Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Australia day

James came home from sea with a good feed of flathead, some abalone and serious dose of flaming scarlet skin and very wide grin.
We ate flathead and pronounced it excellent - firm, succulent, and with a lovely flavor. I simply shallow fried it in rice bran oil, with a flour and egg batter. I also - with trepidation, cooked whole greenlip abalone the way John had told us to. Now I am used to slicing abalone blotting-paper thin, and then beating it with a steak mallet until lacy and see-through. It's still slightly tough - a minor detail for the flavour of it. It's then very very briefly fried. You can also cut it in chunks and cook in a pressure cooker for quite some time - the end result is tender, but much of the flavour is sacrificed. The idea of briefly cooking a whole crumbed abalone had me living in fear of turning something precious and delicious into large chunks of very long lasting old car-tyre imitations. But -that waas local advice -and I am here to learn - so I ventured bravely into culinary sacrilege. It worked and the abalone steak wasn't tough. Not as tasty as the South African kind, IMO - still delicious. And RICH.

Today was Australia day, our first - and memorable - we went to a beach barbie up at Killiekrankie a Lions function. We sat in the shade of the she-oaks looking out at the kids (including James) playing beach cricket. Behind them two little Catamarans sailed out in the bay toward Stacky's Bite.It was idyllic, friendly - with us meeting a lot more people who already know about us:-) - getting some inside information on a lot of the ups and downside of the Island. James and I had done a dive circuit of the little island just offshore and had seen an array of fish- some of which I now have to look up, and seen a lot of Abalone -- crays, less so, sadly - the only ones were in the holding fykes in the channel. I'm still hoping to dive from the shore for them, without aqualungs. We'll see.

Then we drove the final few km to North East river, and tried for Australian Salmon for few minutes... ineptly. I got myself broken up - lost most of my line - and James had the tail of his plastic bitten off. Learning curve.

So this evening I've cooked some clams, bacon, broccoli and pasta in a creamy sauce. It calls for bit of white wine and some flatleaf-parsley. We'll work on it.

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