Sunday, March 8, 2015

Lobster lunch (number 9 (sembilan))

Our Canberra birthday weekend started with much excitement - being able to pick, eat and (slowly) enjoy our first ripe fig grown on our OWN tree. We shared half with our neighbours as our tree is on the boundary of our properties and they contribute to keeping it watered too!

There was a second fig almost as ripe but we were too slow and the birds have got to it. We need to head out to Bunnings and invest in some netting!

Then on Sunday, it was down to Rosedale for another celebration of abundance - our annual lobster lunch - this time catered by Jane and Louise of Slick Catering, back in business after a two year break involving travel and other amazing adventures.

Judy L had secretly planned with them a menu based on the flavours we had enjoyed so much in Ubud, Bali last year. Janet De Neefe's "Fragrant Rice" proved to be a valuable reference point for Jane and Louise's take on south coast seafood, Bali style.

We managed to wait until 12.00 noon (sharp) to crack open the chilled Majella and welcome the arrival of some wonderful appetizers. Louise had barbecued Satay Lilit - ground fresh fish and spices moulded on lemongrass sticks for our first round of finger food, then little pots of Rujak (chilli - tamarind fruit salad)............

It was lovely to catch up with Fiona and James again, this time accompanied by Charlotte and Will. We heard all the news of their eventful lives as James settles into his challenging new job in Darwin and Fiona sorts out all the family business in Melbourne. 

While Jane serves Sate Ayam (chicken satay) served with Bumbu Kacang (peanut sauce)...a Bali favourite...

It's pretty interesting times for Jennie and Wayne too as they consider the future of the vineyard.  They're not quite as busy as they usually are at this time of year as most of their crop has been destroyed by the dreaded fungus - another sign of the really weird summer we've experienced in these parts.

To make sure they don't get used to being a bit less frenetically busy at this time of the year Jennie and Wayne have continued to host bands of pickers (this year 3 French girls and a couple of lads from Belgium) - finding work for them too in the local region.

Sophie was back for the lobster lunch this year after her break (in France) last year and Charlotte joined us for the first time this year. It was great to talk to her about life as a student in Melbourne, sharing a house in Fitzroy and looking forward to what the world will offer as she finishes her degree this year and celebrates a big birthday.

I didn't get a good pic of Maddi & Will this year so hope they will forgive me for that!

We were seated in time for the arrival of platters of wonderful fresh Clyde River oysters. Jane dressed them simply - with hints of Asian goodness (no recipes from Bali - there aren't many oysters served there!). They were superb (as usual).

Wayne can't eat crustaceans - but Jane and Louise always look after him very well anyway. We all enjoyed watching him unwrap his whole snapper steamed in fresh banana leaves, and savouring the coconut infused spicy flavours wafting over the whole table.

Our lobsters were a bit smaller than usual this year - the vagaries of nature! but delicious all the same served with their toasted spicy topping.  Balinese salads and saffron rice accompanied our lobster - the Urab Buncis (bean and coconut salad) being a standout favourite for most of us...with the gado gado inspired salad a close second.

How amazing is this dessert? - pandan flavoured, hand made icecream served with Bubur Injin (black rice pudding), slices of fresh mango and toasty meringue.  I learnt to ADORE black rice puddings in Bali and have spent many restaurant visits there finding my all time favourite.  Jane and Louise's black rice pudding is up there with the best there is!

Other elements of our Rosedale lunches were all there ..lots of laughter among good friends, the sound of  the ocean beyond the forest of tall spotted gums surrounding Judy and Jurgen's house; our favourite kookaburras were all there too watching over proceedings but keeping well clear of the flocks of bossy lorikeets.

We were all upright enough this year to enjoy a long walk after lunch along the beach with Forest, the golden retriever and Maggie the Jack Russel providing a few laughs as they vied with each other to be top dog.

We feel very lucky to be a part of this wonderful group of friends, able to enjoy such wonderful food and good times in an amazing environment like this..........  Thank you Judy and Jurgen, once again, for making it all possible.

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