We were anchored in Thailand off a lovely island called Koh Phayam, just below the Myanmar (Burma) border. It was high season in Thailand at the time but even then, Koh Phayam was a quiet, idyllic place. Nowhere was too busy. There are no cars on Koh Phayam, just motorbikes, bicycles and the odd tractor.
We spent our days watching the brahminy kites and white belly sea eagles soaring overhead in search for their dinner, and we would catch sight of the hornbill birds as they flew amongst the trees on the nearby shoreline. From the advantageous location of our comfy hammocks we watched the bait fish jumping out of the water as the predators close in on them. How peaceful… could it get any better than this?… Seafood lunch perhaps?
On one of these “peaceful idyllic” days Dwayne visited a local fishing boat that had dropped its anchor nearby. He returned with a large bag of school prawns and some baby squid. The fishermen wouldn’t accept any money, so Dwayne took some beers over to them. They must have been impressed with the beers as they then presented him with two good sized cuttlefish, some crabs and a pile of huge prawns!
Dwayne cooked the crabs and prawns in salt water. We then chilled them before we devoured them, for lunch, with a little homemade seafood sauce.
For the seafood sauce… I simply mixed Kewpie mayonnaise with tomato ketchup. I didn’t measure the ingredients, I just did it to taste. It’s simple but delicious and the prawns were sooooo fresh!
While cruising Indonesia we were lucky enough to visit a tiny fishing village on the island of Panebangan. The people were exceptionally friendly and welcomed us with huge smiles and a large bunch of bananas! It was at this village, the following morning, that we were invited onto a fishing boat for breakfast. Dwayne watched how the fisherman made chilli fish and it has since become Dwayne’s signature dish! This is great for when I don’t feel like cooking…. i.e. “I’d really love your chilli fish for dinner tonight Dwayne!”
Dwayne has made this a couple of times for dinner. Once he used fish and squid and the other time he used crayfish.
It’s simple and tasty. This is how he does it…
fresh chillies, chopped
fresh garlic, chopped
asian shallots, chopped
Blend all the above ingredients with the mortar and pestle.
Add oil to a pan and heat.
Add the spice mix, fry until fragrant.
Add the seafood (fish or what ever you want) and fry it for a while.
Then add some water and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasional.
Season with salt as needed.
We made this chilli crab while anchoredoff a small island in Indonesia called Lapan. We had been in Indonesian waters for three days, and had yet to find a village with a restaurant/Warung. Having a craving for something a little spicy we cooked up the last of our crabs (caught in Darwin) and enjoyed this chilli crab for lunch before we jumped in the very inviting water for a snorkel.
This is is what I did…
To a small bowl I added and set aside;
2 Tbs of Hoisin sauce
½ cup tomato sauce
¼ cup Sweet Chilli Sauce
1 Tbs Fish sauce
¼ cup water
¼ tsp sesame oil.
Dwayne, in the meantime, cleaned and cut the crab into segments, cracking the claws to allow the flavour to enter and infuse the crab. I heated a couple of tablespoons of oil in a pot (I was currently wok-less) and sautéed three finely chopped garlic cloves and two teaspoons of grated ginger for about thirty seconds, then I added the crab pieces and stir-fried for around 3-4 minutes.
I added the sauce and tossed to cover all the crab, heating it until it was just beginning to boil, then I reduced the heat to simmer, and covered until cooked (around 7 minutes). I added some chilli flakes (would have used sliced chilli, and sauted with garlic and ginger if I had any) and served with steamed basmati rice. Note: I would have used sliced chilli, and sauted it with the garlic and ginger if I’d had any at the time.
This is another little creation I made while anchored in Darwin Harbour. It was after I got back from my trip to Adelaide. While in Adelaide working my butt off, painting etc, Dwayne was in Darwin, fishing, crabbing and going to the races….. anyhow he caught a couple of crabs and knew better than to eat them while I was away.
I’ve been wanting a crab salad ever since we hit mud crab territory but had, as yet, had little luck. With the heat in Darwin during the ‘build-up’ making cooking unpleasant, I decided to use one of the cooked mud crabs for this simple salad.
I used a food stack mould and layered it with a slice of honey dew and rock melon, shredded lettuce and then a layer of crab and diced cucumber. I topped the salad with a dressing I made with lime juice, walnut oil, mirin, sweet chilli and sesame oil.
I made this risotto while we were anchored in Darwin Harbour awaiting our visa and paperwork to set sail for Indonesia. The crayfish was caught on our way to Darwin as we cruised the Great Barrier Reef.
I have never made a risotto before, so I googled to get some ideas. In the end I combined some of my favourite flavours to make the risotto I had envisioned. Yay!
This is what I did… I melted butter in a large pan and sautéed finely chopped onion and garlic, diced chorizo and sliced chilli until the onion had softened.
Next I added the rice and cooked it for approximately four minutes “toasting it”. This step apparently determines the final texture of the risotto. It heats the outside of the rice quickly thus preventing it from breaking and seals in the starch.
I then added a cup of white wine. On medium heat I cooked it until all the liqud was nearly absorbed. I then began the task of adding 1/4 of a cup of hot fish stock at a time, waiting for each to be absorbed before adding more, all the while stirring. When the rice was nearly done (a taste test will tell you) I added sliced mushroom, heaps of tarragon and the lobster.
While anchored in Darwin Harbour, with supermarkets nearby, I decided to do a romantic dinner for Dwayne. For entree I made crayfish salad using a crayfish we caught in the Great Barrier Reef. It is very simple but looks great!
This is what I did…
I made a salad dressing by mixing
3 Tbs of coconut cream
2 Tbs lime juice
1 Tbs soy sauce
2 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp brown sugar
I refrigerated until I was ready to use it.
I prepared a small packet of vermicelli noodles by soaking them in boiling water. I drained them well and mixed some of the salad dressing through them. I refrigerated the noodles until I was ready to make my salad stacks.
I shredded carrot, lettuce and snow peas, then chopped some coriander and sliced some tomato.
I stacked the vegetables firmly into a mould, beginning with the noodles and topping it off with the tomato and coriander.
I removed the stack mould.
I then topped the salad with crayfish and salad dressing. Voila! Simple, colourful and delicious.
One of our longest legs sailing so far was the 58 hour sail from Seisai, QLD to Gove, NT. We had some really nice weather and good sailing for most of it. Since it was another milestone (i.e. entering another state, Northern Territory) we decided to celebrate with a delicious meal. Crayfish Mornay.
This is what we did…
Dwayne cut the crayfish in half, from head to tail. I removed the meat, washed the shells, and roughly chopped the lobster flesh.
To make the mornay I heated some milk, a thick slice of onion, a bay leaf and some peppercorns in a pot. I simmered it for a couple of minutes. I then removed the pot from the heat, covered it and let it sit for 15minutes so the flavour would infuse.
I heated a little oil (I didn’t have butter) in a saucepan and added a some plain flour. I cooked this for a minute or two, stirring constantly, then removed it from heat.
I added the white wine and mixed until I had a smooth consistency, then added the milk gradually while mixing. I cooked it over low heat for a few minutes until the sauce thickened. Stirred in a little salt and pepper, cream and some cheese. I stirred this until the cheese melted, then added the crayfish meat.
I then spooned the lobster mixture into the shells, sprinkled with cheese and baked it in the oven for 15minute .
It was nice served with basmati rice and steamed broccoli.