Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Flight of Elephants, Big Cats, Big Weather.
We watched a fascinating programme on Public Television last night called The Flight of the Elephants. The basic premise is that Asian Elephants in Thailand are in major trouble due to loss of habitat. 10% are OK due to tourism but otherwise the rest are not doing so well. Australian zoos decided to import 8 elephants into special habitats built in both Sydney and Melbourne in order to help preserve the species. The elephants were quarantined for 3 months in Thailand whilst Australians fought about whether this should take place or not. Finally, after two years a decision was made to accept the elephants into Australia. The elephants were loaded into crates to be taken to a special plane to be flown, four at a time, to another quarantine on the Caicos Islands but Thai protesters turned up during the journey and showed such concern for the animals that they ended up being in cages in the boiling sun for 24 hours. Finally they went back to their camp in Thailand whilst the two governments talked it out. Eventually it got sorted out and they loaded the elephants at night hoping the protesters would be asleep. Despite more troubles they finally got the animals shipped out for their 3 months in the Caicos and eventually to their beautiful new homes in Australia. One of the principal elephants in the documentary was Thong Dee who was originally a street elephant in Bangkok. You can read about her here. Thong Dee has also had a baby since being in the Taronga Zoo in Australia click here. I really enjoyed this programme last night. In fact, we had been to a friend's home earlier in the evening to play cribbage. Gals against guys and the guys won by one game, you should have heard the crowing that went on, Grrr. A lot of talk was bandied around about male superiority and so on. Yeaaaaah. Tonight we go to a neighbour's apartment for a game. Not sure about next week as we might be too busy getting ready to travel. We turned GMA off early this morning as they had Whitney Houston on, her first concert in years, 7 I think. Sorry but I haven't the remotest interest in her and intensely dislike some of the wailing noises she makes. Not my thing at all. California and the Baja Peninsula are having a bad time of it at the moment what with fires and a hurricane. Unfortunately they don't think the rains of the hurricane will reach the fires. There is a video on the GMA website click here about the Shambala Preserve in California which is home to 64 rare big cats, a lot of which people had tried to make into pets and then gotten rid of when they realised their mistakes. Two tigers, Thriller and Sabu, were owned by Michael Jackson. The video explains why, at the moment, they are not planning to evacuate the Shambala Preserve although they are right in the middle of the fires. Several other zoos have been evacuated - they lost a couple of chimps for a while during their evacuation. I was discussing with Matt, yesterday, about the wild animals though, not a subject anyone ever mentions. Here's a quick dish from Eating Well today. Sounds like a good one for supper tonight. Marmalade Chicken Makes 4 servings 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar 2 tablespoons orange marmalade 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1 teaspoon cornstarch 1 pound chicken tenders (see Note) ½ teaspoon kosher salt ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper 6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided 2 large shallots, minced 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest 1. Whisk broth, vinegar, marmalade, mustard and cornstarch in a medium bowl. 2. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 4 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. 3. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and shallots to the pan and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, about 30 seconds. Whisk the broth mixture and add it to the pan. Bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer; cook until the sauce is slightly reduced and thickened, 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Add the chicken; return to a simmer. Cook, turning once, until the chicken is heated through, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in orange zest. Note: Chicken tenders are the virtually fat-free strips of rib meat typically found attached to the underside of chicken breasts. They can also be purchased separately. Four 1-ounce tenders will yield a 3-ounce cooked portion. Tenders are perfect for quick stir-fries, chicken satay or kid-friendly breaded “chicken fingers.” Have a great day.