Sunday, November 04, 2012
WHY ALL THE LONG FACES?
Yippee-i-o! It’s Melbourne Cup time again! You’ve heard the one about the horse entering the bar; and you’ve heard the one about leading a horse to water, but not being able to make him drink. Here’s the answer to both - finally! The horse eagerly cantered up to the bar, but all he was offered to drink was water - that’s why he had the long face!
For those of you in the Northern Hemisphere who may not be aware – The Melbourne Cup is Australia’s major thoroughbred horse race – “the race that stops a nation”! It’s a 3,200metres (1.9888 miles) for three-year olds and over. It’s the richest “two-mile” handicap in the world, and one of the richest horse races. The Melbourne Cup is always held on the first Tuesday in November. The winner of the first Melbourne Cup in 1861 was a bay stallion, “Archer”, ridden by John Cutts.
Melbourne Cup Day is almost a public holiday here in Australia; it’s celebrated throughout the country; some believe it should be declared a public holiday. Between all the sweeps and partying, it should be!
I love Melbourne Cup Day; and always have. I've got the champagne chilling; the prawns and oysters have been ordered, ready to be picked up later today; the smoked salmon has been smoked, and my bets have been laid! The form guide is at the ready!
If you’re looking for me tomorrow – don’t bother! I won’t answer the door or the phone. I’ll be too engrossed watching the lead-up to the race from 6 am; "oohing and aahing" at the fashions on the field; and engrossed by all the races from 10 am to the end of the final race when the final hoof goes over the final line – with no interruptions!
The special race day is held at Flemington Race Course, Melbourne, Victoria.
In the mood of the Day…I’ve spun the little tale below – all past Melbourne Cup winners are highlighted to help you make some sense of my nonsensical ramblings!
The Shocking thing was the Americain looked on very Saintly from the end of the bar while sipping on a Brew. He scratched his White Nose before he accused MacDougall of being a bit of a Windbag! MacDougall Viewed the scene around him. He then nonchalantly tipped his Dark Felt hat, and murmured “What a Nuisance” to the Kiwi from Toparoa who sat on the stool next to him. MacDougall and the Kiwi continued sipping their schooners of ice-cold Haricot beer, preferring to ignore The Trump.
Looking on with a Tawrrific soft glow from the Lantern hanging over the bar highlighting her Empire Rose complexion was Jezabeel, the adopted daughter of Count Cardigan and Prince Foote. As most of you know, Prince Foote is the son of King Ingodas and Marini-Henri of Maraboa, Russia. Count Cardigan, the brother of Lord Fury was a Statesman who had been an Artilleryman at the Battle of Gurner’s Lane. I’m filling you in on a bit of the family history, in case you weren’t aware of the lineage.
Earlier in the day, Peter Pan flew in from the Backwood for a bit of Hi Jinx because out near Wodalla and Merriwee the river was Rising Fast. Peter Pan was a Rain Lover, but he felt it safer and more sensible to Skipton with his Sister Olive who wouldn’t leave without her Gold and Black cloak. She arrived looking like she was going to attend a Gala Supreme, namely the Beldale Ball.
Even Stevens had felt the Might and Power of the Subzero temperatures down Baystone way. He decided it more Efficient to make Just a Dash along Piping Lane grasping his Vintage Crop in his right hand! He’d successfully convinced The Parisian aka Comedy King to join him.
Old Rowley decided to Think Big when he saw a Blue Spec on the horizon. He and Archer, The Quack, cared less that it was a Phar Lap; so off they charged on a Nightmarch to the Delta. For protection they each carried a Carbine, but Sirius, like a Silver Knight guided them along the way. When they reached Newhaven, a Rainbird sang pure and clear like an Evening Peal. Immediately they felt at ease, and even the Light Fingers of Chester, The Grafter, couldn’t alter their relieved, joyous mood. More importantly, they ignored him after his failed attempt to steal The Pearl. He was caught Red Handed; but all that was soon forgotten when the whole bar congratulated Tim Whiffler. Those at the bar overheard him say to Jeune, “Let’s Elope!” What a Don Juan! “Bravo! He sure doesn’t horse around!” Everyone called out in unison, The Revenue in the bar that night paid for the Nightwatch, and then some!
Festive Pizzas: On a floured surface, roll out 1x375g packet puff pastry to 1mm thickness; cut with a small, 4-5cms, cutter; place rounds on large, flat, buttered pastry tray; brush with olive oil. On each round, place a slice of goat’s cheese with a slice of cherry tomato and a slice of yellow tear-drop tomato; brush again with olive oil; sprinkle with black pepper and sprigs of thyme; bake in preheated 210C oven, 12-15mins. Various toppings; prawns, roasted capsicum strips; asparagus, mozzarella, anchovies and black olives.
Scallops with Broccoli Cream Sauce: Cut 24 scallops from the shells; replace onto shells; place on flat baking tray. Make sauce: Melt 20g butter in saucepan; sweat 200g trimmed broccoli and 3 crushed garlic cloves; add 300ml cream, salt and pepper; cook 15mins; process in blender until sauce consistency. Cook the tray of scallops in 220C oven, 2-3mins; spoon a little sauce over scallops; spoon a little sauce over scallops; place 2 scallops and small fork on small plates.
Smoked Salmon Dip: Place 3tbs soft butter, 200g smoked salmon, 1/4c sour cream, 1tbs finely-chopped onion and 2tsp lemon juice in processor; process until smooth. Fold through 1tsp halved capers; season with black pepper. Chill till required. Cream Cheese Croutons: Mash 125g soft curd or cream cheese with 4tbs grated cheddar, gruyere, parmesan or other hard cheese; add plenty of freshly-ground black pepper and chopped parsley or tarragon; stir in well-beaten egg. Spread onto crust-less slices of French bread; top each with a piece of anchovy and halved black olive. Cook in 170C oven, 15mins.