Melva’s fish paste

We were holidaying in beautiful Venus Bay, SA and for the first time so far in my fishing career we actually caught a lot of fish.

The best eating fish in South Australia is by far the King George Whiting, and we caught plenty of those. It would be a travesty to eat fresh whiting in any other way than simply & lightly fried with a little butter. In the markets it would sell for around $50/kg.

To catch the whiting requires a boat, and we were lucky enough to be holidaying in a group with 2 boats and most importantly Poppa Dennis’s years of hard won knowledge and experience.

But it’s not all whiting all the time. We also caught plenty of other species, trevally, tommy ruffs & salmon (not the same as european salmon). We developed a fool proof technique of fishing from the jetty involving dropping some chopped up bait to create a fish feeding frenzy and then gently dropping our baited hooks into the middle of it and immediately hooking eating sized trevally or tommies.

Bottom line is we had lot of fish. Too much to eat so we cleaned filleted and froze a few kilos of fish to take home and process. We’re following a family recipe for a delicious fish paste which kindly given to us by Melva. Try it dolloped onto some melba toast with a bit of sour cream and some snipped chives or dill.

Fish paste

Ingredients

  • 1 kg fish
  • 1 medium onion, finely cut
  • 60 mls spiced vinegar
  • 60 mls cooking oil
  • 100 mls tomato sauce
  • 150 mls tomato paste
  • 30 mls worcestershire sauce
  • 10 ml hot chilli sauce
  • 1 tsp salt

Method

  1. Skin the fish, taking out the blood line etc & cut into small pieces
  2. Place all the ingredients into a saucepan and bring to the boil, simmering for around 15 mins
  3. Mash the mixture with a potato masher
  4. Spoon the paste into jars sterilised in boiling water, sealing the lids while hot
  5. Keep in the fridge & use within 2 months

Hot Cross Buns

It’s Easter and all over the world we’re scoffing hot crossed buns. Here’s how we make them using Laucke’s German Grain Bread flour. Here’s a recipe we’ve adapted from taste.com.au.

Ingredients

  •  2 x 7g sachets dried yeast
  •  70g set honey
  •  1 1/2 teaspoons mixed spice
  •  pinch of salt
  •  1 1/2 cups currants
  •  40g butter
  •  300ml milk
  •  2 eggs, lightly beaten

FLOUR PASTE

  •  1/2 cup plain flour
  •  4 to 5 tablespoons water

GLAZE

  •  1/3 cup water
  •  2 tablespoons caster sugar
  •  Butter, to serve

METHOD

  • Step 1
    Combine flour, yeast, mixed spice, salt and currants in a large bowl.
  • Step 2
    Melt butter & honey in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add milk. Heat for 1 minute, or until lukewarm. Add warm milk mixture and eggs to currant mixture. Use a flat-bladed knife to mix until dough almost comes together. Use clean hands to finish mixing to form a soft dough.
  • Step 3
    Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead for 10 minutes, or until dough is smooth. Place into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until dough doubles in size.
  • Step 4
    Line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Punch dough down to its original size. Knead for 30 seconds on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Divide into 12 even portions. Shape each portion into a ball. Place balls onto lined tray, about 1cm apart. Cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 30 minutes, or until buns double in size. Preheat oven to 190°C or 170˚C fan-force.
  • Step 5
    Make flour paste: Mix flour and water together in a small bowl until smooth, adding a little more water if paste is too thick. Spoon into a small snap-lock bag. Snip off 1 corner of bag. Pipe flour paste over tops of buns to form crosses. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until buns are cooked through.
  • Step 6
    Make glaze: Place water and sugar into a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil. Boil for 3-4 minutes. Brush warm glaze over warm hot cross buns. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Let them eat hot cross buns.

A hot cross bun is a spiced sweet bun made with currants or raisins, marked with a cross on the top, and traditionally eaten on Good Friday in Australia, British Isles, Canada, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa and some parts of America.

The buns mark the end of Lent and different parts of the hot cross bun have a certain meaning, including the cross representing the crucifixion of Jesus, and the spices inside signifying the spices used to embalm him at his burial. They are now available all year round in some places. Hot cross buns may go on sale in Australia and New Zealand as early as New Year’s Day or after Christmas.

Crisp Chinese pork

Ingredients

  • 1.3kg piece boned pork belly, skin on and scored, ask the butcher for the thin end
  • 2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder

The dipping sauce

  • 4 tbsp soy sauce (we used Kikkoman)
  • small knob fresh root ginger grated
  • 1 tbsp Thai sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 spring onion finely chopped

Method

  1. Rub the pork with the five-spice and 2 tsp sea salt then leave, uncovered, in the fridge for at least 2 hrs, but preferably overnight. When ready to cook, heat oven to its maximum setting. Lay the pork on a rack over a roasting tin, making sure the skin is exposed. Roast for 10 mins before turning down the heat to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4, then leave to cook for a further 1½ hrs. Have a look at the pork – if the skin isn’t crisp, turn up the heat to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7, then cook for another 30 mins until crisp. Leave to rest on a board for at least 10 mins.
  2. To make the dipping sauce, mix all the ingredients together with 2 tbsp water. Cut the pork into small pieces, then serve with the sauce, plus boiled rice and steamed greens, if you like.

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/5532/crisp-chinese-pork

A poor foodie in Chamonix

These are some photos from back in the days where I lived as a hermit in a small Alpine village called Le Tour near Chamonix, France. I didn’t have much money, but I ate well.

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