Posts Tagged ‘Cinnamon’

A Happy Holiday (Christmas)

December 18, 2016


With the issue of a school in Queensland not toeing the Christian line, I thought it best to use both forms; A Happy Holiday and a Happy Christmas.

Christmas (without snow) is almost here. Yesterday we bought the pavlova and, as is now an Oosterman tradition, we will be roasting the Indian Raan dish. The lamb will be marinated for a couple of days in the yoghurt and lemon mixture with the usual spice of garam masala which includes cinnamon, cloves, chilies and whatever I feel like chucking in. I rarely measure quantities which gives an uncertain and exciting edge to the end dish. Sometimes it bombs but at other times it will surpass even our wildest culinary imaginings. A good Raan in the middle of a hot Australian Christmas is to be applauded and revered. It is really the true spirit of Christmas. It used to be possible to buy a large shoulder of hogget or an ageing sheep. Not anymore. It is all lamb now. A hogget is to be preferred for slow roasting.

But I am straying.

You know how it is! We used to walk with our dog Milo past a house which has a large window reaching to the floor. Very often it showed an old man reading and three small dogs all seated on a variety of cushions. The man and his book on a recliner chair. A charming and intimate picture. Milo would run up to the house and the man and his three small dogs, framed in this large window, would all be aroused by Milo’s short burst of furious barking. The three little dogs did likewise. It would just last a second or so and Milo would dart back to us. It was a little tradition without fail each time. The man would laugh and we would wave to him. It was a neighbourly bit of fun. Then, without warning, the dogs and this man were gone.

The grass at the front of the house is now overgrown and the man’s car hasn’t moved. The curtain, that was never used before is now drawn across the large window. We are not sure what has happened. Milo still expects a return of the fun, but it hasn’t. He looks disappointed each time we pass the house. It has been at least a month since the last barking and waving-back exchange. I hope things are alright and it will all come back, but that’s not a given! Sometimes things don’t return to what was. No matter how one wishes.

Another strange thing which doesn’t bode well is that the chickens on the other side of our fence have stopped cackling. Worse, the door of the pen is open. I suggested to Helvi that perhaps the owner has died. ‘It is more likely that the chickens have died’, Helvi said. I responded, ‘only three days ago they were full on after having laid eggs. The chickens were cackling like mad,’ I added. The owner of the chickens is also an old man. His name is Harley. He has a wooden sign ‘Harley Davidson’ screwed on the outside wall of his veranda. Perhaps he used to ride a Harley bike. I will ask him next time I see him.

Harley always dresses in neat long sleeved shirts and wears jeans. A reserved man with a good sense of humour. He loves his dogs. They are a very large Bernese, and a lively small Jack Russell. Harley also does the gardening, feeds his chickens and reap the eggs. All of these would be combined each afternoon with Harley sauntering around his garden while sipping a glass of white wine and puffing a cigarette, overlooking his domain. A picture of a contented man. No doubt his wife would not have him smoking inside. That’s how it has gone now. I hardly ever see the wife, but she is there. Harley and I sometimes talk a bit and each time he would shake my hand.

I do hope to see him soon and look forward to wish him a Merry Christmas.

I also wish all of you, dear followers and friends, a Happy Christmas AND a Happy Holiday.

Le ” Week-end.”

March 31, 2014



Yet another storm was predicted for this Sunday. Over the last week or so we kept emptying flower pots that had filled up with water. I like rain, especially if it pelts down and makes a roar on the iron roof. I feel things are on the move with weather showing of its dominance over what we are doing. Let’s hope weather will continue to do so and that mankind will fail in changing its power.

In the morning I just had the urge to make a curry. I bought stewing steak and snow peas. We still had onions, red capsicums, kipfler potatoes, carrots and all the spices needed for a curry, including the essential turmeric, fresh chillies, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves and limes. Curries are best made in ‘le creuset’ or cast iron saucepan. Slowly cooked till the meat falls apart.

We thought is best to let it simmer while seeing a movie at the local cinema. Le Week-end was what we decided on. A film about an ageing British couple on a week-end in Paris. I could not hear the dialogue very well. Lately I have found that it is almost obligatory in modern films to have the audio part as incomprehensible and difficult as possible. Perhaps it adds an edge to it. Perhaps it also forces the patrons to pay extra attention to an otherwise lukewarm movie. We found ‘le week-end’ to be lukewarm. It seemed a bit disjointed at times.

The husband was a university lecturer and the wife a teacher. Inexplicably, this English couple in Paris did a few runners from a restaurant and the very chic hotel they were staying in without paying. We could not see the humour in it. Perhaps it was just us. Was their marriage perhaps a bit in need of stealing? Who knows.

The best part, perhaps the reason for the dialogue’s vagueness, was that a storm was lashing on the tin roof of the cinema. Thunderclaps and hail almost broke through the roof. At least, that’s what it felt like. Another spectacular thunderclap and the movie’s visual dropped out while the sound kept going. It is credit to the Australian laconic easy going-ness that not a word of protest was uttered. Calmly and ever so acceptingly the audience kept on sitting sweetly in their seats, some munching their popcorn or licking the obligatory choc-tops. (It must be a harrowing experience to go the whole one and half hour without food)

Finally someone in the audience and near the door went out and must have notified the staff. A couple of young attendants ran up the cinema’s stairs and fiddled with something. The cinematic visuals were restored. Never mind an important part of the dialogue was missing. Everyone was happy. We sauntered out but felt the adventure of the storm and the visuals dropping out more entertaining than the movie. I loved how everyone took the breakdown in good spirits. No one asked for a refund. Smiles all around.

We walked to our car still pouring rain. We switched off the curry and I chucked in some snow peas wishing them to turn bright green but remaining snappy. Un peu de vin rouge, et voila; a perfect week-end.