• You'll never want fish without bones once you taste the flavour when they stay in. (Sharyn Cairns)Source: Sharyn Cairns

This is a light fish stock, good as a base for soup or gentle liquor for poaching fish.

2.2 L





Skill level

Average: 3.3 (25 votes)


  • 1.6 kg white-fleshed fish frames, wings or heads
  • 1 large celery stalk, cut into 3 cm pieces
  • 2 medium brown onions, cut into quarters
  • 4 medium shallots, cut into 5 cm batons
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 small bunch thyme
  • 1 tsp white peppercorns, roughly pounded
  • 3.5 L water
  • small handful of parsley stalks

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Wash your fish bits under cold running water and then place them in a large pot with the vegetables, bay, thyme, peppercorns and water. Place on a medium heat and slowly bring to the boil. As soon as you see it start to bubble, turn the heat down to low and spend a few minutes skimming the stock. You want to stock to be at a very gentle simmer, barely moving in fact.

Add the parsley stalks and let the stock gently cook.

Give your stock two hours on the stove, remembering to give it a little skim every twenty minutes or so. Once you have removed it from the heat, let it sit for ten minutes before gently straining.

Allow the stock to cool before transferring to the fridge or freezing. 


• The stock will keep for a couple of days but it’s best to freeze it if not using immediately.

• Don’t use pink fish bones and also try to avoid any fish that is too oily. 


Photography by Sharyn Cairns. Styling by Lee Blaylock. Food preparation by Tiffany Page. Creative concept by Lou Fay.


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Read our interview with Tama. This recipe is from our online column, The seasonal Cook: celery. View previous The Seasonal Cook columns and recipes.