Captain Chaos

Seek and hide uncovers antsy quandary

My son Benjamin and his wife Chikako with their two ankle-biters Tomo and Emily had flown in from Japan to spend Christmas with us. Ben and Chikako’s dishes are well known in Japan because their restaurant Flatt’s By The Sea* features on TV, in Gourmet magazines there and, of course, word of mouth. It’s also a wonderful place to stay as it’s off the beaten track and set in traditional Japanese country side.
One morning last month Ben and I had left the house for some father and son bonding … and to clear my head. We were walking through the bush up at the back of my place (making sure the leeches and the grass ticks didn’t make a meal of us) when we heard a loud coughing sound coming from somewhere up ahead of us. We stopped and listened and sure enough it sounded like the noise a male Kola makes.
I thought if we didn’t make too much noise we could get up close and see what he was on about.
We made our way as quietly as we could through the bush. We had been walking for about an hour and we could still hear the call ahead of us, it now sounded in the next valley.
I had thought of turning back but argued that it is only just ahead and having coming this far it would be silly to turn back.
At the ridge the coughing got louder so we found ourselves searching the tree tops as we made our way down the steep slope.
Suddenly I tripped over what looked like a rope and I went head over heels down the slope.
I found myself falling through a large tear in the roof of a tent-like construction amid yells and curses of the occupants.
“Where in the hell did you come from?” Asked a very angry young woman as she dusted down her clothes and pulled the twigs that were sticking in her hair. “And for that matter who are you?”
I scrambled to my feet nearly knocking over a camera which a bloke caught, I thought best to introduce myself.
“I’m Chaos. Captain Chaos,” I said holding out my hand.
“Well you certainly live up to your name, look what you have done to our hide.”
“Sorry!” was all I could think of. They looked like uni-type people who usually can be quickly brought on side if you ask them about their work.
“Hey, what are you doing here?” I asked gingerly.
“We were recording the life of an ant colony, but that’s come to an end as you are standing in our research material.”
I looked down in horror as I realised what was crawling all over my trouser legs … bloody great bull ants. I was out of there in a flash, making another hole in the hide as I galloped down the steep slope and jumped into the creek at the bottom. Sitting in the creek I watched the ants slowly let go and float off down the creek.
I checked my legs and found I had only been bitten a couple of times, then I heard laughter. Looking back up the slope I saw the two occupants making their way down the slope towards me.
“You should be on the stage from your antics.”
Very funny!
I waded out and helped them to pack up as the ants’ nest was no longer .
Their ute was up on the fire trail so they gave me a lift home. I asked them in with a promise to feed them if they told me all about their research.
I had a good supply of green prawns because I was sick of all those Christmas leftovers. So I cooked up one of my old favourites. It was the one I cooked at the Australian National Maritime Museum’s seafood festival several years ago.

* check out Flatt’s By The Sea website

King prawns marinated in lime with ginger

700gms fresh headless green king prawns
1 cup of lime juice (lemon juice if lime is not available)
½ teaspoon of crushed garlic
1 teaspoon of crushed ginger
1 teaspoon crushed chilli
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
freshly crushed black pepper to taste

Peel and de-vein the prawns leaving the last section of the scales and the tail.
Place the prawns in a bowl with the lime juice, ginger, chilli and garlic for about two hours, turn them so the lime juice marinates them. These can be served straight out of the marinade or heated on a medium BBQ plate. Great served with a green salad.