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Where it comes from

by Gordon
This isn’t a post about a beautiful recipe or amazing things that you can do with fish. Its about the joy I’m getting from explaining to little Heckle where things come from and introducing him to some of the things that he loves. There’s a a lot more focus these b b j

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days on understanding where you food comes from and being able to understand the journey from paddock to plate…or in this case from the ocean to your tummyy.Serving the fish

During our Christmas holiday to Kangaroo Island, I packed my rods and some borrowed lures from my good buddy Benos. I also packed in a couple of hand spears with the vision that I would be MAN- HUNTER GATHERER!! See this was inspired from a trip with Blah Blah to King Island, where after an afternoon of free-diving with a couple of local madmen, I turned up back at the cottage, blue and shaking from the cold, but carrying a box with 3 freshly caught crayfish. Those crays were about 2.5kg each and we cooked up a couple of them and dissected them with the fine tools to hand- namely a hammer. Accompanied by a simple salad of tomatoes and fresh garden leaves, it was one of the greatest meals of my life. I had visions of repeating this feat, but alas, the crays eluded me this time round…
Anywho, back to Kangaroo Island where we’d been evacuated to the other side of the island due to the ‘Catastrophic Fire Danger’. There’s one safe place on the island and Kingston pier was really quite bearable for a 37 degree day. We had a park with swings, a small beach for Heckle to wade in, and a bloody great pier where his dad could stalk the many fish underneath.
Armed with my trusty spear, I proceeded to finally spear a good size fish (about 1.8kg) locally known as a ‘strongy’. They’re not the fastest fish, but if you get one, you don’t want to freeze it, you want to eat it that night. Thanks to the local knowledge of a lovely bloke called Mark, I was also delighted to find the bottom absolutely littered with fresh scallops. IMG_3239
Nothing like coming back with a catch bag filled with lovely fresh fish and about 2kgs of scallops. Heckle was properly impressed with this haul and was very happy to show off the fish to anyone who would pay attention. Hell, the fish was almost as big as he was!Catching fish on Kangaroo Island
When the food is fresh fresh fresh (especially with seafood) you don’t need to do much. Have you tried scallop sashimi…it’s divine. I discovered that leaving the scallops in icy water opens them up for you to able to get a knife in easily and then voila, remove the roe and you’ve got scallop sashimi. Maybe it’s the fact that both his parents are mad on oysters and sashimi, but the little fella was stoked to try his first scallops, raw at that! Like his first oysters and sashimi, he was delighted to partake… When it came to the rest of the scallops, I left the roe on and pan fried in butter until lightly golden, squeeze some lemon on with a grind of pepper and you’re in business…SONY DSC
As for the fish, taking Heckle through the filleting process and explaining what you could and couldn’t eat was enlightening for him. We fried the fish up again with a bit of butter and squeeze of lemon and some pepper. He felt part of bringing that dish to his plate and promptly ate everything that was put in front of him. A win all round I say….SONY DSC
Now back to those elusive crays….King Island again…or perhaps the northern coast of Tassie??
Got any hunter gathering stories you’d like to share??

 

 

About Gordon Eckel

Gordon Eckel, a foodie and (rock) wall climber extraordinaire. He worked in some of Sydney’s top restaurants, but decided that he liked cooking for his friends more, so ran away and joined the circus (aka managing Sydney nightclubs). Six years ago and after a few too many creamy pastas he weighed 105 kg with a ridiculously high cholesterol. He changed his eating ways, wore out a treadmill and dropped 25 kilos in three months. Now he is renown for cooking deceptively healthy food and for proselytizing about the marvels of the great Australian red.

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