I kid you not! I freely and openly admit there are times I can be a goat, but I had no kids.
I’ve no offspring to whom I can pass on family history; the good, the bad and the ugly.
Let’s be honest, every family has good and bad narratives in their archives. We’re all human - well, most of us are. Skeletons seek shelter in our closets. To rid them of cobwebs the skeletons need to be let out now and again. Some have more skeletons to hide, hence the need for larger closets; walk-in robes even.
Of course, there are those who aren’t interested in their family history, but they’re being unfair to their children who may, one day, want to learn about their heritage. No records will be available to satisfy their curiosity. Family for them becomes a dead end street; a large full stop with no green light. Parents who display such inconsiderate, ignorant attitudes deny future generations of informed answers to questions their progeny no doubt will have.
Ignorance never favours anyone.
Once I drop off this planet that will be that! Ka-Boom! Farewell, Columbus!
With me will go my truths - the dark, deep, good, bad, ugly, happy, joyous, sorrowful, the hysterically-humorously insanely bold and beautiful – the whole catastrophe; the complete kit and caboodle; the entire uncut, unadulterated Volumes I, II, III, IV, V and VI.
Gone without a trace will be the clue to where I hid the diamond, ruby, emerald, sapphire and black pearl-encrusted golden key that opens the vault bearing an unimaginable abundance of priceless treasures.
Okay! I confess - I swallowed the key years ago in a display of wilful rebellious recklessness. The key worked better than an antacid. It’s gone with the wind!
As for the cache of the king’s ransom; the treasure trove of riches – that rogue Captain Jack Sparrow fortuitously stumbled across the map when he was looking for a hiding place for his two pooches.
I thought I’d buried the map with the interred treasure. No amount of interrogation could force me to divulge the whereabouts of the concealed store because my mind has returned to its natural state…a blank slate.
I never would’ve imagined Captain Jack to be the one to locate my stash. Being the cunning critter he is, he smuggled the invaluable prized hoard to the US concealed in Pistol and Boo’s personalised Louis Vuittons.
A friend’s tale prompted me to I leap aboard this in-depth train of thought, not Sparrow, Pistol or Boo. Two years or so years back my friend’s children presented him with a journal and an embossed silver pen with the purpose of inspiring him to put pen to paper. Until a few weeks ago he’d failed to find a subject worthy enough to sully the pristine pages of his elaborately bound gift. But then he began to reflect upon his experiences during the Vietnam War, comparing his personal encounters; his observations; his own trials and tribulations with those of his great-grandfather during the American Civil War. As if by magic his pen sprung to life; the process began.
When we were young my late brother and I never tired of the tales our Nana related about the “olden days”. I wish I’d had the foresight to record her stories for longevity.
Life is strange, so too are families. Not one of us has the right to erase our family history as if it never occurred.
There’s no time like the present to honour the past for the future.
Blood Orange-Goat Cheese-Carrot Salad: Slice a bunch of carrots lengthwise. Peel and de-seed 1 blood orange, 1 navel orange and 1 tangerine; chop into cubes. Place on oven tray; drizzle with olive oil; season; sprinkle with chopped thyme and parsley; toss to coat. Bake at 200C, 25mins. Put 1 packet of rocket in bowl; add veg and fruit; sprinkle over 240g crumbled goat cheese and toasted nuts of choice (and/or seeds); drizzle with dressing:- 3tbs orange juice, 2tbs lemon juice, 1tsp Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, 2tbs chopped parsley and 1/2c x-virgin olive oil.
Blood Orange Quinoa Salad: Dressing, combine 1/4c finely-chopped shallots, 2tsp grated blood orange rind, 1tsp grated lemon rind, 2tbs blood orange juice, 1tbs fresh lemon juice, 2tsp finely chopped coriander (cilantro) 1/4ts each of salt, ground coriander, ground cumin and paprika; whisk until thoroughly combined. Gradually add 3tbs ex-virgin olive oil, stirring constantly with a whisk. Set aside. Salad: Place 1c uncooked quinoa in a fine sieve, and place sieve in a large bowl. Cover quinoa with water. Using your hands, rub grains together for 30 seconds; rinse and drain. Repeat procedure twice. Drain well.Combine 1- 3/4c water, quinoa, and 1/4tsp salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat; simmer 10mins, or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; fluff with a fork. Combine quinoa, 1/4tsp salt, 1c blood orange sections, 1c diced avocado and 6 kumquats, seeded and sliced in a large bowl; toss gently to combine. Add dressing; toss gently to coat salad. Spoon 1 cup salad onto each of 4 plates; top each serving with about 1/2 cup cooked beets cut into wedges.
Braised Oxtail with Olives: Heat 2tbs olive oil in pot over med-heat. Season 2kg trimmed oxtails, cut into 2-inch pieces; brown in batches; remove; set aside. Add 1 sliced onion, 2 sliced carrots and 125g bacon, cut into strips; sauté about 10mins; add 3 minced garlic cloves; cook 1min. Return oxtail to pot; add 3c beef broth, 2c white wine, 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 bay leaf, 1/2tsp dried thyme, 1tsp anchovy paste; season; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 3hrs or until meat is tender; skim occasionally. Add olives and 2tbs red wine vinegar; cook 1min. Chill overnight. Skim fat off top; gently reheat to simmer.
Roasted Bone Marrow: Sauté 1 small finely-chopped onion and 2 large finely-chopped garlic cloves in butter. With spoon scrape marrow from 4x6cm beef shin bones, halved lengthwise; chop; add to onion mix; spoon back into bones; roast at 220C about 12mins; don’t melt marrow completely; serve with golden toasted slices of garlic sourdough bread and Chimichurri: Combine 1/2c flat leaf parsley, 1 finely-chopped shallot, 1 finely-chopped garlic, 1-1/2tbs rinsed, drained, finely-chopped capers, 1tbs white vinegar,1-1/2tsp red wine vinegar,1-1/2tsp sugar and 1/4c ex-virgin olive oil in small bowl. Season to taste. OR - Bring 1c water to a boil in a small saucepan; add 1tbs coarse salt; stir to dissolve; cool. In bowl, put 8 finely minced garlic cloves, 1c finely-chopped flat leaf parsley, 1c finely-chopped fresh oregano leaves and 2tsp dried, crused red chili; whisk in 1/4c red wine vinegar; then ½ c ex-virgin olive oil; then the cool salted water. Will keep in fridge in sealed jar (there’s those bloody jars again!) for 2-3 weeks. Chimichurri is of Argentine origin.
Blood Orange Upside Down Cake: In bowl, whisk together 1c plain flour, 3/4tsp baking powder, 1/4tsp baking soda and 1/4tsp salt; in separate bowl, whisk together 1 large egg, 1/2c fresh orange juice, 1/2c olive oil and 1/2c sugar. Stir together the dry and wet ingredients. Oil an 8-inch cake pan; sprinkle with 1/4c sugar. Peel 5 blood oranges; slice into 1-1/2-inch thick slices; remove seeds. Arrange slices in bottom of prepared dish. Pour batter over oranges. Bake in preheated 190C (375F) oven, about 45mins; cool in pan 1 hour; then invert onto a plate.