Its been so long since my last post. A lots gone on in my life and my cooking and the blog had to take a break on the bench for a while there. But I’m back and I feel like cooking again, so watch this space.

So to kick things off I thought I would start with something simple.

A little while ago I was given a bag of sardines from old mate at work who’s father is a fisher man. Woo hoo lucky me hey!! As they where only caught early that morning they where super fresh so I actually ate a few of them raw. Sashimi style just to taste them in there true form and I must say they were delicious, very delicious!! I didn’t want to over power the flavour of them too much as they were so fresh.

Now given the fact its been so long since my last post,  I thought I would treat you to,

 not one

not two

but three lovely dishes today!!

Let’s see what I did with these little bad boy sardines hey?  Lets!!!!

Saba-dine Toast 

Sardine Toast

So to kick things off I made a very simple toast.  Yes it was simple but I tell you with no word of a lie.  It was absolutely delicious!

So first off I butterflied the sardines. I did this by simply cutting through the belly right down to near the tail but leaving the tail fins intact. I then removed the head and cleaned out all the guts and internals. Then proceeded to remove the bones.

Next I seasoned the sardines with salt and pepper. Pretty basic stuff I know. Then I seared them in a hot frying pan for about a minute on each side. Next it was on to the bread. I used a nice sour dough bread, sliced off a generously thick piece and toasted it in the same pan as I cooked the sardines in just to suck up any extra flavour left in the pan.  Next I used an achovette to spread on the bread. Its not fishy or overly salty or anything like that. Its sort of like a pâté and a pâté would work really well on this too. But you could use any spread you like or just simply butter if you wish.

Next I put the sardines on top, added some diced cheery tomatoes and garnished it with some young watercress leaves.

Then I drizzled some extra virgin oil on and a squeeze of lemon for a bit of a zing.  And that is that, my saba-dine toast!


Told you it was simple.

Anyway that’s my boast about my saba-dine toast lol




Perilla Wrapped Saba-dine Tempura 

Perilla Wrapped Sardine Tempura

This year my crop of perilla has been growing so well that its been hard for me to keep up with eating it all. I know not a bad problem to have. So I try to just use it when ever I can.

And today was a perfect opportunity to use some.

So first up, I cut the tails off my butterflied sardines. I then laid each sardine in a perilla leaf. Spread a dollop of Kewpie mayo and a band of hot sauce for good measure. Then proceed to wrap those little bad boys up like they where going to sleep on a cold day.

Next I made a flour mix of one cup of plain flour and one table spoon of corn starch. Then dusted each wrapped sardine with a light coat of the flour mix.

Next I added some ice cubes to the flour and some water. I added a touch too much water as I usually like this batter to have more lumps which help to make a crisper skin when frying.

Anywayz I battled on

Now it was straight out of the cold batter into the hot oil for these little guys.

They only need a few minutes in the oil and that’s all he wrote!

Did you enjoy the allure of my tempura?



Manta Ray – Saba-dine Pressed Sushi 

Sardine Pressed Sushi

This dish was actually a lot easier to make then it looks and uses very little ingrediencies.

For this dish I used long grain Jasmin rice, but normally I would not use this type of rice but I had some left over in the fridge and could not let it go to waist. But I recommend that you use sushi rice for a dish such as this. It is stickier and holds it shape much better.

So after taking my left over rice from the fridge I added about a tablespoon of shichimi (Japanese 7 spice powder) I really love this spice mix and adds loads of flavour to plain rice.

Next step was to shape my rice, I knew exactly what size I wanted it to be and as chance would have it I had the perfect mould for it. And that mould was none other then a used sardine can. The irony of it all.

So I lined the can with some plastic cling wrap as to help to remove the rice from the can later. I spooned in the rice and pressed it down firmly with the back of a spoon.

I really wanted this to end up looking like one of those majestic manta rays with their wings spread out proudly and tail through the back. Well that’s how I envisioned this dish to look but it didn’t quite look right. But this was an off the cuff first try so I’m happy none the less.

So to make it look like a manta ray I had to make the wings. So I cut a sheet of nori into a rectangle then trimmed the sides to give the wings their shape. Next time I would make them longer and sharper I think. So now my wings where done it was time to merge them with the body. So I lay the wings down flat and put my can of rice on top then proceeded to extract the rice gently from the can. Two steps down.

The next step was to give the body that marine look and the tail it needed to have. So I fried off my butterflied sardines in a frying pan for a minute on each side. I then added some teriyaki sauce to the pan and glazed it over the sardines. Once they where cooked and the colour looked perfect I removed them from the pan and straight on to the rice. I made a boo boo here and broke one of the tails. Oh No’s!!

Now I wanted the wings to stand up so I applied some wasabi down both sides to help stick the nori to the rice and have the wings stay up.  Just to add some finishing touches I garnished the sardines with some of the shichimi and pea shoot leaves.

That’s how I made my manta ray sardine pressed sushi my friends!

Did my manta ray, make your day?


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  1. Hi there! Such a wonderful article, thank you!