Tag Archives: seafood

Slow braised baby octopus

This is a wonderfully easy recipe when you get your hands on some fresh baby octopus.   Most versions use a red wine, but I prefer white wine which gives a more delicate outcome.  Check for seasoning during the cooking process, but I usually find that you don’t need to add any salt.  Serves 4-6.

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Ingredients
50ml olive oil
4 French eschallots, diced
1kg baby octopus, cleaned and cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup white wine
1 bay leaf
1 400g tin diced tomatoes
1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

Making it
Heat the olive oil in a heavy based saucepan and add the eschallots and saute until softened. Add the octopus and cook until it starts to lose its translucence, then add the wine and bring to a simmer until the alcohol is cooked off. Add the bay leaf and diced tomatoes, bring to a simmer then reduce the heat and simmer on low heat for 1-1.5 hours until tender, stirring occasionally; add a little water if needed. When ready to serve, sprinkle over the parsley. Eat with some crusty bread or some creamy polenta.

Good Friday Fish Pie

When we went to Mollymook a couple of months ago, we had dinner one night at Rick Stein’s restaurant.  While overall the restaurant didn’t blow me away (particularly for the price), I did love the fish pie.  A bit of googling and I found the recipe had been published in a UK newspaper some years ago.  Since it was Good Friday, and I had some leisurely time in the kitchen, I thought I would have a go at making it.  It is a very rich, but very delicious, dish.  Serves 4.  A very simple green salad would go well to contrast the richness.

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A few notes on the recipe
– I found the veloute – though decadent and tasty – to be a little thicker than what we had at the restaurant. I would next time reduce the amount of roux (flour/butter) a little, rather than add more stock as the quantity of veloute you end up with is more than plenty.
– Next time I’d also put some finely chopped parsley through the base of the pie, some green would be nice and add that touch of freshness.
– Also the original amount of crust was 30g of butter and 50g of Panko, but this ended up being a rather thin crust so I doubled it.
– I used unsalted butter, otherwise if your stock is salty the overall dish might end up being too salty.
– while this was made in one large dish, it would also be lovely in individual ramekins

For the velouté
600ml fish stock
300ml milk
50g butter
50g plain flour
2 bay leaves
1 crushed clove
1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg

Place the stock and milk in a pot and bring to the boil then take off the heat. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and cook for about two minutes, stirring constantly. When it starts to smell nutty, add a third of the stock and milk mixture, and keep stirring until it thickens and is completely smooth. Add another third and stir, then add the final third and, when smooth, stir in the bay leaves, clove and nutmeg and leave to simmer gently for about half an hour. Pour the velouté through a sieve and set aside.

For the pie
200g finely chopped onion
60g butter
30g parmesan cheese, grated
50ml double cream
Juice of ½ lemon
400g fish fillet (I used monkfish, snapper would also work well)
200g shellfish or crustaceans (I used prawns and scallops, a bit of crab would be lovely as well)
50g flour
30ml vegetable oil
10g butter, extra
100g button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 tsp French mustard
1 tsp truffle oil
Preheat oven to 180C

Slow-cook the onion in the butter in a saucepan for 10 minutes or until softened. Pour the strained veloute into the sautéed onions and add the parmesan, double cream and lemon juice. Set aside.

Cut the fish fillet into bite-size pieces. Season with a little salt and turn over in the flour. Fry for 2-3 minutes in a frying-pan over a medium heat using the vegetable oil and butter (the fish does not need to be fully cooked). Remove the fish to your pie dish. Fry the mushrooms in the same pan, adding a little salt; stir in the mustard and add to the pie dish. Now add the shellfish or crustaceans to the pie dish. They can be put in raw, but if large, slice. Drizzle the truffle oil over. Pour the sauce over the fish.

For the crust
100g Japanese panko breadcrumbs
60g melted butter
Mix the breadcrumbs with the melted butter, and spread over the top. Bake for 20 minutes so that crust is lightly golden.

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Fourth Fish, Lane Cove

We’d had a manic day and no cooking was going to go on in the Napoli household that night.  So we headed up to Lane Cove to check out a recently opened seafood café in the plaza.   It’s got cute nautical theming (I like the blue chairs outside) and the staff were friendly and efficient.

There’s some good value, straight forward food going on in a casual setting.  The grilled fish and chips – take your pick of barramundi, salmon or swordfish – is a good choice at $18 and comes with a refreshing crisp salad.

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So too is the fisherman’s basket, for $26 which has a tasty fish fillet, crumbed prawn, calamari, chips, a couple of oysters and some olives.

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The chargrilled octopus was a little disappointing, a little chewy, and it was cold (I asked if was meant to be, the waiter wasn’t sure) but I did like the salad underneath.

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On the off chance you’re going to a seafood restaurant but don’t actually want seafood, there’s a steak option as well. In addition to the normal menu, there’s a selection of specials.  The lunch menu varies slightly and has a fish burger.
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Fourth Fish Café & Restaurant, 12-16 Burns Bay Road Lane Cove, ph 02 9427 4896

Fourth Fish Cafe and Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kingsley’s Steak & Crabhouse, Woolloomooloo

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Genetics is a funny thing. As regular readers would know, the Marito is a vegacquarian. I’ve never been a big meat eater, and even less so since we’ve been married. Yet our progeny are two of the biggest carnivores I’ve ever come across. A slab of expertly cooked meat and a side of green beans is one of their ideal meals. So it was no surprise when I asked where they wanted to go for lunch for their birthday that they suggested a steakhouse. Being spring, I thought Woolloomoloo would be very pleasant for an outdoor waterside meal, and Kingsley’s it was. I thought then, it was only fair, that they write up their thoughts on our experience. I would only add that the service was excellent, with extremely attentive and friendly staff.

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Now before you think we are mean by not letting them have any more, they were keen on ordering another 250g steak a piece…..half a kilo of meat each for 25kg kids…hmmm….maybe not.

We also sampled a refreshing tomato and burrata salad

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And some tasty dressed king crab with avocado (though average brioche on the side)

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Kingsleys Woolloomooloo Wharf, Cowper Wharf Road
http://www.kingsleys.com.au/sydney/home

Kingsleys Steak & Crabhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Coogee Pavilion, Coogee

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The Merivale group should offer marketing or business courses, or something.  Like them or loathe them, you’ve got to hand it to them – their ability to take a space, transform it, attract good chefs and instantly draw a huge crowd – and sustain it long term – is enviable.  I’ve been to plenty of their venues – sushi e, Felix, Papi Chulo, Lorraine’s, Palings, Mr Wong just to name a few, and have, for the most part, had great experiences.

Coogee Pavilion is a relatively recent addition to the family.  Like its older siblings it has been transformed into a wonderful space – this time the approach is bright and breezy, perfect for a beachside venue. There is plenty to catch your attention, various counters everywhere, and I love the fact that the tables are nice and spaced out and you don’t have to sit on top of your dining neighbour.

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And the food? Its pretty solid. There’s fresh seafood, pizza, steaks, salads, burgers. If you go all fresh seafood it can be quite expensive, but for a low key pizza and burger its not too bad at all. Its not food that is going to blow your mind, but accessible, pleasant fare for a relaxed meal. Note that it does come from each individual counter so can arrive very quickly – if you want them to space it out let them know.  Otherwise you’ll find your oysters arriving with your pizza and fish and chips.

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And the place is incredibly family friendly. There are high chairs, so cute small people like this one can be comfortable.
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Kids meals are $12.50 and under; the only annoyance of the day was that we had to chase down our kids’ steak repeatedly – it took 45 minutes – but given that the kids were thoroughly entertained they didn’t drive us mad. There is an awesome sizeable room at the back with table tennis, climbing walls, scrabble and a giant connect four among other things. The kids were very happy to run off and play while we sat and chatted and enjoyed our meal. If you want to avoid all that, head up to the rooftop bar which is over 18’s only.

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Coogee Pavilion, 169 Dolphin St, Coogee, Ph 02 9240 3000
http://merivale.com.au/coogeepavilion
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Chiosco by Ormeggio, Mosman

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Alessandro Pavoni seems to be a man on a mission – a mission to deliver high quality Italian food to Sydney’s North Shore, where dining choices can be somewhat, ah, limited. Ormeggio was his first baby, now all grown up and crowned with two hats, followed earlier this year by Via Alta, and just before Christmas, Chiosco (Italian for kiosk).  A compact but open space, Chiosco is appropriately nautically themed and with a casual vibe. Kids are always welcome in any Pavoni establishment (which I love), and in this case, so are boats, as boat catering is available, and you can rock up in your boardies with a bit of sand if you so desire. They do breakfast too.

Our friendly waiter hands us menus and tells us dishes are designed for sharing, which is just as well as I pretty much want to try everything on it. And it is all delicious – Pavoni and Chef Victor Moya’s version of Italian “street food” – is simple, well executed and well priced food. As my husband said, “there is nothing here that we wouldn’t order again” (and again). I didn’t photograph everything we ate (do try the ragu, its excellent), and we over-ordered, and the food came to $38 per head, which I thought was great value. Plus it is currently BYO.

We tried suppli – crumbed risotto balls with peas, oxtail ragu on fontina cheese. Absolutely cracking!

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Burrata (a devine creamy mozzarella if you haven’t tried it before, I love it) with basil oil and beetroot. There were also some sourdough crumbs which added texture

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Fritto misto – a mix of Hawkesbury school prawns and baby calamari. Loved the boxed presentation.

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Corn on the cob. The smoky paprika and pecorino cheese take it to another level

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Baby octopus skewers with a salmoriglio dressing

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Charcoal gamberoni – huge prawns with a tangy chilli dressing

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Our ravenous kids also wanted burgers along with the ragu, they were massive.

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I can’t think of an appropriate Italian translation of the phrase “mate, love your work” (ben fatto doesn’t quite cut it), but that about sums it up.

Chiosco by Ormeggio, D’Albora Marinas The Spit Spit Rd Mosman, Ph 02 9046 7333
http://www.chiosco.com.au/

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Johnny Lobster, Crows Nest

When I heard about a place serving Maine style lobster rolls in nearby Crows Nest, I had to check it out.  Johnny Lobster is its name – its a cute, fun, casual eatery with an appealing menu.  You can eat in or takeaway, and I thought the prices were very good.

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The lobster roll at $20 is the most expensive item on the menu.  It is bigger than I expected, with an excellent brioche bun and fresh, succulent lobster.  People will even cross the bridge for this.

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The other dishes are good too, served with a very fresh, crisp salad.  The salad dressing needs a little work (just tastes like oil has been squirted on it) but its a minor thing in the scheme of it, considering the place has only been open a week. I note on the menu it says all the seafood is from sustainable sources.

Grilled fish with salad – you’d have to be pretty happy with this for lunch or dinner at $10.80

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Chilli octopus and salt and pepper squid

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Soft shell crab

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Thrice cooked hand cut chips – forget your new year’s resolutions and diet, and grab a bowl.  Seriously good.

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I’d say its going to be a hit.

Johnny Lobster, 48 Willoughby Road, Crows Nest
http://johnnylobster.com.au/

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