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Showing posts from November, 2013

Ten Years After.

I started this weblog ten years ago. It was meant to be an online filing system for recipes, because I didn't want to end up with 10,000 yellowing newspaper tear-outs all over the kitchen, which is what happened to this recipe hoarder . I didn't even have comments then, and introduced the feature later in case I wanted to make footnotes to entries. It was a good time to start a weblog, because they were new, and so people sought them out and read them, and I was lucky enough to gain a few readers; one or two or maybe three of which still visit and comment occasionally. Today, because there are so many, it would be next to impossible to open a weblog and attract visitors without publicity, which kind of misses the point. I can imagine Twitter going the same way when everyone has a Twitter account and less time to read everyone else's. One of the first recipes I posted was a simple Asian-style soup of butterfish fillets cooked in stock with onions, garlic, ginger, herbs a

A Shorter History of Typography, Part One: Big Fat Letters.

I spent my early-1970s schooldays covering the empty space in my exercise books with words designed in flower power fonts, using, alternately, an Osmiroid fountain pen and a Ballograf ballpoint pen. There were three reasons for this floral typographical occupation. The first was that such fonts were widespread and very popular then, especially on record album cover art. The letters were beautiful, voluptuous, infinitely variable and very accessible. The second reason was that Form Two schoolwork was so boring it made watching paint dry look like the last quarter of the 1970 grand final or even the pre-match entertainment (if there was any then). I spent hours crafting type while the teacher went on about wool production in the Western District or the Atherton Tablelands, or the Roman who cast his hand into the fire of a brazier. Had Twitter or smart phones been invented then I might never have developed an appreciation for typefaces. I might also have grown up with the memory span

A Lunch in the Country.

The road that ran from west to east through the small Gippsland town was its only street. If you kept going you would end up at Neerim South, with Neerim North and Neerim East beyond. There is no Neerim proper; and Neerim West would be in the middle of the Tarago Reservoir. GPS is useless out here. The town was high on a hill and other peaks were visible in the distance. Cows grazed on their impossibly steep hills. They looked like they should fall off, but they stuck, like fuzzy felt. It was a warm Saturday around lunch time. A white sedan pulled up in the main - only - street outside a café. Three women got out of the car. The driver was a sprightly, white-haired octogenarian and wore a cream blouse over tartan trousers and soft leather shoes. She looked like a senior golfer. The two younger women, her daughters, might have been in their early forties but looked years younger. Both had shoulder-length brown hair and wore t-shirts over designer jeans and the kind of running shoes

Sunday morning in 2007? It seems like yesterday.

Six years? Must be the quickest six years in history. (This, of course, is literally true, because each passing year is a smaller proportion of your life. Oh, forget it.) It was a warm Sunday morning in November 2007, close to midday. I sat on a deck chair in the back garden of a large, rambling house that was once a farm homestead somewhere south of Warburton. In the distance, the mountains were smudges of blue between the gums. I wasn't alone in the garden. Others were reading newspapers and some were just staring, blinking in the sun and nursing their Ketel One hangovers, silently and reverently. Some guests were emerging from the old house slowly, as if having just woken from a dream. They probably had. The aromas of crisping bacon and toast drifted across the lawn on a warm spring breeze. There was a kind of jubilation among some of the party, if jubilation is compatible with a hangover. It was a little forced, or even wary, for some of the older ones who could still rec

First, crisp your prosciutto.

The green currently rearing its curly head in the vegetable garden is kale, otherwise known as curly kale, named pertinently because its leaves are so curly, you have to examine every leaf minutely to remove any bugs, insects, grubs or whatever might be loitering in its voluminous folds. In fact, the folds of curly kale are so dense, I estimate the average kale leaf, if flattened, which is impossible, would have a perimeter similar to that of Tasmania. The other day I watched as a small bird emerged from the folds of one of the shrubs. The recipe featuring kale takes minutes, unless you count the time looking for bugs, in which case it could take hours depending on how ‘organic’ your garden is. Bugs love organic gardens. Creamy curly kale with mushrooms and prosciutto on polenta. After extracting wildlife from your bunch of kale and washing it (the two processes go, of course, hand in hand), chop it roughly and steam it in a little water until it collapses. (It takes longer tha