Saturday, September 18, 2010

Excuse me, but you're getting it all wrong

...As the actress said to the bishop. I was talking to a friend via skype this morning, and the subject of supper came up.

"spiny-lobster ravioli in a mushroom and cheese sauce with spinach and raisins."

"You do eat exotic stuff don't you?" with the unspoken implication of howcome you claim to not have the money for your kids to be international students, and maybe go ski-ing in Colorado too.

Well, it's rather like the actress trying to explain that she's not a chiorboy, and that a different approach is called for. Tonight we had spiny lobster rissoles, with tagliatelli and fennel, tomato and peach chutney with flatleaf parley.

It would have been exotic and damned expensive in Melbourne. But the only bought ingredient yesterday were about twenty raisins. Tonight was a spoonful of peach chutney, and some butter on the noodles, and the teaspoon of oil I used to fry the fennel and the risoles in. The Spiny lobster is out of the local ocean, and give us 5 meals. We use everything but the guts. Everyone's chooks are laying right now, so friends keeping giving us eggs. A friend had to give up on gluten so gave us a lot flour which was getting a little elderly - so egg+flour+salt equals ravioli or tagliatelli. The cheese was a present from other friends emptying the fridge before flying out. The mushrooms - picked in the field next door in autumn and dried. The rissoles - half a roll from the flour, and cautiously picked (can we spare them?) thinnings of spring onions, parsley stalks, silverbeet stalks, bulb fennel softened and added into the the leg and carcass picking of the spiny lobster. The tomato chutney we'd been given from last season's glut, and of course parsley and spinach are fresh out of the garden.

'Exotic' would be lamb chops and frozen peas. We can get those things but they come from off-island. Or crumbed and frozen fish fingers.


  1. People keep forgetting that exotic local cuisine is what happens to the peasants after the lords have eaten all the good stuff. The first person to try frogs legs really wasn't presented cuisses de grenouille by a restaurateur.

    [And I believe it is still illegal in Boston to serve the hired help lobster more than twice in one calendar week. Tastes change.]

  2. And inventive cusine tends to get born out of pretty desperate conditions... and today's poverty food becomes tomorrow's haute cuisine... Oysters were once used to bulk out stew. Caviar was made from fish eggs probably after high lord muck prigged the fish and left the peasants with the guts.