Monday, March 1, 2010

These I have loved...

I have an ability to remember the first time I tasted many of the foods and drinks I love today.

Not a spectacular character trait really but there are a huge number of foods I love, so I must have a pretty good memory. 

Notable first taste experiences include:

My first Crayfish: A friend of mine used to work up north on a crayfish boat. When he came to Auckland he would stay at our flat and as rent would bring a couple of live crays down with him.

I killed the first crayfish I ever ate. From the knaves to the chops, I did it with a knife in the back garden and it squealed horrendously. Gooey stuff came out of it and its tail flapped and flapped, I promised myself I would never kill a crayfish like that again. According to this site , it’s humane. Well ‘quick’ anyway. 

They were tasty though. We cooked the pair of them on the bbq with a bit of garlic butter and unceremoniously ate them with our hands.

My first really GREAT Pinot Noir experience:  The 2007 Peregrine  drunk with my ex boyfriends wonderful father Craig. A Pinot Noir lover, we would spend weekends at the family batch in Taupo trying what seemed to me an endless number of wonderful Central Otago Pinot Noirs.  I credit Craig with my love for Pinot Noir today and my outstanding glass swill.

I fell in love with eggs when I discovered Eggs Benedict. I remember my friend Gabrielle’s father took three of us out for breakfast after a school netball game and when the girls ordered it (with smoked salmon) I just went along pretending I knew what it was. I couldn’t hide my naivety when it arrived, but I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen an Eggs Benedict like that again, and I’ve seen my share of Eggs Benedict since. I can’t remember the name of the cafĂ© now, but if memory serves me correctly I wouldn’t have recommended it.

I have eggs once or twice a week now. I swear by their ability to keep me focused on work, and not on my tummy for longer. They fuel me until lunch and they’re pretty damn tasty too. I make Huevos Rancheros mostly. I fry up some red onion, scramble the eggs, chuck in some Mexican seasoning a bit of cheese, tomatos and avocado and there you go.

Only approved free range or barn eggs mind you. Happy eggs.The SPCA website is very helpful for learning more about your eggs and what to look for.

When I arrive for Sunday lunch this week Hamish, who is a good friend of my parents, informs me that he has warned them about the tsunami. They’re out sailing  the Coromandel with friends this weekend. Excellent someone’s thinking for the two of us I think, still suffering the hazy’s from a few too many on Friday.

Talkback radio’s on and tsunami talk is the order of the day - That and plenty of Simon and Garfunkle. Hamish is concerned about the tsunami and explains to me that this column of ocean water, or sea, is currently travelling at aeroplane speeds and when slash if it hits, will be virtually unnoticeable as a tsunami - until too late.

I take my usual perch and observe a copper bowl filled with eggs in front of me. This should sort out the head…

Omelette with Asparagus, Gouda Cheese and Chives
6 eggs
Half an egg shell of water
Gouda cheese
Salt and Pepper
Ghee or clarified butter

Leave the eggs cracked in a bowl with salt, pepper and water for a while before whisking,when you get to the whisking part, only whisk for one minute. You want a little but not too much air in the eggs.

Leave some Ghee (or clarified butter) melting in the omelette dish and when hot enough, pour in the scrambled mixture. It looks so easy, the art of omelette making. Just pull at the edges and drain the top over until it’s eggy enough but hot enough to melt the Gouda cheese. Chuck all the cheese, chives and asparagus on making sure to keep them to one side of the omelette. And then carefully flip it over and dish out.

Remember: Mis en Place. (Everything in its place). Peel and blanch the asparagus and chop the cheese prior to doing any of the cooking. Once the omelette has hit the pan you will need to give it all the attention you can muster.

The Gouda looked lovely melting over the asparagus. Gouda is very tasty. It’s Dutch, and very similar to cheddar. Softer though.

We also had an accompaniment cucumber, lime and tomato salad that Hamish had dreamed up at 5am that very morning.

Cucumber was peeled and left to marinate in the juice of one lime, cherry tomatoes were added with a bit of Village Press Olive Oil  and we had a very tasty, perfectly zingy salad to enjoy as well.

We washed our lunch down with a glass of Eradus Sauvignon Blanc. Highly recommend. The Eradus is pretty much my idea of what a Sauvignon should taste like. For the proper tasting notes click here. 

I’d forgotten the tsunami by the end of our lunch and unwittingly mentioned my plans for a bit of beach action that afternoon.  Hamish looked at me wide eyed, “I hoped I would have talked you out of that!”

Woops, yes he had, much to the disappointment of my boyfriend who had his heart set. The family pool would suffice.

Now, for all you fruit connoisseurs out there, what is this?!?! 

My neighbour gave it to me yesterday. He didn’t know what it was. My flatmate thinks he was flirting with me, I think he may have been trying to poison me.

Flick me an answer and a recipe and the best one (according to yours truly) will win double pass tickets to a Food Show of choice this year!  

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