Herby grilled snapper

A good place to start… Heat Beads coconut shell briquettes on the chimney booster.
Also pretty important – A good looking fish.

That fish all locked up and getting all grilly and delicious.

Herby grilled snapper. Just get on it.

HERBY GRILLED SNAPPER

2 kg snapper or similar fish, scaled and gutted
2 cloves garlic
2 cups picked fresh herbs – a mix of parsley, rosemary, oregano and nasturtium
1 tspn dried chilli flakes
1 tbls red wine vinegar
½ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
Extra olive oil and lemon juice, to serve

Combine all ingredients except fish in a blender or food processor and blitz into a coarse paste. A stick wizz will also work for this. We shall call this ‘the marinade’.
Now score the fish a few times across the body to ensure even cooking and allow a bit of the marinade to penetrate.
Rub or brush marinade over fish until it is all gone.
Set aside, in the fridge is probably best, and get your fire sorted.
Make a fire or get some coals going in your kettle or other BBQ. Keep most of the fire to one side and only pull a few coals across to go under the fish as to avoid burning it up worse than Anikin’s head in ‘Revenge of the Sith’ before it is cooked through.
Put the fish into the Hannibal Lector cage or something similar if you have one. The fish can also be cooked via the other methods listed down below.
Place fish on grill and cover with lid. Cook fish over coals for 12 minutes on one side, flip and then cook for 12 minutes on the other side or until cooked through to the bone on the thickest part of the fish. Test by gently trying to push the flesh apart with a knife – it should come away from the bone easily and be opaque in colour.
Once it is good to go (or G to G as my children keep telling me), get it onto the table dressed with a little olive oil and lemon juice, plus some kind of Mediterranean salad on the side.

• Cook fish directly on grill of BBQ, just be plenty gentle when you flip it. Holding it with tongs at both ends is what I would recommend.
• Wrap with alfoil before cooking on grill to aid turning and also ensure the fish stays moist. This method will not give you any great crispy-grilly skin bits though.
• Bake in a 220 – 240 C (450 – 460 F) oven.

That fish one more time.

Grilled seafood with garlicky butter sauce while the kids are away


A simple, three-step recipe for a damn fine night with your one and only while the children are absent on school camp.

1. Ship the children off to school camp. It is important to remember that this involves more than just sending your offspring to their place of learning (yes, that’s questionable but we’ll get back to that gripping social commentary at a later date) and leaving them with a packed bag and no intention of returning to pick them up. In fact, you can get into a lot of trouble for that type of behavior. You will need the school that your children are attending to host a student camp and take those little cherubs off of your hands, and you need them to be gone for a few nights at the very least.

2. Once the children have stepped out of the car and the doors have been closed behind them it is time to head straight down to your local purveyors of home entertainment goods, quality seafood and booze and, in that order, get yourself a new home entertainment system – something big… and in colour… and with wireless remote control. Yeah, we’re going all out on this one (or maybe you already have one of these and this step can be omitted), get a pile of fresh seafood – we chose prawns (shrimp), scallops, ocean trout and oysters, and defo get some quality booze of some kind – some ingredients for a mojito plus a decent bubbly for later was a pretty good call methinks.

3. Drink some booze and cook that seafood and serve it with garlicky butter as per following recipe. Pretty simple huh…

Outstanding prep to flavour ratio right there

Get it going on

Seafood, butter sauce and booze. That is a good time

GARLICKY BUTTER DIPPY SAUCE FOR SEAFOOD

(serves 2-4, depending on how buttery you like it)

250g unsalted butter
6-8 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon seafood seasoning, we used Lanes Q-Nami to absolutely outstanding effect
1 handful parsley, chopped
Juice of ½ lemon
A little extra salt and pepper if needed
A decent pile of fresh seafood, straight off the coals
Bread to mop up any extra buttery goodness

Sauté the garlic with one tablespoon of butter to get the show on the road. Once garlic has softened, add remaining butter and seafood seasoning and cook out over medium heat until butter start to foam.
Pour lemon juice into butter and remove from heat.
Check seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Get it onto the table with a pile of seafood.
Use bread to mop up any extra puddles of that liquid gold and, if the mood encourages it, maybe even save a little butter sauce for garlic butter boobies later on.
Hey, I don’t know what you freaking pervs get up to when the kids are away…

Coal roasted fish bruschetta AKA camp bruschetta

fish bruschetta
Last week I was writing the roster at work, which is a pretty ordinary thing for someone in my position to be doing. It was going to be a pretty good one too – I had reined it back to a less-than-50-hour-week which is a more than acceptable working week for one who has chosen chef as their profession.

And then it turned into a really damn good roster really quickly.

I had completely erased my name from the graphy looking little timetable that was trying to tell me I would be attending work that next week. Bam. Gone.

“Yup. That was a heaps better idea,” my smart brains told me. “You should just piss off camping instead.”

“Brilliant,” I agreed, quickly realising that I was conducting one hell of a cracking monologue in front of the staff… again.

Not to worry. These guys have seen how much coffee I drink…. They’ve heard me talk of my carnie fetish… they knew what they were getting themselves in for when they signed up.

Before I knew it we were packing the car for the camping trip. We packed crocodile seeking missiles, a box jellyfish/ozone depletion full body protection suit, the really deadly snake deterrent, nuke ‘em from orbit tent mounted mosquito extermination technology and, of course, the drop bear trap. We never go camping with out a drop bear trap. The car was almost full but we still had just enough room for our prescription medication, a few amphetamines for who ever is on drop bear watch (they always attack at night or in the small hours of the morning) and enough rum to wash it all down.

That is what we did because that is how we go camping in Australia.

Once all of our nature defences were in place and we were high as a kite, we went fishing and caught ourselves a few plump flathead which we promptly cooked on the coals and camping-like-a-boss made them into some tasty assed fish bruschetta with herby salsa.

Get one of the kids to prep the fish. Try and disguise your shitty photo by making it black and white
Get one of the kids to prep the fish. Try and disguise your shitty photo by making it black and white

I could've eaten quite a few of these
I could’ve eaten quite a few of these

FISH BRUSCHETTA WITH HERBY SALSA

(serves 4 as a light meal)

2 whole fish (800g-1kg to give approx. 400g meat)
8 slices sour dough bread
1 small Lebanese cucumber, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
½ small white onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons salsa verde (it would probably be pretty easy for you to make some before you leave)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

• Put everything except the fish and bread into a bowl, mix to combine and allow to macerate while you cook the fish.
• My fish went straight onto the coals of the campfire for 6-7 minutes each side and then we peeled the skin back and flaked the flesh off the bone with a fork. It was some seriously tasty shit. A little bit charred and smoky and still so damn moist thanks to the skin and scales – this is some seriously sexy business.
• Maybe you don’t have a campfire so you can get a similar result by wrapping your fish in foil and roasting them for 10-12 minutes at 200C.
• Now is a good time to toast your bread. You can toast bread right?
• To assemble drizzle the toasts with olive oil and then divide flaked fish between the 8 pieces. Top with salsa and spoon over salsa juices. Season with a little salt and pepper if it needs some.
• I cannot say enough how damn good this was.

My son Obi the kangaroo whisperer
My son Obi the kangaroo whisperer

Crumbed fish so easy my kids could do it

crumbed breaded fish
Crumbed (breaded) fish is so easy my kids could do it.

…and they did.

Well, I would be more correct in saying that Obi made it. He made it look as piss easy as it should look too.

Flour, egg wash and then bread crumbs. That is not rocket science. Building rockets is rocket science. This isn’t even close to a chance meeting with Stephen Hawking. It is not, I repeat, not science.

It is though, a pretty satisfying way to cook some nice fresh fish at home. Also, just to reiterate, it is also very easy and has the added advantage of going to be a whole heap tidier than pulling out the battered and deep fried version of fish dinner… especially if you are a first timer…

I’ll even make it more of a showy-telly-looky kind of thing, as apposed to one of those lotsa-wordy-ready things that take all of the mental capacity of some one who is a fair bit smarter than you’re looking right now.

Whoa. Soz. Really , I’m not trying to insult anyone… except maybe you. Yeah, you know who I’m talking to.

So on with the photos then…

Get the kids up really early and get on a boat that will take you into the ocean
Get the kids up really early and get on a boat that will take you into the ocean

Suss out some whales on the way (we will not be crumbing these today)
Suss out some whales on the way (we will not be crumbing these today)
Mandatory pic of kids with fish
Mandatory pic of kids with fish
Fillet and skin fish. We cut the fillets into fish finger sort of looking pieces because the boys wanted to make home made fish fingers, but goujons is probably the more correct term
Fillet and skin fish. We cut the fillets into fish finger sort of looking pieces because the boys wanted to make home made fish fingers, but goujons is probably the more correct term
That is followed by a roll through the flour, a dip through the egg wash and then a quick romp through the breadcrumbs. Read it again if you couldn't make sense of it...
That is followed by a roll through the flour, a dip through the egg wash and then a quick romp through the breadcrumbs. Read it again if you couldn’t make sense of it…
Obi shallow fries the fish fingers over med-low heat for 4-5 minutes, turning regularly
Obi shallow fries the fish fingers over med-low heat for 4-5 minutes, turning regularly

Eaty time with a potato, roasted carrot, chorizo and corn salad and home made tartare
Eaty time with a potato, roasted carrot, chorizo and corn salad and home made tartare

You can do this shit, trust me.

And if you are thinking you might like the look of the salad we had with ours, rest assured it will be hitting these inter-web pages soon!

Very bloody tasty indeed
Very bloody tasty indeed

Bahn mi tron sandwich

bahn mi
Yes I have just just returned from 3 weeks in the North Eastern reaches of Western Australia and yes I’ve got some stories to tell about fish and crocodiles and cooking on the coals of an open fire. Proper Crocodile Dundee shit. But that’s on hold for now. It’s a time thing. It’s not you it’s me. You know?

Besides, we had bahn mi for lunch today so I thought I could quickly tell you about that. That will be plenty easy, right?

We had a bit of cooked pork belly, prawns, some home made pate and a baguette all congregating in our kitchen. All at the same time.

Do you know what that means?

I will tell you what that means through a direct quote straight from the mouth of my 9 year old son, Obi.

“We should make bahn mi for lunch”.

Yes Obi, yes we should.

I understand that it’s not going to be too often the occasion that these ingredients just happen to be hanging out in the kitchen, like those robot lions, just waiting to form Voltron… or in this case, bahn mi tron. So it is totally feasible to go to the shop or the market or where ever it is you buy things to eat and purchase a little sliced roast pork, cooked prawns and a bit of pate… and you can get yourself a baguette while you’re there, ay.

Then you can put it all together pretty easily and let the memories of your Vietnam holiday come flooding back.
IMG_7256

The cucumber is best if it's sliced with the same type of hand held double mandoline thingy that is used all over the streets of Vietnam. This invention would've charged a few finger tips for sure...
The cucumber is best if it’s sliced with the same type of hand held double mandoline thingy that is used all over the streets of Vietnam. This invention would’ve charged a few finger tips for sure…
We had some left over roast pork belly which I crisped up in the pan
We had some left over roast pork belly which I crisped up in the pan
Getting crazy with all that pate and shit
Getting crazy with all that pate and shit

Can you see what I was so excited about?
Can you see what I was so excited about?

BAHN MI (per sandwich)

1 single serve baguette or a long baguette for 4 people (and then quadruple this recipe)
3 slices roasted pork of some description. Belly, shoulder, leg, neck… they all work well
3 medium cooked prawns (shrimp), peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon pate
3-4 thin slices cucumber
A few sprigs each fresh coriander, mint and basil
A good splash of bahn mi dressing (recipe follows)

• Slice baguette open
• Spread pate over the inside of the baguette
• Layer pork, then prawns, then cucumber and then herbs in the baguette and then dress with a good splash of that bahn mi dressing
• Dear good lord that is some delicious shit, non?

BAHN MI DRESSING

3 tablespoons sambal oelek
1 tablespoon fish sauce
a splash light soy sauce
1 tablespoon chilli vinegar
(All available from your local friendly Asian super market)

• Mix it all together
• Remaining dressing will last for at least a couple of weeks. Use it to dress a chicken salad or toss through some noodles or just dip a carrot or an actual stick in it for some low-cal eating if that’s how you’re rolling

It got all smooshed up and doesn't look too crash hot but believe me this is some tasty shit
It got all smooshed up and doesn’t look too crash hot but believe me this is some tasty shit

Fish Wing Friday this Easter #forthesea

SAMSUNG CSC
Southern fried fish wings that I cooked last week for sustainable seafood day and I’m posting now so you can do something a little different for your fish thing this Easter.

That almost makes me look a little organized, eh… but I think those of us in the know certainly know the actuality is very different from the appearance…

Anyhow, you might be excused for thinking that this is a recipe that is made using flying fish and more specifically, their wings. You might also be excused for asking how the on switch works so I am certainly not going to judge…

No, this is not a recipe featuring the flighted mythical bird-fish, but instead the tasty tasty, oft forgotten or used for crab bait, pectoral wings of our oceanic dwelling friends, the fishes. Or more specifically in this case, the more sustainable line caught or farmed Australian barramundi.

Fish wings, much like fish heads or smaller fish like white bait or sardines, are commonly used for bait or just tossed away like yesterday’s rubbish… or a young hipsters razor… or a Justin Beiber CD… But fish wings are not to be tossed away, no, no, no. Tossed through seasoned flour or breadcrumbs and then deep-fried possibly, but definitely not tossed away. These tasty little morsels will have you coming back time and time again for what will probably be that one fish meal in your life that gives you the best bang for your buck. Coming in at around the $3 a serve this is like a 3 buck prostitute who is both clean and at the top of her game! Tasty and delish! There is nothing about this dish that isn’t to be loved; the price, the taste, the sustainability… I love it more than my arm. Not my right arm of course, but it defo means more to me than my lefty for now. I could do without lefty if it came down to the choice between him and the fish wings. Sorry lefty, I really am.

Coated in potato flour and then seasoned with my southern spice mix, these things came up even better than expected. Some home made hot sauce and ranch dressing to complete the package and I was ready to pat myself on the back… and then maybe get comfy… whisper a few sweet nothings into my own ear… and…

Whoa. I just get caught up in the moment way to easily.

Recipe time.

I will sort you out with a recipe for my kale and apple 'slaw soon enough
I will sort you out with a recipe for my kale and apple ‘slaw soon enough
Just really tasty little morsels
Just really tasty little morsels

SOUTHERN FRIED BARRAMUNDI WINGS with HOT SAUCE & RANCH DRESSING (serves 4)

1.5-2kg fish wings (3-4 per serve), scaled
2 eggs, whisked
1 cup of Big Red Rub or your favourite southern/creole/Cajun seasoning
2 cups potato flour (starch) and maybe a little extra
Oil for deep frying
A deep fryer, large pot or cauldron suitable for deep frying
Salt
Hot sauce, ranch dressing, lemon and coleslaw to serve

• Combine fish wings and red seasoning in a large bowl and toss to coat
• Add eggs and mix to coat
• Add potato flour and toss to coat. Rubber gloves can be handy here if you don’t like getting all icky and sticky, and only if you don’t need them for your game of “doctors and nurses” tonight. You want the wings to be quite dry coated, not a wet batter, so if you need to add a little extra potato flour you do that right now
• While this whole coaty coaty thing is going down you need to have some oil heating in the thing that you use to heat your oil. 180C is a pretty good temp for this little project
• Once the oil is up to temp give the wings a little tap to get rid of any extra flour and drop them gently into the oil. 4 minutes is pretty much bang on for a medium sized fish wing
• Once cooked remove from oil, drain in a basket or on absorbent paper, season with salt and serve drizzled with hot sauce and ranch dressing, and with a nice coleslaw on the side
• Effing A, that’s winning all over the place right there; god for Easter, good for your belly, good for your wallet and good for our oceans

For more information on sustainable seafood try the MSC website.