Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Kitchen Hand turns whistle blower.

"You can't umpire this sport and not make errors," Hayden Kennedy says. "It's an impossibility. You've just got to limit the damage."
Well, we'll see on Friday. I'll be throwing the ball up for the grade sixers in their interschool match. Until now I've been running the boundary and you see plenty of infringements the central umpire doesn't, because he's usually behind the pack of twenty 10-year-olds jumping on each other.

It might be easier in the middle. I ran kilometres on the boundary on Sunday morning because the northerly sweeping down Greenvale oval No. 4 kept blowing the ball into the paddock behind. Spectator attempts to boot the ball back to the middle usually got blown straight back again.

Clean bump and pick-up


Drop punt

(Pictures are from a previous game at Keilor Park second oval complete with tractor ruts.)


The world's largest professional network, now for sale on the dark web.

Soon, the world will run out of passwords. Don't say I didn't warn you four years ago.


Duelling country singers.

Tim Blair beat me to George Hamilton IV by a few hours, but I beat him to Jimmy Elledge. By three years.


Raining chilis.

People keep throwing bird's eye chilis at me.

When we stayed a couple of nights at the Kingswood Motel in Tocumwal a month or so ago, the owner pointed out her herb garden near the pool and barbecue area and invited me to sample the chilis. That night I did. It was a hot evening and we ate outside as the sun went down. I grilled steaks and made a potato salad. I flattened the chilis on the grill to char them and then smeared them over the grilled steaks. Then I ate a couple whole. I saw stars.

Then, back home, a neighbour gave me a whole bag of bird's eyes from her front garden. That was a few weeks ago. I've got through about half.

The reason, of course, is that the chili plants are very popular right now as an ornamental planting in pots and garden beds. And they are prolific. You can't eat enough of the chilis to keep up. You have to give them away, like grapefruit.

The trick with chili is to combine it with other flavours. You can't hide the heat, but you can tone it down.

Salsa Mexicana.

I don't know how genuine this is and I don't care. It is good and that's all that counts.

Slice a dozen chilis and remove seeds. Combine in a bowl with four diced very ripe tomatoes, one diced white onion, the juice of a lime into which you have stirred half a teaspoon of salt, and a cup of chopped coriander. Throw in a couple of chopped mint leaves if you have them.

Serve over anything. Last night I split some just-baked potatoes, packed them with sour cream, and showered the salsa over the top. Never eaten better.


"Unexpected" egg event.

From today's paper:
SHOPPERS baulking at the cost of beef are scrambling for eggs and stretching supplies. Customers have been confronted with depleted egg sections at some supermarkets. A notice advised eggs were in short supply "due to unexpected events in the industry".

"People searching for cheaper alternative proteins are recognising the value of eggs," Egg Farmers Aus­tralia spokesman John Coward said. "A kilo of eggs is as low as $4. A kilo of popular steak is $20-$35. They can replace a beef dinner with a frittata."
When it comes to "unexpected egg events", a frittata sounds a bit of a letdown compared to, for example, a 400g porterhouse, chargrilled to perfection, still pink in the middle and drowning in pepper sauce. The following is a much more robust alternative to the ubiquitous - and somewhat pretentious - frittata, if steak is off and eggs are on.

Egg and bacon pie.

Grease a glass or enamel pie dish and line it with a sheet of shortcrust pastry. Crack in about four eggs, depending on dish size. Scatter some chopped parsley and white pepper over the eggs.

Meanwhile, lightly fry six rashers of bacon in a pan, then lay the bacon over the eggs. Add another two or three eggs, then top the pie-dish with a disc of puff pastry, trim and seal the edge. Slash the top once and decorate with the pastry trimmings. Brush with egg white or milk. Bake at 180C for about 35 minutes at which point it will be golden brown.

Serve hot with mashed potato and peas. Add a fancy relish if you must but this pie, already tasty enough, shoots into the flavour stratosphere when served with old-fashioned tomato sauce.