Chef Duncan Welgemoed and his Africola team provide the blueprint for a cracking session with friends at home (if said friends aren’t vegetarians or on a hip diet pimped by a celebrity chef or someone who is famous on Instagram). Welgemoed provides the recipe, Nikki Friedl (Africola’s Restaurant Manager) the drink to match and the vibe.
This will feed two and is gluten–phobic, faulty stomach–friendly and safe for that irrepressible faux–vegetarian who is always ruining your dinner parties at the last minute – the pescetarian. It’s probably paleo–friendly. We can’t tell you if it is, but believe me, they’ll tell you. Ingredients: Calamari
- 2 fresh calamari tubes
- Sea salt to season
- 1 lemon– squeezed for juice.
- 200g fresh sea lettuce
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 120mL grape seed oil
- 85mL red wine vinegar – good quality, you cheap sods. No scrimping or using that Cab Sav your misery wouldn’t let you finish that night you were crying on the couch watching The Bodyguard for the millionth time.
- Sea salt – generous pinch to taste
- 1 bunch of leafage of your choice
Method  Split calamari tubes in half. Flip it over and finely score without piercing the underside. (By score we mean that little crosshatch pattern you see at fancy pubs. You know the one, you salt ’n’ pepper fiend.) Set aside your fancy tubes.  Place sea lettuce in oven pre-heated to 150 degrees – don’t fan force (or you’ll spend a week peeling it off the walls of your oven). Cook until slightly crispy. The edges should be starting to lift and curl. Remove from oven.  Sweat shallots and garlic in grape seed oil. Pour oil over sea lettuce. Cover the bowl with cling film and steep until cool.  Put into blender (or Thermomix if you’re not kicking it in the rungs of plebville) until blended. Add vinegar and salt to taste. Still better than a kale smoothie.  Get your frying pan and add olive oil. Get that home skillet nice and hot. Cold pan means tough calamari. Fry both sides for two to three minutes until calamari starts to caramelise. Deglaze pan with lemon juice.  Remove calamari from pan and put on board.  Dress leaves with pan juices and a touch of salt. Place on plate.  Lay squidlets over the leaves.  Drizzle your sea-lettuce blend over the top Jackson Pollock style. Nikki Friedl’s Drink of Choice This week you’ll be swilling some white wine. The kind folks at Unico Zelo have outdone themselves with their 2015 River Sand Fiano from the Riverland. Packed full of salt and citrus, it’s deceptively complex. There’s an unusual slap of musk somewhere around the end with a ba ffingly seductive saline fore-palate. This Fiano is a mermaid for sure. One glass is refreshing and one bottle will have you smashing your ship onto the rocks to join the party in the depths in no time. Nikki Friedl’s Soundtrack Spring is oozing its way through the misery of Adelaide, lulling us into a false sense of security before showering us with rain, frosted winds, and the occasional Arctic Vortex. If you’ve got those wind-battered albatross blues, drown yourself in some left-of-centre David Bowie covers and Shark Attack Theme by Mark Mothersbaugh. If you’re feeling desperate to transport yourself 20,000 leagues away from the restless weather, jump in the delightfully nonsensical aural submarine that is the Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou soundtrack. Hipster wank? Yes. Glorious? Yes. Buy yourself an orange beanie and stand at the helm of your kitchen ready to declare a stylised and whimsical war with the menacing squid tube on your plate. You are indomitable. You are Aquaman. Poseidon will weep as you butcher his delightful squidlets for you hungry belly. You can buy the ultimate kitsch Wes Anderson soundtrack on iTunes if you’re lazy. You can buy it on vinyl if you’re insufferable. Or you can get it on CD if you aren’t willing to admit the early 2000s are dead. @GastroPunkOz africola.com.au