This is less of a recipe and more of an edible postcard.
Greetings from here.
If the adage says that you should start a year the way you wish it to go on, this is not a bad way to do it.
I’m sitting at the solid blonde table in our friends’ place at Avoca Beach, an hour and a half north of Sydney.
I’m happy to report that summer in the Southern Hemisphere has well and truly shown her smiling face.
Over my shoulder the water is clear and the sky pure turquoise. In the lounge room next to me some of our oldest friends, puzzling over the day’s cryptic crossword. It’s a communal effort. On the floor are wee ones wriggling in pastel onesies; one is pink, the other blue.
The air is a little sticky with salt spray from the beach. This morning’s excursion to the local shops revealed two things. Firstly, the coffee here could do with a little improvement (#firstworldproblem of a most extreme nature). Secondly, we discovered we can rent surf boards for a reasonable rate. The day’s schedule has now been set. This should be interesting.
We drove up to this slice of paradise at lunch time yesterday. The afternoon revolved around swimming, snoozing and prepping a barbecue for dinner.
It was a day of gender divides. So while the sun set and the ladies sipped Campari on the balcony the boys went to work, beers in hand
For dinner; grilled chicken thighs that got smothered before serving in a verdant chimichurri,
There were also cold prawns that got dipped in a fairly aggressive aiolli and a potato salad that went pear shaped after I plum forgot about them ( I may have been delightfully distracted by one of the wee ones, dressed in blue). The waterlogged starches were half way salvaged by some chickpeas and a medley of veg dwindling about in the crisper (green beans, zucchini ribbons and peas. Some of the aiolli and chimichuirri chipped in to help. We ended up calling it ‘Russian Salad’ in desperation. Everyone was relatively polite about it. NB There were no photographs of that dish for a good reason.
The night came to a close with some home made fireworks, a fierce match of Trivial Pursuit (men against women) and a cracker of an improvised dessert.
It was a simple combination of what was lurking on the bench and in the fridge. Only later did we realise that it was pretty close to the Dark and Stormy cocktails that some of us were drinking.
While we talked about why in the heck we’re choosing to live on the other side of the world from this two pineapples were shorn of their spikes and sliced into steaks 2 cm thick.
They then had a bath in three shots of whiskey and some lime zest. After that they spent some time on barbecue spines until one side turned dark with caramel. When we flipped them we sprinkled their faces with a little brown sugar to boost the sweetness.
Just before serving we drizzled the burnished fruit with half a cup of sour cream, half a cup of cream cheese and half a cup of yogurt muddled together with some brown sugar. It could have also been because the combination of tart and rich were exactly what the sticky, booze soaked pineapple cried for. It could have also been because that was what was languishing in tubs in the fridge.
We ate the slices of sticky fruit and cold cream with crushed Christmas ginger cookies -though plain digestives or ginger nuts would have also been fine.
It was a grand end to a winning eve. And not just because the ladies won Trivial Pursuit.
May 2012 bring many, many more nights as good as this.
Barbecued whiskey pineapple with brown sugar creme
1 knife. 1 tray. 1 barbecue of grill. 1 plastic sandwich bag. 1 rolling pin or empty wine bottle (for crushing biscuits)
2 pineapples, shorn of spines and cut into 2 cm steaks
60 ml of whiskey, brandy or bourbon
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup natural yogurt
4 tablespoons of brown/muscavado sugar
3/4 cup of spice cookies/ ginger nut cookies, crushed.
Zest of half a lime
Here’s how we roll
1. Marinate the pineapple slices in the booze and lime zest for 30 minutes.
2. Heat the bbq to medium high and make sure that the grill is very clean (you don’t want your dessert to taste like chicken).
3. Lay the pineapple slices on the grill and cook for 5-10 minutes, until there is a good burnish on one side.
4. Flip the pineapple slices and use half of the brown sugar to sprinkle a little over the top of each slice to melt.
5. Grill the other side for 5-10 minutes until there’s a good burnish on the other side.
6. Whisk together the cream cheese, yogurt, sour cream and brown sugar until there are no lumps.
7. Serve the slices with the brown sugar creme and trampled cookies.