and reduce for 10-15 minutes.

reduce tomatoes

Season to taste, add the fish, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with rice.

Serves 4

Bon appetit!


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  1. Audrey

    Oh Mel, this blog post is bringing tears to my eyes! How I miss my homeland sometimes… Remembering my own Mamie who cooked up a storm every single day for us and who was also always wearing an apron while cooking! I hope you all have a fantastic time during Annie’s visit xx

    Reply »

    mel replied:

    Thanks Audrey! It’s incredible the passion she has – as soon as we finish breakfast, she’s discussing what we’ll eat for lunch – wonderful! M x

    Reply »

  2. Michelle

    14 years of learning French and I never knew that Mamie was ‘Grand Mere’! Mamie Annie is so cute! I bet you’re loving having her to stay and preparing such amazing meals! This one looks divine! x

    Reply »

    mel replied:

    Ha! Yes they don’t teach you practical things like that at school! 14 years though, very impressed! Mel x

    Reply »

  3. Genie

    This looks like a great family style rustic dish. Anything served on rice suddenly becomes homely to me. A perfect dish for all the great tomatoes around at the moment.

    Reply »

    mel replied:

    Hi Genie, thanks for stopping by:) Yes it’s really a delicious meal!

    Reply »

  4. CatherIne Bedson

    ohh Mel this is beautiful..Guillame’s mother looks so lovely. Love her dress. This post has so much warmth. The photos are great with the combo of coloured & black & white. Will definitely try this when I get home. xx

    Reply »

  5. NIc

    What a great recipe! I love monkfish but don’t know many ways to cook it so I’ll definitely be trying this. Thanks for sharing – and I love the French school poster you have in your kitchen, I’m featuring them in an upcoming post. N x

    Reply »

    mel replied:

    @Nic – thanks and you should definitely try it! We just got the poster framed after having it for years…
    @Catherine – thanks and I’ll tell her you like the dress:))) Hope you’re having a great time!

    Reply »

  6. odette

    Je suis tellement fière de voir ma copine Annie sur ce blog du “bout du monde” ! Je témoigne de son grand art en cuisine. J’ai des souvenirs multiples et délicieux de ses prouesses culinaires. Elle cuisine le poisson de façon admirable !
    Pourvu qu’elle ne décide pas de rester en Nouvelle Zélande. J’ai besoin d’elle en France, pour chanter, coudre, … et plusieurs autres choses.
    Bonjour à la Nouvelle Zélande et à la famille d’Annie, from one of Mamie Annie’s friend !

    Reply »

  7. mel

    Bonjour Odette,
    Nous profitons bien d’Annie et je prends l’habitude de lui laisser faire la cuisine, c’est reposant! With regret we will let her go back to France – eventually! Merci bien pour votre commentaire et peut-être a cet été a Berneuil. Mel

    Reply »


    Dear Mel and Annie

    Nul n’est prophète en son pays…sauf Annie, car tous ses amies et amis le savent bien. Les prouesses culinaires d’Annie ont franchi depuis longtemps les frontières de la Charente Libre.
    Nous sommes ravis qu’elle exporte son savoir-faire et sa générosité au bout du monde pour le régal de ses enfants et petits-enfants.
    Profitez tous de ces bons moments, nous pensons bien à vous.
    Nadine et Jean-Louis

    Reply »

    mel replied:

    Merci Nadine et Jean-Louis. J’espere que un jour je pourrai faire la cuisine la moitié aussi bien qu’elle. Je prends des notes! Mel

    Reply »

  9. caroline @trend-daily

    Wow, wow Mel-how completely wonderful. You MUST make a mini ISSUU or Instagram book or whatever they are-the food, the photos, Mamie cooking-would just make the most gorgeous story-her visit to New Zealand in food images-please do it!!! xx

    Reply »

    mel replied:

    @Anastasia Thank you:))) Yes she is, we’re lucky enough to have her for 6 weeks so will definitely make the most of her!
    @Caroline – okay – I seriously need to work on this Instagram thing… We’re away at the moment, perhaps it’s time to give it a go!

    Reply »

  10. Emilie


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