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Showing posts from April, 2015

Mourning the condemned. And condemning the dead.

Mourning the condemned. It was 1986 all over again. The Malaysian pair got as much publicity 29 years ago but still ended up in the same place as the Bali two (actually eight) did. The academics, literati and actors were on to it as usual; one male academic had a letter in the paper yesterday describing the pair as 'inspirational' who had lived 'redemptive' lives, and ended with the academic's clich├ęd 'I weep for you ... (and) pay tribute to your courage'. Signed, emeritus professor. Meanwhile the left-wing act-persons (if that's not redundant) got up an anti-Abbott campaign, prompting the retort: "They (the actors) are ghouls preying on the wretched plight of others to peddle their demonic Abbott hatred". Condemning the dead. Late one night last year, a woman was defiled while still alive in a filthy back street in Brunswick, murdered in cold blood, and then dumped in mud in a field in the middle of the night. Her body was still warm.

Top ten vegetable countdown continues.

No. 5: Spinach The Iron Man of the vegetable world, spinach is loaded with the ferrous mineral. To maximise uptake of its iron, eat it with other iron sources such as red meat or beans if you're vegetarian. Possibly the best combination for sheer good taste as well iron uptake is fegato di vitello alla Veneziana ( calves' liver Venetian style ) with creamed spinach. Dine on that and you won't be able to walk past a magnet. For the spinach, rinse a bunch in water, throw it in a pot with olive oil, crushed garlic and cracked pepper, cook it until it crumples, add cream and reduce. Finish it with a squeeze of lemon juice and shake of salt. As children, we never had fegato di vitello alla Veneziana , but we had its second cousin, lamb's fry. Same dish, different animal. I liked it. It was good for your jaws. My mother overcooked it. You could have used the leftovers as doorstops. (A common complaint, it is nevertheless understandable that food was often overcooked in t

Black Dog.

The black dog stayed at our house for four weeks. A year old, he had never been in a house. He had lived in a kennel (a professional one; not a box in someone's back yard) but had never been trained to race. He was obviously well-treated and was in good condition. Typically for these dogs, he was frightened of all the usual domestic noises and jumped at his reflection in a mirror. After living in a concrete quadrangle, a house with dark rooms, and doorways, and blinds that suddenly fly up, and electronic beeping devices must, for dogs, resemble a kind of maze, or a canine ghost train. He got used to it. That's the point of fostering greyhounds; not to make them forget about chasing small animals, which is what people think. As a sight hound for thousands of years, you have as much chance of stopping a greyhound sighting small animals as you have of stopping a bloodhound sniffing or a sheepdog herding. The idea is simply to get them used to initially frightening situations.

Countdown rolls on: Top Ten Vegetables of All Time.

NO. 6: CABBAGE Cabbage ? Yes, cabbage. Loathed by millions, ignored by billions, the densely-packed, heavy-headed Orbness of Wonderment remains a vegetable champion, a wealth of culinary riches. The reasons are manifold and the recipes are boundless, but seven will suffice: 1. Cabbage soup. In its eastern European incarnation, made famous in Melbourne at the late Scheherezade restaurant, fragrant paprika-stung folds of wilted cabbage in a flavour-filled broth that you soaked up with dark rye bread smeared with butter, the soup topped with a mound of peppery mashed potato. Possibly the finest soup on the face of the Earth (although I've said that before). 2. Take two slices of white bread. Butter both generously. On one, lay a half-inch-thick slice of home-made meatloaf, still warm from the oven. Top the meatloaf with a thick layer of traditional freshly made coleslaw dripping with mayonnaise. Close the sandwich. Eat. The experience is other-worldly, perhaps even other-univer
William (green shirt) listens at three-quarter time huddle during Coburg practice match (v. Frankston), Coburg City Oval, Friday April 3. (Picture courtesy Coburg FC.)

The top ten vegetables of all time. No. 7: Leek.

The most fragrant of all vegetables, the leek is the prince of the onion family and the national emblem of Wales. Leeks were grown in ancient Egypt and mentioned in a Chinese food guide 3500 years ago. The emperor Nero dined on leek soup, believing it would strengthen his voice for orations. Superstition? I don't know. Ask Tom Jones, Sir Harry Secombe, Katherine Jenkins, Bryn Terfel, Geraint Evans, and the Male Welsh Choir. The following recipe alone shoots leek into the top ten vegetables of all time, but that's just one. Then you have leek terrines, leek tarts, leek pie, leeks with pasta (or with mushrooms and gorgonzola - totally delicious), and leek omelette, or as it is sometimes more pretentiously known, leek frittata. (The only difference as I understand it is that with a frittata you mix the ingredients through the eggs before cooking; whereas with an omelette you dump the extras on to the eggs in the cooking pan. Big deal.) Leek and Potato Soup Leeks and pot

Countdown continued: the top ten vegetables of all time.

NO. 8: CAULIFLOWER There's no getting around it. A cauliflower is a cauliflower. It is not an asparagus spear. It is not a zucchini flower, nor is it a porcini mushroom. It is not a superstar. It is not sexy. As far as vegetables go, cauliflower is Mr Plain, cooked by plain people who happen to be hungry. You could fiddle about with cauliflower and cook in it curries with chickpeas and cashews; or you could impress your dinner party guests by cutting a cauliflower into fancy look-at-me florets, cooking them with tortiglioni and pine nuts and red pepper flakes, and calling it by some regional Italian name that you've dragged out of some cookbook or just made up; but cauliflower, basic as it is, rockets into the Top Ten Vegetables of All Time thanks to one transcendent recipe of perfection: cauliflower cheese. The ultimate vegetable comfort food, a dish that was a smash hit the first time cauliflower and cheese collided, possibly by accident, cauliflower cheese is outstandi