More all Aussie adventures (mainly involving food)

14 Jul

Thursday 30th June – Market

We went to a little market where John and Phoebe live to obtain foods. The fruit and veg stall was really impressive: everything they sold seemed to be giant versions of normal vegetables, but that’s apparently just the way things grow out here! We got some rhubarb, a giant parsnip and some funky purple carrots. I obtained a custard apple, which is a strange bumpy tropical fruit that apparently tastes (unsurprisingly) like custardy apple. More detail on my adventures with those tomorrow.

The mysterious custard apple

Linda bought some soap from a little man because “he looked lonely” – I’m glad I’m not the only person in the world who’s been known to do that – some candles, and some coffee from another little man who roasted it himself and talked nicely about it. I also discovered a new kind of pastry item – a bee sting, which is a honey-flavoured bun with rum-flavoured custard in the middle and totally scrummy. We got some hot smoked salmon to have for tea (all the mackerel was gone *sob*). Missy the dog made two new friends: a tiny sausage dog that had her trying to break her neck with her lead by running round in incessant circles after it, and the gayest poodle in the world ever. There was also a very cool band playing tunes in the background. I love markets 🙂

Saturday 2nd July – Custard Apples

I was determined to make a cake, but not just any cake! I decided to put the mysterious custard apple to good use by making a rhubarb and custard apple buckle, which is an American recipe essentially involving a cake with loads of crumble topping on it (why limit yourself to just one dessert when you can have two? It’s the American way!). After a daunting trip to the shops on my own to obtain further mysterious ingredients like buttermilk – which by the way tastes nowhere NEAR as nice as you would think – and hazelnut meal I was ready to embark on my buckley quest. The baking process went without a hitch (many thanks to Phil for helping with stirring things) and the end result looked and tasted yummy:

Rhubarb and custard apple buckle

After the resounding success of our baking escapades, me and Phil went on to produce some rather good cidery pork for tea and then decided to make a cocktail using the other half of the custard apple and some gin, which was also very nice. Then it was time to go to an engagement party and meet more lovely Australians. I ended up drinking quite a lot of wine and having to explain the apparently baffling geography of Great Britain and Ireland using the items immediately available to me on the table:

Makeshift map of Britain for explaining to Aussies where things are

I also gained insight into what Newcastle is like from a tourist perspective – apparently “a bit of a dump”. When it was time to leave we went back to Michael’s for a bit to listen to music, and I discovered the splendidness of Jethro Tull.

Most of the following week – Flu

After suffering what seemed to be a gradually worsening hangover for most of Sunday, and panicking briefly about whether or not I had the Hendra virus, I realised I was in fact getting the flu. Turns out Australian flu viruses make British ones seem puny and pathetic! I was a feverish mess for a couple of days before developing a head brimming with snot and a horrendous consumptive cough that made people in the street flinch away in shock before looking at me pityingly as if I was dying. I’m still a bit consumptive even now, but as people have rightly pointed out I’m now immune to this year’s winter flu virus, hooray!

Tuesday 5th July – Sausages

To cheer me up on Tuesday Malcolm kindly allowed me to help him make some sausages, another culinary activity I have been as yet unexposed to. It’s quite amazingly simple: you put a load of meat through a machine to make it into mince, then squish in some seasoning, spices and vinegar (you can’t actually taste the vinegar when they’re cooked) before putting it through the machine again with a special attachment that feeds the mix into some pig intestines.

Italian breakfast sausage

We made some South African Boerewors with beef and loads of coriander seed, and some Italian Breakfast style pork sausages with John’s secret spice mix, as well as meatballs with the stuff that was left over. Loads of fun 🙂

Thursday 7th July – Bugs

Dave arrived from Adelaide to visit the Gold Coast for a few days. Unfortunately this meant I had to do the hour-long drive to Brisbane airport in my persistently feverish and delirious state, and the fact that massive lorries and idiots in Utes and things kept trying to kill me did not help matters. Thankfully I made it there and back safely, and had a relaxing afternoon after showing Dave around the Frazer house and introducing him to the dogs.

In the evening we went to Saks on the broadwater at Main Beach to eat some serious seafood. I valiantly tried and failed yet again to see what all the fuss is about with “natural” oysters: they’re not awful but they are still awkwardly reminiscent of eating cold snot. We also had some of the best calamari I’ve ever eaten; in my opinion the test of a good seafood restaurant is how they cook their squid, and Saks gets full marks! Since coming to Australia one of the things I’ve really wanted to eat is Moreton Bay Bugs, which are a kind of prehistoric-looking flat crustacean found only around northern Australia (Moreton Bay in particular, hence the name). In order to fulfil my dream of consuming this beast, me and Dave decided to get a mega seafood platter:

Seafood platter: Moreton Bay Bugs, Queensland prawns, black mussels, oysters Kilpatrick, grilled reef fish, soft shell crab, lemon pepper squid and octopus

I really enjoyed the bugs, which taste a lot like lobster. My favourite thing was definitely the soft shell crab though: I’ve had disappointing experiences with crab in the past but these were just incredible, I really will never understand why sea creatures have insisted on evolving to become so tasty!

Coming soon: the rest of Dave’s visit, complete with traumatic fishing experiences, rainforest skywalk and a tropical fruit-tastic day out!

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2 Responses to “More all Aussie adventures (mainly involving food)”

  1. Sai July 14, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

    How long will you be in Australia for?

    I am arriving into Sydney on Sunday. If you happen to be in Sydney, which I am guessing is unlikely, then say hi to me!

    • laurajaynewatson July 16, 2011 at 3:32 am #

      Sadly I won’t be in Sydney until August 11th 😦
      Hope you have a good time, if you have any tips on cool things to do let me know!

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