It’s been nearly a year that I’ve been on Radio Marinara on radio 3RRR here in Melbourne once a month since Guide to Fish was first published.

This Sunday John Ford is back from seven weeks away travelling through Cambodia, Vietnam and East Timor – he has spectacular stories of fish farms techniques and diving adventures but I get to talk flavours with him and we’ll be exploring ingredients like red chillies, fresh lime, pungent coriander and luscious coconut milk and mixing them with sustainable Australian fish species.

Consider a Vietnamese ling curry, a barbecued snapper doused in black pepper, lime and fresh ginger or grilled squid, marinated in fish sauce and coconut cream.

I wonder if there’ll be time for wine and beer matches…

Radio Marinara this Sunday 9am-10am 3RRR



Squid are a sustainable species at the moment. That is, their populations aren’t underthreat of being over-fished in the near-distant future. The Guide to Fish is written around the ethos of sustainability. The Guide to Fish gives information on what to look for when choosing fish at the counter and I based the Guide around the research of the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS). This is an amazing organisation that started back in the 1960s, without them, the Guide to Fish wouldn’t exist and there would be, quite simply, far less fish in the sea today. They are our Sea Guardians – take a look at their website here

I only learned the word cephalopod while writing the Guide to Fish. A friend introduced me to the name of the scientific family that includes octopus, squid and cuttlefish. And even though I readily admit they are not a fish, they deserve inclusion as the intelligence of these creatures is the stuff of legend. They are so intelligent, in fact, that they make themselves tricky to cook, unless you are armed with a clean, hot pan, a sturdy set of tongs, appropriate seasoning and the commitment not to walk away while cooking. Cephalopods can be overcooked in a flash but all that means is, don’t leave the pan, and have everything ready to go before you actually put flesh to fire. If this seems too unlikely to happen for what goes on in your home, try this recipe instead:


Slow-braised baby squid stuffed with herbed ricotta



12 cleaned baby squid tubes

500 g fresh ricotta

½ bunch parsley, roughly chopped

2 sprigs fresh oregano, roughly chopped

zest of one lemon

1 clove garlic, finely chopped





For the baby squid:

In a large mixing bowl combine all the ingredients except for the baby squid. Once the mixture is well-combined, push it into the cavity of the baby squid until the tubes are fat and full of the mixture.

Once they are all stuffed with the mixture, place the tubes carefully into the sugo (see below) and cook on a low heat for 12-15 minutes.

Serve with lots of bread for the sugo.



For the Tomato sugo:

1 medium-sized white onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 x 400g tinned tomatoes



2 tablespoons olive oil


Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan and add the onion and garlic. Cook until soft but not coloured.

Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper, bring to the boil and immediately reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.



These a few different wines that would match here; a viognier from Heathcote in Victoria or a Soave from Northern Italy both have the structure to carry all the flavours in this delightful dish.

Or tuck into a lager; a lighter style Brazilian lager would lift all the flavours that are carried through this dish.