Thursday, 12 November 2009

Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to stall today..

It’s not often that you can say that you would like to be stuck in a lift, except of course if it’s with
[XXXXX] fill in your idols of choice.
Elevators often initiate candid conversations.We know it’s a short ride, where we don’t have the responsibility of continuing a conversation as within seconds we are free to simply go our own way.
But today as the plastic burr-walnut and stainless steel industrial sized people mover at Footscray market crawled between floors, I was playing my usual game of fantasising about what everybody was going to do with their shopping?
The Samoan lady with the box of green bananas and box of onions was obviously cooking a whole pig or two for a family feast to welcome some visiting relatives. The pig I surmised was being prepared by the blokes who had also copped the job of digging the hole for the fire pit for what was to be just another version of the great Aussie barbeque weekend. The Indian family with 3 big boxes of mangoes had obviously volunteered for the job of mango lassi makers at the local temple feast. The Slavic looking elderly man with the bag of mixed capsicums was getting in some early preserving action for summer. The Vietnamese are easy, they are all making soup. The lady with far too much dill was clearly from Hanoi and getting organised to make Cha ca the North Vietnamese famous soup, flavoured with heaps of dill and turmeric that you assemble at the table.
The impossibly tall African lady was going home to cook her eggplants with a goat curry.
The young alternative Australian couple with the 3 trolleys of small packages are evidently rostered to do the weeks shopping for their student shared house.

But all too soon the ride is over the doors open and we go our separate ways.....

Me, to make fish stock as soon as I get back.

For a perfectly clear fish stock.
Use only white fish heads and bones.
Remove the gills and any offal left on the fish carcasses
Wash all the fish heads and bones.
Make a mirepoix of carrot, onion, celery, fennel stalks, lemon, parsley stalks and bay leaves.
Lay the mirepoix on the bottom of a large stainless steel pot.
Arrange the fish heads and bones on top.
Add about 3cm of water to the bottom of the pot and cook on a medium heat with the lid on till the fish heads and bones are slightly steamed and any flesh on the bones look white.
[This will set and stabilise the blood and all the bits that might dissolve into your stock and make it cloudy. ]
Cover generously with cold water. Boil for one minute and simmer for 30 minutes on a very low heat.  Let it steep off the stove for a further20 minutes.
Strain and chill. When cold remove any of the fish fats that will be set on the surface. Remove any small globules of fat with a kitchen paper. Reduce by a quater and you will have a perfectly clear fish broth. We serve ours with green garlic, chopped fennel, parsley and drizzled egg with a side dish of sautéed river shrimp dusted with a spice mix of sesame seeds, isot pepper and salt.


neil said...

We do a two part version which is pretty similar to yours.

Firstly, we put the fish heads and bones into a pot with water and gently simmer for 30 minutes or so then let it rest for how long we feel like (or how lazy we are), then strain and add all the vegetables, then cook at a simmer for another hour and a half.

This seems to give better extraction of vegetable flavour, which suits certain dishes.

Lazy baker said...

The green garlic egg and shrimp sounds delicious!

Love your site George,much more sophisticated then any food blog I have been reading!

Thanks for the inspiration.


Thermomixer said...

You're right about the Vietnamese - every time I ask what a herb is for at Little Saigon they say "Put in soup" - but I can never figure out which soup.

Like the idea of steaming. I used to blanch them in a separate pot for a couple of minutes to clear the blood and cloudy bits. Think that may be an Asian influence?

Sunnybrae and all who sail in her said...

Mr Mixer
Steaming over the veg keeps all the flavour in the pot and extracts the flavours fron the blood and cloudy bits keeping them in the stock only to be filtered out at the end when they have given up all their flavour to the stock.
The vegetables also soften and yeild their flavours to merge harmoniously into the mix.
The ideal way is to have a tap at the bottopm of the pot so when its strained it is all filtered through the vegetables. Adding more flavour like a plunger coffee.
The bonus is that its all done in the one vessel no loss of flavour and only one pot to wash.
Looking forward to Tuesday.