Tuesday 25 July 2023

Sri Lankan Salmon Curry

I love fish and I eat a fair bit - well, lots of it.  Smoked salmon on corn crackers (100% corn - who knew?), hot-smoked trout in salads, salmon pieces baked in the oven, or flaked into stir-fries, sardines smooshed onto toast, barramundi made into - well, you know, you've read my posts.  You name it, I'm there.  

So I made this fishy curry for Cookbook Club, 'cos they were all doing Pressure Cooker recipes (I don't have one).  We have an all-year theme also, which is any recipe from Delicious magazines or books.  This recipe is from the Delicious mag., May 2014.  There are so many recipes I want to try from this mag.  To parody musician Frank Zappa: "so many recipes, so little time."   

fishy deliciousness

Serves  4:


2 garlic cloves

3cm/1.2 inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced

2 tsp of panch phora (aka phoran)  AND of whole coriander seeds

1 Tbs Madras curry powder (they say mild, I say medium)

2 small green chillies, chopped

2 Tbs sunflower oil (or any neutral oil)

1 onion, chopped

4 tomatoes, chopped into small pieces

10 curry leaves

1/2-1 tsp sea salt flakes (test for saltiness; add more if you please)

1 bunch broccolini  (add some snowpeas too for extra greens)

270 mL/9 oz can coconut milk

125 mL/4.2 oz water

600g./21 oz skinless salmon fillets, cut into 3cm pieces

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Shredded coconut, lime wedges, chutney and warmed roti or naan bread, to serve  (I had garlic naan)


First make your curry paste, either in a mortar and pestle (eek!) or throw the garlic, ginger, spices and chilli into your food processor, and zap till well-blended

Add the oil to a deep frypan or saucepan over medium heat, and cook up the onion for several minutes

Now add the curry paste into the pan and stir in for a few minutes

Tip in the tomatoes, curry leaves, salt and veg., and cook for a couple of minutes

In go the coconut milk and water; bring to a simmer, add the salmon and let it cook till the fish is just right for you (I like mine tender and just done)

Check for seasoning; add more salt and some pepper if you fancy

Sprinkle on the coconut, and serve with the lime wedges, chutney and warmed bread


I bought 660 grams of salmon with skin-on, which ended up as 520 grams after skinning (it was fine)

I used green cayenne chillies, which were soooo mild.  Next time I'll go for hotter ones, and a medium curry powder

spices from Herbie's (not an ad.)

ingredients gathered

zap your paste


chop those onions

frying up the onion, curry paste, leaves and tomato

in goes the fish - look how juicy!

serve with warmed bread (and my homemade mango chutney on the side)

just a few recipes I want to try from this one :=)

c. Sherry M.

Another childhood story: Dad was crippled from childhood polio; mum went out to work. One day we came home from school, to find our young cat deceased.  Dad said the neighbours down in the valley below us had shot her; it wasn't till many years later that my brother told me Dad had actually taken a pot-shot at her in a Sherry-ridden haze (the drink, not me!).  He saw her eyes glowing red in the darkness under our house!!  Maybe he thought she was the Devil incarnate :=)

Monday 17 July 2023

Double Ginger Cake

Are you a ginger fan?  I am!  Both the root and the hair colour are pleasing to me.  (But maybe not THAT Prince.)  Buderim Ginger (only an hour or two up the coast from us) is very well-known in Australia (and perhaps the world) as a major grower, and a producer of delicious ginger items.  Nothing better than a cold bottle of their soft drink on a hot day.  It's Mr P.'s fave beverage!  And they make a delicious spiced version for Christmas.  Oops, sorry - I'm sounding like an ad.  Anyway, just saying how much we love ginger!

This cake is marvellously gingery, and moist and spicy.  A winner for sure.  This recipe is from Around the Table by Julia Busuttil Nishimura (yep, another one).  I made this cake for our online Cookbook Club.  So many of her recipes still to try ...  Sage, potato and pancetta galette anyone?  

iced, decorated and ready to eat

Serves 8:


100g./3.5 oz demerara sugar

3 large eggs

150g./5.3 oz golden syrup   see Notes

150 mL/5 oz neutral vegetable oil

50 mL/1.8 oz full-fat milk

50g./1.8 oz ginger, peeled and grated   see Notes

250g./9 oz self-raising flour

pinch of sea salt

1 Tbs ground ginger

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp ground cardamom

pistachios, chopped, or pistachio slivers, to serve  (about 2-3 Tbs)

Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting:

250g./9 oz cream cheese

125g./4.5 oz butter (use unsalted if you wish)

100g./3.5 oz brown sugar

2 Tbs pure icing sugar

zest of a lemon


On goes your oven to 180C/356F, while you butter and line a round 23cm/9 inch with baking paper

Grab a large bowl, and whisk the sugar and eggs together till pale and well-mixed

Add the golden syrup, oil and milk, and the fresh ginger - keep whisking till smooth

Now add the flour, salt, and spices; gently whisk till beautifully combined

Pour the batter into the tin, and bake for 50-55 minutes till - yes, you guessed it - you pierce its gingery heart with a skewer and look for it to be as clean as a whistle

Leave it ruminating in the cake tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to get as cool as the Antarctic air

Now you want to make the frosting/icing:

Cream cheese goes into a large bowl, and you beat until smooth

Add the butter and keep on beating till smooth again   see Notes 

Now add in both sugars and yes, keep beating for 3-4 minutes till well-combined (and light and airy, says Julia)

Fold the lemon zest thru' your lovely mixture

Now smooth this lush icing over your cooled cake, and fling on the chopped pistachios

Keep the iced cake in the fridge for a couple of days - if you don't eat it all on the first day, or in an airtight container on the kitchen bench


Subs. for golden syrup: honey/molasses/maple sugar/sugar/agave syrup/brown rice syrup

I used about a 10cm/4 inch piece of ginger root, and I whizzed it up in the food processor

Julia says to make the icing in a stand mixer - I don't have one - so I used my electric hand beaters

I zapped the ginger in my small food processor 'cos who wants to grate?

whisk in the ginger

batter into the buttered and lined tin

brown and beautiful after 50-ish mins. in the 180C oven

fluffy frosting/incredible icing done!

pistachios scattered over, and ready to eat

we couldn't wait :=)

nor could Boo or Mikey

(And a wee bit more info about the cult I grew up in, for those curious. We weren't even allowed to eat chocolate, in case it had been made with blood.  What the?!!  You were not allowed to say the words - 'human being', because only God was a being.  Huh?  Medical treatment was a bit sketchy; my mum died of cancer as she had refused treatments.  And on it goes ...)


c. Sherry M.

Sunday 9 July 2023

Braised Fish In Soy Sauce And Ginger

Oh my word, this was delicious!  I went to the vaults to haul out enough of the readies to afford some beautiful Western Australian barramundi (don't buy the Asian farmed stuff!).  I don't have a proper fish filleting knife, so I did my best with the knives I have.  And the kookaburras really appreciated the bits of skin with big lumps of fish clinging to them:=) 

This recipe is from Around the Table by Julia Busuttil Nishimura, an Australian cook of Maltese heritage, who is married to a Japanese chap.  She also spent time living in Italy, and speaks Italian.  Her book has a mixture of all these influences, using readily-available ingredients and simple techniques.  This dish was a winner!  

delicious broth for the fish

Serves 4:


120 mL/4 oz saké   see Notes

100 mL/3.4 oz dark soy sauce

3 Tbs mirin  (use biiig Tablespoons if using American spoons)

2 Tbs caster sugar

40g./1.4 oz fresh ginger, peeled and diced or shredded finely

80 mL/2.7 oz water

4 x 150g./5.3 oz skin-on, firm white fish fillets - I used barramundi but use whatever is good for you - i.e. a local, sustainable fish

To serve:

sesame oil

coriander/cilantro leaves

spring onions/scallions, finely sliced

a bit more fresh ginger, to sprinkle on top


Grab yourself a medium to large saucepan, and in go the saké, soy sauce, mirin, sugar, ginger, and water

Give it a good stir, then bring to a simmer over medium heat

Gently wiggle the fish into the saucepan, with the skin-side down

Put a piece of baking paper (or alfoil) directly (but loosely) onto the fish, and simmer for 8-9 minutes until almost opaque

Turn the fishy pieces over very gently, sans baking paper, for another 3-4 minutes till nicely cooked and to your liking

Now grab a deep serving dish (like a tureen), slip the fish into the bottom of said dish, then pour over the broth from the saucepan

On go the sesame oil, coriander leaves, spring onion, and ginger

Serve with rice and greens à la Julia, or whatever you fancy  (I used green beans)


No saké?  Then use dry white wine, dry Sherry or Chinese rice wine 

Barramundi is also known as Asian Sea Bass or Giant Sea Perch

ingredients (partly) gathered

into the saucepan goes the broth makings

place baking paper or alfoil loosely over the fish

nearly time for dinner

ready for toppings

into the tureen

yay dinner!

the hungry kookaburra seeking fishy skin

I'm adding this photo in again, just because I love a kookaburra.  The females like to hang around our backyard, diving into the windows (and ruining the flyscreens).  They recognise me, and I am able to feed them raw meat from a fork.  They loved the barra skin with big chunks of flesh that I was not able to get off properly.  I will need to buy a proper fish knife one of these days :=) 

c. Sherry M.

Saturday 1 July 2023

In My Kitchen - July 2023

My Birthday month is over, and what a month I've had.  Mr P. and I went away for a few days, down to the Northern Rivers area of NSW (our fave) and enjoyed a gorgeous stay at an artist's BnB, overlooking rolling hills of green, and macadamia farms, treed in dark-green.  

We met up with our potter friend whom we hadn't seen for a couple of years, mainly due to Covid.  And we ate at a really wonderful Italian restaurant, which is situated inside a Surf Lifesaving Club of all places :=)  Honestly, we had the best tiramisu ever!!  Can't wait to go back.  

the view from the back deck. So many macadamia trees!

In My Kitchen:

there's a fab book for July's Cookbook Club

more spices from Herbie's for salmon curry (on the blog soon)

homemade tomato relish

I bought tomato relish from Harvest Deli, and a small tin of Portuguese sardines in tomato sauce. Love that portrait of Porthos. I mean, who doesn't love the Three Musketeers?

Harvest Deli is in a tiny, tiny country town called Newrybar.  Harvest moved in some years ago with a restaurant and deli, and a vegetable garden.  They also opened up the ancient bakehouse, which supplies the restaurant and deli café.  It is a marvellous place.

birthday spoons from my cuz, 'cos you can never have too many spoons

colourful Turkish (I think) drink coasters for my birthday from a dear friend

my sauerkraut has been jarred (is that a word?) after 2.5 weeks

dinner plates with artwork by Mirka Mora

Mirka was a famous Melbourne artist, who along with her husband Georges became stalwarts of the Melbourne art and hospitality scene from the 1950s on.  She and her family managed to escape being sent to Auschwitz, and hid out in French forests for three years before making their way to Australia.  Such an extraordinary life.

my curveball - artwork by Pamela Gough

This lovely artwork depicts typical Queenslander houses, along with art from the Book of Kells, which is held in Dublin.  Mr P. and I have been to the Old Library at Trinity College, and delighted in seeing this beautiful book and incredible library.  It pleased this former librarian's heart no end.

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