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Lipsmacking Backpacking

26 27 Cooking meat or fish is sometimes seen as prohibitively difficult we worry that we wont cook it right and will make ourselves ill. In many cases thats a wellfounded fear because its dodgy meat that makes most people ill on holiday. But thats no reason to avoid it altogether cooking it yourself is the best way of being sure that its good. You buy good stuff, then you cook it right. By far the most important thing is to buy fresh. Look out for a couple of things for fish, look first at the eyes. They shouldnt be gluey or hazy but should look as they did when the fish was alive, this tells you that the fish is fresh and that it has not been stored under the sun secondly, the flesh should be firm and the scales or skin shiny. If it whiffs, leave it well alone. As far as meat is concerned, look to buy from somewhere where the meat is not kept in the sun. Next you need to use your fingers if you can, press the meat fresh stuff will respond by either seeping blood, or watery liquid if it feels or looks dry or hard, forget it. Again, use your nose and avoid smelly stuff. Once youve bought your meat, clean it and wash off dust, grime and grit. Keep it covered and in the shade, or in the fridge if youve got access to one, until you use it. Cooking meat and fish is easy. Its all about keeping an eye on it to make sure its not over or under done. Try it Its the ultimate night on the beach ... fresh fish that was caught just out to sea ... a good fire ... fantastic. Fish tastes great on its own, but its good to have some staples on the side, and its also well worth adding some extra zing to the fish from time to time. As far as the zing is concerned, my top tip is any tropical fruit stuff it with mangos and bananas, steam it with sliced kiwi and serve with passion fruit, anything will work. Also fantastic is nuts try fish with blanched, flaked or crushed nuts, almonds particularly. This gives a welcome change in texture. Spices are great too, but dont just shake some curry powder over the fish, get inventive make a paste with finely chopped onions, add to that some coconut milk or creamed coconut, mix in the spices and add some black pepper salsas work well, especially when the fish has been fried mix finely chopped onion, tomatoes, chillies with lime juice, oil and bit of sugar and pour it over the fish. Your staple will, of course, vary depending on what is available. Fish is delicious served on a bed of rice. The rice can be plain, or flavoured in any of the ways described earlier, especially coconut rice. When youre poaching fish, try serving it with mashed potato. Fried fish is good with some salad even just a tomato and a few bits of onion. The ultimate is to roast a pineapple and to use that as a receptacle from which to eat the deboned fish divine. When youre doing prawns, or other shellfish, it is really simple to make a little sauce to serve them in. Start with your base of onions, maybe garlic and spices, then add the shellfish. Fry them off and then add some tomatoes, or some fruit, or some white wine.
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