What an utterly sick mind must be behind the strawberry needle crisis in Australia. I can hardly think of a more despicable thing to do: sabotaging luscious berries that children above all prefer. It’s not a fully blown act of terror, driven by warped ideology. It must be an odious, deranged petty trickster; possibly even undiscerning of whom they hurt: children, the elderly or fruit growers. Truly, a coward and a grub – with the copycats even more repulsive.
I can’t think of a lower, baser crime than intending to harm people through their food. Even our gory and violent history knows not that many attacks on water or food supply. Food should be the means and source of celebration – not scare.
Let’s hope those sickening criminals are caught and thrown where the sun don’t shine – and strawberries don’t grow. Let’s celebrate with food. A good steak is always fit for celebration and even better if it’s shared. For cast iron steak get a large beast; a T-bone or a ribeye – oh, and make sure you have a cast iron pan, skillet or griddle. Have the steak with crushed new potatoes and if you disapprove of unseasonality, have it with baked fried chips.
Monkfish with chorizo and mushrooms is another dish good enough for a special occasion and quick enough for an ordinary night; serve with plain rice or just with bread. Or scallops with pancetta and spiced cabbage followed by a large slice of lumberjack’s cake (in support of the Aussies), because the scallops are a skinny meal.
How about teriyaki chicken with vegetable fried rice? The teriyaki sauce is exquisite (though not entirely authentic, apparently) and will keep well in the fridge for a couple of weeks so the amounts in the recipe are most certainly correct.
Make Persian baked rice with tahdig if meat is not on your menu; they serve it for Persian New Year and other holidays in Iran but it’s too tasty to have it only occasionally. A pile of green beans with tomatoes on the side will go with it nicely. Or you could decide to use the tomatoes in a dish of fresh pasta.
Finally, here’s a good recipe for a sweet nibble: cupcakes with smashed blueberries. Blueberries being too small to house needles, AND you smash them just to be on the safe side. It all figures.
Subscribe to the weekly newsletter. Take care with strawberries. And spare a thought also for Aussie quilt makers since sales of needles everywhere in Australia have been banned.