Friday, February 26, 2010

Goatfish and grass-cutting

I've been trying to get the writing pace on the book up onto the plane (books are very like boats - once the story get moving fast enough they skim along almost above the level of stuff you have push through. Go slow and it takes an unwarranted amount of effort to write at all. What is unforgivably worse -- for me -- is that it makes turgid reading.) So after our 'weekend' of hard fishing yesterday, I stuck to the desk most of today, and B went off to 'furrin parts' - Lady Barron. It is nearly 25 km away and to hear some of the locals talk about it you'd swear New York was closer, and Mars not quite as alien (ooh they're strange down there! heh. Not.). B returned with a brush-cutter which we'll try as a mower so long. She's not as dangerous with that as the chainsaw but, my friends, always treat a lady who can weild a chaisaw like that with extreme politeness. She was out in the heat today giving it a test run. I heard it yowl in protest but B repressed it well, and broke it to harness. Next step, the hayfield... uh lawn. It's greening up. The island looks a bit like South Africa in midwinter in high summer here, and of course is a lovely green most of the rest of the year.

My only break really has been to look up goatfish (red mullet) -- picture of beardy above, and wonder if I believe the beggars that say it's good eating. We'll try it of course. I turned some of the smoked pike from yesterday into smoked pike, grated zucchini, beet-root leaves and spring onion fritters (all garden stuff) - which were actually exceptional. I bound it with egg and flour (about a 1/3 cup) and fried them. We had them with Inge's tomato chutney and baked caliban... uh Coliban potatoes. Color me unimpressed with these. They're very floury. Must be good for something but not great baked.

And then after supper we had another quick go at the squid. Whitemark is a wild place, people drive down to the pier... and drive away. Still we met chatted to few more people, learned a little more. B got one squid, and we were given another trevalley by another fisherman. If he didn't want it, I certainly did!
And the sky gave a another curse-of-artist sunset (if you painted it, all the veiwers would say 'how fake')


  1. For fun I hunted up a Coliban Potato recipe online for you. It's here
    Mind you, I haven't tested this, but parboiling should help with the 'floury' problem.

    The sunset picture is beautiful! Are you planning on doing prints and selling any of these?


  2. Um. Hadn't even considered it, Lin. I'm not a gifted photographer - the place is just photogenic. My camera is sort of one point above point-and-shoot level. I do, I suppose, have an artist's eye for what could be a beautiful scene.

    I do parboil and cool (and that is the key) if I am roasting or frying for crisp potatoes. These i baked and as cooking method it was a bit of a fail. But I'll try crisping some with the fish tonight.

  3. Are you kidding? Weki (goatfish) is GREAT eating! The meat can be gamey, but prepared correctly it's awesome!

  4. Ok, so How do I cook it, Basset? Wrapped in drool and baked?

  5. Well, you could cook it in drool...kinda nasty that way tho!
    It's a lean, firm meat suitable for ANY method. Boiling (ew), broiling, baking and grilling.
    I used to flavour with papaya chunks or mango, wrap in tin foil and toss into a fire on te beach. Also good on the grill (low temp, keep moist with liberal spraying of the beverage of your choice). Oe of my cook books says:

    2kg goatfish
    1 cup apricot nectar
    1/4 cup of rum
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    1 knob freshly grated ginger
    2 tablespoons honey

    Clean the fish then score it diagonally a couple of times so the marinade can penetrate the skin.

    Put the fish in a grease proof oven dish.

    Combine the remainder of the ingredients in a bowl and pour this marinade over the fish.

    Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour then cook in a hot oven (180 degrees) for 25-30 minutes.

  6. Got this one too, for 5 fish tho...

    * 1 1/2 tsp. (7 ml) Salt
    * 1 1/2 tsp. (7 ml) Pepper
    * 3 Garlic
    * Cooking Oil
    * White Vinegar
    * 2 Onions
    * 2 Scotch Bonnet Pepper
    * 10 pimentos


    1. Wash fish in vinegar and water
    2. Dry fish in paper towel and place on a plate.
    3. Cut a small deep gashes on each side of the fish.
    4. Rub salt and pepper on outside and in the cavities you made and on the outside. then put the fish on a plate or in a shallow bowl.
    5. Place oil in a frying pan/sauce pan. Enough to fry one side of the fish. Please note that this is not a deep fry therefore the fish should NOT be completely submerged in the oil.
    6. Place 2 cloves of Garlic in the pot and heat on high.
    7. Put cinnamon stick in a pot of boiling water to alleviate the smell of the frying fish.
    8. Remove garlic cloves from pot
    9. Carefully place fish on its side in to the hot oil. (as many as the frying pan hold).
    10. Fry crisp and turn down the heat as necessary.
    11. Turn other side and fry crisp.
    12. Place fried fish on a plate with dry paper towels.
    13. Slice onions, scotch bonnet pepper
    14. Place onions, scotch bonnet pepper, and pimento in a small pot with vinegar.
    15. Boil contents on stove for approx. 5 min. (Be careful of your eyes burning if contents are overheated)
    16. Pour contents on the fried fish for a hot and spicy flavor

  7. Oh yeah, number 7 always cracks me up! I have cooked it this way, without the vinegar and pimentos. Lotsa garlic and onions (love em).

  8. On the subject of goatfish, in Hawaii it's considered a good day of fishing if you get some. Either red or white weki, along with some aholehole (Kuhlia sandvicensis) and a couple of squirrel fish (Beryciformes) . Yum! Darn! I live in a desert. No fresh seafood!