After our first attempt smoking fish in our make-shift disposable smoker, I had a craving for smoked fish chowder. I based my chowder on the type of chowder I had made before, using smoked haddock or cod. The smoke perch or barramundifrom the previous recipe was just perfect. This chowder had nice chunky bits of fish, potato and a smoky creaminess to die for!
2 Tbs of butter
2 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely diced 1-2 rashers of streaky bacon, finely diced 1 stick of celery, finely diced 2 Tbs of plain flour 1 cup of white wine 4 potatoes, peeled and cubed 2 cups fish or vegetable stock 2 cups of water 1 tsp crushed peppercorns 400g smoked fish 1 cup of cream fresh parsley, finely chopped
Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add bacon, onion, garlic and celery. Sauté for a few minutes to soften then add the flour and cook stirring continually for a minute.
Add the white wine and simmer on low heat until it starts to thicken. Then add the stock, water and potatoes. Bring to the boil and then cook uncovered until potatoes are cooked.
Add the smoked fish and cream and bring almost to the boil. Add the black pepper and some chopped parsley. Continue to heat until warmed through and of good consistency.
Serve with another sprinkle of fresh parsley.
OMG! This is perfect after a long sail, or on a cold night. Serve with some crusty bread for a perfect “comfort food” meal.
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Tom Kha Gai, aka Thai Chicken Coconut Soup, is one of my absolute favourites! Now that we are back in Phuket I thought it was about time I made it. I first discovered this soup when Dwayne and I visited Phuket in 2007. I gotta say, I was a little reserved about trying a coconutsoup… it didn’t look that appetising, but it was delicious! So flavoursome in fact, that I sat there tasting it and deciphering the flavours so I would be able to make it myself when I got back home. I think my tastebuds did a good job of recognising the ingredients and my Tom Kha Gai is delicious….. if I do say so myself! However, I don’t have a recipe to share with you as I cook it by taste every time I make it, and I forgot to write it down as I cooked it this time for the blog… doh! But I do remember what goes in it and what I did so I will explain it the best I can.
This is what I did…
I heated 1 cup of chicken stock and added about 8 kaffir lime leaves bruised and ripped apart, two sticks of lemongrass – the hard part remove and the inner white part bashed with a mallet; a couple of crushed garlic cloves, a 2cm piece of galangal, thinly sliced, a 2cm piece of ginger, thinly sliced and some chopped chilli.
I simmered it for 1/2 hour, then I added some chopped chicken and simmered for 10 minutes before adding the coconut milk (approx 250ml) and a handful of enoki mushrooms*. I simmered the soup for another 5 minutes and then added fish sauce, to taste, and a handful of coriander.
To serve, I ladled the soup into two large deep bowls and garnished with some more chopped coriander.
It is so easy to make and delicious!
When I make Tom Kha Gai for Dwayne and me, I do not remove the chunks of ginger, galangal etc when I serve it, as this is how I have had it served to me most of the time in Thailand. However, when I have prepared this soup for guests I have strained the soup before I add the coconut milk, chicken, mushrooms, fish sauce and coriander.
*Shitake, or oyster mushrooms are more often used in Tom Kha Gai but enoki mushrooms were what I had at the time.
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Goolwa cockles otherwise known as pipis are bivalve molluscs, similar in their two shelled structure to a clam, or mussel. A popular place to gather pipis is Goolwa Beach in South Australia. They are not only, and exclusively, at this beach, but on a nice summer day, Goolwa beach will often be busy with swimmers, surfers and people gathering cockles. Some people use them as bait but many others are now cooking them and making delicious meals of steamed cockles in white wine and garlic, rich marinara sauces or, like me, putting them in a creamy seafood chowder for that little touch of something different.
We are currently visiting family and friends in Adelaide, South Australia, and really, what is more Australian, more South Australian and more Goolwanian than a day at the beach gathering cockles…. not much. Dwayne, myself and two of our boys were joined by friend’s Sarah and Phil May, and their children plus other friends and family.
While I found it difficult to get in the cold water like the rest of them, surfing and boogie boarding, I did manage to get in deep enough to start hunting for cockles. Collecting the cockles is really very simple. You simply dig your feet into the sand and as the water washes around your feet and the wave ebbs, the sand is washed away and your feet sink deeper into the sand. When you feel the cockles beneath your feet and bend down to scoop them up. Put the cockles into a bucket or esky (i.e. chilly bin, cooler, icebox). The cockles then need to be encouraged to purge or spit out all their sand. The purging occurs when the cockles are kept in the bucket or an esky with fresh clean seawater for at least 24 hours. This is easy if you are near a beach and can replenish and freshen the seawater regularly.
So once my cockles were purged I set about making a creamy seafood chowder which I then served in a toasted bread roll bowl. Yummo!
This is what you will need…
2 slices bacon, finely chopped
1 large leek, finely sliced
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup plain flour
4 cups fish stock
500g white fish, chopped into cubes
400g prawns, peeled
1kg Goolwa cockles
1/3 cup parsley, chopped
Salt and cracked black pepper
4-6 bread rolls
And this is what I did…
To make a bread roll serving bowl I sliced the top off each bread roll and set it aside to use as the lid. Then I dug out the inner soft bread and baked the rolls, and their lids, in a moderate oven until they are hard & crispy (about 10-15 minutes).
For the chowder…
I heated the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Added the bacon and cooked over low heat for about 5 minutes. I then added onion, carrot, celery, potato and cooked for 5 minutes or until softened (do not brown).
Next, I added the flour and cooked for one minute. Then I gradually added the fish stock and cooked while stirring for about five minutes or until mixture boiled and thickened. I let it simmer over low heat for another five minutes uncovered while I stirred occasionally.
I then added the seafood and simmered again while stirring occasionally. I added the cream and simmered for another 5 minutes without letting it boil. I then seasoned with salt and cracked pepper and tossed in a handful of chopped parsley.
I ladled the soup between the toasted rolls and served immediately.
Note: I have made this recipe with fish and lobster that we caught while camping at Canunda National Park, and I have used fish, scallops and squid that we caught at Stansbury while anchored there. At home, I have used a marinara mix or a mix of prawns, fish, scallops and mussels. Any mix of seafood is great in this chowder.