Hello everyone – sorry I’ve got so behind in updating the blog but I have been occupied trying to get my new cook book finished. I received advice on the importance of including photographs of my recipes in the book so that’s what I have been doing, not realising what a massive task it would be. Ken has been my photographer and thanks to him the job is almost complete.
Oscar’s doggie antics – Sophia’s best friend
My little dog Sophia loves to meet up with Oscar, who is a fearless little terrier, when we happen to be walking on the beach at the same time. Sophia always knows if Oscar is about when she sniffs the imprint of his paws and dashes off to find him. He in turn races to meet her with ‘open paws’, much wagging of tails and sniffing. Today Sheri, the owner of Oscar, posted the most amazing story on Facebook. I know you will find it fascinating. Here it is:
Another close call for the fearless Oscar today. He and I went for a walk along the Kilcunda beaches, starting from Shelley Beach and around the corner onto the main Kilcunda beach. Halfway down that stretch was was a great big bird sitting on the sand. Still a fair way from it, I saw it half-walk, half-fly out into the water a ways – it looked like it was struggling a bit. When we walked up past where the bird had been on the beach, Oscar decided to go for a swim, as is his wont. All of a sudden the big bird (bigger than Oscar) turned around and surfed in on a wave straight towards Oscar! I don’t know who struck first – the bird or Oscar. But the bird quickly had Oscar by the neck and onto his back. Oscar was trying to get free but his paws were above him and he couldn’t get much of a wriggle up in the water. The bird wasn’t going to let go – it looked like it was trying to drown him. By this time I had gotten my coat off, tossed my iPod and phone up the beach and went in after him, into about hip-deep water. Fortunately the surf wasn’t very big today. I just swatted at the bird (huge wing-span, I might say), grabbed Oscar away from it and we got back up onto the beach. No skin broken, but some fur missing around the front of his neck. Oscar was making a strange hacking, convulsing noise – I thought maybe the bird had damaged his windpipe or something. I tipped him upside down but he didn’t lose any water. So when we got up to the carpark on the bluff I called Neville to come down and pick us up. Also because I was dripping wet! And it was cold! When Nev got there, I pointed out where the bird was (Oscar had recovered by this time and was keen for another play). We saw a woman come along with a little staffie, and the bird, who had gone back out onto the water, made a beeline for the staffie! The staffie obviously isn’t a swimmer so it ran barking up the beach away from the water and the bird gave up and went back into the water. It looked like it had either a broken foot or broken wing.
When we got home Nev called Wildlife Rescue who sent someone from Phillip Island Nature Reserve out about an hour later. Nev went down to see if she needed a hand (I stayed home with Oscar, as we were still thawing out). AND, wouldn’t you know it, I was wearing a brand new pair of Brooks runners – not enough time to take them off, as Oscar was in trouble – so I had to spend some time rinsing them out well enough – I hope!
By the time the rescuer and Nev got there, the bird had gone out into deeper water and the rescuer said she couldn’t go out that far. Nev suggested he walk out alongside the deeper water on the rock platform. Sure enough, the bird came back in towards him and followed him back to the shallower water! The rescuer then waded out with a big blanket, flung it over the bird and wrapped it up. She said it was a Southern Giant Petrel and that they are quite aggressive by nature. And that they would check it out, put it in a cage, give it some food, and release it if it recovered. She didn’t think it had a broken wing or foot, but maybe that it had gotten knocked around in a storm out at sea and was just exhausted. Interestingly, she told Nev that they had rescued a pair of these same birds a couple of weeks ago. Overnight in the cage one had killed and eaten the other one! I hope none of the fairy penguins hear about this!
And you would think Oscar would have learnt a lesson. No way – all the way back up the beach and the bluffs, having trouble breathing, he was still wanting to get back and have a go. As with the seals, every time we walk past that spot he will be looking for that bird…
This is Oscar:
Update on tofu making
Well my tofu making did not get off to a very good start. I haven’t heard that anyone followed the recipe I gave for which I am thankful. I made three attempts and the results were pitiful. I went to the beach three times to collect sea water. The last time a young surfer gave me a very strange look as I bent over a rock pool with bottle in hand trying to fill it with sea water. It was windy and starting to rain.
After each failure I rang Bruce, the master tofu maker, and he made various suggestions as to what could be going wrong. The curd was just not coming together. Eventually he said he would come round and we would make tofu together which he kindly did. The problem turned out to be in the grinding of the soaked beans. I used my kitchen mixer whereas he had used the traditional grinder. Before coming he practiced using a liquidiser to grind the beans, and that’s what we did together. SUCCESS – is it worth all the trouble, I’m not sure, but have decided to have another go on my own. I don’t like being beaten.
Update on felt making
I haven’t lost interest in the idea of making a felt hat. I trawled the internet for courses but found them to be too far away to travel plus they were costly, in the region of $120. Borrowed some books from the library and also watched YouTube tutorials. Last weekend went to Spotlight and bought 70g of Merino Wool which was packaged and ready for use in wet felting. I was horrified to see that it was imported from China and cost $14.95. Now this is not economical but it will allow me to make a practice run. I have looked on eBay where larger carded quantities can be purchased at a fraction of the cost. My idea is to buy one of these larger amounts and have a go at dying it from natural infusions. Could be challenging !
Each week when I participate in a Spanish language lesson with Rosa my teacher from Lima in Peru, we share a variety of topics. Recently she has given me links to recipes, written in Spanish, which are very popular in South America. Leche asada is one that I would like to share with you all because it is so easy and is similar to a Creme Caramel.
2 cups evaporated milk, 2 eggs beaten, 4 tbs sugar, vanilla and nutmeg. Beat ingredients together except nutmeg, poor into 6 individual moulds then sprinkle over nutmeg. Fill an oblong roasting pan with boiling water (bain marie) stand filled moulds in water and bake at 175C for about 40 minutes until set. You can make them a bit more special by first caramelising 200g of sugar in a saucepan for 5 minutes. Poor into moulds before adding the milk mixture. Chill for at least 3 hours.
I can’t take credit for this picture as it came from the recipe I was given but I thought you would like to see the end result. The ones I made turned out really well and were absolutely delicious served with raspberries. Olga my Chilean friend gave them her seal of approval.
Outing to Scottish/Celtic Heritage Day
Ken was keen to do some filming so last Sunday we went to the Annual Scottish/Celtic Heritage Day at Dandenong. Unfortunately it wasn’t well attended, probably because of rain and wind, but we managed to make the best of it. There were some magnificent Clydesdale horses and foals and Scottish Dogs sporting tartan colours but what stood out was a Town Crier competition. One of the Criers was a lady with a massive voice: here she is strutting her stuff:
I think I’ve made up for my lack of news over the past couple of weeks. Hope you are all travelling well and enjoying life. Do share your retirement stories with the blog if you feel so inclined.