Wow! Time sure does fly when your busy doing other things. This is a shortish post showing you all how to make one of the best fish stocks from scratch. I’ve followed the delectable Maggie Beers recipe and couldn’t quite relate to how short the time is that it takes to cook. 😍. My chicken and beef stocks take up to five hours to make to leach the most flavour out of those bones but fish stock is very quick to make. I use this in my Thai Green Curry risotto, fish stews, anything else that requires a fish stock base 😊. Ingredients. 1kg snapper heads 1 large onion, finely chopped 1 leek, finely chopped 1 carrot, finely chopped 1/2 stick celery, finely chopped 2 tablespoons butter 1/2 cup dry white wine (125ml) 1.5-2 litres cold water 10 stalks flat leaf parsley 1 sprig of thyme 1 bay leaf Clean all blood and innards out of the snapper head and discard the gills also. Rinse the head and wings thoroughly. As you can see, I’ve used one massive snapper head and the set of wings that came with it. I love my local Fishermans boatshed market on a Sunday 😍 Put all the chopped vegetables into your big stock pot with the butter and sweat them over a low heat for 2 minutes, do not allow them to brown. Add the fish head/s and wings ,if using, and sweat them for a minute more. (As my fish head and wings were so huge, I cut the joined wings in half to fit them in) Increase the heat to high, pour in the wine and boil vigorously for a few minutes. Pour in the cold water, then add the herbs and simmer gently over low heat for 20 minutes, without allowing the stock to boil at any stage. It will become cloudy if allowed to boil. I cooked my stock for 30 minutes but only because I wanted to make sure I got everything out of the huge fish head and wings. Strain the stock through a fine sieve or muslin to give a good clear stock. I used both. Allow the strained stock to cool, then freeze or refrigerate if you are not going to be using it that very day. I bagged my stock up into 500ml bags with a little left over in a 400ml bag and froze it flat for ease of defrosting when I need it 😀. As I bagged it the day after I made it, it had become all jelly like. Yummy! You can freeze this stock for up to three months. Enjoy making those lovely soups, stews, risottos and Asian dishes .
I know it’s technically summer over here in Australia but the days and nights have certainly not been hot. I wanted to cook something a bit more substantial for our tea on Saturday night and came upon this delightful casserole. It’s not made with many ingredients either. Forgive the lack of pictures as yet again, I forgot to take photos till half way through making it.
50gm butter, plus extra to grease
2 leeks, white part only,thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1kg lamb leg or shoulder, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Salt and pepper
800gm waxy potatoes,peeled and thinly sliced
300ml lamb,chicken or beef stock
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
3 tablespoon flat leaf parsley,chopped (optional)
Preheat the oven to 170C and grease an ovenproof casserole dish. Place the butter in a large frypan over heat and add the leak and onion. Cook for 5 minutes or until softened, then transfer to a plate and set aside.
Add oil to the pan and increase heat to high. When hot, add the lamb in batches and brown. Add the garlic whilst browning the lamb also.
Place half the potato slices overlapping on the base of the greased casserole dish. Layer the meat over the top and season well with salt and pepper. Next place the leek and onion mixture over the top and press down well with the back of a spoon to flatten. Top with the other half of the potatoes, overlapping them.
Cover with a lid or foil and bake for two hours in the pre heated oven. Take out of oven, remove the lid or foil and brush the potatoes with the cream. Pop back in oven for another 30 minutes or until potatoes are golden. Serve direct from dish sprinkled with parsley.
I thought I would share with my blogging mates our house renovations. We originally were just getting a new front patio with extra veranda around the side and front of the house and a new upper deck balcony off our bedroom around the back with an attached service walk. We then decided we needed new windows around the front of the house as our old ones are no longer safe nor are they secure. The glass will be much thicker and the locks secure. They and the decking are made out of Jarrah so will also be termite and ant proof. We were then talking with our lovely builder about our dream of one day being able to afford to have the house rendered and he came back with a fantastic quote that we can more than afford and will also include sealing and painting. Hence the huge amount of scaffolding surrounding the house just for the renderer. We are looking forward to sitting out on this patio all year around.
This is off our kitchen/dining area where our old patio was about to blow away with the next strong breeze. I can’t really say I’m loving my new beige frosted glass windows though :D. You can see the jarrah frames that will be termite proof. Glazing will happen after the rendering.
This is around the front of the house and corner where we are getting the veranda built.
This is the lift and tonnes of scaffolding required to render the house which we hope will be starting this coming week.Oh, don’t be fooled by that palm tree. We live on the southern most point of Western Australia but it seems to be thriving down here. Global warming anyone?
I’ve also been making some yummy Beef stock and I’ve mostly followed a Stephanie Alexander recipe for veal stock just using meaty beef bones, leeks, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme and peppercorns.
At the time of going to press the stock is still bubbling slowly away on the stove as it will be simmering all up for 8 hours! Smells divine. Jason is going to make Beef Pho for our tea tomorrow night using this stock. Cannot wait! Yum!
I’ll bring you more renovation photos soon. Stay tuned 😀
I’ve decided that Mum was right. Christmas IS about food as much as it is about the Nativity . The baking of it, sharing of it and eating it. I know she is smiling wherever she is in spirit. That was her mission in life, especially at Christmas. Make sure everyone has food and never goes hungry. I’ve been baking up a storm over the last couple of days. Today, for instance, I’ve put 2 smaller Christmas cakes in the oven for my daughters and realised I have to make another one for my brother. Joy! That means I get to bake more cake and we will also have a spare cake for us! 😀 Yesterday, I made something I’ve never made before but must order whenever I go out and see it on the menu. Often seen as part of a Charcuterie plate, Pork Rillettes. I used a recipe by Simon Hopkinson which you can find here;
Here is what I did and how I baked it with lots of pictures to help you out.
1 tbsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. caster sugar
2 bay leaves
About half a nutmeg ( I used about half a teaspoon of ground nutmeg)
1 level tbsp. juniper berries
2 tsp black peppercorns (I used mixed peppercorns)
1.2kg belly pork, bones and rind removed, but both reserved
500g fresh pork back fat
4-5 sprigs of sage, roughly chopped ( I also added some sprigs of thyme as well)
6 large cloves of garlic, crushed and loosely chopped
200mls dry white wine
Starting bottom left corner of picture: Bay leaves, cloves, caster sugar, peppercorns, nutmeg, juniper berries, sea salt.
Using a small food processor, grind together the first 7 ingredients to a fine powder.
Cut the belly pork and fat into approximately 2 cm cubes. Add this to a large bowl and sprinkle with the powder. Thoroughly mix together with your hands, turning the meat and fat over and over, then add the bones and rind of the belly (left as large pieces making them easier to remove once cooked) into the mix. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, pre heat the oven to 140c/gas mark 1. Put all the meat, pork fat and bones into a solid based pot and add the wine.
Add the garlic and sage (and thyme if your using).
Mix everything together with your hands.
Place the pot over a low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often: this is only to bring the pot up to heat before it goes into the oven. Put on the lid and slide it into the oven. Cook for 3 hours. Remove from oven and leave to cool for about 20 minutes.
Take out the pork skin and bones and thyme sprig left overs and discard. Suspend a colander over a large bowl and tip in the contents of the pot. Allow to drain for about 5 minutes, then decant the liquid fat from the bowl below the colander into a jug, reserving the pork juices and residue left behind.
Tip the long-cooked pork back into the first bowl that has the residue juices in it and, using a hand mixer on a low setting, briefly blend the small pieces of meat and fat into shreds. Add some of the liquid fat from the jug a little at a time whilst blending with the hand mixer until it forms a creamy texture. The mixture should be floppy and glistening with fat.
( a small warning here from someone who knows 😉 make sure your bowl is deep, otherwise everything in the vicinity gets flecked with pork rillettes)
Now pack the rillettes mixture into small pots or similarly sized Kilner jars (I used mason, it doesn’t matter). Smooth over the surface and then spoon/pour over at least 1/2 cm of the remaining pork fat to seal each one. Attach the lids and refrigerate to mature for at least a week before eating. You can keep these for up to six months as long as they’re packed into clean pots with no air pockets in the mix.
I use the gratuitous photobombed image for sizing of jar comparison, thank you Jason 😀
After a week, scrape off the fat to reveal the meat. Eat with either split baguettes or crackers and some nice cornichons or even a nice spicy chutney or fruit relish if having as part of a charcuterie plate.
I had such fun making these and Jason and I cannot wait to have a taste. The smell of the Juniper berries reminded me of the Bombay sapphire gin I so like. For anyone worried about the amount of fat in this dish, your only meant to have a small amount of it at a time and it is a vital part of the dish both for taste and for preservation of the meat. Don’t fret, just enjoy!