All posts tagged: seafood

One thing I would absolutely eat again and one thing I would not.

I just spent three and a half weeks in the Philippines. I ate balut on the first day. It was completely unplanned. I promise. Yeah, OK, it was on my list of things to eat. Way, waaay down, at the bottom. Past lechon (pig on a spit), adobo (chicken or pork vinegar soy stew), sisig (sizzling chopped pigs head and chicken liver), arroz caldo (chicken rice soup), kare kare (peanut sauce stew). Even past dinuguan (that’s pork blood stew if you were wondering). Like, if we seriously ran of things to do, I *might* eat a duck fetus for shits and giggles. But that is not what happened.  We arrived in Mactan on a Friday morning and met up with our dear old friend Adam. We started on the local beers fairly early in the day and later enjoyed a jolly dinner with his Mactan crew. There was local BBQ (marinated meat on sticks) tacos and of course, local beer. The subject of balut was brought up I mentioned I was interested in trying it…at …

“Shrimp grits” Congee

My family is Cantonese so I grew up with congee as a go-to comfort food. Congee or “JOOK” (rhymes with book) in Cantonese is long grain rice cooked in plenty of water until it resembles a thick porridge. Also known as rice porridge, it can be served plain or stirred through or loaded with various toppings. Being notoriously squishy and easy to digest, it’s also a common baby food, or food for the sick or elderly. Eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. 100% comfort. I’m more than a little obsessed with American soul food. I don’t know why, but shrimp and grits is a fascination of mine even though I’ve never visited the US. Having eaten shrimp and grits in Wellington recently, I’ve had it in my mind to recreate something similar at home. Shrimp and grits was traditionally a breakfast dish but now eaten at other meal times as well. I present to you: the lovechild of congee and shrimp grits! “Shrimp grits” congee Serves 1 Ingredients 1/2 cup long grain rice, rinsed 4 …

Prawn sushi bowls

I eat in season because I cannot bring myself to pay $9 for an avocado. Avocados are back in season, baby. It’s time to GORGE. This recipe features my current favourite way to eat avocado: Cut in half, flesh scooped out. Topped with a dollop of mayo, a rosette of pickled ginger and a sprinkling of black and white sesame seeds. Sushi bowls are great when you don’t want the effort of making sushi. There’s a bit of chopping and slicing involved but that fits in perfectly into the time it takes for your rice to cook. I’m no nutrition expert but eating the rainbow sure is pretty. Makes a great lunch or lighter dinner. Measurements below are rough. Tweak to your own taste, appetite and preferences. I’ve made a quick sushi vinegar rice but you can totally use plain rice, brown rice or black rice. Prawn sushi bowls Makes 2 bowls Ingredients 1 cup raw peeled prawns 1 teaspoon salt 2 cups cooked sushi rice 4 tablespoons rice vinegar 2 teaspoons sugar 1 perfectly …

Bluff oysters and Red Red Mignonette

Bluff oyster season kicked off last week and so far, I’ve scoffed 3 dozen. Oysters can be an acquired taste but I have the taste for oysters in my genes. I can’t remember a time I didn’t love them, though I didn’t grow up on Bluffies. If you’re not an oyster fan, I wouldn’t recommend starting with raw oysters and certainly not with Bluffies. They are truely for the oyster connoisseur. The season is March to August and fans go a little crazy for the season. Bluff oysters can be identified by their flat saucer shape and their creamy warm grey colouring. They’re less “frilly” than their black and white Pacific cousins. My very first bluff oyster was at a design event a few years ago, the oysters were free and shucked to order. Being a design event rather than a food event, there was no one queuing up for oysters. Not one to turn down free oysters, I kept eating as long as they were shucking. This was the first time buying oysters in a …

Thai coconut mussel and kumara chowder

This post was made possible thanks to Trident. To win a year’s supply of Trident products including their popular chilli sauces, noodles, coconut cream and milk, upload a photo of your own sweet chilli creation to their Facebook page here. Need a recipe to inspire you? Read on… Back when I was a poor uni student, I indulged in mussels as a culinary upgrade from instant noodles. I would steam a kilo of mussels in a pot, add a little sweet chill sauce and coconut cream and serve with bread to mop up the juices. It was a treat. Delicious. Affordable. Minimal effort. Sweet chilli sauce goes so well with mussels and ever since, I’ve kept sweet chilli sauce on hand as a pantry staple. NZ green-lipped mussels are giant compared to other mussels. Some are as large as my hand…though I admit, I have quite small hands. Because they are so big, they have enough strength to hold tightly to their beards making them hard to pull out. My hack is to remove the …

Poké face

Poké (pronounced “po–kay”) landed in Auckland last September in the tired underground IMAX food court on Queen Street. My fork buddy and I hit up Poke Time on opening day: bright and little tacky, as Hawaiian-themed things can be, the experience has a Subway vibe and is essentially a build-your-own raw fish salad bowl. You pick whatever you want, although it can be too many decisions for the uninitiated. If you’ve never tried poké before, it can be overwhelming but if you know what you are doing, Poke Time is great value. With heaps of options including salmon, two types of tuna, and trevally, they also have token vegetarian options, but that’s probably not what most will come here for. Tip: go for the seasoned fish, the non-marinated options are essentially sashimi bowls, rather than poké bowls. Poké means “chop” and is a Hawaiian dish influenced by Japanese cuisine. Poké is raw fish (such as tuna, salmon or octopus) is cubed and seasoned with soy sauce, sesame oil, seaweed. Poké is often served served with fresh vegetables and rice …

Te Matuku Oyster Festival and a deep fried oyster recipe

The Koala and I had the pleasure of attending the Te Matuku Oysters on Waiheke on Saturday thanks to Jenny’s Tamarind Chutney and Te Matuku Oysters. Our first festival of any kind since last summer, the weather held up – aside from a couple of light showers, it felt like summer. Waiheke is an island just a 35 minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland with loads of pristine beaches, a warm Mediterranean micro-climate and a focus on growing quality food and wine. We started with a delightful pilsner from Albi Brewing Company and a complimentary 3 oysters each. We were in oyster heaven and gobbled up more than our share and at festival special prices, it didn’t hurt the wallet one bit. If you love oysters the festival is time to gorge yourself on fresh, plump oysters. If your preference is natural with a squeeze of lemon (or Worcestershire sauce or vinaigrette), then shucked oysters are just $20 per dozen. To give you an idea of market price, a local restaurant sells the same oysters at $48 per dozen. …

Learning to shuck oysters and a recipe for Oysters Tamarind Kilpatrick

From my father, I inherited a fierce love for fresh oysters. If there was ever a moment I didn’t love raw oysters, I don’t remember it. As a kid, I ate my weight in oysters and any buffet worth visiting had fresh oysters in it’s offerings. Those in our family who loved them would eat a plate piled high. As a young adult, I once (or twice) turned up to family gatherings armed with several dozen shucked oysters on a polystyrene box, knowing they would go down a treat. Oysters are cheaper and fresher if you shuck them yourself but I’d never shucked oysters before. I vaguely remember my uncle wrestling with oysters but that didn’t interest me as a kid – I just wanted to eat them. In anticipation of the Te Matuku Oyster Festival on Waiheke this Saturday, I had the opportunity to shuck and cook up some plump Waiheke oysters. I’m no pro yet, so I won’t be sharing any shucking tips but I watched a bunch of Youtube videos (including this …

Valentine’s Day Aphrodisiacs

Food bloggers’ potluck On Wednesday night, four food bloggers gathered for a delicious potluck. The theme was Valentine’s Day and aphrodisiacs had been thrown about in discussion. If you have a mind anywhere near the gutter, the dishes present all had sexy connotations. I recently saw a close up of a mussel on Instagram which could have been R18 and probably redefines the term “food porn”. So I brought my current potluck go to: baked mayo-cheese mussels. I’ve never travelled with these mussels so my heart and mussels jumped every time my Uber hit a bump or turned a sharp corner. The mussels went sliding around in their tray, possessed. Luckily none escaped the plastic wrap and the topping stayed on. As well as mussels, there were fresh oysters, satay sticks with greens, herbs and sauce by Carli from The Enthusiastic Cook, stuffed pasta shells with both smoked fish and a fascinating beet, beef and chocolate version by our host Maddy at Madicattt. Dessert was peach pie with dollops of cream by Bri from The Market. Kindred spirits understand that cameras eat first! As per our …

Auckland Seafood Festival 2016

If you enjoy sensational, succulent seafood, then make sure you visit Auckland Seafood Festival this long weekend. My sister and I hit Auckland Seafood Festival on opening night and we had a truly delightful time.  We both love seafood so we shared a bunch of things we both enjoy. Arriving shortly after opening, there were no queues so we didn’t have to apply any strategy based on length of the queues. Last year I gave crayfish a miss because the lines were horrendous. Nothing like that this time around. We started with oysters and the Bluff farmed oysters at Sanford Oysters looked good to us. These were freshly shucked and served with malt vinegar and lemon (6 for $22). We had a little browse and then hit up Besos Latinos for some Peruvian ceviche ($14) and seafood empanadas ($10). The ceviche really hit the spot and the empanada (fried fresh to order) reminded us of a seafood pie.   Always popular at Auckland Seafood Festival are Auckland Fish Markets’ crayfish tails. This year they had grilled half cray tails …

Auckland Seafood Festival 2016 – double pass giveaway

2016 has started with a bang. Like just about everyone else, I have some dietary intentions for the year. I was feeling like were were eating too much red meat last year, but instead of saying, “I will eat less red meat” I’ve been saying, “I will eat more seafood”. The thinking is different, the end result is the same. So far in 2016, I have eaten yakitori scallops, whole grilled squid, salt pepper squid, herb-crusted pan-fried salmon, bagel with lox, yakitori salmon, mayo-cheese mussels, prawn pasta, Vietnamese pancake with pork and prawn, prawn fried rice, prawn and fish butter curry, fish tacos and a fish burger. Not bad considering we’re only 15 days in. Here’s to 2016 being a seafood-fuelled year and hopefully I’ll will cook or eat a seafood dish that I’ve never cooked or eaten before. With Auckland anniversary coming up, we can look forward to even more seafood at Auckland Seafood Festival. Running 5 sessions over 4 days at Halsey Wharf which is downtown between the Viaduct and North Wharf. Thanks to …

Baked Mayo-Cheese Mussels

We dined with friends at a local yakitori restaurant last week. Although one of our favourite restaurants in Auckland for their tasty morsels of individually selected skewers, it had been a long time since we had visited and it wasn’t quite the same. My favourite dish, scallops wrapped in bacon were disappointing this time and the other dish I was looking forward to (chicken hearts) was unavailable. They did however, have a special on the blackboard: 4 mussels for $5. These were baked, cheesy, creamy, a little sweet and very different to how I usually cook mussels (steamed with sauce added). I don’t know exactly what was in the dish but I figured there was mussels, cheese, mayo and perhaps something sweet for balance. Boom I wanted more. The Koala and I split a portion and 2 mussels each is just a tease. So when our Foodbox delivered a kilo of mussels yesterday, I took it as a sign from the universe that I should try and recreate it at home. This recipe is deceptively easy, very quick, and uses just …

Diving into fish tacos

  Warning: May contain innuendos. I love fish tacos. I dream of staying near the coast in Mexico and gorging on fresh fish tacos every day. We’ve enjoyed tacos at home a few times, specifically pulled pork tacos so when we received some lovely fillets from our delivery last week, I figured it was time to explore the fish taco at home. I’d never made them before, but it seemed pretty straightforward to me. I just made up the process as I went along. The perfect fish taco has a good balance of fish, salad and condiments. I hate a dry taco. Saucy tacos FTW! My preference is soft shell tacos, specifically corn tortillas. I first tried Tio Pablo’s corn tortillas last year when I was going through a gluten free phase, but turns out, I prefer the flavour of corn tortillas over flour tortillas. I used tarakihi fillets, but any medium white fish will do. Snapper, red gurnard, or trevally would also be suitable. Other types of fish such as flounder, turbot or salmon would probably be amazing. Feel free …

Yakitori-Style Scallops and Bacon

    Warning: Food in this post may cause incoherant babbling and sighs/moans of agreement. Scallops wrapped in bacon make me weak in the knees. I always order them if I see them in a Japanese restaurant and The Koala is a big fan of them too. The ingredients are a bit expensive, but making them at home is far cheaper than eating them at a restaurant and you’ll probably get much more. Fresh vs. Frozen It’s no longer scallops season here, but not long ago my seafood guy was peddling some fat scallops from Nelson. Although they were frozen, I thought I’d give them a spin. While fresh scallops are always better, frozen scallops are better than none at all. If using frozen scallops, defrost overnight in the fridge and make sure you drain them very well because a lot of liquid will appear on thawing. Never thaw scallops in water as this affects the texture and flavour. I think I was supposed to receive a dozen scallops, but I actually got 14 scallops. I took …

Favourite Seafood Recipes

Summer in New Zealand is all about gorging on simply prepared seafood. This summer has been particularly seafood filled. Here is a collection of five my favourite seafood recipes. Just click on the images to view the recipes. Enjoy!   1. Steamed Garlic Prawns Super easy recipe for Steamed Garlic Prawns, a very popular dish at Kingsland’s Canton Cafe. Includes a handy guide to prawn sizing in New Zealand.   2. Pan Fried Flounder The most popular recipe on my blog by miles, this buttery golden pan fried flounder makes use of a whole flounder. You’ll need a flounder (or two) butter, more butter, flour, salt and pepper. 3. Raw Fish Salad I fell in love with Ika Mata (raw fish salad) in Rarotonga. Here’s my version of it using fresh tuna fillets, though you can also use any firm white fish. 4. Oysters Kilpatrick Oysters Kilpatrick are an easy crowd pleaser. Oystes, bacon, tasty sauce and cheese. What could go wrong? 5. All-in-one Seafood Stew I test out Adie McClelland’s all-in-one seafood stew from her …

Auckland Seafood Festival 2015 – food porn and review

My seafood gobbling friends and I descended on the Auckland Seafood Festival at midday today with hunger in our bellies and a readiness to partake. Being the middle of Auckland Anniversary weekend, the city was BUSY. There was plenty of atmosphere and things to do. There still are. The layout of the venue at Halsey Wharf was quite different this year and the areas felt a little less marked out. No restaurant alley this year, but it was easy to navigate. There was plenty of seating, though the limited shade was snapped up quickly. The lines were short all except for the line for the Oceanz’s crayfish (from $25 for half) which was so long (about 40 bellies deep) we didn’t bother. My favourite dish was one from NSIA a school for hospo students. Pulpo in honey and balsamic, gazpacho caviar, Spanish olive soil, capsicum sofrito ($8). Pulpo is spanish for octopus and this dish was filled with bite size octopi. Quite an adventurous and sophisticated dish, it really paid off. We also tried their …

Auckland Seafood Festival 2015: Double pass giveaway – COMPETITION CLOSED

OoooOOhhhh yes! Another giveaway! Such is the festive season. I love giving stuff away, don’t you? Thanks to Auckland Seafood Festival, I’ve got a double pass to give away to next year’s festival in late January. To enter, fill in the form at the bottom of this post, including a skill question. I’ve been to  Auckland Seafood Festival many times and if you love seafood, it’s a great day out. It’s kid-friendly and adult-friendly and a great way to try lots of different seafood in quick succession. You can expect to find: scallops oysters scampi mussels eel fish crayfish octopus squid sea cucumber turbo shells prawns and prawn killers kina (sea urchin) Some of these seafoods are uncommon so this a great chance to tick them off your foodie bucket list. If you’re a blogger and you eat some weirdo things, please share them with Our Growing Edge! Pro tip: don’t attempt raw kina on a hangover. I did it once, not my finest moment. Who knew that raw/live sea urchins isn’t an ideal breakfast food on a queasy stomach? …

Heads and wings

Dear reader, I have fallen in love with some weird fish bits. Creamy, fatty, sweet, savoury and undeniably moreish. They are wings. Salmon wings. Salmon wings (also known as salmon collars) are one of those budget cuts that will probably become too popular (like pork belly, beef brisket and lamb shanks) and see a price increase. Get them while they are still cheap! If you have never had salmon wings before, think of them as ribs or buffalo wings of the sea. You may get your hands dirty but it’s worth it. One day I was just ambling through my local supermarket, minding my own business when I spied a tray with 2 large salmon heads. I didn’t expect to see salmon wings at the supermarket. I’ve never cooked with salmon wings but I’d seen a few blogs mention them before so I grabbed them instantly. The salmon heads cost about $2.22NZ ($1.84US) each and had plenty of eating on them. If you are not confident with fish bones or are serving less adventurous eaters, …

Auckland Seafood Feastival is upon us

The Auckland Seafood Feastival is on this weekend. It’s long weekend here in Auckland and you can dine on kai moana (Māori for seafood) on Saturday, Sunday or Monday. Every year I gaze upon the crayfish but never partake. I think this year will be my year! Find out more or purchase tickets here: www.aucklandseafoodfestival.co.nz Some of my photos from previous festivals.      

The Crab Shack

The Koala and I had a gluttonous jolly good time eating our way around Wellington city last week. One thing that struck me with Wellington is that they are super conscious of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free diners. The Koala and I don’t fall into either of these categories, but I normally get the feeling that anything meat-gluten-whatever-free is a pale version of the original. Not so in Wellington. Some of the vegetarian dishes looked so good that I ordered them instead of my regular omni choices. That’s not usually a thing. Many of the menus we saw had plenty of selection for even the most discerning eater. Over the weekend, I will be posting my reviews of the places we ate and loved, from the perspective of an out of towner. The Crab Shack First up, the place I had my eye on – due to a severe lack of crab eating in this country – was the newly opened restaurant on the waterfront: The Crab Shack. New Zealanders don’t eat crabs. It’s just not …