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Showing posts from May, 2014

Rosemary, garlic and a bottle of red: a Saturday night dish with a Bob Dylan soundtrack.

3RRR announcer Brian Wise plays plenty of Bob Dylan, but on Saturday he used the excuse of Dylan's birthday - and the announcement of some Dylan concerts at the Palais - to crowd the playlist. We were in the car, on the peninsula under a cold streaky sky alongside a grey heaving sea, heading for town. Music sounds better when you're driving. The two hours made the boys Dylan fans, continuing a long family tradition dating back to me. I told them Dylan's frog-like growl makes him either the worst good singer in the world, or the best bad one. They thought about that for a while. Put his voice over that Warner Brothers cartoon where the frog sings opera, I said, and you'll see what I mean. It fits perfectly. Close to town now. "Changing of the Guards" from Street Legal even took me by surprise. The year that album came out I saw Dylan play a night concert at the Myer Music Bowl; I had an open air ticket, it rained, I could barely hear the music, and I drove h

Layers of meaning.

Leek and zucchini casserole. Chop four large onions and one leek into fine rings. Slice two large green (or four small white) zucchini into thin rounds. Peel and chop two medium potatoes into thin slices. Place a layer of the onion rings in a large casserole dish and drizzle with a little olive oil. Add a layer of zucchini, a layer of leeks and a layer of potatoes. Brush each with oil as you go and add some tomato puree (or diced tomatoes with the juice), to moisten each layer. Repeat layers until casserole is three quarters full. Top up with balance of a cup of tomato puree, half a cup of white wine and half a cup of stock. Ensure there is enough fluid to cover the vegetables. Sprinkle a teaspoon of crushed dried rosemary over the top. Add salt and pepper. Place the lid on the casserole and bake until bubbling. Top with chopped parsley. Serve with crusty bread smeared with home-made pesto, tapenade or the like.

A dishwasher recalls.

The more I think about it, the uncannier the similarities. (See previous post.) One 1980s drink-waiting job - although I was more of a plongeur carrying out jugs of beer and carafes of wine in between shifts at the sink - was at a reception centre in Melbourne's working class 'heartland' (upper classes don't have a 'heartland' - their suburbs are 'leafy' instead). The kitchen was a vast space with a central cooking area and a rabbit warren of passageways running off three sides. (The dining rooms were to the north side, through sound-proof plastic kick doors shielded from view by two enormous curtains.) In the passageways were rooms for the storage variously of foodstuffs, casks of wine, cases of spirits, rows of steel and vinyl chairs stacked at life-endangering height, spare round tables on their sides like giant cartwheels, sound equipment, cleaning items, linen, office supplies and, of course, the day manager's office which was always locked at

Fictional food: an occasional series.

Or, in this case, non-fictional: At a quarter to five we went back to the hotel. Till half-past six there were no orders, and we used this time to polish silver, clean out the coffee-urns, and do other odd jobs. Then the grand turmoil of the day started - the dinner hour. I wish I could be Zola for a little while, just to describe that dinner hour. The essence of the situation was that a hundred or two hundred people were demanding individually different meals of five or six courses, and that fifty or sixty people had to cook and serve them and clean up the mess afterwards; anyone with experience of catering will know what that means. And at this time when the work was doubled, the whole staff was tired out, and a number of them were drunk. I could write pages about the scene without giving a true idea of it. The chargings to and fro in the narrow passages, the collisions, the yells, the struggling with crates and trays and blocks of ice, the heat, the darkness, the furious festering