Fish fillets and my first card-tapping experience,

Image result for Tapping with credit card

 

Generally we like to eat fish at least twice a week mainly with either mashed potatoes or a salad, often with mashed potatoes AND a salad. Lately we have ventured into mashing the potatoes with creamy milk while adding some sauerkraut. But, as like with almost everything, and a tendency to go all française, when short on allegories, repetition beckons ennui, which is the enemy of maintaining our joie de vivre.

For the fish needs we generally have stuck with salmon cutlets available almost everywhere now, and cheaper than most cuts of meat. However, the salmon now is farmed and I heard some awful stories of the quality of feed that is given to those salmons and the density into which those fish are bred in large round fenced off fish farms with hardly any room to swim. It’s a bit like those caged chicken-eggs. How did food growing become so cruel?

We made a break from the salmon cutlets and bought flathead fillets instead. Now, don’t get me wrong, but at least the salmon cutlets are sold fresh while most fish sold at supermarkets are de-frosted fillets mainly imported from Asian fish-farms. Most fish & chips shops also sell cheap de-frosted fish instead of ocean local fresh caught fish. You would have thought that Australia, with its thousands of miles of ocean frontage, fresh fish would be keenly sought after. But, the price of fresh Australian caught fresh fish can’t compete with the frozen imported fish. The fresh flathead fillets were $56,- a kilo, and I write the price to make a point, not to brag about it. But, compared with fillet steak or lamb cutlets, it’s not all that out of the question. There were cheaper fillets of fish as well and often buying a whole fish and having it gutted and filleted works out cheaper.

On of my favourite and cheapest fresh fish is of course the sardine. Filleted and butterflied fresh sardines in a batter of flower mixed with some salt and spices, baked for a minute or two is regarded a culinary Nirvana in this household. Be careful though often fresh sardines are not all that fresh but are kept into a salt- brine to preserve them as long as possible. As with all fish, look them into their eyes and if they are unflinching, they are fresh. Have you ever looked into the eye of an honest barramundi, they are so beguiling. One almost feels guilty battering them.

IMG_3363Grandmother

Painting of my paternal grandmother.

I bought the flathead at a fish market who weighed them and gave me a ticked of the price and advised me to pay for it at the counter. To my horror I had no cash and as I never pay by credit, I was stuck with my flathead getting warm under the gills. So embarrassing. I showed the girl my empty wallet. She wasn’t silly though and said; why don’t you pay with your card? I have never paid with my credit before but she was most helpful and said; ‘just tap it.’ Which I did and it worked! Can you believe it?

I told Helvi and she was so proud of me. I overcame another technical hurdle and walked tall. I am as good a tapper as anyone now!

The flathead fillets were wonderful.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

34 Responses to “Fish fillets and my first card-tapping experience,”

  1. freefall852 Says:

    Gerard…your advice about checking for the freshness of sardines surprised me…because on my father’s side, I had an uncle who lived in Pescara on the Adriatic coast of Italy, and he had a job in the sardine cannery…and his job was to stand at the end of the line where just before they put the lid on the can of sardines, he had to close their little eyes….the reason being that the owner of the cannery was a sensitive chap and he said you wouldn’t want to open a can of sardines and see a dozen or so little eyes staring at you….would you?

    Liked by 3 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Jo.
      I can’t imagine the sheer terror of getting packed into a metal can. I remember a similar feeling in London getting the underground tube to the city. All those lonely eyes staring into the grey shade-less nothingness.
      Those poor sardines, but your uncle did the right thing, Jo. He was a good man. May INRI be writ on his cross forever.

      Liked by 2 people

      • freefall852 Says:

        Yes, Gerard..he WAS a good man and he always had a penny ready to put on ther collection plate every Sunday…the fact that there was a almost invisible fishing line twine attached to that penny for quick retrieval just showed how attached he was to every penny….after all…”you look to the pennies and the pounds . . . “

        Liked by 2 people

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Very good, Jo. A true uncle and not shy of the man of the cloth. I used to donate buttons each Sunday and while retrieving my hand from the money pouch wasn’t shy to take a few coins as I dropped the buttons. A sleigh of hands that never left me.

        Liked by 1 person

      • freefall852 Says:

        It’s why God gave each of two good hands, Gerard…to grab and hold those things that were good for us…because we were created in His image..and after all, if what you did was a sin, you would never have been rewarded and have met Helvi (an angel, surely) as you did.

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Better one bird in the hand than two in the sky, Jo..

        Liked by 1 person

      • freefall852 Says:

        ” INRI “….Hmm..I was told by an older student at the Catholic primary school I went to as a child that it meant ..: “I’m Nailed Right In”…could this be true?…I know Jesus wouldn’t lie..but would that youth?

        Like

  2. Dorothy Brett Says:

    Gerard, Aldi have a kilo of frozen Atlantic salmon fillets from Denmark, with skin on, in a sealed cryogenic pac and in a sealed kilo pack for about $25. I have it at least three times a week. Like you with either mashed or steamed potatoes and salad. My favourite meal.
    I thought you were an Aldi supporter. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes Dorothy. We are great fans of Aldi and last week I noticed a mouth watering arrangements of walking sticks, above bath and toilet arrangements, wheelchairs and nappies for the adult male. I can’t wait.
      We always had the fresh salmon but this time tried fresh flatheads. It was beautiful.

      Like

  3. auntyuta Says:

    Gerard, what a beautiful painting of your paternal grandmother!
    Who did the painting?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. freefall852 Says:

    To tell you the truth (a duty I feel honoured to fulfill), Gerard…I am a tad worried that that “Flathead” you purchased from that dodgy fishmonger may have instead been a “Leatherjacket”..and the only similarity ..that may have misled your honest self..was the flatness of the head in both species.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I know my leather-jackets, Jo. They are a reef fish with ferocious teeth and need skinning instead of scaling. I have caught both in years gone by. They both are very nice eating.

      Like

      • freefall852 Says:

        Oh, I doubt not your knowledge of the species, Gerard..but I am also aware of the glib, golden tongues of those fish mongers in the markets..well aware as we are of the silver-tounged barrow-boys of the days of “street auctions”….and keeping in mind the old fable of the boy sent to market to sell the family cow and returns to his mother with a handfull of beans..and “magic” at THAT!!??…welllll…

        I have a mental picture of just that moment where you ask the fish-monger about some flathead…I am imagining the conversation could have gone something like this..:

        “Ahh!..Mr Fish-man…do you have some nice flathead today?”…to which the fish-seller, aware as he is that he has not..but still wanting to sell his wares before they go stale, replies in a too keen way..:
        “Why, yes sirrr!..here..look at these beauties!”…and he points to the leather-jackets..
        “But they are not flatheads..they are leather-jackets” you reply.
        “Ahh..they may look like leather-jackets to the uninformed from the suburbs of Sydney, but in truth they are flat-heads..from Merrimbula.”
        “What’s the difference?” you ask in berwielderment.
        “Well…those flatheads that are caught in the harbours around Sydney have flat-heads horizontally with BOTH eyes on top, because the water is shallower there and they have evolved to look UP to see what threatens them, whereas these ones from Merrimbula, which also, you’ll notice , have flattenned heads, but vertical, have eyes on either side because they venture out into the Pacific Ocean and have to be able to see both UP and DOWN the seaboard to look for predators….North and South..one bet each way..so to speak”….
        And there, though you may have some slight doubt on the veracity of the product, and with narrowed eyes, you purchased the fish..AND ..as you say..both species are good eating…
        Anyway..THAT is how I imagined the conversation as going…of course..I could be mistaken………..could be..

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        I outsmarted the big Woolworth empire some years ago and we had one of the best Christmases ever, Jo. I will let you in on really good ploy to make some money, so get a bit closer to the screen, and I’ll let you in on this AND it’s totally legit.

        You know that when you get overcharged most shops are obliged to give you the overcharged item for free and return your money as well. It is the law. It happened that the smoked salmon was on special from 29.90 $ to 19.90$ a kilo. When going through the cashier she charged me the full 29.90. I paid up but with docket ticket in hand went to the complaint desk and showed them the docket after which they returned my money and I was given the salmon free. No questions asked with that printed cash-back policy in clear sight of the customers.

        All of a sudden I became inspired and like a lightning strike went straight back to the salmon and took another kilo before they had a chance to rectify the amount on their computerised cash registers. As before I was given my money back and given another kilo of the sliced smoked salmon. Back again I went, and finally went home laden with three kilos of smoked salmon, all for free.

        I now often look for items that are wrongly priced. You might care to do the same, Jo.

        Liked by 1 person

      • freefall852 Says:

        Oh, Gerard!!….I could NEVER do that!…I learnt my lesson way back in my junior years when I would jump on the lower step of the last carriage of the train to sneak a ride closer to home on my way back from school…and one day my mother (a VERY GOOD Catholic woman) spotted me and made me march straight back to the ticket window of the train station and confess my crime to the ticket seller there and give over a half-penny to cover the cost of my transportation on the train….so you see…such traumatic shame marks a child and I don’t think I could face the consequences of so brazen an escapade as you confess…………but give me the address of that store and if I get the sudden urge . . .

        Like

  5. bkpyett Says:

    Congratulations on achieving anther hurdle into the 21 century.
    I also love the painting. There were Oostermans in my home town of Devonport, Tasmania. I wonder if you’re related? It’s wonderful that you’ve continued in your grandfather’s tradition of being an artist.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I don’t know the Oostermans in Tasmania and am somewhat surprised. It is not a very common name, Barbara.
      I tried to be an artist and have done hundreds of paintings and etchings. Heaven knows how they all ended up dispersed. My word paintings are now the latest. They are much more economical and easily stored. My aim is to let go of the words and in the process amuse some readers.
      How are you going?

      Liked by 3 people

    • freefall852 Says:

      Now, I don’t know the locations of any Oostermans in Holland, but in my family, there are the Carli’s in the Dolamite mountains AND on the flats around Benevento…so perhaps those Tassie Oostermans were from the mountains of Holland?….

      Like

  6. rangewriter Says:

    That flathead obviously beguiled you into a new skill set. Bravo. I AM surprised that fresh local fish is so difficult to if not find, at least to pay for in Australia. I live at least 10 hours from an ocean. For years we had a wonderful fresh fish monger. But that shop changed hands a few years ago and then closed last year. I miss it. Fresh fish is still available, but the quality is not that good, much is pre-frozen, and there’s always too much of the farmed crap.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      We too have a fresh-fish monger who sells from the back of a truck. The large supermarkets sell fish and by law have to state if frozen (thawed out) or fresh.
      The fresh fish is generally much more expensive. Farmed fish such as the salmon is sold both fresh and frozen. There has been negative reviews on farmed fish in as much that heavy metals end up in their meat as a result of the food they are being fed.

      Like

  7. Curt Mekemson Says:

    We really should east more fish, Gerard. And you are right on about the nastiness of fish farms, and chicken farms, and cattle farms where the animals are treated so cruelly with zero concern for the animal and only concern for bottom line profit. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  8. gerard oosterman Says:

    We will try and eat fresh fish more often. I know that the fish industry is more and more driven by fish farms who grow them in large ponds that are constantly aerated with high density populations of fish, prawns and other sea creatures ready for the ‘market.’.
    They are really factories more than anything.

    Like

  9. bkpyett Says:

    Thanks for asking, Gerard! Life is good. Chris continues to paint every day and I balance my time with writing, gardening and the occasional house work… I, too, write rather than paint. Having one artist is enough for one household! I do love reading your posts. I’m trying to get together a collection of short stories at present, but just enjoy the process rather than follow through finding publishers… It sounds as if you are enjoying life too.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Master of Something Yet Says:

    We have a wonderful local fishmonger. I used to go so often when the kids were small, they were like extended family. I stopped going so often when the boys got so big they all needed a full piece of fish instead of being able to divide one into three. It just got too expensive. We don’t eat steak either. I hope to make my way back there when they move out.
    I love the tap feature. I’ve moved on from card tapping and now use my phone. One day I hope to upgrade my watch to tap that instead. The handbag may become obsolete.

    Liked by 1 person

    • freefall852 Says:

      Oh no!!…Let us NEVER see the handbag become obsolete!…for there is NO image more illustrative of social despair, disaster or trauma than that of a woman standing as witness, with a tearful grimace on her face..holding her handbag in a tight, secure “double-clutch” …The clutched handbag is the generic, metaphorical grip onto civilisation itself….we MUST keep the handbag!

      Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Using your phone to pay a bill? I might have left that one too late. That’s phenomenal.
      I am so pleased to learn tapping with my card. I now do it with an air of nonchalance holding the card between my lips while packing the bags. I even sometimes hold my iPhone between my chin and shoulder while tapping and bagging. How’s that?

      Liked by 1 person

  11. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    Way to tap, Gerard! 🙂
    I wonder if a person had no cards…and they did a wonderful tap dance…would they get to take the flathead fillets home?!?!?
    The painting of your grandmother is so so SO beautiful! 🙂
    My Dad loved sardines. I’ve honestly never tried one. I should try one in your honor, Gerard! 🙂
    I can’t think of any fish I haven’t enjoyed. Having lived on the coast in California, we got lots of good fresh fish!
    🐠 🐟 🐠 🐟 🐠 🐟
    HUGS to you and Helvi!!! 🙂
    PATS and RUBS to Milo!!! 🐶

    Liked by 1 person

  12. shoreacres Says:

    Does Milo enjoy fish, too? When I lived in Liberia, it was standard practice to mix canned mackerel with cooked rice as dog food, since there wasn’t anything we’d recognize as dog food in the country. Perhaps there was some at the embassies, but none for such as us. I always found it interesting that of all the creatures Liberians would eat, dog wasn’t one. Of course, the dogs had their roles to play in the villages, and given what they ate, I’d not be so keen on eating the dogs, either.

    I’m lucky to live in an extraordinarily fish-rich place. If I want salmon, I can get wild caught, non-frozen, for a bit of a price. On the other hand, twenty dollars a pound isn’t so bad when you consider a pound can provide four meals. It’s as cheap as one of those fast-food burgers, and far healthier.

    Apart from the salmon, we can get wonderful fish of all sorts, depending on what the fishermen have caught that day. Flounder, snapper, amberjack, yellowfin tuna — you never know what will be in the markets, but it’s great fun to explore. And of course there’s shrimp, oysters, and crab, too, depending on the season. I love good venison and beef, but I’ve learned to really enjoy the variety of fish and seafood here, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I think Milo likes fish and often eats the bits that might be left over, including the crispy salmon skin that Helvi isn’t fond off.
      The times I visit fish markets I noticed most of the customers are from Asian or Middle Eastern looking backgrounds.

      We are about a hundred KM from the coast and with a very Anglo mix of inhabitants whom, I assume for the most part, don’t mind buying the thawed out fish that is available at every super-market. We now have a large shop that sells freshly caught sea-food every Thursday, Friday and at week-ends.

      There is also a truck that arrives each Wednesday that parks at a local petrol station and sells fresh fish(es) over the rest of the week and that includes, prawns, mussels and lobster.
      Fresh mussels cooked or steamed for a minute or so in a mixture of tomatoes with garlic is really one of our favourites.

      Liked by 2 people

      • shoreacres Says:

        As odd as it sounds, I’ve only had mussels in Spain, in their paella. I don’t even know if they’re native around here. I think not. I remember seeing them in some shops, but I’ll bet they’re shipped in. I don’t think our water is cold enough for them. More research is required.

        Like

  13. Charlotte Hoather Says:

    I’ve never heard of flathead fish but sadly I know how to tap my card :). I like lemon sole, salmon, cod or tuna fillets and that’s as adventurous as I get (although I do like Sea Bass when my parents treat us to a meal out). I will look out for flathead fish now to see if we have them in the UK.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: