Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Of Mice & Men

The best laid plans of mice and men oft gang awry. My plans for today have been ganging awry or getting side-tracked big time. Today’s plan was for some serious work on a book I’m writing about Tabin Wildlife Reserve (a place twice the size of Singapore, in eastern Sabah). However, when I tried to turn on my computer, I found my back-up battery/stabliser was kaput, so I had to drive down to my computer whizz and leave it in intensive care.

Since I was already downtown, it made sense to do some essential shopping. While in the market, I caught sight of some parkia beans or petai, long pods which grow on a huge tree in the jungle. I adore these bitter beans, also known as stink beans for what they do to your urine afterwards (yes, I share everything with you).

I adore petai cooked with a spicy prawn sambal, so that meant going across to the fish market for the prawns, where I happened to spy some lovely fresh tuna. I bought a large slice, then when I got home, decided it was too much for one meal so figured it was time for an indulgent lunch. I therefore made a tuna carpaccio, which was wonderful with a bit of baguette and a big bowl of mountain-grown beans that taste incredibly like scarlet runner beans.

This makes enough for 1 happy luncher; multiply by 4 or 6 as needed
100 g absolutely fresh tuna, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon fish sauce
lots of freshly ground black pepper
scaterring of chopped fresh coriander leaf

Put the tuna in a wide bowl. Mix the oil, lime juice, fish sauce and pepper together, then pour over the tuna. Toss gently, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate 20-30 minutes. Serve with the coriander leaf on top and more pepper. You can drain off the marinade but I like to dip a chunk of baguette into it.

Of course, as I was preparing the carpaccio, I had to run for my camera a couple of time to take some photos of one of the scarlet sunbirds that visits our garden daily to sip nectar from the tiny purple flowers on a young pineapple, and from the brilliant heliconia flowers.

So here it is, early afternoon and not a word written on the Sumatran rhino, the mud volcanoes and other delights of Tabin. I was about to start work then it occurred to me I should do a web search on the maker of the gorgeous blue porcelain plate I used for my tuna. It has a crest saying “Leonard Livada & Co, Constantinople” with London printed below. I couldn’t find anything on line. Can anyone help?


tiff said...

You stole my blog title.

tiff said...

Also: 1. I know where I get my work avoidance skills from. 2. I want tuna carpaccio right now.

Wendy Hutton said...

when did you use Mice & Men? And did you get permission from Steinbeck? Your work avoidance skills are inherited from BOTH parents — poor you!

tiff said...

I believe I used Mice and Men shortly before Christmas. And I've been to the Steinbeck Museum so I get first dibs. Nah.

Wendy Hutton said...

You win!