|Acrylic painting by me of Ghost Gums|
Family trees – often they make it difficult to see the forest.
Some folk go to extraordinary lengths, out on a limb, to dig up trunk loads of information; multitude limbs to root out their ancestry. With the intention of learning about who went before them they branch out in every direction, pouring over clusters of data. Nothing is left swinging. Persistent in their searches, their interest is perennial. Their assiduous, dogged determination to discover everything they can about their lineage - from where it stemmed – is unyielding.
Tirelessly the seekers stalk sites in search of answers, barking out questions.
In the wee small hours off they lumber to slumber, only to wake a few hours later to begin digging again, feeling renewed like an evergreen. Their curiosity remains perennially fresh.
At times the deadwood is tossed aside or ignored, usually for good reason. Most families, whether they like to admit it or not, have a skeleton or two hidden away in their silky oak, pine, mahogany or cedar cupboards. There’s no point selling the cupboards on Gumtree. Skeletons are adept at finding somewhere else to hide. It’s a haunting thought, but they will remain to haunt...if you allow them to do so. Perhaps there’s a spray available that eradicates skeletons. Termites may be the answer. They could be coerced into embracing a liking for bones instead of wood.
My family tree is non-existent these days. Deforestation occurred years ago. I’d better tread carefully, or I’ll be blamed for global warming!
There’re no trees or branches blocking forest views in my insignificant corner of the field. I’m the sole tree left standing. I’m probably more like a shrub these days, than a tall, straight, strong tree. So far I’ve dodged the chainsaws.
Branches of my family tree have been lopped back so far there’s no chance of regrowth. I don’t pine about the situation. Content I am being a gnarly, old, sole soul.
I’m not unlike the Wollemi Pine – I’ve outlived dinosaurs. There is a saying - “No man is an island”. I’m a woman, so the saying doesn’t refer to me. I enjoy being an island, and in no way do I feel deserted.
“Deserted” is from where the term “desert island” originated. As they do, people got lazy along the way and dropped off the “ed” at the end of the word. It’s no secret I love tropical islands having lived on two back in the 80s and early 90s.
Actually, by having no family - no branches – I suppose, instead of being a shrub, I’m a palm, which, in fact, makes me a herb. I’m herbaceous because palms are herbaceous – a non-woody plant.
There’s nothing wooden about me. Pinch me, and you’d discover this to be so. I am fleshy as opposed to woody! Wouldn’t you know it!
My affinity to palms has been long-standing. Growing in our yard when I was a kid were three palm trees. We called them “monkey nut trees”. The truth could be I descended from the Planet of the Apes! Now, that’s a thought upon which to ponder.
As well as the she-oaks that grew on the foreshores of both Hinchinbrook and Newry Islands, which were my hang-outs for a while, were palm trees. I never learned how to scale them, but I was proficient at scaling fish – and eating coconuts.
My mind works in mysterious ways. Don’t question why or how. I don’t have the answers....
Salmon with Crispy Coconut Kale: Rinse 1c jasmine rice in cold water; drain. Place in saucepan with 1c coconut milk, 1c water and ½tsp salt. Bring to boil; stir. Reduce to lowest heat, cover; cook 15mins. Remove from heat. While rice is cooking, heat oven to 200C. Combine in sealed jar, 1/3c melted coconut oil, 1tsp sesame oil, 2tbs coconut aminos or tamari, and 1tbs Sriracha. Shake until emulsified. Place 3 cubed kumara on baking sheet. Drizzle with 1tbs melted coconut oil; sprinkle with paprika. Toss to coat; bake 30mins, or until tender. Place 1 bunch trimmed kale, sliced into strips and 1c coconut flakes on baking sheet. Drizzle with 2/3rd of dressing. Toss until well coated. Drizzle 4 salmon fillets with 1- 2tbs of remaining dressing. Bake salmon and coconut kale mixture during last 15mins of sweet potato's baking time. Don’t let kale burn. Serve over fluffed rice with an extra drizzle of dressing.
Coconut Fish: In bowl, beat together 1 egg and 2tbs pineapple juice. Spread 2/3c flour and 1-1/2c shredded coconut on separate plates, suitable for dredging. Add 2/3tbs oil to pan set over med-heat. Dry 5 snapper fillets. Dredge in flour; dip in egg; then coat in coconut. Working with 2-3 fillets at a time, add fish to pan. When coconut starts to brown, carefully turn over. When fish is cooked, remove from pan. Add more oil to pan if necessary; repeat with remaining fish.
Lemon Salmon & Herbs: Lightly oil a baking sheet. In bowl, whisk 2tbs brown sugar, 2tbs lemon juice, 1tbs Dijon, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1/2tsp dried dill, 1/2tsp oregano, 1/4tsp thyme and 1/4tsp rosemary; season. Place 4 chopped zucchinis in a single layer onto baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil; season to taste. Add 4 salmon fillets in a single layer; brush each with herb mixture. Place into 200C oven; cook until fish flakes easily with a fork, about 16-18mins, dependent on fillet thickness. Serve with lemon wedges.