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Showing posts from February, 2008

Where did the week go?

No, I haven't disappeared from the face of the earth. I've just been unexpectedly busy, the computer has gone to the workshop, the book has been trying - as in difficult - and an elderly aunt died. It's been one of those weeks where you feel like you're going at a hundred miles an hour but not getting anywhere. Like driving to Sydney in first gear. Apart from all that, everything is wonderful. I'll be back soon.

Three grills. Your choice.

If we can drag our eyes away from the clouds for just a moment, let's take a look a the grill. Because tonight we are barbecuing, and there are three standout items on the menu. You may choose any or all. The coals are white hot and the beer is very, very cold and the white wine is less cold because if it is, you can't taste it. Never chill white wine too much. (Plus, I hate it, in restaurants, when they put freezing bottles of white wine in those '80s-style plastic wine chillers. Or even earlier-era ice buckets. I always take the bottle right out again. Why pay $20 or more for wine you can't taste?) I digress. I'm like that in late summer, when golden clouds are morphing into strange shapes overhead before disappearing behind the roof and the second gin and tonic has kicked in and there is a delicious aroma rising from the grill ... Oh. The grill. First item on the grill tonight is: corn . It's a late summer staple. Corn on the cob becomes corn on the hob;
No, I didn't set the kitchen on fire. It was just a cloud passing over the house, viewed from the back yard; about 8pm on a hot night after a humid day.

Bureaucrats to rescue 'working families'.

Early one morning, I went into a Safeway supermarket. The regular - small - punnet of strawberries was $4.98. Then I went to the high street fruit market. The double punnet - 500g - was $2.99. The strawberries were better, smaller, fresher. I went into Coles. The 50g pack of pine nuts was $2.99, or $59.90 a kilogram. The toasted ones, 50g, were $3.79. That's $16 a kilo just to toast them, on top of your $59.90. Dried apricots, about $45 a kilogram. I went into the nut shop in the mall. The pine nuts were $24.99 a kilogram - toast them yourself for free - the apricots $23.99. I went into Safeway again. A pack of flat bread was $1.79 - on special . I went to the deli. The flat bread - A1 Bakery brand - was 99 cents. It was fresher. I went back to Coles. The truss tomatoes were $6.99; the Granny Smith apples $5.99 and the the capsicums (green) $4.99. Back to the fruit market, where the respective prices were $3.99, $2.99 and $2.99. And better quality. It took me all mornin

Garden notes.

The zucchinis have been plentiful, as have the cucumbers. Basil is raging, of course. But tomatoes? No appearance, your worship. Yet. The plants are fine, they are just not fruiting. This year's were grown from seedlings obtained from the local nursery. I'm not sure whether it's climate or pedigree. Of course it could be faulty gardening on my part. The best tomatoes we ever had were, in order, ones that self-seeded from original stock in the garden of our previous house whose prior owner had been an expert gardener and seedsman; and secondly, ones grown from Diggers' Club seeds. We might have to renew our Digger's Club membership and obtain seeds from there once again. (Digger's Club is a mail-order business supplying 'heirloom' seeds no longer available through usual channels. It is based at Heronswood, a property that sits high on the hill at Dromana and rambles over acres of working ornamental, vegetable and herb gardens, all set amidst massi

Prawns in white wine. And William and Thomas sing a duet for Australia Day.

We enjoyed Australia Days very much, thank you. Yes, there were two this year. The day officially falls on January 26, of course; but the faceless bureaucrats who decide these kinds of things (and what a great career that would be - plenty of time for morning tea) realised that there would be no time to celebrate on January 26, because being a Saturday, everyone would be playing cricket, and cricket is a game that takes all day, frequently without a result. So they declared that, while Australia Day would officially occur on Saturday, we would all have a holiday on Monday to celebrate it. So we did. Prawns in white wine on angel-hair pasta. I had picked up a bag of fresh cleaned raw prawns - Crystal Bay - from the fishmonger. About half a kilogram. I chopped five cloves of garlic finely and placed this in a heavy pan along with a cup of white wine. No oil necessary. Meanwhile I had the pasta cooking. I brought the white wine and garlic to a simmer and then added the prawns compl