Diane felt that she wanted to make a special pre-Chistmas Party for some very old friends (the friendship not them!) so she excelled her normally high standards. She started out quietly with two of the usual suspects: potato chips and her olives but then the more unusual items made their apearance: Hentails and Mussels Gratinee. The Hentails has a particularly long life in the Johnson house; I bought the cookbook when we first arrived in Western Austraia some time around 1975. The pocet book, remember those things, they were literally meant to be carried in your pocket. The book was called the Southern Cookbook and Marion Brown first published it in 1968.
It was first submitted by Mrs. George Adams from Atlanta, Georgia. It is a simple recipe requiring: strong cheese, butter, flour, Cayenne and salt. These ingredients are mixed together then rolled out and cut into rounds and baked in a 180 degree oven for 10 minutes.
The Mussels Gratinee, the fourth leg of the hors d’oeuvre chair, are simply fresh mussels that are steamed open with the top half removed and the mussel flesh covered with a finely chopped mixture of: fine breadcrubs, chopped parsley and finely chopped shallots. Kevin remembers having mussels prepared like this in our place in Fremantle 40 years ago on numerous occasions.
Diane’s second course was as unprepared as the mussels were prepared: oysters natural. They were from Coffin Bay in South Australia and as delicious as the name does not make them out. She made a small bowl of Lemon Juice, Shallots, Vinegar and Tabasco to be spooned over them. There are many oyster farms in Australia including one here in the West and people in the know say they are the best but they are hard to find.
Diane’s second half of the second course was smoked salmon drapped over a wedge of Rock Mellon (cataloup on the Pacific’s other side.)
Diane’s third course was again uncooked: a kilo (roughly two pounds) of very fresh, cooked prawns. They were derlicious; Diane orders them from our nearby monger so they had been cooked just before she picked them up. They were completely eaten by the assembled multitude thus leaving none for the hard working male of the house in Leeming. She served them with two bowls of tarter sauce, three finger bowls (I forgot to mention that at a prawn feed the prawns are already cooked so the eaters need only peel them) and lemon wedges. The prawns were superb! The Chef also prepared a Greek salad to clean the palate.
As a final dessert course, Diane made a Chocolate Hazelnut Semifreddo.
Needless to say the email comments today reported that they believed this meal was a wonderful way to begin the Holiday Season and I certainly agree with them.
The Chef prepared Espressos and herbal teas as an after dinner completion.