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Showing posts from January, 2004

Sweet potato and corn.

I guess you'd have to call this a salad, as in potato salad, but it doesn't look like salad. But it is delicious. Peel and cube a sweet potato, boil it until tender but not falling apart. Boil an ear or two of sweet corn (in season, plentiful and cheap right now), strip the corn and toss it together with the boiled sweet potato. Add your favourite dressing and toss chopped parsley and toasted pine nuts over it in generous amounts. Good with grilled steaks.

Fish and chips.

No, I didn't cook it. Someone else did. Well, all right, I made the salad. Back home after camping, what's the first thing that occurs to you to eat after a week of juggling pots on a single-burner camp stove? Yes! Your favourite take-out! We have this seafood place close by that does calamari and fish packs to die for and they charge next to nothing for it. A pack of ten calamari rings, superbly battered and deep-fried perfectly crisp and golden - with enough chips for two - is $4.25, while the extremely generous fish fillets are the same price complete with a heap of chips, tartare sauce and a couple of lemon wedges. Sometimes they even throw an extra piece of fish. So that's $8.50 and there's way more than enough for two. Can't do better than that. I knocked up a quick salad of lettuce, tomatoes, onion rings and olives in a vinegar dressing to go with it. Tender calamari, fresh battered whiting, chips and a couple of cold Cascades and you're in

Eating out - literally.

Friday 16 January Food always tastes better outdoors, so we took off on a hot morning for a camping trip, aiming for the East Gippland coast. First stop was for lunch in a park in one of the towns off the main highway to Gippsland. Sat in the shade of a huge tree with tuna, olives, cheese, turkish bread, fruitcake and coffee. Afternoon tea saw us having cold beers in a shady beer garden at a hotel in Sale, commercial centre of East Gippsland. Nearing coastal Loch Sport around 5pm, ominous grey clouds gathered. Another twenty minutes and it was raining heavily and thunder was cracking. So back inland, frantically twiddling the radio in search of a forecast. Sure enough, the weather improved and in 30 minutes we were pitching our tent in glorious sunshine in a camping ground back in Sale. We found a fish shop minutes before closing time and the woman sold us a massive piece of Ling. In a pan on the single-burner camp stove, I sizzled some onions, curry, coriander and pepp

Afternoon tea for a bygone age.

The requiem mass was at ten o'clock on an extremely hot day at the old red brick church where Poppy was married so many years ago. An organist pedalled away churning out all the old favourites. The sun bore down relentlessly at the cemetery and then afterwards, everyone gathered for lunch or afternoon tea, I forget what time it was - cold chicken sandwiches, egg and lettuce sandwiches, ham sandwiches, cold roast beef and mustard sandwiches, platters of cold meat and cheese, small cakes, biscuits, scones, gallons of hot tea and cold beer. Old friends and infrequently encountered relatives exchanged news and swore they would keep in closer touch.

A Christmas farewell.

At age 98, a month before his 99th year, Poppy went to heaven. A tower of strength and a tower of wisdom and wit, the patriarch of the family, the godfather. Always with the funny quip, always with the kind word, always the enquiry after your own, right up until the end. That's the markof a true gentleman, a rarity in a a world in which everyone else talks about themselves. Three days before Christmas, and a day after attending two Christmas parties and being showered with gifts by all the other seniors, especially the ladies. So Christmas was subdued but a time for memories, all good. None bad. And for the first time in many years, no special passenger accompanied me on my car trip to the family Christmas lunch. Just five Christmases ago it was two special passengers, this year none. So no chicken, no curry, no salad, no ham, no plum pudding, no cake, no shortbread, no wine, no coffee. No after dinner witticism about being 'hors de combat'. And no rid