Wednesday, November 21, 2007

sandwich press snapper

What should a food blogger do - is it better to post naked recipes or wait and only publish the ones accompanied by appropriate food porn shots? Sure a photo makes the post look so much prettier but if I am cooking for others I feel a little geeky to say “Now don’t touch the food – I’ve got to photograph it from different angles but first I have to find a suitable backdrop?” Really, I have enough quirks in my personality and eating preferences as it is!

My flying visit to the Coast of Gold, fortunately just north of the Schoolies running wild in Surfers Paradise, was delightful. There was lots of catching up with people I love, swimming in a pleasant pool as well as deep and meaningful hours of conversation in the spa. While great weather and relaxed waterside walks were on the agenda, stunning food was not. This chunk of the coast may not be representative, after all I wasn’t staying at Palazzo Versace but what is it with the whole “Italian/French/Fusion” thing everywhere? We had dinner at the oddest place – Italian in name and inclination with a huge dollop of 70’s retro French. A choice of pastas or classics like lobster thermidor, duck a l’orange or perhaps some crepe Suzettes for dessert. Perhaps when all the old ducks flew north to retire early in the sunshine, in the early ‘80s, it dictated the direction the restaurants would take. Maybe the aging population with it’s fear of osteoporosis explains why every time I ordered something innocuous and vegetable based it was slathered in cheese, without any menu warning.

By the second night I figured it would be safer to cook. There was a seafood shop (and butchery – for all your flesh needs) a short stroll away, so fish seemed the obvious choice. We were a group of picky eaters – not just my no meat or dairy thing but one who lived only on restaurant food and another who could not eat seeds, skin or anything remotely fibrous due to a serious health condition.

In the end with roast potatoes and garlic on the side, some baby carrots finely sliced and steamed within an inch of their lives and a rocket salad for those who could handle it, I grilled the snapper and made a simple salsa to dress it.

Now ‘grill’ may not be the most accurate term. I was rather taken by the lovely new Teflon coated sandwich press that required a mere wipe of a paper towel to clean. Feeling adventurous, though a little unnerved at the prospect of ruining $40 of fish – I simply placed the fillets 2 at a time between the heated plates and let it do its stuff. The result was a lovely caramelised outside without drying out the flesh.

The salsa was an act of love. My aunt adores cucumber and tomato but with severely arthritic hands it is almost impossible for her to skin and deseed which is necessary to keep her innards pain-free. I spent a good while peeling the tomatoes, scooping out the seeds and search for any stray ones that might have escaped before finely dicing. So too the cucumber. To give it some flavour I oh-so finely chopped some kalamata olives and garlic and added a dash or 2 of good quality olive oil and a grind of black pepper.

Fortunately it worked and everyone was happy

Perhaps I am maligning the Gold Coast but I’ve always found it a very odd place to visit – an artificial environment with looming high-rise apartments and shopping malls cluttering a once picturesque coastline. But then again, theme parks scare me silly.

Almost as much as wall-to-wall fusion restaurants playing muzak.

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Blogger Lucy said...

You see, I agree 'bout the pictures. That's why I rarely have a finished 'dressed up' shot. Can't be bothered by the time I'm done cooking anyway.

Sounds like a great meal - snapper in a sandwich press is a grand idea.

Gold Coast is weird. Most definitely stuck in a time warp.

12:21 pm  
Blogger kitchen hand said...

Don't worry about the pictures. Photos are overrated. The writing is what counts.

The Gold Coast is what the sixties would have been had they lasted another forty years. If you add the colour black, decent coffee and interesting conversation, the Gold Coast could be Melbourne. (I'm not sure if that's a compliment to the Gold Coast or an insult to Melbourne.)

3:41 pm  

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