Marinated sardines


I am obsessed with sardines.

There you go. I said it.

That statement is for everyone I hang out with, work with, my family and the old lady down the street at number 42 for being forced to listen to my constant talk about the next meal I’m going to create with sardines. You may have noticed that I have made no apology, but a statement declaring what these people have known to be true for a while now (It’s kind of like an AA type thing where admitting you have a problem is half the battle). I am not sorry, I am in love. I truly love those little bastards and they really aren’t too far from my thoughts at any given moment of the day. But the local sardine season comes to an end shortly, so how the fuck am I going to fulfill my desires after that??

Preserve them. That’s how.

I have done some reading, looked at a lot of pictures (I like pictures) and had a bit of a play around with a sardine or two. Nothing that would be deemed improper mind you – I’m just your average Joe, looking to satisfy a propensity for the humble sardine.

All the methods of preserving, or “saving the moment” as I shall call it, involved either pickling in vinegar and salt or preserving in oil and herbs. Not being too much of a stickler for doing what things tell me to do, I decided I would combine both methods and create the presickled sardine! I don’ think it’s going to take off with the kids but that’s OK because, as with every faucet of the rest of my life, I do it for my own gratification… mostly.

So now it was just a case of cleaning up 10kg of sardines and getting them into jars, which was not a mission I really fancied doing by myself. Solution; invite a few of your sardine loving friends around for a sardine party! It worked a treat. We sat around like a group of Italian Mammas – everyone was gutting and cleaning sardines, chatting away, drinking whatever it was they deemed correct to be drinking at a sardine party, and then we ate a bang up dinner prepared by my fair lady Jennee! And just to top the whole kickass afternoon off, everyone gets to leave with a cracking party bag of a jar of sardines.

Heaps of smart cultures around the world get shit sorted at a communal table… now it’s your turn.


Heads off and guts out… there's a rose amongst the thorns comment somewhere around here...
Heads off and guts out… there’s a rose amongst the thorns comment somewhere around here…
Eat something before you get too pickled yourself
Eat something before you get too pickled yourself
Into the jars
Into the jars
Simmer in a big pot
Simmer in a big pot
The end result… sardines for the holocaust!!
The end result… sardines for the holocaust!!


1 kg fresh sardines, heads off, gutted and rinsed to remove any scales and extra gut bits. Multiply this recipe by ten if you’re having a sardine party
½ cup apple cider vinegar
½ small brown onion, sliced
1 clove of garlic, crushed like the special kid’s self esteem
2 tablespoons sea salt
2 bay leaves
1 chilli, hot or mild, however you like it, chopped
Oil to cover the sardines, I like used olive oil, but a blend of olive and a more neutral oil would do the job
Sardine sized jars to pack them in
• Gently toss the sardines with the vinegar, onion, garlic and salt. The vinegar and salt will start to cook the fish and firm it up a little… the onion and garlic are there for their awesome flavour. Marinate sardines for 1 hour, tossing gently every 20 minutes
• Sit down and have yourself a glass of wine
• Have another glass… it helps to be at one with your inner pickle while you are pickling
• Drain the sardines out of the vinegar, lightly pat dry and then pack into jars head to tail with a bay leaf and chopped chilli in the middle. Top the sardines with a bit of the sliced onion from the marinade and then cover with your choice of oil
• Seal the jar with a lid that fits
• Put the jars into a pot that is deeper than the jars are tall. Cover them with water and bring the pot up to the simmer, simmering gently for 20 minutes. This will cook the sardines and also seal the jars so they will have an extended life
• I have stored mine in the fridge but I will do some experimentation and see about their shelf life in the cupboard…

And what do you do with your newfound bounty? These sardies will find themselves a happy and loving home tossed through pasta with some chilli, parsley and olive oil (lash out and get some pangrattato on there if you have the skills), on a pizza, in a sandwich with home made tomato sauce (ketchup), blitzed into a rough pate (peel the meat off the bones first) or on an antipasti platter.

Mole flavoured dukkah


No, this is not dukkah flavoured with a small, blind animal or a nasty looking girl you met playing pool at the local bogan pub (not today any way), but in fact a dukkah made with the spice, nut and seed mix I was about to add to my Mexican mole (pronounced mol-ay) sauce.

I will start the story… Now.

I happened upon this quite by accident, which, if you have your cooking wits about you, will become a regular occurrence in your kitchen. If you are toast burner and a pot fuser, it is quite probable this will not be the case. It is also quite probable that you can’t read either so you won’t be trying this out any time soon. Or maybe you could get your carer to read it to you and see how you go from there. Or even just get your mum to make it for you, that’ll be heaps easier. Oh, you’re still on the boob… It all becomes clear now. Well, you won’t need anything else to eat then will you?

So as I was smashing up my toasted spices and seeds for the mole sauce for Mr Awesome (see previous post) I looked into the mortar and thought to myself; that looks and smells like dukkah. Olive oil and a crusty loaf of bread were on hand so I did the sums and decided this shit was going to happen.

The result was nothing short of magic. I am a genius I said to myself. To which self quickly agreed.

My job here is done.


MOLE FLAVOURED DUKKAH for a heap of people drinking booze before the main event…
Roughly ¼ cup each of pepitas (pumpkin seeds), sesame seeds, whole blanched almonds, cumin seed, coriander seed (these can be adjusted a little to your liking)
• Toast everything in the oven or in a pan…. Biggest to smallest. That means the pepitas and almonds go in first, then the coriander and cumin seed, and the sesame seeds last. Or toast them all separately if that seems like it’s going to be a bit to hard to handle.
• Roughly crush spices in a mortar and pestle, you don’t want a powder, it should still have a bit of texture and crunch
• Add a little salt
• Devour that shit with good olive oil from the Italian guy down the road and bread you just made.
• What a wanker I am…

*this could happily be paired with Paul’s warm olives, which you can find here, for a bit more excitement on your antipasto…