How Not to be Normal (Eat Sardines).

by Nyamka Bayanmunkh in

ABM_1415405670 Last month I  learnt how to cook with first fresh sardines. I bought them because I found out that they were one of the most nutritious and sustainable seafood out there. Sardines are full of healthy fats, their soft edible bones are full of minerals, and since they are  lower on the food chain they are also low in mercury. They are sustainable because they are not overfished, and they have very little by-catch.  And, they are cheap. It cost me $7.50 for a kilo at the Prahran market. I could have gotten them cheaper for $6.00 at the next stall where it was already gutted and cleaned but they were not the first  ones I saw, and as a result I had to learn how to gut and clean a sardine.

I have to be honest, learning to clean and gut a whole kilogram of sardines was not a clean process. Below is a video of me doing it all over again the next day to take to some sardines to  a barbecue. (Why? Because I thought it was good idea to share my new found love of barbecued sardines. Apparently, fishes with their heads still on are not so popular at parties. Lesson learnt! Sometimes, I forget how weird I am, but, who wants to be normal right?)

Next time I should be be better with the whole cleaning and gutting process. Practice makes perfect. Or, I could buy the cheaper already cut and cleaned ones. Decisions, decisions. Even though, learning to gut sardines was definitely  not easy, the end result was well worth it. I didn't know how good they could taste!

After my terrible job of cleaning them, the sardines were lightly  seasoned with salt, pepper, some lemon juice and drizzled with olive oil. They were then roasted  under the grill for four minutes. They are done when they start sizzling.  You can technically eat them raw because good quality sardines are served raw for a sashimi platter, so don't worry if they are slightly undercooked.

Once they were done, I had them with a salad. And, they tasted unexpectedly good! I wasn't expecting the taste to be that good, because most white fish don't have that much flavour, but these sardines were so flavourful and fresh tasting. If you are feeling adventurous this weekend and you have never had fresh sardines before, go out and get some fresh sardines and make a day out of it- it's well worth it.



With love and simplicity,


P.S. Me and Ines, my lovely housemate/best friend, have started Youtube channel called Nyamka and Ines Cooks. That's where this sardine gutting fail video is from. I am the one with the knife, and she is recording me. We plan to do less grizzly recipe videos in the future. If you want to  watch normal people like us cooking, please subscribe to it.

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Split Pea & Ham Soup (with only three ingredients)

by Nyamka Bayanmunkh in

Split Pea & Ham Soup (with only three ingredients)

Cooler days of autumn are here, and for me that means it is boot season and more opportunities to make soup. Warm and nourishing soups are my favourite comfort food. I like to throw everything into the pot and let it simmer for a few hours, while I do some work around the house on the weekends. The house smells delicious and inviting too.

Today I went to the market and got some organic ham hocks. It's definitely more expensive eating organic meat, but knowing the animals have access to pastures, where they can graze without being fed antibiotics makes it worth it. Also, knowing how to use affordable offcuts like ham hocks make it more affordable than just sticking to prime cuts. Plus, the idea of nose-to-tail eating where nothing is wasted aligns with my values. If an animal has died to feed me, I don't want to disrespect it's life by wasting parts of it just because it's unconventional or strange looking. So without further delay I present you a recipe for a delicious and very filling soup with only three ingredients.

Split Pea & Ham Soup (Serves 2)


  • 2 small pieces of organic smoked ham hock
  • 1 onion chopped roughly
  • 1 cup of split green peas 

If you want to use more than three ingredients you can add some pepper, and a couple of bay leaves into the pot at the start. 


Put all the ingredients in a pot and pour in enough water to cover everything. Turn on the stove and bring it to a boil. Then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for two hours until the split peas are tender and are falling apart. You can serve it just as it is or you can take out the ham hock, cut off the meat and add it back into the soup. You can also top it off with sauerkraut and some chopped pickled cucumbers.

With love & simplicity,