|Aerial view of resort and jetty...and restaurant area circa 1986...and of my renegade staff manning the ute on the jetty. The Toyota ute was the only land-based vehicle on the island, other than the drot, of course.|
|Some of my staff around the bar...and out on the deck (They used to do some work...truly, they did!)|
|Me (in the glitter) dining with some resort guests...the fellow on the right in the lower pic is Johnno, who was my barman. The woman standing was an Aussie champion at game fishing. She'd won many awards.|
Me, on the right, and Natalie, my niece who worked for me for a while at the resort
|Free-loading wallabies have a look around hoping (and hopping) to swipe some fruit salad!|
|Unlike the wallabies, this guest was paying his way|
(I've probably posted most of the above pics before...oh, well....)
Many a person of repute has become a stuttering newt after drinking the wine of fruit! From the careless pursuit of the juice from fruit one could end up in disrepute; there is no dispute! What a hoot! The silly coot! At such times one should be more astute and remain mute!
While on the subject of Hinchinbrook Island, which I was a few posts ago, I’m sure, during my tenure as manager of the resort on the island, a stylish, recently-widowed lady of grace and dignity visited the resort along with her daughter and son-in-law.
The younger couple decided Joyce, the lady in discussion, deserved a diversion from her grief and loss. At the time, Joyce was a woman in her late fifties, perhaps early sixties. Joyce’s daughter and her husband felt she needed time away from the pressures she’d been experiencing. They believed she needed time to regain herself; have the space to take stock of her emotions. Listening to no arguments against their cause, they helped pack her bags. Thoughtfully and generously, they brought her to the island to share their holiday.
The three flew north from Melbourne to enjoy a week in the embrace of the tropical sun. Upon greeting them as they stepped from the seaplane into the punt, I took an immediate liking to Joyce and the young, married couple. I took a punt on them in the punt!
One night during their visit the sturdy outdoor tables on the deck surrounding the resort’s pool were set for dinner.
Often, very often, the guests dined beneath the stars and the moon. The restaurant itself was open with no four walls to encase it; just the roof with wide eaves protecting the interior from the weather. The kitchen area and my office, which was situated behind the cocktail bar, of course, were walled; but the restaurant dining area was open, with only bamboo railings to separate the inside from the outside.
The night in particular was illuminated by a fluorescent full moon accompanied by a chorus line of effervescent stars; the atmosphere was electric with the infectious vivacity of carefree holiday-makers.
Islands emanate a special, indescribable magic. Islands have an intangible quality. They’ve a natural capacity to alter the hardest and most critical souls; or the saddest and loneliest.
With a bottle of Henschke Hill of Grace in hand, I joined Joyce’s table as the evening progressed.
I always kept a case or two of the spectacular wine – Shiraz - in the storeroom at the rear of my office to share with those I classed as “special” guests. Joyce and her family were special guests.
In the Eighties I could purchase the exceptional Henschke Hill of Grace much more cheaply than what it costs these days – much, much more cheaply, believe me!
(A bottle of Henschke Hill of Grace 2010 Vintage these days costs... $649.99 or thereabouts - give or take (more take)....a bottle! A little out of reach of my pocket)!
However, take my word - Hill of Grace is a prestigious wine, worthy of all the adjectives of praise used to describe it.
In the early Seventies - I weep as I write this - I used to purchase Henschke Hill of Grace direct from Carlton-United Breweries at Kangaroo Point, Brisbane - Henschke’s agents - for $5.00 a bottle!
Nowadays I just dream about it!
Nowadays I just dream about it!
No champagne for me if I win the big one in the Lotto...it’ll be a bottle of Henschke Hill of Grace. I love a good Shiraz...and, in my book, (I wish in my cellar) there are few, if any, better than Hill of Grace. And, if such a miracle happened...the winning of a big Lotto pay-day...I'd offer no excuses for sipping on a bottle of Henschke Hill of Grace in celebration! I'd be willing to share it with you, too...if you were so inclined to accept my invitation....
The night in 1986 Joyce dined under the stars a contagious, celebratory mood flowed from one table of guests to the other as the island night unfolded.
Everyone was enjoying a wining and dining experience without whining!
Casting aside her inhibitions, Joyce joined me upon the tabletop. I confess – I put my hand up...I would’ve been the one who instigated table-top dancing. It was a party trick I’d perfected.
In gay abandon, Joyce and I danced to the strains of “Zorba’s Dance”. We even sang along to the melody, laughingly reprimanding each other for forgetting the words! Not hindered, we invented our own lyrics as we tripped the light fantastic! We did Alexis Zorba proud!
To our high amusement, in the warm, not cold, sober light of the following day we realised “Zorba’s Dance” has no lyrics!
How I love “Zorba’s Dance”! I love the book, the movie, the soundtrack! I have them all; the book, the DVD, the LP, cassette and CD. I saw Mikis Theodorakis live in concert at Brisbane's Festival Hall in 1972...a memorable evening. One of the best concerts I've ever seen. What a night! What a man Theodorakis was to see! A tall, giant of a man, dressed in a dark chocolate brown suit with a “Nehru” collar, Theodorakis commanded the stage...he demanded one's attention through his mighty presence and his music. He was mesmerizing, as was Maria Farantouri (Farandouri), the Greek singer, political and cultural activist, whose rich contralto thrilled the audience and filled the auditorium.
Somewhere I’ve photographs of that fun island night; of Joyce and me dancing on the table; and I have the letter she wrote and sent after she returned home, thanking me for her special time in the sun. They’re hidden away amongst my memorabilia. I must go in search of them. I really do need to put things into some semblance of law and order!
I hope Joyce found happiness again, and continued to dance to the melody of life.
Fillet Steak with Balsamic-Red Wine Reduction: Sprinkle 2 thick fillet steaks with salt and freshly-ground black pepper. Heat heavy pan over med-high heat; cook steaks 1 to 1-1/2min each side. Reduce heat to med-low; add 3tbls each balsamic vinegar and dry red wine; cover; cook 4mins each side, basting steaks. Serve steaks topped with 1tbl sauce.
Marsala-Marinated Oranges: Peel and slice (or wedge) 4 oranges, remove all white pith. Add 1/2c raisins, 1/4c sugar and 1c Marsala wine. Chill 2 hours; top with toasted, sliced almonds.
Red Wine Cream: Bring 250ml Merlot to boil. Beat 2 egg yolks and 80g sugar until fluffy; slowly pour hot wine into egg mix; stir vigorously; stir until it nearly boils; add 4 melted (soaked) gelatine leaves; boil 1min; stir constantly. Remove from heat; let cool as it thickens; whip 250ml cream; gently fold into red wine cream. Fill glasses; chill 4hrs.