Posts Tagged ‘Tuna’

A Jam sandwich

January 10, 2021

IMG_1477 sunflower

A jam sandwich

It was just after waking this morning when it dawned on me I had not enjoyed a jam sandwich for a very long time. Although I am not naturally drawn to sweet food, I was never philosophically opposed to a jam sandwich. I suppose it dates back to my childhood where in my youth, some seventy five years ago now, ( how the time flies) a jam sandwich was fairly normal and accepted all over The Netherlands. School children were always given jam sandwiches.

When my parents found out that in Australia it was normal to give schoolchildren  banana sandwiches , they stayed up late over many nights to mull over this new found national lunch habit. I remember my parents in their bedroom talking about the cultural differences including banana sandwiches. Oddly enough, my mother back in 1957, it was a sunny day, came home with a jar of vegemite. Yet, they never questioned that brown smear of sandwich spread. When I saw the opened jar of vegemite for the first time I immediately thought of  soiled baby nappies and cow pats in verdant meadows. 

IMG_1476 hydrangia

Jam sandwich

So, after a shower and getting dressed I sought out my fridge to free up some of the jars of jam. I remembered I was given a few for Christmas and I’ll just realized I have a good collection;  A Home Grown Strawberry jar, an Apricot jam (not home grown), A Grandes Signature Raspberry jam  from Aldi, and last of all,  a Chinese 5 Spice Plum Sauce dated ( 19-12-2020). The latest I use mixed in salads.

Talk about Jams. Yesterday I bought a Tuna steak from the local Harris Farm fancy food outlet. This is a shop for those with large wallets. It has the best of everything, but you need a bit of money. Anyway, I know they sell fresh fish so on a Friday I treat myself on sliced raw tuna and a nice salad in which I infuse lots of different herbs, oils and this Plum sauce. Below is a photo including the finely sliced raw tuna.

IMG_1469 sliced tuna

Tuna salad with salad including Chinese 5 spice Plum sauce.

Peace and quiet for overwrought Seniors.

July 31, 2016

Our Pizza oven at Riven dell.

Our Pizza oven at Rivendell.

With all the shenanigans on the political and abusive side of life in Australia last week, I am really ready for garlic prawns or a good solid potato bake, perhaps even both. The prawns as an entrée and the potato bake with just some tuna in between the thinly sliced potato layers with leeks, and some sun-dried tomatoes might just do the trick. Well, not strictly sun-dried. This our last jar of home bottled ‘pizza oven’ dried, not strictly ‘sun-dried’ tomatoes. It just sounds better. Let me explain.

While finally now on our last jar of those sun-dried tomatoes, it brought back memories. We left our farm in 2010. I should now heave, perhaps with a sigh, and question where all the years have gone? That’s what many people over seventy do. Don’t they? Agile readers might well remember the large pizza oven I built while living on the farm. It was huge, and one could at a pinch, even have slept in it, as well as making pizzas, although not at the same time. I would not be the first one to sleep in a pizza oven. In Russia, many a husband after coming home drunk would be refused the share of the matrimonial bed by his stout and possibly very formidable wife, and told to sleep off his stupor on top of the stove instead.

The first attempt at building the pizza oven was disastrous. I underpinned the arched brickwork with plastic tubing while laying the bricks. The mud-mortar was nice, with the cement, lime and bush-sand mixture of the right sloppy consistency. It sat nicely on the trowel. A joy to work with. As the arched brickwork reached towards the middle from both sides I noticed a slight but ominous wobble. I should have stopped then. Helvi and our daughter were sipping tea watching me at work. I felt justified in being proud. It could well have been the reason why I continued on, despite the structure with its wobble clearly telling me to stop and let it dry out till the next day.

We all know that arches are very strong. Look at Venice, nothing but arches where-ever one looks, from bridges to buildings. Even some people when ageing, form an arched back, allowing them to go on, despite life’s tragedies or because of it. It might have been my foolish pride in front of Helvi and our daughter (sipping tea in the Northern sun) that made me go on. It might also have been the challenge that, if I could reach the middle and close the gap between both arches coming together, there would not have been a chance in the world it could ever collapse. An arch in brickwork is almost indestructible

Alas, hundreds of bricks went a flying. The plastic tubes buckled. My immediate reaction was that of total dismay. I worked for days, cleaning the old bricks I had scavenged elsewhere. I had poured the concrete floor base on which were built the walls that would carry another concrete base that had to carry the actual pizza arched oven totally enclosed on four sides but allowing a small door for fire-wood to enter and the pizzas to be cooked. The secret of a good oven is the total insulation of all the walls including the floor. My pizza oven had two layers with generous insulation between each layer. Even the chimney consisted of inner and outer stainless steel pipes. Helvi thought it was a work of art. And it was.

After the collapse, the initial moments of dismay turned into unstoppable laughter. I knew Helvi was genuinely and lovingly concerned, but our combined love for the ridiculous always takes over. What was one to do? Call an ambulance or the cops? Just ride with it, was the only answer. I got stuck in building proper formwork the next day, and re-built the arches again.

It was a great pizza oven. It would be used for pizzas, roasts,  sour-dough breads and drying those delicious small tomatoes that just about grew anywhere.

A lovely memory.

A normal day.

November 19, 2015

After all the sardine excitement of a few days ago topped by the glorious rack of lamb yesterday, it was time to calm down, take a breather and try have a normal day. One ought to be on the guard of excessiveness, even if it involves sardines.  As I got up this morning I was so resolute. Before even the first coffee, I went to the front of our compound and picked up both garbage cans. Earlier on I had heard them getting emptied. I have seen those modern garbage trucks in action.

They are fitted with extendable hydraulic forks that clamp the garbage can, hoist them up while also tipping them upside- down. They disgorge their contents inside a covered truck.  All this is done flawlessly in one swoop by just a single person who also drives the truck. The empty can gets gently put back on the nature strip.

With a bit of squinting and fogging ones glasses one could just imagine it being a kind of ballet where the prima donna gets picked up, turned over and then gently put back on the stage. A kind of  modern Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s ballet of The Sleeping Beauty. Other aficionados of watching garbage trucks in action might well prefer and dwell over his version of the Nut-Cracker suite.

In the old days, the garbage cans were made of zinc and it took a whole army of men to deal with them. I remember a kind of large heavy gate at the end of the truck compressing the garbage. It was the norm to leave a crate of brown ‘long necks’ for the garbos at Christmas time. This was a particular difficult period for garbage- men. Especially afterwards when all the remnants of the festivities would rank darkly inside those cans. The hot sun relentlessly cooking the prawn-shells and heaven knows what else that had putrefied. A  tough period. A cold beer was very welcome. That has now all gone. No more gifts for the garbo.

After I picked up the plastic lidded garbage cans, I dressed and made coffee. The plan was to tackle the snails in the garden for which we had to shop. We also had run out of garlic. Lately we have made the decision not to economise on garlic and get the Spanish variety. The Chinese garlic, with all respect for Mao, doesn’t cut the mustard. We make up to the Chinese by getting their Bok-Choy. There is just nothing like blanched fresh Bok-Choy glazed with some sesame oil. It really is the most delicious vegetable and at 99cents a bunch at Harris Farm Market, is a top buy. Go and get it.

I do hope farmers make good money. They deserve it. I can’t believe when dieticians complain that the poor get fat because they can’t afford good food. How cheap are vegetables, including carrots, potatoes,  beans. A packet of rice or pasta? Tinned sardines or tuna. Even fresh Australian salmon,  four fillets for $12.90? It is far more the intrusion of the Macdonald’s and their rotten food quarter pounder outlets, KFC is another one. Why are they still given development application approvals when Australia has one of the world’s highest numbers of those Fast food and take-outs Per Capita? It is Capitalism murder on a grand scale now. It is! How long before action is taken? It kills more than Isis. Far more.

Take it easy now, Gerard. remember a ‘normal’ day.