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Showing posts from October, 2014

Green, green grass of home.

The last three Friday nights have been on the grass. I suppose it was inevitable. I was kicking a football around with the boys - refusing to admit football season was over - at Coburg city oval, when an under-tens training squad was setting up for a game down at the grandstand end. The coach came over. "Would you like to join in?" he called to the boys, having seen them running around. "We're short of a couple of players." Ten minutes later they were fielding, and I was sitting on the grass outside the witches-hat boundary. The game finished about seven, with the ground draped in long shadows from the trees at the western end and the air still warm. The boys enjoyed the game so they signed up. Thomas had hit a boundary, William had taken a catch. If you're going to join a club, it might as well have a good history. This one does. It came into being two years after Eureka, and a couple of years before the Melbourne Football Club was formed. The cap proud

Pasta with broccoli and avocado.

Cook half a 500g pack of linguine. Approximately three minutes before pasta is done, add a cup of broccoli florets and a few sticks of asparagus chopped into one-inch batons. A minute later, add a cup of snow peas. Drain. While pasta is cooking, warm through two chopped garlic cloves in olive oil in another pan, then add half a cup of sliced button mushrooms, an avocado sliced into segments, a good shake of black pepper and half a cup of white wine. Cover and cook gently for three minutes. Remove lid, add a tablespoonful or more of cream. Reduce. Drain pasta and green vegetables and place into serving bowls. Pour creamy mushroom and avocado sauce over. Add parmesan and chopped parsley.

Yarraville Gardens food festival threatened by bureaucrat with one of the most absurd job titles in history.

Now, let's just get some perspective. This city, Melbourne, has about four billion people spread across 9,900 km2 (3,857.2 sq mi). That's a lot of mouths to feed. Melbourne is also often regarded as the food capital of Australia in which the hospitality and food industries thrive. Melburnians love to be outdoors, especially on warm spring nights. It's almost compulsory. What? You're inside watching television on a night like this? They sit on sweeping lawns in Victorian-era parks (or in their own manicured back gardens), sipping cold wine and eating al fresco dinners while the aroma of barbecue drifts across the suburbs, and the children run wild silhouetted by a shimmering orange sunset. They go indoors only when darkness comes; and sleep, perchance to dream of marinated steaks and pork ribs and cold white wine and warm brulee and the best city in the whole world. And food trucks. Food trucks have been around a long time, way back to the horse. For years, they ser

How to write, by Johnny Speight.

Till Death Us Do Part writer Johnny Speight satirises the pseudo-intellectual public broadcast culture in explaining his writing technique: ... any big words would have been lost, not only on their audiences but on (the actors) as well. And as (they) didn't pay you any more for big words it seemed best to stick with the little ones. It was more economical because they took up less room on the paper. ... I never had a lot of time for big words. They're harder to spell for one thing and if you stutter like I do they're harder to speak as well. I always tried to slip out little words before my stutter notices them. ... Of course this was a handicap for a writer because only being able to use little words which everyone could understand, I had to be very careful what I said. I couldn’t hide behind an indecipherable display of semantics. I was out in the open, and on my own, without a dictionary to protect me. ... I figured that most radio audiences were ordinary, simple

Out for a duck.

It was a cold overcast spring day - most have been so far this season - but so far no rain. It was a nice day for a walk if you're not the kind to be scrabbling for an umbrella and a coat and a scarf every time you see a cloud. I got a bag of loaf ends out of the fridge and took Alexandra down to the lake, heading for the south side near the picnic ground where the ducks gather. On the far side, the cliffs rise sheer and you can see joggers steaming up the hilltop path. I've been visiting the lake for years now, back to when William was a baby; and prior to that when the children's much older brother and sister were toddlers. That takes it back to the 1980s. We don't do it for the ducks; we do it for the children. Children like feeding birds. It's good for them; the children, I mean. You stand by the edge and throw a crust. The pigeons arrive first; followed by seagulls if there are any around. In this weather there were plenty. Arrogant nasty things lowering thei

Purple haze.

I call it the grand final plant because I’ve been planting them on grand final day irregularly over the past few years. Not for any particular reason; the lady at the nursery told me one year that they pot their annual batch of echiums in the last week of September. So that's how I came to plant the first few on grand final day one year. I had been looking for a low maintenance plant to fill the gaps in the garden at the beach house. Sandy soil means you don’t have a great choice apart from agapanthus, which would grow on the moon if it could. One winter, I ripped out enough agapanthus to fill a Kenworth tipper. Agapanthus spreads and clumps and takes over. You lose tennis balls in it. I was tired of having to deadhead the flowers each year, and tired of buying tennis balls. When I dug out the agapanthus, I found enough tennis balls to supply Wimbledon for ten years. There’s no tennis court in the garden; just grass, and the boys used to hit the balls all over the place; on the