Skip to main content


Showing posts from August, 2015

Farewell to a captain.

William and Thomas run out with Coburg captain Nick Carnell in his last home ground game at Coburg City Oval, Saturday 22 August. (His last VFL game will be at Eureka Stadium this Saturday.) More pictures at Coburg FC , Round 19.

Crowdfunding parent-teacher night.

The government has released a taxpayer-funded app to assist time-poor-parents in dealing with their children's schooling. Common sense would once have said that an app is the last thing any time-poor parent needed. But common sense has no place in a bureaucrat's vision for insinuating themselves into people's lives, funded by you: Education minister Christopher Pyne said it was designed to help working parents understand how they can engage with their children's education in the small bursts of time they have. 'Help' such as: ... the questions parents should ask at parent-teacher nights.

Mrs Fleming hires a gardener.

It was just before nine o'clock on a winter Saturday morning in 1971. I was a teenager. I stood before an enormous old house, a late Victorian in central Essendon, near the station. It had verandahs all round and a soaring roofline, and it was set back from the street behind a front garden lined with mature shrubs. I pushed open the gate, walked up the tiled pathway, took three steps up to the verandah and pressed the bell-push set into the stained glass panel beside the front door. A muffled chime echoed somewhere inside, as if far away. Time passed. Eventually the door opened, seemingly by itself. The woman who stood there was ancient and massive, like the house. She had requested someone to do some weekend odd jobs in her garden, and I had been nominated; but I cannot remember how it came about. It is one those circumstances lost in the mists of time. It was my first job. I announced myself. The old woman led me down a gloomy hallway, through an enormous kitchen that still

The sensuous/sensual avocado.

Reed avocadoes are coming into season. Possibly the most voluptuous fruit of all, they are big and almost round; and when ripe, they bulge with creamy young flesh. Are they ready to eat? Cup one in your hand and squeeze ever so gently. I almost regret not including the avocado in my top ten vegetables list (the rule being that if it is used like a vegetable, it is given honorary vegetable status, even though it is a fruit). Last night I made this sensuous* pasta dish using a Reed avocado, a leek and a red capsicum, all of which are plentiful and cheap right now. Rigatoni with avocado, leek and red capsicum. I chopped a leek lengthwise twice, and then across the grain to make quartered rings. Then I chopped a red capsicum into small batons. I placed the leek and capsicum in a pan with a scored clove of garlic, a dash of white wine, a little olive oil, and lots of pepper, and set it on a low heat to steam the vegetables in the wine. Meanwhile, I cooked the rigatoni. When th

What's in a name? A lot of unintelligible HTML.

I only wanted to change my name. It shouldn't be that hard. A little background: in 2003, when I started this weblog, you could count Australian weblogs on one hand. It made sense to use an internet handle at the time. The blog was a place to store recipes, online being easier than having a drawer full of newspaper cuttings, pages torn out of cookbooks, hand-jotted notes stained with gravy, and split pea packets (etc) with recipes printed on their reverse side. At the start, the blog didn't even have a comments function. So I chose a name that simply represented what I do in the kitchen, which is mess about a lot without getting get too serious about food. I wanted to distinguish this blog from the rash of over-serious 'foodie' blogs that subsequently took over the world. Now, of course, everyone has their own name on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and dozens of other online time-wasting functions, so I thought, after twelve years, I should drop the 'kitchen han

Around the grounds: what's the food score?

I happened to be reading an old (pre-2000AD) copy of Bon Appetit , the US foodie magazine. By 'reading' I mean 'looking at' because when you read a recipe in a magazine, you don't take it in like you do when reading a detective story plot or a football match report. I have proven this theory dozens of times when browsing the cookbook section in bookshops: upon noticing a particularly delicious-sounding recipe and not being able to afford the book, I have attempted to memorise the ingredients. No matter how simple the recipe, I inevitably forget several ingredients by the time I get home. Yet I can always remember the smallest plot detail in a 768 page novel. For example, in which direction does Gandalf turn Shadowfax in Chapter Seven of 'The Return of the King'? The Barrow-downs, of course. Case proven. Inside the back cover of the Bon Appetit was an interview with racing driver Richard Pretty. They asked him about the variety of food on the racing circui