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Pasta with pork sausage, zucchini and potato.

I once posted a story about combining pasta and potatoes in the same dish; an unusual combination but certainly not an unlikely one. Must have been a couple of years ago .... (conducts search) .... couple of years?  - time flies: it was  posted in February 2007 .  This is different; it combines pork with fennel in a pasta dish without tomato- or cream-based sauce, but simply relies on the fragrance and sheer good flavour of its core ingredients. Pasta with pork sausage, zucchini and potato. I diced a large white zucchini and fried it in olive oil, with half a diced onion and two cloves of garlic. When done, I reserved the zucchini; and in the same pan, fried the crumbled meat of four coarse de-cased pork and caramelised onion sausages with some more onion and a scattering of fennel seeds. Meanwhile, I peeled two medium potatoes and diced them into small pieces. These I boiled - they need only a few minutes or they will soften and break up. For the pasta, I used the small twists of past
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8.23 a.m.

Broken shafts of late winter sun came through the window, having penetrated the lemon tree just outside, and crawled their way across the floor, pieces of broken gold. Shards of toast were scattered on the table along with open jars of Vegemite and peanut butter, a newspaper wet from a spilt cup of tea and other detritus of the type generated by late-rising, breakfasting teenagers. Now water was running in adjacent bathrooms and, on the fridge, the radio tuned to 3MBS-FM played to a mute audience of one. 8.23 a.m.  Her voice came out of the speaker like a lark ascending, apologies to Messrs. Vaughan-Williams and Meredith. It was a live version, recorded much later than the original 1965 studio recording which was gayer, younger. This later version was shot through with a sense of sad, yearning wistfulness but without any over-sentimentality. She lived in my suburb, but when I walked past her house on the way to St Monica's church on one of those rainy early 1960s winter Sunday morn

Ancient law: never throw away scissors. Or can openers ...

It is some ancient tradition or belief system. One whose roots are lost in the tortuous once-hollow ribbons of time, blocked by centuries of sclerotic irrationality intermixed, confusedly, with an occasional random truth.  Never throw away certain items.   Why would you, when they still work? The can opener still opened. Kind of. The scissors still cut. Most things, anyway. Paper, thin cardboard.  Here's the proof sitting, opened, on the table: an 800-gram can of pears; Australian, not Chinese or Mexican or Thai or wherever else they can these things. Topped by my old Swing-a-Way can opener. A little crinkly around the edges. But open nonetheless. It was a bit of a twist. Metal must be harder these days. Everything else is. Have you tried opening a shrink-wrapped pack of, I don't know, flank steak? You know, that semi-hard plastic that has a thinner seal with a gripping point that gives you a millimetre to grasp between thumb and forefinger and that is so strong that, instead,

Inflation reversed by Roquefort bargain.

I once wrote on this weblog that gnocchi out of a packet tasted like compacted Deb instant mashed potato: because that's what it essentially is. However, as gnocchi has grown in popularity the manufactured item has improved. It's called market forces. The major supermarkets now carry their own house brands in the refrigerated department. These are not as good as homemade gnocchi but are a satisfactory substitute. At the supermarket, I picked up a pack of Coles pumpkin gnocchi, a pack of Brussels sprouts, and some walnuts. As I was passing the fresh cheese section one of those mark-down stickers jumped out at me. They always do: I do like a bargain. It was a wedge of Roquefort cheese marked down from $12 to $3 due to an arbitrary use-by date nearing - I thought cheese improved with age. Roquefort at the price of cheddar. Gold. Later, I cooked the halved sprouts until they were just tender and bright green, then browned them slightly in a pan with flecks of prosciutto. I threw t

The journey.

I like old-fashioned names, so in the unlikely case that another child of mine should struggle its unknowing way into the world, I would call it Clarence. We already have a Thomas.

Let Everyone Move Money Into No-Good Shit*.

“ ... It was hard to see how that value made sense.”  (Said Dr Michelle Deaker who, if anyone might see sense she might, being founder of one of Australia’s leading venture capital firms, OneVentures, as reported in today’s Business Australian “Start-up layoffs just the beginning for sector”.) Dr Deaker was referring to the buy-now pay-later sector comprised of start-ups with names that sound like 1960s family board games: Sezzle, SplitIt, Humm and Zip being the four mentioned in the story. The story quotes Zip as having lost an astounding 94% of its market ‘value’ in twelve months.  Of course those exact words were uttered in a past downturn: no, not the Great Depression, the 1970s recession or even the '87 stock market crash. It was the dot.com crash of a mere two decades ago. We could say people have short memories but mass hysteria has always trumped common sense. *Acronym time!

Di Stasio and the Stasi ....

When Ronnie Di Stasio opened Cafe Di Stasio decades ago he jettisoned the twee travel-postered fake Italianity of some 'family style' restaurants and introduced a kind of low-key, high-class style based around a grown-up architectural sensibility and an interior design devoid of fads. Closed since January due to industry-wide staff shortages, the Herald Sun reports today that it is hoped to reopen soon.  Meanwhile, Di Stasio's other outlet,  Di Stasio Citta, near bureaucrat-central in Spring Street, lost most of its customers due to the work-from-home obsession that has, of course, outlasted the Covid panic. During that time, Di Stasio Citta also suffered heavy-handed 'trading restriction' compliance raids. "I'm not sure what six heavily armed police all entering as a raid can achieve," Di Stasio said at the time. "Terrorists hiding in the spaghetti al dente?"

Cold comfort farm.

These past few weeks from mid-May, which makes it a full month, seem to have been the most sustained stretch of poor weather I can remember. Incessant rain, low temperatures, and even a spring-like wind during the week that drove rain before it like bullets; and no sunshine beyond a few minutes' worth here and there - which had the effect of merely teasing you before disappearing again behind the dreary, cold, grey cloud-mass that is a constant canopy. Or was it an illusion? Schooldays had plenty of cold and wet weather. I remember the gurgling drainpipes and drumming rain drowning out a teacher's voice; wind-fanned rivulets of rain flooding the schoolyard; and running my fingers along the icy tops of front fences and walls, arriving at school almost frostbitten. We didn't worry then. We didn't have to think about roof leaks and flooded gardens and getting clothes dry.  But no: it wasn't an illusion. I heard on the radio that this has been the coldest start to a Mel