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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Blog Party #3 - Rosemary-scented chorizo scallop skewers

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. :-)


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    By Blogger Crazy Gaijin, at 10/21/2005 12:23:00 am  

  • "Come on Dover, move your blooming arse!"

    Sorry; I just flashed to 'My Fair Lady'...

    Niki, they're perfect! Bite-sized, but substantial.

    Kentucky is, as you may know, a big horse-racing place. I may not actually care about the race itself, but I've always wanted to dress up in my fruity-colored finest...hat and all...just once!

    Thanks for joining us!

    By Blogger Stephanie, at 10/21/2005 03:23:00 am  

  • Lucas - not mean at all, but a plain fact. In Melbourne we have colder weather, so we have more of a chance to dress up. There's not so much of the BBQ in shorts and thongs on the verandah going on most of the year: hence we are less casual. My rellies from Qld love coming down to visit us bc they feel a real reason to dress up to go out for dinner.
    Places like Fitzroy and Brunswick are not casual at all; there's more thought and deliberation going into what's being seen on the street than in any other average suburb. I think we have different ideas of casual lifestlye; mine is the whole stubbies and thongs approach, which isn't such a big culture down south as, say, Brisbane or Darwin.

    Stephanie - I was thinking of My Fair Lady when I was writing it. I was in a production at school, and I loved that scene at Ascot!

    By Blogger Niki, at 10/21/2005 09:48:00 am  

  • Lucas - you're more than welcome to have the VB; it's been sitting in the back fridge for months, and I'm not really certain who put it there. None of us want to drink it and it mocks us every time we open the fridge

    By Blogger Niki, at 10/21/2005 10:01:00 am  

  • Sorry - I had to delete this to edit it, but will add a little bit to it as well!!

    Niki - I think you are being a bit mean!!! Melbourne is a relaxed city (compared to most of Australia's capital cities). Maybe not as relaxed as a little village on the edges of the Mediterranean, but I think it is pretty laid back! Perhaps not in the snobby circles like South Yarra and Toorak ;-) Places like Fitzroy and Brunswick are pretty casual! Bias isn't showing, is it?

    Mmmmm VB. about $8-9 here! I don't drink it in Melbourne, but would love one here!

    This is the extra bit:
    I don't think people put thought into what they wear in Brunswick or Fitzroy. Well, maybe not the people that live there. The people that go there to be seen obviously do! But you are right. We msut have different ideas on casual. I don't think that by wearing more, you are necessarily any less casual than the shorts and stubbies stereotype! I think you can be casual wearing 15 layers (if you are one of those people who are eternally cold!).

    By Blogger Crazy Gaijin, at 10/22/2005 12:17:00 am  

  • Averting my vegetarian eyes from the scallops and chorizo I just wondered whether using the rosemary stems had any real impact?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/25/2005 10:19:00 pm  

  • Owen - I think if I had've had the patience to grill the sticks slightly in the pan, they would've released some of their oils and become more fragrant. I didn't, so the sticks didn't have too much flavour; I did use the rosemary needles in the sauce though, so there was a strong taste of it.
    The idea of using rosemary sticks as grilling implements has been well-documented in the Aussie cooking media; it's best if you do it on a BBQ with naked flames, though! Charred effect n all.

    By Blogger Niki, at 10/26/2005 08:58:00 am  

  • NB- It's a great way to grill prawns too, which is how I first saw it done.

    By Blogger Niki, at 10/26/2005 08:59:00 am  

  • As a vegetarian I don't miss meat but your skewers reminded me of the aroma of rosemary accompanying a joint. Rosemary doesn't seem to work so well with veggie options.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/27/2005 04:16:00 pm  

  • By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/09/2008 01:13:00 am  

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