Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Casey comes to dinner.

Goldie departed a year ago. It's nice that she's still remembered. We haven't had a dog since, but we’ve had visitors. Mr Blake stayed for three weeks in June.

Then, last week, Casey came for dinner. Casey was the last of a litter in a shelter. The shelter is in Broken Hill. Casey is a rottweiler kelpie cross. Each of the last three sentences alone would almost guarantee Casey being dispatched. Put the three together and his survival is a miracle.

The miracle came along in the form of my old friend, Jim. Jim’s last dog died a year ago. He wouldn't have another for some time. Then a friend was playing around on the 'net and found a face and said to Jim, look at this face, how could you not love it. The face was in Broken Hill and Jim flies between Sydney and Melbourne. Jim liked the photo and they emailed the shelter and arranged delivery to Melbourne. The shelter happily agreed, surprised that anyone would want a rottweiler kelpie cross at all, especially the last of the litter, the forgotten one; let alone import one from the outback.

I have never seen a better behaved dog. Jim trains his dogs properly. Before dinner, we took a stroll to the Turkish shop in Sydney Road for some fresh pide - soft as cotton wool, just out of the oven - and Casey walked off leash. Are you putting him on a lead, I asked, nervously. No, Jim said, he’ll be fine. He was fine. He saw a cat on the way back, pricked his ears up, darted forward. One word from Jim and he was back at heel.

Back home, we sat in the garden and drank chilled sauvignon blanc and ate fresh pide and fat black olives. Casey galloped around the garden chasing a ball and William laughed at the dog and then dinner was ready.

Casey sat under the table during dinner. There were tidbits, I’m afraid. From me.

Oh, dinner. Here's the recipe:

Linguine with prawns, scallops and swordfish.

You will need:
Olive oil.
A clove of garlic.
Ten large local prawns (peeled and deveined, tails still on), ten fat scallops and a large piece of swordfish cut into fat cubes.
Half a can of diced tomatoes.
White wine.
Half a cup of cream.
Salt, cracked black pepper.

Boil a large pot of water, add a splash of olive oil and a dash of salt and set the linguine to cook.

In another pan, warm some olive oil and the garlic clove - do not burn - then add the tomatoes with their juice, a good slosh of white wine and a shower of cracked black pepper. Bring to a simmer then add the fish and half the chopped parsley. Cook for five to seven minutes, until the fish is just cooked and no longer.

Drain pasta, place in serving bowls, add fish pieces, add cream to pan juices remaining, reduce a little, pour over fish and pasta. Scatter more chopped parsley over the top and serve.

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