Sunday, November 17, 2013

NEVER PRESUME TO ASSUME!




Cedar Creek Estate Vineyard-Winery-Restaurant, Mount Tamborine 

Cedar Creek Estate Restaurant


Cedar Creek Al Fresco Dining







Livingstone and Stanley

I am in the process of writing Chapter Four of "Sling Me a Singapore Fling". Well, to be honest...I've written three lines only; but I will get stuck into it tomorrow!

I'm being a social butterfly today; I am having lunch with the "girls" at the Cedar Creek Vineyard/Winery/Restaurant. So my time will be spent readying myself for the occasion before I venture out into the wild world; wherein I shall become absorbed in imbibing a wine or two and indulging in a delicious lunch.  

In the interim, I'm posting an article I wrote for our local little weekly rag up here on the mountain. Each week I write an article for the paper. This post is much briefer than my Singapore story; Chapter Four of Singapore will be up and running before the end of the week, hopefully.


Some folk have the gumption to adopt the presumption of assumption. There are those who think they know you when, in truth, they haven’t a clue. Too readily scenarios are made to suit one’s presumptions with no basis to draw upon other than their overworked, overzealous imaginations and suppositions.

Don’t make your enjoyment at a party evident; don’t laugh or rid yourself of inhibiting inhibitions; never make inane conversation just for the fun of it. Uninformed assumptions will be promptly made by the uninformed who cast accusatory glances your way. It’s presumed you’ve downed a glass too many, when the simple truth is you’re in a good mood; wishing to let your hair down ever so slightly. Maybe you’ve kicked your heels up higher than usual; an action that could cause an accidental stumble if you’re not careful, but you‘re feeling carefree, urged on by your inner devil. Judgmentally, it’s assumed you’ve over-tippled the tipple. It’s never assumed you’ve shrugged off daily restraints and reserves, and are just having fun! 

Girls just want to have fun; so do boys, by the way!    

Someone once said to me quite emphatically; “Oh! But you use so much cream in your cooking!”   

Confused by her erroneous declaration, I hadn’t a clue how she’d arrived at her false notion. Perhaps, when taking a peek in my fridge she’d mistakenly thought the yoghurt to be cream. Cream isn’t a frequent dweller in my fridge, but yoghurt is.

Of course, there have been times I’ve made sauces and desserts that required cream, but, in the majority of instances those sauces and desserts were made when I was cooking in restaurants. Cream isn’t a regular ingredient in my home kitchen. However, if cream is integral to a recipe I’ll use it without guilt. 

Almost every weekend I catered for a wedding when I was cooking in a Gympie restaurant.  If I’d excluded cream from the most popular dessert chosen by the brides for their celebratory feasts – pavlovas - I’d have had a contract out on me! A disgruntled bride is not someone you want in your face! 

The only time I might prepare a decadent, cream-laden dessert is when entertaining guests. I rarely entertain these days; and I never prepare desserts for me.   

In restaurants and at home I’ve cooked Garlic Prawns more times than I care to count. I always prepare them the classic Spanish way with loads of garlic and olive oil; served in too-hot-to-handle cast iron ramekins; the oil bubbling and spitting; with not a skerrick of cream in sight.

Let’s take a leaf out Henry Stanley’s book. He had the good manners not to assume when, tongue-in-cheek, he asked the question: “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”

Garlic Prawns: Combine 1c olive oil, 10-12 peeled and finely-chopped garlic cloves, a pinch of dried chilli flakes, salt and freshly ground black pepper in bowl. Add 24 peeled deveined 24 medium green prawns, tails intact to garlic/oil; stir to coat. Cover; chill overnight. Preheat oven, 220C; divide prawns equally among four cast iron or ovenproof ramekins. Combine 1tbs lemon or lime juice and 4tbs dry white wine or dry sherry (optional); add to marinade; whisk well. Pour over prawns; season; cover; bake 8mins. Sprinkle with finely-chopped parsley; serve immediately with crusty bread.  

Cream-less Carbonara: Grab 240g thickly-cut pancetta; cut it into small squares; cook in 3tbs olive oil until crisp, golden brown; add 2 cloves garlic, chopped into medium pieces; saut√© 1-2mins; remove from heat; don’t drain; set aside. Cook pasta al dente. Using a ladle, scoop some water from the boiling pasta; set it aside in small bowl. In different bowl, beat 3 large egg yolks, 1 whole egg and 1c freshly-grated Parmesan or dry Pecorino Romano and ground pepper; add pancetta and the oil. Drain pasta; place in large serving bowl or platter; quickly add the sauce; mix well; then add a couple of small scoops of the reserved pasta water. This creates the creaminess. Garnish with grated Parmesan or Pecorino and a drip of x-virgin olive oil. 
Black Forest Pavlova: Preheat oven, 150C. Mark out 23cm circle on baking paper; place on baking tray. Beat 4 egg whites and a good pinch of cream of tartar on high, just until soft peaks form; add 1c caster sugar, 1tbs at a time; beat between additions until sugar dissolves and mixture is glossy with stiff peaks. Add 1/4c quality cocoa and 1dsspn Vino Cotto; fold in with a spoon. Pile onto circle in baking paper; smooth sides; make centre slightly lower. Bake 40-50mins until firm and slightly cracked, but not browned. Turn off oven; leave oven door open a crack; cool 1-3hrs or overnight. Put 500g seeded cherries in1c water; add 1tbs sugar; bring to the boil; then simmer 10mins; drain; cool. Add 50ml Kirsch to cherry liquid; reduce to thicken; cool. Pile whipped cream and grated chocolate in pavlova centre; top pavlova with cherries; drizzle with syrup; sprinkle with grated chocolate

18 comments:

  1. Love it. All too often assuming shows up an ass.
    I too use yoghurt much more often than cream, and oil than butter. If the dish demands it though, I will use it without a qualm. Shortbread with margarine? I don't think so...
    And I understand your fear of bridezillas. Double the cream.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi EC...I never use margarine. Always butter or oil for me.

    And, aha...that's where the ass is...it's in "assuming"! ;)

    Thanks for dropping in...'tis always a pleasure seeing you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh. I'm trying to be good today, now you are tempting me.

    ReplyDelete
  4. That's awesome that you write for publication...I knew it! We're related somewhere.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm salivating over the food. All three look so good! The winery looks like a wonderful place to dine, too.

    What a good article - yes, no one should ever assume anything.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Cosmo! Cosmo! Succumb to temptation; you know it does you good!

    ReplyDelete
  7. G'Day Riot Kitty. I've been writing an article for the local rag for 11 years now. It's only a small weekly publication that is distributed to some areas within the Scenic Rim as well as Tamborine Mountain,where I live, of course. Up here on the hill we're part of the Scenic Rim and the population here on the mountain is just over 7,000.

    "Tamborine Mountain is a 28 square kilometres (11 sq mi) plateau (8 km long by 4 km wide) in the Scenic Rim, Gold Coast Hinterland, south-east Queensland, Australia. The name is of Aboriginal origin and has nothing to do with the musical instrument."

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hey there, Lynn...I drool every time I think of Garlic Prawns...I love them; and I'm going to have to have some for myself very soon, I think!

    And that's no assumption! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Never mind all this, where are the pics of you in prison?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Patience, dear Adulamitte...patience!

    You do dare to assume, however... very presumptuous of you, my dear man!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love garlic prawns done like that and never realized it had a Spanish origin. Thank you for the recipe. There used to be a little restaurant in Clayfield we went to many many years ago that would serve them like that in the cast iron ramekins on rice. So yum!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi there Carol...was that little restaurant "Baguette", do you recall?

    I love Garlic Prawns done that way in loads of olive oil and a pile of garlic...and a crusty bread stick to mop it all up!

    If I keep talking about them, I'm going to have to make myself some! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Lee, that name sounds familiar? I really can't recall. It used to be in a converted little shop. And yes, I salivate every time I think about them. I might have to have a go at making them over Christmas.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I might have misled you, Carol...Baguette is in Ascot on Racecourse Road; but then Ascot and Clayfield are neighbouing suburbs.

    Baguette is still there. It's been operating for 37 years by the same people; and throughout those years it always received top reviews. It gained a good name from the moment it opened its kitchen and doors...and has held on to it.

    The restaurant was listed for sale back in June this year...after all that time. I don't know if it sold.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Lee
    A very truthful post. Never presume or assume. Hope you let your hair down and have lots of fun on the day out. Peace

    ReplyDelete
  16. HI Lady Di....there's whole story in itself re my lunch of the other day! lol

    ReplyDelete
  17. Yes, life would be a lot more pleasant if more people took a leaf out of Stanley's book!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I was just thinking of you Pat...and there you are! :)

    Thanks for dropping by.

    ReplyDelete