Tag Archives: Spangled Emperor

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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Rabbit Cacciatore Mmmmmmm

Stock yards and windmill are beeing gradually swallowed up by the dune

Stock yards and windmill are beeing gradually swallowed up by the dune


I must be starting to sound like the proverbial broken record, with it still being too windy for us to get out and fish. To add insult to injury, it’s now raining as well. Not pouring, but just drizzling enough to make the sand stick like glue to your shoes every time you step outside! I hope the weather improves before we leave here Sunday and head back to Carnarvon.

Spangled Emperor and Chips

Spangled Emperor and Chips

Sunday we managed to slip out for an hours fishing before the wind got up really high and sent us racing back in. Our bravery, in less than pleasant conditions, was rewarded with three spangled emperor. Russ filleted, vacuum packed the two biggest, and kept the smaller one for our dinner Monday night. Sunday night, we had a red meat night enjoying a bone-in rib eye roast with all the trimmings.

Monday, with rain threatening we packed a picnic lunch, a fishing rod for Russ and the camera for me and took a drive down the coastal road. It’s about a 130k round trip through Cardabia and Ningaloo stations along a narrow corrugated, sandy road, then back to Coral Bay along 50 or so ks of bitumen. The coast itself is accessible via narrower and sandier tracks along the way and makes for pretty spots to view the reef and dunes. We didn’t see any whales this year, but I think we are a month or so earlier than last year. Russ caught a couple of cod at our lunch spot and a very angry Undulating Moray Eel. We had a small shark and turtle hang around checking us out most of the time we were there.

Our annual visit to my favourite sand dune

Our annual visit to my favourite sand dune

It’s interesting to watch the dunes move and swallow up the road and paddocks each year that we visit. The road is totally rerouted now in one spot and stock yards in another are disappearing fast.

Russ went off fishing, I walked home from the boat ramp

Russ went off fishing, I walked home from the boat ramp

Today (Tuesday) Russ decided to have an early lunch and brave the water (salt and rain). I’d showered just before lunch so didn’t fancy putting my super smelly fishing clothes on. Instead, I went with him to the boat ramp then walked the couple of ks home along tha sand track above the reef. I’d taken my camera to try and get some photos of the dark clouds looming over the reef.
Sunshine breaking through the rain clouds

Sunshine breaking through the rain clouds

Dinner was rabbit from the farm at New Norcia. They’d shot and kept us 5 last time we visited in exchange for some fish fillets. It’s a good swap although I miss them living on Jib Jib where they raised wild piglets in the shearing shed and gave us wild pig meat as well. They often give us lamb shanks too if they don’t feed them to the dogs!!!!

Tonight’s dish of Rabbit Cacciatore is from the site Hunt Catch Cook Click on the link to check out this one and some other great game recipes. I’ve made and blogged Rabbit Cacciatore before, but love trying other recipes. I cooked most of two rabbits tonight (the shooters tend to blow away the front legs lol) with plans to make risotto with the leftovers tomorrow.

Rabbit Cacciatore finished dish

Rabbit Cacciatore finished dish


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Too Windy to Fish (AGAIN)

Tomato SaffronRice  Fish Soup

Tomato Saffron Rice Fish Soup

When it’s this windy it’s not nice to snorkel (little wavelets down your snorkel), not nice to swim (little wavelets again), and not even nice to walk (sandblasting of body!), so we had a really quiet day in-Russ doing Sudoku for a lot of the day, me trying to nut out my camera. We treated ourselves to a Saturday lunch of pies from the bakery right over the road-beef, cheese and bacon, and rosemary lamb and veg, but otherwise did nothing. After yesterday, walking 4ks to the Shark Sanctuary and back, mostly through, up or down sand, then a couple of hours fishing, I was quite happy to have a slow day.

Walking to the shark sanctuary 5

Walking to the shark sanctuary 5

I caught a nice little Spangled Emperor (46cm) yesterday when we ventured out for a couple of hours in another not so perfect day. I’d made fish stock the day before so was desperate to catch a big enough fish to make soup. How lucky was I to catch our only emperor otherwise I was taking some out of the freezer!

We often have a Tunisian Fish Soup but I wanted to make something else for a change. I found a recipe using clams and prawns, so subbed our fish, adding in a couple of other ingredients while I was at it.

Tomato, Rice, Saffron Fish Soup

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 60g prosciutto, finely sliced (or could use bacon)
  • 1x420g can whole tomatoes, drained of juice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • pinch of saffron
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (I used smoked)
  • 1/2 cup arborio rice
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups stock (I used home made fish)
  • Whole fish fillets (enough for two)
  • chopped fresh coriander
Tomato SaffronRice  Fish Soup

Tomato Saffron Rice Fish Soup

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat, add the onion, garlic and prosiutto and cook until well softened.
  2. Add the drained tomatoes, ( I scissor them up in the pan) and wine and cook until all the liquid is gone, add in the saffron, cumin and paprika and cook a minute or two,
  3. Toss the rice in and toss around until well mixed then add the lemon juice, bay leaves and stock. Cook about 12 minutes or until the rice is tender.
  4. Add the fillets of fish-thinner ones a minute or so before the thicker ones. Cook for around 3 or 4 minutes (remember they’ll cook on after you turn the heat off).Break each fillet into two or three pieces, serve in deep bowls scattered with the coriander and with crusty bread and butter!

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Too Windy to Fish

Just about gone

Just about gone

It was really windy here yesterday-way too windy to be out in our little tinny so we just hung around the van for the day making a batch of our favourite pickled fish going down to the bay for a swim, then heading down again with a bottle of wine at sunset. After lingering there for an hour or so, it was time to go back and cook our dinner.

I took a couple of photos in the morning to show just how quiet it is here right now. The quietest we have ever known it! We are parked up in our favourite spot by the road, close to the ablutions block and I reckon there would normally be 20 other vans surrounding us. Right now there’s two and it’s been that way for a week. Those two vans belong to some guys building a new pub across the road and they reckon it’s them and the possible noise keeping the sites vacant, but in a busy year, management would just say “suck it up” to anyone who needed to stay but didn’t want to stay here. NO, it’s super quiet is the truth.

Vacancies at Coral Bay 2

Vacancies at Coral Bay 2

We caught 5 spangled Emperor the other day, so I had Russ save me a frame when he filleted them to make stock. I have plans to make a fish soup along the lines of  our favourite Tunisian Fish Soup (fish stock, tomatoes, saffron, cumin, paprika, garlic, potatoes) but will look for something a bit different this time.

Cooked and ready to eat. Cheek meat was amazing

Cooked and ready to eat. Cheek meat was amazing

We’d kept the smallest fish caught Tuesday to cook whole. No recipe as such, but I mixed equal amounts (about 2 tablespoons of each) of soy and black vinegar, added in grated ginger, a big dollop of jarred garlic, a chopped chilli and a half teaspoon of 5 spice powder. Then wrapped the fish in foil and baked until he reached 60c. Rested him while I finished off the fried rice. Both of us reckon it’s one of THE best dinners we’ve eaten in ages and well worth staying home for.

Fish Stock

  • 1 fish frame-inc head, should be a white fish like snapper or emperor
  • 1 onion, chopped small, (leave skin on for a richer colour)
  • 1 carrot, peeled, sliced thinly
  • 2 celery sticks, sliced thinly
  • 2 cloves garlic, skin on, smashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (supposed to release the calcium from bones)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (supposed to balance the vinegar out)
  • A few stalks of parsley ripped up
Fish Stock

Fish Stock

Method

  1. Put all ingredients in a large saucepan and cover with cold water.
  2. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes Any more and the proteins in the bones start to break down.
  3. Strain and discard the solids.
  4. Wash out the pot and return the strained stock to the heat.
  5. Reduce over high heat until about a third remains. I do this for a stronger stock and to cut down on freezer space (if that’s where it’s going). Can always add in more water if you want to when you defrost.

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Smoked Trevally=Kedgeree

Smoked Trevally Kedgeree

Smoked Trevally Kedgeree

Russ caught a good sized trevally the other day so brought it home and smoked it that afternoon. We ate some of it still warm on home made toasts with a drink, then put the rest in the fridge.

Today, with the remainder, he made us a smoked fish dip and I made kedgeree for brunch this morning before we headed out to catch the big emperor that got away yesterday. The kedgeree recipe is from my sister and is maybe more a cross between a moister mornay and a kedgeree, as it has a white sauce through it and is topped with cheese. Whatever, it’s a yummy way to use our fish!

Spangled Emperor

Spangled Emperor

Back from fishing, we landed 5 nice Spangled Emperor (and not much else) in a couple of pleasant hours out on the reef. We were fishing in 2 metres of clear water over a shaley bottom, 200 metres off shore so it was very easy (like shooting fish in a barrel). It would have been fun to keep fishing, but stopped at 5 due to freezer space. Russ has already filleted 4 and kept me a frame to make stock from, and we kept the smallest (42cm) fish whole to cook tomorrow night. I’m thinking something with soy, ginger, 5 spice and garlic …….

Smoked Fish Kedgeree

  • 2 tablespoon butter (I used light margarine)
  • 1 small onion, diced fine
  • 1 stick celery, diced fine
  • 1 small carrot, grated
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed (I used a teaspoon of jarred)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 cups milk (I used low fat)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste (we like lots of both)
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 cup flaked smoked fish (or thereabouts, I don’t measure fish)
  • 1 cup grated cheese
Kedgeree

Kedgeree

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190c
  2. Melt the butter and cook the onion, celery, carrot and garlic gently until softened, about 5 minutes,
  3. Add the flour and curry powder and cook for a couple of minutes.
  4. Gradually add the milk, stirring as you do so it doesn’t get lumpy. Simmer a couple of minutes. Add the lemon juice and season to taste with the salt and pepper.
  5. Toss through the rice and smoked fish, then put all into a pie dish.
  6. Top with the grated cheese and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until well browned and piping hot.

Serves 2 piggies or 4 more moderate eaters!

Brunch Kedgeree

Brunch Kedgeree

Dugong Encounter

Lemon Butter Fish over Crushed Peas

Lemon Butter Fish over Crushed Peas

Today, we had an amazing afternoon of fishing-not for the fish caught but for the things we saw, including a huge turtle that swam right under us, a huge octopus that chased a fish we’d hooked up to the boat, a dugong right by the boat, and a dickhead boat operator towing a water skier right by where we were fishing.

We see a lot of turtles, but the water clarity was good, we were in quite shallow and the turtle was big so it was a good sighting. Even two turtle-jaded people like us were impressed!

It is the first time an octopus has ever chased up a hooked fish-squid and other fish and sharks do it but we’ve never had an octopus do it. He was big too.

Not long after that, Russ told me he’d seen a dugong. I thought “oh yeah, bet it was a turtle or dolphin” as we rarely see dugongs in Coral Bay. We see many more in Shark Bay where around 10,000 supposedly live, feeding on the sea grass beds there. Anyhow he turned away and I spotted a big tail flicking out of the water as the dugong dived to feed. Then he was up again and resting on the water surface so we could see all his broad back and blunt snout revealed. he stayed by the boat for about 20 minutes feeding occasionally before he swam lazily away. Quite amazing and another free experience had from our tinny!

The water skier was a less pleasant encounter. The boat was several kilometres out of the ski zone, they had no spotter, the skier had no life vest, and they were skiing in 3 metres of rough water over coral. Talk about fools and if anything had happened, I feel we’d have been obligated to go help the idiots, mush as I’d have preferred not to.

As far as the fishing went, we caught a couple of feeds which are now tucked away in the freezer, so that was OK too.

Dinner tonight was a spangled emperor I caught yesterday. Russ reckons this one can be repeated at a later date! I reckon the pea puree would be great with a little mint added and served beside roast lamb.

Lemon Butter Fish Over Crushed Peas

  • Spray oil
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • white fish fillets, enough for two people
  • 2 green onion, ends trimmed, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut into 2 pieces
  • Sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper
  • Lemon wedges (optional), to serve

Peas

  • 3/4 cup hot chicken stock
  • 300g frozen baby peas
  • 1 tablespoon chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon butter
Before Cooking

Before Cooking

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 220°C. Line 2 pieces of foil with same sized baking paper. Spray with the spray oil. Rub the lemon rind and lemon juice over the fish.
  2. Divide the fish among the foil pieces. Top with green onions, capers and butter, season with salt and pepper. Fold the foil to seal. Place on a large baking tray and bake for 10 minutes or until cooked to 65c when checked with a thermometre.
  3. Meanwhile, to make the pea puree, bring the stock, peas and onion to the boil in a medium saucepan. Cook for 5 minutes. Drain, reserving the stock.
  4. Return the peas to the pan. Add the butter and use a stick blender to process, adding a little of the reserved stock if necessary, until a coarse puree forms. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Divide the pea mix among serving plates. Top with the fish and drizzle over the juices. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes and serve with lemon wedges, if desired.
Lemon Butter Fish over Crushed Peas

Lemon Butter Fish over Crushed Peas

More in love than ever

Lemon and Cumin Fish Out of the Oven

Lemon and Cumin Fish Out of the Oven

I’m pretty sure it’s 8 winters out of 9 we’ve made it to Coral Bay, but as I don’t count stuff like, I can’t tell you exactly. Just like I can’t say for sure how many times I’ve been to Bali or across the Nullarbor. It just doesn’t matter to me/us.

So, I think it’s 8 and have to say, I’m more in love than ever with the place. We’ve been here a week already, have had almost perfect weather and caught just enough fish and squid to feed ourselves and keep it interesting.

This is the earliest we have ever arrived here and while we’ve found the park almost empty, more big boats are going out each day than we’ve ever seen before. We wonder if the more serious fishing people come and go before the huge influx of “grey nomads” from “down south” arrives in June for the winter. Whatever the reason, it’s lovely for a change.

Down on the Finger Jetty

Down on the Finger Jetty

As we’ve fished, we’ve also seen more (and bigger ) sharks than we’ve seen other years. So far, it’s stopped me swimming and snorkelling but that might change in the coming weeks. I have a new camera and that’s kept me entertained as I try to make sense of the instruction book and it.

Lebanese Eggplant Salad

Lebanese Eggplant Salad

We’ve eaten well and are almost finished our fresh veg from Carnarvon-just a few tomatoes, a zucchini and some herbs left. They are bought so fresh, they last really well.

Last night I used my remaining eggplant,capsicum, tomatoes and parsley in a Lebanese Eggplant Salad. We had it with Cumin and Lemon Fish which was sensational and I’m posting the recipe here. Our fish was too large for our oven so Russ took off the head and tail which spoilt it a bit for presentation, but didn’t affect the taste!

Cumin and Lemon Fish

  • 1 whole fish, scaled and gutted (about 2kgs) Snapper type fish is good
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 3 teaspoons cumin
  • 4 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
Lemon and Cumin Fish Out of the Oven

Lemon and Cumin Fish Out of the Oven

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200c.
  2. Mix together all ingredients from cumin through to oil. Set aside.
  3. Slash fish a few times on each side.
  4. Lay out a large sheet of foil (you may need to join two like I did, then place a sheet of baking paper on this.
  5. Lay down half the lemon slices.
  6. Smear the fish on both sides and in the cavity with the spice mix, then lay on the lemon slices on the foil. Top with remaining slices. Seal the parcel, tenting it a bit at the top.
  7. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes or until 60c internally (just shove a thermometer through the foil, into the thickest part).
  8. Rest for 10 minutes in the foil parcel, then slide onto a large serving dish and spoon some of the juices over. I served the rest at the table in a small jug. I wish we had had crusty bread to mop some of the juices up too.

This fish was enough for us for our dinner last night and again today we had it cold with the leftover salad for lunch.

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