Tag Archives: seafood

Mussels with white wine and cream

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I’ve spent a lot of time around mussels. Serving them, clearing them, tasting them, seeing them be cooked, seeing them be cleaned. Obviously not in that order, but you get what I mean. Working in a Belgian Beer Cafe you see a lot of mussels. Yet, I’m not quite sick of them. I used to think they were pretty gross looking but really, who doesn’t?

I first started to appreciate them in Western Australia when my parents would buy them cold from the supermarket cooked and marinated in a simple olive oil and herb mixture. I had them again in Quebec, Canada covered in garlic and cream and bacon and thought I had died and gone to heaven. And when I started living in Sydney one of my best friends told me I just had to try out this Belgian Beer Cafe where they served blue cheese mussels. Even as a red-blooded American who loves her blue cheese, I was pretty skeptical. But I tagged along- had an amazingly rich and creamy bowl of mussels and funnily enough also landed myself a trial at the restaurant that would become a big part of my life for the next two years. So yeah, mussels and I have had a pretty emotional journey.

Though we’ve been on such great adventures together, I’ve never really cooked mussels at home before. My dad’s played around with them in the kitchen once or twice but I’ve never done it myself. A few months ago Ciaran and I found ourselves at the Taste of Sydney festival and decided to bring home a packet of Spring Bay mussels. We picked up a little recipe card at the same stand and decided to go the simple route and just follow that. It’s a great weeknight meal because it’s quick, simple and low-fuss. Just pair your dish with some fresh, crusty bread and a nice bottle of wine.

Mussels with white wine & cream (Moules mariniere)

Serves: 2 as a main or 3-4 as a starter
Recipe from Spring Bay

Ingredients

  • 1kg packet Spring Bay Mussels
  • 15g unsalted butter
  • 2 (30g) purple eschallots or ½ a red onion, very finely diced
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • a sprig of thyme
  • a bay leaf
  • 100ml white wine
  • 150ml thickened or whipping cream
  • ¼ cup rough chopped continental parsley

Method

  1. Heat a large heavy based pot with a tight fitting lid over a low heat.
  2. Add the butter, when it’s melted add the eschallots, garlic and some freshly ground black pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the eschallots are clear and soft.
  3. Increase the heat to high, add the thyme, bay leaf, cream and wine and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by 1/3 in volume.
  4. Open the packet of mussels and pour into a colander, give them a light rinse.
  5. Pour the mussels into the boiling wine mixture, give them a stir and then quickly put on the lid. Cook for 3 minutes or until the mussels open. Sprinkle over the parsley and serve with the cooking liquid, some crusty bread and salad.

Note

  • The mussels will open as they cook, if there are any unopened mussels, remove the open mussels from the pot with a slotted spoon and place in a serving bowl. Replace the lid and cook the rest for 1 minute longer.

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The Fish Shop

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Being an East Coast girl, when I heard Potts Point had a new restaurant that was claiming to be a Cape Cod/Hamptons style fish shop, I had to go check it out.

I’ve never had better fish and chips than the ones I’ve had in Australia, so a restaurant that was trying to create American fish and chips sounded a little fishy.

But it turned out to be pretty good.

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I’d read a review in the SMH saying the decor and theme had gone a little too far and was even entering the land of tacky.

And not just because there were too many tackle boxes.

Couldn’t help myself.

But when I ventured over to Potts Point to check out the quaint little fish shack, I was pleasantly surprised. The place was packed but very inviting and very friendly. The hostess was honestly one of the nicest I have come across and continually checked up on us while we were waiting in the bar for a table. The place is incredibly decked out with fish and fishing gear and oceany puns galore. Even the bathrooms are labelled “Buoys” and “Gulls.” Ingenious.

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It was very lively inside, the waiters are dressed in pirate-esque striped shirts and the food was delicious.

They’ve got a rotating list of specials each night and from my own experience and everything that I’ve heard, you should usually try at least one of them out.

We opted for the mussels, which were bathed in a delicious white wine sauce with roasted tomatoes, a bit of chilli and topped with a few slices of crusty bread.

For our main we split the Fisherman’s Basket which was very good. Honestly, it doesn’t quite compare to some of the fish and chips I’ve had here, one of my favourite places is a little shack in Perth where it’s wrapped up in the day’s newspaper and you can sit right by the water enjoying the fresh, amazing taste as the oil seeps through the paper and you make a mess of yourself trying to finish every last crumb.

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But it was still very good. The basket came with pieces of blue eyed cod, cuttlefish, oysters and crispy chips. We were full after the two courses but the meals at The Fish Shop aren’t as big as your local chicken shop. The prices are cheap but the portions are small.

The cocktails looked like they were on the tiny side as well so we stayed away from those and had our meal with some crisp sauvignon blanc. Maybe they’re incredibly tasty, but I couldn’t justify the price for the size.

All in all, I was very satisfied with this little slice of the American East Coast nestled in Potts Point, they do their fish well and they show you a good time. Highly recommended.

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The Fish Shop

Monday – Saturday
Kitchen, 12pm – 11pm
Bar, 12pm – late
Sunday
Kitchen, 12pm – 9pm
Bar, 12pm – 10pm

22 Challis Avenue
Potts Point, 2011

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Lighter coconut red curry shrimp

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My relationship with spicy foods has been a bit of a roller coaster. And just as I used to hate giant roller coasters with all of my being, my feelings were pretty similar towards spicy food.

Anything with chilli, jalapeno, wasabi…it was out of the question. I think there was a time when I was in New Mexico with my family and we went out to dinner to this nice authentic Mexican restaurant and I remember uncontrollably crying and sweating as I tried to eat my meal. I remember being offered quesadillas with honey to try and ease the pain though it did little against the mighty wrath of that dish. That was about the time I swore off anything spicy for a while.

However, nowadays my palate has been craving spicy foods and I don’t know what is going on. Maybe it’s just that I’ve been introduced to it in more ways and perhaps better ways. My boyfriend’s mother cooks quite a few Malaysian and Singaporean dishes which at first made me want to drink a whole gallon of milk to get me through but now I really quite enjoy. Last summer I also went out to have sushi with my family and my father mistakenly ordered one roll, I believe it was called the Volcano roll, which was basically a huge mound of wasabi with one or two tiny flecks of fish rolled in seaweed and rice. Not knowing what it was I simply popped it in my mouth and got my first wasabi head rush. It’s actually kind of cool the way it rushes through your nose and makes your head want to explode but then subsides quite quickly. It’s strangely addictive.

So now I’ve been adding more wasabi to my sushi, putting more chilli in my pho, I even made a little pilgrimage to find Sriracha sauce which isn’t commonly available here. And apparently spicy food is very good for your metabolism so that’s a win as well.

And after that whole rant about how I love spicy food, I will admit I didn’t even put all the red curry paste that is called for in this recipe since I was afraid it would be too much. What can I say, I may love spicy food now, but I’m still a bit of a chicken when it comes down to it.

Whether you make it spicy or mild this dish is actually very delicious and I highly recommend it.

Lighter coconut red curry shrimp
From Can you stay for dinner?

1 can (13.66 ounces) coconut milk

2 tablespoons Thai Kitchen® Red Curry Paste

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/4 cup fresh Thai basil, chopped roughly (optional)

1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce

Your choice of vegetables, I added 1 head of broccoli, 1 cup of sugar snap peas and about half a bag of shelled edamame

Directions:

Simmer coconut milk in large skillet over medium heat. Stir in curry paste and sugar until well blended; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes.

Stir in shrimp and vegetables. Cook 3 to 5 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. Stir in basil and fish sauce.

Serve over either brown or jasmine rice.

Serves 4

Nutrition Information Per Serving (not including rice): 295 Calories, Fat 19g, Protein 21g, Carbohydrates 10g, Cholesterol 168mg, Sodium 1095mg, Fiber 1g

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Filed under Pasta and rice, Recipes, Seafood

Asian noodles with shrimp and edamame

As a self-professed pasta lover, I’ve found it hard to find a suitable replacement now that I’m toning down my carb intake. Rice is definitely not the same, and if you’re eating a bunch of white rice it’s still not very good for you either. I’ve tried hokkien noodles and udon noodles for stir-fries and they’re okay. Now I’ve been experimenting with soba noodles and they seem to be doing the trick.

In some cultures soba just means noodles but usually soba refers to buckwheat noodles. Buckwheat noodles are naturally gluten-free and usually about 98 per cent fat free. Buckwheat is deceptively named, it is related to the rhubarb and doesn’t contain any wheat. As opposed to udon which is a thick wheat noodle. At many shops that sell Asian noodles you will often get the choice between udon and soba, I’m surprised I never previously knew that one contained wheat and the other didn’t. I’ve experimented with soba noodles in the past, once with a peanut sauce and another time with a lime, soy and honey sauce. However, this dish has proved to be the best so far. It is a bit involved so I recommend making a bit more so it will last you for a few meals.

Asian noodles with shrimp and edamame
From the Food Network
Takes 25 minutes
Serves 4

  • 10 ounces soba (buckwheat) noodles
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen shelled edamame
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Sriracha (Asian chile sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Juice of 1 lime or lemon
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil, plus more for drizzling (optional)
  • 1/2 pound medium or large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro and/or scallions

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook as the label directs, adding the edamame during the last 3 minutes of cooking. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain the noodles and edamame.

Meanwhile, puree the garlic, ginger, Sriracha, 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil and 2 tablespoons water in a blender. Mix the lime juice, soy sauce and sesame oil in a small bowl.

Heat the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pat the shrimp dry and season with salt; add to the pan and cook, turning, until just pink, 2 minutes. Add the Sriracha mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are cooked through, about 2 more minutes. Add the soy sauce mixture, noodles and edamame, herbs and the reserved cooking water and toss. Divide among bowls and drizzle with more sesame oil.

Per serving: Calories 485; Fat 14 g (Saturated 1 g); Cholesterol 86 mg; Sodium 483 mg; Carbohydrate 64 g; Fiber 8 g; Protein 27 g

Enjoy!

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Filed under Pasta and rice, Seafood