Learning how to catch doggie mackerel for the table has become a family tradition in my house and recently my son had a chance to put his skills to the test.
Ever since I was a boy, early morning fishing trips in search of the humble doggie mackerel have been a winter ritual.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve sat in a small aluminium dinghy in the pre-dawn cool as it glides over the swells of the Coral Sea, on the way to one of the local hot spots.
I didn’t come from a fishing family. My father, and grandfather for that matter, weren’t fishermen.
But for me, it was different. I loved fishing . . .
Making cordials at home is almost a lost art but creating your own refreshing blend is surprisingly easy.
It’s certainly the time of year for citrus here in the Wet Tropics and I think everyone would agree it has been a bumper crop.
Every tree I see, whether it be orange, mandarin, lemon, lime, grapefruit or lemonade, is dripping with fruit.
With such a bounty, it’s hard to ensure as little as possible goes to waste. . .
Once you’ve tasted the flavour of homegrown basil pesto, you’ll never buy the bland, mass-produced supermarket stuff again.
Sweet basil is one of the few Mediterranean-style herbs that grow well in the tropics and using it to make traditional Italian pesto is a fantastic way to enjoy its spicy flavour.
Basil is one herb you just have to grow in your garden.
In Northern Australia, very few European herbs can be grown in the ground. Most only just manage to survive in a pot through the cooler months.
Basil is an exception.
It grows vigorously and as long as you can keep the grasshoppers and grubs away from it, bountiful crops are pretty much guaranteed . . .
North Queenslanders love their mandarins and this delicious citrus fruit is one of the most popular backyard trees grown up this way. While they are usually just peeled and eaten as a snack, adding them to an Asian-style salad is a great way to bring some zing to your dinner table . . .
Bird’s-eye chillies grow like weeds in Far North Queensland. You find them springing up everywhere. In gardens, banana paddocks and along the edges of the rainforest. Most people have no use for them, believing they are way too hot to be enjoyable to eat. It’s a shame because with little effort, they can become a very handy ingredient . . .
Every backyard in the tropics should have a lemon tree.
They are just so versatile and nothing beats having a ready supply of them. Sometimes though, you have so many that you have to come up with some creative ways to make sure they aren’t wasted.
Here are 5 easy ideas I have been trying lately . . .
Pipis are one of the best tasting wild foods you could wish for and catching them is a fun outing for the whole family.
It never ceases to amaze me how many people know pipis taste good, yet they never bother to go and collect them. As far as I am concerned they are missing out on one of the ocean’s tastiest treats.
I just love pipis and often hit the local beaches to gather a feed of these delectable little shellfish.