In My Kitchen, a Very Fishy Post. November 15

There have been lots of fishy things happening in my kitchen this month, or should I say, in cabin kitchens along the East Coast of Victoria and New South Wales. I love the challenge of cabin kitchens: they are all so idiosyncratic and designed for the user of microwaves or non cooks. Challenges include how to drain pasta without a colander, chopping on thin plastic boards that have warped into canoes, looking for a non-existent grater and salad bowl and dealing with an oven that doesn’t cook. Β But I’m jumping ahead.

Let me introduce you to the first kitchen I popped into on my coastal road trip. I met up with Maree, from Around the Mulberry Tree, in her kitchen in Trafalgar. She was having a garden open day and I just happened to be passing by. Her garden was looking magnificent with its well designed chook house and wicking beds, but I was keen to see the progress on her kitchen renovation and her ‘toy oven’, in which she makes beautiful sourdough loaves! I can report that it is all true, and it just goes to show that with a bit of imagination, a good loaf can be made in a tiny little pie warmer of an oven! Neither of us are too keen on having our photos on our posts: I think this one sums it all up.

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In Maree’s kitchen, the blues sisters.

The first night in our Lake Tyers kitchen we feasted on a seafood paella or Paella de Marisco. The seafood co-op at Lakes Entrance provided the goodies for this- fresh squid, prawns ( from South Australia) and a few scallops. I used the prawn heads and shells to make a quick prawn bisque for the stock. I love the first stage of making paella when the smoky pimenton is added to the stock. bbb

Travelling with me always are these ingredients, as well as a good pan with fitting lid, a decent knife, a pasta pot, and fresh herbs and spices from home.

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, Calasparra rice, saffron and smoky pimento – the key items for a good paella.

The kitchen in Lake Tyers was pretty good as far as cabin kitchens go except for the dodgy oven which only worked on the grill function. This was the setting for our scallop feast.

1-2015-10-25 19.51.13_resizedThe kids were happy to eat their way through piles of flathead tails, also readily available from the local seafood co-op.Β  A large bag of panko crumbs from Costco and eggs from home are also part of my travelling kit.

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Flathead tails, with panko crumbs. Hands up who wants more!

Eden was the next stop for seafood along this route, with blue mussels available near the jetty and a local smokehouse. Kyle bought a bag of smoked mussels: I like his cooking style. Pour the smoked mussels out of the bag and into a bowl, and compete to see who gets to eat the most. No photo for this treat as they disappeared in a flash.

The lakes of Pambula provided the next briny piatto del giorno. Two dozen oysters, freshly shucked, only required a picnic table, a lemon, and a loaf of ciabatta. Needing lemons?Β  Head to the country op-shops for cheap home-grown bags full.

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Sydney Rock oysters from Pambula Lakes.

Heading back down south, and passing my favourite Co-op again, these pretty creatures were available for $13.50 a kilo. Packed on ice, they are now in my home kitchen and will give us at least three more meals. Calamari and squid are the most sustainable seafood species you can find in Australia.

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shiny calamari ready to be cleaned.
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calamari, stir fried chard, garlic, chill, kecap manis, lemon, sesame oil.

Thanks Celia once again for hosting this marvellous monthly series. You may find more like-minded souls at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, Living well in the Urban Village.

40 thoughts on “In My Kitchen, a Very Fishy Post. November 15”

  1. Ha ha! That looks absolutely scrumptious. I too always take staples and fellow campers think it ridiculous that I also take a pot of fresh herbs growing so I can pick and use them easily. Just have to keep the roos away from them. As for dodgy ovens, well………. πŸ™‚

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  2. Wonderful to see an IMK pic of the both of you… I cannot but marvel at how the blogging world has brought us together via our common interests but also that we resemble each other like branches of a family!
    Yesterday the G.O. and I cobbled together a mud map of our planned travels, much of it is around the Australian coast, and at any rate we’ll be residing near the coast which suits me… as I think you can go a long way to beat fresh local seafood simply prepared… and also traveling pre-prepared.

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  3. I have cooked in my share of cottage kitchens over the years, too. Your list of things you take with you is a smart one–especially the sharp knife. The seafood looks amazing. I have my hand up for a serving or six of flathead tails, can you see it?? Cute photo of the blues sisters too! xx

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  4. Cabin kitchens are an adventure and a challenge. Not much needs to be done with the lovely seafood. What are flathead tails? They are not something I have heard about. Did you fry them or grill them?

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  5. Oh my goodness – so much seafood! I kept going to make a comment and then the next platter appeared in the feed. All delicious. You’re right about travelling with spices (I have the Los Novios Paprika simply because of the hipsters on the tin) and I guess you will now add a grater to the list. cheers!

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  6. Never forget your bottle opener or your toothbrush – really annoying if you do. I haven’t really stayed in a cabin for decades 😦 The only one I ever stayed in was one built by my father-in-law and his friend at Bemm River. It was the original wooden bush shack with 2 bedrooms, one either end, and a kitchen in the middle. Must admit he had it going great because he was a perfectionist, plus the fishing there is out of this world. We went with another couple. We were young and had a great time. I can remember the toilet was a hole dug in the soil way down the backyard. Very sophisticated.

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    1. Not much need for a bottle opener these days thanks to screw tops but we always keep one in the glovebox. Our picnic set also lives in the boot- along with two wine glasses.
      Have you ever thought of going back to that lovely area near Bemm River? The cabins at Croajingolong National Park, near Cape Conran, are lovely ( out of season) and all the lakes districts and inlets along that coast are so beautiful.

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  7. Wonderful IMK Francesca When ever we’re near Pambula, we take a bottle of bubbles, a loaf of brown bread, butter and lemons to the oyster shack and gorge on dozens of freshly opened oyster. You will never get fresher or better IMHO

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  8. Despite cooking in a kitchen where utensils and a good oven were not to be had, you have done an amazing job and it all looks like a delicious feast. πŸ™‚

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  9. Francesca, I absolutely loved “The Blues Sisters” photo of you and Maree. So nice to “see” you both! (I also loved seeing your seafood dishes…) You’d think cabins would entice folks to cook “the old fashioned way” as a step back from their busy lives, but it sounds like even those rustic surroundings have succumbed to “hurry up and eat” syndrome. Nice to see how you’ve adapted, even if it means bringing half of your kitchen along!

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