Those of you who don’t live in Australia may be unaware that the Melbourne Cup is run on the first Tuesday in November. The Melbourne Cup is our version of the Kentucky Derby or Ascot or the <<insert the biggest horse race from your country here>>.
They call it the race that stops a nation because, come tomorrow at around 3:00pm, just about everyone in the country will stop what they are doing to watch, or listen to, the running of the Cup. If you happen to live in Melbourne, you get to stop for a hell of a lot more than that. We get the WHOLE day off work. Seriously. We don’t go to work all day because for about 5 minutes in the afternoon some horses run around a track. It’s awesome, the most mad and random holiday ever!!!
And because we’re not working, if people aren’t actually going to the races, they have parties and bbq’s or set up parties in the car park at the track, kind of like tail gating but classier. Every one dresses up and the weather is generally good – it’s party time here!!! Apart from the hay fever. That’s still sucking.
And what better way to celebrate your Cup Day holiday, than this adorable vintage salad from Rosemary Mayne-Wilson’s Salads for All Seasons and the accompanying MC Cocktail which I made up to go along with it?
The unifying element between the two is pineapple. And can I just say. Forget Chanel #5. Forget even this gorgeous Sohum Mint Tea perfume which is my current favourite perfume (Notice how even my perfume is named after food?)
Sohum Mint Tea
Pineapple has got to be the best smell in the world. When I opened that can? I just wanted to take a big swim in that glorious scent. Soooo good. And yes, I used pineapple from a can. Fresh pineapple is great. If you happen to live in Cambodia…OMG, the best, sweetest most heaven scented pineapple ever…or you have a couple of spare hours to pfaff about with peeling and coring and taking the eyes out and blah blah blah. As far as I am concerned, canned pineapple is the way to go.
What was not so good was the tinned crab. It was….fairly bland is a nice way of putting it. Completely tasteless would be another. Despite that, the pineapple was sweet and the dressing was surprisingly good. I think that if you used fresh crab meat this would become super good.
RMW recommends decorating this with crab legs. Even if I had made this using fresh crab I would find that a bit creepy. I used some chopped up chives and mint (both can I add, fresh from my garden)!
Alternatively you could forgo piling the crab into and onto the pineapple rings and mix them together and serve in these amazing bits of crabby kitsch!
I would still use the watercress to line the crab bowls. That peppery goodness added a real bit of zing to this dish.
But I will tell you something totally weird. As I was making it, I believed I had spotted a huge flaw in the logic of this salad. Cos that’s the kind of thing I think about, The logic of food. As I may have said a couple of times before, it’s nice to see that Philosophy major isn’t going to waste!
So, here was my concern. You pile your crab meat onto and into the hole of your pineapple ring. However, the law of gravity would suggest that when you picked up your pineapple ring that the crab meat in the hole would not, should not lift with the ring….
Weird thing is? It totally does. Well nearly totally does. A smidgeon of crab may remain on the plate but it will lift. You need to pack it in fairly tight though.
I would definitely make this again. But I would definitely use fresh crab meat.
So, what do you do with the leftover juice from the can of pineapple? Well, if life gives you pineapple juice, I say make a super refreshing and tasty as hell cocktail. I also happened to have a bottle of Midori hanging about. It was given to me as a housewarming present when I moved into my old apartment. How on earth it managed to survive 13 years I have no idea. Anyway on that bottle was a tag and on that tag was a recipe for a cocktail called a 24/7 which was Midori, Chartreuse, lime cordial and pineapple juice. I made this and it was ok. Then I made a second one where I subbed in some fresh lemon juice for the lime cordial and it was much better. Then I made a third…(see what I mean about being surprised that bottle hadn’t been drained long ago?) where I added a splash of ginger beer. And ladies and gentlemen, we had a winner!
I’m calling my version the MC – Midori and Chartreuse, Melbourne Cup…
Oh, and the left over salad dressing? Was really good on some oysters the following day! It had that Bloody Mary Shot vibe about it. Kind of retro in it’s own way!
I will be spending Cup Day cooking up a Joan Crawford inspired Romantic dinner for two courtesy of Jenny at Silver Screen Suppers…stay tuned, I think it’s going to be awesome! Whatever you do, I hope it’s fabulous!