Dear Didi and Daibi,
Firstly I wish Happy New Year to you all and our readers. May 2014 be a fruitful and joyful year for each one of you. How are things that side? All well this side…a lot has happened since I last wrote to you two and yes, a lot of time has elapsed too since our last post….the reason simply being, all three of us got tied up…so tied up that we abandoned our blog…”Sorry dear blog that we left you again..will not give any lame excuse, but simply say sorry”.
2013 was a year of few, but very meaningful achievements for me…I have spent last year baking some really awesome cakes, launching my side-business of bespoke cakes called Cake-A-Two; visited a UNESCO World Heritage site in Tasmania that included the Cradle Mountain and Gordon River Wilderness; touched the edge of Southern Ocean in a 12.5 mtr speed boat (seeing water waves higher than the boat!); learning swimming & then snorkeling in the middle of the big blue Pacific Ocean; visiting India and spending some quality time with Ma and Baba; and then bringing my in-laws here with me to Melbourne. The snorkeling however was the best experience of 2013 for me!! You guys know about my water-phobia but the swimming classes and the Great Barrier Reef made me forget everything!! What a symphony of colors awaited us there….its truly unimaginable…we saw clown fish in the anemones, held some hard live corals in hand, did eeeeeeeee after touching sea cucumbers and swam with a green sea turtle! Aaah…I wish to go again 🙂 Niloy Dutta, are you listening? 😀
In terms of Food, I tried some new things last year…like Kangaroo, Crocodile, Emu, Quail and Blood Pudding ….but the Croc meat was the most surprising…you would think it would be chewy and rubbery considering its HARD SKIN…but no, quite the opposite…its a very tender white meat!!! Today I am writing this year’s first post with a fish recipe in keeping with the Bengali tradition to start good things with pheesh! I am hoping that this year brings happier moments for the blog and for each one of us. I used Florence fennel which has a mild fennel flavour as an accompaniment to the fish. You might not get it in Indian markets, so you can just flavour some green beans or broccoli with fennel seeds too or just do away with the fennel part of it.
Here is how I made it:
Pan-seared Salmon, caramelised Fennel & Onion, butter-tossed Baby Potatoes with a Orange Cheese Sauce (serves 3-4)
3-4 Large Steaks of Salmon or any other like Pomfret, Bhetki, Snapper or Trout
10-15 Baby Potatoes (halved)
1 Fennel Bulb (finely sliced) or any other green veggie like broccoli, green beans, etc.
1/2 Large Red Onion (finely sliced)
1 Tbsp Ginger (grated)
4-5 Tbsp of chopped Orange Rind (soak the whole rinds over night, scrape off the white layer with spoon)
1 cup White Sauce (click for recipe)
4-5 Tbsp Shredded Cheddar
Salt, Pepper to taste
Olive Oil and Butter to fry
Chopped Chives/thin Spring Onions to garnish
Marinate the cleaned fish steaks with salt, pepper and ginger. In a pan, pour some olive oil (1-2 tbsp) and caramelise the onions. Once the onions have turned into a lovely brown color on them add the fennel and caramelise together on medium to high heat. Keep a watch, you don’t want to burn them!! Season it. I like the fennel a bit crunchy, so I cook it only for 4-5 mins. But please feel free to cook it as you like (same goes for any other veggie you are using). In another pan, put 2 tsp of butter (you can of course add more!), fry the baby potatoes. Season them with salt and pepper and cook on medium to high heat till evenly cooked from all sides and slightly caramelised. In the same pan, sear the fish. You can use the fat that is left in pan or add some more (I didn’t use more butter as salmon is a fatty fish and tends to secrete oils while cooking). Cook each side of the steak for about 3 minutes depending on how well-cooked you want your fish.
When you are done making the white sauce, add the orange rind and cheese to it. Let the mix simmer on low fire for 4-5 mins or till you feel the orange rind flavours have been infused well in the sauce. Plate it up, sprinkle some chopped chives/spring onions on top and voila! A whole meal is ready to gorge down with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling…feel free and indulge yourself with this delicate dish that has hints of fennel, orange, cheese and butter in it!
Enjoy! Would love to hear from you two about your 2013 summaries…your highs, your lows…do write back soon,
Lots of love and hugs,