Friday, August 24, 2007

On the Beach

Since Hayden got some consultants in to help him at work, he’s learnt himself a new phrase: On the beach. “The beach” is where consultants go for a good rest between assignments, or they might nip out to “the beach” for an afternoon if they have been up til 3am on a deadline the night before. I have never seen these consultants in action, but I imagine them to be something like stockbrokers from the 1980s: tall, tanned, Sydney-looking fellows dressed in crisp business shirts and a level of grooming unheard of in Townsville. I picture them drawling out of the corners of their mouths, “Why’d I miss that meeting? Oh yeah, [nodding slowly] I was ‘on the beach’ that day, heh-heh..” OK, so that is not an attractive image (think American Psycho), and “on the beach” is not even a very amusing piece of lingo but I still wanted to note it down cos, as I’ve mentioned before, I do like to collect a bit of workplace slang (example A, and example B).

This week I started a new job at a café just down the road, and I am hoping it will balance nicely with the next round of writing work - which should be coming up soon. It surprised me how lonely I got working on those articles at home by myself. Like, way lonelier than if I was just at home by myself doing my own stuff, even though when I’m working I’m emailing, texting, talking on the phone a lot more than I would otherwise do. I’m hoping that working in the café will be a good antidote to that.

Since I’m not rostered on at the café today and I haven’t yet received my brief for the writing work, it occurred to me that today I must be, legitimately, ‘on the beach’. And because I can’t stay actually on the beach too long (summer’s coming back, I get sunburned if I stay after 9:30am), I decided to spend my beach day doing something else entirely:

This fish mould has been sitting in the back of our pantry ever since my mum passed it on to me from her aunt Marjorie. It came with a hand-written recipe for salmon mousse, which whenever I see I think to myself: “I’m going to try that out one day.”

Today is that day.

I don’t know what I expect it to taste like. I have this weird attraction sometimes, to the most cheap and kitschy food available (Drue, do you remember that time I made you have a $5 fry-up in sleazy Spencer Street with me, in the belief that it would make a deliciously fun and kitschy preparation for a night of drinking? Yeah, I don’t know why I did that to you. I’m sorry).

The Salmon Mousse recipe calls for onion, gelatine, cream, and two lots of tinned salmon.

(Doesn’t this picture remind you of food shopping on a budget in, say, France? All these unfamiliar things in little tins and jars, no fibre in sight and the only thing fresh is an onion?)
Bung it all together, and viola! An extremely unhappy-looking fish.

And now to serve ...
and to taste ...

And he's off! racing to the bathroom.
Was my day on the beach wasted?

I think not!

But what to do with the rest of the fish?
I suppose I'll have to freeze it til bin day.


h a i k u g i r l said...

Ew! Hilarious! I love your skeptical faces!

Naomi said...

Ha! and that was Hayden's real reaction, he's not hamming it up for the camera.

Drue said...

Somehow when I see tin fish and fish shapped mold I think of the war and my mother sneaking suger and butter from my grandparents kitchen.

Realy Naomi, we are not on war rations yet. But you never know, little johnny may step up his war on 'terroroism' so maybe the practice may come in handy.

I do remember the Swanston street all day breakfast. I particularly remember the powdered scrambled eggs on your plate. I think I was clever (not brave enough) to order pizza. Many a time we had scoffed at the tourists eating food that only the unadventurous would dine on. Perhaps it was a little foolhardy to beleive that the tourists may be onto a secret that only those who had read Lonley Planet knew... I don't think they were Lonley Planet reader.

There isn't a Fat Boys on Swanston Street, just a whole lot of fat.

I'm very happy with some of the cafes I've found in Dubai. Appart from the beef bacon, the breakfasts are on par with some of Melbournes finiest. When are you guys going to swing by on a visit to Europe?

hanna said...

What a silly story!! I like reading you site :) The fish looked really nice but I guess Hayden's face and empty chair says it all.
Hey congratulations on the job at cafe! Which one is it? The one with good coffee? It's a brilliant and very simple notion that working home makes you lonely but staying doing your own stuff doesn'st.. silly stuff :)
have a great day!!!!

Eileen said...

Salmon + gelatin= fish Jello. Fish Jello does not sound like a good thing. No sir. I'm with Hayden on this one.

Naomi said...

Hanna - yes it IS the one with the good coffee. Yay! Although sometimes when I'm working there I'm wishing that I was just sitting down relaxing on the other side of the counter.

Drue - I had forgotten that you only ate pizza that night. So it was just me with the powdered eggs. Hm.

I took Hayden and his parents to Fat Boys when they were in Brisbane to meet the rest of my family .. they wanted to see the parts of Brisbane that meant the most to me, so of course I showed them the place where we began every weekend during the years 1995 - 1998. So good that it's still standing. And still the same.