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Examiner
  • Annie Dear: Catch a shark? Easy, but cooking one’s another story

  • I’m not a bad cook, even if I do say so myself. I’m not a great cook, but I can keep you pretty well pleased with your feeding and watering at my house. Mind you, after watching “Master Chef” these past few weeks, I feel I am not even worthy to wash their utensils.

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  • I’m not a bad cook, even if I do say so myself. I’m not a great cook, but I can keep you pretty well pleased with your feeding and watering at my house. Mind you, after watching “Master Chef” these past few weeks, I feel I am not even worthy to wash their utensils.
    Note to self: learn how to cut an onion with such lightning dexterity and not lose a finger.
    One of the many things you learn about pottering about the kitchen is that there are certain foods with which you can be liberal and rejoice, and those you have to be careful of.
    There is nothing more welcoming than the smell of a cake cooking, nothing yummier than the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. Even onions and garlic smell wonderful as they sizzle away in the pan.
    My mother had a generic phrase for anything like this. Closing her eyes in bliss, she would murmur “ahhh, happy smells.”
    Then there are the odd pitfalls, such as don’t chop jalapeno chilies with bare hands and then rub your eyes – or other sensitive parts of one’s anatomy. This would appear obvious, but sadly not. Always put the lid on the blender before you hit frappe, and never release the valve on the pressure cooker too early.  As a wise woman once told me, never do a job only to create another one. And cleaning extruded meatballs off the ceiling or strawberry smoothie off the walls is not my idea of a ripping good time.
    For each happy smell, to keep the balance of nature in a fair state, I guess we must have the opposite – some sad ones.
    For instance, I’ve learned that cooking cabbage in an enclosed space reeks havoc with one’s olfactory senses for days after the event, in more ways than one, if you catch my drift. It ends up a tad like the Little Engine Who Could – not as in “I think I can, I think I can,” but more in the toot toot department. Now, I know it’s not practical to cook it outside on the grill, so I’ve pretty much given up in the boiled cabbage area of my life. And, quite frankly, why would you bother in the first place?
    I remember years ago in a bit of a fleeting austerity drive, I decided to come up with something to eat using gravy beef as a base. I’ve looked up what part of the beast this comes from, and it is supposedly from the shin, but I have suspicions in comes from the bottom of the hoof. Slow cooking is recommended, but I’d reckon eight weeks would not be enough time to get it remotely tender or less malodorous. Even though winter in Sydney is very mild in comparison to the mid-west, having every door and window open for 18 hours proved a tad chilly.  
    Page 2 of 2 - I have to be exceptionally careful if I even think about opening a can of sardines. I love the slippery little devils, but Sir screws up his face to such an extent that I fear he will invert himself, and I must say I am extremely careful about rinsing out their tin before binning it, as the pong of old sardines in the trash does render the house pretty much unlivable.
    Ditto with anchovies. A pizza without an anchovy is like a hot dog without the bun, a hamburger without ketchup. Some would say it’s like a fish with a bicycle – totally unnecessary, but I beg to differ. I love ’em, but again, the tin can be very stinky if left untended.
    Oh, but I met my match well and truly the other night in the stinkeroo division. I had asked Sir to pick up dinner as he was on idle at the time I was at work, and so like the brave little spirit he is, off he trotted. He made a beeline for barbecue and then realized I am not a huge fan so went to get me something extra special for my supper.
    Asking the butcher for something wonderfully different, Mitch armed Sir up with a tasty treat in the form of black tipped shark.
    I’m sure Sir had a bit of a smirk on his face thinking this would make me go weak at the knees and tremble with fright, as if Jaws himself was going to rear out of the kitchen sink at me.
    But I met it with a steady gaze, proclaiming that not only had I eaten shark, I had in fact caught it. So there, boo snubs to you.
    I seasoned it, melted the butter, and off it went in the pan. A very thick steak it was, so it did take a while to cook. When Sir walked in the house, his face did in fact invert, and I must say I was running a very close second.
    I can easily say that the smell was horrific and lingers longer in the oddest nook and cranny around the house.
    Oh, ‘phooowaaaa.’ With that fabulous sixth sense, 20/20 hindsight, I remembered that my shark was cooked outside on the grill.
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