Posts Tagged ‘Fox’

The culinary delights of the anchovy.

March 17, 2018

 

IMG_0013Anemones

When we went for our daily walk along the river’s edge I noticed a man sitting on a bench. Sitting on a bench in our neck of the woods is popular. Many of the Southern Highlands inhabitants are retired.  Shire’s planning department must have heeded some advice from a bright young person just out of the University having studied Social Comfort & Welfare. (SCW) She might well have suggested a liberal sprinkling of slatted bench seats throughout the municipality.

I don’t know who the sadist was who invented those concrete benches many years ago. Were the councils afraid of them getting stolen?  Soon after our arrival in 1956 my dad noticed bus stops with the concrete bench on which hardly anyone ever sat. Perhaps that was the aim. You know, the Anglo Saxon’s avoidance of too much comfort making you soft and girly-like! We, in Australia like to be seen as a nation of men and men.

This man looked sadly serious which seemed out of place. The morning was beautiful and the cockatoos gave it a helping hand by hanging upside down from the willow tree under which this serious solitary man was sitting on his wooden slatted bench. We are blessed with so many varieties of parrots. The orange, and green to yellow and even black and yellow feathered ones. They give the black crows a good lesson by chasing them as much as possible. I can never forgive crows for pecking out the eyes of just born lambs back on our days of farming. Why do they do that?

However, the man on the seat did not seem to care about the concert with acrobatics that the cockies were giving. Free of charge too. And if that was not enough, down at earth’s level there were the ducks. They too were in a good mood, just happily paddling about after surviving the night from the cruel red-beady eyed killer fox. Our neighbour lost his chickens for the third time. The foxes, like the crows, seem to take delight in senseless killing. Why chew off the heads of chickens and then just leave them flapping about on the laneway?

I wonder how many go through life without ever realising how much joy a simple anchovy can give. I don’t mean in an aquarium but more on a ceramic plate and cooked. We seem to cook more and more using those little fishes. For those that complain about their fishy pungency; what do you expect? A rose by any other name etc.? So, it is with oceanic life.  Each to their own identity and long live l’odeur l’anchvy.

Perhaps the man on the slatted bench has missed out on the anchovy. Perhaps he should have been told that when anchovies and garlic are chopped up with lots of fresh rosemary and then deep fried in blue smoky hot oil it makes fore one of the most tantalising sauces. Add and mix in some mustard and one is in heaven. Try it in a pasta. Flavour development in the ripening of anchovy (Engraulis encrasicholus) and used when mixed with other herbs is a bit like the art of winemaking.  There will be endless varieties and flavours. A truly amazing little fish.

I buy the little jars of anchovies from the local supermarket and might use about five or six of them with four of five cloves of juicy garlic and a heaped spoonful of fresh rosemary which grows in abundance in our garden. One can muck about with adding a little chilli and different mustards, fresh cream, coconut milk and much, much more.

Next time I see the sad man on the slatted seat I might introduce and give him an anchovy.

Do you think it would help?

 

Milo in the fox trap. “2017 is knocking”

December 21, 2016

Almost There

A few more days and it will all be over, but don’t let this fool you. Anything is still possible! Christmas time is as unholy as ever. It seems that even football is now to be avoided at all costs. This, the latest of sexual abuse in the English speaking world;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_football_sexual_abuse_scandal

Twenty police forces are now investigating! Can you believe it? What is it? Is it something in the English fish-chips?

” By mid December, in response to allegations from 350 individuals, The Football Association, the Scottish Football Association, several football clubs and over 20 UK police forces had established various inquiries and investigations; on 21 December 2016, 155 potential suspects were said to be involved in alleged abuse of 429 individuals at 148 clubs.”

Mind you, Australia is also at the forefront and riddled with sex scandals. No school, no matter how exclusive or expensive has been found lacking with ‘School Masters’ ( a silly title if ever there was) sexually abusing their students. In fact the more exclusive the worse it seems to get. Cranbrook, Kings College, Scots College. They all queue up like tin soldiers. Former students are fronting up in Royal Commissions telling of their dreadful abuse by former teachers. Headmasters were flat out confessing they should have put a stop to it. But…they did not! One teacher after years of abusing students was finally sacked but given a glowing reference and a handsome pay-out figure. Can you believe it.?

I just thought to update you of the latest, before year’s turning.

I spoke with Harley next door giving condolences for the loss of his beloved chickens. That’s the thing with foxes. They are cruel and kill for the sheer fun of it. It’s not as if they kill and eat one for hunger. Just like us humans really. Kill for fun. The Syrian massacres the latest sample of killing for the sake of killing. A horrible dance macabre. A bacchanalian killing field. And then those serious black suited men sitting around conference tables arranging buses and tut tutting about peace?

Anyway, poor Harley felt a bit rotten about it all. His faithful but dead Barnevelders laying and lying all over the place. (but not with eggs) ‘For once I did not lock them in’, he said looking me in the eyes, a trace of guilt. It reminded me of how the foxes had struck many times on our farm. Dead ducks, chickens and so often too. Foxes, at least the Australian variety, can climb fences. We ended up with the chicken pens having wire over the top as well. A fortress type enclosure was the only way to go. Yet, rarely would one see a fox. You could spend years living in the outback, never see a fox.

As a last resort we bought a strong wire cage as a fox trap. It had a trap door that would clamp shut after the fox had entered to get to his prey. We were told to put in a dead bird and to handle the cage wearing gloves. Any human scent would deter the canny fox. They are smart. Nothing happened. No fox ever trapped. One morning I checked and poor Milo our Jack Russell was inside the trap, looking sheepish. At least he hadn’t touched the duck. It was too smelly. When we sold the farm it must have found a new owner.

Milo in a fox trap. Oh dear!