Tuesday, May 11, 2021

IN SEARCH OF PEARLS...NONE FOUND...NO WISDOM, EITHER!

 









 

Shucks!  They were shucking good times, even though I was fodder for the sandflies which flew around in frenzied joy when they saw me coming, and even though I suffered skinned knuckles and cut fingers the end results were always worth it, or so I kept telling myself.  Much convincing was needed at first.  Not wanting to suffer any more mishaps than could be avoided, after much on-the-job practice, I learnt, the hard way...by trial and error...blood, sweat and tears notwithstanding.

How to shuck oysters causing as little harm as possible was the hard lesson being taught by our Nana who coached my brother, Graham and me in the art of shucking oysters without spilling too much blood.  Shucks!  What a battle...however, in the long run, the feeds we had of fresh, fat, juicy oysters after the mayhem were well worth the trouble.

The delectable molluscs, also helped ease the annoying itching from the sandfly bites covering my body and scalp, if only temporarily during the time spent devouring the delicious oysters.

To successfully and safely shuck an oyster, without stabbing yourself, takes patience and diligent care.  Elusive patience was the hardest to achieve, I think, as we wandered ankle to knee-deep in the waters surrounding the rocks bearing the oysters.

Often when I was a little kid, along with my brother, mother and grandmother, I’d hop aboard a bus, and off we’d go to Tin Can Bay, the small coastal town approximately 53 kms north-east of Gympie.  

The road to and fro the Bay in the Thrifty Fifties was pretty rough and ready, as was Tin Can Bay’s accommodation.  Electricity was a luxury.  The rental shacks in which we stayed mostly had corrugated iron, or fibro outer walls.  Hurricane lamps and candles supplied lighting; of necessity, not necessarily of choice.  Out in the yard to keep the dreaded mozzies and sandies at bay at the Bay were 44-gallon drums filled with smoldering cow manure.  The “aroma” filled the night air, smothering all else.

So precious were our oyster knives they could very well have been coated in gold.  The wooden-handled little weapons showed me no mercy. Nevertheless, my brother and I were told to guard them with our lives because they had belonged to our late grandfather.

When I lived and worked back in Gympie from 1998 to 2002 prior to coming here to the mountain, often on my day off...Sunday...I'd visit Tin Can Bay to enjoy a tranquil breakfast at the small yacht club as I soaked in the calming ambience of the area.  

These days, feeding the friendly dolphins, regular visitors to the nearby waters, is a popular pastime.

The last time I had a good feed of oysters straight out of the salty ocean waters, off the rocks, was when I managed the humble resort on Newry Island.  The resort no longer exists, but both Newry and Outer Newry Islands remain standing. 

I was at the water’s edge one day, minding my own business, when, under an azure sky, out of the blue from across in the channel between the two islands, a couple arrived by yacht.

To my surprise, as they drew nearer to me in their tender, they called out my name.

Proving once again, a small world it truly is, they were originally from Tewantin.  They owned a hardware store in Tewantin. Their daughter, years before, had been one of our waitresses at “The Laguna Belle”, the restaurant my now late ex-husband and I then managed.  “The Laguna Belle”, which I written about previously, was dockside on the Noosa River at Noosaville during the week; on Friday and Saturday nights, and Sunday lunch times, we cruised to the upper reaches of the Noosa River.

While moored off Keswick Island, fellow yachties suggested the Tewantin couple...”must visit Newry Island...a woman named ‘Lee George’ ran the resort thereon.” 

The couple immediately recognised my name.  The rest, as they say, was ‘history’. 

During their visit to Newry Island, they collected a bounty of oysters from Outer Newry Island, which was on the opposite side of the channel to my island home. 

After a few hours shucking the oysters, a feast was enjoyed that evening.

Some remained au naturel (the oysters, that is); others joined the Kilpatrick clan, and others chose to stay in the half shell to be cooked on the barbecue plate. 

 I’ll never forget the banquet.

 Shucks!  In an oyster shell...it was one of the best...even if no pearls were found...no wisdom, either....

 

Grilled Oysters: Mix 1/2c butter, melted, 2 grated garlic cloves, 2tbs lemon juice, 1tsp Worcestershire sauce, 1/4c grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan, salt, pepper and cayenne to taste, and 2tbs chopped parsley. Place 12 oysters on preheated 180C grill (if more oysters used, adjust ingredients accordingly).  Cook oysters until juice starts to bubble; spoon 1tbs mixture onto each oyster. Grab 1/2c more of the cheese; sprinkle over top; cook until cheese is golden brown.  Sprinkle with parsley; serve with extra melted butter, lemon wedges, hot sauce and warmed baguette.

Oysters Rockefeller: Preheat oven 200C. Heat pan over med-heat; add 1/4c butter; add 1 small shallot, minced; sauté 3-4mins; add 1 minced garlic clove; sauté 1min; stir often; add 2c chopped fresh spinach and 2tbs Vermouth; cook until spinach is wilted, about 2mins; add 1/4c grated Parmesan, and 2 slices cooked, crumbled bacon (optional).  Melt 1tbs butter; mix it with 1/2c Panko breadcrumbs.  Place half shell oyster on baking tray; top oysters with spinach mix; sprinkle breadcrumbs on top. Bake 8-10mins; serve with lemon wedges.

Oysters Kilpatrick: In small pan heat 6tbs Worcestershire sauce, 1tsp oyster sauce, 3tbs balsamic and a dash or two of Tabasco; remove from heat. Heat 1tbs olive oil in pan; fry 4 chopped bacon rashers; drain. Line baking tray with scrunched up foil; place 12 half shell oysters on foil (it keeps them upright). Top with sauce; sprinkle the bacon on top; grill about 1min. Cover serving plate with thick coating of salt; place oysters on top. 

 

31 comments:

  1. You've had so many great experiences! I can honestly say I have never shucked an oyster and I doubt that I ever will. I'm sure you learned to be quite adept at that especially with your Grandfather's special knife. I hope you and your lovely cats are doing well!

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    1. Hi, Bonnie. Yes, I've had quite a few adventures in the past. My life now, by choice, is very quiet. :)

      I'd probably stab myself if I tried to shuck an oyster now. It's a while since I've done so. I still love fresh oysters, though.

      Take good care...thanks for coming by. :)

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  2. I've never liked oysters, I'd guess they're an acquired taste. Too bad about never finding any pearls though. Your stories had me wondering if I might visit Tin Can Bay someday, but the sand flies have put me off.

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    1. Hi River...I've always loved oysters from when I was a little kid...a very little kid. It's a while since I've had any, unfortunately. I still have a couple of the oyster knives, though...stuck away somewhere among other stuff stuck away somewhere!

      Sandflies and I don't go well together. Nasty little critters they are. When Randall and I were married and preparing for a trip to Fraser Island, I would always dose us up beforehand...for a couple of weeks or so beforehand...with Vitamin B. Overdoses of the stuff to keep the sandies away. It worked!

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

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  3. I have eaten and shucked oysters but they were never a passion. Sandflies? Shudder they bring me up in welts which can last days.

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    1. Hi EC...read my above response to River re sandflies. I hate the little pests, too. I, too, used to come up with large red welts...similar to your reaction to them.

      I still love oysters, although I've not had any for a long time now.

      Take care...thanks for coming by. :)

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  4. Of the many things I have done in life, shucking oysters is not one of them! I am quite sure I would have sliced off my fingers had I tried! About twenty years ago I developed an allergy to shellfish, so I no long have the pleasure of eating them either.

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    1. G'day David...welcome to my blog.

      Thankfully I don't suffer from any allergies...the nearest reactions I get would be to some folk and their insane behaviours! :)

      Take good care up your way...thanks for coming by...please don't be a stranger. :)



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  5. I hear there are still plenty of sandflies at Tin Can Bay, probably a good reason to have kept us away when over that way.
    Just love oysters and like you used to collect them off the rocks in the boat when a teenager, the boys would shuck them (I never did) and it did appear to be a bit dangerous.
    I'm glad you never cut yourself.

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    1. Hi Margaret..sandflies are very annoying little creatures. I don't understand what good purpose they do, but I guess there is one...a slight one!

      Never fear...I did cut myself a few times when shucking oysters, and cut my hands and fingers on the shells while doing so, as well.

      Take care...thanks for coming by. :)

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  6. My husband is able to shuck oysters, but it has taken a few years to really get it right. I just get to eat them!!

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    1. Sensible girl, Tabor! Keep letting your hubby do the hard work..you enjoy the delicious results. :)

      Take care...thanks for coming by. :)

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  7. We are blessed here that those who want fresh shucked oysters can go to a nearby oyster bar and indulge to their heart's content (or until the wallet screams for mercy). Not into raw? Have an oyster poboy or fried oysters.

    Never cared for them, myself, but several members of my family love them.

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    1. Hi messymimi...it might be a long while since I've had fresh oysters, straight off the rocks, straight from the sea, but I can still remember, and I still love their taste! The "fresh" bottled ones are not the same...not a bad substitute though when the fresh are not available.

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

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  8. I cannot eat oysters. My Maternal Grandfather ate them raw dipping them first in whipped raw egg. To me as a weenie it was the most disgusting thing I had ever seen. Despite living where I do I still cannot face them. Oddly I love mussels and scallops - cooked, of course.

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    1. Yuck! I love oysters, but there is no way I could eat them after dipping in raw egg! I've never heard of that ever being done, Graham. I don't blame your distaste for them after that. Anything treated similarly would cause distaste, I reckon.

      I love mussels and scallops, too...cooked, of course! :)

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

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  9. I usually get some foodie ideas from your blog but this time not, as I am allergic to shellfish of all kinds. So, those oyster recipes will remain a mystery to me. But your description of staying in the shack sounds the stuff of which childhood memories should be made. I'd have loved that, even if I didn't manage with the oysters. When I was a kid in Australia I got so badly bitten by sandflies that I kept the scars until I was quite grown up. (I checked them the other day and they'd gone at last. Just wonder how many years THAT was.) your working life always sounds to have been so fun and rewarding to me, with that beautiful scenery and a parade of human life, although yes, you don't need to tell me how the parade of human life can be a bit much sometimes :D Still, your recollections are always interesting.

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    1. G'day Jemny. I'm sorry I was unable to tempt you with the oyster recipes! lol Sorry to learn you're allergic to shellfish and molluscs. Fortunately, for me, anyway, I'm not allergic to anything (other than, as I mentioned in a previous response...some people! :) )

      Midges/sandflies a nasty little beasts that serve no good purpose, in my opinion.

      I did have some very interesting and fun times during my working life...in the various jobs I had through the years. Life is very quiet for me these days...by choice...and I enjoy it this way now.

      Take good care...thanks for coming by. It's good to see you as always. :)

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  10. For our wedding dinner, Ron and I went to his favorite oyster bar. He found a tiny pearl in one of his. One day I am going to put it in some kind of jewelry.

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    1. Wow! That's a wonderful story, Annie. I hope you do get it put into a ring, necklet, brooch...some to show it off and keep it safe. Great! :)

      Take care...thanks for coming by. :)

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  11. Sounds like shucking is challenging.
    Thanks for sharing and have a grand weekend.

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    1. It's not for the clumsy, Sandra! lol

      Thanks for coming by...take care...you, too, have a good weekend! :)

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  12. Thanks for sharing the oyster recipes ...
    Take care and enjoy the week ahead.

    All the best Jan

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    1. You are welcome, Jan...thanks for coming by...take care. :)

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  13. I have never shucked an oyster, but have eaten them raw. My late former mother-in-law would always order them at holiday time. Others would shuck them and I would simply gulp them done. That was many years ago. When we lived on the VA eastern shore, we grew fond of fried oysters and a local seafood shop sold the shucked oysters and the breading mix. They were so good freshly fried, better than clams!

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    1. Hi Beatrice...there's nothing quite like a fresh oyster straight off the rocks. I savour the memory and the taste of them. Delicious! :)

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

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  14. I must admit, I've never had oysters, or shrimps or any other kind of shellfish. I don't even know how they look like. I grew up in a family that respected tradition and this kind of food was not compatible with our tradition.

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    1. G'day, DUTA...to follow the traditions of one's beliefs is the right of the individual, and it really isn't my right to pass comment, either way, I guess. Other than to say, I love fresh seafood, although these days I don't have it as near as often as I once did. My fishing, crabbing and oyster-gathering days are over.

      I hope all is well with you...stay safe...take good care. Thanks for coming by. :)

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  15. I never learnt how to schuck oysters efficiently. Might have done had I really enjoyed eating them but that never happened. I have nightmare memories of sandflies feasting on me. Somehow they don't seem to enjoy eating me as much as they used to. Thank heavens.

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    1. Hey Pauline...I learned many years ago that over-dosing on Vitamin B helped keep the sandflies away. They hate it. The two or three weeks prior to my now late ex-husband and I were to head off to Fraser Island for a few days I would ensure we would do overloads of Vitamin B to ward of the little pests...and it always worked.

      Good to see you...thanks for coming by...take care. :)

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  16. ان الخزانات من اكثر الاشياء التي يجب الاهتمام بها ومتابعتها والحرص علي نظافتها ,لذلك فان عزل الخزانات يساعد بشكل كبير في التخلص من مسببات تلف الخزانات وعدم تأثر المياه بدرجة الحرارة واشعة الشمس. حيث تحافظ علي صحة وسلامة السكان من التلوث الذي يحدث نتيجة الصدأ او البكتيريا المتكونة بسبب عدم غسل الخزانات بإستمرار , لذلك يجب عليك عزل الخزانات حفاظا علي صحتك وصحة افراد عائلتك , وشركتنا تتخصص في عزل الخزانات بأفضل واحدث الطرق والتي نضمن من خلالها امان تام للمياه ,وحيث نستخدم مواد آمنة جدا بحيث لا تتأثر بوجود المياه حولها.
    شركة عزل خزانات بتبوك

    انتشار الحشرات بالمنزل يتسبب لنا عميلنا العزيز في الكثير من الأضرار؛ لذلك يكون التخلص منها أمر ضرروي للغاية، ويجب السعي له بكل الطرق، ونحاول استخدام كل الطرق والمبيدات الحشرية للتخلص من الحشرات المنتشرة داخل المنزل، ولكن في الكثير لا نصل لنتائج مرضية لنا، لذلك تقدم شركة مكافحة حشرات بتبوك افضل الخدمات باقل الاسعار
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بتبوك
    يعاني كثير من السيدات في أثناء تنظيف المنزل من ضيق الوقت وعدم كفايته للانتهاء من تنظيف المنزل بسرعة وبشكل كامل، ويبحثن عن طرق للقيام بالمهام بسرعة أكبر للتغلب على هذه المشكلة
    شركة منزل الشموخ لتقديم خدمات التنظيف بارخص الاسعار وبعاملة مدربة، فنحن افضل شركة من خلال تخفيض الأسعار وليس تخفيض الاسعار فقط ولكن الجوده والخامه والحصول علي افضل نتائج حتي نبني سمعة طيبة عن شركتنا من خلال عملنا فقط لأننا رواد في مجالنا
    شركة تنظيف بتبوك

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