Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Under The Sea

phew. the past 2 weeks have been tedious. i was swimming in the wonderful pool of exams and assignments that i am sure everyone has had a taste before. when will i ever get out of school and start swimming in the workforce? *sigh* enough of this crap. i would rather talking about swimming in food. seafood is the theme this time. it's a continuation from my fishy affair.

© foodies date: 23April2004
it's yet another gathering at katty's. we have been talking about doing "one fish four eats" for a while now. we did it about 2 years ago just before i headed back to brunei for a half year rest. the term "one fish four eats" is a direct translation from mandarin. it basically means cooking one whole fish in many different ways. in our case, it was one whole salmon and 4 type of dishes. yes. that includes sashimi too. we decided it was a good time to do it again when lawrence came for a holiday from hongkong.

we went to the sydney fish market in the morning hoping to get a big fat salmon. we werent disappointed by the size of the fish at the market. apparently it's salmon season now so the average size of salmon is between 30-40cm. a tact too big to our fancy.

big fat atlantic salmon at $14.99. we could have cooked 10 dishes out of this to feed 10 people!

instead of buying a whole salmon, we retreated to buying a long piece of salmon fillet and some salmon sashimi for the night. while we were there, we fell under the charm of live pippies, medium size green king prawns and western australia lobster (only $16.50 compared to the normal lobster $39.95) so we got a bit of those too.

yummy prawns. we bought green king prawns @ $17.95

WA lobsters @ $16.50ea. on the left is blue swimmer crab. on the note of crabs. mudcrab was only $14.95 when we were there.

we had a lot of work to do back in the kitchen in prepartion for the great seafood feast later tonight. clockwise from left:
1. in the blue plate are sliced onions, finely chopped garlic, finely sliced lemongrass and chopped ginger.
2. the salmon fillet is divided into 3 portions for 3 different dishes
3. pippies soaked in salted water
4. green king prawns marinated in pinkcocoa's experimental marinade as inspired by balinese sambal from a fish called coogee.
5. bay leaves for poaching salmon
6. seafood curry paste
7. wasabi for sashimi
not shown in the pic were sashimi and lobsters were hidden in the fridge in case some one nick it before we even have the chance of eating them.

♥ curry salmon
i was tempted to cook the curry from scratch when i found this easy recipe from cyberkuali. i happened upon malaysian seafood curry paste so decided to give it a try. the instructions were very simple and we had instant curry salmon in less than 5min! the curry paste we used was a little too spicy but everyone agreed that the leftover sauce would be very lovely with plain white bread and rice.

♥ lobster mornay
♥ salmon sashimi with wasabi
initially we didnt know wat to do with the lobster. the first thought was to eat it cold with tartare sauce. katty had better idea.
katty: let's grill it with heaps of cheese.
pinkcocoa: *drooling* ohhhh our own version of lobster mornay
katty then proceeded to putting cheese on top of the lobster
pinkcocoa was chopping up tomatoes and scooping out avocado for the salad
pinkcocoa: hey i have another idea. let's do it with a twist of italian.
katty: how about adding avocado to it too?

ta-daaaa! the final lobster mornay = tomatoes + avocado + basil + heaps of cheese

♥ balinese sambal prawns as inspired by a fish called coogee
ingredients in pinkcocoa's experimental marinade include:
- soysauce
- kecap manis (indonesian sweet soy sauce)
- lemongrass
- lemon & lime zest (i had both on hand so i used both)
- fresh chili
- fresh lime leaves
- honey
- sugar
- garlic
- ginger
chuck everything in and marinade the prawns for as long as you can. this is great on bbq too. we didnt have a bbq stove so we stirfried it. pinkcocoa stands proud at this stage because she could hear compliments from the table
basil: ohhh this is nice
katty: yeah
lawrence: ......slurp....(his mouth was too preoccupied to talk)

♥ poached salmon with asparagus salad and tomato & anchovy dressing
this is a modified version of the original 'poached salmon with green-bean salad and tomato & anchovy dressing' from Bill Granger's Sydney Food. i shall include the recipe in my next blog. this blog is getting too lengthy, i m sure your eyes must be pretty tired from reading now.

♥ pippies with basil done the taiwanese way - 'three cup pippies'
'three cup' refers to the ingredients used for this particular cooking technique. its philosophy is just like that of pound cake. we use equal part of rice wine, soy sauce and sugar in cooking the dish.
1. heat some sesame oil in wok
2. fried ginger until fragrance
3. add ingredient of your choice (chicken, squid, fish etc) and stirfried until brown
4. add in equal part of rice wine, soy sauce and sugar. stir
5. let simmer until the sauce is reduced to a thick caramelised texture
6. turn off gas. stir in a generous bunch of basil leaves and serve!

♥ the final dinner setting.
basil did up the table setting really nicely and we get to use katty & basil's exclusive dinner plates and cutlery. my guess is the dinner would be really nice with a bottle of white wine. but nope. none of us fancy drinking so we had plain water and coke instead. not described in great detail is katty's kobe jones inspired honey soy sauce salmon (first from left). my apology, katty dearest. the pic turned out bad) what katty had done was to seared the salmon on both sides until it's medium. she then poured some kecap manis and taiwanse sweet & spicy sauce over on top. it's just so simple and delicious!

leftover for dinner this time? we were such pigs *oink* we digged up everything except the curry salmon. there was only 1/4 of salmon left though. the night concluded with yet another serve of green tea and black sesame ice cream. ohhhhh what a perfect dinner. wish we could do it more often but reality does hit in - the waistline factor. so i guess this type of dinner will probably be once every season if we are lucky. hmmm i m thinking of mud crab right now.....