Slow Food Sydney – Seafood Workshop

I recently had the pleasure of working with the Slow Food Sydney Group at a seafood workshop. Here is a brief rundown from their website of the activities and recipes we had fun cooking on the night at the Electrolux Interactive Kitchen at Mascot (


Slow Food Sydney ( is a convivum of Slow Food, an international non-profit organization which counteracts fast food and the disappearance of local food traditions. Founded in Italy in 1986 by Carlo Petrini, our movement affirms the principle of an eco-gastronomy, which is about respecting natural rhythms of seasons and sharing food at a convivial table, with awareness and responsibility.
Slow Food Sydney comprises today members from all walks of life, including home cooks, families, chefs, caterers, students, wine makers, farmers and scientists: anyone who is interested in supporting food traditions and local growers. We consider ourselves co-producers, not consumers, because – by being informed about the food we eat, where it comes from and how our choices affect the rest of the world – we become a part of the production process.

Find out more about us and what we do.

8 Jun

Slow Seafood Night

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If only learning had always been so enjoyable and so delicious.  For a start, Brigid Treloar showed us how easy it is to clean squid – well, it looked easy when she did it, prepare a sea mullet for the hot plate and come up with simple recipe ideas for ling fillets.

Professor Iain Suther who came to tell us about the work being done at the Sydney Institute  of Marine Science turned out to be a hands-on seafood scientist when he cooked that delicious sea mullet and handed it around.  We understood why so many professional fishermen tell us that mullet is their favourite fish.

All the seafood we ate that night were sustainable species from the waters around Sydney, and that greatly under-appreciated resource to our north, the 100 navigable kilometres of the Hawkesbury.  A hugely productive fishery – not just for prawns but oysters, mud crabs, calamari, eels, mulloway, bream and mullet.

The sea mullet – in perfect nick as it heads out of the estuary from March until end of June / beginning of July – and the Broken Bay Pacific Oysters all came from the mighty secret river.  The ling – also in season at this time – hails from waters north of Sydney.

Steve Jones and his wife Sally came down from Brooklyn to bring us six dozen of their beautiful Broken Bay Pacific Oysters and to share with us the story of how triploid (sterile) pacific oysters come to be growing in an environment more knows for Sydney Rocks Oysters.  It’s a story that proves you can’t keep and oyster farmer down – and having tasted the meaty and flavoursome Pacifics, we’re looking forward to the revival (post QX virus) of the Hawkesbury Sydney “Rock”.

Steve reminded us that the waters of the Hawkesbury are now so pristine, the oysters don’t need to be ‘depurated’ (washed in fresh water under a blue light) before we eat them: which means the full oyster flavour remains.

He also taught us how to open our own oysters and as we discovered that night, freshly opened is the only way to go.

Iain Suthers took off his apron, broke out the power point and gave us an only too brief taste of the work he and his team are doing at SIMS.  He currently holds four grants dealing with eddies of the East Australian Current, gelatinous zooplankton, and coastal migrations by freshwater and estuarine fish.  And if that sounds dry, not the way Iain delivered.  We’ve already been to SIMS at Chowder Bay, but we’re planning another night there.

Rachel Appleton from Krinklewood in the Hunter, whose magnificent 2008 Semillon we were drinking, dispelled a lot of myths about biodynamic farming, and gave us an insight into why the 2008 Krinklewood Semillon we were drinking was so good.  It had exactly the right acid/fruit balance to hold up to complement the flavours of all the seafood on the plates that night.

The commitee would like to thank everyone who came, sponsors Steve Jones and Krinklewood, and Brigid Treloar and Iain Suthers for donating their time and expertise.


6 Jun

Chermoula Sea Mullet

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Serves 4


4 x 150g Sea Mullet fillets, skin off, bones removed

Couscous & lemon wedges to serve



1 bunch coriander

1 bunch flat-leaf parsley

6 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

Sea salt to taste

2 tablespoons ground cumin

2 tablespoons sweet paprika

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

100ml lemon juice

250ml extra virgin olive oil


  • To make the Chermoula, finely chop coriander, parsley leave and garlic together in a food processor.  Add remaining ingredient and mix well.
  • Place each Sea Mullet fillet on a sheet of baking paper or blanched banana leaf.  Spread the Chermoula over the fish.  FOld the paper to enclose the fish in a parcel and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
  • Place parcels on a baking tray and cook in a hot oven 200C for 8-10 minutes or until flesh flakes when tested with a fork.

Notes – Chermoula fillets can also be cooked (either directly or wrapped in parcels ) on a preheated lightly oiled barbeque, fry-pan or char-grill plate for 2 minutes on one side, turn over and cook a further 1-2 minutes until flesh flakes easily when tested with a fork.

For more fish recipes vsit


6 Jun

Kaffir Lime Leaf Pink Ling with Horseradish Yoghurt

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serves 4 as an entre


400g Pink Ling fillets

kaffir lime leaves or lemon leaves

1 cup thick yoghurt

2 tablespoons prepared horseradish sauce

2 tablespoons chopped chives

1.5 tablespoons lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Lemon wedges to serve


  • Cut the Pink Link into 4cm pieces.  Place a lime or lemon leaf on both sides of fish pieces.
  • Combine yoghurt, horseradish, chives, lemon juice and salt and papper.  Set aside.
  • Heat a large frying pan, grill plate or barbeque to moderately high heat.  Brush well with oil and cook Pink Ling for 2 minutes.  Carefully turn using a spatula and tongs and cook a further 1-2 minutes or until just cooked through.
  • Serve fish with horseradish yoghurt and lemon wedges.

Notes – Fish could also be steamed in a bamboo steamer.

Mayonnaise or sour cream can be used instead of yoghurt.  Wasabi can be an alternative to horseradish.  Other suitable seafood you could try for this recipe include prawns, blue-eye Trevalla, Tuna, Marlin, Swordfish, Kingfish, Salmon and Ocean Trout

For more fish recipes, visit


6 Jun

Char-grilled Salt & Peper Squid

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Serves 4


750g Loligo Squid, cleaned (see notes below)

1 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns

2 teaspoons sea salt

1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes, medium heat

1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns

Salad ingredients

2 cups finely shredded carrot

1/4 cup finely shredded daikon (white radish) or small red radish

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon caster sugar

generous pinch of sea salt


  • Soak shredded daikon and carrot in separate bowls of chilled water for at least 15 minutes
  • Make salad dressing by combining vinegar, sugar and salt, stirring until sugar dissolves.
  • Heat Szechuan peppercorns, salt, chilli and black peppercorns in a dry frying pan over a moderate heat until salt is lightly browned, stirring constantly to prevent burning.  Pound to a fine powder in a mortar and pestle.
  • Drain carrot and daikon well.  Toss together with salad dressing.
  • Pat the Squid dry with paper towel.  Heat a large frying pan, grill plate or barbecue.  Lightly oil barbecue and cook Squid over a high heat for 1-2 minutes, turning once.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper mix.  Serve with salad.

To prepare squid, grasp the arms and pull firmly to separate head from tube trying to not break the ink sac as the ink stains.  Cut below the eyes and discard head and guts, push beak (mouth) out from between the arms.  Remove quill, peel skin off by grasping side fins and peeling aroudn the tube.  Wash and use tentacles.

Cut tubes open, lay out flat and wipe the inside clean with paper towel.  Slice into strips or score with diagonal cuts to make a diamond patter, then cut into larger chunks. Trim any hard suckers from the tentacles or drop legs into boiling water for 60 seconds.  Drain and strip suckers off with the back of a knife or with paper towel.  Cut think legs in half lengthways.

Notes – Lare Squid can benefit from being tenderised by gently hitting with a meat mallet before cooking.  Salt and pepper mixes are available from selected delicatessens and food stores.

For more squid recipes visit


6 Jun

Butterfly Sea Mullet

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Professor Iain Suthers, Sydney Institute for Marine Science believes simple is best for this naturally flavoured fish.  ”This is an old method – hardly a recipe – shown to me by Bill, an 88 year old oyster grower from Wallaga Lake back in 1980.  He had ‘em laid out, scales down onto the coals, as we lay back in the sand dune drinking from a flagon of muscat.”

Serves 2-4


1 whole Sea Mullet.  Alternatively use Australian Salmon, Tailor, Blue Mackerel, Silver Trevally and Pilchard

Olive Oil

Salt & pepper to taste

lemon wedges and green salad to serve



  • Rinse the fish and pat dry with paper towel.  Lay the fish flat and fillet one side only on the top (dorsal) side from behind the head to the tail, gently pushing the knife against the rib cage to release the flesh, or simply cut through the ribs on one side. Separate the fillet from the base of the tail but do not cut through the belly of the fish.
  • Gently pull the fish open like a book and clean out the guts (although the roe could also be cooked or smoked).  A band of fat along each side of the backbone (depending on the season) may be left to melt and baste.  Rinse the fish and pat dry.  Season with salt and pepper.
  • Lightly oil a preheated barbecue or chargrill and cook the fish, scales and skin side down, over a moderate heat.  By coring the fish with a heatproof baking dish, lid or lightly oiled foil, there is no need to turn the fish.
  • Cook for 20 minutes or until flesh turns opaque and flakes easily when tested with a fork.  Cooking is perfect when the skeleton and ribs can be lifted free intact.
  • Remove the fins (and head) and serve fish with lemon wedges and salad.

Notes – The skin protects the Sea Mullet flesh during cooking but can be removed before eating to reduce the oiliness and the stronger flavour found in the darker meat beside the skin.

P.S. Pilchards are now called “Australian Sardine”

Posted on June 12, 2010 at 5:17 pm by Brigid · Permalink
In: Information, Radio, Seafood · Tagged with: , , , , ,

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