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Missing Country & the Muscovy Duck

I am often possessed by what I think are scathingly brilliant ideas, sometimes they are made of fail.

On our recent trip to Galston, we found amazing fruit and vegetables at roadside stands. This prompted the S.O. to make Cream of Broccoli soup and Pumpkin soup in quantities big enough for the freezer to be stocked with little containers of yummy scrummy soup. I happily labeled said containers of joy with my pink Dymo labeler (yes, I am O.C.D. and proud). This also prompted me to declare I am never eating canned or packet soup again. Perhaps on the part of the chef, this may not have been wise? Anyway, I digress...

So last weekend we finally had a weekend with NOTHING on - what a treat! So my scathingly brilliant idea was another country drive, to get the vegetable compartment stocked to overflowing again. So off we go...

Now, not one for boredom, I decide we need to 'go a different way'. So we head for Windsor. Driving... driving... driving... on these massive three lane divided roads, past mega malls (at Rooty Hill) and housing estate after housing estate. Hmmm... not quite how I remember it. Get to Windsor, but still no country?

Enter 'Plan B' - go to Richmond, take a turn, get on a road built on podiums, above said 'country'. My partner, trying to sooth me, says: 'Look down there - cows!' I say, 'I meant driving through the countryside, not on a fly-over above it. If I wanted to drive on a fly-over I could have done it at  Darling Harbour, five minutes from our house!' I may have rocked at this point.

Get to Richmond - you guessed it, still no country. Number of roadside stalls? Still a big fat zero.

Time for 'Plan C' - head for Kurrajong. Start climbing, out of the Sydney basin. Where did the country go? Altitude not quite right for farms, so turn towards Singleton, driving in bush not farmland. Begin to rock in a more pronounced way.

Finally come out on a ridge with country on both sides. Feel marginally better. Nearly two hours from Sydney, finally hit the first roadside stand. It's nothing special. Resume rocking.

S.O. sees a sign for Muscovy Ducks, and offers it up to stop the rocking. I am excited - they're apparently the best for roasting, but the cheapest you can buy them from my butcher is around $75, which is waaaay to rich for my blood. I am also suspicious, as I think they mean alive.

Farmer pulls out, looks a bit frightening. He stops range rover, S.O. alights the vehicle to ask if ducks are alive or dead. Apparently generally alive. I say, 'oh well' and motion to S.O. to resume being inside the safety of the vehicle. Farmer decides to get the city slickers their dead duck. Calls wife. We drive down road, in through huge security fence. Ducks are everywhere. African woman in headscarf comes out, talks to us about ducks. She feels bad charging us $15 (they're only $12 if you take them alive). We are grateful for the surcharge. I am having visions about being trapped and killed behind large security fence. She keeps us talking. The ducks approach closer and closer. They are big ducks.

Soon we leave with a frozen Muscovy duck in our special cold silver bag, for $15. It is a bargain. The security gate doesn't open. She comes running up the road. I imagine a meat axe.

Her remote has run out of batteries. Gate is opened. I muse that watching the evening news fuels my levels of paranoia.

We drive like bats out of hell for the city, back through desolate fringe dwelling estates. Windsor has a market, and we stop - there's super hot chilli sauces, lots of ye olde lolly shoppes, fresh nuts and some interesting potato varieties. I feel slightly vindicated, but still alert and alarmed. Hustle partner into car.

Resolve never to look for country again.



( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 2nd, 2008 01:16 am (UTC)
Bells Line of Road on the way from Kellyville to the Blue Mountains has lots of fruit & veg stalls. Of course you have to go through Windsor AND Kellyville.
Jul. 2nd, 2008 01:32 am (UTC)
That's where I was heading, I got over it at Kurrajong. I got tired. Two hours!!
Jul. 2nd, 2008 01:53 am (UTC)
It is a LONG way away. And yes, lots of areas that had market gardens as recently as 10 years ago have been McMansionised, thanks to Frank Sartor aka Beezlebub.
Jul. 2nd, 2008 01:29 am (UTC)
~laughs~ city folk!
Jul. 2nd, 2008 01:32 am (UTC)
It really wasn't funny! Where did the country go?
Jul. 2nd, 2008 01:44 am (UTC)
It's winter! You don't get many road side stalls in winter :)
Jul. 2nd, 2008 01:50 am (UTC)
And I think what you were referring to as country are the semi rural market garden areas. Similar to where I grew up. ~laughs~
Jul. 2nd, 2008 02:46 am (UTC)
They had cows. You don't have cows in the city, ergo it is the country. Nope, no grey areas here. *pfft*
Jul. 2nd, 2008 02:59 am (UTC)
*asks hesitantly* Do such places still exist where you grew up?
Jul. 2nd, 2008 03:06 am (UTC)
I'm pretty sure the pick your own strawberry place a few blocks from my folks is still there.

There was also a dear farm! Hmmmm bambi....

But it's been a looong time since I looked. Will ask the folks when I see them on the weekend.
Jul. 2nd, 2008 02:22 am (UTC)
You need to go HERE: http://www.hawkesburyharvest.com.au/

You can even get maps marked with te best places to stop
Jul. 2nd, 2008 02:52 am (UTC)
Yes, that was the brochure I picked up (and promptly lost) that fueled this trip. Might have been easier with the brochure eh?
Jul. 2nd, 2008 03:31 am (UTC)
Just a tad....
Jul. 2nd, 2008 02:28 am (UTC)
LOL! I think it's seasonal. Prolly more stalls in spring/summer.

I liked the roadside oyster stalls north of Newcastle. Those oysters were AMAZING.
Jul. 2nd, 2008 03:00 am (UTC)
I would have been content with seasonal vegetables - I wanted potatoes, and broccoli and apples and...

I stopped at the one that looked like a little boat had gotten beached, and had a prawn roll that was made of win! Stopped on way back and repeated the experience too!
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 2nd, 2008 03:01 am (UTC)
Glad to have been of service. Feelin' any better today?
Jul. 2nd, 2008 08:21 am (UTC)
*snickers* You and those food-driven driving trips. Nom nom nom to strawberrries on the of the road, hand fed to you as you drove.... The fruit wine and cheese en route to Bega & through, the seafood at Foster & feeding the Bills... the 2am Krispy Kremes. xx
Jul. 2nd, 2008 01:18 pm (UTC)
Yeah well... I am now reformed. I will not go to the country without an overnight bag!
Jul. 3rd, 2008 05:37 pm (UTC)
Ha ha, or the cheese country without your own cooler bag, no your own fridge run off the lighter socket in the car more like it! That cooler bag did not have a padlock on it to stop me snarfing all the yumminess from our travels! Har har! Me bets the padlock wouldn't keep me out either these days nom nom nom
Jul. 4th, 2008 01:34 am (UTC)
Don't you remember feeling sick for about 100km?
Jul. 2nd, 2008 08:33 am (UTC)
If you ever have the inclination again heading up Peats Ridge way might be an option. My old horse now lives at Mangrove Mountain and everytime we go to visit him we come back with mucho road stall goodness...

It's about an hour out.
Jul. 2nd, 2008 01:37 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I will take up that idea when I have bounced back from my recent failure!
Jul. 2nd, 2008 09:03 am (UTC)
I've done pumpkin soup and pea and ham soup in the last fortnight. A bumper batch of pumpkin soup is ready to make, and broccoli was next on the list. wanna gimme your SO's recipe?

Also, in a week or two, Potato and Leek.
Jul. 2nd, 2008 09:38 am (UTC)
can you make extra for my fridge?
I can supply container
*bats eyes*
Jul. 2nd, 2008 01:36 pm (UTC)
Well no, because we have no vegetables from this produce drive. But next time I buy bulk vegies, I will see what I can do. His cream of broccoli was amazing!
Jul. 2nd, 2008 01:40 pm (UTC)
He doesn't cook to a recipe per say - we take an aggregate of a number of internet recipes, discuss and then he does what feels correct. He used chicken stock, cream, salt, pepper, tarragon, oregano, garlic and chicken salt. Buy expensive double cream, and good quality chicken stock. Use as little liquid as possible. We used about 750g of broccoli to about 250g cream and 250ml chicken stock. It froze and reheated very, very well.
Jul. 3rd, 2008 05:39 pm (UTC)
*scribbles it down*

Much cream? Dollop at the end/to person's taste?

I made a risotto not long ago for which I made my own stock, oh god it was fucking awesome, probably the best thing I have personally cooked ever.

I deemed it "suitable to serve Toby's parents", meaning it'd be suitable to serve you. :-D

So, dollop of cream at the end/to person's taste or is it done during the cooking?
Jul. 4th, 2008 01:33 am (UTC)
He added 250g cream late in the cooking, after the stock. It was a creamy dreamy soup. So much better than anything I had ever bought.

Making own stock is way cool. We will be doing this with the duck bones.
Jul. 2nd, 2008 11:38 am (UTC)
There are good apples along the bells line of rd
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )