Fabulous Flathead at Saint Peter

If you want to eat seafood and fish like never before then Saint Peter in Paddington, Sydney is the place to go.

We started with a delicious range of Sydney Rock Oysters, yellowfin tuna crudo and calamari salad with a hint of chilli and moved onto brilliant, creative mains.

The fish and chips are in a league of their own but my BBQ Rock Flathead with a corn salsa was the winner in my books. Finished off with old school custard tart and chocolate tart…it was one of the best meals I’ve had in Sydney in a long time!

The menu changes regularly as it is driven by the best seafood available. All the more reason to go often I’d say!! Make sure you book ahead.

So absorbed in eating I forgot take more pics!

Thanks Saint Peter https://www.saintpeter.com.au

Monkfish with dill, chilli potatoes and watercress

This is my twist on the Rick Stein classic dish of monkfish, potatoes and watercress. The addition of my favourite ingredients – chilli and garlic – plus the dill spices it up and adds delicious flavour. The texture and flavour of monkfish, which is also great in curries, works well with this combination, with a squeeze of lemon brightening up the whole dish at the end.

Prep time: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 35 minutes
Ingredients:

2 medium size potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
3 whole red chillies
1/2 bunch fresh dill tough stalks removed and finely chopped
1 bunch watercress (about 4 or 5 cups when cleaned and chopped)
2 fillets of monkfish (about 500g)
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
1/2 lemon cut into half again
Salt and pepper

Method:

1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

2. Bring a pot of salted water to boil, add potatoes, garlic and while chillies and boil until potatoes are just cooked, about 8-10 minutes. Darin and leave to dry out.

3. Meanwhile, pat monkfish dry with paper towel, season with slat and black pepper, then pan fry for a few minutes on each side over high heat, in non-stick pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil until brown on each side.

4. Remove monkfish from pan, keeping oil in pan, then place monkfish in a casserole dish and put in oven to cook for another 10 minutes.

5. Chop chillies, removing stalk.

6. Reheat leftover oil, then add potatoes, garlic and chilli to reheat together and slightly brown potatoes, then add watercress and dill and mix through until watercress is just starting to wilt. Taste to see if any additional salt is needed.

7. Remove monkfish from oven and allow to rest for a few minutes. Remove from casserole (keep fish cooking juices in the dish) and slice into thick chunks.

8. Put the potato and watercress mixture into the casserole dish with the juices from the fish and gently mix through. Then layer the fish on top of the potatoes, garnish with extra dilll, drizzle with some balsamic vinegar, and serve with crunchy bread and lemon to squeeze.

Iconic Ikan (fish) at Warung Mak Beng, Sanur

TripAdvisor is full of recommendations for Warung Mak Beng which was established by “Mother”Beng back in 1941 and is run today by her grandson, continuing a long family tradition. Situated near the beach in Jalan Hang Tuah 45 in Sanur, this is the classic “one dish speciality” warung serving only its famous crispy fried ocean fish or Ikan Laut Goreng.

It has taken us a while to make the effort to get to this Warung, but I can assure you the trip is well worth the effort of travelling from wherever you are staying in Bali to try their renowned speciality.

The fish is crispy brown (almost burnt looking) on the outside but tender and moist on the inside and accompanied a the delicious fish head soup and spicy sambal on the side. My bowl of soup had little evidence of fish head, rather just big chunks of fish that had been stewed in the soup. The soup also had big chunks of cucumber which had absorbed the flavours of the soup and daun salam leaves (Indonesian bay leaves). The spice mix they use in this soup is divine and complements the flavours of the fried fish brilliantly. The day we visited the catch of the day was snapper served up straight from that morning’s haul from the fishing boats off the coast of Bali.

This is one of the most simple yet satisfying meals we have had in Bali on this trip, and I can understand why people flock here and why this Warung has been flourishing for so many generations.

At IR45,000 (AU$4.50) a serve, this Warung is a favourite with locals and Indonesian tourists but when we visited we were the only foreigners there. We came on a weekday for lunch and only had to wait a few minutes for a spot at a communal table. However, I believe the weekends can be very busy so you might have to wait a while for your table. It will be worth the wait especially if you like to eat like a true local!

Sardine – seafood safari in Bali

Sardine is a far cry from the trashy, tourist rip off traps along Jimbaran Beach that many travellers to Bali flock to for a fresh seafood experience.

Whilst it is expensive by Bali standards, the quality of the seafood is absolutely top notch, as is the divine setting with views across their own rice paddy and small farm, but right at Jalan Petitenget 21 not far from the Seminyak action.

I have been to Sardine on a few occasions now and they have not failed to impress with the simple but perfectly spiced dishes, warm welcome, smiling and snappy service, and good drinks list. They have also kept up the standards that won them Best Restaurant in Seminyak in 2016 in the popularly voted Yak magazine awards.

The current menu offers delicious starters such as Manis (sweet) Clams cooked with chorizo and chilli and Mussels in coconut milk sauce. The shellfish does not disappoint and is cooked to perfection preserving its sweetness and texture.

One of my favourite mains is the whole filleted fish cooked Jimbaran Style on the grill and served with brown rice and Balinese sambal matah. Hamachi, a fish not often seen on menus in Australia or elsewhere, is also often a feature on the menu with seasonal changes to the sauce and accompaniments that best complement this fish.

If you want really great seafood in a great setting when in Seminyak, then Sardine will bring all your fishy dreams true.

Tasty Thai Fishcakes with Sweet Cucumber and Chilli Sauce

Having done my dash with ham and turkey over the last week of Christmas festivities, I thought I’d spice things up for New Year’s Eve with some tasty Thai fishcakes. We were heading to friends to watch the spectacular Sydney fireworks and I wanted to take some treats that can withstand being served at room temperature.

This recipe makes about 20 bite-sized Fishcakes or you can make larger cakes and serve them as an entree to a main meal.

These fishcakes are so easy to make and are delicious with homemade sweet cucumber and chilli dipping sauce. Making the sauce is worth it as it so much zinger and fresher than bottled sweet chilli sauce and takes no time at all.

Fishcakes

Prep time including chilling mixture: 45 minutes. Cooking time: 10 minutes
Ingredients:

500g firm boneless white or red fish fillets
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon store bought Thai red or green chilli paste
2 red chillies deseeded and diced finely
3 fresh kaffir lime leaves or Thai basil leaves very finely sliced
5-6 green beans very thinly sliced into rounds
Handful of coriander leaves finely chopped
1 stalk of lemongrass – chopped into quarters
1 tspoon sugar
1/2 tspoon salt

1 cup vegetable oil for frying

Method

Place fish fillets in microwave proof dish and just cover with water, add fish sauce and throw in the lemon grass stalks and a few kaffir lime or Thai basil leaves.

Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes, then drain well, remove herbs and flake fish.

Add flaked fish to bowl of food processor with curry paste, chillies and blend into a paste.

Put fish mixture into a bowl and add sugar, salt, chillies, chopped lime leaves, green beans, coriander and mix well.

Add 2-3 tablespoons of the beaten egg and mix into fish until mixture binds together but is not too wet.

Place mixture in the fridge to dry out for half an hour or so.

Form mixture into small balls and press down to create little cakes. I find squeezing the excess moisture out of the mixture as you make the balls helps to bind the cakes together.

Heat oil on high until very hot and fry the cakes until golden brown. Do not turn the cakes over until the bottom side is well fried as this will help the cakes stay together.

Serve with Sweet cucumber and chilli dipping sauce

Sweet cucumber and chilli dipping sauce

Prep time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 1 minute
Ingredients:

1/4 cup of water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cucumber finely diced
1 red chilli finely diced

Method:

Put sugar and water into pot and bring to a simmer for 1 minute, mixing until sugar dissolves.

Add cucumber and chilli to syrup and allow to steep while you fry Fishcakes.

Indian Spiced Fish Pie

This recipe is based on Rick Stein’s classic fish pie recipe but with an Indian twist. The addition of traditional Indian spices to the milk and cream mixture in which the seafood is lightly poached, and using “aloo bharta” or Indian style mashed potato for the topping bring the flavours of the sub-continent to this classic British dish. (A kind of reverse colonialism, I suppose.)

Prep time: 1hr 20 mins  Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:
3 flathead fillets (or any firm white, unsmoked fish)
1 medium size fillet of smoked cod or haddock
8-10 green prawns peeled

2 eggs
1 egg yolk (to brush top of mash)
300ml milk + 3 tablespoons for mash
150ml cream

1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 finger length of ginger peeled
3 potatoes (fluffy potatoes like Desiree or King Edward)

6 cloves
6 cardamom pods
1.5 teaspoons turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon cummin
handful of curry leaves
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
handful of coriander leaves

100g butter
1/3 cup of plain flour

Method:

Hardboil 2 eggs (about 8 minutes) then cool and cut into quarters.

Cut fish and prawns into bite-size pieces.

cut the onion in half. Stud one half with the cloves.

Place seafood, and clove studded onion in with the milk, cream, the cardamom pods, 1/2 Teaspoon of the turmeric, chilli powder, cummin powder, garlic, ginger, white pepper and half the curry leaves into a pot and bring to a boil., then simmer gently for 5 minutes.

Drain the fish mixture, reserving the milk and cream. Put the fish pieces only, not the spices, into a shallow ovenproof dish. Arrange the quarters of egg through the dish. Set aside.

Melt 50g of butter in a non-stick pan, add flour and mix through. Take off the heat and slowly add the milk/cream cooking liquid mixing to form a smooth sauce. Return to medium heat and cook gently, stirring constantly to cook out the flour and create a rich, smooth sauce.

Pour the sauce over the fish and eggs to just cover, then cool in fridge for an hour.

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Whilst fish mixture is cooling….

Peel and cut the potatoes into cubes.

Bring a pot of water to the boil and add potatoes, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder. Cook for around 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender and ready for mashing. Drain and set aside to “dry”.

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius

Thinly slice the other half of the onion.

Finely chop the coriander.

Melt 50g of butter in a pan, add rest of curry leaves and mustard seeds until they begin to splutter.

Add sliced onion and cook gently until translucent and golden.

Mash potatoes adding 3 tablespoons milk to create a smooth, spreadable consistency. Add the onion mixture, including the melted butter to the mash.

Add the chopped coriander. Mix through the mash.

Add salt if necessary.

Remove the fish mixture from the fridge and spread the mash carefully over the top. Score the surface with a fork, then brush with beaten egg yolk.

Place in oven for 10-15 minutes until mixture is warmed through and top is golden and crispy. (I finish off using the grill to get a really golden crunchy top if necessary)

Serve with steamed vegetables or salad.

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Serves 4