Category Archives: Fish

Perth

Meigle House steading

Meigle House steading

Thursday 18th, while Scotland voted Yes or No on Independence, we drove to Perth to do a bit of shopping. It was raining and miserable, so we stopped at a Tesco supermarket, did our shopping and drove on, not getting a look at the town I imagine gave it’s name to the city of Perth in Western Australia.

At Tesco, we were thrilled to get a fresh duck at a very reasonable price (Aus $14) and hovered over another Guinea fowl but decided against it.

Meigle Church where they found 30 Pict carved stones in the church yardWe drove on in the rain to the small town of Meigle to visit the Pictish Sculptured Stone Museum. The museum houses around 30 stones and fragments (mainly from the church next door) and is really quite interesting. More interesting though to me is the fact that Meigle is the oldest known settlement in Scotland-it’s been inhabited since before Christ was born, and the church graveyard is believed to be the site of Lady Guinevere’s grave.

Pictish Sculptured stone museum

Pictish Sculptured stone museum

On the way out of town, I stopped the car in the rain to take a few photos of a building I noticed on the way in. It was falling down and covered with moss and lichen, grass and shrubs, and looked more like the earth itself than a building. I had to come home and Google to find out it’s the Meigle House steading and no one really knows who built it and when or why they did.

Meigle House steading

Meigle House steading

We were almost home (still raining) when I spied a dead pheasant on the road. It took about a kilometre to find a somewhere to turn around but I did, and we went back to check it out. It’s quite accepted here to pick up roadkill (but you mustn’t be the one who kills it) rather than see it go to waste, and I’d seen that this bird looked good. Russ leaned out and felt it was till warm, so scooped it into a bag and we went off home with our prize. He’s on the menu tomorrow night. It’s pheasant and grouse shooting season here now and the birds are everywhere. We’ve been keeping our eyes peeled for a fresh kill since we got to Scotland!

My pheasant plucker

My pheasant plucker

Dinner Thursday night was pan fried Scottish salmon served on creamed leeks and pea and potato mash and was mighty fine!

Salmon

Salmon

Today, (after a quick check to find out the vote was No) I got onto Tripadvisor to find somewhere to go for a drive. I found a castle in a fairly remote spot on the way to Oban-a town which lies at the end of Loch Evite on the North Atlantic.

We drove to Castle Kilchurn on Loch Awe (certainly was Awesome), then through the Pass of Branda, to Aird Bay on one end of Loch Etive, for our lunch.

Castle Kilchurn on Loch Awe

Castle Kilchurn on Loch Awe

Castle Kichurn was all the reviews on Tripadvisor promised. Not easy to find, but remote and quite lovely sitting beside the loch. It originally stood on an island but had silted over over the centuries. It’s free, has no gift shop and is still well maintained with quite a bit of info on boards throughout. Some of the stairs were really narrow-if my bum was any bigger I think they’d have needed the jaws of life to extract me in one place! It was a great find!

Airds Bay on Loch Etive the old pier

Airds Bay on Loch Etive the old pier

One of us forgot the bread for our sandwiches (we had all the fillings) but we were able to buy a few bread rolls at a roadhouse along the pass so all was saved. We lunched at the Bay of Aird on a very untouristy part of the pretty Loch Etive. It was so unspoiled and undeveloped it really felt like a step back in time. The grassed pier and (rather old) new jetty beside the rotting remains of the (very) old one were lovely for a few photos.

Airds Bay on Loch Etive

Airds Bay on Loch Etive

After lunch we drove into the very pretty town of Oban and took a walk around the harbour and shops before heading home and cooking our duck.

McCaigs Tower Oban

McCaigs Tower Oban

Ducky was meaty, lean and delicious, and I made an apricot sauce for him with apricot preserves given to me in Switzerland by my dear friend and blogger Adriana. Her preserves were full of fruit, not at all sweet and made the base for an amazing sauce. * Here’s a link to her beautiful blog artandkitchen

Apricot sauce for duck (or chicken or pork)

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced onion or shallot
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • small red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 cup apricot preserves-best quality you can get
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (add it slowly, tasting, until you like it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chicken stock powder
  • 1/2 cup rose (or white wine)
Apricot Sauce

Apricot Sauce

Method

  1. Melt the butter over medium heat, then cook the onion, ginger, garlic and chilli a few minutes until softened.
    Add the preserves, vinegar and sugar, stock powder and wine.
  2. Cook a few minutes to reduce, then taste and add more sugar or vinegar if you think it needs it.

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Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to the UK we go

Last time fishing off Eagle Bluff Shark Bay WA

Last time fishing off Eagle Bluff Shark Bay WA


I’ve waited weeks and weeks to be able to say this-next Sunday, we fly to the UK with our DIL Deborah Sessions and grandson Harry for a 10 week holiday.

We’re off to Wales, Scotland, the Lakes, Peaks, Dales, Broads, Switzerland, we’ve hired a car, we’re English Heritage members, we’re staying with family and friends, we’re staying by lochs, in remote farm houses, we’ve hired a houseboat, we’re going to a wedding, we have tickets to the Balmoral races-we have lots of free time too. It should be amazing!

On Tuesday, we leave Denham after a fantastic 5 week stay. We’re planning to free camp on the side of the road for two nights in a couple of places we’ve sussed out before, then it’s two nights at the farm (New Norcia) with Pam and Carson and the kids so we can pack and clean the van to leave it stored there.

Saturday it’s into Perth where we’ll do a bit of shopping, I’ll get my hair cut and coloured, go out for dinner with DIL Leah, then Sunday we fly!

I was going to take a rest from blogging, but as Russ pointed out, we’ve taken self catering accommodation so we can cook, and we’ll be hunting out markets, farm shops and farm gates to buy interesting produce, so I may as well keep blogging. Besides, I need somewhere to share the million photos I’m sure to take.

Our boat ramp Eagle Bluff Beach Shark Bay WA

Our boat ramp Eagle Bluff Beach Shark Bay WA

Yesterday, we went fishing at Eagle Bluff for what will be the last time for about 3 months (I reckon we’ll be in Streaky Bay SA before the boat goes into the water again). I’m sad to see the end of our fishing and crabbing, but we have about 30kg of beautifully packed fillets and picked crab meat in the freezer so that’s good!
Eagle Bluff Shark Bay WA

Eagle Bluff Shark Bay WA

Last night, we went to the NAIDOC cook up here in town. It’s a dinner put on by the local Aboriginals with stuff like turtle, roo, wild goat and mullet on the menu. I reckon they fed well over two hundred of us so it was an amazing effort. Mary G, an aboriginal comedian kept us entertained for about 3 hours. It was a fantastic night that I hope we get to next time we’re here.

Crab Enchiladas (for want of a better name!)

Crab Enchiladas salsa on

Crab Enchiladas salsa on

Sunday we took the day off fishing and crabbing to do some vanwork (as opposed to housework). With no undies left, my bath towel (which hangs by the kitchen sink in here) smelling distinctly of garlic, and our fishing clothes walking to the boat ramp ahead of us, it was time to do the laundry. Three loads later and before lunch, we headed back out to the old bore on the former Peron Station to continue down the road and find the elusive shearing shed Charlie and Beaty had told us about.
Shooting up the shearing shed must be how the locals have fun

Shooting up the shearing shed must be how the locals have fun

They also told us there was very little to see, which proved to be true. Not a particularly old shearing shed, it must have been built just before the station was handed back to Conservation and Land Management (CALM). Nor was it particularly photogenic but I tried.

Old fences on the former Peron Station

Old fences on the former Peron Station

After visiting it, we drove down a couple of tracks on the coastal side of the Denham road finding some old cattle yards and wells-once gain not particularly pretty but still, interesting.  Lunch, a cuppa with Charlie and Beaty, folding the loads of washing, then lamb chops and silky, buttery mashed spuds finished a lovely day!

Yesterday (Monday 21st July), we went out to Monkey Mia just before lunch to do some crabbing. Unlike last time, the crabs were very scarce. It took about 3 hours to come home with 7 crabs and 14 good sized sand whiting (we fish while the pots are down). As usual, it was gorgeous out on the water with scores of dolphins out fishing, playing and minding their sex slaves (go see the video at Monkey Mia and you’ll learn all about sex slaves!). Back at home, Russ cooked the crabs and filleted the fish. We had homemade pasties (just like my mum used to make) for our dinner.

Tonight, I took half the crab meat (the rest went into the freezer) and made  Crab Enchiladas. Not traditional enchiladas which have a sauce I can’t get here in Shark Bay, but my version of the dish. I got a similar recipe from our son Todd many years ago, but his uses cooked chicken. I also added in cumin powder and  coriander to my versions of his recipe. Call it what you like, it’s still a good way to use crab (or a bought BBQ chicken).

Crab Enchiladas (my way)

  • 1 cup crab meat (or thereabouts)
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 190g can corn
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon sliced pickled jalapenos, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Tabasco sauce
  • 4 tortillas
  • 1 jar salsa ( I used a mild tomato)
  • 1 cup (about) grated cheese
  • Crab Enchiladas salsa on

    Crab Enchiladas salsa on

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190c
  2. Mix together the crab, corn, sour cream, spring onions ,cumin, jalapenos fresh coriander, lime juice, and tabasco sauce,
  3. Spoon the mix onto the tortillas and roll up. Place in a greased baking dish.
  4. Cover with salsa, then grated cheese.
  5. Bake in oven til the cheese is golden and the mixture bubbling-about 25 minutes.
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Quick Fish Curry

Quick Fish Curry

Quick Fish Curry

After an afternoon spent fishing off Eagle Bluff, I wanted something super quick for dinner. I decided to curry the snapper we caught. The fishing was slow, but the weather was gorgeous so it wasn’t a totally wasted drive out there.

Quick Fish Curry

  • 1 tablespoon veg oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 red chilli, chopped
  • Curry paste (I used 3 tablespoons Sharwoods Korma)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tomato, cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 red capsicum, cut into 2 cm squares
  • White fish fillets, (enough for 2 people) cut into big chunks
  • Chopped spring onion to garnish
  • Steamed Rice to serve

    Quick Fish Curry

    Quick Fish Curry

Method

  1. Heat the oil and add the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli, cook over a medium heat stirring, until the onion is softened.
  2. Stir through the curry paste, cook a couple of minutes, then add the coconut milk. Simmer gently for about 5 minutes, adding a few tablespoons of water if the sauce cooks down too much.
  3. Add the tomato and capsicum and cook 2 minutes, then gently push the fish into the sauce, cover and cook until the fish is done (mine took about 3 minutes). Serve over rice with spring onions scattered over the top.

Busy Days

Shark Beach pano

Shark Beach pano

Thursday we spent a quiet day in. We went to friends for dinner, but I cooked. With 7 of us eating, it was much easier to eat at their flat with its dining table, plenty of crockery and glasses etc.

Beaty and John organised nibbles-I really loved Johns home-cured olives! I made savoury bread cases filled with curried crab for entree, followed by braised rabbit and veg and a pasta bake for mains. Beaty bought us drumsticks for dessert which was great.

Friday, we put the boat in at Eagle Bluff and fished for a couple of hours just bringing home two black snapper. That night we had drinks and a sausage sizzle with some of the lovely people on our level of the park. Thumbs up to the butcher-his black pepper beef, and beef and garlic snags were wonderful, as were his hogget (two tooth) loin chops. Hogget was half the price of lamb and twice the flavour so it was a win!

Yesterday, we were to move from site 108 to site 12 down on “death row” (someone has to die for a site to come vacant lol). As it turned out, the office stuffed up the booking and we had to move across the way from 108 to 104 for the night, then move today to 12. What a pain ITA!

Shell Beach

Shell Beach

After our move yesterday, we took a drive out to Shell Beach, back to Goulet Bluff, then across the road for a look at Shark Beach. It’s a well kept secret with much, much nicer shells than Shell beach, thick, white and loose so you walk ankle deep in the tiny cockle shells that live in the super saline water, then are thrown up on the shore in big tides and storms. We put the ute in 4WD to explore some old station tracks until we reached the old shearing shed bore then got back on the highway and came home.

After drinks with Beaty and Charlie before dinner, we ate our two black snapper along with wedges and salad. Just salt and pepper and baked in foil in the oven, they were wonderful. Our neighbour Narelle came over after dinner to sit and chat and have a drink. It was a great evening.

Today, we moved at last onto site 12 where we’ll stay for our last 16 days here. What a bugger of a site to get on to. We are the biggest van in the row-everyone else has smaller pop tops. We broke a concrete paver and scraped the shell cement wall, then got the van to a point where we couldn’t go any further back with ute. We had to unhitch, re-hitch in a different position and push the van back. What a performance!

I’m making pea and ham soup while I write this and relax.

Braised Rabbit and Vegetables

  • 3 rashers bacon, diced, fatty ones are good, I cook slowly to render the fat, then don’t use oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 sticks celery, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 8 Rabbit Pieces (I had the back ends of two rabbits-saddle and legs),
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 cups water or low-salt chicken stock (the gravy mix is salty remember)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 large carrots, chunky cut
  • 2 large potatoes, cut into eight pieces each
  • gravy mix (enough to thicken the two cups of stock/water), mixed to a paste with cold water (I use a really good commercial demi glace made by maggi. I buy it in 2kg tubs)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley (I had it but I forgot to use)

    Braised bunny

    Braised bunny

Method

  1. Gently fry the diced bacon to release the fat, then add the onion and fry until softened. Add the garlic and celery and cook a few minutes more. Tip onto a plate.
  2. Add the rabbit to the pan and cook on all sides until lightly browned. Add the tomato paste and cook stirring a minute or two, add the wine and cook until it’s reduced.
  3. Now, add the stock, bay leaves and thyme, the celery and bacon on the plate, bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes.
  4. Add the carrots, cook a further 30 minutes. Next it’s the potatoes-add them and cook all gently for about 30 minutes more or until the potatoes are tender. In total, about 1.5 hours cooking.
  5. Finally add the gravy paste to the pot and stir gently until it thickens, then add in the green peas for a couple of minutes. Serve in bowls with parsley scattered over and fresh white bread and butter to mop up the gravy!

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Afternoon of the giants

Just one of eleven

Just one of eleven

Sunday, we went out after lunch to Fowlers Camp to fish. It was windy and choppy for the 4 or so kilometres across the bay, but once we got beyond Eagle Bluff and into more open water it flattened right out. We caught around 40 pink snapper, with about 10 of those over 40cm but under that magic figure of 50cm. Russ eventually caught us one fish to take home. We ate him last night as crumbed fish with creamy curry sauce-one of our favourite sauces for fish and chips. When Russ cleaned him, he had two plastic lures in his gut, with no sign of them breaking down. Another smaller snapper we brought in threw up his bait then a plastic on the deck. I wonder just how good they actually are for fish if they can’t digest them?!
Crumbed fish with creamy curry sauce

Crumbed fish with creamy curry sauce

Yesterday (Monday) as the weather was basically crap we stayed in doors and the only energetic thing I did was to make fish stock.

Today after lunch, Russ reckoned we should go out to Monkey Mia and crab. We put our nets in at 2pm and pulled them out at 4pm and came home with 11 really good sized crabs. So good in fact, we let two size crabs go because they looked so tiny against our others.

When we first put the boat in, I thought we were crazy, it was windy and choppy and I knew who’d end up the coldest and wettest!. Anyhow, it settled down quite quickly and we had a pleasant couple of hours. As we drove the 27ks home, I was running all sorts of ideas through my head for our lovely catch. In the end, I decided on spaghetti with a tomato, chilli, crab sauce for dinner tonight, 2 big fat crab sandwiches for lunch tomorrow, and a couple of packets of picked meat for the freezer. We vacuum seal them and they become crab cakes, dip, pizza, bruschetta etc down the track. Much better than the little tubs or cans of crab you buy in a supermarket!

Spaghetti with Tomato, Chilli and Crab Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 2 chillis (heat is up to you, I used Thai Birdseye)
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 440g can whole tomatoes, chopped (I hate pre chopped canned tomatoes)
  • salt and pepper to taste (I’m heavy handed with both)
  • zest of a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • pasta water-enough to loosen the sauce up
  • cooked spaghetti or pasta (I like really thin spag with sauces like this)
  • cooked crab meat (I had 2 big ones for the two of us)
  • Spaghetti with tomato, chilli and crab sauce

    Spaghetti with tomato, chilli and crab sauce

Method

  1. Heat the oil over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook a few minutes or until softened. Add the chilli and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes more.
  2. Add the white wine and cook until it’s reduced, then tip in the can of tomatoes and chop (I do this with kitchen scissors) Season well with salt and pepper.
  3. Allow to cook down until the tomatoes are well softened and the mix has reduced. Add in a half cup or so of pasta water to loosen the sauce back up and give it a starchy “creaminess”.
  4. Stir through the zest,lemon juice and parsley, then toss through the cooked pasta.
  5. Finally add the cooked crab, toss lightly again and serve.
  6. Along with a final slug of olive oil, I held back a bit of parsley, zest and claw meat to garnish the dish.

Spangled Emperor baked in tomato, olive, caper sauce.

Spangled Emperor baked in tomato, olive, caper sauce
Our Carnarvon tomatoes bought two weeks ago are well ripened and needing to be used. Yesterday, I took a kilo of the ripest and made a simple tomato sauce with them with the idea of baking some meaty fish fillets in it. I decided (after reading a Jamie Oliver recipe on line) some olives and capers would be a good inclusion along with the last of a bunch of basil also bought in Carnarvon.

We went over to Monkey Mia at 1pm today to crab for a couple of hours (came home with 10) so it was nice to know dinner was basically organised. The sun was just starting to set when we got home, so I grabbed the chance to try out a new lens I got for my camera the other day. I was really impressed with one of my photos-it shows a pile of salt in the background-that salt is about 20ks away across the bay!

Useless loop and that pile of salt are about 20ks away

Useless loop and that pile of salt are about 20ks away

Spangled Emperor Baked in Tomato, Olive, Caper Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced (I had to use a red one)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1kg tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 teaspoon chicken stock powder
  • large pinch mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • Small handful basil leaves, torn
  • Handful of black olives-smash lightly with the flat of a knife and remove stone
  • 1 tablespoon capers.
  • Firm white fish fillets-enough for two (sauce could stretch to feed 4)
  • Spray oil
  • Cooked pasta or rice (I used risonni because I love it)
  • Chopped Parsley and lemon or lime to serve
Spangled Emperor in the pan

Spangled Emperor in the pan

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 190c.
  2. Heat the oil add the onion and garlic and cook over a gentle heat until well softened.
  3. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, white wine, stock powder, mixed spice and brown sugar, cook over a gentle heat until the tomatoes have broken down and you have a thickish sauce.
  4. Add the olives and capers, then pop the fish in on top of the sauce. Spray with the oil.
  5. Place in a preheated oven and cook for about 5 mins or until cooked through.
  6. Serve over pasta or rice with the parsley scattered over and lemon or lime on the side.

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