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Showing posts from October, 2013

Tiger turns seven.

Last week - but the photo is a year old. Gift: first pair of football boots, half price at Rebel Sport. End of season is a great time for football fans to have their birthday. They get twice the value. Second gift: vintage 1950s sheriff's badge and holster set in original unopened packaging, made in England and found in Essendon op shop. Gold for a seven year old. Tom said it was his best birthday ever. Five friends visited after school for an early dinner of spaghetti bolognese.

Two items from my morning routine that are almost identical but must never be confused.

Although you could, of course, polish your shoes with Vegemite. One of these products is celebrating its 90th birthday. I'm not sure which.

Heard: the first commercial of the season to feature Christmas background music.

On October 23, before even the Melbourne Cup has been run! A radio commercial for Mercedes Benz cars, backed by Angels We Have Heard on High , the voiceover urging people to 'secure' a demo model Merc, the faux-upmarket jargon designed to impress the cashed-up bogans who comprise today's Mercedes Benz market. MB could at least have spent some money on an original composition rather than a tune in the public domain. I'm off to the supermarket to secure a carrot.

"A minute's success pays the failure of years."

It was a nice stew, almost perfect. It's only taken several decades to refine, but I'm almost there. It can't be taught. You have to learn it by trial and error. How small you cube the beef. The few extra seconds browning it. The amount of flour, salt, pepper. The heat of the pan. The weather. Whether or not you have had coffee yet that day. Where the planets are. Whatever. Even so, it is still better some times than others. That bit is chance. But even the children ate it the other night. Then they wanted more. That proves it. I used oyster blade, which has a thin layer of connective tissue running through it like a vein of gold in quartz, which melts during long cooking and turns the meat molten. I browned it in seasoned flour in a very hot pan, but browning is the wrong word, so we will not use it again. Seal it only. Browning will cook it. The word browning should be reserved for Robert, or the gun. Then it was all routine. Beef stock, a carrot, an onion, a stick of

Purple Rice.

Subtitled: The Hunt For Red Cabbage in October. * Why are menu descriptions in restaurants so long and pretentious? Because it helps them sell the meal. A restaurant menu would never offer 'cabbage risotto' because no one would order it, would they? Of course not. It doesn't sound very nice. But it is. Risotto with leek and red cabbage. Finely chop an onion and a couple of inches of leek, and score two cloves of garlic**. Saute these in a generous amount of olive oil until just soft. Pour in a cupful of Arborio rice. Stir the rice to coat in oil. Pour in half a cup of white wine. Then add enough boiling stock to cover the rice. Stir to stop the rice sticking. If you turn down the heat low enough, you can leave it for a while; but remarkably, many stoves can't go down beyond a certain temperature. I used to have an electric stove and found it perfect, but most people don't like them. Finely slice a couple of red cabbage leaves. Add. They will give off the

Vintage football, chicken with lemon and garlic, and a football tragic quiz question.

Saturday afternoon we were at the indoor pool. It was built some time in the 1980s overlooking City Oval. They put it right behind the northern goal, and the entire south wall is a window, making it a virtual grandstand. You go for a swim and get a VFL football game thrown in, with a view across the brilliant green to terraces, mainly empty, that rise away and almost obscure the Edwardian roofs beyond. The shadows creep across the green late in the afternoon, and sometimes rainstorms blow in from the west. The old grandstand is at the other end. I followed VFA decades ago when Essendon had some lean years and some Essendon players transferred to Dandenong, then a VFA power. Now it's VFL, a blend of the old VFA and the then-VFL reserves. On Saturday, they put the AFL grand final on the loudspeaker system and we - the boys and I - played pool volleyball and listened to the game. The place was almost empty, like two grand finals ago . Everyone goes home and watches it on television,