Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Past, Present And Saturday's Lunch

As I sit here typing thing post, "Swan Lake" is playing in the background, which followed "The Nutcracker Suite", I'm reminded of the time I saw Rudolph Nureyev dance.

It was 1978. He was coming to Australia to perform at various venues throughout the country. My husband reluctantly agreed to go along with me. I told him it mattered not if he did. It would be his choice. I was definitely not going to miss the opportunity to see Nureyev, as I knew I wouldn't get the chance to do so again. Unbelievable as it is, at that time Brisbane didn't have a suitable venue to stage a full-scale ballet. The only venue available was the old Festival Hall that had started its days off as a boxing-wrestling hall and later it hosted many rock and music concerts. It was hardly suitable for ballet, but that's all we had at that time. The smaller ballet "Giselle" was the chosen ballet for Nureyev to perform during his visit to Brisbane. The male role in "Giselle" isn't huge, but I didn't care. I was prepared just to watch Nureyev standing still as long as I was able to do it seeing him up, live and personal!

I will never forget my feeling of total awe when he first appeared on stage. That man certainly did have a presence. His arrogance, his brilliance glowed like an iridescent aura engulfing him. It radiated throughout the audience, taking over the whole of the premises. I gasped. My eyes filled. I remained entranced throughout his performance. I doubt I noticed any of the other dancers on stage. I was enthralled. He was magnificent.

Our seats were up on the left-hand side of the stage, offering perfect vision and closeness to the performers. Come the end of the ballet, all the ladies in the front rows, dressed in their "ermines and pearls" (which, I must add, were grossly out of place in Festival Hall) applauded. Without warning, even to myself, I lept out of my seat, and called out loudly, "Good on you, Rudy!"

Somewhere in the distance I heard my husband's voice..."Honey!" I hardly noticed.

Rudolph Nureyev turned, looked up to me. He smiled at me and bowed. I stood there transfixed. Nureyev had smiled and bowed...to me!

I floated out of the hall and was in a trance all the way back home!

"See!" I told my husband. "I didn't plan to yell out like that...it just happened, but I'm glad I did! He heard me! And he responded! So much for sitting in the front rows all dressed up in finery! Those ladies didn't get an acknowledgment from Rudy...I did!"

So much for lady-like behaviour!

Back to earth...the pictures above are similar to what I am serving for lunch this Saturday. I have friends coming for a leisurely afternoon of fine dining and wining.

I'm doing some mezze/tapas to begin with while we sip on champagne. They will include "Four-Cheese Tarts" similar to those above but topped with mozzarella, blue cheese, parmesan, riccotto and diced pancetta. Also to be served are artichokes and green olives marinated in lemon juice, garlic and sage, alongside a red lentil and chilli dip.

These are to be followed by Prawns and Calamari Creole, a dish I often cooked as an entree when I was cheffing in restaurants. It's green prawns, squid, capsicum/pepper strips cooked quickly in olive oil, garlic, chopped capers, a splash of lemon juice, a pinch of chilli and served "spitting" hot.

The main course will be Veal Oscar...flattened-out veal, sauteed and topped with crab meat and asparagus spears with bernaise sauce to finish.

Dessert is going to be a chocolate-caramel slice served with whipped cream.

And I won't be eating for a week after all of that!


  1. Anonymous10:28 PM

    If I could get an invite and I didn't have to pay for or fly forever, I could sure enjoy that lunch.

  2. Oooh I like that sound of the prawn and calamari creole...I'm a sucker for seafood. Your luncheon sounds really delicious Lee and I hope you have a wonderful time (of course you will, what am I saying!)

    I,too, have seen Nureyev dance "live". The man is amazing and I know what you mean about his charisma. His personality reached out to the audience like something tangible...you could almost see it!

    Heehee! Good on you, Rudy! It's lovely he was gracious enough to acknowledge your cheer.

  3. I'm sure you would, Steve...but as you say, it would be pretty costly! ;)

    Great...I'm glad you saw Nureyev too, Robyn...you know exactly what I mean. He was something special, that's for sure. :)

  4. "Good on you Rudy"wow you were impressed Lee!!!!

  5. Wow, sounds delicious! (The creole and the veal, not Mr. Nureyev.) Finally got my mind (stomach) off the leftover brisket I've been living off of for the last week. I may have to see if I can get a nice mess of fresh shrimp this weekend...

    Oh, and way to go on the recognition from Nureyev. My mom would've been scandalized, but I've got to say "right on"! :)

  6. That I was, Peter. I was thrilled to see him dance in reality, after following all the specials etc., on television and reading about his every move. I was a fan of Nureyev's since day one.

    Hey Kyle...haven't seen you for a while. Nice to see you.
    I'm pretty good at scandalising! ;)

  7. (sounds of whimpering and pawing at the back door...)

  8. Great story Lee. He was a wonderful dancer however he did continue on a little past his best by date.

    Lunch looks delicious as usual. I'm working up to a visit, maybe October.

  9. So it was you, I heard out there, Lee. I blamed it on the magpies and kookaburras! Come in, dear man...it's far too chilly to be standing out there! ;)

    Hey, jmb...are you really planning a trip back homewards?

  10. I want an invite too for dinner, if you are having everyone elese.

  11. There's always room for you Corn Dog! ;)

  12. good for you yelling to Nureyev!!! I have no doubt he responded to a "real reaction" on your part!!

    The best reactions are ones not planned!

  13. Hi Lee ~~ Glad you got to see Nureyev
    in the flesh and it was nice of him to acknowledge you. Way to go!!
    Have a lovely weekend with your friends visiting for your meal.
    Take care, and enjoy!! Love, Merle.

  14. Hi Deslily and Merle...I didn't regret calling out at all...and being acknowledged was great. :)

  15. Some day you must stop tormenting us from afar and give us a chance to experience these dishes in person. :)

  16. Only if I'm allowed to bring my tomahawk, gto! ;)

    I'll think of you as I'm enjoying tomorrow's lunch!

  17. Oh, Lee, I'd have loved to have seen Nureyev! Good for you for calling out and getting acknowledged - great stuff. Fab pics and that sounds like a wonderful lunch!

  18. I should think you wouldn't be eating for a week after that!! Sounds fandabydozy!