Like most folk there have been times I’ve felt like I was up a creek without a paddle. Having large hands (for a woman) is an advantage when floundering in troubled waters. Mine aren’t the most genteel, ladylike hands in the world, but if ever needed they would've shone brightly as surrogate oars.
However, other sticky situations can create problems of their own. There’s more area to cover if you’ve large hands; more area of stickiness. I gave myself a fright the other day. I was super-gluing the handle on a coffee cup. For a moment I panicked. I thought I’d be spending the rest of my life walking around with a cup stuck to my hand! I considered sitting at the front entrance to our local supermarket, cup stuck to my hand, humming a tune while tap dancing to the beat. I’d not have been able to strum an instrument because of the stuck cup, but it could’ve been an enterprising way to make some extra money. The downside is, my humming is as bad as my singing. As for my tap dancing – I wouldn’t force it upon anyone!
By the way, the handle on said cup has since broken off once more! I knocked a jug, and the domino principle immediately toppled into gear.
Drat! I’ve done it again! I’ve managed to go off paddling up a different creek from the original thought that prompted this narrative. What’s new?
Yesterday during a chat with a friend who once worked with me at the resort on Hinchinbrook Island, as always, our conversation turned to happy reminiscences about our magical time on the island. He reminded me of an exhibition I’d made of myself one crazy afternoon when I tried to paddle a canoe. “Tried” being the operative (unco-operative) word!
A guest (the one I referred to in a previous post re our attempted dining at the Hotel Windsor prior to his paddling off to Oxford to meet up with Inspector Morse) asked me to join him on canoe ride. We were both virgins in the art of canoeing. To my dismay, I became aware of his lack of experience when we were less than halfway en route!
Sticking reasonably close to shore we paddled westward in the direction of Macushla Beach, and further on to Missionary Bay; in the direction of the mainland.
With every stroke of the oars the more drenched we both became. Fearing death by drowning I morphed into Fletcher Christian and mutinied. I took a stance while remaining seated, demanding we row back to the jetty.
There upon the jetty waited Johnno, my barman. On his face was a strange look on that said: “Are you two crazy or something?” I readily agreed with his thoughts. The sun was descending over Cardwell in the west, on the mainland. I had to get cracking. The resort guests would soon be turning up at the bar eager for a drink or three to start off their evening.
Once my feet returned to dry land and I’d had time to reflect I realised I’d enjoyed my spontaneous moments of hilarious, hair-raising nonsense. I then raced quickly to my house to shower and get ready for the night’s entertainment in the restaurant. The show must go on; and on it did go!
A few years later I again sat in a canoe out the front of a motel I managed. (Well, the motel on the beachfront; not the one I managed that faced the main highway. That could've proved fatal if I'd sat in a canoe on the highway)!
The property, owned by a Greek family, was a large expanse of land at Cardwell. I managed the motel on the highway end of the property; a property that ran through from the highway through to another motel (and a restaurant) situated on the beachfront at the other end of the block of land. In between the two motels were holiday villas, on-site caravans and caravan sites.
My second stint in a canoe was stationary. The canoe was securely tied to a palm tree on the foreshore. Other than gentle rocking, the canoe was going nowhere, and neither was I. No paddles or oars were required; nor were my hands needed as substitutes.
Sitting there pondering the meaning of life and Hinchinbrook Island in the distance, I had the awesome pleasure of watching dugongs nonchalantly grazing on the seagrass as they cruised by completely oblivious to my presence.
At times, when the motel restaurant’s chef was unavailable for whatever reason I cooked in his stead. Dugongs were not on the menu!
I learned a few handy Greek recipes from the owner of the establishment. The matriarch, a few years older than me, was quite a humourless woman, with no sense of the ridiculous. I think I was given her portion, doubling my quota.
She treated life far too seriously, but she was willing to share her ethnic food knowledge with me; and I was willing to watch, listen and learn.
Some of it might’ve been double Dutch, but it all ended up being Greek to me.
Zorba’s Salad: Whisk together 2tbs red wine vinegar, 1tsp Dijon mustard, 1/2c x-virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, 1/2tsp oregano, 1/4tsp marjoram, 1 crushed clove garlic and 1tsp lemon juice. Add Cos lettuce, spinach, chopped red onion, bite-sized pieces of red apple, dried cranberries, sliced/diced cucumber, feta pieces and crispy walnuts to salad bowl; toss gently with dressing.
Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki Sauce: Cut 500g skinless chicken into 1-inch cubes. Whisk 3tbs lemon juice, 3tbs olive oil, 2tsp crushed garlic, 1/2tsp salt. 1/4tsp pepper, 1tsp dried oregano; add chicken; cover; chill and marinate 1hr. Alternately thread chicken and ¾-inch pieces of zucchini on skewers; place on hot grill; cook 9-10mins, until chicken is cooked; serve with Tzatziki Sauce: Slice 1 unpeeled English cucumber lengthwise; scrape out seeds; grate cucumber into bowl; press out as much liquid as possible; add 1-1/2c Greek yoghurt, 1/2c sour cream, 1 or 2tsp crushed garlic, 1-1/2tbs lemon juice, 1tbs white wine vinegar, 1tbs fresh dill, minced; season.
Greek Custard Pie (Galaktoboureko): Preheat oven, 190C. In saucepan, stir 5c whole milk, 1c fine semolina, 1/2c sugar, 1tbs unsalted butter and 1tsp vanilla over med-heat; stir gently and constantly until thick; cool 5-10mins. Beat 3 eggs with 1/4c sugar; stir into mixture; add zest of 1 orange. Brush base of 10x13-inch lasagne dish with melted butter; layer with 6 phyllo sheets, liberally brush each layer with melted butter; lightly press sheets into sides and corners; let edges hang over the top. Pour slightly cooled custard over sheets; spread to sides; layer 6 phyllo sheets on top as you did with the base, melted butter etc. Brush overlaps; roll edges down to create a rim. Brush liberally with butter. At this stage, if you like, you can lay thin slices of orange over the top. Bake, 30-45mins until golden; cool 15mins. Upon removing the pie from the oven and while it’s still hot, pour syrup over entire pie (Syrup - 1-1/2c sugar, 1c water, 1/4c orange juice and 1/2tsp vanilla boiled for 5mins). Let pie sit for 1hr or so before serving.
(I have no idea why the font is in different sizing...oh, well....)
(I have no idea why the font is in different sizing...oh, well....)