Fish Curry

There’s nothing fishy about it 


I grew up in a vegetarian household and was strictly vegetarian until recently. Then one day just like that I decided to order a seafood pasta and haven’t looked back since. With that said I still can’t stomach fish that smells like fish, for instance, salmon, sardines, anchovies, etc. Nor can I eat oysters because they look like snot. After all food is an all inclusive experience. We eat with our eyes and taste with our nose first. 

Over time I have built my knowledge about various kinds of seafood and the flavours, spices, etc that are complimentary to each other. This fish curry recipe includes a mix of dried spices and fresh herbs. It’s similar to the Kerala fish curry called ‘meen moillee’. 


So when my mother in law and father in law were over I decided to indulge them in an all encompassing flavour explosion. I served the fish curry on a bed of basmati rice and with a side of crispy potatoes. I was so pleased to see everyone wipe their plates clean and even go back for thirds. 

Ingredients: 18   Cooking time: 45 minutes

Serves: 6

  • Two large white fish fillets, without skin and cut into bite size pieces (I used barramundi)
  • 800ml of coconut light cream 
  • One onion, finely chopped
  • Two tomatoes, finely chopped
  • Three to four pods of garlic, finely chopped
  • One thumbsized piece of ginger, grated
  • 10 to 12 curry leaves 
  • Two to three green chillies, chopped
  • Two kaffir lime leaves
  • Half a bunch of fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1.5 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • Two teaspoons of dried mint
  • Two teaspoons of coriander powder
  • One teaspoon of red chilli powder
  • Half a teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • Half a teaspoon of asafoetida (hing), optional
  • Four tablespoons of mustard oil
  • Salt to season 
  • Fresh coriander to garnish (optional)

Heat mustard oil in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Add asafoetida, cumin seeds and curry leaves. Once aromatic add garlic, ginger and onion and cook until onion is caramelised.


Add tomatoes, turmeric, chilli and coriander powder, cook until tomatoes are soft. Then add dried mint and fresh mint (leave some fresh mint for garnish), coconut cream, kaffir lime leaves and two cups of water. Season with salt as required.

Simmer the curry on low heat for 30 minutes. Now add the fish and cook on low heat for another seven to ten minutes or until the fish is cooked.

Garnish with fresh mint and coriander leaves and serve hot with steamed rice or roti bread. Either way this curry is one hell of a winner!

Dill and Lemon Fish with a Pea Mint Mash

Something a little special 


One of my favourite things to do over holidays is have family or friends over and indulge in leisurely and delicious dinner parties. Something a little different from the usual culinary fare and something a little special too. The recipe I’m sharing today is just that. 

I made this meal when our family was over and staying with us for the easter long weekend. Like me, my family is made up of devout foodies, we all live to eat. I wanted to make something a little extra special for them but also something that didn’t require slaving in the kitchen for hours on end.


Inspired by flavours from Greece this fish recipe makes the perfect use of fresh herbs and dried spices. I love the  freshness and simplicity of Greek food. This dish is so aromatic, with every bite you can smell and taste each distinct flavour. Served on a bed of pea mint mash not only makes it healthy but also a little extra moorish.

So the next time you have guests over, pull this trick out of your hat. It’ll be a meal they remember for a long time to come. 

Ingredients: 14  Cooking time: 30 minutes 

Serves: 6

For the fish 

  • Six fillets of white fish ( I used gummy shark)
  • One punnet of dill, finely chopped
  • Half a bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • 100gms of capers, chopped
  • 1.5 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • One teaspoon of chilli flakes
  • 300ml of extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Salt to season 

For the pea mint mash

  • 500gms of peas
  • Two teaspoons of dried mint leaves
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil 
  • Salt to season 

Begin by marinating the fish. In a large bowl combine, oil, dill, parsley, capers, oregano and chilli flakes. Mix well. 

Add the fish and using your hands gently rub the marinade on all the fillets. Cover the fish with cling wrap and put it in the fridge for five to six hours. This will allow all the flavours to seep into the fish.

While the fish marinates prepare the pea mint mash. Boil the peas for seven to ten minutes or until soft. Rinse with cold water and drain them. Now mix all the ingredients in the blender and blitz it. Season with salt as required, pea mint mash is ready.

To cook the fish, heat a heavy bottom frying pan and add the oil from the marinade. Use more extra virgin olive oil to cook the fish if required. Place the fillets in the pan and cook for four to five minutes on each side or until the fish is cooked. Drizzle lemon juice on top of each fillet and sprinkle salt to taste.

Before plating up warm up the pea mint mash. Add a large spoonful of the mash on a plate and gently place the fillet on top. Drizzle the oil from the pan on top for more flavour. Season with cracked pepper and serve.


 

Zucchetti with Lemon Parsley Prawns and Pangratato

The taste of spaghetti the calories of zucchini…

FullSizeRender (30)

Have you ever thought how amazing it would be to be able to eat spaghetti without worrying about the calories? In today’s increasingly health conscious world the need for healthy food options is insatiable. Slowly but surely everyone is joining the ‘healthy eating’ bandwagon and LSD is no exception.

We all know eating carbs in moderation is ok, but why eat in moderation when you can choose healthier alternatives and eat in abundance. In ode to this today’s recipe is a twist on the Italian classic spaghetti with prawns.

For this recipe you will need to invest in a julienne peeler, they are readily available in super markets. I recently bought myself this gadget and my world has never been the same again. The little pocket rocket converts your everyday vegetables to pasta alternatives and with a little LSD inspiration you can makes these dishes taste just like or even better than real pasta (no offence to the Italian Nonnas).

julienne-peeler-1024x724

Ingredients:  12    Cooking time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4

  • Two to three green zucchinis
  • One onion finely sliced
  • Three to four pods of garlic finely chopped
  • Two to three red chillies finely chopped
  • Two tablespoons of Italian parsley finely chopped
  • 1.5 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • One dozen prawns shelled and deveined
  • Stale baguette to make pangrattato
  • 100 gms of crumbled feta
  • One teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • Salt to season
  • Three tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Lets start by making zucchetti which is nothing but peeled zucchini. Peel the zucchini lengthwise with your julienne peeler and keep aside.

FullSizeRender (3)

Next step is making the pangrattato – break up the stale baguette (by stale I mean old and crusty not fungus laden) into a food processor, with a pinch of dried oregano leaves and blitz it coarsely. In a pan add a teaspoon of olive oil followed by the coarsely pulsed bread crumbs. Keep tossing the pan until the crumbs aren’t golden brown, continuously tossing the pan will prevent the crumbs from burning. Pangrattato is ready place it aside.

IMG_5526

Time to make the zuchetti – Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a pan, once the oil the hot add the sliced onion and cook until the onion is translucent. Now add garlic and red chilly, stir all the ingredients until you don’t start smelling that beautiful garlicky aroma.

IMG_5528

Add the peeled zucchini to the aromatic onion and garlic mix, then with a set of tongs toss the zuchetti to evenly coat it with all the flavours. Cook the zucchini for seven to eight minutes, remember you want it to be crunchy and not overcooked.

IMG_5529

While the zuchetti is cooking lets get the prawns ready. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and add the dried oregano leaves. Now add the prawns and toss them to evenly coat them with the oregano, then add the chopped parsley and lemon juice. Cook the prawns for about five minutes or until fully cooked.

FullSizeRender (40)

Now the zucchetti is cooked, add the crumbled feta and give it all a good mix. Time to assemble the dish. Divide the zucchetti among the serving plates, top it with the prawns and sprinkle the pangrattato on top. Tada! your lip smackingly delicious zuchetti with prawns is ready to be devoured and remember you can eat all that and more.

FullSizeRender (30)

Coriander and Coconut Prawn Curry

The best way is to experiment with food is to make a curry…

FullSizeRender1

I often hear people say just how hard it is to come up with innovative ideas for midweek dinners. After a long day of work cooking is the last thing on most peoples mind. In my case though it is the only thing on my mind! Cooking is my therapy.

There are two options for midweek cooking. The first is to plan your meals ahead and do your food shopping accordingly. The other  option is to look in your fridge and pantry, see whats available and come up with creative ways of using them. I appreciate that experimental cooking isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but hey that’s why you have LSD!

Recently I invited one of my girlfriends for dinner. Seeing as it was Thursday a.k.a almost Friday! we decided it would be a great idea to open up a delicious bottle of wine, catch up on the latest gossip, maybe even have some dinner. Knowing me the order was reversed and I started to think about what I was going to cook for dinner. 

In my pantry I found some potatoes and dessicated coconut. In my fridge I found prawns and a lush green bunch of coriander. Say no more! If you know me you know my brain was thinking one thing one thing only…CURRY!!!

Ingredients: 14        Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 2
  • One tablespoon of ghee
  • Half dozen king prawns (shelled and deveined)
  • Two potatoes peeled and diced
  • Two carrots peeled and cut into sticks
  • One onion chopped
  • One bunch of fresh coriander
  • Two green chillies
  • Five pods of garlic peeled
  • Five tablespoons of dessicated coconut (or one cup of coconut cream/milk)
  • Two kaffir lime leaves
  • One cinnamon stick
  • Half teaspoon five spice powder or garam masala
  • Crispy shallots to garnish
  • Salt to season

Add the coriander, garlic pods, dessicated coconut and green chillies in a blender with one cup of water. Blend the ingredients into a smooth paste and keep aside.

In saucepan add a tablespoon of ghee and let it melt. Add the chopped onions and wait until the onions are lightly browned. Now add the cinnamon stick and let the onions carmelise.

Once the onion mix is carmelised, add diced potatoes, coriander coconut paste, kaffir lime leaves and one cup of water. Cover the sauce pan with a lid and let the potatoes cook until soft for about 15-20 minutes. 

I had some leftover carrots in the fridge that I cut into sticks and threw them into the curry. See this is what I mean, a curry is all accepting of every vegetable in your fridge! Let the carrots cook and the gravy simmer for five to seven minutes. By this stage I am sure your belly is rumbling smelling all those delicious flavours. 

IMG_5431

Lets cook the prawns. In a frying pan add a tablespoon of vegetable oil and let it heat. Now add one teaspoon of Chinese five spice powder or garam masala, this is to coat the prawns with delicious flavour. Add the prawns, toss them and cook them for about two to three minutes. Done!

To assemble the dish. Add the curry to a serving bowl, assemble the prawns on the top and garnish with crispy shallots. Serve this lip smackingly delicious curry with some steamed rice. Delicious!

My girlfriend and I enjoyed this delicious curry with a Sauvignon Blanc and a bollywood romcom. Perfect combination for a midweek night in!

FullSizeRender (26)

Crumbed Prawns with a Lemon Balsamic dipping sauce

This summer don’t just throw a shrimp on the barbie…

FullSizeRender (22)

Spring has turned to summer and we are well and truly on our way to enjoy some sunshine and beach time in Australia. Importantly its time to throw some shrimp on the barbie or better yet fry it!

For most people summer time would mean more fruits and salads, which makes sense, but I love those delicious fried snacks to relish with my chilled cider. Perhaps it is the Indian in me and those warm summers of Bombay that have seasoned me to relish spicy curries and deep fried goodies in summer too.  

Add flavour to the heat at your next summer soiree with this cheesy, crispy, tangy and tasty dish.

Ingredients: 12          Cooking time: 5 minutes
Serves: 6

For the Prawns

  • One dozen of king prawns (shelled and deveined)
  • One cup of grated cheddar cheese
  • One cup of panko breadcrumbs
  • One tablespoon of dried rosemary leaves
  • One cup of plain flour
  • One cup of water
  • Salt to taste
  • Vegetable oil for frying

For the dipping sauce

  • One cup of lemon juice
  • Two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • One tablespoon of sugar
  • One teaspoon of soy sauce
  • Two tablespoon chopped coriander or continental parsley

In a bowl mix the flour and water with a pinch of salt and whisk it, ensuring there are no lumps. Your tempura batter is ready. In another bowl mix the rosemary leaves with the panko bread crumbs. 

Create an assembly line. First tempura batter, then grated cheese and lastly breadcrumbs. Dip the prawns in the tempura batter first, then into the cheese and at last crumb them with the rosemary panko breadcrumbs. 

IMG_5406

Before deep frying the prawns, make the dipping sauce by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl and giving it a good stir. Transfer the dipping sauce into a serving bowl. The sauce should be sweet and sour, so depending on your flavour preference add extra lemon juice or sugar if necessary.

In a frying pan heat the oil and deep fry the prawns on both sides until crispy. This should not take more than two minutes on each side.

Crumbed prawns are now ready to devour! Remember this summer don’t just throw a shrimp on a barbie, instead – FRY IT!

IMG_5408 (1)

Zuppa di Pesce (Italian Seafood Stew)

There is nothing more romantic than Italian food…

image5 (3)

If there is one cuisine that isn’t fussy or fancy but is all about jaw dropping flavour, it is Italian! Italian food is like a romance with food, where you feel every texture, taste every flavour and gradually fall in love.

One thing other than the fresh ingredients that makes Italian food lip smackingly delicious is – the passion of the people! Italians are just so passionate about their food. When you hear them describe their favourite meal or even just talk about what they ate for dinner last night, there is just so much passion with which they describe every detail and every flavour.

Today’s recipe is inspired by Italian flavours and passion. This seafood stew is a dish you could expect to find in the South of Italy, being enjoyed in the homes of local fishermen or fine dining Amalfi coast restaurants. The key to this dish is using the freshest ingredients, especially seafood!

Ingredients: 14.  Cooking time: 60 minutes
Serves: 6
  • 1.5 brown onion chopped
  • Six to eight roma tomatoes chopped
  • Four pods of garlic minced
  • 12 king prawns shelled and deveined
  • 12 prawn heads
  • One cup of fresh white fish fillets sliced 
  • 12 mussels scrubbed and debearded
  • One teaspoon of dried oregano leaves
  • One teaspoon of dried basil leaves
  • One teaspoon of dried red chilli flakes
  • One bay leaf
  • One tablespoon of chopped continental parsley roots
  • 375 ml of white wine
  • Six tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt to taste

In a cast iron crock pot or saucepan add six tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. I used my Tuffsteel cast iron crock pot, it is a great investment when cooking dishes that require longer  to cook, as it distributes the heat evenly.

Once the oil is heated add one bay leaf and chopped onions. Let the onions cook until lightly browned.Now add the minced garlic and the prawn heads, this is what gives the stew its rich flavour. Stir the onion mix and cook it on medium heat for 10 minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes and give all the ingredients a good stir. Cover the saucepan with a lid and let the tomatoes cook on a medium heat for five to seven minutes. 

FullSizeRender (19)Now add 375 ml of white wine, I used Jacobs Creek Chardonnay.  Throw in the dried herbs and chilli flakes, stir the gravy and let it simmer for 20 minutes on a medium heat. This will allow the wine flavours to blend with the tartness of the tomatoes and the ocean flavours of the prawn heads.

By this stage you should be smelling those delicious aromas. Now add three cups of water, salt to taste and let the gravy simmer for another 20 minutes.

image3Your stew is now ready for all that fresh seafood. Remember the key to any good seafood dish is perfectly cooked seafood and because of that time is of the essence! Turn off the flame and start adding the seafood to the stew. First add the mussels and stir the stew, once they start to open slightly add the white fish (I used fillets of John Dory, Flake and Perch) and lastly add the prawns. Place the lid on the saucepan for two to three minutes, the temperature of the stew will cook the seafood.

FullSizeRender (20)

This LSD stew is now ready to serve!!! Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with crusty bread, al dente linguine or by itself. LSD promises to rekindle your food romance and perhaps even teleport you to the beautiful Amalfi coast with just one bite.

FullSizeRender (21)

Saffron Mussels with Coconut Cream

Mussels from Brussels make Muscles…

aab1b-img_4627

If you had asked me a year ago if I would even consider eating sea food? The answer would have been an unequivocal – NO! Then one day on a beautiful summers day, my husband and I sat at a cafe with Viktor, overlooking the beautiful St. Kilda Beach. Alright Sydneysiders no need to roll your eyes, the beach looked really beautiful in the glistening sun light. For my friends around the world, Australians are very precious about their beaches and particularly Sydneysiders, who don’t really consider Melbourne beaches real beaches.Oh wait I am digressing, this isn’t meant to be a lecture about the Australian  culture or beaches across it’s six states.

Back to my story, so we were at this beautiful cafe at the beach and I was looking at the menu deciding what to eat. There was a great selection to choose from if you were a meat eater or seafood eater, but for the humble vegetarians there was the usual. Pumpkin gnnochi, eggplant and zuchinni pizza, assortment of salads with typical ingredients – beetroot, lentils, some sort of cheese, etc. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with any of those vegetarian options but it can get a bit monotonous when everywhere you go, you get those same vegetarian options. Hopefully LSD will change the way of the world and enlighten you with how much variety vegetarian food truly has.

Bet you are thinking, oh yay! today we are going to learn another vegetarian dish. No, no you are not! You didn’t hear what I ended up ordering at the cafe? I ordered a seafood marinara pasta. YES! you read that right. I went on a whim and ordered a seafood pasta, which my husband thought I was ordering for him and he was surprised to learn to the contrary it was for me.

I must admit I had eaten calamari and some light white fish before this, but never ever had I eaten prawns, mussels or morton bay bugs. As you would imagine the sight could be quite confronting, but no I was determined to eat them and enjoy them! And I did enjoy them, I really loved the mussels and that made me wonder why hadn’t I tried to venture out of my  comfort zone earlier and ordered a seafood dish before.

Sometimes, I love doing things on a whim, when my brain generates a great idea I find it inconceivable not to follow it through and execute on it and thankfully so far most of my great ideas have translated into great realities. Why am I telling you this? Well you remember my visit to the Footscray markets not so long ago? When I was there I had this great idea of wanting to cook with mussels. Ofcourse my brain didn’t caution me to say – hey miss you have never cooked with them before! hey miss do you even know how to clean them or for how long to cook them? Nope, none of those questions. I saw, I bought and I came home.

Turns out we were having a very dear friend over for dinner that night and logic would dictate I cook something safe, something tried, something tested. No, I was determined to cook them mussels. We had a three course meal and the mussels were the stars of the second course. So you have clearly figured out this recipe is about mussels.

Before we proceed there are a few important things you should know when cooking with mussels. However, if you have bought mussels that are already cleaned and debearded then scroll down to the recipe. For my other friends the steps below should assist you in cleaning and debearding the mussels and also tell you when not to use a mussel.

Debearding Mussels
  • Mussels available at fish markets and super markets are mostly cultivated mussels, so you do not need to soak them, but if you are pedantic like me then feel free to soak them for 10 – 15 minutes in cold water.
  • Scrub the mussels under cold, running water and remove the beards (the bristly material sticking out from one side) by pulling down toward the hinge of the shell and outward. Use a towel for leverage — mussels hold onto their beards pretty tightly so you might find yourself wrestling with them.
When not to use a Mussel
  • If the mussel shell is slightly open, tap it with a knife to see if it closes. If it does not close, chuck it – the mussel is dead.
  • If a mussel feels really heavy for its size, more than likely it’s filled with mud – chuck it.
  • If a mussel has a hole or a cracked shell – chuck it.
 
Ingredients: 6    Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4
  • A bag of fresh mussels (mine had about 25 mussels)
  • One tablespoon of mustard oil
  • 300 ml of light coconut cream
  • Half a teaspoon of turmeric
  • Three to four medium kaffir lime leaves
  • One medium chopped brown onion
  • One thumb sized chunk of smashed ginger
  • Fresh coriander and crispy shallots to garnish

In a pan add one tablespoon of mustard oil and let it heat. This is called smoking the oil, it improves the flavour and makes the aroma less pungent. Now add the brown onion and smashed ginger and stir. I love the smell of onion and ginger mix cooking.

Once the onion mix is translucent add turmeric and stir. Now add the kaffir lime leaves and a quarter cup of water to make a sauce. Don’t add too much water as mussels have a lot of moisture and you don’t want a soggy mess.

By this stage you should start smelling the delicious kaffir lime leaves and if you can’t add one or two more, followed by the mussels.Give the mussels a good stir to coat them evenly with the beautiful flavours.

Now add 300 ml of coconut cream and give the mussels a good stir. Close the lid and let the mussels cook on a low heat for five minutes. Check the mussels to see if they have opened and give them a gentle stir. If the mussels have slightly opened put the lid back for another two minutes to steam the mussels and turn the heat off. Let the mussels rest for two to three minutes.

Remove the lid and by this stage your beautiful mussels would have opened up and ready to devour. For plating, scoop the sauce into your serving bowl, saving some to drizzle on top and then assemble the mussels and drizzle the leftover sauce. Top it up with fresh coriander and crispy shallots. Serve it with char grilled sourdough bread or steam basmati rice.

Yet again, lip smackingly delicious….