Fresh BC Spot Prawns & Tinhorn Pinot Gris – Tim Pawsey photo

Last night’s dinner found us foraging on Chinatown’s Gore Street (Vancouver, BC), where we were lucky enough to pick out a couple of pounds of prawns with change from a $20 bill. These guys were so fresh some were jumping right out of the shallow tank!

Once home, we enjoyed them with a dill and mushroom risotto. Tinhorn Creek Okanagan  VQA Pinot Gris 2009 had just the right acidity to cut the richness of the risotto (we do tend to use a little butter…) as well as some citrus and tropical fruit flavours that picked up on the sweetness of the prawns.

True confessions: we sucked more than a few of the heads ‘a-head’ of the meal, in the kitchen, because Partner in Calories (PIC) can’t bear to watch—and the Hired Belly can’t stand the thought of wasting all that deliciousness that prawns tuck away in their brains. Plus, who knows? There’s a remote chance it might even make us smarter!

One tip on prawn boiling (max two minutes) that we forgot to mention previously: It pays to throw the prawns into very cold water as soon as they come out of the pot, in order to stop them cooking and to keep the flesh firm.

As usual, the best meals are made always with the freshest of ingredients!

Cornish crab and Blacksmith Scrumpy Cider make for a great match—and if you forgot the crab crackers a rock off the beach will work just fine! Tim Pawsey photo

That had us thinking back to almost exactly a year ago, when we were enjoying one hefty Cornish crab and Scrumpy Cider, overlooking picturesque Mullion Cove, in Cornwall, on the stunningly beautiful, windswept Lizard Peninsular, near the southernmost tip of the UK.

The Cornish crab is considerably bigger than BC’s equally tasty Dungeness crab.  Both require very careful handling, not only to avoid their vice-grip claws (which don’t let go as long as they’re alive) but also their razor sharp jaws that can slice open a finger in nano-seconds.

We were lucky to get an almost 2 kg. crab from Kelynack Cornish Fish, in Mullion village, who ship superb fresh seafood all over the UK, to as far away as St. Andrews, Scotland—and who also were generous enough to lend us a pot big enough in which to cook it. We made a tamale mayonnaise to go along with the firm and dense white crab meat.

The match this time? Crisp and clean, apple toned dry, Cornish Scrumpy Cider—’Poor man’s Champagne,’ my dad used to call it. He was right, too.

Mullion Cove from above, on a peaceful, early summer’s day, Tim Pawsey photo

Mullion Harbour, which is situated on the South West Coast Path, is a historic site in the care of the National Trust.  Renowned for its natural beauty, which includes ferocious storms, the harbour was originally constructed in the 1880s, to help the local pilchard fishermen, who had suffered several distastrous seasons.

The Marconi monument at Poldhu Point – Tim Pawsey photo

Of interest to Canadians in particular is nearby Poldhu Point, from where, on December 12th, 1901, Guglielmo Marconi transmitted the first radio Morse code signals across the Atlantic to Signal Hill, overlooking St Johns, Newfoundland.

Less well known, however, is that the first voice transmission was made by Canadian inventor, Reginald Aubrey Fessenden, on December 24th, 1906, from Brant Rock, near Boston, Mass., to ships at sea. His story, sadly, has a very familiar ring to Canadians…

© Tim Pawsey 2010