Fish Soup, Bouillabaisse

Not guilty food has moved to my kitchen today. To be more precise, today we did everything that could be possibly done in a 3,5sqm kitchen.

Mrs not guilty food and me share a mother-daughter relationship, therefore my connection with cooking goes as far back as I can remember. I don’t think I was ever taught how to cook and I don’t remember asking about any recipe, we just liked to be in the kitchen, talk, laugh, knead and eat, and that’s how I learned, in a more experiential way. My favorite dish when I was a kid was spinach purée with beef liver (not what you would expect from a five-year-old) and that’s all thanks to my mom.

My first steps towards independence (when it comes to food) were during a ski trip abroad with my parents, when I confidently headed over to the restaurant’s buffet to prepare my own dish. The result was a combination of pasta, a piece of lemon tart, a green apple and three olives, all on the same plate. All grown-ups obviously laughed their heads off but for me (being at an age when I didn’t understand why they were laughing) it was a very important moment. I even think they were just jealous I was the one who came up with this combination first.


I’ve always had a soft spot for seafood, scallops, clams, urchins, sea squirts, cockles and anything else that’s considered forbidden. And that’s also thanks to my parents, my dad’s love for the sea and the fact that when other kids were playing by the beach, me and my dad were swimming and picking up clams for our evening pasta.


In other news, I am Lilian, I work as an architect in Athens and live in Lycabettus, I love travelling, jazz music, long walks with no specific destination and finding myself in new places –mostly old, abandoned houses that I love to explore (let’s keep that between us as it’s not exactly legal), relaxing in my balcony with a hot cup of coffee on a windy September day, the feeling of being sea sprayed while being on a boat, a nice glass of red wine that reminds me of butter, the sense of gravity when I’m swimming and walking barefoot. Lastly, four years ago I was lucky enough to meet Tigro –the goofiest and most adorable guy I have ever met- and since then I get to share everything with him, from endless walks in the park to cozy night hugs in winter.

Not guilty food has moved to my kitchen today. To be more precise, today we did everything that could be possibly done in a 3,5sqm kitchen. Fish, vegetables, pots, just one kitchen counter and a small ladder I could step on to take pictures were more than enough to make the space feel completely packed. I love this mess though, I love cooking and every time I have to choose between cooking something nice and gather with friends or stay under a blanket all day and do nothing, I always go for the first option (at least almost always). I truly enjoy these Sundays when friends come over for a morning coffee but somehow we end up cooking, eating, having some wine and playing charades, without realizing how it’s suddenly 12am.

Time for our bouillabaisse -originally fishermen’s stew- which used to be made with small fish that couldn’t be sold or fish that fishermen kept from the catch of the day. Classic bouillabaisse is made with seawater which we unfortunately don’t have today but if you ever find yourselves at some isolated beach and you happen to have a few cooking vessels with you, I’d strongly advise you to try it. The secret to this delicious soup lies in the broth, that’s why adding different types of fish to your recipe might prove very helpful. Today I’ve bought cockles, mussels, shrimps, scorpionfish (one of my favorites) and white grouper cheeks. You can obviously choose any fish you like, ask for fresh fish at your local fish shop or choose a more affordable but equally delicious option. For example, if it was any other day and I didn’t want my soup to be so photogenic, I’d buy codfish, some kind of redfish for the taste and mussels which are delicious, impressive and very reasonably priced.




1 onion

Chili pepper

1 Celery stick

3 potatoes

4 carrots

Chopped parsley

Juice from one lemon

4-5 shrimps

500g mussels

500g cockles

1 white grouper cheek

1 small scorpionfish (600g)

Salt and pepper


  1. Add the cockles to a big bowl filled with water to remove the sand. Change the water regularly and shake the cockles for better results. Repeat 4-5 times until you make sure the water is clean from any signs of sand.
  2. Wash the mussels externally by rubbing them well with a wire sponge and then remove each mussel’s beard by pulling it in the opposite direction of its hinged edge.
  3. With a toothpick, remove carefully the dirt from the spine of your shrimps (be gentle with them) and then proceed to cutting your vegetables.
  4. Add the cheeks, scorpionfish and shrimp heads to a pot with boiling salted water. Don’t let your fish overboil. When you see that they’re boiled properly, remove the cheeks and scorpionfish and let the fish head and shrimp heads boil for another 10 minutes. In the meantime, remove all fish bones from the cheeks and the scorpionfish and make sure there’s no bone left on them. Then remove the heads from your broth and set it aside.
  5. In a clean pot, add oil and sauté the onion and a chili pepper piece (the size of the piece depends on how spicy you want your soup to be), then add the celery, carrots and potatoes, stir 2-3 times and use a ladle to transfer your broth to the vegetables. Let them boil in regular heat. At this point, try your soup to determine whether it needs any more salt or pepper. You’ll notice that foam is formed while your soup is boiling, use a spoon to remove it carefully.
  6. After about 30 minutes (depending on how big your vegetables are cut) add the zucchini, they don’t need much time to boil so make sure they don’t melt. Add the shrimps which need around 3-4 minutes and then add the scallops which need about 2 minutes to open. Add the fish you cleaned earlier for a last boil so that it blends well with your soup. When you add the cockles and mussels, cover the pot so that they open more easily.
  7. Lastly, finish your soup by adding the juice from half or one lemon (depending on how acidic your lemon is and how intense you want the lemon flavor to be in the soup, either way, you can try the lemon before you determine how much you’re going to use).
  8. Serve your soup in the dishware of your preference and add some olive oil and freshly cut parsley. At this point, it’s really important to mention that we can only consume scallops that have opened. If you find any that haven’t opened, remove them from your soup.