The night of the wobbly waiters

  It’s the start of a new summer and daylight saving is again causing confusion between the states … and the poor cows’ milking clocks … and the fading curtains.
  How confusing for the national radio announcer whom I listen to in the early morning while heading down towards the sea. He tells eastern listeners will get the program now. North, as in Queensland, will have to wait an hour, west outside of NSW an hour and a half. In far Western Australia the listeners would have to wait three hours.  I had a hard time explaining all this to my young visiting Japanese grandchildren and I don’t think I even got it right. “Hey, does that mean that you get to sleep in in WA?”
  Things Japanese reminds me of a hectic night very long ago.
  “Can you cook?” I was asked by a couple I had just met in the club after a day’s sailing.
  “Can a fish swim?” I answered flippantly … (pardon the pun!).
  “I presume that means yes?” I nodded my head as the bloke went on. “I was told you might help out at some parties.”
  “What did you have in mind?”
  “Jan and I are holding a large meeting and want to serve some good food,” said the newly introduced Bill. “For about 100 people and we thought finger food with a leaning to Japanese.
  “The venue has a good kitchen. It’s an old restaurant down over the water.”
  I made arrangements to see them in a few days with a menu that I’d made up of great Japanese finger food menu with dishes that included hand-moulded sushi with a mango dipping sauce, square nori rolls and twisted rope sushi.  The day started with Jan and Bill delivering four young helpers who admitted they knew very little about cooking.
  So the lesson commenced.
  I felt a great deal of sympathy for Gordon Ramsey when I found myself dodging very sharp knives when any of my aides swung around from the work bench with the knife still in their hand … then bowls of food were dropped, so the floor became a death trap.
  I showed them how to decorate the round black trays I had borrowed for the night.
  “Come on! Hurry up! The waiters are waiting for the trays,” I yelled, which only went to make the helpers more clumsy and slower.
  The waiters first had to walk outside, then along a rickety walkway over the water, and finally up a flight of stairs. I was doing my best to get them all moving but the wobbly waiters were blocking the passage.
  “Let me through!” I yelled pushing my way out on to the walkway.
  “Look out the rails going … ,” someone yelled. I could see one waiter in front heading for the water still holding two trays. I yelled for him not to drop the food.
  The waiter next to me started to go. I grabbed at the two trays he was carrying. There was a tug of war. I won.
  With a cry and a look of horror, he fell backwards into the dark depths below.
  I was now holding two trays. Looking ahead I saw that the other waiters had all rushed up the stairs. Marvellous what a difference a little fear can do!
  I went up to deliver the two trays and on appearing in the room with my stained chef’s coat there was a roar of approval from the mob. I waved briefly and headed back down to the kitchen to collect the food I had left for all the helpers. I was just glad the stairs hadn’t given way as well.

Tekka Maki Tuna roll

  5 half sheets dried seaweed
  3 cups of cooked sushi rice
  1 tablespoon wasabi
  5 pieces of thinly sliced fresh tuna or salmon

Mango Sauce

  1 ripe peeled and de-stoned mango
  A dash of rice vinegar and mirin
  Throw the lot in a blender serve as a dipping sauce

To prepare the tuna roll

  On one piece of seaweed spread a layer of rice over the rice spread a small amount of wasabi then place a piece on top.
  Roll the seaweed up into a long roll. With a sharp knife cut the roll into two and a half centimetre pieces. Arrange on a plate with small bowls of soy and mango dipping sauce.