Galley Gourmet with Captain Chaos - There's something nasty in the water

The rain has stopped at last. And now the temperature has dropped, all the houses around here have a plume of smoke coming from their chimneys. The southerlies have started which makes a day out on the water a bit of an ordeal. First you freeze in the wind and shade then boil in the sun, so you find yourself forever taking off jumpers. My two dogs don’t mind, they just thunder along the deck and leap into the freezing water and of course shake themselves next to you when you aren’t looking.

The other evening I called in to the local men’s shed to see if there was anything I could help with because they always have some project or other underway. I opened the door and found my way blocked by a huge canvas-covered canoe sitting up on two saw horses.

“What in the … What’s a Canadian canoe doing here?”

“It won’t be here for long, now you’re here. You can test it out on the river,” Danny a wiry bushy bloke answered.

“You must be kidding it’s pitch black out there?”

“Come on! Where’s your sense of adventure, plus I have some bait so we can throw a line in as we paddle merrily down the river.”

I said a few words under my breath while we carried the canoe out and tied it onto my ute. At the river I had second thoughts. The water looked so uninviting and with the banks dark and forbidding, the scene was something out of a vampire movie.

“You sure you want to do this Danny?” I asked with my fingers crossed.

“See, it floats OK, jump in up the front, I’ll push us off.”

As we floated out into the river, I started to relax and enjoy the ride.

“Hey, Chaos, grab this line and some of this old meat and see if you can catch something.”

The line he threw me could have tethered an elephant, I had used something thinner to moor my Top Hat and that was over 20ft. The hook was huge, as was the bloody evil smelling piece of meat I was attaching to it.

“We fishing for sharks?” I asked as I tossed the bait over the side nearly capsizing the canoe with the redistribution of weight. It hit the water with a big splash and acted as a sea anchor pulling us up. We sat around for a good while. Thankfully Danny had brought something for the cold which warmed me down to my toes.

Suddenly the line went taunt and the canoe started to move against the current, not fast, but I couldn’t pull it in.

“I thought you said there weren’t any sharks up here?”

The line started to go slack and I had my hands full taking it up as whatever was on the line was coming up fast towards the canoe. The next thing a huge black shape broke the water next to the canoe and with out stopping leapt over the gunnel into the bilge. There was a terrible snapping and tearing sound. I heard a yell and looked over at Danny. He was up on his feet and dancing and the black shape seemed to be partnering him.

“Chaos, cut the line or this thing’s going to have me!”

What with water pouring in and trying to find my knife, I heard Danny yell that he had him. Then there was a giant splash and the pair disappeared. I rolled out of the canoe into waist deep freezing water and still holding the line I made my way to the bank. I pulled the line in because it still had weight on it. Out of the water Danny appeared with his arms locked around a giant eel.

“I couldn’t let go as the bastard would’ve shredded me.”

I could see he hadn’t got off scot free because his whole body had a sheen of blood.

“Forget the canoe … it’s driftwood. Come on back to my place. I have some soup I made earlier. What are you going to do with the eel?”

“Smoke him and tan the skin.”


Pumpkin Soup

1 medium size pumpkin cut into chunks
440mil coconut cream
3 cups chicken stock
2 dessertspoons of grated fresh ginger
1 large brown onion sliced
3 teaspoons crushed garlic
olive oil
juice of half a lime
sea salt and freshly ground pepper



In a large pan, sauté the onion and garlic in a little oil until golden, then add the pumpkin cook for five or six minutes. Add the ginger and enough stock to cover. Bring to the boil then simmer for 12 minutes, allow to cool.

Put the mixture into a blender and puree. Place back into pan with coconut cream heat until soup is simmering.

Serve with a little lime juice and pepper and salt.