Although some might think I’m full of hot air, they’d be incorrect in their thinking because I’m not. With that being the case, you’re safe. I won’t be blowing your house down, nor will I be climbing down your chimneys any time soon. However, The Three Little Pigs won’t be exempt from my future visits. I’ll re-enter, not via the chimney, but through their front door.
You see - I’ve been outed; my cover has been blown. I’ve been dragged out of hiding. Who knows what mayhem I might cause now that I’m running wild and free? I won’t be entirely to blame for my future behaviour. Old friends and The Three Little Pigs play an integral role in what unfolds from here on in. The latter - The Three Little Pigs - have to shoulder a certain amount of the responsibility for my being let loose upon the world.
From the moment Michael, the bistro’s most hospitable, genial host greeted me to when I stepped through the doorway I sensed all was well within the world. Michael welcomed me before I’d put a toe (which was attached to my foot) in the restaurant.
An alert I was at large had preceded my arrival.
An alert I was at large had preceded my arrival.
I’ll explain why I was roaming the streets unrestrained.
No respect for my desire to be a hermit has been awarded me lately. Word somehow spread amongst some of my old friends for a couple of them to step forward and yank me out from my hideaway.
Two weekends in a row I was visited by mates of the good old kind.
In the second instance The Three Little Pigs was the chosen venue. Is this an omen? It is said – “Good things come in threes.” Who’s next?
Out of the blue, my friends Trevor and Gwenda contacted me. We three have known each other forever it seems. They’ve been married 51 years.
Gwenda I’ve known since the late Fifties. Born two years before I was, Gwenda, along with her three older brothers and sister was raised on a dairy farm at Cedar Pocket, a farming area approximately 16 kilometres east of Gympie. Often, when I was attending high school I’d stay with a school friend at her home. She also lived on a dairy farm at Cedar Pocket.
In those years Cedar Pocket seemed to be miles and miles from town. When the children from that area were old enough to go to high school they boarded in “town” aka Gympie.
On the Saturday nights of the weekends I stayed at the farm my friend, her younger sister, brother and I would accompany their parents to the country dances held in the Cedar Pocket Hall.
Country dances held in the timber community halls were so much fun. Through those years of the late Fifties and early Sixties my friends and I attended many country dances held in the areas surrounding Gympie.
Two of Gwenda’s brothers, Don and Ian often asked me to be their dance partner for the different dances during the evenings. I always felt flattered (and dumbstruck) two handsome young blokes who were much older than me were interested in asking me to dance with them. I was a shy kid, so I probably didn’t add much to the conversation!
I discovered many years later, from Gwenda, that both her brothers had a bit of a crush on me at the time of those dances. I was too innocent and naive to realise it was so. I just loved to dance...forget all the other nonsense!
Trevor and I met in 1961 when he landed in Gympie as a raw, young 17 year old eager to flood the airwaves as a 4GY radio announcer. I was 16 years of age when he and I met. Prior to positioning himself in front of 4GY’s microphone and turntables Trevor had been a panel operator at Brisbane’s 4BH, one of Brisbane’s top radio station at the time where the announcers were led by one, DJ Bill Gates. It was Bill Gates who discovered The Bee Gees when they were just young kids playing their music around the Redcliffe area Redcliffe a northern beachside suburb of Brisbane.
From our first meeting Trevor and I struck up a friendship, one that’s lasted long.
When he first arrived in Gympie he boarded in a home up behind from where I lived. My Nana, in particular, took him under her wing and he often shared a place at our dinner table. Both Mum and Nana thought the world of Trevor. I very much doubt anyone who knows or has known Trevor feels otherwise about him. He’s that kind of person.
In 1964 Trevor absconded from Gympe to become a radio announcer at 4MK, Mackay.
Mum and Nana left Gympie around late 1967. They moved up to Slade Point, Via Mackay, to be closer to my brother Graham who by then himself had started having his family. When both my mother and grandmother passed away, Trevor was present at their small, intimate farewells. Through the years, his path crossed with theirs while they lived within the same area. Whenever I visited the Mackay area to see Mum, Nana and my brother, Graham I always visited Trevor and Gwenda while there.
After four years behind the mike at 4MK, Trevor expanded his talents to become the station’s sales manager and account executive.
In 1990 Trevor left 4MK to help Channel 10 set up in Mackay, but he returned to 4MK nine years later.
Since his retirement from the world of radio and TV, Trevor and Gwenda have resided on the beachfront (in a house, of course) at Grasstree Beach, east of Sarina.
Trevor and Gwenda have three children – two girls and one boy. When Kym their first child; their daughter was born I happened to be in Mackay visiting my brother and his family at the time. Scott, their son is in the Australian Army. Scott is due back home here in Australia (Brisbane) in the middle of June when his second tour in Iraq is completed. I can't even imagine the concern his parents feel while he is away in such countries. I can, however, imagine just how proud they are of their son. I've not seen him since he was a little boy, but I know I'm proud of him.
In 1968 I was in Mackay visiting my brother and his family. One morning I was up out of bed bright and very early before the others had begun to stir making a cup of coffee for myself when suddenly a face appeared at the kitchen window.
It was Trevor with the broadest of smiles beaming across his face. He’d raced from the hospital to spread the news to me. I was the first person outside their immediate family he told about the birth. He was over the moon, and so was I. Naturally, I invited him to come inside. We sat around the kitchen table barely able to talk. The smiles on our faces made it difficult to do so.
Over the past years email contact between us has been regular, but until the other day we’d not had face to face contact since a fleeting catch-up on a Saturday afternoon when I was cooking at Gympie’s Gunnabul Restaurant in 2000 or thereabouts. What was it about me, Gunabul and old friends?
While visiting Gympie relatives they decided to pop in to see me, too. Unfortunately, at the time of their unannounced visit I was running around like the proverbial chicken with its head cut off because I was in the middle of service, catering for a wedding. I could only spare a brief moment.
Our lengthier rendezvous at The Three Little Pigs on Friday last was fantastic, absolutely fabulous. Tears filled our eyes when we first met up again; and we, at times during the course of our lunch became misty-eyed. There must have been something floating around in the air!
When it came time to part, we made our parting farewells brief because more tears threatened to flow. I shed a few on the quiet, in privacy of my car as I drove home. As I commented during lunch - one of Nana’s observations of our little family group – one she often repeated – was – “Us lot pee out of our eyes!” Trevor and Gwenda appreciated the humour in Nana’s keen monitoring of our habit. They both liked my grandmother and my mother; the admiration was mutual
At lunch on Friday the three of us talked our heads off, naturally. We had so much to talk about...and we still do have much more to discuss. So much to say; to share...and so little time...but we certainly did fit a lot into the three and a half hours we had. Barely a breath was taken between us!
Our lunch, too, was fantastic. I was expecting “good”, but what we received both in service and food was excellent.
Samantha, the lovely, young lass who looked after our every whim deserves high praise as do Chris and his kitchen team. Michael, who looks after front-of-house, as I mentioned earlier, was most gracious. He was/is a very pleasant fellow. As we talked...I arrived before my friends, Michael and I discovered we had a few things in common (within the hospitality industry); and after I’d introduced Michael to Trevor and Gwenda, the three of them discovered they had mutual friends, too! The “six degrees of separation” syndrome once again was in play.
I’m still salivating at the memory of my delectable prawns. Gwenda ordered the prawns, too. She enjoyed her meal as much as I did mine. They were as fresh as if they’d just come out of the ocean. The mouth-watering medium-rare steak Trevor had, with a side dish of prawns, remains clear in my mind, as well. His steak looked delicious. We shared a dessert of hot, crunchy apple crumble with home-made ice cream (Three Little Pigs-made ice cream) and Chantilly Cream.
I’ll order steak next time I pay The Three Little Pigs a visit; or perhaps the pork belly, or......
And there will be a next time; no huffing and puffing about that!
Ginger Garlic Chicken: Pat dry700g chicken drumsticks with paper towels. Peel and chop 2-inch piece of ginger and chop 5 garlic cloves; add to the chicken; gently rub onto chicken skin, To chicken add, 1-1/2tbs soy sauce, 1/2tbs oyster sauce, 1tbs honey, 1tsp sesame oil, 3 heavy dashes of white pepper, pinch of salt and pinch of Chinese Five-Spice powder; stir to mix well so the chicken drumsticks are nicely coated with all the ingredients. Set aside to marinate for at least 30mins or, better still, 2hrs in the fridge. Place chicken on paper-lined baking tray; cook in preheated 190C oven, middle shelf, until chicken is golden brown; slightly charred won’t hurt: serve warm.
Surf & Turf Deluxe: Sprinkle 2x150g fillet steaks on both sides with salt, crushed pink peppercorns and cracked black peppercorns. Also sprinkle 6 large sea scallops on both sides with salt and the peppercorns. Heat 1-1/2tsp olive oil in large heavy pan over med-heat; add steaks; cook 3mins per side (for med-rare). Transfer to platter; cover; keep warm; add 1-1/2tsp olive oil to pan; add scallops; cook 2mins per side; transfer to platter; keep warm. Add 75ml champagne or dry white wine, 1-1/2tsp fresh lemon juice and 1tbs finely chopped or minced shallots to pan; bring to boil; simmer 3mins or until reduced to about 2tbs; remove from heat; add 3tbs chilled, 2cm-cubed butter, one at a time, whisking constantly until butter is well-incorporated; season; top steak with scallops; pour over sauce.
Roasted Pork Belly: Preheat oven 160C. Rub scored rind on 2kg piece of boned pork belly with sea salt flakes and 1tbs white vinegar, massaging well. Tumble 2 peeled, quartered and cored Granny Smith apples, a handful of fresh sage leaves and 1 chopped onion into roasting dish; pour over 1-1/2c alcoholic apple cider. Place rack over apple mix; lay pork belly on rack, skin side up. Roast for 3 hours. Roast Vegetables: After 1-1/2 hours, spread 4 small parsnips, halved, 1 bunch baby carrots, 3 desiree potatoes, each cut into 6 wedges, ½ bunch fresh thyme and 12 unpeeled garlic cloves on baking dray; drizzle with 1-1/2tbs olive oil and 30g melted butter; season with salt and pepper to taste; toss well to combine. Place vegetables on lower rack of oven; cook with pork, tossing occasionally. After the 3 hours, increase oven temperature to 230C; cook further 20-30mins, until crackling is crispy and vegetables are golden. Remove from oven. Place vegetables in a dish; keep warm. Rest pork on board, 15mins. Remove rack from roasting pan’ mash apples with 1tbs wholegrain mustard, using a fork so that it comes together but is still chunky. Pour sauce into jug; serve pork sliced into portions, with the vegetables and the apple sauce.
Chilli-Salt Prawns: Preheat oven, 220C. Grease oven tray; line with baking paper. Make a yoghurt dipping sauce – combine 1 cup natural yoghurt, 2tbs quality mayonnaise, 1tbs finely grated lemon rind and 1tbs lemon juice. On the baking tray, combine 1kg shelled, deveined, tails intact uncooked medium king prawns, 1tbs olive oil, 2tsp sea salt flakes and 1/2tsp dried chilli flakes. Spread prawns into single layer. Cook about 10mins. Serve the prawns with the dipping sauce.
|This was the delightful Rose we shared over lunch|