Tuna

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.

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.

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

Advertisements

Lunch at The Boathouse by the Lake

The Boathouse by the Lake menu for Eat Drink Blog 6
The Boathouse by the Lake menu for Eat Drink Blog 6

It’s been a bit over a week since Eat Drink Blog 6 has finished. In my roundup of my 15 favourite things about Eat Drink Blog 6 I mentioned I wanted to do a separate post about the experience at The Boathouse by the Lake.

The Boathouse is one of my favourite Canberra restaurants for fine dining. The Boathouse was an option for the final session of the conference and we had to provide our preferences well in advance. Given I don’t drink alcohol I wasn’t that interested in the brewery or the winery visits. I would have been happy with coffee, but really I had my heart set on The Boathouse. It seems I wasn’t alone, Amanda Whitley said The Boathouse was the popular choice amongst all the delegates. I’m just so grateful I got my first choice.

As we arrived on the bus with Amanda as our leader we were escorted to the main verandah for a drink and some canapes. The view of Lake Burley Griffin was pretty good for an overcast day.

This is a photograph of Lake Burley Griffin from The Boathouse by the Lake
Lake Burley Griffin from The Boathouse by the Lake

The session would consist of lunch during which we would enjoy a cooking demonstration. We met the owner, James Souter, two chefs John Leverink and Alex O’Brien and the sommelier Kate Hibberson. James explained how he and his wife came to own The Boathouse purchasing the restaurant from James’ father.

The first dish was a raw tuna, avocado and wasabi jelly entrée. We were treated to a new ingredient in wasabi sesame seeds which John explained he sourced from the Good Grub Hub. This stuff is dynamite. They’re on twitter too.

A slight digression, Simone from Play with food found out how to mail order the wasabi sesame seeds and shared the information with me through twitter. The Hungry Mum aka Belinda also got into the twitter conversation and ‘threatened’ to buy up all the wasabi sesame seeds. I felt my happiness was at risk so I immediately placed an order for three bottles. I’ll keep two and give one to a friend.

 

I suggest you follow Simone, Belinda and me on twitter and you can see how the conversation has developed over a week.

Back to The Boathouse. The entrée was fabulous.

This is a photograph of the final plating up of Yellow fin tuna, avocado, chicken skin crackling and wasabi jelly with wasabi sesame seeds
Yellow fin tuna, avocado, chicken skin crackling and wasabi jelly with wasabi sesame seeds. Sorry about the blur associated with the tips of the forceps, chicken skin crackling and herbs.
This is a black and white photograph of The Boathouse by the Lake chefs JOHN LEVERINK and ALEX O'BRIEN
The Boathouse by the Lake chefs JOHN LEVERINK and ALEX O’BRIEN

The main course was a lovely duck breast.

The photograph is of a main meal of Duck breast, almond tofu, mustard and legumes
Duck breast, almond tofu, mustard and legumes

I think everyone was taken by the dessert. This is an Alex O’Brien creation which he and John said is a controversial element of the menu. Apparently people love it or hate it. The chefs love it so it stays on the menu. I loved it too.

The photograph is of a dessert made up of Smoked chocolate ice cream, beetroots, speculaas, and baby coriander
Smoked chocolate ice cream, beetroots, speculaas, and baby coriander

I’d highly recommend The Boathouse by the Lake to any food lover living in or visiting Canberra.

Tonight I used some of the wasabi sesame seeds on my baked salmon with wilted kale, peas, corn, almonds, shallots, spring onions, lemon zest, chilli flakes and wasabi sesame seeds

Baked salmon with wilted kale, peas, corn, almonds, shallots, spring onions, lemon zest, chilli flakes and wasabi sesame seeds
Baked salmon with wilted kale, peas, corn, almonds, shallots, spring onions, lemon zest, chilli flakes and wasabi sesame seeds

I received my wasabi sesame seeds today. Thanks to John Leverink and Simone Emery.

The Good Grub Hub Wasabi Sesame seed package
The Good Grub Hub Wasabi Sesame seed package
The Good Grub Hub Wasabi Sesame seed package
The Good Grub Hub Wasabi Sesame seed package
The Good Grub Hub Wasabi Sesame seed package
The Good Grub Hub Wasabi Sesame seed package
Wasabi sesame seeds
Wasabi sesame seeds