Leek and beef-mince pasta.


There can’t be any better way to get going to make something of the day then to prepare cook a meal for the evening. Today the weather forecast was for another catastrophic day with searing heat, bushfires reddening the smoky haze over cities and bushland. The news on TV gave the usual proof of catastrophe in pictures showing frantic couples looking over the still smoking ambers of what once was their home. The photographer  getting the moment right when the wife would break down, suppress a heartfelt sob. I know the feeling of a great loss.

I left our home early to go to the library, study the newspaper and look for possible ideas on volunteering. I did not see any but did read an article whereby our local community had been siphoned off millions of charity dollars on a scheme to house those with fatal terminal illnesses into hospices where they would be allowed to spend their final time on this earth with good care and respect. It turned out this will never happen. It is one thing to build the hospice after acquiring the land but another to actually run it. The government has made it clear more than ten years ago, they will not support this private hospice, and instead will extend present hospices at aged care facilities and public hospitals.


In the meantime hundreds of thousands of $$$ has been spent on fees, and paid out to architects, planners and those at the top of this charity who do get paid and are on full remunerations. We often donated stuff and also bought things from the Bowral hospice shops believing we were helping a good cause.

It is best to concentrate on cooking. I found some minced beef in the freezer and at the bottom of the fridge a somewhat forlorn and neglected leek. A bit on the limp side but still firm inside the stem and with some coaxing by olive oil and oregano could possibly get revived. I added some grated carrot,  chopped onions, garlic, and of course some Italian tinned tomatoes. After reading of the hospice dilemma I forego buying Australian tinned tomatoes. They are dearer, and the Italian tomatoes taste better. You try them. The whole lot is now simmering in a large saucepan with a lid on it. Low heat.

I now go to an airconditioned shopping centre and have a short black with two sugars. It is so hot. I look forward to my pasta tonight. By the way, the pasta too is Italian. Very thin and takes 8 minutes to cook.


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20 Responses to “Leek and beef-mince pasta.”

  1. auntyuta Says:

    Enjoy the pasta tonight, Gerard. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. shoreacres Says:

    I had my own little experience during my mother’s last illness with a for-profit extended care facility. I learned a lesson during that experience: when a doctor you don’t know well recommends a place, it may be his own financial considerations that lead to the recommendation. Ah, me.

    That recipe you followed sounds rather good. I’m doing some equally creative cooking just now, since I’m trying to eat down what’s lurking in the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry before moving. I’ll not get rid of it all — the frozen pecans, peaches, and blueberries will make the trip with me — but the more I can consume, the less I have to pack. It’s led to some odd, but still nourishing meals.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, a lot of the medical world now is purely profit driven more than real care for the patient, Linda.

      The stark proof in Australia is the world of ‘aged care’, now under investigation by a ‘Royal Commission’. As Australia keeps thumping its chest as being ‘the best country in the world’, thousands of elderly people in nursing homes have been assaulted and abused. It is a shame that taints Australia, as does their continued abuse of asylum seekers locked up on Manus and Nauru.

      Yes, my fridge is now getting emptier with very few items stored there. I am trying to work out why that is so. Does a relationship cause a fridge to fill up? I just buy enough for the day now, and worry about tomorrow as I get up each day, facing another day.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. freefall852 Says:

    Gerard…you’re a brave man to venture into the freezer…Irene has total control of that section of the domestic needs and I am wont to even THINK of violating that space…Heaven’s knows what lurks beneathg all that frosty ice…perhaps yourself, coming from a colder clime have no fear of things like Yeti or Big-Foot lurking just out of sight in the fog of cold air….But I swear, if Irene was to pass over before myself, I will seal that freezer as it stands and place a tabernacle on the top and make votive offerings on my bended knees to the spirits that must lurk under that formidable lid…….is there a God of Christmas turkeys, I ask?

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Jo, my job was to sometimes de-freeze the freezer and clean the fridge. I would hasten the process by putting a pan of boiling water in the freezer department after which hunks of ice would break loose and drop on the floor.
      There were little surprises but sometime a few errant peas would appear in the melting ice, like casting sad eyes around; on how could you have done that to me?

      Liked by 1 person

      • freefall852 Says:

        Yes..I do note that there are times when I am called to chip off iceberg-like clumps of ice from around the lip of the chest freezer (because of the lid being slightly ajar through overstocking!)…though it is more of a job for a mash-hammer and bolster-chisel…so any errant/wandering “children of the brassica family” get sacrificed to expediency…I believe in these days of “management speak” it is called “collateral damage”…

        Liked by 1 person

      • auntyuta Says:



  4. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    The photo of you and Helvi makes me smile! A beautiful couple! 🙂

    Several of my WP friends have been blogging about the fires. It is such a tragedy. 😦 In the USA, in California, there have been fires, too. 😦

    Your cooking adventure, and meal, sounds good. 🙂 I hope you enjoyed it! 🙂

    That is so sad, and angering, when the people who need help don’t get it because of greedy people and schemers. We have ways here that you can check out a charity and the breakdown of how they use the donations…so you can see what the money you donate goes to do…and how much $$$ the top-dogs running things are making in salaries, etc. It’s helpful to know, before giving.

    Yes, Gerard, you do know the feeling of great loss. 😦

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, that is a nice photo soon after our marriage on our way to Australia.
      Some of the larger charities are giant corporations that employ thousands of people. I am sure they do a lot of good but sometimes most of the donated money gets used on the costs of running them.
      I like the idea of visiting people in jails or working in soup kitchens handing out food.
      I was walking around Sydney’s Central station yesterday and I was shocked to see so many homeless lying under blankets.

      Liked by 1 person

      • freefall852 Says:

        AS an aside, but in line with your note that much of donated monies are used in administration of charities…..I once got in touch with what was called “The Ethnic Council”…a state-gov’ body promoting inter-ethnic communication and education to offer an idea I had for one-act plays of a single school lesson duration to be promoted in secondary schools…I had three synopsis of short plays that I had written as example…I was invited to come on such and such a day as they were launching their first book on (Vietnamese boat people at that time) refugee stories as they lived them coming to Aust’…When I got there I was greeted with the apology that they could not adopt my idea as they were about to close the unit down through lack of funding and that day was to also be their closing ceremony…having only published this ONE TAWDRY photocopied (some not even translated from the refugees mother-tongue!) “book of stories”…and just before the multi-pack of pizzas arrived, I was able to count the dozen or so computers sited around the room of a well-appointed office in the middle of the capital city…
        I still have that crappy little publication as a reminder of what cold-charity and disingenous concern looks like.

        Liked by 2 people

      • auntyuta Says:

        Joe, you say they were about to close the unit down through “lack of funding”. It seems to me, maybe not enough of the funding is spent for the people it is intended for. It is difficult to judge properly whether too much is used for “admin” a lot of the time. Maybe proper checks could be introduced by someone with excellent administration skills. If checks like these were allowed, this might help to get more money to where it should be used. This goes for government funding too, for instance in age care.
        And what about the banks? Why can illegally transactions be performed without someone noticing? Maybe the people that are supposed to check these things are being corrupted a lot of the time?

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Julia Lund Says:

    I like the sound of your pasta. We have a couple of bendy leeks in our fridge. But no tinned tomatoes. I do have some wrinkly parsnips nestling alongside the aforementioned leeks, however, so parsnip soup it is tonight.

    Such a tragedy about the hospice … In Englad, all hospices are charity run and they rely on donations and fundraising to keep going. My mum spent her last days in our local Eden Valley Hospice and what an amazing place it is. The care was extraordinary and so very different to the overstretched hospital wards which have a revolving door policy for patients. To be fair, they do their best with limited funds and staff.

    I think of you often, and have wondered whether the fires affect your area. I hope they aren’t too close.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Only yesterday I found a couple of zucchinis which I ended up slow frying with a piece of eye fillet steak last night after I got home from a trip to the new State library in Sydney’s Darling harbour. I went with a long time American friend from California. I was amazed how Sydney has changed in the old quarters.

      The place was abuzz with thousands of young people, mostly all smiling and so full of enthusiasm and life. There was a nice well designed open area in front of the library with many cafeterias and eating places. There were green trees with shade and cobble stone paving.

      Me and my friend were about the only elderly people there and I felt like dropping leaflets telling the young that you too will eventually get to maturity and old age. But, I won’t spoil their youth eternal.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. petspeopleandlife Says:

    They say that cooking is good for the soul. And your pasta is homemade and sounds delicious. Knowing how to cook definitely has its rewards and you can thank your lucky stars that you know how to cook a good meal.


  7. rangewriter Says:

    Oh the heat. The smoke. The broken lives. Climate change is like age, not for the weak or meek. I do hope your home as air conditioning!?! Enjoy that pasta when you get back from your excursion.


  8. Curt Mekemson Says:

    I’ve been reading about your fires, Gerard. It sounds miserable. I am all too familiar with the problem. Last year I spent a good deal of my 750 mile backpack trip dodging fire and breathing smoke. The year before that, we had to evacuate our house.
    My brother Marshall chose to pass away at our house last spring. But we had wonderful home-hospice care. I can’t say enough about team that worked with us. –Curt


  9. catterel Says:

    No words. My sympathy and a virtual hug,


  10. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    My loose-leaf cookery folder features ‘Gerard Oosterman’s Potato Bake’, and when I find an oldish leek in my fridge I think ah, I know what to cook now. Keep cooking, Gerard.


  11. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    (((HUGS))) for this new week


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