Whole BBQ'd Fish with Grape Salsa Stuffing

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February 10, 2015 Having left chaotic, yet exciting Buenos Aires behind I have landed in Santiago, Chile. I have booked a cabin in a little eco village called Tanquin, which is about one hour from Santiago and 40 minutes from Valparaiso.

Nearby is a small fishing village called Quintain, unbeknown to the rest of the world bar the Santiago-ans who flock in on the weekends to eat the morning’s catch at one of the waterside restaurants.

I’m here to chill, visit the local fruit and vegetable market, buy fresh fish and cook up a storm in my little cabin by the sea. The markets in Valparaiso are mind blowing, with mountains of fruits and vegetables at unbelievably low prices. In contrast, Chile is not a cheap country to holiday in as restaurants and accommodation are comparably to US prices. But, I’m not complaining when I’m buying a kilo of cherries at $3, which, by the way, double as instant cherry-colored lipstick.

My cabin has the most wonderful charcoal fired BBQ. So, I’ve always wanted to slap a freshly caught whole fish onto the coals and brag about how large the one was that got away. Taking the opportunity without further ado here is the most wonderful recipe for charcoal cooked fish with my very own red grape stuffing. And, to top it off a simple yet awesome Salsa and a whip-it-up-in-a-flash strawberry upside-down cake.

Whole BBQ’d Fish with grape salsa stuffing

Serves 4

1.5-2 kg/3.5-4.5 lb whole white fish (firm skin and flesh, de-scaled and gutted)

Stuffing

1 tomato (roughly chopped)

1 medium onion (roughly chopped)

½ cup parsley (roughly chopped)

3 large cloves garlic (grated)

1 tsp dried red chilli (finely chopped)

1 cup red seedless grapes (halved)

salt & pepper to taste

¼ cup virgin olive oil

butter (optional)

1 whole lemon (sliced into wedges for serving)

Combine all the ingredients for the stuffing except for the optional butter and lemon wedges. If bbq’ing your fish, stuff the fish with as much stuffing as possible and then sew up the belly opening. I poke little holes into each side of the belly flap and use the soft wilted tops of the parsley stalks as twine. If using butter place generous slivers of butter inside the belly as well. To crisp the skin combine 2 tbsp of olive oil with generous amounts of sea salt and cracked pepper and rub into the skin, pressing the salt and pepper firmly into the skin. Once your bbq is fired up and your charcoal is giving out a consistent glowing heat, place the fish onto the coals and sear the skin until slightly burned on each side. Turn the fish every 10 minutes. Total cooking time will be around 20-30 minutes each side depending on the size of the fish. Salsa

2 medium tomatoes (finely chopped)

½ medium onion (finely chopped)

¼ cup parsley (finely chopped)

1 lemon (juice)

¼ cup virgin olive oil

salt & pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and let sit for a couple of hours in room temperature before serving. Strawberry & Lavender Upside Down Cake

Serves 4

Pre-heat oven to 150°C/300°F

500 g/1 lb strawberries (halved)

6 eggs (room temperature)

1 tbsp coconut oil

2 tbsp honey

½ cup coconut cream

½ tsp pure vanilla powder/essence

½ cup coconut flour

1 tsp bicarbonate soda

pinch salt

1 ½ tsp lavender (finely chopped)

Place the strawberries into the bottom of a medium sized baking dish. Whisk the eggs with the coconut oil, honey, cream and vanilla essence until light and frothy. Combine the coconut flour, bicarbonate soda, salt and lavender and then whisk into the egg mixture until smooth. (The batter should be thick but still slide off the spoon) Pour the mixture over the strawberries and bake on 150°C/300°F for about 30 minutes until the top has browned nicely. Serve with coconut cream and a drizzle of honey.

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