Sunday, December 8, 2013

Researching a book can be lots of fun!

When I wrote Outback Affair I needed to know about bush tucker and how a chef school works. In our small coastal town we are fortunate to have  top class aboriginal chef with international experience.
So I visited Clayton and he was delighted to help me with my research. I learned about the working of a restaurant and chef school, and he told me all about bush tucker and the sourcing of ingredients.
In my book I use some of the flavors that Clayton described to me. When Alex and Jess meet in an old run down bar in the outback, Jess is overwhelmed by the appearance and the tastes of her first bush tucker dish.
She totally forgot about the man sitting across from her as she snapped six shots of the meal in front of her, from a variety of angles. She looked up at Alex, suddenly realizing he was watching her with a peculiar expression on his face.
“Do you always take photos of your meals?”
Get out of this one, Jess.
“It’s my first meal in Australia and I want to remember it,” she said weakly.
So much for the acting.
“An interesting habit,” he said. “Although I agree, Janet’s meals are spectacular. She’s wasted in a place like this. It never gets very busy, and she does to like to impress the guests.”
            Jess was barely listening to him. She had speared a piece of fish and raised it reverently to her mouth. She closed her eyes, savouring the taste, and trying to figure out the herbs that combined to give it the subtle flavour. She opened her eyes and that direct blue gaze was fixed on her lips as she chewed delicately. Pointing her fork at him, she pulled out her best imitation of her mother’s voice.
“Has anyone never taught you manners? It is extremely rude to stare. Particularly when one is eating.”
“You really are a case, aren’t you?” Alex threw back his head and laughed. “When ‘one’ is eating? I think that ‘rest’ at Cockatoo Springs will do ‘one’ the world of good.”
“Don’t be smart. I’m just enjoying my meal. And I like to cook so I am figuring out what is in it.”
“Unless you know your bush tucker you won’t figure it out.” Picking up his fork, he speared a piece of fish and chewed it without taking his gaze from hers. “Lemon myrtle and pepper berries.”
The leaves of the Australian native, lemon myrtle have an amazing lemon fragrance, but without the acid of lemon juice.  The leaves can be used fresh, but are also available dried and powdered. It blends wonderfully with seafood. The leaves, stems and berries of the pepper berry plant have an aromatic peppery taste producing approximately three times the anti-oxidants of blueberries.

If you would like the recipe for Fish fillets with Lemon Myrtle Rocket Pesto served with Pepper Berry Vinaigrette Salad you will find it in the back of Outback Affair, along with an acknowledgement to Clayton for his assistance with my research.
Outback Affair
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SherryGLoag said...

Best wishes with your new book your recipe sounds amazing. :-)

Annie Seaton said...

Thanks for stopping by, Sherry!

E.L. F. said...

Sounds like an intriguing story. Thanks for the excerpt.