About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Thursday, December 08, 2005
Simple Pleasures
Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells .....

Our tree went up yesterday, wife D. did a wonderful job, it looks absolutely gorgeous.

Went to the Myer window last week. For those of you that don't know, Myers is a famous department store here, and every year they do a Christmas display in their store windows. It's a tradition to take the kids for a look.

This year I was vaguely troubled by the display. It told the story of the man who bought Christmas. Of course there were elves and reindeer everywhere and Santa saves the day, but I noticed in the corner of each window a copyright assertion. Is it just me or is there something wrong about copyrighting a story of the man who bought Christmas? And Myers, Christmas was bought out a long time ago; it's us ordinary folk who are saving it.

Now I have got that off my chest, I'll risk breaking the copyright to tell you about the last window. The scene was of a gathering at a Christmas table. On the table there was all sorts of food but especially noticeable were the fish dishes; it was a traditional European Christmas Eve.

Every year this is the way D. and her relations celebrate Christmas. They still do Christmas day but Christmas Eve is more important to them. Meat is absolutely barred from the table so it's a chance to do the whole repertoire of fish dishes. D. does a wonderful dish that is a celebration of wild things ~ gummy shark with morels. The shark is floured and fried then laid into a baking dish, to this she adds fish stock, morels that we picked and dried, along with onions and seasonings then bakes in the oven.

The fish stock we make ourselves, usually from the bones left over after filleting fish that I've caught. Love homemade stocks,they have a depth of flavour that is essential to certain dishes and I'm thinking here of the classic Spanish dish Arroz a la Banda, literally abandoned rice or rice served apart, and Hainese Chicken Rice. For deceptively simple dishes like these to really succeed, it is necessary to go to the trouble of making your own stock.


1.5 litres fish stock(include in it garlic, tomatoes and a good pinch of saffron)
500 g paella or risotto rice
4 cloves garlic crushed
2 teaspoons paprika
4 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil in a pot and add the garlic and paprika. Cook slowly for two minutes. Turn the heat up, add rice and cook quickly for two minutes. Pour in hot stock and season. Reduce heat slightly and cook for 8-10 minutes uncovered, reduce heat to low and continue to cook uncovered for another 8-10 minutes until done to your liking. Serve with stir fried squid rings and garlic sauce.


1 whole head garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice
olive oil

Blitz peeled garlic and lemon juice in vitamizer, slowly add olive oil until a sauce is obtained. Season with salt. This sauce is very good with grilled chicken too.
  posted at 7:48 am


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