Wednesday, April 05, 2017

IF I CAN’T FIND MY COTTONTAILS, THEN I’M NO BUNNY!



One of these days I'll finish this graphite drawing I started a while back!

Mum, Nana, Me, Mervyn, his Dad and my brother Graham
The Honda Sports car, me, Marj, my late brother's father-in-law, my mother and my grandmother.in Mackay, March 1967

My second wedding where denims and a party atmosphere at my in-laws' home was the order of the day

However, if I’d not looked at my calendar I would’ve felt like a bunny. Time is racing by at a rapid rate. When I checked my calendar I received a rude shock.  Easter is next week!  Next week, I tell you!  Can you believe it?  You’d better!  It’s true.  I do not tell a lie.  I might lie about, but I do not lie about the approaching significant occasion. 

It appears I’ve been living in a bubble. 

No wonder Clint, my dark chocolate Lindt bunny edges towards the back wall of my fridge every time I open the door.  His behaviour lately has given me cause for concern, but now, after my rude awakening to what lies ahead next week, I understand the reason why he’s been acting so strangely.

Yes , this is also true.  Clint remains my long-term resident, untouched and pristine, not in the West Wing, but in the Westinghouse.  He’s used to the colder temperature in there - it’s nothing to sneeze at.

Next time I go to the fridge I’ll put him at ease. He needs to cringe no more. I’ll assure him he still holds pride of position in the fridge, and in my heart, too.  I believed - after all the years that have flown by since he first entered my life, and I his; after all the Easters that have come and gone since Clint hopped into my life and my fridge – he would understand he’s perfectly safe here within his four walls within my four walls. 

Clint can feel confident he’ll never be a homeless waif, nor will he be devoured.

On the other hand, Cherry Ripes, dark chocolate-coated ginger, blocks of dark-chocolate with almonds ...well, what can I say, other than...they should find a safe hiding place if they see me approaching. 

My late brother, Graham always gave me a pile of Cherry Ripes for Easter.  He knew how to get on my good side, which was quite a feat because I don’t know if I have a good side! 

Now that I've realised Easter is just around the corner, I'm stocking up on Cherry Ripes in readiness.  Chocolate bunnies can rest easy. They are safe and secure as far as I’m concerned.   

Unconsciously, obviously (an oxymoron perhaps, but I’m not a moron!), something was niggling away in the back of my mind because last week I bought some smoked cod (frozen).  I never eat meat on Good Friday. I never have.  It's not for religious reasons. It’s always seafood, for no other reason than it’s a tradition carried through from my childhood, one I’m more than content to uphold. 

Smoked cod or haddock served with a tasty cheese sauce accompanied by a variety of vegetables was our annual Good Friday fare when I was a child. Seldom have I strayed, other than to have, perhaps, prawns and/or crabs.

Once again, this Good Friday I will be preparing Smoked Cod with a tasty cheese sauce and a variety of vegetables.

Sadly, my menu will be without the addition of tender young chokos from my vine unless a miracle happens between now and next weekend.  Chokos with a tasty cheese sauce go together like lamb and mint sauce.

For an inexplicable reason this season my vine has remained dormant, refusing to spread its tendrils, stems and leaves.  My choko vine has choked!  It’s stuffed!  Its usual abundant crop is not forthcoming this year.
  
Many folk don’t like chokos, but I love them. They’re another hang-over from my childhood. I’ve fond memories of the lush vine that, for years, grew over our chicken coop.  Without fail, year after year the fruits of the vine accompanied our roast dinners or the steamed vegetable became the main ingredient in a cheesy au gratin.  

I believe a raid on the local roadside stalls will be openly conducted by me, money in hand, with the hope other vines haven’t suffered the same strange malady mine has. 
Perhaps my vine is a little long in the tooth; has become too old to produce; is past its use-by-date...not unlike me!   

Familiarity breeds similarity....that could be the answer to the perplexing riddle concerning my choko vine....

While on the subject of “time flying by” - 51years ago today...  on Thursday, 6thApril, 1966, at 6 pm - I stood at the entrance of the Presbyterian Church in Sylvan Road, Toowong, Brisbane.   

Taking many deep breaths, I was readying myself to walk down the aisle.  I married for the first time at the tender age of 21 years, on that afternoon.

Good Friday in 1966 fell on 7th April, as it does this year, 2017. 

Our wedding was a small affair. 

I’ve never been one to have pined for the whole “wedding catastrophe” of tulle, satin, silk or chiffon, penguin suits and lavish receptions. That was never for me. I always felt it was all a total waste of money; but just me, others feel differently, and that is their right to do so.

Instead of a wedding gown with flowing veil I chose to wear a sheath mini-length dress of white linen that I had a dressmaker whip up for the event.  

Our guest list was limited in numbers, purposely. Only a handful of immediate family and a couple of close friends joined the party.  A grandiose affair it wasn’t. A grandiose affair wasn’t what I wanted.  

Similar applied to my second wedding,  that followed on 21st March, 1976 - 10 years after my first foray into the wedded world.   A Sunday afternoon party held at the home of my future in-laws was the style of my second wedding...all very casual, simple and much fun.  Randall and I were married in his parents' lounge room by a Marriage Celebrant, and then everyone partied the afternoon away out on the back verandah.
Almost a year later from my first wedding day, the following Easter Thursday, 23rd March, 1967, at 6 pm, my older brother Graham married in Mackay, north Queensland.

He’d attended my wedding and, in turn, a year later I attended his...acting as his bridesmaid/maid of honour.  It was no ‘act”; I took my role seriously!

Good Friday, 1967, the day following my brother’s wedding, I spent on the road (not actually “on the road”, but as a passenger in a little white Honda sports car) between Mackay and Brisbane.  The car belonged to a good friend of mine. We were heading back to Brisbane where I lived. 

In that little car, she had driven, alone, across from Alice Springs of all places...one hell of a long trip from The Alice to Mackay – miles and miles in between - 2400 kms/1491 miles to be more exact...to meet up with me in Mackay.  My good mate, whom I’d known from my Gympie days, attended my brother’s wedding, along with me, Mum and Nana. 

My then husband was tied up with a work conference, and couldn’t go to the wedding.

In his stead, my friend Marj and I kicked up our respective heels.

Yes...it is true...time does fly....yesterday seems like only yesterday....

Smoked Cod Au Gratin:  In pan, wilt 200g spinach with butter and ground pepper . Press out excess liquid; divide equally between 2 gratin dishes; sit 2x100g smoked cod on top. Dot with a little butter; add 100ml crème fraiche; sprinkle over 75g grated Gruyère cheese; arrange thin slices of tomato on top; sprinkle with breadcrumbs; bake in 220C oven 20mins.

Good Friday Lasagne:  Sauté 1 large, diced capsicum, 1 medium diced onion, 4 finely chopped garlic cloves and 1 small, seeded, minced jalapeno in olive oil; melt in 240g Kraft processed cheddar cheese and 1/2c shredded Havarti or Gouda; add 455g uncooked, shelled green prawns, 455g smoked cod, cut into pieces similar in size to prawns and 1small diced tomato season with pinch of cayenne; toss; cook, 2-3mins.  In bowl, fold together 455g ricotta, 1 large egg, 1/2c shredded Havarti or Gouda, 1c Parmesan, chopped parsley, paprika and chopped basil. Spray baking dish; Spread thin layer of seafood mix across base; add layer of cooked lasagne sheets; spread ½ ricotta mix over pasta; top with shredded cheeses. Repeat process one more time; top with the shredded cheeses; bake in 175C oven, 30mins.

Stuffed Chokos: Boil 4 whole, unpeeled chokos until tender; cool. Cut each in half lengthwise; scoop out flesh, leave some attached to skin; dice flesh. Place shells in baking dish. Combine 1c Panko crumbs, 1tsp oregano, 1/4c grated Parmesan, cayenne and 2tbs chopped parsley. Melt 2tbs butter and 1tbs olive in pan; add 1c finely chopped onion and 1/4c finely chopped capsicum; cook until softened; add 2 minced garlic cloves, 1tsp fresh thyme leaves, 2tbs chopped parsley and diced choko flesh. Cook over med-heat until vegetables are tender. Add 1 beaten egg, ¾ of breadcrumb mix, salt, pepper and chilli sauce, to taste; fold in 125g crabmeat and 375g peeled, diced raw prawns. Stuff choko shells, mound it up; sprinkle remaining breadcrumb mix on top. Drizzle with olive oil; bake 30-35mins. 

18 comments:

  1. I remember chokos, a neighbour across the road in Sydney had a vine in his back yard and one year his wife went door to door with an enormous basketful, offering them to anyone who would take them. I'd seen them before but never cooked with them, but they filled out casseroles and spaghetti sauces nicely. I tried cooking and mashing them with potatoes to stretch the potatoes further, but we didn't really like them that way.
    Your wedding photos are lovely. I remember my first wedding, planned entirely by mum and future mum-in-law, I had almost nothing to do with it apart from agreeing to get married. Those two women loved weddings and if we'd been a rich family I would have had the whole "princess" fancy affair. Not my choice, but I'm the only daughter to marry for my mum, my sister would never marry, so I why would I deny mum the pleasure she took in arranging everything. It was still very much a homegrown affair and we had lots of fun that day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there, River. I've always liked chokos...steamed or roasted. When their still fairly "young" and smallish, I don't peel them or remove the core. The only vegetables I peel, anyway, are onions. I'm disappointed my poor old vine is not doing what it's supposed to be doing this season. Each year since I planted it, it's been overly-generous with its crop.

      I organised and catered for both my weddings...both were just glorified parties, really! lol

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  2. It is years since I have even seen a choko. I didn't like them as a child, but my mother tended to cook all vegetables to a sad and sorry mush.
    Love your wedding photos. If I had ever married I suspect I would have gone down the low key path.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi EC....Yep....the low-key wedding path was definitely my choice. I never, ever imagined or wanted anything but. All the froth, buss and bother was not my scene at all.

      During their season chokos are readily available up this way. Perhaps they're more a sub-tropical and tropical plant.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  3. Busy Easters back then for you.
    You look good in the photos, you haven't changed a bit :) Just ripened beautifully.
    Love Cherry Ripes but don't eat Easter chocolate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Margaret...Over-ripe is more like it...withered! lol

      Only Cherry Ripes for me - I bought some more today when I was at the supermarket...no Easter eggs for me!

      Thanks for popping in. :)

      Delete
  4. Time does indeed 'fly' whether you're 'having fun' or not. You were a beautiful bride twice and I whole heartedly agree with your style of wedding. We did much the same, getting married in Mom and Dads cozy little living room and heading off into our new life together. I love those photos......a gentler time portrayed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. G'Day Delores. After my first simple wedding ceremony, we partied back at the flat/unit I'd been living in prior to marrying. There was only a handful of people, and that's no exaggeration. And my second wedding was on a Sunday afternoon, like you, at the home of my new husband's parents...a Sunday afternoon party like any other, except we got married in the middle of it! :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  5. Lee, you were a beautiful bride both times. I do love your first wedding dress. It was so 60's and you look great.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Arleen...Yes the era of the mini...and that was quite a long mini from the usual ones worn! The Swinging 60s....so much fun! :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  6. I've found chokos to be quite tasteless. The texture is ok. If I was served them, fine, but I would never miss them if I never eat them again. Queensland's weather doesn't seem so different to any other cyclone year. What IS wrong with your choko vine? They grow easily here. I love your personal photos. The sixties wedding dress was perfect. Didn't Jackie Kennedy wear similar?

    The Honda sports car interests me. I must look it up as I can't remember them.

    R does not eat meat on Good Friday for the same reason as you. Cultural. That was how he was brought up. I don't care but it will be smoked cod for dinner on Good Friday. He cooks it in milk and changes the milk three times. It used to be in an electric frypan, but I don't know how he does it now.

    Today Mother said to R, as I don't eat chocolate, maybe this year you could buy me a garden plant for Easter. Thelma, he said, you eat Cherry Ripes. Last year we bought you a Cherry Ripe egg and we will do so again this year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Andrew...we all have our individual likes and dislikes. I like chokos, particularly the young fruit...and they can be cooked in many ways with different ingredients, spices and herbs. To be honest, I have feeling my landlord sprayed it. He goes around blindly like a Ghostbuster with his pack on his back and cares not where or what he sprays (non-toxic spray), but he drives me crazy...he's always spraying my flat-leaf parsley...even though it growing contained in poly boxes out from my back door, up close and personal to the wall!!!!! I feel like going up to their place and spraying their vegetable plots, of which there are many because they sell their produce at the local "Green Shed" on Sundays!!! I don't do that because I need four walls around me and a roof over my head! Choko vines grow very easily here, too. Mine has grown very easily for the past 8 years or so...but not so this year.

      No...My white linen mini wasn't similar in any way or design to Jackie Kennedy's wedding dresses (when she married JFK and when she married Onassis.

      This would've been the model of the Honda Sports car pictured above, owned by my friend....1965 Honda S600

      http://bringatrailer.com/2013/07/03/the-dealers-daughter-1-owner-1965-honda-s600/

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  7. Good Friday is 14 April on my calendar - I got alarmed for a moment when I saw 7 April. I have to get the outside crosses draped at church, etc.

    I've never had a Cherry Ripe, but will look for them in the international foods section of the grocery store here - sometimes they have Cadburys.

    That looked like a lovely wedding.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lynn...Yes, Good Friday this year is 14th April, but back in 1966 it was 7th April.

      As you can see, I love Cherry Ripes and have done so since I was kid. They're Australia's oldest chocolate bars, first being introduced to the market in 1924. I've always like them because the centre which is a combination of glace cherries, coconut etc., is coated in dark chocolate The "doube-dipped" Cherry Ripe bar is great, too.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  8. I always see you as a Bunny Girl...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahahahahaha! I should've known I could count on you, Mr. Ad-Man!!! You twit! lol

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  9. A woman opened her refrigerator to confront a squirrel there. "What are you doing in my refrigerator?" she demanded and the squirrel replied, "Well isn't this a Westinghouse? I am westing." Sorry but that was one of my dad's favorite jokes and not many people know what a Westinghouse is anymore. Last year I googled cherry ripes and found I could order them through Amazon but I never did. Maybe this year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, Annie! Love your Dad's joke. :) My fridge really is a Westinghouse.

      Treat yourself and order some Cherry Ripes through Amazon...try the double-dipped ones as well while you're at it!

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete