Tag Archives: Cooking

Pickled Fish, Potato and Beetroot Salad

Pickled Fish, Potato and Beetroot Salad

Pickled Fish, Potato and Beetroot Salad

It was a windy morning, so after a luxury breakfast of perfectly ripe Carnarvon avocado and tomatoes on toast, I suggested to Russ we head out for a drive. I wanted to take some photos so he packed a rod and a few prawns to fish for whiting off the beach. I hate fishing off the beach for some reason, much preferring to be out on the water in any sized boat. As it turned out, I had more success with my photos than Russ did with his fishing lol.

We got in late for lunch so I decided it was the right day to make a Pickled Fish, Potato and Beetroot salad I’ve been planning to do for a while. I saw a recipe recently for something similar using rollmops and thought it’d be work with our home done stuff. The recipe I saw used green apple and dill leaves-I had neither so used an original dill pickle instead-giving me a bit of crunch and a subtle dill flavour. We pickle our own fish, so I have no idea what the weight of the fish I used was. I used a 340g salsa jar of it for the two of us. With us being late home, I used tinned potatoes-normally I would cook my own, but the tinned were fine.

After lunch we went fishing out the front amongst the moored fishing boats. Yesterday we caught at least 40 undersized pink snapper (about 6 were getting close) there, today I didn’t lose a bait!

Pickled Fish, Potato and Beetroot Salad

  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fish pickling juice
  • 2 potatoes, diced, cooked, cooled (or cheat and use canned baby potatoes)
  • Pickled fish, enough for two, cut into bite sized pieces (that’s how we pickle ours)
  • 1 400g can baby beets, rinsed, quartered
  • 1 small red onion, sliced fine, or use some of the onion you pickled the fish with
  • 1 dill pickle (not a gherkin) diced fairly small
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley or dill leaves
Pickled Fish, Potato and Beetroot Salad

Pickled Fish, Potato and Beetroot Salad

Method

  1. Combine the sour cream, yoghurt, horseradish, lemon juice, salt and pepper and enough pickling juice to thin the dressing a little.
  2. Mix the remaining ingredients gently together in a bowl, fold through the dressing and serve.

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Lemdarin Marmalade

Lemdarin?

Lemdarin?

I think I mentioned that Pam sent me home from the farm at New Norcia with a large bag of citrus fruit. I think I also said it was the love child of a lemon and a mandarin with qualities of both-sour and yellow like a lemon, loose skinned and segmented like a mandarin.

I planned to make marmalade but with Deb going into labour and the subsequent birth of Harry on Saturday the fruit got set aside in the bench until today. I lost a few fruit but ended up with 1.5kg to use.

Baby Harry is going home today, and we have left the new family alone to get used to that idea, so it seemed a good day to do a bit of cooking. I made some more pickled fish, then set about making my marmalade to a lemon recipe.

Lemon Marmalade

  • 1.5 kg lemons, scrubbed, sliced as thin as possible *see note at bottom
  • 4.5 litre water
  • 4.5 kg sugar
Lemdarin Marmalade!

Lemdarin Marmalade!

Method

  1. Place the sliced lemons in a large pan with the water, bring to the boil and cook for 20 minutes or until the peel is really tender.
  2. Add the sugar and bring to the boil, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Boil hard for 25 minutes, then turn off the heat and rest for 10 minutes before ladling into hot jars. Seal at once.

*Note: you can remove the pips and discard, or remove and place in a muslin bag and add to the marmalade, or (as I did) leave them in and remove with a slotted spoon when they rise to the top.

I’ve ended up with around 18 jars (of various sizes but mostly quite large) of marmalade, so expect a jar of marmalade from me if I see you!

This week in Perth

50 yo Holden ute celebrating the 50th Kings Park Festival

50 yo Holden ute celebrating the 50th Kings Park Festival

Blair arrived home Sunday from his days away at the AFL grand final, and Leah from a visit to friends in Sydney on Monday. We cooked Blair a roast of beef Sunday night, then decided on take away fish and chops Monday night.

Blair had to fly out to a mine site Tuesday night so I cooked the three of us left at home an asparagus and prosciutto pasta dish I found on a blog I follow. Asparagus is right in season here at the moment so is fresh, plump and delicious (a bit like me). The sauce was excellent so I’m posting a link to it Pasta With Asparagus & Ham.

I pretty much made it as written but did use prosciutto, and sautéed the asparagus (which I cut a bit longer) in the fat rendered from the prosciutto.

Fringe Lily

Fringe Lily

On Wednesday, Russ and I headed to Kings Park here in Perth. It’s a 1000 acre wonderland of nature in the middle of the city, and not to be missed if you ever get the chance to visit here. With it being the middle of spring now, the wild flowers are out in full force and a photographers dream. I managed to take over 300 photos during our 5 hour visit. The park is beautifully maintained with concrete and bush tracks throughout it, great swathes of green lawn, fountains, lookouts for spectacular views of the city and Swan and Canning rivers below, restaurants, cafes and plenty of parking throughout. We finished our day in the park at Botanical Café where we met our DIL Deb for coffee and cake. 5 hours only gave us a small look at the park, so we’ll be going back soon to see some more.
Flowering Gum

Flowering Gum

Wednesday night, we cooked Leah and Blair and Asian style dinner of our favourite caramelised pork belly, Vietnamese stuffed squid and an Asian coleslaw (you’ll find those recipes here on previous blogs). It was a great dinner (if the cook can’t say so herself!). We bought stall free, sow meat from Coles for the pork belly and I have to say it’s the best we have used for the dish-give it a try if you get the chance. It was relatively low fat and absolutely melt in the mouth.

Thursday (yesterday) morning was beautiful so we went for a walk along North Floreat beach. It was nice to see lots out enjoying the day and even a few hardy souls braving the water-I’m convinced they must have been Tasmanians on

North Floreat Beach

North Floreat Beach

holiday as no local would go in the water yet I’m sure.

Last night Russ and I and Blair and Leah, walked to local restaurant Dividos’ for their Balkan night. It was apparently a recreation of the feast of St Andrew of Constantinople. The four of us shared a really homely meal of entrees, mains and desserts. I especially loved the entrees of stuffed pickled cabbage rolls, feta and mint pastries and pumpkin pastries, mains of roasted baby lamb, macaroni cheese, and a moussaka of rabbit and eggplant. We had heaps more dishes, but they were my favourites. Dessert was so so. We had some lovely Spanish and French wines and dessert wines to go along with it all to. It was a wonderful night.

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Vietnamese Stuffed Squid

Vietnamese Stuffed Squid

Vietnamese Stuffed Squid

Like I mentioned before, we don’t really go out actively targeting squid but are really happy when we catch them. We’ve caught some over the last few days, so I put aside 4 of the smaller tubes to make this with. I found the recipe on the net, but made a couple of minor changes to the recipe to suit us and what was on hand.

I think Russ would marry me all over again for this dish-he couldn’t stop raving about it!

Vietnamese Stuffed Squid

  • 60g rice vermicelli noodles
  • 3 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 4 tablespoon mint leaves
  • 250g minced chicken or pork (we used pork)
  • 4 prawns, minced
  • 2 shallots, finely grated (I had to use 1/4 red onion)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 3 teaspoons caster sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 small cleaned squid tubes, about 12cm long
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 mild red chilli, finely sliced
Vietnamese Stuffed Squid

Vietnamese Stuffed Squid

Method

  1. Cover noodles with boiling water and soak according to packet directions (mime took 2 minutes). Drain and roughly chop. Soak mushrooms in boiling water according to packet directions (mine took 30 minutes), then drain and mince, discarding stalks.
  2. Preheat oven to 180c.
  3. Finely chop 2 tablespoons mint. Mix chicken with prawns, one-third of the noodles, all the mushrooms, shallots, garlic and coriander, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, chopped mint leaves, salt and pepper, until well combined. Stuff each squid body full and close the end with strong toothpicks.
  4. Heat oil and fry squid over gentle heat for 10 minutes, turning occasionally until squid is golden.
  5. Place in preheated oven and cook a further 10 minutes
  6. Prick with a skewer to release any excess water. Whisk remaining fish sauce and sugar with lime juice, remaining whole mint leaves and chilli. Toss remaining noodles in the dressing.
  7. Thickly slice the squid and serve on top.

Coral Bay (continued and continued some more)

Deb, Todd and the Bump

Deb, Todd and the Bump

I haven’t blogged much of late, due to a few windy days, then the arrival of family here  to spend some time with us. Todd, Deb and the Baby Bump flew up to Coral Bay from Perth on August 17th and spent 5 nights in Bayview Lodge nearby. It was our first meeting with “the Bump” and possibly mum-and-dad-to-bes’ last holiday before baby is born. It was a really special family time.

Todd frollicking at Maud's Landing

Todd frollicking at Maud’s Landing

We spent the 5 days of their visit fishing (Todd and Russ did that) lazing on the beach or by the pool (Deb and I did that), 4WDing along the local beaches and tracks, eating, visiting the bakery (for more eating), dining out at Finns Restaurant (still MORE eating) and up at the pub for happy hour (eating was done at home afterwards). We now know the bakery make good smoothies, toasted focaccias, pies, sausage rolls, pasties, fetta and spinach pasties, croissants and chocolate croissants. As well as the bread and rolls we normally buy!

Our family left, we booked ourselves yet another week here, cast aside all thoughts of food (especially from the

Deb at Coral Bay 2

Deb at Coral Bay 2

bakery) and got ourselves out fishing two days in a row. We did pretty well on both days bringing home the usual suspects-Charlie Court Cod and Red Throat Emperor and a Spangled Emperor, so I made another blogable  fish dish last night. I’ve cooked it before and the original is posted to food.com by chef flower but I am posting it here as I made it for two people (original recipe is for 4 and uses more fish).

First up, I sent Russ all over Coral Bay (well to the two shops) looking for a jar of red curry paste. He came back empty handed and suggested I “might have to make it”.  Shock, horror, I’ve never actually made red curry paste.

As usual, I looked at about 10 recipes, all claiming to be authentic or nearly so, then decided to make my own to suit. I’m quite proud to say, we had every ingredient on hand in the caravan. The lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves were bought at a farmers market in Northern Territory, then frozen to get them across the WA/NT border. I knew I’d need them eventually!

Coral Bay Red Curry Paste

  • 15 dried chillies, cut the tops off and shake out the seeds to discard
  • boiling water
  • 4 lemongrass, white tender bits only (about 5cm)
  • 2.5cm galangal sliced fine (jarred galangal is OK, but ginger won’t do apparently)
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves, chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic, I used jarred as I have issues storing chopped, fresh for more than a day or two
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander (could have used toasted seeds here)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin  (could have used toasted seeds here)
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika (only in one recipe, but I thought it would add colour)
  • 3 coriander roots including a bit of the stems (no roots? Use the stems only)
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper (bet ours wasn’t anything related to the amazing  stuff we had in Cambodia and Vietnam)
  • 1/2 medium red onion (was supposed to be 5 shallots)
  • 1 teaspoon shrimp paste (Don’t have it? Use salt)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Coral Bay Red Curry Paste

Coral Bay Red Curry Paste

Method

  1. Soak the chillies in the boiling water for 15 minutes, then drain.
  2. Put all ingredients into a food processor and blitz until you get a paste.

I ended up with a bit of a chunky paste with my little processor but it was still fine. You could do this in a mortar with your pestle but I didn’t have the time.

Curried White Fish With Peas and Onions
Peas and Onions Salad

  • 1 cup frozen peas, defrosted in boiling water, drained plunged into cold water, drained
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped into pea size
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced

Thai Red Curry Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 240 coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar,
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, ripped

Fish

  • 400g white fish fillets
  • Spray oil
Curried White Fish With Peas and Onions

Curried White Fish With Peas and Onions

Method

To make the salad: Combine pea, tomato and red onion, into a small bowl and set aside until later use.

To make the sauce:

  1. Add a medium saucepan on the stove at high heat.
  2. Once the pan is hot, add oil, then curry paste, stir to combine well, and until fragrant.
  3.  Add coconut milk and mix well to combine.
  4. Bring sauce to boil, then reduce heat.
  5. Add fish sauce and palm sugar, mix well to combine. Add the lime juice and basil, stir and remove from heat.

To make the fish:

  1. Spray a reasonable amount of oil onto a large skillet and heat.
  2. Once pan is hot carefully place fish onto the skillet and cook the fillets between 2 to 4 minutes (depending the thickness of the fish).
  3. Shake the pan to make the fish move then turn them over and cook another 2-4 minutes.
  4. Cook until done to your liking.

To serve:

  1. Divide salad mixture equally into the centre of 2 serving plates.
  2. Arrange fish on top of salad, top fish with equal amounts of curry sauce Or you could put curry into small sauce bowls and serve with the fish and salad. Garnish with fresh red chilli slices and or fresh coriander if you wish.

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Cooking in/from a caravan

The end result

The end result

8 years ago when we decided we might buy a van, we  thought we’d get a second hand one. We were instantly put off by those that previous owners had cooked or smoked in-those smells seemed to linger on. Eventually, we bought a new van and decided from day one not to cook inside-after all that’s where we sleep, and who cooks in their bedroom?

Mostly we’ve upheld that ideal, only coming inside to cook if it’s cold and dark, or raining and miserable, or the insects beat us. We do cook stuff like rice, pasta, and potatoes inside quite often though.

On our first trip with our first van (or “shake-down” in caravanner-speak), to Gol Gol near Mildura, I remember meeting and chatting to a woman at the camp kitchen as she made dinner. She was cooking lamb chops, eggs and tomatoes in a frying pan and asked what we were having for dinner. When I replied “risotto” she said “oh you’ll learn to cook more simply soon”. Funny, but we were having risotto because I thought, and still think it IS simple. Cut, slice and dice a few things, fry, boil and stir a few more, slap in some butter and (freshly) grated Parmesan and dinner’s done. And all that can be done whilst you enjoy a glass or two of the wine that’s gone into the making of it.

Lastly after travelling a while, some friend or other suggested we probably ate lots of BBQs. Now I love a BBQ but I think it’s something to be shared. Russ likes to cook up a couple of nice big pieces of meat (we tend to cook roasts instead of sausages and chops) and we make a few salads etc-hardly the thing for a couple in a caravan. No, we don’t eat lots of BBQs and in fact I think you could count the number we’ve had in 7 years on the fingers of your two hands.

So what do we eat?  We eat exactly the same sort of meals as we do at home. Russ and I both like to cook which is lucky, because we both suffer from the “we could have done better at home, in half the time, for quarter the cost” syndrome. We have plenty of time, so why not eat good food cooked using good local ingredients?!

The caravan has  a 4 burner cooktop (3 gas and 1 electric hotplate), microwave, domestic freezer built in and the second largest van fridge available. Outside we have a two element electric hotplate, pizza oven and AC/DC fridge. The van has it’s own crockery, cutlery, pots, pans, knives and gadgets, electric jug, sandwich maker and an iron.

When we pack up to travel, we empty the pantry of all dry and canned goods, sauces and condiments, herbs and spices. Everything from the fridge and freezer goes too and we can  store it all in the van. Everything has a home. Sometimes though, when we visit more remote areas, we shop for a month. That’s when under the bed, seats and wheel arches become extra storage for stuff like potatoes, whole pumpkins, long life milk, boxes of cereal, and casks and cartons of wine and beer.

So with all that cooking gear on hand, we eat stews and casseroles, I make stocks and soups, roasts and meatloaf, bread and pizza (the yeast is in the fridge).  I love to make chutney and relish and continue to do that as we travel as I find it’s a really relaxing hobby and we get such good produce to do it with. We obviously eat a lot of seafood when we’re catching it. We eat a lot of Asian style salads and stir fries, and curries are a favourite too.

Our freezer leaves home full of chicken, pork and red meat, and as that gets used, we replace it with fish. Russ skins, fillets, pin bones and vacuum seals the fish and right now we reckon we have around 20kgs frozen.  The freezer holds around 30kgs. Although the freezer only runs on AC, we’ve had it turned off in 40c heat for 24 hours and opened it to find everything perfectly frozen still. When we free camp, we run the generator mostly for it.

When we traded in the last caravan for this one, Keith of Coronet Caravans, where we bought them both, commented how well we’d kept it. I reckon that’s because we cook outside.

Last night, I made Easy Chicken Parmas, but I made my own tomato sauce, once again using those lovely tomatoes we bought two weeks ago in Carnarvon. I asked for plenty of green ones in the bottom of the box and they are just reaching perfection. No need for any sugar when they are this ripe.

Fresh Tomato Sauce

  • 6 large tomatoes, skins removed (you cut a cross in the bottom of the tomato, pour boiling water over it, count to thirty, then pour off the water. Skin when cool enough to handle.)
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • plenty of freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Dice the skinned tomatoes.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan and gently cook the onion and garlic until softened but not browned.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook until the mixture is well thickened and sauce-like (chunky sauce-like!).

I used my fresh tomato sauce to make Easy and Fast Chicken Parm by Chef 1MOM~Connie. It’s another recipe from food.com for another swap I’m participating in. I’ve taken the liberty of “Australianising” Connie’s recipe and explain how I made it for the two of us. Check out the original recipe though-it’s a great one for a quick tasty meal. I think our chickens may actually have been emus-the breasts were huge as was this meal, but oh my, it was so good.

Easy and Fast Chicken Parma

  • 4 cups chunky Ragu tomato sauce (or your preference- I used my own  but any kind you like is good)
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 large tomato chopped (1/8 ths)
  • 90g shredded  cheese (I used a mix of mozzarella, cheddar and parmesan)
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 smashed garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • cooking spray
  • Cooked spaghetti to serve
Chicken Parma with Home Made Tomato Sauce

Chicken Parma with Home Made Tomato Sauce

Method

  1. Spray casserole dish with oil.
  2. Place chopped onions on casserole base, sprinkle over smashed garlic. Next top with chicken breasts.
  3. Top those with the fresh tomatoes slices.
  4. Use 1/2 the sauce to cover chicken breast.
  5. Bake in oven 25-30 minutes at 190c degrees
  6. 5 minutes before chicken is finished sprinkle the cheese on top so that it can melt into the chicken parma.
  7. In the meantime boil water and cook noodles.
  8. Simmer remaining sauce and toss through the cooked noodles.
  9. Serve the chicken parma on top of the spaghetti.

Today I’m making bread rolls. Russ likes to use leftover bread, baguettes and rolls to make little dried toasts for cheese, dips and to eat our pickled fish on. The bread at the bakery here is just not “gutsy” enough in his opinion, so I’m making my own whilst he fishes for our dinner tonight.

Easy Bread Dough

  • 1 cup warm water (blood temp)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons dry active yeast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Method

  1. Dissolve the sugar in the warm water, then sprinkle over the yeast. Allow to sit for around 10 minutes in a warmish spot until the yeast activates (it looks frothy). Mix in the oil.
  2. Pour this liquid over the combined flour and salt and work it with a knife (imagine it’s a dough hook!)
  3. Depending on the flour and the day, you may need to add in a little more water. I added two tablespoons for a perfect dough
  4. Lightly flour your work top and tip the dough out.
  5. Knead by hand for 10 minutes (it’s fun and good for you)
  6. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and set aside in a warmish, draft free spot until it has doubled in size. Once again, how long this takes depends on the day.
  7. Heat your oven to 200c.
  8. When it’s risen, knock it back then form into one loaf or two baguettes or 6 roll. Whatever, it’s up to you. Allow it to rise again, then slash with a sharp knife or razor.
  9. I like to spray water on it here to give a crusty finish. You can glaze with egg or sprinkle over poppy or sesame seeds-that’s up to you.
  10. Bake for around 25 minutes for the loaf, and about 15 for a baguette. It’s done when you tap the bottom and get a sort of hollow sound.

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Seafood Pie

Seafood Pie

Seafood Pie

Although it still seemed fairly windy here in the park today, Russ took a drive to the boat launching facility and came back to tell me it’d be fine to go fishing. We went out at 1.15pm and came in at 4.15 pm with 6 fish. It really was much better than just sitting in the van here playing computer games!

We caught 5 red throat emperor and one stripy sea perch-they’re not as good eating as the emperor, so we decided to make a seafood pie. We had 8 Karumba prawns left of the 5kg box we bought there, and some smoked salmon I froze a while back when I decided the packet was too big to use all in a pasta dish I was making. All these bits went to make a lovely fish pie based loosely on a Jamie Oliver recipe I saw him make once on TV.

Seafood Pie

  • 400 g potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 300 g seafood (your choice)
  • 1 (310 g) can whole corn kernels, drained (we used a fresh corn cob)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, defrosted,drained
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
  • 1/2 cup grated tasty cheese
Seafood Pie

Seafood Pie

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 190c.
  2. Cut up the potatoes, and boil in lightly salted water until tender; drain, add the sour cream, mash until smooth, seasoning with salt and pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan, and saute the chopped onion until soft-about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the flour and cook over low heat about 2 minutes before adding the milk and wine. Bring to the boil and stir until thickened.
  5. Remove from the heat and add the seafood, corn, peas, capers, lemon juice, dill, parsley and salt and pepper. Mix well, then fold the egg quarters through very gently.
  6. Pour into two two cup ramekins, top with the mashed potatoes, then sprinkle over the grated cheese.
  7. Cook until bubbling hot and well browned on top.

Note we used raw seafood, so cooked the pies until they reached 70c internally, then turned the oven off and let them sit whilst our side of broccoli cooked.