These are my entry for the Big Game party being held at Stephanie's place this weekend. Lots of beer, lots of football. Woo-hoo....!
The brief is to make "hearty, yet bite-sized treats" so.....yeah.....those things in the picture don't look exactly footy-and-beer friendly, do they? No, sir. Little girly things on sticks? Where are the party pies? Where are the footy franks? Where's the VB??
Well, sir. October in Melbourne is a bit of a big-game desert. The AFL footy grand final was in September, along with that game they play up north. ;-) The Rugby Union Super 12 final was months ago and we lost The Ashes not so long ago. Until summer when we get into the cricket one-dayers, there's not much game watching going on. However, there's one sport that sweeps Melbourne for a few weeks every year: horse racing. Each spring Melbourne is home to the Spring Racing Carnival - about 10 big race meetings around Melbourne -and is temporarily centre of the world horse-racing community. Especially on that one Tuesday in November, when those of us in Melbourne even get a public holiday for the Melbourne Cup. Yep, a holiday for a horse race! :-)
The Spring Racing Carnival is all about glamour. Women put on their flippiest, most pastel-coloured cocktail dresses, and an elegant hat or fascinator is almost mandatory. Wedding guest - nice dress. Going to the races? Very nice dress! Men are always seen in their sharpest suit. It's reveals that Aussies are happy to abadon their casual life for a few weeks, but then again, Melbourne has never really been known for its casual lifestyle. Too reserved. And the weather's too cold. :-)
So, in acknowledgement of the big sporting event going on in our city, I made a little something that you might enjoy at about 3.10pm on Tuesday 1 November, as you stand by the TV, screaming and cheering at "the race that stops the nation". Yeah, I know, Cheesy! These little bite size savouries have scallops to please the girls, and manly bits of spicy chorizo sausage to keep the blokes happy.
It's really just a glamed-up variation on the classic scallops and bacon; revered for its British nursery food associations. I cut a few sprigs of rosemary from our garden and stripped them bare. Threw in some chopped rosemary needles and fried the slices of chorizo, then set aside. Dredged the scallops in seasoned flour and fried in the chorizo-flavoured oil for 3 minutes and then turned and cooked for a further 2. I then threw in a little white wine, some more rosemary and about 2 tablespoons of cream and reduced it to make a sticky sauce (not pictured), and then threaded the sausage and scallops onto the rosemary sticks.
Very tasty. Great combination of flavours and textures. Crispy chorizo and creamy, soft scallop work well. And in such a perfect little one-mouthful bite. Hearty, bite-sized, and yet elegant enough for a horse race.
And just to show that I'm not too posh to get down to my Aussie footy-girl genetic roots, here's a picture of an ice-cold stubby of VB. Because it's really not any kind of Aussie sport-watching party without a stubby. :-)