Beer battered fish

There’s a lot to be said for a good beer batter. I like it to be puffy and I really like it to be crisp. I want to know it’s there, but not so much that the fish doesn’t get a look in. I want it to be a part of something that is going to make the world a better place.

This is such a beer batter.

This recipe was given to me by my mate Perry who was gifted it by a guy who ran a busy fish and chip shop, so I was immediately pretty sure he would know something of a good batter. After trying this batter recipe I knew for a fact that he did indeed know a thing about a good batter.

Now that was another bloody cracking anecdote now wasn’t it.

Also, i’ve got a youtube channel now and this recipe is on it and the link is at the bottom of the page.

BEER BATTERED FISH

Serves 4

600-700g fresh fish fillets, pin bone and skin removed

1 cup plain flour, plus extra to dust

1 cup self-raising flour

1 can (375 ml) of whatever beer you have in your hand

1 tablespoon canola oil, plus enough to fill your deep fryer

Chips, tartare and lemon, to serve

Fill deep fryer with oil to level.

Get oil up to temperature. Around 180 C (350 F) is good.

To make the batter, mix flours, oil and beer. Whisk until your batter is quite smooth and is thick enough to coat your finger nicely. Not too thick is the key here. If it seams a little thick you might want to add another splash of that beer you’re drinking.

Coat fish fillets with plain flour, shake slightly to leave only the slightest dusting of flour and then dip them into the batter.

Drag them out of the batter and ever-so-slightly drag them across the side of the bowl to remove excess.

Deep fry for 3 minutes or so, until fish is cooked and batter is crisp.

Season with salt and serve with chips, tartare and lemon, and maybe a nice little salad.

TARTARE SAUCE

1 ½ cups good mayonnaise. I believe that something that tastes like it belongs in your mouth is key here.

2 tablespoons chopped dill pickle

2 tablespoons chopped capers (even if you think you don’t like capers, you should still use them in here)

2 tablespoons chopped spring onion (shallot)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and get that thing all mixed up so you might serve it with your fish.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNC08ID_yaw

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

Iluka and a damn tasty bowl of white curry mee

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Beach side getaway. It’s real and it’s name is Iluka.

When it comes to a weekend away, hanging out near the ocean, plenty of fresh seafood and booze on hand and a refurbished old school fisherman’s shack to keep you safe and warm and night Iluka, on the New South Wales north coast, ticks all of the boxes… and it’s nice and it’s close to where we live to boot. So this mythical Iluka joint is indeed a place we try to visit as often as possible.

This time away though, I must confess I was feeling a little under the weather. But I had a plan. A plan to make me strong like ox once again. I would be looking for my time in Iluka to rejuvenate the metaphorical worn grass and naked fields of the landscape of my life. And then I shall call upon the almost mythical three hit combo that is the fully charged power animal, the centered and sexually satisfied chi and the ginger minge to piss that under-the-weather type feeling right the heck off.

I hope you’re paying attention.

Iluka turned on the happy smily weather for us
Iluka turned on the happy smily weather for us

Iluka.

I think one of the highlights of my time in Iluka was (and please don’t think any less of me for saying this… bahahahaha. Any less of me? As if that could actually happen, ay. I just made myself laugh a fair bit) a pack of white curry mee. I don’t even know what white curry mee is or even where the hell they came from, but I do know these instant noodles were one of the pinnacles of my day. Cheap, easy, fast and somehow they kinda left you feeling just a little bit dirty, these things were not dissimilar to a three buck hooker… but they certainly were a whole heap tastier… a whole heap tastier.

I realised pretty quickly that is was indeed “taking a little break” AKA a holiday, so I found it very appropriate to obtain myself a glass of some fermented red relaxedness enhancer. Oh yes. That relaxy-dinky-donky-doo feeling.

Feel it?

When staying near the ocean I find it essential to purchase local seafood food sustenance as well as enjoyment
When staying near the ocean I find it essential to purchase local seafood food sustenance as well as enjoyment

Later in the afternoon I felt it appropriate that I should make soup. A little chickpea and vegetable number would be the go I reckoned as that would be good for me plus it would also be good for my friend Ainsley – who is one of my top 2 favourite vegetarians in the word (yeah Gitana, you’re up there too) – as it would not contain meat thus would be deemed edible by said vegetarian friend, Ainsley. Little did I know that Ainsley had also considered it a worthy day to make soup so had brought with her an offering to the soup eating vegetarian gods of her own, clevery disguised as a pot of pumpkin soup… or actually just straight up a pot of pumpkin soup.

Needless to say, much soup was enjoyed by everyone present.

The next morning I awoke at a time that I could only call ridiculously early… or maybe ridearly… or possibly even earliculous… but I certainly wouldn’t stray too much further than that. But I did get up early. Like, the kids weren’t even awake and the sun was still sleeping too.

We ate the meal often called breakfast for sustenance as well as enjoyment. I smiled at everybody’s morning hair as I find morning hair quite entertaining. This is a little known fact about me.

The day was filled with all of the activities you might expect from some kind of lakeside summer camp. Except we were all keen participants and not ostracized step-children, ditched by our families for the holidays because of our annoying belching habits and yet undiscovered skin conditions. We played scout-esque, sickeningly feel good family bonding games, skateboarded, shot hoops, went walking, blah-di-blah-blah.

And then we did that all over again some more.

That’s all.

White curry mee in all of it's glory. Props by Iluka Beach Shack Co
White curry mee in all of it’s glory. Props by Iluka Beach Shack Co

WHITE CURRY MEE

Packet instructions seemed to work fine for me.

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.