Pickled Fish Four Ways

IMG_4123 IMG_4091

There’s no recipe here, just some ideas for the endless flavour combinations for pickled fish. So many cultures and countries around the world have their own versions, and it’s so easy to make up your own using your favourite flavour combinations and the accompaniments are also exciting. It’s all about the balance between the acidity of whatever you use to pickle the fish, along with some fresh elements, some sweetness, heat, spice, salt, and a yummy side. I think my favourite is lime, chilli, coriander and coconut with a crunchy plantain chip; but I really just loved all of these combinations that we made last week.

I’ve listed the different combinations here, the best way to get the flavour right is to combine all of the ingredients apart from the fish, taste it, adjust to suit, and then add your fish. If the liquid isn’t completely covering the fish once you add it, you can either add a little more lime juice/lemon juice/vinegar etc, or, just keep stirring the mixture every 20 minutes or so, coating the fish in the acid so that it cooks. If your fish is really fresh, you can eat it straight away, but I prefer to wait a few hours so that it is completely cooked.

IMG_4105

A twist on the Northern Territory’s Nummus

Lime Juice

White vinegar

Sugar

Garlic Chives

Ginger

Coriander

Chilli

Spring onion

Salt and Pepper

IMG_4106

My favourite

Lime juice

Coconut Cream

Chilli

Coriander

Sugar

Salt and Pepper

Salsa- Pineapple/Mango/Avocado, capsicum, red onion, chilli, lime juice, salt and pepper

IMG_4107

Emma’s Favourite

Papaya

Cucumber

Mint

Chilli

Coriander

Red Onion

Salt and Pepper

IMG_4108

Traditional Ecuadorian/Peruvian

Lime Juice

Red Onion

Chilli

Coriander

Tomato

Salt and Pepper

IMG_4119

Advertisements

Ceviche with Avocado and Mango Salsa and Tortilla Chips (and my entry into a competition to win a foodie adventure to Sri Lanka)

IMG_2505_2 IMG_2464_2 IMG_2476_2 IMG_2483

Since starting this blog a couple of years ago, I’m quite surpised at how far I’ve come, and how much I have learnt, all through the process of trial and error. I always strive for something better, new ideas, and inspiration. I don’t have a studio, or special lights, or a set of props, each place I cook in I use what is available to me, look for the best natural light and battle it out with the flies. Being on the road has been very beneficial, as I am constantly meeting new people, discovering new produce and being introduced to new opportunities. I’ve come to realise that there is no point in planning or worrying too much about what the future holds, or whether I am making the right decisions. Everything folds out the way it is meant to. And luckily enough for me, lately, it’s been folding out pretty nicely.
Opportunities have been popping up left, right and centre, from being part of the upcoming annual Darwin Banana Festival this weekend, where I have been hired as a ‘banana stylist’, to writing recipes and styling shots for a new Australian foodie mag, and, to the point of this blog post; my entry into a competition to win a trip to discover and document, the food, culture and experience of Sri Lanka.
I’m so grateful to all of my supporting friends, who are constantly letting me know of little competitions and advertisements they see on social media, that they think I might be interested in. I would have missed half of them, including this competition, if it wasn’t for them. It’s such a lovely feeling, getting older, and realising how lucky I am to have these beautiful, supportive, creative and genuine people in my life.
Regardless of whether I win a position in the Sri Lanka trip, it’s been a fantastic experience completing the entry. As with each blog post I do, I try to push myself for a new angle, and this one really got me out of my comfort zone. If you told me ten years ago that I would have the confidence to ask a bunch of near strangers (except you Mel), to sit on the beach and share a meal while I take photos of them, I would have said, no way! But, despite the very unfortunately times spurt of rain, everything went perfectly and we had a great time, not to mention the delicious food! It gives me confidence, and makes me excited, to know that, unlike my first trip overseas five years ago (where I was too shy), I will be able to photograph more and speak to the locals more about their traditions, culture, recipes, ingredients, etc.
I’ve included my short essays here that were part of the application. It was so hard to stay within the word limits!
Also, if you have a spare couple of minutes and would like to nominate my blog in the upcoming Saveur Magazine Best Food Blog Awards, it would be hugely appreciated, if you think it deserves a nomination that is! http://www.saveur.com/article/contests/blog-awards-2015-nominate

IMG_2467

IMG_2519

Competition entry essays:

The Story Behind the recipe.

After a month in central Columbia, I was full to the brim with carbohydrate laden meals of rice, beans, potatoes, bread and meat. Thank goodness for the obligatory bowl of Aji on every table at even the smallest of roadside eateries, I drenched all my meals in this delicious homemade chilli salsa. I was itching to get to the coast.
So, with one last bowl of steaming, chicken feet soup at the bus station, we were on our way to Quito and then to a tiny coastal town called Canoa. We knew nothing about the place apart from the fact that it was a small surf town, famous for it’s slow paced, relaxed vibe.
After a rough overnight bus trip from Quito, we were finally approaching the coast. Morning rituals were getting underway, people riding to work, roadside stalls selling delicious treats and smiling school kids jumping on and off our bus.
We were exhausted, and starving, by the time we arrived in the main street of Canoa (a dirt road running the length of the beach). The beach was lined with little food shacks, shaded by Coco-Cola and Pilsner tarps. Each had a blackboard touting Ceviche, which we knew very little about. As far as I knew, maybe, it was some form of raw fish dish. But, as we had experienced so far on our trip, anything could be eaten at breakfast time, and we were too hungry to care. So, we picked one shack at random and sat down at the plastic table on the sand. Without having to order anything, we were brought two bowls of ceviche and some fried plantain. With a squeeze of fresh lime, and a tad of hesitation, we dug in. WOW! What a fresh and flavoursome bowl of food we had in front of us. The fish so soft and the lime so tangy, paired with a kick from some chilli sauce and the crunchy plantain chips. What a dish!
After that, we ate it at least twice a day for the week that we were there, but, as hard as we tried, we just couldn’t find that one shack where we had eaten our first. It was like it had disappeared, and no other could match it.

About me and why I should be chosen for the gig.

After years of studying art, architecture and teaching, feeling lost and unfulfilled, I finally saved enough money to travel overseas. I started with the Americas, backpacking and having my mind blown by the amazing traditions, landscapes, and people. It was on this trip, whilst working in a bar on the beach in a small fishing village in Peru (famous for it’s amazing tuna), that I came to the realisation that all I wanted to do for the rest of my life was cook. To never stop discovering ingredients, recipes and methods from all over the world, to cook meals that bring people together and make time stand still for a little while, whilst we all enjoy the fruits of the land and the labour of the people who love to cook with them.
Upon returning to Aus I was lucky enough to gain a position in a small cafe, that, over the two years that I helped to run the kitchen, has now turned into one of the most well known cafes in the Hunter.
With only a short stint in Europe in those two years, I decided that it was time to really hit the road. I sold most of what I owned, and have been travelling through Australia in a 4WD ever since, with an overseas ticket booked for April.
My foodblog has been an amazing creative outlet for me also. Something that has been forcing me to learn and discover new things about food and cooking, almost daily. Every meal I create, and every photo shoot I do, creates a new challenge for me. I never do the same thing twice. Discovery is my passion!

IMG_2532

IMG_2539_2

Recipe

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

Ceviche
1kg white, firm fleshed fish, I used Robinson Bream
Juice from about 5 limes
1 cup coconut cream
1 tsp caster sugar
1 long red chilli, finley diced
Handful of coriander leaves, finely chopped
Salt and Pepper
Salsa
2 ripe but still firm avocados
1 large mango
1 long red chilli
1 spanish onion, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbs olive oil
Handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper
Tortilla chips (or plantain chips if you can get them), lime wedges, sliced chilli, chilli sauce, and salad leaves, to serve

Method
Make sure there are no bones in the fish. Slice fish into pieces about 3cm long and 5mm thick and place in a large, non-reactive bowl. In another bowl place the lime juice, coconut cream, caster sugar, chilli, and coriander. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Add to the bowl with the fish and stir well to combine. Cover and leave in the fridge for at least 4 hours, but no longer than 10 hours.
When nearly ready to serve dice the avocados and mango into 5mm pieces. Combine in a bowl with the other salsa ingredients and stir to combine, being careful not to mash the avocado too much.
Serve ceviche with the salsa, tortilla chips, lime wedges, chilli, chilli sauce and salad leaves.
Enjoy!

Pink Snapper Ceviche with Butter Bean Salad and Corn Chips

DSC_0203 DSC_0199 DSC_0230 DSC_0236

I feel so lucky right now, all of my hard work over the last couple of years is definitely paying off. I am writing this post from my camping chair, under palm trees, next to the ocean, sipping a glass of wine and enjoying this delicious ceviche.

I have wanted to write a recipe for ceviche ever since I started this blog over a year ago. It was one of my most memorable and favourite meals during my time in South America. The first time I tried it was in Ecuador, in a tiny beach town that I can’t even recall the name of right now. The beach was lined with tiny huts, each selling ceviche and beer. We didn’t know which would be the best, and to be honest I wasn’t expecting it to be very nice anyway, I was new to the culinary world and didn’t like the sound of fish ‘cooked’ in lime juice. Little did I know….

So, we sat down at the nearest hut, in white plastic chairs branded with coca cola signs and plastic tables covered with bright, floral, plastic tablecloths. One thing I was happy about straight away was the familiar bowl of Aji in the middle of the table; at least I knew if the meal tasted bad I could cover it in chilli salsa.

A young, round, solemn faced ecuadorian girl took our orders, and was back five mins later with bowls of ceviche served with extra limes and fried plantain chips (YES!)

I was still hesitant, but dove in. Wow, what a surprise! Delicious, melt in the mouth pieces of fish in a tangy, perfectly seasoned juice that I finished every sip of once the fish was gone. (Peruvians call this liquid, ‘Leche de Tigre’, Tiger’s Milk, and it is said to be very good at curing a hangover)

My version here is quite simple, as I was lucky enough to score some freshly caught local Pink Snapper and I didn’t want to hide its flavour with too many others. All countries in South America make their ceviche differently. Peru is the most famous for theirs, which is generally made with lime juice, chillies, red onion, coriander and salt and pepper; and is usually only cured for about 10 mins before it is eaten. But I preferred the Ecuadorian ceviche, with it’s punchy lime flavour and the way that they leave it for longer so that the fish is fully cooked.

I recently ate ceviche in a Mexican restaurant and they had also used some coconut milk which I thought was a great addition. So here, I’ve mixed all of the things that I like about all the different ceviches that I’ve tried. You can serve it in so many different ways; in lettuce cups as a canapé, on tostadas with guacamole as a party food, in a wrap for lunch, etc. The possibilities are endless and whats more is that you don’t need any electricity to do it!

DSC_0217 DSC_0240 DSC_0252

 

Recipe

Serves 1 as a main meal or 2 as a light meal

Ingredients

Ceviche

1 fillet of pink snapper, about 250g-300g, thinly sliced (or any other type of fresh fish)

Juice of 2 limes

2 tablespoons fresh coriander leaves, chopped, plus extra to serve

1/4 cup coconut milk

Big pinch of salt

Sliced red chilli to serve

Salad

400g can butter beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 red capsicum, thinly sliced

1/4 cup coriander leaves

1/2 an avocado, sliced

Drizzle of lemon oil and white wine vinegar

Salt and pepper

To serve

Plain corn chips

Extra limes

Hot chilli sauce

Lettuce or cabbage leaves (to use as cups)

Method

In a non-reactive dish (glass is best), combine the fish, lime juice, coriander, coconut milk, and salt. Stir to combine, cover and refridgerate for 2-3hrs.

Meanwhile, combine all the salad ingredients.

To serve, top the ceviche with extra coriander and fresh chilli. Serve with the salad, corn chips, lettuce leaves, hot sauce and extra limes.

Enjoy!