Bouillabaisse | A French Fisherman Classic

I have learnt that there is a very clear distinction between food bloggers and food photographers / stylists. I am a food blogger and I concentrate on bringing you, my reader, the very best recipes I possibly can. I cook at night when I get home from work – yes, I do have a regular job. I usually start cooking at 18h00 and in summer it is still light, but in winter, the sun has set and it is a lights on situation. I dish up our supper around 19h00 and just before we go and sit down I take a photograph of our meal. Basically, what you see here is what we eat. On the very odd occasion I will take a photo during the day but that is about as close to food photography as I will get. This photograph is the bouillabaisse I made at home and photographed under a halogen light in my kitchen.


I was very fortunate to spend an afternoon with Sam Linsell who is a food stylist / photographer. I made bouillabaisse for her and she showed me a few tricks of her trade. Sam showed me how she goes about styling her photographs and what goes in to taking the perfect shot. I learnt so much from her, and even though you don’t see it everyday on my blog it is something I think about each time I take a photo. I know that the next step for me is a better camera -but that is a long way off from happening as I am throwing all my spare cash at building a house, and I want to stay true to being a food blogger first and foremost. This photograph was taken by me and styled by Sam.

Bouillabaisse With Sam
Bouillabaisse With Sam

I don’t make use of props as I am a bit impatient and I like to concentrate on the dish. Also, my blog is not photo ‘heavy’ as I am really all about the recipe. This recipe for bouillabaisse was tested over a long period of time and made about 4 times before I was happy with the end result. I hope you will give it a try!

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Recipe Category: Seafood, Shellfish, Soup


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced
  • 15 mls crushed garlic
  • 1 red chilli, chopped
  • 1 sprig fennel fronds
  • 1 small bunch parsley
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Piece dried orange rind
  • 300 g firm white fish, thickly sliced
  • 300 g mussels
  • 1 generous pinch saffron
  • 60 mls olive oil
  • 60 mls white wine
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
  • 500 mls decent quality fish stock


  • 1 small bunch fresh coriander, roughly chopped


  • Using a heavy bottomed casserole dish with a lid, layer the onion, carrot, tomato and fennel
  • Add the garlic, chilli, fennel, the small bunch of parsley, thyme, bay leaf and the orange rind
  • Layer the fish and the shellfish on top
  • Grind the strands in a pestle and mortar
  • Add the oil and the wine and mix
  • Pour over the shellfish
  • Season generously with salt and pepper
  • Leave to marinade for 2 hours and then pour in the stock
  • You want the stock to cover the fish – you might not need all of it, and if you need more, use water
  • Bring to the boil with the lid on, remove the lid and boil for 12 minutes
  • Gently remove the shellfish and fish and place into a deep soup bowl
  • Strain the broth and serve over the fish and shellfish with a sprinkle of coriander


To dry a piece of orange rind: use a vegetable peeler and peel a piece of the skin off the orange without ‘grabbing’’ the pith. Dry in an oven heated to 100 Deg C for 20 minutes. Accompany with a French loaf and rouille

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34 thoughts on “Bouillabaisse | A French Fisherman Classic

  1. Oh Tandy, I hear you!! I too work and have to make do with artificial lighting, take a quick pick a minute before it’s devoured by the family…I love Bouillabaisse. It reminds me of the month I spent in Marseille, we dined on this when we felt like something special and it was always washed down with a crispy glass of white. Bliss!

  2. Fabulous recipe Tandy. I like to photograph the food and not props. It might be a bit short sighted but I like to show the food the way it will be eaten and not dressed up, if you know what I mean. Your photographs are lovely.
    Have a happy day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  3. Hi, Tandy, lovely bouillabaisse recipe and I like the idea of adding some coriander leaves and blossoms to it.

    Like you I am a WYSIWIT (what-you-see-is-what-I-took) person and most of the time I use my iPhone camera app. But it is nice when time allows it to fiddle around a little bit with a better camera and the results are obvious.

  4. I don’t go too crazy with food styling but I do try to put out a placement and have some items in the background just for some context. it’s just a few extra steps but it really makes a photo much better!

    1. That is a great idea Joanne – I will do that when we move into the house as I will have the space to set up for my photos 🙂

  5. Another recipe I’ve had in the back of my mind to try. Seems simple enough so no more excuses. Thx Tandy xx

  6. I agree with you whole heartedly on the food blogger vs photographer/stylist!I am not a Food Stylist, or Food Photographer. Just me, my food and my blog. Do what we can with what we have 🙂

  7. Love your admissions on food styling Tandy! I’m with you although your recipes are so much more eloquent. I especially like this one as I am a shell fish eater. Always appreciate your food and your photos.

  8. Your bouillabaisse looks so delicious, and nicely photographed! Bookmarking this recipe–thanks for sharing! 😀
    I need to try working on my photo-taking skills as well, but just like you I want to first focus on the food itself and I am also investing my money towards renovations in my new home.

  9. Hi TAndy, this dish looks very nice and the pictures are excellent. Like you, I don’t fuss about with my food photography. I see you add red chili, carrot and white wine which I like. I don’t like mussels so I replaced them with prawns. This looks and sounds delicious.

    1. Thank you Robbie, I really appreciate you commenting on this old post. I think anything can be swapped out as traditionally it would have been made with what was available. Do you eat clams?

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