Archive for the ‘Gerard Oosterman’ Category

The US voting system needs the democracy sausage.

October 19, 2020

It was staggering to read that only about 50% of Americans bother to vote. Trump is saying that the less people vote the better chance he has of winning the presidency. The Americans don’t like any compulsion. They don’t have what we have in Australia, compulsory voting by punishment. Of course what is missing in the American system to try and encourage people to vote is the Democracy Sausage that we all enjoy on voting day here in Australia.

It is the main reason why people vote in Australia, the lure of the barbecued  democracy sausage.

In Australia, sausages are a symbol of election day. Here's why - CNN
In Australia we vote because we get a sausage on sliced white bread, often with choices of sauces to add to the democracy of it all. It can be tomato, barbeque, hot mustard sauce. In some up-beat areas there is a choice of hot English or French mustard.
Some smart voters suffering from acute hunger go from booth to booth to collect their sausages.
While the Americans will never go to compulsory voting they could do no worse than to copy the Australian manner of voting and introduce the humble barbequed sausage. It is not just the sausage but the whole atmosphere it creates around the hot plate of sizzling sausages, It brings people together. A good bonhomie and cheerfulness. People hugging and laughing, mouths dripping with the goodness of it all.

Nine perfect dishes.

October 12, 2020

There are no reasons why one cannot publish a series on ‘Nine Perfect Dishes’ the same as a well known writer has published a book named ‘ Nine Perfect Strangers.’ There are rumours abound that Nicole Kidman has been seen in town, the town of Mittagong no less, and that’s where I live and work. The book of Nine Perfect Strangers is of course by Leane Moriarty, she with Nicole Kidman has the film rights. The book will be made into a TV series, but Covid has thrown a spanner in the works and at the moment the work has stopped. Anyway, Covid is not stopping people from cooking delicious meals and what better way than to look at Gerard’s pictures and feel the inspiration welling up!

IMG_1003 meat balls

Dish 1, Meatballs with vegies and pair of spectacles.

IMG_1001basa fillet

Dish 2, a piece of fish with mushrooms and basil.

IMG_0363 lamb curry

Dish 3, A golden oldie, lamb curry.


Dish 4, the humble spam sandwich making a great comeback.


Dish 5, Garlic prawns with fresh mango, spinach and rocket salad.


Dish 6, perhaps to sample in between cooking? Greek yoghurt with REAL maple syrup.

For the next three dishes, keep your eyes glued to the Oosterman Treat website and I promise you they will appear soon. Happy cooking and as for recipes, just look at the pictures and follow your cooking instincts. Use good ingredients and olive oil, sesame oil and salt& pepper or spices you think might add flavour.

The bee and the Fuchsia.

October 4, 2020

With all that’s going on in the world it might serve us well to re-visit what life might be really about.

I say might, because people have priorities that differ from mine. I just read that the Government is getting concerned about the economic stimulus packages that were meant to keep people from starving. It now turns out, the money is being used by many feeding poker machines instead. Can you believe how far some have moved away from what life is about?
It has always been a puzzle that the clubs, especially returned soldiers clubs (RSL) use the revenue raised by gamblers to provide aid and support to the soldiers or their families, victims of wars. However, I believe that the victims of addicted gamblers might well outnumber victims of wars.
Here is the solution to both the troubled world and the gambling.


The picture shows the humble bee at work collecting sweet nectar to take back to his hive. The Mexican Fuchsia is now so laden with flowers that I had no option then to put both of them outside. While inside and during the night, they would be so busy cross-pollinating that my spotted-gum wooden floor would be covered with the result of their cavorting. In any case, the bee and this lovely plant is so in contrast to people shuffling off to the clubs feeding money into machines. The bee feeds honey into the hive and then they have a queen bee as well they can shower with even more attention.

If the bee is one attraction what about the next one? For a few months now I have been following the growth of some daffodil bulbs that I planted. I thought they were a bit slow in flowering when all around me the gardens were yellow with them. It turned out my daffodils were blue instead. My neighbour pointed out they were irises instead.


Those modest meals for less than $2.-

September 29, 2020

With the Biden-Trump debate an hour away I thought I would try and divert attention away from the political stage and instead offer something a lot more valuable; good decent food for little money.

The first one is a combination of a piece of fish, a Basa fillet with chargrilled capsicum and a few basil leaves. It was done in ten minutes; here a photo.

IMG_1001basa fillet

Some people recoil in horror at the mention of Basa fish when it was given a wide berth as a result of bad publicity often accompanied by videos showing a dreadful polluted Mekong with the Basa feeding on everything  from soiled nappies to dead bodies and buckets. As it turned out with some sleuthing by experts including scientists the truth was that competitors being alarmed by the success of the Vietnamese export had made some rather over the top criticism and videos.   Most of it was without factual proof. Vietnam now supplies 80% of the world’s demand for this cheap and nutritious fish. At a blind tasting in the US, the Vietnamese imported Basa won over the local produced variety.  At Aldi I bought 3 fillets for $4.- and in the above meal used just one. This meal included half a yellow capsicum and the basil is home grown.

And now we arrive at the second meal. Again here is a photo;

IMG_1003 meat balls

This delicious and cheap  meal together with the Basa fish meal are ideal for those locked down in the Covid stage of  lonely self isolation. You can sit on the edge of your bed and with plate on knees and napkin over shoulder nibble away at these meals and feel safe that your body is getting the necessary nutrition. The above meal contains pork-beef meat balls, again from Aldi. In this recipe I used 5 meat balls out of the 18 in the packet for $5.99. It includes 1 small sliced potato and just 1 medium sized carrot, again with some basil, pepper and salt.

There is no excuse for going to BigMac or that overblown KFC merchant, just stick to basic ingredients and you will be healthy and ready to spend another day in self-isolation and lockdown. Some people have been fined for sneaking out to get take away meals. There is no need, just try and get the above Gerard meals to inspire you.


Those very PRIVATE schools and The Netherlands

September 23, 2020

Sydney’s Shore School threatens to expel students over ‘appalling’ muck-up day scavenger hunt – ABC News

Backs of school students in uniform

A while ago when visiting some friends, someone asked me what I knew about the political system in The Netherlands including their judicial system. The question threw me as I know very little about most things and even less about specifics. I mumbled something, in an attempt to answer, that I thought the Dutch did not have the  English Westminster system.  I also know that the English system is based on being adversarial and outright cranky.

It has always been a bee in my bonnet that my parents decided to migrate to a country whose legal system and form of Government is based to a large degree on causing conflict and antagonism. Yet, many of my local friends who grew up with this system will defend it to the hilt. They say it is good to question and oppose things, just in case it will all go wrong! Fair enough. Who am I to interfere as a stranger. ‘Go back where you come from’, at times was suggested to me. However, with age I have considerably softened and mellowed.

Even so, sometimes my doubts about the British Westminster system flares up again, and no more so when it involves Australian Education. Decade after decade we fall further behind. My solution is to take a middle path, a softer approach than totally ditching the much hallowed Westminster caboodle.  

Just have a gander at this.

Spitting on the homeless and defecating in public a form of fun and achievement?

Of course, it is a bit of a leap to join the Westminster System with Australian education, but very much part of this is that education is bitterly divided between Private and Public education. There again, a division, a conflict, a form of antagonism. The solution to improve Australian sub-standard education has been to have the one single system funded by the government, the same as most other countries have. Many experts have suggested just that. But again, it all becomes an area of conflict and opposition. If there is one other thing that really annoys too, is the silly adherence to School identifiable uniforms. Why on earth do we insist on uniformity at all when surely part of education is to foster the unfolding of all student to their own individuality in harmony within our community and society we live in. Let them dress they feel they want to.  

Any way, here a bit about the Dutch form of Government and judiciary.

The politics of the Netherlands take place within the framework of a parliamentary representative democracy, a constitutional monarchy, and a decentralised unitary state.[1] The Netherlands is described as a consociational state.[2] Dutch politics and governance are characterised by a common striving for broad consensus on important issues, within both of the political community and society as a whole.[1]

The Koala.

September 19, 2020

In Australia there is no better example of a much revered native animal than the koala. It seems the world too has become its friend as well. No sooner do tourists arrive and within a day or so, they are seen holding up cameras on the end of an extendable stick at koala parks. The koala isn’t shy of tourists and generally behave well. They don’t bite or scratch even though they have sharp claws made to good use when climbing trees. I am always amazed but secretly wished that a native animal would finally defecate on a politician when they try and curry favors with the electorate by holding a Joey kangaroo or koala. 

There is indeed no cuddlier animal ( apart from my Jack Russell, Milo) than the koala. The National Party of Australia is trying to fight new legislation to strengthen protection of native animals making it harder for farmers to clear land, and reduce the habitat of the koala. The Koala is already under threat of extinction because of deforestation. The Honest Government  Ads company has put hard hitting ads on the media. They are filmed in Melbourne and specialise in contemporary political and social satire. They are also known for internet Ads series under The Juice Media. I do hope the ad will make life for the koala more certain.


The sowing of Dichondra

September 16, 2020

The day arrived whereby I could finally sow my dichondra seeds. The seed packets showed to wait for warm weather and to first rake and work the soil to a fine tilth. Spring has arrived with unusual warm weather and the local garden centers are now filled with red-faced people pushing large trolleys full of topsoil, potting mixes, mulches, composts, chicken, cow and even turkey manure.

Australia has a very large hardware and garden center called ‘Bunnings’. Fortunately and much to the credit of the Australian government, Bunnings was allowed to stay open even during the tightest of Covid lockdowns. Pubs, cafes and hairdressers were closed or severely limited but no Government Minister irrespective of any party keen on staying employed, would dare close the Mecca for domestic peace and serenity; Bunnings.

Of course, the lockdown and its resulting isolation did not just drive residents into cryptic crosswords, watch repeats on TV or engage in domestic squabbling but the more innovative went to look at improving homes and hearths. Bunnings was chock-a-block each time I was there. There were people who had taken stacking chairs and started picnicking at the large parking areas, taking sandwiches, soft drinks with some even uncapping thermoses. Such is the popularity of this large hardware and garden center. Here is a very amusing bit of Australia folk poetry based on the ‘Stacking chair’.

Of course, after a rather long and dry winter with this sudden warmth and spring rain the morning’s petrichor emanating from fresh soils made the entire nation wake up and do the garden. I will now look at my garden each day in anticipation of the seeds germinating. Of course, it is not really a true grass, more of a small ground cover but I am hopeful it will thrive soon and make my garden even more beautiful   

We are solar ready, almost!

September 10, 2020


We have had twenty solar panels installed on our roof and all we have to do now is getting the energy provider to connect it to the grid via our meter box. Oddly enough the company that is supplying  me the electricity now wants me to supply them with the number of the meter box, so that they can make the connection.

Fair enough, you would not want the connection and the benefits of solar energy go to some other meter box and customer. It still begs why they are asking me for the number when they are the ones sending me the quarterly bill, and they obviously do that by reading the meter box in order to bill me for the usage of the electricity.

This is what the energy company sent me and I quote;”

AGL has received your request for the solar meter alteration at the above address, however, the following amended documents are required for the work to proceed:
  •     Kindly provide us NMI number for further process your request.” unquote.

For a lay person to make sense of this is asking a bit much. For a start; they don’t explain what NMI is. I sleuthed the AGL website and to their credit they do have a ‘chat’  facility in which you get the opportunity to ask questions. ‘The NMI is the number of the meter box specific to your account’ I was chatted to. Hallelujah. I was given my meter box number which I gave back to my AGL service provider who gave me the number in the first place. And yet they asked me to give them the number!

The world often is a lot of fun and even though it doesn’t at times pass the logic test, at least it amuses us.

Here is a serious bit of satire. Adult language!


How to apply for garbage bins.

September 4, 2020

IMG_0933garbage binsIn the past before modernity took hold, society had no garbage. Everything was used and the words of ‘rubbish’ and ‘garbage’ were yet to be invented. The closest words to describe those items were perhaps ‘left-overs, or too much yarn or cloth, manure, sand, water and so more’. There was no plastic during the era of Siberian mammoths or indeed the Chinese clay warriors.

Plastic came about during the cultures of MacDonald’s quarter pounds, Coca Cola and many  Peter Duttons. Even the salami slices, and simple sausages are now vacuum packed or, as is the case of screws or hardware, packed in such sturdy plastic one risks cutting fingers trying to free those items from plastic.

In any case, no matter how we turn towards trying to minimise rubbish, most households now depend on a weekly garbage collection. I had to apply to council for my bins. No simple matter. You can’t just amber up go to the Shire Chambers and apply to get bins. No, it took four pages to arduously fill in to give  information. This is then given to Domestic Waste Services to mull over.

I hope I get approved and receive the bins. Please keep fingers crossed.

May I touch your yarn?

August 27, 2020


My yarn and needles

As you can now observe in the above picture, much wool has passed through my fingers since I wrote first about my entree into the creative arts of handknitting a yarn more than a week ago now.  How the time flies when one knits!

The proof of my initial lack of dexterity clearly show in the bottom rows that are uneven and a bit shaky, unsure of the needle actually going under the thread and still having to remember pulling the wool with my right hand over the left needle, and than pulling in down between both needles before inserting the right needle again under the next stitch to be transferred to the same needle, thereby transferring the whole knitted yarn to the other needle.

The indefinite repeat of the same action will finally make perfect my knitting skills and this is what I fervently hope for, keeping in mind my creeping elderly with increasing age and at the same time mindfulness of maintaining clear sight and finger gymnastic manipulations of the yarn. There is a lot in knitting that a casual observer might well not be aware of when watching women knitting.

I mention ‘women knitting’ because as it turned out, men came, through their rampant and aggressive hormones ( not their fault)  to drive locomotives, work in abattoirs cutting carcases, create domestic violence, or bomb cities while women with such flowing all roundness and softness, turned the carers who knit, feed men, and by and large do so many good things, including running Governments like in Finland (Voted the happiest country).

The idea of my doing knitting came about because I so often watched Helvi knit but rarely stood still wondering what it felt like. As I said, we were taught to knit when at school and by my mother. So, I thought, nothing lost and everything to gain, to try it out. I am very happy I did, and nothing is more helpful making friends than knitting in public which I tried two days ago inside a large shopping centre close by.

‘ Milo’ my Jack Russell too was instrumental in getting friends as, especially women, thought he was so adorable and often asked me if they could pat him. It struck me then that no one ever thought I was also cute and open for patting but that is for an other article to explore. There is so much still to make sense off and so little time…

As I sat down with my knitting it did not take long when people stopped and looked at my knitting. I tried to act as normal as possible as if it was something I did to while away the time. I had gone and bought before settling down with my bag of wool and knitting, a carton of chicken nuggets from KFC, something I did for the first time ever. I wanted to appear as normal and average as possible. I had reconnoitred the site before and found a seat in full view of shoppers leaving a big Woollies supermarket not far from a busy butcher shop. Soon, a woman stopped, and asked me how long I had been knitting. I told her that I had just started as I knew that an expert’s eye could soon see that my knitting was not top knot. It was nice to be able to chat. Soon she reached out and felt my yarn and asked what size needles I was using. It felt normal and who would have thought it so easy to make contact with the opposite sex. I mean, what a discovery to get to have contact with people.

No men stopped and asked!

Who would have thought to get such friendly experiences?  And all those years I wanted to become a burly rugby (with funny oblong ball) player to be seen as a real man.

What next? Learn dancing again?