On my most recent journey, I travelled up the east coast on my way to Queensland. There was a fair bit of camping with lots of exciting trails along the Great Dividing Range. It never ceases to amaze me the diversity we enjoy here in Australia. From the steep and rugged mountainous tracks to the vast openness of our outback, we are really blessed.
But the east coast also happens to be home to a lot of my old friends – and I’ve been bludging off them wherever possible. Well, it’s a bit of give and take. I get a shower and somewhere to roll out the swag, and they get an in-house cook. Fair trade, I reckon.
And since I’ve been on the coast, I’ve been trying to hunt and gather the fruits of the sea. After all, it can’t be that hard! People, for eons, have lived off the ocean’s bountiful harvest, and if a poor villager in a Third World country can feed his family, what must a Westerner such as my good self – with all the resources available at my fingertips – be able to do?
Armed with an arsenal of fishing gear, booties, crab nets, lamb necks, squid, tide charts, YouTube videos, and knot books, I’d still usually end the day at the fisherman’s co-op, stocking up from Neptune’s Larder. Paying retail prices and cursing the bloke at the tackle shop who said that the gear he’d just sold me would empty the vast and bountiful seas of all that live in it.
Such was the result of my efforts that I mostly relied on the generous nature of my hosts. Thanks, my beautiful friends.
What I did learn is that some people have all the luck... and that’s the bloke at the bloody tackle shop. They catch millions of people like me every day!
BEER BATTERED KING GEORGE WHITING
- ¾ cup plain flour
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 can beer of your choice (a stout works very well)
- 500g firm white fish fillets (I use King George Whiting)
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 3 cups of oil for frying
FOR THE TARTARE SAUCE
- 2 cups mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp minced white onion
- 2 tbsp minced dill pickle
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp baby cape capers, chopped and drained
- Tabasco sauce, to your liking
Combine flour and pepper in a large bowl.
Slowly pour in beer, whisking constantly until smooth.
Dip the fillets in batter, allow excess to drip back into bowl and drop directly into a frying pan with enough oil to cover the fish.
Fry for two minutes or until golden brown, then remove and drain on paper towels or newspaper.
Meanwhile, to make the tartare sauce, in a deep bowl, whisk all ingredients to blend.
Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
SEARED SCALLOPS WITH BURNT SAGE BUTTER
- 100g salted butter
- 6 sage leaves
- 12 scallops
In a small pot on medium heat, melt the butter. Once melted, add the sage leaves and leave in the pot till wilted and the butter is nut brown. Meanwhile, season your scallops with salt and pepper. Heat your frypan till very hot, add a knob of butter and allow it to melt.
Add the scallops and quickly sear one side for, say, 20 to 30 seconds. Turn them over and repeat, basting the cooked side with the butter. Remove and allow to rest. They will continue to cook in the residual heat.
The full feature appeared in Camper Trailer Australia #96 January 2015. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!