This video was shot in Vis, Croatia a couple years ago when pandemic measures compelled me to take a hiatus from the blog to concentrate on mental health and wellbeing. In the process I turned into that expat who wondered why my parents ever left when the frenzied cacophony of pandemic fears I was experiencing in my home of Australia became replaced by a lull of softly swaying boats , long days spent foraging for fruits and herbs in the hills and the repetitive hum of waves rolling pebbles. Island life was like a balm on the soul - inhale, exhale then repeat.

My island neighbour complained about his life though-  he wanted to go to Australia to make a lot of money and I laughed- he lives in a 300 year old house by the sea he owns outright, eats yummy seafood all day long, works hard for only 4 months of tourist season, spending winter playing video games while his kids attend a free school mere minutes away - for many around the world his life would be dreamy and yet he feels like he doesn’t have enough because he lacks the items he covets. This conversation made me think about how our perspectives influence the scope of our gratitude, how disconnected I along with my fellow humans became when it comes to what money is and how full life is in its simplicity :  doing breathwork in the sun like a rock lizard charging up, the swooshing whisper of evergreen trees carrying the scent of pine on the breeze, a nightly talk to fishermen about their catch Peace was here and it was simple - it didn’t require gurus or workshops - just a whole lot more Nature. Being alone isn’t lonely when the starry heavens open up like fireworks at night, unhindered by smog and light pollution, when cute, little fish nibble on my toes as my feet dangled off the pier, when the bluest blue of the sea penetrates so deeply into my anxiety that it engulfs it in comfort. 

Then my teenage daughter arrived and nixed the whole idea of moving to a small outpost in the middle of bu** f*ck no where Adriatic, outraged I would even consider to drag her away from her exciting life in Sydney.  I could see her perspective and laughed at the different versions of the whole we were all experiencing. 

This recipe was born out of my adoration for the loquat - a chronically underused and undervalued fruit in my personal opinion - a small, tangy, seeded nugget bursting with flavour that only ripens for a short time in early spring. Not sure how to describe the taste of loquat for those that have never had it - I suppose it’s something like apricot, pineapple, citrus and apple having a baby, the thin skin bursting to uncover intense flavour inside. At this time I was trying to eat a lot more blue fish for health reasons ( omega 3 is so calming to the nervous system ), so I’d hit up fishermen for nourishing goodies nightly. Not entirely sure what this fish is called - endemic to the Adriatic it similar in taste and texture to the mackerel, but not well known or cultivated commercially. This recipe is a burst of fresh citrus - fruity but salty and oily, great for skin and hair.

INGREDIENTS ( serves one generously or two as an entree ) 

  • 1 bulb of fennel, cored and chopped up finely or sliced ( reserve the fronds for stuffing fish)
  • 1 small purple onion or half a larger onion
  • A handful or two of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • A handful or two of loquats, halved, seeded and chopped up 
  • Freshly squeezed juice of one lemon and one orange
  • Mint leaves to preference 
  • Chopped up pistachio
  • Extra virgin olive oil to taste 
  • 2 x blue fish, gutted and de-scaled
  • Salt and pepper 

METHOD:

Stuff the fish with thin orange slices, salt and pepper and the reserved fennel fronds, turn the oven on to 220 fan forced and grill to high. Cook depending on the strength of your oven and grill, these fish only needed about 8 minutes on each side before they developed crispy skin and cooked through in my oven but bigger fish or weaker ovens will need a little longer. Assemble all the other ingredients into a bowl in the meantime , season and serve! Bon apetit !

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