It’s been way too long since I wrote here.

Life has changed significantly and focus has shifted on food, wine,  the restaurant industry and my children more than ever before, it’s an exciting time, although now I am toying with the idea of a new blog so will certainly keep you posted on any changes or updates in the coming months.

My friend, John Ford, asked me to give a talk with him at the Sustainable Living Festival in February  this year. It was a great time and an honour to have Chris Smyth from the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), Oliver Edwards from GoodFishBadFish and Angeline Charles of the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) join us for a panel discussion. Differing opinions are inspiring and important in the quest to find foundation to our own beliefs; robust discussion is healthy.

One of the many things people took from the talk was the fish cooking chart we handed out, it’s a simple list of different sustainable Australian fish species and the best methods by which to cook them.  I’ve had a few requests for it, so here it is again:

fish cooking chart

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When I wrote Guide to Fish, the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) very kindly gave me permission to use their research on the fish species I chose to put in the book.

The AMCS have just released an new version of their sustainable seafood guide. A smart, litte book to take to the market that lists fish alpabetically and talks about the fish to avoid, the ones to eat occasionally and the better choices.

They’ve also, thoughtfully, put the guide up on line.

Click here to view the guide online

Click here to have a look around the AMCS online shop

I received some good news regarding what we may be seeing at the fish markets here in Melbourne in the next few days:

Cobia (Black Kingfish) should be back in the market this coming Thursday 18th February, as well as the delicious Murray Cod (pictured). Baby Kingfish is also now available at around .9 – 1kg in weight.

Sydney Rock oysters have been washed out in most places but Tasmanian oysters are fine (these are pacifics).

Think I’ll grab some kingfish and grill it very simply and serve it next to tomatoes, chopped and mixed with black olives and parsley tossed in extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar – a lovely late summer supper.

Guide to Fish has been ranked in the top 12 books in the last 12 months by food, wine and travel website VisitVineyards.com.

Thanks to Robyn Lewis and her team at VV!

The great news is that sales of Guide to Fish are on the increase as more people are becoming aware of the impact of over-fishing and that they have the power to assist the ocean through their choices at the market counter.

Fancy doing some Christmas shopping with your food shop?

Guide To Fish will be available for sale again this year at the Melbourne Farmers Markets in the lead up to Christmas and it makes a great Christmas pressie!

The guys from the Australian Marine Conservation Society will be there too, to talk about the scientific side to the fish in the sea.

See the dates below for where we’ll be and when and come and say hello!

If you can’t get to the markets Guide to Fish is still available for sale online here

We hope to see you there!

Hilary

Saturday 5th December

Veg Out Community Gardens, Chaucer St, St Kilda. 8.30am – 1pm

Saturday 12th December

Collingwood Childrens Farm, St Heliers St, Abbotsford 8am – 1pm

Saturday 19th December

Gasworks Arts Park, Graham St, Albert Park, 8.30am – 1pm

Wednesday 23rd December

Slow Food Convent night market, St Heliers St, Abbotsford 3pm-8pm

guide-to-fish-cover

Guide to Fish: Choosing and Cooking Sustainable Species has just been reviewed by wonderful cookbook website The Gastronomer’s Bookshelf and received a 5 star rating.

This is a clever, comprehensive website designed for all of us who love, buy and literarily devour all things food!

thanks to Duncan Markham and his team for the review,

to read the review take a look here

jan juc to bells

I just viewed a film called, A Sea Change hosted by the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) at a cinema here in Melbourne. Firstly, thank you to Michela and Ange and everyone at AMCS for a great night and for allowing me to sell Guide to Fish after the movie. I met some great people and we had some significant conversations.

The film was from the viewpoint of Sven Huseby, a retired educator, husband, father, grandfather and gentleman. He clearly adores being a grandfather and  after reading an article in the New Yorker makes it his (later) life’s journey to discover what is going on with the state of our oceans. He does this motivated by what the future will hold for his  grandson.

He finds that the seriousness of what is called ocean acidification, which is caused through carbon emissions (made by us), is harming the very basis of the marine food chain. Huseby discusses gorgeous little sea animals called pterapods that are struggling to grow their shells due to this acidification – they can’t survive without their shells. Salmon and other fish feed on pterapods and so, the marine cycle begins to struggle and our oceans are in trouble. Imagine the sea without fish.

What can we do on a day-to-day level to reduce carbon emissions and thus, help prevent ocean acidification?

I am looking at this strictly from the point of view of a consumer and one who eats meat.  It may be simplistic but it is common knowledge that meat production is one of the greatest contributors to the planet’s carbon emissions:

– Ask the origins of the meat we buy  – wherever possible try to avoid buying intensively farmed meat, the energy this method of farming sucks up is exponential. Animals that are reared in an environment where their well-being matters not only taste better but are better for the environment. Yes, they still omit methane and other harmful gases but on a smaller  scale.

– If you’re a regular meat-eater cut down the quantities of meat you eat, think about the quality of meat you choose.

– Look at secondary cuts of meat as a sustainable and carbon-cutting choice (& they are often cheaper) – use more of the animal means leave less waste behind.

– Embrace Farmers Markets where the middle man is cut out and you buy directly from the producer, this saves energy in transport and you gain greater knowledge of the product you are buying.

– Cook at home whenever you can.

– Enjoy good flavours and quality products.

I found this explanation of Ocean Acidification (see below) on www.ocean-acidification.net/

pterapods

About Ocean Acidification

‘The ocean absorbs approximately one-fourth of the CO2 added to the atmosphere from human activities each year, greatly reducing the impact of this greenhouse gas on climate. When CO2 dissolves in seawater, carbonic acid is formed.  This phenomenon, called ocean acidification, is decreasing the ability of many marine organisms to build their shells and skeletal structure. Field studies suggest that impacts of acidification on some major marine calcifiers may already be detectable, and naturally high-CO2 marine environments exhibit major shifts in marine ecosystems following trends expected from laboratory experiments. Yet the full impact of ocean acidification and how these impacts may propogate through marine ecosystems and affect fisheries remains largely unknown.’