Unlike many others, I guess – I can only speak for myself - I don’t mind, nor do I feel guilty if and when I’m frittering a day away. My pleasurable frittering is usually doing something I enjoy, no matter how insignificant or how meaningful the thing I’m frittering on may be. To the cause and effect, it’s all relative. I reckon it’s my day to fritter however I like.
It is no lie, big or little when I confess I spent a rainy Sunday a couple of weeks ago frittering the day away bingeing, streaming, watching the excellent series, “Big Little Lies”, which stars Nicole Kidman, Reece Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, plus others. All the rave reviews about the series proved to be correct...in my opinion. I thoroughly enjoyed the very classy series. The soundtrack to the series is also excellent.
Today I’m frittering away a few hours making Christmas cakes
For some silly reason I always feel tinges of guilt because, not like I once did, I now make the good old boiled fruit cakes.
Once upon a time I always made the rich fruit cake around August, early September and kept topping it up with either brandy or rum between the making of the cake and Christmas.
Because my days of catering for the hordes during the Festive Season...Christmas parties, Christmas lunch, Boxing Day and all times from go to whoa and in between have faded into the mists of years past, these days I only cater for my two furry mates and me.
Remy and Shama aren’t fond of fruit cakes...boiled or otherwise...which means I can splurge on the cake without guilt, or dirty looks from them. They won’t miss out, though. I’ve special treats in store for my furry rascals.
Nowadays I opt to make boiled fruit cakes. This doesn’t mean my boiled fruit cakes aren’t “rich”. They are loaded with dried mixed fruits, dates, cherries, crystallised ginger, dried cranberries, red raisins, walnuts, treacle, brown sugar, and a couple of other “secret” ingredients....all soaked generously in dark rum over a 48 hour period.
The rum is Bundaberg aka Bundy rum. I’m making four times the quantity. As I do each year come Christmas, I’ll be posting off a cake to my ex, Randall. He’d wonder what had gone wrong if he didn’t receive a fruit cake for Christmas!
My main meal of the day - and it’s been this way for a number of years - is lunch.
There’s always a method to my many forms of madness. With lunch being the height of my daily fare, sated and satisfied, I can fritter away the afternoon whichever way I choose.
A creature of some habits, I always do my grocery shopping in the morning...as early as possible, to get it over and done with. There is no way I’d wait until the afternoon to visit the supermarket. If I don’t go in the mornings, it can wait until the next morning. My needs are never so desperately urgent I have to attack the supermarket in the afternoons. I think my stocks here at home mimic any good supermarket!
Our local Supa IGA supermarket opens at 7 am...so any time from then is when I scoot out the door...usually between 7 am and 8.00 am, if possible. The only times I linger longer hopping into my car in order to hit the road is if I have to visit the post office. It doesn’t open until 9 am! How slack of them!!
While on the subject of frittering, I love fritters. Yesterday I made salmon-vegetables fritters for my lunch. They were delicious.
Corned beef fritters or corned beef hash were regular left-over concoctions when I was a kid. A Sunday lunch of corned beef/brisket or corned silverside invariably was followed by a Sunday or Monday night meal of fritters. Monday breakfast of corned meat hash was often on the menu, too. I enjoyed both.
When I was a kid there was little better than frittering away Sunday nights, listening to the radio while munching on a plate of corned beef fritters.
High on my list of things I hate...and I do mean “hate” is littering and litterers...those who litter. There are no excuses for littering, none whatsoever.
The Tamborine Mountain farmers’ and crafts’ market is held on the second Sunday of each month, across the way at the local showground. The next day, I noticed on the side of the road out from where my humble little abode is were two drink cans and a rather large, empty carton that once held popcorn. The unsightly objects certainly weren’t left there by me.
The fellow from up the far end of this laneway went by on his ride-on mower...mowing the grass, weeds and dropped leaves along the side of the road. To my surprise, and annoyance, he swerved around the litter, and continued on his merry way, leaving the garbage untouched! After he’d disappeared back up to his own home...I’ve never met the man, other than to give a nod, smile and/or wave in acknowledgement the very few times I’ve seen him. I’ve no idea of his name. As I’ve mentioned previously there are only four properties/homes on this lane, one of which belongs to my landlords; and my insignificant little cabin makes five.
Walking, or hobbling across the road, my cane in hand, I picked up the unsightly, unnecessary blot on the landscape. I deposited them in my rubbish bin.
It shouldn’t be the responsibility of others to clean up the messes left behind by the ignorant. How difficult is it for a person to take their own waste material with them?
One of the first instructions I gave to my staff when we began working together at the resort on Hinchinbrook Island was to never to step over and by-pass litter they came across, in the false premise the next person following will pick it up. I told them I didn’t care where they stuck it...in their briefs, up their shorts, under their skirt or in their bra... just make sure they picked up the litter; stuck it somewhere on or in their attire; ensure it ended up in its rightful place -the garbage bins.
If we don’t apply commonsense within our own self - bend over; pick litter up; dispose of it correctly, the pattern, in the majority of instances, will continue, unbroken; and there the litter remains, a blot, not only on the landscape, but a blot on one’s escutcheon (aka a stain on one’s reputation or character).
Most importantly, in the first place, don’t be a litterer. It’s simple – it’s a no-brainer!
Don’t discard drink and food containers, tissues etc., anywhere other than in the correct receptacles e.g. garbage bins. That’s the purpose of garbage bins...the name is clear enough!
It never ceased to amaze me, and anger me, when fisherman, apparently were prepared to load heavy cartons of beer (almost always glass bottles) with them in their boats, but were never prepared to take the much lighter empty stubbies/bottles, or cans back with them to the mainland. Instead of doing the latter, they senseless found it easier to toss the “empties” overboard.
When I was on Newry Island every day I’d walk along the water’s edge scouring the area for glass bottles, broken and unbroken. On both Hinchinbrook and Newry Islands I kept the use of glass containers/bottles down as much as was possible...carrying canned beer in the bar in preference to bottled beer.
On Newry I had a huge waste bin for the aluminum cans. Periodically, it was taken across to the recycling depot in Mackay. A similar practice was conducted on Hinchinbrook Island.
One day a couple of fisherman arrived at the bar on Newry Island. About three or four of my “regulars” were at one end enjoying a drink after their morning’s fishing trip, before heading back to the mainland. The two new arrivals, I’d not previously seen at the small resort. One headed up the track to the ablutions’ block, and his mate ordered a beer.
“Can I have a stubbie?” He asked, with no thank you or please attached. He’d already blotted his copybook in my opinion.
I told him I didn’t carry stubbies, it would have to be a can.
Upon hearing my response, he began to grumble and groan quite rudely.
Already he had annoyed me...I didn’t need any further nudging. I didn't hesitate with my reaction to his ill-manner.
“The reason I don’t carry stubbies is because of the idiot fishermen who toss their empties overboard, rather than have the good sense to take the empties home with them. I’m forever picking up broken stubbies that have washed up on my beach because of clown fisherman who know no better!”
“Are you calling me an idiot?” He was his reply.
“If you throw bottles overboard...then yes, I am. If that is the case, then you are one of the idiot fishermen I’m referring to. I know the glass I pick up every day doesn’t come from here!”
I handed him a can of beer.
He shut up pretty quickly, and said nothing further.
My “regulars” up the other end of the bar, held their heads down, but I could sense their amusement.
Shortly thereafter, the fellow’s fishing buddy arrived from the toilet block, oblivious to what had occurred in his absence.
“Can I have stubbie, please?” He asked.
His contrite mate, whom I’d only a minute or two before reprimanded, hushed his friend. To his mate’s bemusement, said - “Shhh! Don’t start her off, again!”
I burst out laughing...as did the fellows up the other end of the bar. The bloke who had caused the “moment” laughed along with us. From then on, everyone relaxed and had a pleasant time over a couple of beers.
What I said that day had to be said. Unfortunately, similar has to be said about littering every day of the week, month in and year out...because humans never listen...never learn.
Now I’m going to fritter away some time out in the glorious sunshine wiling away the time while I wait for my cakes to cook.
After a few rainy days so far this week there is some sunshine peaking through today...but the rain is on its way again later today or tonight from the predictions. I’m not complaining. I love rainy days...and nights.
Remember....fritter don’t litter!
Sweet Potato-Kale-Quinoa Fritters: Devein kale; roll up leaves into tight roll; chop, making 2 cups. In a bowl, place 3c pureed kumara, 2c cooked quinoa, 2c kale, 2 eggs, 3tsp cornflour, 1/2c breadcrumbs, 1tsp grated fresh ginger, pinch of smoked paprika; season. Heat 4-6tbs oil in pan; scoop fritters into pan; slightly flatten tops; cook on each side, until golden.
Couscous-Corn Fritters: Cook 115g couscous; drain; mix with 120g corn niblets, ½ red onion, chopped, 2tsp oregano, 2 minced garlic cloves, 2tbs chopped parsley; season. Cook fritters in hot oil.
Kumara-Corn Fritters: Put 1 large grated kumara (about 250g), 1 grated zucchini,1 grated carrot, 1x410g canned, drained corn, 100g crumbled feta, ¼ onion, finely chopped and 1/4c finely chopped coriander in bowl; season. Sift in 1/2c S.R. flour and 1/2tsp baking powder; add 2 eggs, fold to combine. Heat 2tbs oil in pan; spoon in 2-3tbs of mix per fritter. Fry a few mins on one side; flip; cook until golden. Add a medium can of salmon to the mixture before cooking, if you like.
Apple-Ricotta Fritters: Combine 2 coarsely grated apple (no need to peel), 1/2c fresh ricotta, 2 large eggs and 1/2tsp cinnamon; add 3/4c plain flour and pinch of salt; stir until just combine. Cook in shallow amount of hot oil; let drain when cooked; douse with icing sugar when still warm.
Banana Fritters: Smash 3 very ripe bananas with 2 egg yolks; add 1tsp vanilla, 1/2tsp cinnamon, 1/2tsp nutmeg, 1tbs molasses. 1/4c shredded coconut and 1tbs sugar. Add 2c flour and 1/4c milk alternatively. When combined, whisk 2 egg whites. Slowly add whites, careful as not to deflate the volume. Heat oil in pan; fry mixture in batches. Drain well; sprinkle with icing sugar; or served drizzled with maple syrup.
Boiled Fruit Cake: Regular recipe..(today I multiplied it by four for my own purposes)..... Soak 500g dried mixed fruit (I added chopped dates, chopped crystallised ginger, walnuts, red raisins, dried cranberries and more glacé cherries to the mix) overnight in dark rum, dry sherry or brandy. I let my mix sit, soaking, for 48 or so hours. Adjust the liquid quantity according to additional ingredients. (This recipe is a guideline...fool around with it to your own content, and judgment. Mostly, I cook according to my taste).
In a saucepan, place soaked fruits, nuts, 1 cup of water, 125g butter, 2tbs golden syrup or treacle and 1c brown sugar in saucepan. At this point, I also add my “secret” ingredients...a dessertspoon (thereabouts) of instant coffee (dry) and about the same quantity of cocoa powder. (You don’t have to add these. It’s just what I’ve gotten in the habit of doing). Slowly bring to the boil; then remove from the heat. Add 1tsp bicarbonate of soda which has been mixed with 1 tablespoon boiling water. Allow to cool for 15 minutes. Add 2 lightly-beaten eggs mixing thoroughly. Fold in 1c sifted plain flour (all-purpose flour) and 1c self-raising flour, 1/2tsp mixed spice, ¼ tsp nutmeg, (as well as cinnamon and ground ginger, if you like) and 1tsp vanilla essence. Place in a greased and paper-lined (base and sides) 20cm round or square cake tin. Decorate with almonds (or pecans or walnuts) and/or glace cherries. Bake at 160°C (320F) for 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours, until skewer comes out clean. Cool in tin.