One of the most vital things to do while being a ‘Gappie’ (see ‘Mess, Mates, Music and Money’ posted April 8, 2011) is to go overseas. In between
working at least three jobs to pay for this necessary overseas experience, most Gappies spend their remaining hours plotting and planning their trip doing things like lying awake at night studying the Lonely Planet Guide to all of their selected destinations.
Others, like Archie, decide on a whim that it is now time to leave the nest. They must immediately spread their wings and they’re gone in a matter of days.
We did say to Archie that if he did want to travel we would pay for his flights but that he would have to save all his spending money. With no job and a zero bank balance we didn’t think he would be able to take us up on our kind offer.
But Archie has a gift for pulling things off. Somehow, just before Easter, Archie managed, through a friend of a friend, to secure full-time employment doing boring data entry for a medium sized firm on the edge of the CBD. He also worked nights as a waiter at private parties and events like the opening of Zara and the premiere of ‘Mary Poppins’.
We went ahead and booked the flights but as the departure date loomed forever closer I stressed over how he was going to be able to feed himself with so little saved. ‘Don’t worry mum,’ he’d shout from his music room, ‘I’m taking my guitar and didgeridoo. I’m going to busk in New York. I’ve checked it out, you don’t even need a permit’. Oh to be so relaxed, confident and blasé.
Last Saturday we had a ‘Gday USA’ farewell party for him with 50 friends, family and the mates. Trying hard to think of American recipes you can eat while standing, I served guacamole with corn chips, mini ham and pineapple pizzas, corn fritters with sweet chilli dipping sauce, mini hot-dogs served with onion relish and chilli con carne in noodle boxes all washed down with plenty of Budweiser beer. We then had a few speeches followed by triple chocolate brownies, peanut m&ms, mini Oreos and Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. It was a great night and as our guests left the party many of them handed Archie ‘Bon Voyage’ cards and inside those cards were various and generous amounts of cash. A lot of it already in Greenback currency. They stuffed these envelopes into Archie’s hands saying, ‘here, have this. Just a few US dollars we had lying around the house and they’re now not worth anything like what we paid for them. You may as well have them’.
Prior to the party we had done a budget for Archie letting him know how much we thought he would need to survive in New York for his three-month visit. We knew his bank balance fell way short of that figure. But after my ‘G’day USA’ effort, Archie’s financial health had taken a turn for the better. ‘It’s all good mum,’ he said, ‘I told you not to worry. I’m going to be fine.’
But he still took his didgeridoo with him. And for those thinking of taking their didgeridoo on board a plane, Qantas no longer allows these as carry-on luggage for reasons of ‘security’. One of the last things we had to do for Archie was pay his $150.00 excess baggage fee.
And so the house is quieter now. The mess has gone and so have the mates, the music and most of our money.
If you’re in New York and you see a battling musician busking with his didgeridoo, make sure you say ‘G’day’ to my Archie.
Corn and Ginger Fritters
Out of all the recipes I cooked that night, this is the one that seemed to be everyone’s favourite. I have made these many times as they are popular here at home for a Sunday breakfast served with crispy thin bacon and a roasted roma tomato.
This recipe comes from Anneka Manning’s ‘Good Food’ cookbook. She serves them with a wedge of lime but I like the sweet chilli dipping sauce.
Degree of Diffiulty: 3/5
Cost: Cheap especially while fresh corn is in season
Makes: About 12 fritters
1 large corn cob, husk and silk removed
2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 small red chilli, deseeded, finely chopped
2 tbs finely chopped fresh coriander
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 eggs lightly whisked
50g (1/3 cup) plain flour
Vegetable or canola oil, for frying
1 lime, quartered, to serve
Extra fresh coriander (optional), to garnish
Use a sharp knife to remove the kernels from the corncob, cutting lengthways close to the cob.
Combine the kernels, ginger, chilli and chopped coriander in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the eggs. Sift the flour over the corn mixture and use a wooden spoon to stir quickly to combine.
Pour enough vegetable or canola oil into a large frying pan to cover the base by about 5mm. Pace over medium heat until the oil is hot. Make 6 individual fritters by spooning about half the mixture into the pan, flatten each slightly and cook for about 2 minutes on each side or until golden and cooked through. Drain on paper towel, set aside and keep warm. Repeat with remaining corn mixture.
Serve warm with the lime wedges and garnished with the extra coriander, if desired.
Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup sweet chilli sauce
1 tbs white wine vinegar
1 tbs finely chopped coriander
Mix ingredients together in a small bowl and serve with the fritters.