Who has not heard that one? Go to any “different” country, or even try a strange-looking item on the menu in a familiar restaurant ¬†(OK, maybe not McDonalds!) and chances are the wait staff will tell you: “Ees good. Tas’es like cheecken. You try!”

But wait! Maybe you don’t have to book a trip to a remote Guatemalan jungle or the Kalahari. Perhaps you have the ingredients right in your own back yard. Grilled goanna, dear? “Tas’es like cheecken!”

We had some spare time (I know-unheard of!) the other day so we wandered around the local Botanic Garden and I snapped a couple of pictures. Especially for my more sheltered readers. ūüėČ I¬†have some photos of goannas, but not on this computer. What’s a goanna? A big lizard. Not as big or nasty as a Komodo Dragon or a Gila Monster, but they can get to a pretty big size. Here’s a link

But I got the recipe for you!

And, while I was at it, I figured you’d probably want to know how to prepare a python for dinner…

What does a python look like? Well, some of them look like this…

…or this

What else tas’es like cheecken? Well, rattlesnake, according to various sources. Years ago, a friend of mine was travelling across America (Route 66, if you must know!) and he spent some time staying with a relative somewhere in the South West. The cousin came into the house one day with a rattler dangling over his gun barrel. “Dinner!” he said. And, damn! if it didn’t taste like chicken.

Cat also, apparently, tastes the same. Back in the 50s, when Davy Crockett was all the rage, the owner of a Chinese restaurant was prosecuted for having cat meat (masquerading as chicken!) on the menu. He was caught when police tracked a gang who’d been stealing cats for the Davy Crockett caps trade. Apparently, they had a nice little earner on the side!

Rabbit (not wild ones) is another chicken taste-alike. And when I was a kid I told people that huhu grubs (larvae of Prionopus reticularis) or pepe tunga in Maori were like chicken. Mind you, if someone had told me they tasted like peanut butter I’d never have eaten them! I hate peanut butter.

Just enter¬†huhu grubs¬†in Google Images and see what’s there!

Excuse me ¬†for a minute…I have to prepare dinner…

Back again! Had you worried, did I? You thought I was going to forage in the mangroves for ¬†a dinner-sized crocodile (another that “tas’es like cheecken”)? At this time of year there wont be any small crocs around. But that’s OK as we’re having pasta tonight!

And now for something completely different….a book!

This is mine, as in: I bought it, not made it. The maker is Nanette Balchin, an artist from Yeppoon. Sorry, she does not have a website, but I’ll show you some more photos next week. The book is still in an exhibition, red-spotted until I can pick it up. But here’s another piece of Nanette’s. A painting inspired by Vincent van Gogh. No, I didn’t buy this, but someone did.

Back to the kitchen.

OH! Australian readers might notice ¬†the name Les Hiddens below those recipe pages. For those who may not know, he was (maybe still is?) an army Major who had a terrific hit television series called “Bush Tucker” a few years ago. Yes, he popularised the eating of native foods, but is probably best known for his iconic hat. Hang on! I’ll find a photo…



Must be something in the air, but I’ve had occasion to reflect on old times, old friends, dead friends.

Oh, don’t worry…I’m not going all maudlin.

I read in a press release from a London hospital that a woman named Lucy Vodden had died recently. If you’re very young the name may mean nothing to you. But oh boy! her death has re-ignited the old debate on a Beatles song. I really didn’t care, back then, if it was “code” for the most popular drug of the day and I certainly don’t give a damn now.

beatles.com image

Then, quite by chance, I heard the song yesterday. Made me smile.

Perhaps there was something crackling in the ether…I had an email from an old friend who’d dropped off my radar. Lovely to be back in touch.

I used to keep a diary. Well, more of a things-I-did and things-to-do scribble, really. Phone numbers, addresses, that sort of thing. And, this being a time when I and most of my friends were “on the road” a lot, the diary had a lot of crossings out. I didn’t see any need to hang on to that sort of rubbish and usually didn’t keep it much more than a year.

So I was surprised to find a notebook tucked away inside a box. Ye gods! People I’d not thought of in decades! Some, of course, whose memories stay close to the surface. Like Vincent Price. ¬†vincent price.org

We swapped recipes and truly horrible puns. He was a very  enthusiastic (and good) cook.

So was someone else, whose real name I never did know.

Stranded one night when a blizzard closed the rail line, I found myself, with half a dozen others, in a really grotty little cafe. Well, a sandwich bar, really. The man who slapped butter and ham onto bread for ¬†daily commuters was about to close, but grudgingly let us in. Shivering and looking like snowmen, we huddled around the counter, sniffing. And …something wonderful was teasing our frozen noses. Sniff, sniff…

Sandwich Man disappeared through one of those plastic strip curtains and we could hear voices. Sniff, sniff… A woman of “ample proportions” appeared through the curtain, nodded at us, evidently counting heads, disappeared ¬†again and we could hear pans and crockery rattling. Sniff, sniff…

And then these two wonderful people reappeared, bearing a big pot of Paprikash and enough bowls ¬†and spoons for us all. God! That was a meal to remember. The man spoke little English, but his wife (?) managed to convey that they’d left a thriving cafe in a small town in Hungary in ’56. Lost all their possessions, some of their family and almost died before stumbling across the Austrian border.

I think of them often when I hear people who have never known such hardship say “we can’t take any more refugees.”

Oh, you’re salivating for ¬†a taste, yes? You could probably find any number of receipts ¬†on the web, but I’ll give you a link to a blogger who, only hours ago, posted her recipe.

Now, I must go and put on my thinking cap and decide how best to celebrate 3 years of blogging. Hmmm…it’s a tricky one. Got any ideas?


…is often a matter of old dogs being unable to (easily) learn new tricks. And I am a classic example of this.

Now, there are some things I will never have time enough to learn, like the fixing of computers when they tie their silly little chips in knots and refuse to function. It’s infuriating and frustrating, but when the Toy dies I simply pull its plugs and haul it back to the repair shop. And wait. This time, we’ve had a new motherf motherboard. Oh, yeah…a new CPU, too.

So things should be sweet, yes? Hmm…

Ages ago, I took part in an ATC swap with a blogger in Massachusetts after she offered a cute little card that struck a chord with me. See, superannuated hippie that I am, I remember the first Moon Landing and Neil Armstrong’s famous words. At the time, his ommission of that “a” annoyed me a little. But I loved the idea that, back then, we still had hope that the world was emerging from cold war darkness into a positive time, with so much good to flow from space exploration.¬† Maybe not.

So…M’s lovely card arrived in a charming¬† “snail mail” packet and I have still not blogged about it! I’ve had some difficulties with my camera cable so I tried scanning. Blah! Picture too fuzzy and too big for WordPress so I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a little longer while this is sorted. But trust me, it’s a lovely card.


In the meantime…who’s feeling peckish? This is a great weekend lunch dish. Couldn’t be simpler! I line a baking tray with foil, roll out some puff pastry and top it with courgettes, aubergines, whole garlic (currently small Mexican bulbs are the best), some roasted capsicums, tomatoes, pumpkin, baby squash, maybe a few mushrooms if I have not scoffed them all, olives, some cubed feta, a generous slosh of olive oil and some fresh herbs and a little sea salt. Whack it into a hot oven til the cheese and the pastry is looking golden. Scatter fresh basil and eat. Perfect on the shady deck with a glass of something cold.


Sporran continues to improve. Sometimes, she limps a little, but she’s been climbing the fence and was up a tree the other day so I guess she knows her limits! The sunbirds are nesting again behind the front stairs and three cats are most interested in proceedings!


For several years now I’ve subscribed to Robert Genn’s newsletters. While not every issue is “me” I often find myself following a side trail and today , more than ever.

If you read this blog regularly or know me personally, you’ll know I am passionate about reading. And that I try to share this passion with school children. Not always successfully!

So I thought I’d give you a link to Bob genn’s current newsletter

(http://clicks.robertgenn.com/teaching.php)¬† as I found his quote from Updike struck a very loud chord. Certainly, from my standpoint, the message is more easily conveyed when I deviate¬† slightly from the page. If I can engage the kids in¬† a little fun, perhaps by using rhyme, “funny voices” or some other approach, they will be more likely to want to continue. What is happening in this instance is that they are no longer sitting passively, listening to me drone on. They are teaching themselves!

Read Updike and I think you’ll understand why I still do this on a voluntary basis.


Now, having lost my internet connection for a few hours and still unable to figure out the camera cable I’m off to do some essential shopping. What is essential? You have to ask? Oh, please! La Cave needs restocking, the chilli chocolate has run out, I have a huge craving for some blue vein Brie…

Back when revived! And just for fun and to keep you on your toes, try this test, which I nicked, shamelessly, from Ryan

No, I have not got my results yet. Lost the connection, remember. But I think I’m heavily weighted in favour of Picasso, ancient icons and Oriental.

UPDATE  results just in

Compared to other takers

  • 40/100 You scored -1 on Impressionist, higher than 40% of your peers.
  • 80/100 You scored 13 on Islamic, higher than 80% of your peers.
  • 72/100 You scored 11 on Ukiyo-e, higher than 72% of your peers.
  • 68/100 You scored -4 on Cubist, higher than 68% of your peers.
  • 35/100 You scored -18 on Abstract, higher than 35% of your peers.
  • 56/100 You scored 2 on Renaissance, higher than 56% of your peers.

Your result for What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test

Traditional, Vibrant, and Tasteful

13 Islamic, -1 Impressionist, 11 Ukiyo-e, -4 Cubist, -18 Abstract and 2 Renaissance!

So there!