Tag Archive | home

smokin’ salmon struggles

You probably know I’m fond of salmon.  I know a certain yogini that’s very fond of the stuff too.  As well as being ridiculously delicious, eating salmon has done wonders for my skin (Skin Series #2 coming up).  Salmon has a special place in my heart;  it was the first meal that Viper cooked for me, as he tried to woo my affections.  He definitely has talent when it comes to preparing and cooking fish.  Wooing?  Not so much, but the salmon did help his cause.  We love to play around with toppings/flavours to pair with salmon  … honey, sweet chilli, soy, miso, brown sugar – so many great combinations.  Keeping things sugar free this week, and the results spoke for themselves.

One of our favourite meals that we eat without fail each week is the same one he prepared for me, many moons ago.  Sometimes the simple things are best – grilled salmon (on the rarer side of cooked) a fresh seasonal salad, and boiled potatoes with a home made dill tartare.  I know I tease Viper about his fisherman-skills, but he totally knows his fish and how to wrangle them in the kitchen.

Smokin’ Salmon technique

Piece of salmon (250g ish) with skin ON.  (I don’t eat the skin, it creeps me out, but it is essential for the cooking method).

  • 1t soy
  • 1/4t tamarind paste
  • 1 medjool date, chopped up as finely as you can
  • 1cm piece root ginger, grated
  • 1T boiling water

Mix tamarind, soy, ginger and date.  Pour over the hot water, which just loosens everything up a little.  Loosey goosey.

Top fish with mixture.  Sprinkle over a pinch of salt.

Now I can’t take credit for the method – this was Viper’s stroke of genius.  I’ll be honest with you; I can’t cook fish.  Well, I just don’t – Viper is a ninja at it, he always presents the most perfectly cooked, succulent fish – so why would I try and risk botching it?  Oh, and I’m lazy.  So while I was having a shower, Viper did this:

  • Place the fish on a baking sheet, lined with aluminium foil.  Crank up your grill (around 200 degreesC) get the fish under it (maybe the second rung down, not too far away) for a fast and furious scalding.  Basically, you want to get the outside of the fish crisping and the skin even slightly burning at this point.  This seals in the moisture and gets the smokey flavour happening.
  • After 4-5 minutes under the grill, pull fish out, and wrap it up in the aluminium foil you have it sitting on.  CAREFUL.  Use tongs.
  • Place your fish parcel in a hot dry fry pan, and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Remember, it’s always better to pull it off the heat earlier rather than later – overcooked fish is such a shame!  If it is too rare for your liking, you can always return it to the heat.  We removed the skin before eating, as it burns with the cooking process.
Wow, this was crazy good.  The tamarind-date sauce combined with the new cooking method produced a sweet, smoky, deeply flavoured piece of fish.  I’m still getting over it now.  I don’t have an after-shot of it, too busy eating.  Sorry guys (I’m not really).
Dill Tartare
(inspired by my Mum’s home made dill mayo I sampled the last time I was in NZ)
  • 1/2C mayonaise (I usually make my own, here is the general idea, but pre prepared is totally fine)
  • 1 gherkin (5cm in length, approx) grated or chopped very finely
  • 1/2T capers, chopped finely
  • 1/2t wholegrain mustard
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Squeeze of lemon juice to taste
  • 1T fresh dill, chopped finely
Combine all ingredients.  Taste and adjust seasoning.
Adding different seasoning and herbs to plain mayonnaise creates a whole new element to a meal.  Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of mayonnaise – I find the flavour and texture a little off putting.  This tartare, however really goes amazingly with seafood.  I think I like it because the acidity from the capers, gherkins and lemon cut through the creaminess of the mayo which usually I find way too rich.  Viper is a freak for mayo – we seriously go through so much of the stuff it’s a little concerning.  I never could understand the dipping chips (French fries) in mayonnaise thing.  Ketchup all the way.  What do you reckon?
This meal was amazing.  Amazing.  I am struggling with eating fish though – I love it so much, and nutritionally, it is stellar. The issue is that it’s proving quite difficult to get wild salmon where I am – most of it is farmed in Tasmania these days.  My conscience is getting the better of me… what to do, what to do?
Advertisements

a special kinda something

I love my house.  I’m a bit of a homebody.  I love the freedom of being able to do what I like, when I like and not feel uncomfortable.  I like my stuff where I want to put it.  I like to be able to relax in my surroundings with Viper, Misty and Boosty.  After almost a decade of house sharing, I relish in the luxury that is living on our own as a family.

I have lived in a few different cities, many different houses, with a variety of colourful characters.  I’ve been pretty lucky, I suppose, I haven’t had to endure any really horrible or hideous people – most of those I have lived with I consider good friends today – there have been just a few who have been what I call special.

Special Housemate #1:

He was hairy.  I mean really hairy.  He once asked me to help him dye his hair (!)  I remember not being able to distinguish where his head hair-line stopped and his neck hair began.  Shudder.  We named him the Reclining Beast, as he liked to sprawl himself in his favourite armchair, wearing an old tatty terry towelling robe with nothing underneath.  It would always “accidentally” fall open.  I think he was a bit of an exhibitionist.  Yeah, he was really hairy.

This is not him, but the likeness is eerily similar.

Special Housemate #2:

He was a perfectly nice kind of guy, but there was just something a bit off about him.  You know what I mean?  We named him Creepy.  It didn’t matter what you said, he had already done it, but 10 times better.  He was stronger, faster, smarter and richer than you could ever dream.  He literally told us he was a lead guitarist in a band, an on line entrepeneur, a barista, and a talented chef.  Yet he worked in a coffee shop, lived in a dingy house with us, and would always pay his rent late.  Hmmm.

The creepiness was what went on in the bathroom.  This guy had some weird habits.  Picture this:  you get up in the dark at 3am to use the bathroom, but it’s occupied.  By Creepy. You wait out in the hall, thinking that he won’t be long in there, it’s 3am for Pete’s sake.

He would spend hours in there.  In the middle of the night.  Doing what you may ask?  Who knows?  He would violently turn the taps on, off, on, off, on, off, on.  His hair dryer (yes, hair dryer.  He had really short hair, and would always wear a hat. Hmmm) would be blasted in a similar ferocious fashion to the taps.  There was much speculation over what went on during those midnight bathroom sessions.  Actually I don’t think any of us really wanted to know the truth.  Creepy.

Why? Why would he need one?

Special Housemate #3

Pigman.  I secretly called him Pigman.  Slightly mean, yes, as he did have a little bit of an upturned nose.  It wasn’t the nose however, that inspired the name.  It was the snorting.  Every morning I would be woken from my slumber not by the sweet melodies of songbirds, but by the snorting of phlem I could hear through the walls.  The whole household would be woken by this snorting,  It was disgusting.  The snorting wasn’t the only annoying part.  There were the stories too.  So many stories.

I have always worked in quite ‘socia’l work settings – either retail or hospitality which both involve a lot of “people-time.”  By that I mean constant interaction with not just work mates, but the general public.  This can be pretty draining;  usually when I got home of an evening, I was done with talking for the day.  I wanted peace, quiet, and chill out time.  Pigman would barrel into the house, literally shouting his stories of the day at my head.  At first I tried to be polite and humour him, but after a while I just couldn’t handle it.  The stories would not stop, and when one ended, another one would start-up straight away.  He was the Never Ending Story (teller).  I would actually physically walk away from him, and he would follow, shouting his stories at the back of my head.

Viper called him “Smokey the Bear” as when he had finally run out of stories (by this time, I would have barricaded myself in my room just to get away from the stories) he would retire to his room and proceed to watch surfing DVDs all night while a particular pungent smokey aroma would fill the house.  So the snorting, story telling swine was also a stoner.  Amusing now that I look back on it, but he drove me crazy.  Thinking about the snorting still makes me shudder.  It was disgusting.

Now when I need to relax, and escape to my own special place, I drink this:

Chai Spice Tea

This is my ‘loose’ recipe – my mix changes on a weekly basis.  Add or subtract whatever you like.  I’m a fan of spice, so sometimes I even add chilli and fenugreek depending on my mood.

  • 2t black pepper corns
  • 3T dry ginger root (ginger powder will work)
  • 3t nutmeg (use whole nutmeg and grate it)
  • 3T whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon quills
  • 6 whole star anise
  • 2T rooibos tea
  • 4T powdered mixed spice
  • 2T green tea
  • 1 1/2T green cardamom pods
  • 1/2C strong black tea of choice ( I used this mix which included other random bits and pieces) Plain black tea is fine.

Put your cardamom, cinnamon, and star anise in a mortar and pestle.

Smash it up.

Mix with other ingredients.

Easy.

Brew however you like – I’m crazy for really strong tea, so I put it in a very fine mesh tea infuser lined with cheesecloth (so all the powdered bits don’t escape and make sludge at the bottom, ick).  I let it steep for about 10 minutes in boiling water, then add honey and a tiny splash of milk.  This is my usual cuppa, but in the evenings when I want something a little more hearty and comforting, I steep the tea in vanilla soy milk and add a bit of maple syrup.  Warm, sweet, milky, spicy – makes for one sleepy and satisfied Lou.   Especially when I can drink it in my own house with no special house mates or snorting.

Have you had any special house mates?