Alexander Selkirk Cheese Flambe
Alexander Selkirk, the son of a Largo, Scotland shoemaker, left home in 1695, when he was 19, to become a buccaneer. By the time he was 27, he was the sailing master of a galley in a fleet captained by the famed pirate, William Dampier.
Selkirk was a stubborn, thin-skinned man who always wanted to do things his way. In September 1704 he had an argument with the captain.
“Let me off this ship,” he demanded.
A few days later, he was put ashore on the desolate and uninhabited island of Juan Fernandez, 400 miles west of Chile. Selkirk was allowed to take weapons, tools, tackle, brandy and other supplies.
The first night on shore, Selkirk wondered if he had made a big mistake. He heard strange noises coming out of the jungle. Afraid of being attacked by wild animals, he slept in a tree.
The next day, he used a tarpaulin to make a tent, which he surrounded with a high picket fence made from saplings. He then felt safe.
During the next weeks, he explored the island and found an abundance of game — large birds, goats, rabbits and wild cats. He shot game for food, and soon captured and tamed a few goats. He even found a lemon tree.
From the goats, he was able to get milk. He soon learned how to make butter and cheese. The cheese was similar in texture to mozzarella. He built a small boat that he used to go fishing in a small safe cove.
For the most part, Selkirk enjoyed his isolation. He became a very good cook, and spent much of his time at the stove and oven he had made.
He hesitated to leave the island when the “Duke,” captained by Woods Rogers and piloted by Dampier, showed up five years later.
“Let’s not have any hard feelings,” said Dampier. “C’mon Alex, back to civilization.”
Selkirk finally agreed and was appointed mate to Rogers. The next month he was given command of the “Increase” which had been captured by the privateers.
He returned to England in 1711. His tale of being marooned on an uninhabited island reached Daniel Defoe who used Selkirk’s narrative as the basis of one of the most widely read classics of all times — Robinson Crusoe.
Selkirk returned to Largo where he spent most of his time as a recluse. On the few occasions, he did have visitors, he usually prepared his favorite dish, called “Toad-in-the-Hole” that he served with an ale and, cheese flambé hors d’oeuvre that he concocted on his beloved island. It is still a wonderful appetizer that is very easy to make. You would do well to try it. But be sure to follow with Robinson Crusoe’s “Toad in the Hole.”
Alexander Selkirk’s Cheese Flambé
1 Lb. Mozzarella cheese
3 Tbs. melted butter
5 Tbs. brandy
Place cheese in ovenproof baking dish. Brush with butter and lemon juice mixture. Place in broiler under high heat about six inches away from heat. Broil about five minutes until cheese browns and bubbles. Meanwhile heat brandy until very warm. Take cheese from broiler, pour brandy over cheese and light immediately. Cut into cubes and serve with small pieces of seeded rye bread or crackers.
2 Cups all purpose flour
1 ½ Cups milk
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 Lb.(8 links) good quality pork sausage
dash of salt and pepper
Brown the sausages in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and cook through, about 12 minutes.
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 425° F.
Whisk together the flour, eggs and the milk in a medium bowl until you have smooth batter. Season with salt and pepper.
Cover and let stand for half an hour.
Pour the second tablespoon of oil into a baking dish and place sausages into it in a single layer. Pour the batter over the sausages and place in oven. Bake for about 20 minutes or until batter has risen and is the color of golden brown. Serve immediately.