Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spices and reconditioned rainbows

The frenetic pace of life out here is just so enervating! I'll need to find a nice quiet city for a rest. It all happens at once. See, it's the ferry coming in - and the new wood-burner arriving along the milk and post (which came by plane, but let's not let one detail spoil a good yarn) which had in it a little parcel which would have fitted into our post-box, but John-the-postmaster felt he had to give it to Barbara. He hasn't had the occassion to hand over many parcels address to 'The looney ex-South Africans'. It says a lot about Flinders that it got to us. It's the sort of treat that big-city people should try giving to their post-office. It contained yet more Australian bush herbs-and-spices. Saltbush, Lemon myrtle and dried river mint. The smell of the Lemon myrtle is so citrus as to make you think you'd opened a freeze-dried lemon grove and added water. I do want to plant some (if it'll grow here, if it's not an undesirable invader)... but maybe not TOO close to the house. Thank you for making the postmaster's day for him, Ian. I'm looking forward to trying them, preferably on unsuspecting victims. Ah, but it wasn't over yet because we also got the reconditioned Rainbow (oh yes, Australian rainbows are far too good a quality just to use once! A quick rinse in Bass strait and the colours are all fresh, ready to be used... actually it's a kind of vaccuum cleaner that sucks through water (like a sort of high-speed-spinning hubbly-bubbly) and not a bag or a filter. They're very good for house-dust which as you probably didn't want to know has large amounts of dead house dust mites in it. These are those lovely little sf-looking critters of which every human habitation is full, and are harmless enough, but my immune system thinks they should make me sneeze and cough. The particles are very small and mostly pass back out of ordinary vaccuum cleaners, but they get into the water and mostly stay there, one hopes.) The machines are way too expensive for us new, but we have bought a 'reconditioned' one. The Rainbow came in by plane just to ruin my theory, and B has been industriously vaccuuming. The side-effect of the high speed hubbly bubbly is a little humidifying - which you can scent if you so desire. This sort of thing is not really very typical of us, but the machine came with a little pack of essences. So B tried the spice (cinnamon) and the pine later. I hadn't the heart to tell her it smelled rather like a new-cleaned public convenice, but she told me so. So, having dealt with a week's excitement in one day, I will now return to the Bosphorus, until I cook supper.
Home made Pizza. With saltbush.
Might try a pinch of the lemon myrtle in the water next time.


  1. You've now got me wondering if "The Looney Ex-South Africans" would have been sufficient to get it to you, without actually having added your actual postal address. <grin>

    Still on the lookout for some aniseed myrtle and strawberry gum locally, but I doubt I'll have any success as they are rarely used. The first is rather overpowering if used blatantly, the second is only of use in desserts really.

    That only leaves the non-spices, such as Quandongs, Kakadu Limes, the various native plums (Illawarra, Desert and Davidson's), and Lilli-Pilli, as far as commercially farmed stuff is concerned for you to taste. Not sure if any of those plants would really cope with a life on Flinders though.

    And emu and kangaroo of course. What's the use of having national emblems you can't eat?

  2. I like the notion of Dave trying to raise emu in his backyard. That might keep the mice out, at least? Train them to be watch emu, attacking strange varmints?

  3. Ian, as that is the only part of the entire address that got read, your test question has been answered. Flinders has neither kangaroo nor emu. It does have Wallaby, Cape Barren Geese and muttonbirds on the list of things I have not yet eaten ;-).

  4. Mike, blimey, that'd give the chooks rooster something to look up to?

  5. Actually I was thinking that your fame might not quite have spread to the Melbourne mail sorting centre. As yet. You still have time though to make your mark. [Australia Post did once pride itself on getting mail through, although that time is probably decades in the past now.]

    If I remember correctly the muttonbird season starts today. Although I also think it's been limited to aborigines under certain native heritage acts. So even though you are adjacent to the major rookeries for the short-tailed shearwater (puffinus tenuirostris), I don't know if you can actually gather them. They are even better than duck for duck-like recipes.*

    Although the official Cape Barren Geese season on Flinders (the only place they can be legally hunted in Australia) ends next month (if they haven't already filled the cull quota), so if you want to try that you might want to hurry. As with anything Tasmanian I expect there might be licences involved.

    Haven't thought of trying wallaby. If it's anything like roo it should be cooked lightly (medium rare at best). You must tell me what it's like. [Most of our local wallaby species are protected.]

    * I was amused by a cooking show that decided they were going to make quail a la orange. It required wrapping each of the tiny birds around a 500g block of butter that was about twice the volume of the bird itself, in order to make the bird oily enough for the recipe to work.

  6. Wallaby is much less gamey than 'roo (I've had fillets and pie and close to 'pest' status here thanks to bush clearing creating vast amounts of grass for them. I've been promised some Cape Barren goose breasts, and am supposed to go muttonbirding with my trusty native guide ;-) monday (might be next monday).