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crowdy head: lobster omelet with mace and red peppercorns

Fresh Lobster omelet, mace, red peppercorns and garlic chives at Crowdy Head, August 1958, 5.40 pm.


He has his board laid up on a makeshift trestle on one of the jetties within the breakwall shelter and has spent the last hour sanding down the hot fix on the balsa board he has been riding all week.

A big man, tanned and snowy haired, he has spent four days in solitary sport amongst the massive south swell that has swept up the coast and turned the quiet waters of this remote headland fishing village into a roaring sweep of clean swell that has been rounding the cape and spilling its dozen lines for hundreds of yards beyond the near cove all week.

The exposed and desolate beaches to the north are shrouded in smoky mist as they receive the brunt of the swell and immense driftwood piles have washed ashore there and the lower sandfast forests of casuarinas and Eucalyptus Robusta are undermined and lost.

The massive cacophony of heavy breaking swell outside the breakwall is sweetly augmented by the incessant rhythms of Phillip Glass’s ‘ Music in 12 Parts Number 7 ‘ issuing from the below decks of a small 23’ sloop that had arrived overnight from Vanuatu, and oddly enough, crewed by three very attractive young women.
A little distance away a few surfers from Narrabeen grub up a damp driftwood fire and unpack pork sausages and chuck steaks from a leaking esky. They have been here for just one day and are already beaten.

The big man is waved over by one of the local trawlermen he has befriended and who hands him over a fresh caught and cooked lobster, already split and spilling its abundance of fragrant white flesh onto his weathered hands.

Later that afternoon he unpacks a small Korean firepot and sets the coals alight, and then takes the lobster apart and blends it with six beaten eggs and a pinch of East Indian Mace, blends it gently, and adds a little sel gris salt, some crushed red peppercorns, a tight cut of young tarragon tops, and lastly a light raft of Allium Tuberosum.

He places the mixture in a copper lidded pan and rotates it over the firepot coals until both sides of the omelet are golden and done, apart from a final light dusting of Grana Pandano and a prepared side dish of Chipotle Hollandaise.

The girls will bring the fresh loaves, when they have put some clothes on.

The Narrabeen crew dodges the oily smoke and stink of their burning meat and watch as our man wanders to the jettyside and unhooks a thin line from a nail hammered into one of the piers, and slowly retrieves a chilled bottle of Cote Challonaise from the depths of waving kelp.

Later still the crew from the sloop ‘ Felicity Anne ‘ will call by his small caravan with a few chilled bottles of Pol Roger Cuvee, and they will stay very late indeed.

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Peter McClelland #

    Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant… please tell me it never happened.

    Babette’s Feast minus the snow.

    October 4, 2013
  2. you had to be there mate, haven’t had a miner in here for a while ..

    October 4, 2013
  3. Peter McClelland #

    Do you mean, ‘miner’ as in Perth?

    Me no miner… journalist (medical magazine), former pilot (Ansett)… still a surfer. 🙂

    October 4, 2013
  4. mining this stuff –

    October 4, 2013
  5. Peter McClelland #

    Ahh, yes… pure gold. No mercury needed. 🙂

    October 4, 2013

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