Fish stock

Makes about 1.5ltr
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How often is fish stock made at home these days? Not very often, I reckon, but there are so many tasty things that can be made from a few bones and heads. Fish soup, for example, with the addition of just a few extra ingredients, is a great year-round dish and can be stored easily in the freezer. Or you could make a white fish soup like water souchet, salvaging any bits of meat on the bones for a garnish. Here is a simple fish stock that can be used for the base of fish soups – or just kept in the freezer for other fishy dishes or sauces.

1kg or so of white fish bones, washed
2 medium leeks, trimmed, roughly chopped and washed
2 medium onions, peeled, halved and roughly chopped
A couple of sticks of celery, roughly chopped
Half a lemon
1tsp fennel seeds
20 black peppercorns
A couple of sprigs of thyme
1 bayleaf
A few parsley stalks

Wash the bones in cold water. Put the bones into a pot with the rest of the ingredients, cover with cold water and bring to the boil; skim off any scum that forms and then simmer for 20 minutes, skimming occasionally.

Strain the stock through a fine-meshed sieve. Check its strength and reduce it if necessary. Leave to cool.