Chrissy presents….

100% linen 100% Australian teatowel

Looking for a Crissy pressie…then look no further!
Here’s a chance to treat yourself (or some other special person) to something new from the garden2kitchen range of goodies!Our 100% Australian linen teatowels have been very popular and proudly show our ‘GROW your food, KNOW your food, LOVE your food’ message.

You’ll also find handmade aprons, camphor laurel cutting boards and recycled timber herb boxes here—> http://bit.ly/1iUzFPP

Phil & Julsx
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Spanner crabs for Christmas

Paul Porters catch of Spanners

Christmas is just around the corner and there is something about having crustaceans on the Christmas menu that is a big part of the great Aussie Christmas.

Christmas Eve, I serve up a platter of crustaceans. Cooked prawns, bugs and crabs sprinkled with fresh herbs like dill, chervil, coriander. There is always lots of lemon wedges, wasabi mayonnaise, homemade cocktail sauce (my boys insist we have that sauce),  served with a crunchy green salad and crusty bread.

The crabs I use are usually  spanner crabs found in the northern NSW and Queensland waters. I find their meat sweater than the blue swimmer and mud crabs. It may be because they are caught between a mile and 15 mile off shore on sandy bottoms, so they have a more of a smorgasbord of food to choose from than their cousins in the mangroves. Although they only yield 25 per cent meat, they are cheaper than other Crabs and some chefs prefer their distinctive flavour.

Paul Porter’s 7m aluminium cat

Paul Porter has been catching spanners commercially since 1989. There wasn’t really a market for them domestically as most people either had no idea what they were or how to prepare and cook them. Thankfully that has changed and Paul sends most of his catch to Sydney Fish Market.

If you want to have a go at catching them Paul suggests going out when there is no swell and using mullet or pilchards as bait. Paul sends down his trap in the late afternoon and says an hour later he can haul up to 15-20 but you need to check what the quota is for recreational fishers. Good luck and let me know if you do catch them and how you cooked them.

So what does Paul do with his spanner crab? Besides eating them cooked from the shell he has shared with me his wife Rebecca’s recipe of Hot Crab Dip. Perfect for the the silly season. Enjoy!

BECCY’S FAMOUS HOT CRAB DIP

INGREDIENTS

500 grams drained cooked crab meat

250 grams cream cheese, softened

½ cup mayonnaise

¼ cup thickened cream

4-6 spring onions, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 drops Tabasco sauce

½ teaspoon garlic salt

Salt and pepper to taste

¼ cup finely grated parmesan cheese

Water crackers to serve

Fresh dill to garnish

METHOD

Grease an ovenproof dish (4cup capacity)

  1. Combine crab meat, cream cheese, mayonnaise, thickened cream, spring onions, mustard sauces and garlic salt in a medium bowl.  Season with salt and pepper, mix well.  Spoon mixture into the prepared dish, sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
  2. Cook, uncovered in a moderate oven, 160ºC, for about 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  3. Stand dip for 10 minutes before serving with crackers.  Garnish with fresh dill.

 

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Roasted broccoli salad with avocado dressing

Roasted broccoli salad with avocado dressing

I had fun as usual on the Good Gardening show this morning on ABC Northcoast radio.

Whipping up the avocado dressing in the ABC Northcoast studio

Phil is harvesting broccoli so on our last tour together to Sydney for the Australian Garden Show we brainstormed this salad. Phil just loves roasting broccoli and I don’t blame him. It gives this veg a nutty flavour. You can just eat it as is with a squeeze of lemon juice or make up this salad. Enjoy!

Roasted Broccoli salad

Serves 4

2 heads broccoli, cut into florets

1 red onion, peeled and cut into eighths

dried oregano

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 big handful rocket leaves

100gms almond flakes, toasted

200gms Greek feta, cut into cubes

Avocado dressing

1 head garlic

1 avocado

100gms Greek style plain yoghurt

1 teaspoon chilli flakes

1/2 cup lemon juice

Preheat oven to 200C. Place the head of garlic in the oven on a small tray and cook for 40-45 minutes or until cloves are softened.

On a large oven tray place the broccoli florets and onion. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle over a good pinch of dried oregano and season with salt and pepper. Place into the preheated oven and cook for 30-35 minutes or until the broccoli is tender and lightly golden brown.

Meanwhile to make the avocado dressing, place the avocado, yoghurt, lemon juice and dried chilli into a small food processor or hand-held blender. When the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze each roasted garlic clove into the avocado mixture and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Place into a large bowl the cooked broccoli and onion, beans, rocket, almond flakes and feta. Pour over the avocado dressing, toss well, taste to see if salad needs more seasoning and serve immediately.

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Throw a fish on the barbie

Chargrilled fish with pine nut parsley salad and tahini sauce

We have had some warm weather and not that I need an excuse but it prompted me to fire up the barbie. Of course I love throwing fish on the grill, so quick, simple and tasty.

This is a great recipe from Sydney Fish Market FISHline. It uses Yellowtail Kingfish but as I told Scott Levi (Mullet Guts) on ABC The Big Fish program, you can use whatever your catching or whatever looks delish at your local fish shop.

The tahini sauce, I could eat on its own but so tasty with a grilled fish and the parsley salad with its Middle Eastern flavours is fresh and crunchy. I have so much parsley in the garden that its always great to find new ways of using it. Enjoy!

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Teriyaki Tuna Time…

Happy days….a great catch of Yellowfin Tuna

Lucky, is how I feel. I live in a beautiful part of Australia, Byron Bay but to add to it I have an amazingly passionate fishmonger.

Meet Freckle, your friendly fishmonger.

Meet Freckle (yes he has freckles) your friendly, camera shy, mad fishmonger. Mad, because I don’t think he ever sleeps, as the boats call him at all times of the night letting him know they have a catch. Without fail he gets up and will drive up to 8 hours north to meet the boat, mad!

But I am not complaining, because the seafood in his shop is sublime. There is a lot of locally caught fish in his shop, I have had a whole snapper that was caught that morning. So when I saw the haul of tuna I couldn’t resist but to buy a few steaks and throw them on the chargrill. This recipe uses a teriyaki marinade, so make sure you wipe the marinade off the tuna before cooking otherwise it will stick and burn quickly. Enjoy!

Mouth-watering side of tuna…yum!

Chargrilled tuna steaks with cucumber vermicelli and noodles

Serves 4

4 x 180gm tuna steaks (or swordfish, snapper, blue-eye or any firm fillets)

4 tablespoons teriyaki marinade (recipe follows)

1 packet Green tea or Soba noodles

2 telegraph cucumbers, washed

4 green onions, finely sliced

Dressing

1/4 cup Shaoxhing wine (Chinese cooking wine)

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon lime juice

2 tablespoons palm sugar

Teriyaki marinade

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1/3 cup dark soy sauce

1 tablespoon mirin

1 tablespoon caster sugar

To make the marinade, combine all the ingredients in a glass or ceramic container and stir until sugar has dissolved. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the marinade to serve. Place the tuna steaks into the marinade, set aside.

Use a mandolin to slice the cucumbers into thin long strips (like vermicelli noodles) working around the seeds, or use a knife to cut into thin strips. To make the dressing, in a large bowl, combine wine, fish sauce and sugar and stir until sugar has dissolved. Cook the noodles as per packet instructions. Drain and add to the dressing with the strips of cucumber. Toss well.

Heat the chargrill on a high heat. Remove the tuna from the bowl and wipe off  the marinade. Lightly brush the tuna steaks with oil and cook 1 minute each side for a pink centre, or longer if you prefer.

Divide the prepared noodles and cucumber onto serving plates and place the cooked tuna on top and drizzle with reserved marinade and sprinkle over the green onions and serve.

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Cajun fish stew

Cajun fish stew

You want quick, you want delicious then give this fish stew a go…enjoy!

Cajun fish stew

Serves 4

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 brown onion, peeled and roughly chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

4 stalks celery, sliced

1 green or red capsicum, deseeded and chopped

1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced

1 tablespoon Cajun spice mix

4 tomatoes, roughly chopped

2 cups fish stock

800gms fish fillets, cut into bite sized pieces

1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley. chopped

freshly grated parmesan cheese, to serve.

Heat the olive oil in a mediun saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook for 2-3 minutes or until softened

Add celery, capsicum and carrot to pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add cajun spice and stir to coat. Cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and stock, and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes

Add the fish and simmer, without lid for 10 minutes.

Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Divide between bowls then top with parmesan to serve.

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BBQ Squid

Squids galore…

According to ‘Mullet Guts’ from The Big Fish program, squid are on. I love cooking squid on the barbie, its quick, its easy and its tasty. I know its still chilly but the barbie can warm you up…just need to put on the beanie and the warm coat. Enjoy!

BBQ Squid salad

500gms squid, cleaned, honeycombed and cut into triangles

marinade

1 stalk lemongrass, finely chopped

1 lime, zest

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 medium red chilli seeded and finely chopped

1 teaspoon palm sugar

1 tablespoon fish sauce

¼ cup vegetable oil

salad

1 Lebanese cucumber, halved lengthwise and seeds removed

¼ cup mint leaves, chopped

¼ cup coriander, chopped

¼ cup basil leaves, torn

2 green onions, sliced diagonally

1/4 cup unsalted macadamias, roasted and chopped

dressing

2 tablespoons lime juice, extra

2 teaspoons sesame oil

2 teaspoons fish sauce

1 teaspoon palm sugar

1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce

Combine all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Place the cleaned and honeycombed squid into the marinade, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Heat a BBQ plate to a high heat, cook squid until curled and opaque, 2-3 minutes.

In a large salad bowl, combine all the salad ingredients. Add the cooked squid. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour over the squid salad, toss well and serve.

 

 

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Marks Seafood Chowder

One pot wonder – Seafood Chowder

I am always on the hunt for seafood recipes so of course whilst visiting my local fishmonger this week, Bay Seafood in Byron Bay, I happen to ask if anyone wanted to share one of their favourite seafood recipes with me.

They were all happy to share their passion for cooking up seafood but Marks Seafood Chowder was one that was appealing to me, it is a one pot wonder that will warm you through, it is a real comfort dish, perfect for this time of year.

Mark was originally from the States and came out to Australia in the 1970’s, surfing may have something to do with that. Chowder is a popular dish in the States so when an ex-American (Mark is an Aussie citizen since the 1980’s) offered his chowder recipe how could I resist? Thanks Mark. Enjoy!

Marks Seafood Chowder

Serves 4

Basic chowder ingredients :

4 large spuds peeled and diced small (25 mm)

1 Large brown onion,  finely diced

1 small stalk of celery, finely diced

1 corn cob, kernels removed

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 litre of fish stock ( can substitute chicken if  necessary)

1-2 cups of cream/milk or soy milk if preferred

Seafood of your choice. Choose what you like as a general rule  about 600 to  800 grams of seafood in total or around  150 to 200 grams per person. Sometimes less is more….

*Boneless chunky white fillets of fish: flathead , monkfish, blue eye trevella, wahoo ask your trusty fishmonger on the day for a select item.

*Large whole green local prawns peel and reserve the shells and heads.

*Roe off local scallops or large sashimi quality roe off scallops

*Local  Spanner crab meat. * local fresh squid.  *Clams

Any or all of these can be used its your choice you could use for instance: Fish with scallops or crab meat with prawns , or simply clam chowder.

Method

In a large soup pot sweat off the diced onion and celery until clear but not browned with butter and some olive oil. Add the garlic and cook on for another few moments then add the diced spuds stirring to coat with garlic oil and onion/celery mix then add the corn and the stock if there is not enough stock to cover the potatoes add some water bring to boil and simmer until the spuds are cooked through. With a potato masher lightly mash the potatoes so that they break up slightly but still mostly retain their shape as this will assist in thickening the chowder. Season to taste. This is the base chowder for any of the seafood you would like to use.

When this is done add your seafood selection by cutting into pieces (chunky or fine it’s up to you) . You can lightly pan fry the seafood or just add it directly to the chowder and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes to just cook the seafood through. Add cream milk or soy until you get the desired colour you feel looks right then simmer but do not boil. Thicken if desired with a tablespoon or two of cornflour in milk and stir through.  Garnish with some chopped parsley and enjoy with crusty bread….

*when using prawns reserve the shells and heads add them to a frying pan with a dog of butter and lightly mash the heads and shells frying until bright red then deglaze the pan with a cup of water reduce then strain the shells out retaining the liquid for a real flavour boost to add with thee stock.

*or a smokey flavour 50 grams of smoked salmon cooked off with the onions at the start is a great flavour addition and is a good alternative to bacon in the clam chowder.

*when doing clam chowder steam the clams over one or two inches of water in your colander open the clams and reserve the meat. The remaining water will have had the clam juices trickling into  it and also is a great flavour boost for your soup.

 

 

 

 

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Roasted stuffed rainbow trout

Roasted rainbow trout and pancetta with preserved lemon and fennel stuffing

This is one of my favourite dishes to prepare when guests come over for a feed. So I loved sharing it with The Big Fish show on ABC radio statewide. It is a no fuss dish with the looks and the flavour. The bunches of herbs not only imparts flavour into the fish but helps to stop the fish from sticking to the pan. The best way to know if your fish is cooked is the eyes become opaque, a milky creamy colour or as Scott Levi from Big Fish says, they look like white marbles. Remember the time of cooking will vary with the size of your fish.
You can use any other whole fish like snapper, whiting or barramundi instead of trout. Enjoy!
Roasted rainbow trout and pancetta with preserved lemon and fennel stuffing
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 leek, white part only, finely chopped
1 small fennel bulb, finely chopped, fronds reserved
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
3 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 preserved lemon, rinsed, flesh removed and skin finely chopped
juice of 2 lemons
1 cup Panko (Japanese) breadcrumbs
4 rainbow trout (about 300gm each), cleaned
thin slices pancetta 
1 bunch each rosemary, thyme, oregano (or whatever you have in your garden) 
2 lemons, sliced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat and add the onion, leek, fennel and garlic and stir occasionally until softened. Add the fennel seeds and cook until they are fragrant. Remove from heat, add preserved lemon and breadcrumbs, season to taste and combine well. Cool completely, stir through reserved fennel fronds, set aside.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Stuff the breadcrumb mixture into the cavities of rainbow trout. Wrap each trout with two pancetta slices and season with salt and pepper.
Scatter half the herbs into the base of a roasting pan, large enough to fit the trout in a single layer, layer with the slices of lemons and arrange the trout on top. Top with the other bunches of herbs. Combine extra-virgin olive oil, wine and lemon juice in a bowl, drizzle over trout and roast until fish is just cooked and pancetta is crisp (20 – 30 minutes).
Remove the herbs and transfer the fish to a platter, strain pan juices and drizzle over fish. Serve with roasted potatoes and a green salad.
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Macadamia crusted fish

Eamon Sullivans macadamia parmesan crusted fish

How can you go past macadamias, I love their buttery taste and crisp, light texture which makes them  perfect for coasting fish. This recipe is from Eamon Sullivan (world champion swimming sprinter and winner of celebrity masterchef) he loves cooking with this special nut. This dish is quick, tasty and looks amazing.

You can find more macadamia recipes on Australian Macadamia Society website. Enjoy!

2 fillets of fish (Any fish will do but Snapper or Barramundi would be the best)
1 Cup Macadamia Nuts
1/3 Cup Lemon Juice
Zest of 1 Lemon
1/3 Cup melted butter
1/3 Cup grated parmesan
½ Cup continental Parsley chopped
½ loaf of stale bread (You can put fresh bread in the oven on a low heat until it dries out too)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Place the stale bread, grated parmesan and lemon zest in a food processor until a fine crumb mix is made.

Then add the Macadamia nuts and continental parsley until the nuts are crushed but not too fine.

Add lemon juice and butter and mix to combine.

Half the fish fillets and evenly divide the crumb mixture on to each one.

Place on a baking tray with baking paper and cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

Serve with a fresh salad and another squeeze of lemon juice.

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