|Cedar Pocket (above and below)|
|Photography by revered landscape photographer, Steve Parish|
|None other, of course, than Dame Edna...aka Barry Humphries|
Stop! Please! Sit on your hands! For Heaven’s sake, don’t take me literally! Don’t do as I say! The best advice I can give you is not to start patting the cakes in the bakery, or in the supermarket. Doing so won’t make you very popular. As I’m not speaking from hands-on experience, I imagine you wouldn’t be welcomed with open arms if you did.
Honestly - cross my heart (and hope not to die) - I do NOT go around patting cakes.
Back in the days I had freckles sprinkled across my nose and pigtails swinging in the breeze, when I had a doll named “Patty”, frequently I visited my friend’s home at Cedar Pocket, via Gympie. My friend’s parents owned and operated a dairy farm. Cedar Pocket was, and still is, a lush dairy farming area.
During my visits to the farm I stepped around many cow patties. Doing so was far better than stepping on one, particularly if it was still moist and warm.
There was a lot of dodging patties when we were running about the paddocks rounding up the cows, or when we kicked our imagination into high gear while pretending we were riding the ranges; circling the wagons, dodging arrows being fired by marauding “red injuns”. In general, being heroes for one day
If, perchance, you’re wondering, with fancy footwork and speedy sidesteps I managed to evade the arrows, as well as the cow patties, and I lived to tell the tale.
Years later, however, I wasn’t averse to collecting cow patties. No bull...if you stick around, I’ll tell you why.
Once upon a time, for a number of years, I lived and worked in areas within the Bowen Basin and other places in North Queensland, information I have previously divulged, many times over.
A member of my menagerie in those days, which also included my two cats, Pushkin and Rimsky, was Missy, a cocky black and grey Cocker Spaniel, who reminded me, in some ways, of Dame Edna Everage, minus the decorative reading glasses and the gladdies aka gladiolus.
I’m not sure if Missy and Dame Edna were related, but Missy often acted as if she was!
Presently, the world is celebrating fifty years since The Beatles released “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, but what we should be celebrating is the wonderful Dung Beetle.
Sure, the now-elusive Christmas Beetles, with their iridescent coloured carapace, are much-admired – and rightly so for shining brightly, but on the highest flung rung of usefulness the mighty Dung Beetle perches.
Even Steve Parish, the much-lauded Australian nature photographer, publisher and author of books for adults and children, honoured this wonderful critter in his book, namely -“Doug the Dung Beetle”.
Sadly, I don’t have a copy sitting on any of my bookshelves.
However, more than once, on a day off, if I wasn’t taking it easy reading a book and listening to music – and not cooking for the masses etc., I most likely could be found rummaging around a nearby cattle station, out of sight of the property owners, but more importantly, out of view and charging distance of Ferdinand the Bull...head of the herd and harem.
By the way, I never wore red when I was out and about scrounging dung from the paddocks.
The important little Dung Beetles from the far-flung fields were what I was after.
After having gathered together enough dried cow patties, I’d bring them home – in a heavy-duty garbage bag - and then, I’d scatter the pats around the back yard of wherever I was living at the time.
The clever little beetles, without fuss or ado - or demands for payment or rewards for their service, did what they were created to do.
Because of their generous, selfless deed I never ever had to worry about Missy’s waste material. It was all in a day’s work for them...no complaints.
Everyone was happy, including the lawn and garden.
I suppose in the mind of others there are more fun things to do on one’s day off than gathering cow patties, but freely I admit I enjoyed my pat-a-cake collecting; out in the fresh air; roaming the paddocks... circumventing the bulls...
Red Lentil-Pumpkin Patties: Cook 1c red lentils approx 10mins, or until tender, split open, but not completely broken down; drain; cool. Heat oven 200C. Peel and slice ½ butternut pumpkin; coat with a little olive oil; roast 20-25mins; cool; slice into small chunks, about 2cm in diameter. Combine lentils, pumpkin, finely-chopped onion, 2 crushed garlic cloves, 1tsp smoked paprika, 1tsp cayenne, 1-1/2tbs plain or rice flour and chopped coriander or parsley. Shape into 4 patties; chill 30mins. Heat a little oil in pan; fry patties about 4mins per side. Serve with salad.
Quinoa-Broccoli Patties: Cook 1/2c quinoa in 1c boiling water; bring to boil; let simmer 15mins. Once water is absorbed, put on plate; cool completely. Sauté 1 small onion, diced, until soft; cool. Cook 5 large broccoli florets until softened a little; cool; dice into small pieces. Mix everything together; add 1 large egg; season; mix well; add 1/4c shredded cheese. Form into patties. Heat olive oil in pan; cook,7-8mins per side over med-heat.
Kumara-Kale-Chicken Patties: Heat pan on med-high heat with 1tsp x-virgin olive oil or coconut oil; add 2-3 shallots finely chopped; cook 3-5mins. Add ½ medium kumara, cut into tiny cubes; cook until barely tender. Add 2-1/2c finely chopped kale leaves; cook 2-3mins. Add 450g skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into chunks to processor; pulse until ground. Transfer to bowl; add 1/2tsp salt, 1 minced garlic clove, 1tsp paprika, 1tsp Dijon mustard, 1tbs finely chopped fresh rosemary, 1 egg and 2tbs coconut flour; add kumara mix; combine with your hands. Cover; chill 4hrs or overnight. Divide into 6 or 7 patties. Coat pan with a little oil; add patties; cook until golden, 5-6mins; flip; cook until golden and cooked.