Bugs or scallops in a tarragon butter

You must learn from your mistakes. It was during one special dinner that a disastrous series of events, interspersed by one or two sacre bleus, led me to one of the most delectable treats I have tasted. Certainly the meal was the best part of an hour behind schedule, but the result was remarkable.
By great [...]

Prawns in a butter and black pepper sauce

I have flirted and failed with diets for so long I cannot look at the word these days without being riddled with guilt and self-doubt. I know all the reasons why a sensible diet should be part of my life. I eat too much, liking food for its delicious flavours and tastes, that I just [...]

A parcel of mussels

There’s another, even more impressive-looking version of the previous dish, which is easier to prepare — crepes instead of puff pastry — and can be made well in advance. In the end, it looks like a purse. Flavour and wit together. It was one of the most consistent dishes on the old restaurant menu, and [...]

Mussels in puff pastry

This dish and the next were consistent winners during my restaurant days. We served one or the other or variations day and night, week in week out, and never once thought of how much butter was in them. I offer them to you now, to allow you to note how times change and how we [...]

Ocean trout in a froth

Not so long ago, the only place you could get hold of salmon was from the freezers of the big department stores — and it would have arrived there via long and expensive trips from Scandinavia, Canada, and occasionally Scotland. No more. A superbly efficient salmon and ocean-run trout farming industry is flourishing in Tasmania [...]

Flash fish, simple sauce: King George whiting

King George Whiting is always expensive, always delicate in flavour, and should always be cooked gently and watchfully. It has a delicious texture and a lovely flavour. It can be cooked any way really — it is great in batter and deep-fried, as many expensive restaurants have discovered; wonderful with its skin left on and [...]

Fish of the day with rosemary

Every garden should have a bustling rosemary bush. There are few other flavourings which are always available at your back door and add so much life to so many dishes. Toss rosemary with tomatoes, soy and chilli and you’ve got hold of a true winner; cook down some cream and rosemary and you’ve got one of [...]

Flake, for the memories

Remember the ‘good old days’. Remember when Gough Whitlam was the leader of the Opposition, Bob Hawke had black hair and silly glasses, you still had Sunday roasts, and fish shops — the first of the fast food outlets — did a roaring trade on Fridays?
Remember? Remember those shops which had piles of already-fried fish [...]

Escolar. Never heard of it?

Bet you have never heard of escolar, or, by its more common name, butter fish, or, by its less common name, oilfish. You’re in good company. Ask fishmongers, fishermen, fishing experts: escolar? Never heard of it.
Escolar etc. is one of the greatest gifts given to the palate by the sea. It is firm and deliciously, [...]

Flat out for flavour: or sole man, sole

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have enough pans for a sole party, man. Fillets of flat fish like sole, or dory, or flounder stand up beautifully to most forms of cooking: frying, steaming, poaching. Just keep a good eye on the show. Remember, it’s unusual to find a fat, flat fish. They will cook [...]