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Showing posts from November, 2008

Sun shines in.

I was reading an old cooking magazine from about 1999 when I came across a recipe featuring a ' cappucino ' of something, demonstrating that some fads last longer than others. Except now they call it a froth or foam, and although these substances of tiny bubbles oozing across your food undoubtedly provide a memorable dining experience, they merely remind me - as they will anyone who has ever owned dogs - of the latters' more emetic moments. Which, changing the subject very quickly, makes me wonder how long you maintain a trend before it becomes simply boring or mindlessly imitative, if not outright plagiaristic. After all, plagiarism in writing is a hanging offence, even in places that no longer allow capital punishment. There's always an exception. Remind me never to copy someone else's writing. Anyway. The death of fads: one day soon a chef will place a piece of meat next to the mash instead of on top of it and the sauce on the meat instead of squirting it around

Real estate agents try new selling techniques.

We drove to the beach house to take advantage of this string of hot days. It's still quiet here mid-week, but the busy season is coming. An old corner cafe (it used to be Anime Del Mar ) at the Rye end of Point Nepean Road that has lain empty for some time has reopened as a ' Real Estate Agent and Cafe ' under the old Briggs Shaw banner. Excuse me for laughing. Just imagine: the unique skillsets of verbose menu creators merging with those of real estate agents to create a newly enticing style of property prose: Solid red brick cottage on a bed of concrete topped with sundried terra cotta tiles and a side of julienned palings and finished with an aromatic herb garden. Then the price: 1650000 , devoid of dollar sign or decimal point so that it looks cheaper. On the other hand, perhaps you'd just get a brash waiter with a clipboard and a red tie refusing to take no for an answer to his question of whether you want garlic bread - before you'd even sat down and gotten c

Sign gets it half right, at most. And a rare recipe for spring.

More supermarket nonsense. I was walking down the canned fish and vegetables aisle when I noticed a huge sign which read 'New & Improved!' ; the exclamation mark no doubt being thought to add enormous power to the selling proposition in the mind of the writer. Can you imagine the damage to an already trashed economy if there were no exclamation marks? I digress, but only until the aisle-end display of pallet-loads of branded cola, Australia's largest-selling supermarket item in dollar terms. Maybe the economy's not so bad if people are happy to pay money to rot their teeth and other body parts. Maybe I digressed a little further. Then I stopped dead. 'New' and 'improved'? * This was no ground-breaker, no earth-shatterer, nothing really special at all, just a pot of napoli sauce. But I never seem to get it quite right. Then again, neither do those cheap Italian places that specialise in pizza but do basic sauces for pasta that are so salty they make

47-year-old wins election.

This election was so little reported here in Australia, that in a straw poll of twenty people I conducted in the last seven days: 1) 15 did not know New Zealand was going to the polls Saturday. 2) 16 did not know the name of the opposition leader/Prime Ministerial candidate. 3) Not a single one knew the name of the opposition deputy leader/Deputy Prime Ministerial candidate. The election result story was printed on page 36 of this country's largest selling newspaper this morning. Make nothing of it. It's just an observation about our nearest neighbour, ANZAC alliance partner, close trading associate nation and the only other prosperous western democracy in this corner of the world. Since most of Australia's twenty millions live on the south-east coast, the two nations with a shared heritage practically stare at each other over the Tasman Sea. No wait, it's an observation about Australian media, not New Zealand. Footnote: the headline writers have already exhausted the

Wise heads prevail.

The first Melbourne Cup I remember was 1965. It must have been a warm day. My father held a family Cup sweep and we listened to the race in the back garden on his portable HMV. My mother sat under the peach tree and held her winning sweep ticket as 3UZ’s Bert Bryant called Light Fingers across the line. My younger brother was beside her in the old wicker pram draped over with an old crocheted insect net. He was three months old. Bart Cummings trained the winner that day, his first Melbourne Cup win; although he had first trained a starter in 1958. Yesterday he won his twelfth Cup with Viewed on the golden anniversary of his first try. Like the numbers? Here's an even more impressive one: Viewed’s owner, Dato Tan Chin Nam first raced a horse in 1948 and has four Melbourne Cups to his credit. The two octogenarians make a great partnership. Cummings on Chin Nam : "He is a benevolent owner. He never complains and knows what we do is best for the horses," Cummings said. Every

All Saints' Day.

A little to the left of the climbing rose, and closer to the house, down the garden a little way, were beans. Broad beans. They took their time this year, grew slowly. No giant at the top and no Jack at the bottom. No reason to hurry. Now they are out and it is November and we have a hill of beans and the summer herbs are in. November 1. Three cloves of garlic - scored, i.e., finely cross-cut but not right through - in olive oil - Australian, remember? - in a pan. Just until they are warm. Do not burn or even brown. Now throw in two handfuls of beans, just as they are. I didn't peel the skin, they were not big or tough enough. Sweat gently. Add plenty of pepper and not as much salt. Now a half-glass of white wine: simmer gently until done. We are drinking sauvignon blanc now. Given up on chardonnay. The makers have lost the plot. They are either over-oaking it, putting in too much alcohol or trying to make it taste like sauvignon blanc, which it isn't. I miss Len Evans' Cow