I thought I should say a bit about our climate here after a few comments and emails yesterday. We live in a wonderful area of Australia - it's classified sub-tropical but we live at the bottom of a mountain range, back maybe 15 km from the beach, and during winter, it can be quite cold, by our standards. We lived in Germany for two years when we married so I know how cold it can get but here where we live, the temperature never gets below freezing and there are no frosts. Our severe weather events are tropical storms that can dump a foot of rain in a few hours and bring down forest trees that have been standing for half a century.
We live half way up the east coast of Australia. Down south there is snow and winter rain, up north it is mild all year. In Darwin, for instance, one of our northern capital cities, the temperature sits on 33C (91F) most of the year and in Winter drops to 28C (82F). They have wild humidity though and in the wet season - summer - just sitting in a chair is enough to make you sweat. But here the climate allows us to plant all year. We have summer crops - eggplants, peppers, tomatoes etc, and winter ones - cabbages, onions, cauliflower and kale, but with careful planning we can have quite a nice selection of vegetables growing for the table all year. Sometimes in the summer it's too hot and we have to put up shade tunnels, and some years, in the middle of summer, we get a lot of bugs, but overall, it's manageable and if we persevere we are able to eat fresh organic food from our own backyard without too much fuss all year long.
One of our favourite meals is fresh fish from the local fisherman's co-op served with a salad from the garden. Recently we were lucky enough to find whiting at the co-op so we snapped up a kilo of it. I think there may be several different types of whiting throughout the world. The one we have here is school whiting that swims along the coastline in the sandy shallows. They're small fish, a white, silvery colour and have a delicate flavour. If you have a fishmonger who will clean and fillet the fish, you can have a healthy and delicious meal on a plate in less than 30 minutes.
I decided to batter the whiting with a light tempura batter. It suited it perfectly and both Hanno and I enjoyed our meal very much.
½ cup plain (all purpose) flour
½ cup cornflour (cornstarch) - read here about cornflour
1 lightly beaten egg
¾ cup cold water - cold from the fridge
Sift the flours together, add beaten egg and half the water and mix together thoroughly. Then add the rest of the water, making sure you have a smooth light batter. Let it rest for a few minutes before dipping each piece of fish into the batter.
Take the fish from the batter and place carefully into a pan of very hot oil. I use a small frying pan for this - to which I've added about ¼ cup of olive oil. Batter and cook all the fish, turn each piece after about one minute, and give it another minute of the other side. I squeeze lemon juice over the fish at this point while it's still cooking. If the fish are small it will only take a couple of minutes to cook each piece so have your salad and plates ready before you cook the fish.
If you're trying to introduce fish to a small child for the first time, this is the dish for you. It doesn't have a strong fish taste, it's delicate yet delicious and the light batter gives extra flavour that children often enjoy. If the fish has been prepared correctly there will be no bones to worry about.
We eat quite a bit of fish here - both fresh and from a tin, but I have to tell you, this is one of my favourites. If you can get some whiting, please try it. I'm sure you won't be disappointed.