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Showing posts from January, 2015

Australia Day: first pick your lemons.

The following recipe is Greek-derived but since there's a lemon tree in every Australian back yard - at least there used to be - this is as Australian as the other Australian back yard icon - the Hills Hoist (also rapidly disappearing). Grilled lemon meatballs. Put 750 grams of mixed veal and pork mince into a large mixing bowl. Use your hands to mix through an egg, 100 grams of grated parmesan cheese, three chopped garlic cloves, half a chopped red onion and three tablespoons of chopped parsley. To the meat mixture, add the juice and the grated zest of one large lemon. Add salt and pepper and divide the mixture into golf-ball size orbs. Flatten them slightly and grill until done to your liking. Or you can do it Greek-style by putting them between two lemon leaves (the idea being to stop them charring prematurely over an open fire as well as to add more lemon flavour via the oil in the leaves). This is a good alternative to the usual patties, the lemon adding a refreshing

Holes in the garden. And summer's best dinner.

Very few tomatoes this year. And another thing: white flies are everywhere, or are they something else? Everything has holes in it. The new acanthus (planted last year from neighbourhood seeds) leaves are like colanders. The parsley is all pitted. Even the normally untouchable geraniums (which are really pelargoniums) are shot to bits. I don't want to spray unless I can find something that won't kill the spiders, ladybirds, etc. This garden warfare is too hard. I might concrete the whole lot. My father started doing that back in the sixties; covered probably 30% of the yard in concrete to make riding space for our bikes. Meanwhile, you still can't beat fresh pasta with garden tomatoes and ricotta for a summer meal. The dish makes itself. Cook pasta; slice tomatoes; press a garlic clove into serving dishes to impart flavour; top cooked pasta with tomatoes and a drizzle of olive oil; top with ricotta; scatter fresh basil leaves over. Crack pepper over the lot. I've ju

The bureaucrat, the new year's resolution and the cucumber.

Bureaucrat Jerril Rechter tells of her descent into addiction: "It's a habit I fell into easily. ... every evening after work, I'd go home and sit down to a refreshing tonic water and lime. It's just what I did at the end of a day." Yes. There is no 'gin' in that sentence. The VicHealth CEO was hooked on tonic water , or possibly the lime; and every new year was a hellish groundhog day: " ... every year on January 1, I'd resolve to reduce (sugary drinks) from my diet. And every year, by January 31, I'd have given in to my habit." One heroic month without tonic and lime, and then back on the turps. Rehab? Counselling? Cold turkey? No. Rechter's own organisation comes to the rescue. "I finally managed ... by signing up to our H30 Challenge, committing to swap every energy drink for water for 30 days." Enter the cucumber: "I also found it helped to have a jug of water infused with cucumber and mint or lime and ginger chil