In My Kitchen. May 2020.

There’s something very fishy going on in my kitchen. Yesterday, I finally braved the big scary world beyond the front gate and went in search of fresh fish at my favourite market, 30 kilometres away. The weather was chilly, with rain and sleet and a predicted top temperature of 10ºc. Swaddled in my trusty feather padded puffer jacket, mask and disposable gloves, Mr Tranquillo commented that I looked like a protagonist from a Scandi Noir series. The mask idea was a flop, making my glasses fog badly. The choice was clear, blindness or corona virus angst, fish or no fish as I eyed off the well fitting masks on the faces of other shoppers around me.

Next trip to the market, I’m wearing this to scare off other shoppers.

I had been yearning for fresh fish and had lost count of the days and weeks without it. Along the way, I had tried some very ordinary frozen stuff, and did visit the lacklustre display of pre-cut flaccid fish fillets at a nearby supermarket. I left empty handed. There’s something annoying going on during this health and economic crisis. Australian fishermen pay dearly for licences to fish our clean waters. Their life on the sea is arduous and often dangerous. But due to the closure of restaurants, much of our finer fish is frozen then exported overseas. Meanwhile, Australians are often reduced to buying sub- standard imported frozen products, often farmed or fished in questionable waters, while the major supermarkets offer mundane products, bought at a national level, bearing no relationship to the local seasonal offerings at all. If there’s one message in all this, is is support your local fishmonger. There aren’t many of them left. They are trained at selecting and purchasing, handling, gutting, boning, filleting, and selling local fish. There are no fishmongers employed by supermarkets and the choice is limited. Avoid frozen imported fish at all costs. You have no idea how it was fished, the working conditions of the fishermen, or the toxic state of the waters.

Crabs lying in wait- Linguine with chilli crab.

The Preston Market offers 6 fishmongers, small businesses that have continued to serve the public during throughout this lockdown period. One of my favourites is Nick the Fishmonger. The boss there knows exactly what his customers love and buys local fish early each morning at the wholesale market and then fillets them to order. Yesterday’s display drove me demented with desire. Each fishmonger has his/her own specialty and you get to know each one personally: the smiling Vietnamese lady on the corner, who has been there for the last thirty years, the ‘Aussie’ crew next door, who source local squid from nearby waters, the Greek guy around the corner who sources Mt Martha mussels. I came home with fresh blue swimmer crabs, flathead fillets, a kilo or more of squid, and some huge, frozen tiger prawns from South Australia. All these are now stashed in portion sizes in my freezer, though the crabs have been earmarked for today’s linguini, crab and chilli, while some of the flathead fillets and squid became yesterday’s fritto misto. I’m in heaven. It was worth the wait.

Fritto Misto. Portami in paradiso.

 In my kitchen, like many others, I’ve been doing more cooking than usual. Supplies have been delivered by guardian angels and if there’s one up side to this self isolation business, it has been the sharing of shopping trips. My daughter visited a well stocked Indian grocery two weeks ago. As she toured the shelves, she messaged photos to me: I felt like I was shopping alongside her. She returned with bags full of pulses and chickpeas, fresh spices and ghee. Another friend, Helen H, was heading down to Psarakos, a busy store a few suburbs away, a 30 minute drive. She returned with a giant wedge of Grana Padano parmigiano, big enough to see me out. My eldest son calls every two days and checks to see if we need basics from the supermarket. Fiona dropped off a bag of freshly gathered wild pine mushrooms. My granddaughter found a source of Baker’s flour, some passionfruit, and happily collects our wine order from Nillumbik Cellars, where they specialise in Sangiovese and Pinot Grigio from the King Valley. Thank you angels.

For all other activities In My Kitchen, I’ll let the pictures below do the talking. Thanks Sherry of Sherry’s Pickings for hosting this round up each month.

The last of the apple pick, Tome Beauty.
Walnut sourdough bread and Meredith goat cheese
Ricotta, orange and almond cake, Recipe on last month’s blog
Muttar paneer, recipe on last month’s blog
Pakora. recipe on last month’s blog

27 thoughts on “In My Kitchen. May 2020.”

  1. Have so enjoyed all of these photos on Instagram as the days progressed but was truly peagreen with envy when you posted the fritto misto ! Loved the muttar paneer recipe also . . . But, Gladys Berejiklian let us visit, two at a time, from yesterday onwards only and extended driving distances to 50 km . . . Heavens, I thought Daniel Andrews far stricter . . . 🙂 ! Oh, do enjoy your crab linguini and the wine arrived . . . . hmm, no fish here, even from the supermarket freezer and the wine delivery seems two stops away . . . . . we’ll survive . . . best . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Living in a fairly remote place, even the boring supermarket is around 14 kms away. Shopping for essentials is allowed, and of course, if they had decent fish at the stupormarket, I’d be there. I purchased goods for three families as part of the long trip. 😀

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  2. If you were dressed like a protagonist from a Scandi Noir series then for my last outing pre-Easter I appeared to be dressed to do a B&E rather than shopping. It’s been wonderful to let the weeks go by without supermarket visits, we’re eating from the freezer and pantry, buy veges from a local grower, a friend of a friend catches and sells local mackerel, the G.O. buys fresh fruit and odd things that appeal to him when he shops for his mum. Those photos… una vita ricca.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love the way dress standards have turned weird and wonderful..that mackerel catching friend of a friend must be cultivated for life. Thought of smoking some? I had to go to the fish market as the veggo life needed topping up , my daughter who is also pesca was getting weak and tired, and as fir my granddaughters, they all have fins.

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  3. Your photos always make me want to do more in my kitchen…and sometimes I actually do! I am not a fishy person, but love the look of your crabs.
    Oh, an idea for the fogging glasses ~ put a bit of tissue paper under you glasses. Haven’t tried it myself, but I am willing to give it a go. However it sounds like the next time you will be visiting the shops you won’t need a mask.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not sure about all the confident talk going on Anne. That’s a good tip re tissue paper. It should make me seem even more bizarre. I’ll do it. My mother’s nursing home is reopening soon… I definitely plan to stay masked there.
      The crabs are a once a year thing. All that effort picking out the white meat paid off, finely tossed with linguine. Now using the shells for stock.

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  4. Whenever we can, we find local day-boat fish markets — but this only works when we have a temporary kitchen far from home! Your bounty from the market looks fabulous, and you have such delicious-looking ways to use it.

    be well… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Francesca that fritto misto has me salivating and remembering my trip almost a year ago-hiking from Vernazza to Monterosso al Mare and buying a cone of it 😋. So glad to hear you have so many angeli 👼 helping with your shopping. Keeping you safe is a true sign of love! Ciao, Cristina

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m loving this, hearing how people are doing in other areas. We don’t really have a fishmonger, with the Farmer’s Market shutdown, but my grandson does go spear fishing and sometimes shares. As he did the pig (ham). I’m with you on the masks, and sometimes just tie a scarf around my head.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m enjoying your photos of the things that seem to be from another lifetime for me. The only carne we’ve had for the past seven weeks is frozen chicken. I keep a watch on the bay near us, and I haven’t seen any fishing boats go out. Vegetables and fruits are chancy, but available. In these times living in a city is not the best.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. one thing this crisis has shown me is how much we the normal shoppers are screwed over normally. all the good stuff goes to restaurants and cafes, after the really best stuff goes overseas! it stinks! it’s only now that we can have some access to some of the good stuff since it’s not going to the other places. Grrrr. anyways, it looks like you have been eating and cooking well! thanks for joining in this month. take care
    sherry

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Stunning pictures! My eyes popped out at the apples, then popped out further at the sourdough, further again at the ricotta orange cake, then by the time I got to muttar paneer I decided to get up and eat lunch!

    Liked by 1 person

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