Tag Archives: Food

Lemdarin Marmalade



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!


  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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A long time between blogs



It’s been a long time between blogs, but that doesn’t mean life’s been quiet.

We had a wonderful time on Monte Casino near New Norcia minding the animals for Pam and Carson whilst they holidayed in Bali. Tic the dog won our hearts, and managed to let us spoil her rotten with nights inside by the open fire, duck egg omelettes for breakfast, and tours of the farm in the ute with us.

Farm fresh eggs inc two duck eggs on thebottom   left

Farm fresh eggs inc two duck eggs on thebottom left

The 26 chickens layed around 18 eggs a day, the ducks one each, so it was eggs on the menu for us and Tic most days. Poached, fried, scrambled, lazy, omelette, salad-we had it all! I also found time to make another quadrupled batch of Maggie Beers Tomato Saffron Relish using the last of my Carnarvon tomatoes.

Whilst on the farm, we took a few drives to find some of the wild flowers the area is known for, visited the Benedictine monastery at New Norcia and went to town (Moora) a couple of times. We also had to make a quick visit into Perth to vote in the Federal Election (not that our votes helped the outcome). We mistakenly thought we’d be able to do our out of state voting in Moora, but no, the closest poling booth to do that was in Midland, Perth!

Pam and Carson and kids arrived home from a great holiday in Bali, we spent two nights with them then headed into Perth to stay with Blair and Leah leaving our van and boat stored at the farm in a super(phosphate) shed.

Cosmo looking happy and relaxed

Cosmo looking happy and relaxed

Leah had recently had a foot operation and we were arriving to help with cooking, shopping, driving her to and from appointments and to work and back. She is unable to drive for 6 weeks at least, so all of that is continuing. We are also here to look after Leah’s elderly cat Cosmo as they have a busy time with travel coming up. Cosmo is 16 and in pretty good health right now but he’s kept that way with daily insulin injections and thyroid tablets. He’s also quite particular about what he likes to eat these days so needs someone that knows him to care for him. We did our first baby sitting job over the WA long weekend just gone-everything went just fine!

We haven’t visited a market or done any fishing, but we have managed to cook some great meals-curries, home made lasagne, chicken pot pies, roast pork and beef, lamb and barley stew, Sardinian Lamb stew, saffron and leek fish pie, lots of asparagus with it in season, beef lok lak…… Lots of warming winter meals, as the weather here seems so cold after the northern part of the state.

Leah hosted a baby shower for daughter-in-law Deb on September 22nd, so we gave her a lot of help with the shopping and cooking for that and the organising of a few games. It was a quiet party with 12 of us enjoying a few tasteful games (no chocolate in nappies for Deb!), some great food and a few bubbles for us un pregnant guests. Deb got some gorgeous gifts for baby!

Kate and Giselle at the shower with the  food monster in the back ground!

Kate and Giselle at the shower with the food monster in the back ground!

We’ve also found time to visit the Mint, Perth Aviation Heritage Museum, our doctors, dentist, hairdresser and have the car serviced and the heater repaired. Also had a bit of a spend up on much needed clothes. The Mint was a bit forgettable-just a talk on the history, then a gold pouring demo (which was quite good). Other than that, it’s really just a retail store in a lovely old building. The Aviation Museum was every plane and war buffs dream. Lots of lovingly restored planes, or models of various planes, all lovingly cared for by the volunteers. I especially loved the big, beautiful Catalina (sea plane) housed in the first hangar. We spent three hours looking at the exhibits, but a real enthusiast could spend days-there is so much to read and see.



With October looming, we’re looking forward to celebrating Blair’s 40th and the arrival of Deb and Todd’s first baby.

Here’s a really simple breakfast recipe Pam made for us, then we made again using those gorgeous farm fresh eggs. It’s hard to give exact quantities but you’ll soon figure it out! If you use bacon, line your muffin tin, then cook a few minutes before adding the other stuff.

Lazy Eggs

  • Eggs (as many as required)
  • Ham or bacon
  • Diced tomato
  • Diced onion
  • Grated Cheese
Lazy Eggs

Lazy Eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 220c
  2. Grease as many holes in a deep muffin tin as you require eggs (one or two each usually).
  3. Line each hole with ham or bacon rasher.
  4. Drop in a little diced tomato followed by a little diced onion, an egg, season with salt and pepper, the sprinkle over grated cheese.
  5. Cook 10 to 15 minutes or until the egg is done to your liking. Serve on toast if you like.

Chicken Pot Pie

  • 2 cups good chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large leek, cleaned and sliced thinly
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 6 chicken thigh fillets, diced
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • 2 sheets puff pastry
  • 1 beaten egg
Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie


  1. Bring the stock to the boil and reduce by a third. Add in the thyme and pepper and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter and cook the leek gently until well softened adding in the garlic in the last couple of minutes.
  3. Add the diced chicken and cook for around 5 minutes or until just cooked through.
  4. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes then add the stock whisking as you do so. You want a fairly thick sauce, so you may not use all. Add the cream and parsley.
  5. Grease 4 pie dishes (mine were 2 cup) and divide the mix between them.
  6. Top with rounds of puff pastry decorated anyway you like, prick a couple of times with a fork, then brush with beaten egg.
  7. Place in the preheated oven and cook for 10 minutes. Reduce the temp to 190c and cook for 20 minutes more or until nice and golden.

We ate ours with a mash of potatoes, broccoli, peas and mint sauce It’s a Jamie Oliver recipe and part of one of his 30 minute meals. It was great too!

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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


  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


  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


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

Curried White Fish With Peas and Onions


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


  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


  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


  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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Fishing on the Reef

Saffron Tomato Relish-The Beginnings

Saffron Tomato Relish-The Beginnings

We have never pretended to be particularly good at fishing-we’re more enthusiastic than skilled-but we catch more than enough fish etc. to feed ourselves, give a little away, and freeze to take home.

After 6 visits to Coral Bay and this part of the Ningaloo Reef, we are pretty good at knowing where to fish for particular species.

We fish mostly drifting over the coral (and the coral is dense), using big hooks, big baits and no sinkers. We let out a little line to attract the smaller, pretty fish, they then alert the big ones. When we feel a decent bite, we retrieve our line as quickly as possible-if we’re not quick enough, we get taken into the coral. We lose a bit of gear, but not much and I would say 99% of the time, we are out there doing it all on our own.

Yesterday, we came home with 8 red throat emperor (we are allowed 4 each), 2 Charlie Court Cod and a stripy sea perch. We released as many, or more, size emperors too. No one else put in a line over the coral.

Depending on the tides and swell, we can go straight to a spot and catch 60cm spangled emperor, we know where the goat fish live, where we’ll definitely catch spotted cod, or Charlie Court Cod, or the red throat emperors. We can fish to order!

Russ made us a yummy brunch before we went out yesterday of smoked fish slice (it wasn’t quite and omelette or a frittata so I’ll call it a slice). We ate it with grilled Carnarvon tomatoes and toast.

Smoked Fish Slice

  • 4 eggs,whisked
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
  • 100g smoked fish, flaked
  • Salt and Pepper
Smoked Fish Slice

Smoked Fish Slice


  1. Preheat grill (broiler)
  2. Mix all ingredients together.
  3. Heat a pan over medium heat, spray with oil.
  4. Pour the mix in turn heat off and allow to stand for two minutes.
  5. Place under the grill for a further 2 minutes, or until set.
  6. Slice to serve.

For dinner I made us a recipe I’ve made quite often. It’s posted on food.com by Felix 4067 and is called Ralf’s Pretty Good Pistachio Baked Fish. It tasted great as usual, but the photos were a disaster! The original recipe uses butter-I used olive oil as that’s what we travel with.

Ralf’s Pretty Good Pistachio Baked Fish

  • 1 lb (about 400g) fish fillet ( I used red throat emperor)
  • 1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs (I used panko crumbs)
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, shelled, chopped fine and divided
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted (I used olive oil)Ralf's Pretty Good Pistachi Baked Fish (Jan's Bad Photos)


  1. Cut fish into serving-size pieces and check for bones.
  2. Combine bread crumbs, 1/4 cup pistachios, cheese, parsley, and mustard in shallow dish.
  3. Dip fish in milk and roll in crumb mixture; place in shallow greased baking dish.
  4. Drizzle with butter; sprinkle with remaining pistachios.
  5. Bake at 450°F allowing 10 minutes per inch of thickness measured at its thickest part or until fish flakes when tested with a fork.
Ralf's Pretty Good Pistachi Baked Fish (another of Jan's Bad Photos!)

Ralf’s Pretty Good Pistachi Baked Fish (another of Jan’s Bad Photos!)

Today (Friday 9th) we’re not fishing so I’m making tomato relish using those beautiful Carnarvon tomatoes once again.  Weather Willie told us it would be too windy to fish today, but it’s not really! We’re quickly losing faith in the Bureau of Meteorology  especially when the weather for Coral Bay comes from Learmonth 107kms away.  Learmonth is on the Gulf of Exmouth rather than the Ningaloo Reef too, so that makes it even worse.

I’m making a triple batch of a Maggie Beer recipe. She says to use her verjuice (of course) but it would cost me around $40 to do that so I’m using cider vinegar instead. I made one small batch using verjuice the first time I made it, but since then, have used the cider vinegar. To my mind it works a (cheap) treat.

The flavours of this relish are simple, but it’s one of my all time favourites and I make it often. I have to really love someone to give them a jar of it!

NB When I triple the recipe, I only double the salt!

Saffron Tomato Relish

  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 700 ml verjuice
  • 1 pinch saffron thread
  • 600 g ripe tomatoes, skinned (see the intro)
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper
Saffron Tomato Relish-The Finished Product

Saffron Tomato Relish-The Finished Product


  1. Place sugar and verjuice in a stainless steel saucepan and stir over a low heat until sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil over high heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until reduced and syrupy.
  2. Remove from the heat, add the saffron threads and leave to infuse for 5 minutes.
  3. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, then add the onion and garlic and cook for ten minutes or until softened.
  4. Add the tomatoes, verjuice, saffron syrup and cook over low heat for 1 1/2 -2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the syrup has reduced and thickened. Season with the salt and pepper.
  5. Immediately transfer to a sterilised 500ml jar and seal, then turn upside down to ensure lid is sterislised by the hot mixture.

Relish will keep in the refrigerator for a few months once opened or unopened in a cool place for up to a year