Thursday, May 24, 2018

LET US WRAP IT UP – IF POSSIBLE!


Newry Island Foreshore
Bluespotted ribbontail stingray
Victor Creek
Victor Creek Boat Ramp

There are some things that can’t be wrapped, though.  Gifts can be wrapped, as can garbage; a long-running, or even short-running, television series can be wrapped up. Some wounds can be wrapped. And then, there are those wounds that cut too deep making wrapping impossible.

Many years ago when working in a Brisbane restaurant in the role as “Functions Coordinator” I donned a different disguise during the daily busy lunchtime trade, something I’d not expected when offered the previous position. 

Ever-ready for a challenge, I thought why not add another string to my imaginary bow. Being “imaginary” I had no idea how many strings it had, or if it even had one string!  

Once 11.30 am struck I operated the cocktail bar.  It became my domain for the next three or so hours.   

Those were the years of “long business lunches”.

I may not have been able to spin liquor bottles and cocktail shakers in the air with the expertise of the characters played by Bryan Brown and Tom Cruise in the movie “Cocktail”, but I was fleet of foot and flexible of wrist. 

Even if I am blowing my own trumpet (again - an imaginary trumpet), I was pretty good at mixing drinks for our clientele, most of whom members of advertising agencies, radio stations, corporations of varying descriptions etc; a suited, eclectic mixture of businessmen.  

When leaving home one morning, at the front gate, a wasp decided it didn’t like the look of my right hand, so it stabbed me with unwarranted vengeance.

Bees and I have a hive of admiration for each other, but the relationship between wasps and me is malicious.  They started it!

Wasps are a different kettle of stingers.  They are mean little critters that show me no mercy. 

As the morning progressed my hand grew in size. The pain was excruciating.  I’d done nothing to that wasp or its family to deserve the throbbing pain I was experiencing.   

It’s amazing how much discomfort a little prick can cause. 

Battling through, I mixed and served drinks to the drinkers, all the while with my right hand buried in an ice bucket filled with ice.  A one-armed bandit had nothing on me that day.

Around 10 am on a sunny day when I was running the small resort on Newry Island I waded out to the channel where my boat was moored.  The tide was low, but it was on the turn, and was on its way back in.   

The water out to the edge of the drop-off that alerted the start of the channel was rather shallow.  The further one waded out from the main beach the sand became quite muddy, making the water murky and the floor of the sea difficult to see.   

If the tide was in when I had to go out to where the 21 foot Trojan De Havilland was moored I rowed my little red “tinnie”, which was always tied to a tree on the foreshore, out to the mooring and the Trojan with its 175 hp Johnson outboard motor.  Once I’d secured the tinnie to the mooring, I’d jump aboard the bigger boat, and head off across the waters.

The particular morning, to which I’m referring, was similar to many other mornings. At the Victor Creek boat ramp over on the mainland new guests were eagerly waiting for me to pick them up. 

As I approached my boat, barefoot, of course, I was struck on the top of my left foot by a small coral stingray aka bluespotted ribbontail ray...a fairly small ray, not exceeding much more than 35cm/14-inches in width.

They may lack in size, but they sure can pack a whack with their stinging spine.  The pain in my foot grew by the second as I powered forth to Victor Creek, and my waiting guests.

Smiling through gritted teeth, I helped the folk climb aboard the boat.  They were none the wiser of the torturous agony I was enduring while ferrying them across to the island.   Making a big fuss wouldn’t have been a very welcoming welcome to them, I believed.

The first thing they wanted upon reaching their destination was to sit at the bar for a drink or two before settling into their cabins - of all days! 

If that wasn’t bad enough, some of my existing guests were already waiting at the bar - their tongues hanging out. 

While everyone was introducing themselves, I used the moment to excuse myself briefly.  I rushed through to the kitchen to boil some water.

I then proceeded to serve drinks to the thirsty guests with my foot immersed in a bucket filled with the near-boiling water.   The bucket was on the floor behind the bar, out of sight of the guests.  Keeping my predicament to myself, no one was aware of the pain and discomfort I was suffering.   

I was relieved when the group finally had had enough...I certainly had had enough, and was glad to see them head off to do whatever it was they wanted to do!  

Remember - ice is for wasp stings. Water as hot as you can tolerate for stingray stabs...no wrapping required.

Lettuce-Prawn Wraps: In med-bowl whisk together 1/4c chicken broth,2tbs soy sauce,1/4c apricot jam, 1/4c honey, 1tbs cider vinegar, 3tbs tom paste, 1/2tsp sesame- chilli oil, 1/2tsp each garlic and ginger powder, 1/4tsp black pepper, pinch of chilli flakes and 2tbs cornflour. Set aside. Preheat pan over med-heat. Add 1tb coconut oil; melt. Add 1 small onion, cut into ½-inch pieces and 1 red capsicum cut similarly; allow to soften 8-10mins. Remove from pan; set aside. Add 700g peeled, de-veined prawns; cook on one side, 3-4mins; flip; add the reserved sauce. Cook 2-3 more minutes. Add capsicum and onion back to pan; toss with prawns and sauce. Spoon into lettuce cups; top with chopped roasted cashews and thinly sliced shallots.

Beef Lettuce Wraps: In base of slow cooker combine 1/4c each soy sauce, honey and brown sugar, 2tbs rice vinegar, 2tbs sesame oil and 2tbs garlic chilli paste. Cut 1kg round beef roast in half lengthwise; coat beef in the sauce; arrange side by side in base of the slow cooker. Cook on lowest setting 6-8hrs. Keep an eye on the beef during the last 2hrs of cooking. Remove beef from cooker to large bowl. Shred with two forks. Toss with remaining cooking liquid to taste. Sesame Cucumber Salad – combine 3tbs sesame oil, 4tbs rice vinegar and 1tsp sugar until sugar dissolves. Toss 3c cucumber matchsticks, 1-1/2c bean sprouts and 3c thinly sliced radishes in dressing. Place salad and shredded beef in lettuce cups; sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

Rapture Wraps: Melt 2tbs butter in pan over med-low heat until sizzling; add 240g boneless, skinless chicken; cook, turning once, 13-18mins or until golden brown on both sides and juices run clear; remove from pan; cut into strips. Mix together 1/c salad dressing and 1/4c shredded parmesan; spread onto 4 warmed tortillas; top each with shredded Cos/Romaine lettuce, sliced Roma tomatoes, fresh basil leaves and Italian-herbed flavoured, slightly crushed croutons. Wrap up burrito-style.

30 comments:

  1. You certainly had pain inflicted upon you through no fault of your own, those wasps I believe do a nasty job on some people..
    Didn't realise for stingrays sting one used really hot water...no I know.

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    1. Yep! I'm not at all fond of wasps, Margaret. They vicious creatures. As I mentioned, bee stings don't bother me at all...but wasps, for me, are totally different.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  2. Oh my you are a brave soul working after those stings, never would have known to use hot water for a stingray encounter. I do love his blue spots; I remember when we lived in Cuba we had to wear tennis shoes in the water so we wouldn't step on a sea urchin. As always your recipes sound so delicious especially the one with prawns. About the only drink I know how to make is a frozen margarita.

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    1. Hey Linda...I tried wear sand shoes aka tennis shoes when wading out to where my boat was moored but they were sucked off my feet...so it was pointless. Barefoot was the only way to go.

      I had no choice but to continue working through the pain...particularly after the stingray had struck me....I was running the Newry Island resort by myself...just me alone.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  3. It is bees which give me grief. The last sting I received was on my arm, and tweny minutes later the arm was too swollen to bend. Swimming late one afternoon a wasp had the audacity to to sting me in the underarm. I hope it drowned in the ensueing splashing.
    I too was unaware that sting-ray sting treatment was hot water. I admire your stoicism.

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    1. Hi EC....Bee stings don't affect me at all, for whatever reason...but I steer well clear of wasps if I come upon them...for obvious reasons. They really hurt me.

      I had no choice but carry on....as I said to Linda, above, particularly on Newry where there was just me running the show.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  4. I've been stung by a wasp, so I can sympathise there, the fault, although unintentional, was mine. I'd been cutting back an overgrown jasmine prior to killing off the stump and disturbed a nest, the wasps caught me by surprise and I got stung in that tender spot between lip and nose.
    I'm glad you were able to carry on, wimpy me would have called for volunteers to help out.

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    1. Hi River...that wasp sting you received certainly would've hurt! Ouch!

      At the restaurant other staff members were either involved in the cooking process in the kitchen, and others waiting on the tables. I was the sole bar person.

      And on the island I was the sole operator thereof...Pushkin and Rimsky, my two cats at the time had no bar experience; and weren't to fond of people and stayed out of sight of them when they were around. :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  5. I'm hoping I'm never close enough to a sting ray to let it spear me lol. Might just put the kettle on if I'm thinking of swimming in those parts though!

    Here's another with a dislike of wasps - they definitely like sweet things and take a fancy to lemonade cans and bottles. And don't like it when they are shooed away - in fact they can get quite obnoxious and seek out the one doing the shooing! And it's a fallacy that if you leave them alone they will leave you alone- voice of experience talking here lol

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    1. I agree with you regarding wasps, Cathy. They are very aggressive. I don't like or trust the little beggars. And they do like sweet things. I thought, at the time, the wasp that stung me could have been attracted to whatever perfume it was I was wearing at the time. And at that time I mostly used YSL - Opium, which I loved.

      I didn't see the ray. If I had, I would've moved rapidly out of its way. It probably received a hell of a fright when it saw my big foot headed its way! :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  6. It is a very pretty stingray. I've not heard of or seen them. I don't know about what we call European wasps, like a large bee, but the red wasps we used to have about in the country were nasty and aggressive. Maybe they are the same as your wasps. Interesting about the hot water for stingray stabs. It is indeed surprising how much a little prick can hurt but I think that may be because they are more nasty, savage and penetrating than what you receive from a bigger prick.

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    1. Hi Andrew...As far as I am aware, the wasp that got me that day was what is called a "Paper Wasp". http://www.brisbaneinsects.com/brisbane_vespoidwasps/PaperWasps.htm

      I see you picked up on my tongue-in-cheek "prick" comment.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  7. "It’s amazing how much discomfort a little prick can cause" is a saying commonly attributed to Melania Trump.

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    1. I wasn't aware you had such inside information, Yorkie.

      Thanks for your insightful response. :)

      Delete
    2. "I did not have sexual relations with that woman."

      Delete
    3. You're having an identity-crisis, Yorkie...get your facts straight.

      And, furthermore, your response has absolutely no relation to my post.

      Are you sure you're not suffering from too much Corfu sun?

      Delete
    4. Huh? It all came from your prick remark so it certainly does relate to your post. So there!

      Delete
  8. I could feel the pain in your hand. I have been stung by a bee - but not a wasp yet - and I hope I never do!

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    1. Hi Sandie...and I hope you never do...particularly if it hurts as much as my wasp sting did.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  9. That wasp did not like the look of your right hand. He has such poor taste!
    I remember being stung by bees and wasps as a child. There would always be someone who would take tobacco and mix it with (water...spit?) and put it on the sting. Not sure if it helped really, just made one feel better because someone was trying to help, I suppose.

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    1. Hi Kay...Since that day, I stay well clear of wasps when I see them. I have no urgent desire to be the subject of their pleasure again. :)

      I've not heard of the tobacco and spit remedy...but a bit of spit does have soothing powers at certain times. A no cost salve!

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  10. Not nice being stung! I do my best to stay clear of wasps ...

    Those lettuce-prawn wraps sound good, we are currently enjoying salad type weather in my part of the UK at the moment.

    All the best Jan

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    1. Hey Jan...cooler temps here at present...not cold, but cooler. But those wraps are good any season, I think. :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  11. Bee sting can be very unpleasant. I've experienced it.
    Laffa bread wrapping can offer a whole delicious meal whatever you choose to fill it with. It's very popular in the Middle East.

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    1. G'day, DUTA....I'm lucky in that bee stings don't worry me. It's the wasps that do the damage if they strike me.

      Wraps are good...so many delicious, healthy fillings can be included...they make a good, tasty meal.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  12. I can sympathise in no uncertain terms. I love bees. I'm not scared of bees. I have been stung by a bumble bee and it was worse than any wasp sting I've had but it wasn't the bee's fault: it was on my car door handle and the first either of us knew was when I closed out the light on its world and it retaliated. On the other hand wasps will go for you with no reason whatsoever. I'm sure that they have an evil gene in them. I would never kill a bee on purpose but I have difficulty letting a wasp live.

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    1. I love bees, too, Graham, and would never purposely kill one. They go about their business, minding their own business. I've only been stung a couple of times by bees, and have never had a reaction.

      However, for me, wasps are a different creature all together. They're aggressive little beasts, and if I see them around, I stay well clear. I allow them right of way because if they sting me, it bloody hurts! And I try to avoid pain if I'm allowed a choice! :)

      Thanks for coming by....take good care. :)

      Delete
  13. That is a wonderfully decorative stingray!

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    1. Yeah...and a nasty little beggar, too, Jenny! :)

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete