Life at the end of the road

August 21, 2020

The first mackerel :-) :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, food — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:59 pm

Without their usual diet of tourists the boodly midges have been desperate this year. My day getting off to a rather irritable start around 8:30 when I went down to my slipway to collect Iain. A friend of Hugh’s he’d ended up stranded on Rona after the funeral with his Land Rover at the Raasay ferry terminal. Yesterday’s strong southerly leaving him stuck there until Bill Cowie could bring him down to Arnish. There was still an airy of wind up at Sonas when I fed the pigs so when Bill phoned to say he was on his way I foolishly headed down to the slip minus any protection from the ‘wee devils’.

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The wind that was present up at my house being totally absent down on the shore Sad smile It was boodly desperate and the conversation that would normally last for ages got cut down drastically as we hastily waved our goodbyes whilst itching wildly Smile

I’d planned my day around taking Iain to the South End so made a morning of it going to Skye for some tyres and shopping, it wasn’t just harissa and anchovies we needed. The chooks and pigs needed feed too.

The turtle is back Smile

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On the ferry it was great to see my regular ‘back to back’ in his rightful place aboard MV Hallaig and to see his ‘turtle’ back on the car park. I suppose it’s more like a snail with his house on it’s back really but it sure was good to have him back. Not seeing Hallaig’s ‘other half’ for the whole of ‘Lockdown’ has probably been the strangest thing about the whole affair. We have a lot of catching up to do Smile

Heading home I called at the Raasay Walled garden ‘Veg Shack’

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hoping to get some French beans but left with some lovely flowers to adorn my window ledge and complement the sunsets, not that there was much of one tonight.

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The work at the Cnoc an Uan phone mast seemed to have started, I bet there be some pretty pi55ed off campers over the next month or so, this was always a popular spot with motor homes.

When I did finally get home, what I should have done was get on with refitting Callum’s tracks but it was so calm I decided to go out fishing instead.

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I went just off Manish Island, intending to go diving there in about 20M but just as I was considering anchoring I saw what looked like fish on the sonar. My first cast drew in my first mackerel in years, my second four, the third one a nice pollock. The fourth and last cast must have got snagged on the rocky bottom and came up empty and without a weight so that was my line fishing over.

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Sure I could have still gone over the side for some scallops or used a couple of improvised weights but I’d got more than enough fish for dinner and I was pretty pleased with myself. That’ll be the Heather Isle left and Horse’s Cave right. The island just round the corner to the north of Loch Arnish and the cave in a small bay on the southern shore.

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And this will be the MV Goldseeker of Leith paying Loch Arnish a visit, wonder if was looking for gold Smile Actually methinks it’s an Ullapool dive charter boat, anyway he didn’t stay long Smile

An unfishy dishy

So, after getting home washing off my gear and feeding the wee dog I started thinking about dinner. I can’t remember the last time I cooked a mackerel I’d caught. At one time we used to catch so many whilst out clam diving with Willie Eyre that we (almost) got sick of them. I have cooked and eaten the fish so many ways but it always tastes like mackerel. Thinking about this I thought I’d resort to a pasta recipe I used to make when I was getting tired of fish, cos this one just don’t taste fishy in the least. Dunno where I got it from but basically you just make a pasta sauce, fry off the onions, garlic etc. I added courgette and mushrooms, then you just sit the fish on top of the sauce pour frozen peas over it and leave on a hot plate for half an hour or so with a tight fitting lid on it.

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I served it with rice cos we had pasta last night but if you ever run out of things to do with mackerel then this is for you. Could have done with a sprig of parsley and squirt of lemon right enough but quick, easy and I guess almost healthy Smile

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Callum the Kubota’s tracks will just have to wait until the morning Smile

Now it’s the harissa :-(

Filed under: daily doings, food — Tags: , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 5:04 am

Well, the ‘secret gale’ seems to have passed through without incident and I use that term cos it was only a secret to me Smile Methinks every one else was aware, I was just a bit late finding out about it. Judging by the Radio traffic reports it must have been quite a blast in some places. Truth be known it was pretty fresh here and did leave some unfortunate kayakers stranded on Raasay but they can hardly be blamed for that, it did come upon us pretty quickly. It was south or south easterly here so we barely feel it anyway so having the Searider on the mooring posed no threat even when the gale awoke me at 4:00ish.

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I say ‘stranded’ but perhaps they’d only intended to paddle this far anyway, either way, they would have had a lovely day yesterday and made the very sane decision not to go any further in their small craft Smile

Callum’s final drive

With the wind boodly fresh and showers forecast I made a sane decision myself, choosing to do a long overdue job myself. Callum’s left hand tracking motor or final drive has been playing up for a while, especially when hot. I’ve sought much advice about this vis the Internet and various well respected experts but never got to the root of whether it’s a motor/final drive issue or control valve. Having got as far as I could without test pipes and gauges I decided to the rather long winded task of swapping the final drives over side to side. That way if it still tracks right I’ll know it’s a control issue. I’ve already checked all the rod linkages and valves best I can, so after making room in the gym, sorry workshop, at least that’s what it used to be before Ross Camilli took it over Smile After finding a space I power washed Callum before starting.

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Getting him nicely sandwiched between half a ton of dumbbell weights and a training bench before second breakfast.

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After which I set about Callum’s tracks and a rabbit’s guts that I’d shot earlier, the first in years. At one time I rarely went a week without bunny on the menu but myxomatosis, sea eagles and the boodly mink put paid to the Raasay rabbit population (at least at the North End) years ago and I’ve not shot one since Hallaig came. Feeling they were just not plentiful enough yet, however this last couple of years has seen a spectacular recovery in the population with more and more of them near the house. Well this wee chap was in my garden so ‘fair game’ Smile

Just like me granny used to make and me mammy Smile

Sure my mum made a lovely rabbit pasta but it’s my Nonna Emilia’s that I’ll always remember. When I lived in Italy we kept table rabbits in the cellar next to the wine. When rabbit was on the menu my ancient granny (well she seemed old to me at 5) would go down to their hutch, deftly whip one out, put it under her left arm and ring its neck with her free hand. She did this whilst walking and talking never breaking step or pausing for breath. Me, I was well impressed Smile Anyway, here’s my version of their recipe :-

Skin and quarter Mr floppy ears, give him a clean and wipe him off

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then if you were cooking him fry him off to seal him in olive oil and garlic. Me, I was so pleased with myself I decided to rub some harissa into the meat first. This was when I hit a snag, not only was I out of anchovies but there was no harissa paste either Sad smile This seems to be the one disadvantage of having the boy cooking for the fortnight I’m at work, his ‘stock control’ has room for improvement Smile So with none of the magic North African delight I improvised, rubbing in Sriracha sauce and pork seasoning

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and leaving it in last night’s dirty frying pan Smile Sounds gross but we’d just polished off the remains of the potato curry for second breakfast and there was a smattering of the Scot’s bonnet infused sauce still in the pan so the quarters were rubbed in that and left for a few hours whilst I continued with Callum.

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Swapping the tracking motors over was pretty straight forward even though one was a replacement so was piped slightly differently.

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Took me all afternoon right enough and it was after 18:00 before I returned to cooking dinner.

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Frying off the meat just enough to seal it in the hot oil then adding two tins of chopped toms, veg stock and some tomato puree. Just enough to cover the meat, finally chopping up some shrooms and leaving on the hot plate for long enough to go back outside, fill Callum with hydraulic oil and check for leaks (around 30 mins). A further 10 mins of cooking the pasta and it was ready to serve.

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Traditionally, at least in the Camilli household the quarters are dumped on top and eaten with fingers Smile Boodly delicious.

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