The heart foundation recommends eating fish at least twice a week. For my family, this is easily done.

This past weekend, more homesick for Cape Town than usual – perhaps because I wasn’t there to witness the fall of the Athlone towers – I decided to braai a snoek. Luckily for me Dunkeld Fisheries always has a daily delivery of fresh fish.

The most delightful thing about a snoek braai, for me, is the pate that results from the leftover fish; it provided a perfect working lunch when my client came to brief me on a new coffee table book yesterday. I see from a web search that most sites recommend Sauvignon Blanc as the correct wine to pair with snoek, alas; being a work day, we enjoyed our sandwiches with lime and soda.

I also found this article on http://www.time.com, I found it very amusing:

A cartoon in the Evening News showed a London family preparing with bated breath to open a can of fish. “Steady now, mother,” says the paterfamilias, standing by with an ax; “if it springs at you, I slosh it with this ax.”
The can was one of ten million on their way from South Africa last week to relieve the monotony of the British diet. They were filled with snoek (rhymes with cook). “I’ve never met a snoek face to face,” said Food Minister John Strachey, announcing the purchase, “so I can’t tell you much about it except that it’s four feet long and slender.” But the dictionary defined snoek as a form of barracuda, and Strachey’s press conference broke up under the firm impression that snoek was a maritime menace. A Daily Mail headline promptly labeled the snoek as the “Tiger of the Seas.”
An alert reporter, however, discovered that in Australia the snoek is called barra-couta. He raced to a natural history museum. Ah, yes, said a learned authority there, the South African snoek (not to be confused with the basslike Gulf of Mexico snook or robalo) is indeed a barra-couta, a cousin of the mild-mannered mackerel and no relation to the barbarous barracuda.
Confronted with this ichthyological news, a Food Ministry press relations officer croaked: “Oh, my God!” and promised to call back. “Well, at least,” he reported gloomily several hours later, “the Food Minister had never actually called a snoek a barracuda.”

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,804319,00.html#ixzz0xV5wEKuE



  1. Thanks for the lesson in pronunciation “Snookems’ I have never had it of course. Never ate a Barracuda either, though I swam in what I later found was an infested Gulf Coast pool of them. And that was back in the early years, had on a golden ear-ring and still have both my ears.Imagine that. But, if they are in fact a Barracuda, I’m with Granny…send me a plate of Pop-Eye Mullet, or something with some meat on them bones.
    God Bless you

    • Gosh sonsothunder, you sure have had some near escapes, more lives than a cat 🙂
      I don’t believe I am familiar with a pop-eye mullet, sounds like a bad hairstyle to me … lol!

  2. I only like fish with big bones that I can remove easily, lol, regardless of how nice it may taste! I have an absolute horror of choking on a fishbone… Nice post, Cindy!

  3. hmmm…..like some fish…most i catch myself at the lake but never tried this…i do like to crumble up the leftovers though and make a salad…

  4. Had stunning Kingklip at Pererinha’s today…really enjoyed it, especially since I’m pretty poor at cooking fish. Need to pay closer attention to your posts 🙂

  5. What else is there to add to such a convoluted journey through the etymology of ichthyology, except the old verse: “What a wonderful bird is the pelican; his mouth can hold more fish than his belly can.”

    Love this post. . .and I’ve never heard of snoek, although I have been snookered on occasion! Definitely know of barracuda, and wonder how barra-couta and barracuda cannot be related?!?!?

  6. I must admit the difference in diet between there and here is quite interesting…several of your dishes I have prepared…but not certain about this one. 😉

  7. Charles, you would love this….this is one of the best tastes EVER…you have made me hungry Cin and it’s 5.45am in the morning!!!! And I have to sit in an art class the whole day!!! How am I going to survive??…Darn!! Love you girlfriend xxx

  8. Never heard of this fish. Will have to research. I do love the pate with leftover thing … and the Time article is too cute. Thanks for this, Cindy! You are the one and only.

  9. It’s been a bit since I have been here for a read, so I had a lot of stories to catch up on. What a great variety of stories that had such a range of emotions….I laughed crazily at the folks over for dinner…will you forgive me though?…I do like to read Wilbur Smith’s stories! LOL..have a great day friend! 😉

  10. I know that fishing in ski boats off the Zululand coast we catch what we call Couta and its correct name is King Mackerel – this is different but similar in shape to a Snoek which we occassionally get in these waters but more often found in the colder Western Cape. My guess is that the warm water Couta is in fact correctly identified as King Mackerel and is similar if not identical to the Aussie one, and that Snoek is a cousin of sorts, not as vicious as a Barracuda but certainly not mild mannered – when you lived and worked in Kalk Bay did you never see a fisherman that was missing a finger or two ? That would be the Snoek,snookums.

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