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Our specialty is seafood where we take a pared down approach. Less is better. And over the last decade we have been working out how to best cook freshly gathered funghi. Then there are recipes which we have used successfully over many years. These are adaptations of recipes we have taken from books and we will give you our source. Mostly these will lead back to another book.

Our Recipes

The Use of Decanters to Create Theatre at a Xmas Lunch
Friday, 6th October, 2017 - David Farmer

You can find great food in humble restaurants and spotting these places before the crowd arrives is most satisfying. In general though the great restaurants of the world, though I only know France and Australia well, are not modest in appearance. It seems success at the highest level of cooking is associated with creating a similar level of ambience, even luxury, as after-all the clientele are wealthy. more...

All About Chinese Tea, Part 2
The Famous and Special Teas of China

Wednesday, 2nd March, 2011 - David Farmer

I was fortunate to spend time in China in the late 1970's and early 1980's which came about from one of the poorly thought out business ideas of my brother and I to import tea from China. What follows comes from notes I took during an extended stay in June, 1980. I believe this information will prove quite useful to those who love tea and its many types. more...

All About Chinese Tea, Part 1
Thursday, 16th July, 2009 - David Farmer

I was fortunate to spend time in China in the late 1970's and early 1980's which came about from one of the poorly thought out business ideas of my brother and I to import tea from China. What follows comes from notes I took during an extended stay in June, 1980. I believe this information will prove quite useful to those who love tea and its many types. more...

A Fish Sauce and Tony Bilson's Whiting Quenelles
Sunday, 28th June, 2009 - David Farmer

Elizabeth David

Catching and eating fish is the ultimate life's pleasure. I seldom use a sauce as the approach to fish is cook them when fresh and keep it simple. With that said for a number of years I have experimented with a recipe of the great Elizabeth David which was published in The Complete Imbiber, No. 6. (Vista Books, London, 1963). more...


- Rabbit Pie with Pine Mushrooms

Friday, 5th June, 2009



- Mark Lloyd of Coriole Talks About Olives and Oil

Friday, 28th March, 2008



- Tales about Oysters, Opening and Eating

Thursday, 6th December, 2007



- Yeast Leavened Pancakes

Thursday, 22nd February, 2007



- Peasant Mushroom Soup

Friday, May 26th, 2006



- Fish, Eggs and Steaming Bream

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006



- Cheong Liew's Steamed Eggplant with Tomato Chilli Sauce

Tuesday, 28th February, 2006



- Time for Saucing

Friday, 24th February, 2006



- Slippery Jacks in August?

Wednesday, 17th August, 2005



- Lentilles du Puy

Friday, 5th August, 2005



- A Delightful Warm Vegetable Salad

Wednesday, 20th April 2005



- A Tasty Fish Soup

Friday, 28th January, 2005



- The French Pizza from Provence - Pissaladiere

Friday, 28th January, 2005



- Another Broad Bean Option

Wednesday, 3rd November, 2004



- A Good Recipe for Broad Beans

Saturday, 30th October, 2004



- The Collection and Smoking of Mussels

Sunday, 18th October, 2004



- Cooking East Coast Whiting

Thursday, 14th October, 2004



- A Great Yabby Recipe

Saturday, 17th October, 2004



- The Perfect Fish Batter

Friday, 8th October, 2004



- Flathead Sushi

Wednesday, 15th September, 2004



- A Classic Carp Recipe

Wednesday, 4th August, 2004


The Perfect Fish Batter
Friday, 8th October, 2004 - David Farmer

Many of the recipes in this column are about the correct way to cook fish. They are the results of countless hours of practise at various locations on the South Coast of N.S.W. principally at Tuross which is South of Batemans Bay.

Over the years we have developed our own preferred cooking method for each variety of fish. Inspiration has come from most of the noted food writers from Elizabeth David to Richard Olney though we would like to say that best of all, for fish cooking, is the work of Alan Davidson, Mediterranean Seafood first published in 1972.

We like to cook flathead the following way. Scale the fish and strip off the long fillet each side of the backbone by running a knife along the backbone while you hold it on its side. You will find it easiest to remove the first fillet by having the fish on its side with its upper skin (the dark side) directed towards you. Do not remove the skin as it will help keep moisture in the fillet while cooking.

Flathead is perfect when cooked in a deep fryer. Garfish are also good but we do not batter this fish. The right sort of deep fryer is needed. The standard kitchen appliance fryers are not large enough and they do not get hot enough. If you are cooking a lot of fish plus chips they loose heat and the meal gets ruined. The chips stay soggy and the batter does not get crisp enough. We have purchased the smallest commercial kitchen fryer and these are about $400. The one used is depicted but there are a range of models available. If you want to handle lots of crisp, perfect chips and battered fish and vegetables you may need to invest in this style of fryer.

Dry the flathead fillets and immerse in the batter. Here is the recipe. Itís a slightly altered from an original, attributed to Doug Crittenden, a famous Melbourne wine merchant and a noted fish chef. Take a couple of large cups of self raising flour. Add a teaspoon of high quality olive oil and a smaller teaspoon of best vinegar. Both these ingredients alter the flavour of the batter. We now use old Spanish sherry vinegar and it adds a tremendous, complex flavour. You can buy these at Simon Johnsonís and other places. As you alter the proportions of the oil and vinegar the batter alters and can do strange things, including not sticking to the fish. This is worth doing as an experiment as the batter can be made more like a Japanese tempura style.

Now add to the mixing bowl your beer selection. It does make a difference to the taste of the batter and we use Boags. Pour in some of the beer. We keep the batter fairly heavy and of course as you add more beer it becomes runny. A runny batter would be good for small fish fillets or even small garfish but does not encase the fillet which is the cooking effect we want. We like a firm, thick, heavy batter that when cooked is firm and crisp, like the outside of crusty bread. The idea is for the fish to be steamed inside the batter which acts as a wrapping. You do not have to eat the batter, peel it off if you desire.

The frying oil selection is also important. Olive oil is good, light olive oil can be used and high quality vegetable oils are not too bad. Peanut oil is the current preferred choice. Remember that the batter will absorb oil and becomes part of the taste so it must be good. Cheaper oils leave a different taste. For a small commercial cooker you will need about two litres. Filter after each use. You can use the oil about six to eight times before replacing.

With the oil on high heat drop in several battered fillets. The batter must cook quickly. Place too much in the container and the temperature drops too much and you get a soggy mess. The fillet sinks so make sure it does not glue to the base of the fryer. After 30 seconds the battered fillets will float to the surface. When the batter is a light golden colour it is cooked and the fish is perfect. This will take only a few minutes. If you over cook, which means the batter is brown or darker you will find flathead is a forgiving fish and it will still be tasty.



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