Petasma My word of the day

Do you know what the petasma is?

Male prawns use the petasma during copulation (sex) to grasp a female prawn and transfer the sperm sac. This was a highlight of a dinner party I attended last night.

Let’s rewind a little. Regular readers of Yummy Lummy will be familiar with my friends Peter and Li Peng. Li Peng has recently started a handmade chocolate business known as Jasper and Myrtle Chocolates. I recently shared some photographs and information in a post about Good Friday.

Last night Peter and his friend Dave hosted a dinner for ten people including Bron and me. It was a fabulous event and I met some new people. Of course around food the conversation can roam all over the place. We unpicked some historical stories about Peter’s past as marine biologist in Far North Queensland.

Peter even appeared in an episode of Ask the Leyland Brothers. I reckon any Australian around my age would know about the Leyland brothers and their documentary style television program which extolled the exploits of brothers Mike and Mal. As a marine biologist Peter did quite a bit of work with dugongs. You can see Peter from about 18 minutes and 15 seconds. He’s the skinny bloke in the speedos with all the hair.

The conversation didn’t stop with dugong though, from time to time it got a little ribald and Peter raised the subject of the petasma. It lead to an hilarious exchange that extended to descriptions of claspers on sharks and a recent YouTube video I’d watched after a recommendation from Jennifer Paetsch of Little Monster Girl fame about Japanese chickens and eggs. I never knew how difficult it is to differentiate between male and female chicks.

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Anyway if you have an interest in the copulatory behaviour of animals it’s worth looking up some of these things. While I will always have a passion for medicine and microbiology, there is something very satisfying in reading zöology.

I suppose you’re wondering what we ate given Yummy Lummy is a food blog.

Peter and Dave went to the trouble of making a menu and everything. We ate outside in the cool (read bloody cold Autumn) Canberra night on the back deck, hence the name of this ‘pop up’ restaurant.

The Big Deck menu
The Big Deck menu
Sesame crusted tuna with wasabi panacotta, nori and caviar
Sesame crusted tuna with wasabi pannacotta, nori and caviar

The entrée was pretty amazing. The tuna was perfectly cooked and crusted and protected by a layer of nori from the pannacotta. The wasabi pannacotta was a revelation. The amount of wasabi was just right. Any more and it would have been too much and any less, could have raised questions of lack of punch. The caviar was a nice touch. I reckon finger limes or salmon roe would also be a nice touch.

Lamb backstrap with peanut and coconut crème, red onion salsa, and sweet potato cake
Lamb backstrap with peanut and coconut crème, red onion salsa, and sweet potato cake

The lamb was perfectly cooked and the salsa was to die for. It was so refreshing and flavoursome. The sweet potato cake was also very tasty. The peanut and coconut crème was really nice. I wasn’t sure though it was the best fit with the lamb.

Apple rosettes with pistachio cream and salted caramel sauce
Apple rosettes with pistachio cream and salted caramel sauce

This dessert was a fantastic finish to a most delicious dinner. The granny smith apple was cooked really nicely. It retained its firmness and tartness and complemented the pastry nicely. The pistachio cream had a nice sourness to it which offset the salted caramel sauce really well.

Jasper and Myrtle Chocolates
Jasper and Myrtle Chocolates

As you might expect we finished with hot cups of tea and chocolate.

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Thanks Peter and Li Peng for a great dinner. Here’s to all male prawns having an healthy petasma.

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