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

Seafood chowder-esque type thing in a Vienna loaf

seafood chowder in a cob
My brother is just about to head back to his humble grotto in Margaret River, Western Australia, after a mammoth stay of two months. That’s right, now I shall be in charge of my own mis en place again… and we will have to do our own washing… I’ll be sad to see him go, that’s for sure.

But before he makes like a tree and gets out of here we needed a little man time. You know, get a couple of lads together and find ourselves a little riverside cabin where we can eat, drink, fish, wear the same clothes and not make our beds each day if we did’t want to. Power to the man eh? That’s right, the new man power revolution begins with us and it begins right here, today, now! Viva la revolution. Viva le revolution! Also please note, the revolution will end at approximately noon on Wednesday when we shall be returning home, so our office/support group will not be taking any calls from that point onwards…

So I did find us a nice little riverside cabin in the sleepy seaside town of Brunswick Heads (known as Bruns to the indigenous community). It had enough beds to ensure that only two of us need sleep together (I won’t explain that one), a small kitchenette that would enable us to prepare food and stay nourished for the length of our stay and a shower, which apparently was not needed and took up valuable space that could have been used to position a cracking barbecue/smoker set up.

We caught some fish, a couple of which spent less than an hour out of the water before they went into this Creole-esque type seafood number. Kind of even a bit of a chowder… maybe. I really don’t know what to call this bad boy except damn tasty. It was taken to damn-tasty-town by the addition of some of my patented Big Red Rub, which travels with me everywhere like a faithful side kick, adding flavour boosts to food like this and generally making me look a lot better than I actually am. Which is not actually a very hard job so maybe I am giving it a little too much credit…

We did scour the shelves of the one little bakery in Bruns for the cob loaf that this chowder-y number was going to fill, but alas it seemed that there had been a run on cob loaves that morning and we had well and truly missed out… so a crusty, white, $3.10 vienna loaf was going to do the job for us today.

We were right about here
We were right about here

Hollow that bad boy out
Hollow that bad boy out
Clean prawns in the little kitchen
Clean prawns in the little kitchen
Cooking in whatever the little kitchen has on offer
Cooking in whatever the little kitchen has on offer
Eat. Just eat
Eat. Just eat
This was really effing tasty. The Big Red Rub makes me look like a champ once again
This was really effing tasty. The Big Red Rub makes me look like a champ once again

SEAFOOD CHOWER-ESQUE TYPE THING IN A VIENNA LOAF (serves 4-6)

300g each bream and flathead, cut into large chunks (any fish you want to
eat will do the job here)
500g king prawns, peeled, deveined and cut in half
1 chorizo sausage, diced
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon Big Red Rub
1 medium sweet potato, medium dice, steamed/boiled until just cooked
Kernels from 1 cob of corn
600ml cream
Seasoning
1 crusty Vienna or cob
A handful of grated cheese of some description
Chopped parsley
Pickled chilli to serve

• Cut the top off the crusty loaf and hollow it out a little. Tear up insides and top. Get that puppy extra crusty in the oven at 180C for 10 minutes
• Sauté chorizo, onion and garlic in a little oil until starting to brown
• Add big red rub, prawns, sweet potato and corn and cook out for 1 minute
• Add cream and simmer for a few minutes until slightly reduced
• Add fish and stir to combine. Don’t play with it too much now because you don’t want to break this fish up
• Simmer for another few minutes until the fish is cooked
• Season
• Pour into the crusty loaf, top with cheese and parsley and serve with extra crusty bread and pickled chillis on the side. Best consumed with a lot of beer
• This would also be really effing good on some rice or even pasta

Sunset on the river. Pretty
Sunset on the river. Pretty

Wooli Seafood Spread

Fishy, fishy, fishy
Fishy, fishy, fishy

I don’t got much for you today.

All I have is a couple of points that have come from my ponderings and the tail end symptoms of a nasty little rash. Not exactly “strap yourself in and get ready for the ride” reading but like I said, it’s all I’ve got.

1. It is almost Christmas. That came around really effing quickly. Before you know it you will be waking up on boxing day wearing a santa hat, all areas of visible skin blanket-filled with an interesting choice of colour that could only be called sun burn red*, hungover like something that has been drinking in the hot sun for the entirety of the previous day and, if you are one of the truly lucky peeps amongst us who have chosen to work in the hospitality industry, you may even be late for the breakfast shift!
2. I have decided that the lead up to Christmas may or may not be the best time to launch a catering company. And the day job too… what was I thinking?
3. I don’t care what you’re doing right now because we are getting a bit of serious NDAFT (not doing an effing thing) time in. We have transported our asses to Wooli on the north coast of New South Wales via motorized chariot on the actual highway (as opposed to the interweb super-highway). Yes, back to Wooli. I am drawn to this place like the weight sensitive person is drawn to an extra slice of chocolate cake… We are enjoying the idiosyncrasies of staying in a cabin on the river, sampling the local seafood (those who remember my last Wooli post would probably remember that I mentioned the local oyster supplier and fish shop… a lot), swimming and kayaking in said river, fishing and just doing nice shit in general. Really feeling the love, you know?
4. I feel there is a good chance that posts may become dodgily intermittent because of my work load with catering and my day job… this is something you most probably wouldn’t offer a single shit for, which I would agree is a wise decision.
5. Once, sometime in my past, something happened to my head and made me heaps skilled at talking random rubbish all the time.

Proof that I fish
Proof that I fish

That’s it. Ponder that load of complete and utter bollocks (or don’t). As for me, I am going to enjoy these few days we have away from the centrifuge (That’s right. Big fast spinning thing) that is our lives at the moment and give it up a little for a bit of eat, drink, fish, swim, quality family time etc… you get the picture.

Proof that my children have not yet worked out which side of the kayak they should be in
Proof that my children have not yet worked out which side of the kayak they should be in

So in closing I would like to say this; enjoy your Christmas if I forget to tell you on the day, if you need someone to cater your Christmas party I am not the man (sure, mostly I am “the man”, but in this case I am most certainly not the man), I love getting the heck outta dodge and I have not forgotten about you if I don’t write for a while… just in case.

Kick-ass prawns
Kick-ass prawns

Kick-ass oysters with kick-ass bacon
Kick-ass oysters with kick-ass bacon
All round kick-ass-ness
All round kick-ass-ness

RIVERSIDE SEAFOOD SPREAD (for 4)

1 fish that you caught earlier that day, seasoned with a little salt and pepper and cooked on the barbecue. Give it a good squeeze of lemon as you are about to serve it up
500g cooked king prawns
2 dozen fresh oysters shucked before your very eyes, shown the love with the addition of a few bits of crisp bacon
3 rashers of bacon, chopped and fried until crisp to go on those oysters
Cabin marie rose sauce, aka cocktail sauce (recipe below)
Kimchi
Salads that you and yours enjoy eating – We had a Greek-ish salad with quinoa and my nana’s potato salad

CABIN MARIE ROSE SAUCE

½ cup mayo
1 tablespoon or so tomato sauce (ketchup)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Extra seasoning if you need it

• Combine all ingredients and whisk together… unless your cabin does not have a whisk included in it’s bucket of kitchen utensils, in which case, if your name is MacGyver I would suggest you fashion a whisk from an old bicycle pump and the skeletal remains of the fish you caught today. But, as you are most likely not MacGyver, a fork will do the trick just fine. If your cabin does not have a fork I would suggest that you may have paid good money to stay in a cave or possibly a hole in the ground and it is people like you who make me question how the human race has got this far…
• Normally this sauce would also contain Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce and possibly a splash of brandy, but we’ll making use of what we’ve got because I will garnish my prawns with the juices from the bottom of the wheelie bin before I use that Masterfoods stuff from the store

BTW, THE FOODISTHEBESTSHITEVER CHRISTMAS ADDRESS IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER. YOU’VE GOTTA BE PUMPED FOR THAT!

*Possibly only applicable to peeps living in the Southern Hemisphere