Now he's talking to ME on the phone. Thank goodness he can't see me, I'm in my tracky dacks.
In fact, when he calls me he's just finished cooking fish on the The Circle - here he is their test kitchen with his sous-chef Hawaiian born Mario Manabe (thank you Emily for your pic! x) - the recipe looked easy but impressive - you can find it here.
Curtis is passionate about getting the good word out about fish with his latest campaign with Coles about Fish sustainability. Curtis has worked with Coles and the WWF to ensure all fish at Coles is sold in an ethical and responsible way. I like this because for me, I'm not totally up on what's sustainable and what's not - and that is an important thing to know - so Coles is taking the guesswork out of it for me!
So once I've got over the shock that I'm sitting there in my tracky dacks, talking to Curtis Stone, and my questions I prepared are on my computer which has decided to spontaneously lock, I gain composure and begin asking the questions I want to ask... for all of us -
What does that all mean?
'Coles have signed a 3 year agreement with World Wildlife Fund to ensure they sell only seafood that are sustainable - i.e. are not endangered and whose supply is constant. This of course changes all the time, so accordingly you will find the seafood changes from time to time at your local Coles.'
Curtis he tells me has a very active role in this new direction of Coles - he is passionate about ethical food and although he knows price is quite a concern of the average shopper he put it to me in a very provoking way.
'Imagine if you were serving your dinner to your family - organic this and free-range that, and then someone came up and said 'hey, here's $2.50 - I'm just going to give inject some hormones here, and some additives there' would you take the money?'
Isn't that literally food for thought? You could also easily exchange the 'inject some hormones here and additives there' for 'swap it with imported product' too.
Do you know how Coles is progressing with labeling genetically modified food? Do you see this happening in any near future?
'I definitely see that as something that looks like it will be on the cards world-wide - it's very hard to trace though in some cases as some fish for example feed off waste of other fish and even other fish entirely - who's to say if it's wildcaught fish that it hasn't fed from waste that has genetically modified fish in it? It could easily happen in a farming environment too - but I think the word is getting out there, I think it's in the future.'
What are your suggestions for those of us who arrive at the fish counter and draw a blank?
What should pregnant/breastfeeding mothers choose?
'You need to buy fish with low mercury content - so try baby barramundi, whole or filleted snapper.'Kids? (even those who think real fish comes in a fish finger!)
'Try some boneless fillets of trevally, blue eye cod or barramundi. These will hold together when cooked either on a frypan, stove top, bbq or oven. You could try crumbing them and shaping into fish fingers or coujons'BBQ?
'Barbeque on the flat part of your grill only and choose a firm fish like barramundi, blue eyed cod, trevally or salmon. Avoid tuna on the BBQ as it quite dry.'Baking fish?
'Baking fish is a really great 'set and forget' and by wrapping loosely and sealing in aluminium foil with flavour you can achieve a very good result without a lot of effort. Any kind of fish is great baked.'What are some budget options you could recommend?
'Shellfish like prawns and yabbies are great budget busters and there's many ways to prepare them - mussels and calamari are also great budget ways to get your fix of fresh seafood. Sushi is a great option for budget fish consumption because you only need a little - prawn or salmon.'
You can see more information on how to select, prepare and cook fish for your family here at the Coles seafood online guide. (I'd personally love to see this as an iPhone app don't you think?)
And the last question I ask is about some of the apparatus he cooked with that morning - in particular I was enamoured with the oil bottle and mortar and pestle - both of which he says on the Circle are from his range - I ask where can you get them? David Jones people! Aren't they lovely?
So friends, how often do you cook with fish? Do you have a favourite type/method of cooking? Does the idea of touching raw fish give you the willies?
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