Not “shrimp on the barbie”

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Nonna doesn’t use a lot of prawns in her cooking, they’re not used much in her region, fortunately we have friends that do it right.
A few Saturday’s ago, our friends had us over for a BBQ lunch. He had been to the fish market that morning and bought an array of fresh seafood. He was most excited about the huge jumbo prawns he got. Now, before I continue, In Australia we do not call them shrimp. Shrimp are the teeny tiny ones that we have in dishes like fried rice. Prawns are usually at least the length of your index finger – sweet and juicy. They are versatile crustaceans and used in many dishes in different ways – deep fried, grilled, sauteed in garlic, honey, salt and pepper, laksa, spaghetti, salad – the list goes on. There are many varieties of prawns you can eat ‘natural’ and have their own unique taste. Tigerwhich have an exquisite nuttiness, Banana, with there yellow tints and black tail are great for adding flavour to, King Prawns, great meatiness, salty and perfect natural or with a cocktail sauce. Yes prawns have varying degrees of saltiness, sweetness and smokiness.

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But my all time favourite way to have them is chargrilled on the BBQ and there’s no other way to eat them but with your hands – the classic fingerbowl invented for such delights. There is such a simple pleasure in the way you peel and eat a prawn. The warm juices running through your fingers and trying to find the patience to wait until they have cooled down to peel them is very difficult. Snap and twist the head, trying to pull the shell off in one continuous rip, gracefully remove the poo tube, hold it by the tail and bite! It does sound a little gruesome, but you will know what I’m talking about if you have had the pleasure of doing it before.

Our friend had marinated them overnight in chilli, lemon, lime a few herbs and fried them up on the bbq. They were delicious. Their subtle chargrilled smokiness and lemony, sweet tang with a warm hum of chilli was exquisite. We sat on his balcony all day feasting on all of the seafood and soaking up the warm sun. A perfect summer lunch, washed down with some ice cold beers. I hope there are a few more warm sultry days with a cool breeze left before Autumn comes too quickly.

Last Australia Day’s Bundy bbq sauce

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Last Australia Day we had more people than you could fit in our 2 bedroom apartment over for a bbq. I made a big hamburger feast with home made patties, 2 types of cheeses, shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, caramelized onions, flipped eggs, crispy bacon, pineapple slices, pickles, beetroot, a few relishes, coleslaw and my own Bundaberg rum bbq sauce. I thought I would share the recipe for the sauce.

The recipe is simple, but you do need to season well and  constantly taste the sauce while it is cooking to make it to your liking. I added more chilli because I like it spicier.

Let me know how it turns out and if you added anything to make it your own. If you need any advice leave a comment.

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Catch of the day

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Last weekend my Italian man and one of his brothers went spear fishing (the kind where you free dive to catch fish, no air tanks just your own breath) and caught a few fish for our dinner.  They had a number of fish i was given a black fish, 3 goat fish and 2 leather jackets. They descaled and gutted them for me as I am not the best at handling fish, but I will get better. Not being very familiar with preparing/cooking fish, his brother said the leather jackets are best on the BBQ so I froze them until I needed them later. For the black rock fish he said it was not his favourite for eating and suggested to make a fish stock, it made a really mild stock great for most cooking.The goat fish I will use in a soup. I called Nonna to see if she had any tips or recipes, she said she just makes hers up as she goes and to look up a recipe and I shouldn’t go wrong. I didn’t get the recipe from any favourite cook book, I just wanted something simple that worked for what I needed at the time. I get so disappointed when you find a great recipe in a cook book to find “test kitchen” clearly hasn’t done their job and Its not even proof read correctly (2 cups instead of 2 teaspoons). Sometimes you just need to go for the simple ones that have been tried and tested. I got the recipe for the stock and the stew from www.taste.com.au. I excitedly went to the grocery store to collect all my supplies, I always get such a rush when shopping for ingredients.

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Beginnings of Fish stock here is the recipe

I started with the stock following the recipe step by step, with a few adjustments I have made in blue on the recipe. There was quite a lot so I halved it, measured out what I needed, froze the rest and the other half I gave to Mamma, she loves it when we share food.

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Then onto the soup, again I followed it by the recipe. I made a few adjustment in blue as well. Cooking the soup and fish stock was easier than I expected and doesn’t take that long to make, the longest time needed was waiting for the flavours to develop. We ate the soup with a crusty Ciabatta loaf and a chilled Sauvignon Blanc (lucky thats all we had in the fridge) a perfect meal . It turned out great. Such a great challenge. I will do it again.

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Nonna said- Don’t remove the skin that forms on the top of the stock this is extra flavour and it is where all the healthy omega 3 from the fish is.

I like to use the Mutti brand crushed tomatoes and passata ,I’m not trying to advertise, I am just in love with it.

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Voila! Italian Fish soup. Here is the recipe on taste.com.au