sunset sky

A fishy tale

This week brought about a new experience for me. I’ll delve into that shortly, but first off I’ll continue on briefly where I left off last week on the exercise front.

Last week I went over the squat in the first of a series of tips for resistance movements. This week I’ll touch on the lunge. The main idea with the lunge is loading through the muscles of the leg and gluts, much the same as the squat, with the obvious difference of this being (mostly) one leg at a time. For arguments sake we’ll call this a lunge, but slight variation is the split squat.

We’ll do this as a moving and alternating walking lunge, but can be altered simply to repetitively step forwards or backwards. Click on the first photo shown here, at the bottom of this post for full description.

                      

Robert’s your father’s brother and you’re now getting stronger and better legs! Done.
This week I decided it was time I ate something from the ocean, an area of meat eating that I’m not entirely familiar with. I’ve mentioned before that I was fussy as a kid and this definitely included seafood. I think I just decided I didn’t like it, without even tasting it, and stayed stubborn to that until the last few years.

The idea of shellfish was not enticing at all. I’ve since tried a variety and nothing has really grabbed me. Fish on the other hand I do like, but also as a kid I it found too fiddly. However as an adult I’m slowly breaking through some of that childhood nonsensical resistance.

So, on Wednesday morning when I normally have a more leisurely start at the gym so I can do some reading, I headed off for what would be an adventure, for me, to the Sydney Fish Market.

Holy shit! I had no idea what was going on. Don’t get me wrong, most of it is simple and self-explanatory but the idea of choosing which fish to buy, filleting and/or cooking a whole fish was completely foreign and daunting to me.

I watched dad do this enough times as a kid, I always loved fishing with him, that part was a game. Reeling my catch into the boat was great fun! Doing the rest, between line and plate, that was dads job and one he always endeavoured to show me. I was usually too busy eying up the next activity, namely anything that didn’t involve fish guts and that aroma that tends to make its way into your pores.

As I wandered through the market, most shops and stalls were still packing fish into ice and setting up for the day. So many eyes staring back at me. I felt like I was in some weird dream with those massive vacant eyes everywhere just following me around the room, taunting me with looks of, ‘you seem as clueless as we clearly were when we thought we were about to eat real food, but instead got tricked onto a boat and subsequently killed. Don’t get tricked Mike, this could end badly…’

I wanted to get something a bit different, something that might entertain or intrigue all of you. I asked a few people for jellyfish, and found some but it was nothing like what (I’m calling the best cabbie in Sydney) had described to me, so thought best for another time.

For future reference the jellyfish were in small packs by the sashimi and were $3.50/pack. I asked a few people things but most of it was lost in translation so I put the jellyfish in too hard basket and moved on.

Stingray? “No sorry.” I was silently pleased about this one as I knew it would only result in me either writing inappropriate jokes, or wanting to but not having the balls to do so.

A bit more walking around, avoiding a film crew whilst I clearly looked lost, and even though I had confidence in my ‘just looking’ front I decided that for me most things here were pretty out of the ordinary. So I bought a couple of yellow fin tuna steaks and sat down with a coffee to ponder my virginal experience.

In the cab on the way home the story stormed its way out of my mouth (as my friends are familiar with) to the cabbie. He just laughed, out loud, and spurted out, “TUNA?! That’s just chicken mate!” I say (inside my head) “I see where you’re coming from, I’ve taken the lame option, but it’s not f*cken chicken is it! Mate! It’s tuna”. Back in the cab, not my head, I laugh awkwardly.

A friend of mine, Cath Leach, is a big lover all animals, in particular those from the water. She has created an app called Australian Sustainable Seafood Guide in association with Australian Marine Conservation Society. Check it out if you’re in Australasia or just interested: http://www.sustainableseafood.org.au/Sustainable-Seafood-Guide-Australia.asp?active_page_id=695

I have the app on my phone and have perused through it and knew that this tuna was not ideal on the scale. It’s a red- no. (I feel I may cop Cath’s wrath next time I see her!) However, I’m sure if I hadn’t tried the tuna and written about it many wouldn’t have known about the Sustainable Seafood Guide. So Cath, I am claiming that for the greater good, I am taking down these steaks in order to help raise awareness that the Yellowfin Tuna is close to being over fished and there are potential negative effects to the ecosystem of depleted tuna populations… There, I think that works…

I was going to cook up mid morning before setting off for work then decided to wait until later that night. Then a light bulb: do both, in different ways. Perfect!

First time round I look through all of my cook books and come up pretty empty. The internet answers the call again and I decide to marinate briefly in a mix of:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Lime juice
  • Fresh garlic
  • Chilli flakes
  • Rock salt
  • Pepper
  • Dried basil

I dried the steak with paper towels, got the pan hot and added a little bit of the marinade to the pan before adding the steak to the delightful sizzle of fresh meat to heat, ahhh… Two and a half minutes on one side and one and a half on the other and it’s done. I sautéed some asparagus, mushrooms and snow peas in some lime juice and garlic to accompany and enjoyed the fruits of my mornings efforts.

Even though I had really taken the easy option on the seafood front, (that which is probably most like cooking red meat) the mornings efforts left me satisfied and very happy with the taste of this particular meal. I ate on my balcony in the sun overlooking Sydney content with my ‘big boy’ adventure all by myself to the new world of the Sydney Fish Markets. It was delectable.

Next time round, that night, I decided to fry even quicker on a hot heat for 1 minute each side, with just some rock salt to season before cooking.

This time I accompanied with a simple salad of:

  • Baby spinach
  • Baby truss tomatoes
  • Red capsicum
  • Avocado
  • Roasted pine nuts
  • Red grapes

This with some avocado oil and fresh lime juice, some paprika roast kumara and I enjoyed another very tasty and nutritious meal, and my second ever Tuna steak. That’s right; I’d never eaten one before. I think my morning fish market mission was justified. Well to me anyway.

So I couldn’t really ‘man up’ and get something more out there at the fish market, but I enjoyed a new experience and some delicious meat, albeit from a source that is facing overfishing in the waters off Australia.

This is perhaps one for me to shelve for now, or ask Cath for more sustainable sources. It wouldn’t be great for the next few generations to miss out on this tasty privilege from time to time would it?

Next week: I have no idea right now, but I’m determined to get a bit more out there. Please feel free to throw me suggestions, or challenges, or recipe ideas. And also get onto Facebook and join in the ‘Meat Mike Campbell’ page, where I’ll update with more regular short tips about training, health and of course meat, and other foods. I hope you enjoy the new domain name too, gotta love a good pun…

Yours in all things meat,

Mike

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Meat-Mike-Campbell/236677696419727

2 comments on “A fishy tale

  1. Happy times. I’m not gonna lie to you Mike Cambs, I love a good lunge. I usually prefer the unannounced random lunges that can take place just about anywhere.. poolside, in a quiet supermarket aisle, a crowded lift, on some stairs.. you name it.

    Good work, not only on the lunging advice but also on mentioning at topic close to my hear that is going to be more defined in the media and on our market shelves in years to come, depleted fish populations aren’t only a big worry for the underwater ecosystem but massively for our planet, we depend on the phytoplankton in the ocean for over half of the oxygen we breathe and it is a fine balance.

    On the quick.. eat small stuff.. avoid the large ocean going fishies, tuna and swordfish are pretty much a NO unless line caught and eating sharks is just wrong diddly – especially when it’s their fins being consumed :(

    Two big things on the horizon to watch for, I’m working in conjunction with Sydney Aquarium to design the Sustainable Seafood Cookbook Australia, with recipes from our top chefs of the nation. Also Shark Fin Free Sydney..
    watch this space..

    Thanks again bro..

    Catfish

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