Category Archives: Fish/Seafood

Day 14 – Kedgeree

First published in 2010, this is a family favourite and worth a re-visit. While it’s not strictly vegetarian, it IS meat-free making it a marvellous choice if you want to observe Meat-Free Week (which starts today).

With its origins in British-Raj India, kedgeree is a spiced rice pilaf made with smoked fish. Usually made with the Brits favourite smoked fish such as haddock, it was often proffered as part of a British breakfast, but these days it’s more often served up as a Sunday night supper dish.

For years my mother made this without curry powder, simply basing it on fish, rice, hard-boiled eggs and loads of butter. I was in my thirties before my mother in law advised me that it was best made with curry powder. Continue reading Day 14 – Kedgeree

Day 4 – Tuna Salad

I’ve done the Sydney-Melbourne flight more often than I can count, but it’s safe to say it’s an average of 6-8 times a year. Not much by frequent flyer standards, but enough to know that the food in both airports sometimes leaves a lot to be desired, especially if your budget is fast-food sized (and therefore tiny).

Faced with the usual choices of upsized burger meals and dubious warmed noodles and pastas in bain-maries, I have often opted for a simple coffee and held out for a quick omelette once I get home.

Which is how I stumbled across this tuna salad – buying a coffee.

Promising nothing other than simple ingredients and with NO salad bar or limp lettuce in sight, I got a beautiful blend of texture and flavour all prepared at the last moment in the kitchen. It’s brilliant, tasty, incredibly filling and takes minutes to make, which of course makes it the perfect hot-day standby.

This really does work best if you make it at the last minute, meaning your bread pieces will still be warm, but your tomatoes and salad vegies will be straight out of the fridge and therefore chilled. It’s a wonderful mixture of sweet and salty, tangy and nutty, warm and cool. You’ll never think of tuna salad as boring, ever again.

Tuna Salad

Serves 2 as a main meal.


  • 2 thick slices day-old bread (use a rustic style bread or sourdough if you can)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ½ punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ Lebanese cucumber, peeled into strips with a vegie peeler
  • ½ red capsicum, de-seeded and finely sliced
  • 2-3 spring onions, cut thinly on the diagonal
  • 185g tin tuna, drained


  • ¼ cup (60ml) sour cream
  • 1 tbsp grated horseradish
  • 1 tsp finely chopped dill
  • sea salt and black pepper


Preheat oven to 180°C. Tear the bread into rough chunks, place them in a small roasting tray and drizzle with the oil. Toast for 15 minutes until golden brown and crisp.

While the bread is toasting, place all the dressing ingredients in a  small bowl and mix together. Set aside.

Drizzle the toasted bread, still in the roasting tray, with the vinegar. Not all of the bread will get a coverage, creating a delicious combination of crunchy and soft, tangy and nutty all at once. Set aside.

Place the tomatoes, cucumber strips, capsicum strips and spring onions in a bowl and toss with your hands to combine.  Combine the tuna and half the toasted bread with half the dressing and toss gently until everything is mixed together and coated.

Spoon the salad vegies and remaining bread pieces into serving bowls. Top with the tuna and bread mixture and pour the remaining dressing over the top. Eat it while it is chilled or barely at room temperature.


$6.40 for two people

Christmas – Salmon Rillettes

This meal is the entrée for the $80 Family Favourites Christmas Lunch for 6 people.

Links to the full menu and prep guides will be published at the end of next week.


When we think of Christmas in this country, our thoughts are always intertwined with mid-summer eating. While we always give a roast bird some serious consideration because of traditions, the simple fact is that we have acclimatised to the realities of celebrating the occasion – Christmas in Australia is all about the seafood.

Which is all but impossible if you are on a budget. Continue reading Christmas – Salmon Rillettes

Christmas – Sweet Potato Rosti with Trout and Horseradish Cream

This is the entrée for the $50 Christmas Lunch for Four.

Click here for full details of the menu plus step-by-step guides.


This lovely dish is a variation on blinis with salmon, making it kinder to your wallet and easier to make. Also it’s cheap, and don’t we love that.

You can make the rosti ahead of time, freeze them and then re-heat them just before you want them, making this perfect for entertaining. I’ve photographed them as individual portions but you could easily make one large rosti, cut it into wedges and serve it that way. Really, this is the ultimate in fuss-free food. Continue reading Christmas – Sweet Potato Rosti with Trout and Horseradish Cream

Day 1 – Blackened Fish

From Cajun cooking traditions around New Orleans, blackened fish takes its hue from an intensely flavoured spice rub rather than overcooking. Nevertheless, this is not the meal to cook indoors unless you have really great extractor fans over your stove – it’s the sort of cooking designed to set off smoke detectors. Instead use your barbecue hotplate to best effect.

Take the time to make this spice mix, and then use it not just on fish but on chicken as well. You could even try it on some tofu if you want a vegan option. The heat in this spice rub comes from cayenne, so add it according to your own preferences.

Traditionally one dredges fish in melted butter before applying the spice mix. Rub the spice mix into the flesh, rather than coating it liberally over the fish – that way you get all the flavour without it beating you senseless.

The cooking time is just a few minutes on a very hot hotplate. If butter is not for you, use a lick of olive oil instead. Continue reading Day 1 – Blackened Fish

Day 3 – Char Kway Teow

From Malaysia, Char Kway Teow is hawker food, street food made of fresh seafood and specifically, cockles or vongole as they are often called here. But here in deepest Australian suburbia, cockles are not always easy to find: Not surprisingly, the original recipe has become somewhat lost in translation. Often it’s made with no seafood at all, and instead uses chicken.

Continue reading Day 3 – Char Kway Teow

Day 11 – Salmon with Warm Fennel and Orange Salad

Citrus Australia sent me a beautiful crate of navel oranges and asked me to participate in a simple challenge; eat an orange every day for ten days and note the difference it makes to my health and well being.

I was coming down with a head cold when they arrived so it wasn’t a tough ask.

Aside from the simple pleasure of eating a fresh orange every morning, there are many ways you can incorporate oranges into your meals. While cakes and sweet treats will always be popular, I’d also like to encourage you to add an orange or two in your winter salads. Their sweetness is the perfect partner to fragrant fennel and salty salmon and with a few extra vegetables thrown in, it’s easy to create a warm salad that you can enjoy for dinner as well as lunch the next day. Continue reading Day 11 – Salmon with Warm Fennel and Orange Salad

Day 5 – Jeanine's Fish Curry

My friend had a dilemma. She had a recipe for a fish curry that requested cod. Unsure of local availability, she instead bought the only type of cod she knew – smoked cod – and added it to the meal.

According to the Australian Museum, there is an astonishing 1262 species of fish in Australian waters, grouped into more than 260 families of fish. As if that’s not hard enough to get your head around, local areas (and by extension, your local retailer or fish market) have their own colloquial name for various fish.

For example, in NSW, Hake is used for some types of shark (and often used in fish and chip shops, so I won’t touch it), but denotes a member of the Blue Grenadier family in Victoria. I had never heard of Blue Grenadier before moving to Melbourne, but let me tell you, it’s lovely to eat. A fish I call Bonito in NSW is called Pike in Melbourne and is called Snook in Adelaide. A Blue-eyed Cod is not technically a cod at all (it’s a trevalla), while NZ Rockling (Victoria), which is called Ling in NSW, is a member of the cod family.

No wonder my friend was so confused. Most of us are.

Continue reading Day 5 – Jeanine's Fish Curry

Day 2 – Snapper with Basil and Chilli

It began as an email. Come to breakfast, it read, let’s catch up.

While we chatted in the cool air, surrounded by inner city bike riders and their children and dogs, we united over a love of fresh food, both the eating of it and the growing of it. She is a self-avowed green thumb, committed to raising as much produce from her home as possible. Hers is a tiny townhouse but on every balcony and window sill are planter boxes and pots and in them grow salad vegetables and herbs, even small fruit trees.

“Come back and see what I’ve grown”, she said. “I only live a couple of blocks from here.”

When we returned she armed herself with scissors and then cut stem after stem of herbs and thrust them at me. “Take them home, you’ll know what to do with them”, she said. Thai basil, lemon grass, baby leeks, coriander, parsley, rosemary, basil, thyme, oregano, chillis, curry leaf, lemon myrtle …. all of it was given freely, their fragrance inviting me to use them all up.

Continue reading Day 2 – Snapper with Basil and Chilli

Something Special – Seafood Kebabs with Lime and Chilli Butter

Once, when I was on a tight budget but feeling resourceful, I made some seafood kebabs for some friends who were visiting from Britain. It was intended partly to impress them with our beautiful local product and partly to save money when I chopped up some bog-standard fish and threaded it onto skewers with some other bog-standard shellfish and then crowned the lot in a Thai-inspired lime and chilli butter.

That was ten years ago and I haven’t made them since. I had forgotten I had ever made them until my friend recently reminded me of them. For her, it remained one of the great standout meals of her life. Such beautiful food, she said.

So, with that winning endorsement, it’s only fair I attempt to recreate them here, just in time for your seafood Christmas.

Continue reading Something Special – Seafood Kebabs with Lime and Chilli Butter