Little fried fish

It’s whitebait season again, but we’ve yet to hear any reports from the Coast as to how its going. This isn’t unusual – whitebaiters are notoriously secretive, especially those who sell their catch without the knowledge of Mr IRD. Last year the Boy Wonder experimented with frying the tiny fish in a pan, Spanish-style, rather than binding them in traditional egg fritters. It was a great success, if labour-intensive. But last week he stumbled on an even better way – a sort of oven-fried version, made with a recent newspaper-wrapped delivery from Westport. The other thing that’s changed from last year is that a pound of whitebait (they only come in Imperial measures) used to be enough for two of us – now we have to share it with our smallest dining companion. That’s not a bad thing.

West Coast Whitebait Oven-Fried

Oven-fried whitebait
Excuse the Coaster-style description, but there’s no point giving this a fancier name (except ‘bloody good oven-fried whitebait’ perhaps). All you need with this is a crunchy green salad and a bit of baguette. Oh, and lots of lemon halves.

1 lb (about 500g) whitebait
salt and pepper
olive oil – about 1/2 cup

Defrost the whitebait and rinse under the tap to get rid of any grit. Drain well.
Preheat the oven to 200C and pour about 1/2 cup of olive oil in a roasting dish. (You may need more – the BW is a bit vague on exact measurements). Heat the oil in the oven for about five minutes. While it’s heating up, dredge the whitebait at a time in seasoned flour (shake off the excess in a coarse sieve.) Carefully tip into the hot oil and return the roasting dish to the oven. Cook for about 20 minutes, until the little fish are golden brown and crunchy. Serves two greedy adults and one voracious toddler for dinner – so at least four adults for lunch.

Do you have a favourite way to cook – or eat – whitebait?

Dedicated followers of fashion

It may surprise you to learn that New Zealand Fashion Week is on at the moment. I mean, New Zealand isn’t exactly renowned for its haute couture or gorgeous inhabitants (no one ever comes away from a trip to Aotearoa saying “oh, the women are so stylish!” or “the men are so handsome!”).

A fine Kiwi specimen, image via here

I don’t follow many fashion blogs, mostly because I don’t need to be reminded that my ‘look’ (harried working mother, accessorised with streak of toddler snot) isn’t going to win any prizes. But for this one, written by a colleague of mine, I’ll make an exception. If you have any interest in fashion, Antipodean or not, you should check it out. You should still check it out if you’re not interested in fashion, because it’s hilarious – and because she asks why food critics say what they think but most fashion writers don’t, which is an excellent question.

Are you a dedicated follower of fashion?