Posts Tagged ‘Curry’

New Year’s ( but happy?)

December 30, 2019

IMG_0225The Hydrangia

We are again at the doorstep of another year rolling over. I thought to-night was the fireworks at Sydney’s harbour bridge, but I was mistaken. It is tomorrow night. Fire now seems to be associated with the breaking of the new year, but the traditional fireworks are on the cusp of being cancelled. There are so many fires burning now, it is difficult to find something that is not burning at the moment. To celebrate the New Year with fire-works seems insulting, especially to those that have given their time fighting fires all over the joint. I noticed that one fire out of control is now approaching our area. People are a bit tense, huddling in groups and talking in hushed tones to each other, no doubt advising on possible escape routes. The quickest way to a lake or pond with a view to immerse oneself in case the firestorm approaches. There are also designated safe areas for people to evacuate to, including the Returned Soldier’s Clubs where I play my bowls.

https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/about-us/our-districts/southern-highlands

“Alpine, Aylmerton, Willow Vale, Braemar, Balaclava, Mittagong and Mt Gibraltar areas

  • Monitor the changing conditions. Strong north westerly winds may push embers into the area.
  • Stay alert for embers and spot fires.
  • Embers can be blown well ahead of the main fire front, and start spot fires that can threaten homes”.

The above is copied from the latest warning on a fire approaching the Southern Highlands. It is out of control and covers over 227 000 ha. It is large enough to create its own climate and cause dry lightning to strike for fires to spread even more. Tomorrow is going to be very critical with predicted temperatures in the 40’s C. The nation is on high alert.

I was given a couple of nice bottles of wine at Christmas time. It included a ten year old tawny Port. I am actually considering to cut down on my alcohol consumption. I noticed that my appetite is languishing and lessening. I have a banana and pear for breakfast and that seems to carry me over lunch as well. And then in the evening I force myself to eat a salad with a salmon cutlet. Of course, I had the lamb curry on Christmas Eve, but on the whole I seem to eat a lot less. But…I still had my few glasses of alcohol, I suppose to carry me through the evening when my new sole-ness makes itself felt so keenly. It helps to make me go to sleep. But I noticed that in the morning on wakening I feel parched and often suffering a grey mood.

I decided two nights ago to cut down and just have at most two glasses of wine over about a five hour period. I started last evening and it helped, I woke up feeling better and put on my socks with quickened pace.

I am also considering giving up some of my bowling in exchange for doing the U3A  https://sohiu3a.org.au/course. The bowling is a nice exercise but in between, while having a cup of tea, the players segregate into one table for the women and at a separate table the men. It seems so anachronistic. On top of that, at the men’s table they have a ‘swearing tin’. This is a tin in which the men are supposed to put in money if they swear. It seems that swearing is the domain of men.  And then the remarks about ‘Muslims are bad, Lebanese, Chinese are bad, etc. Before I could cope but now I am too fragile to just put up with it.

What do you all think about that?,

 

The birds understand.

November 15, 2016
Birds always understand

Birds always understand

The cabin that we escaped to was even better than expectations. It was tucked between ocean and bush with a mostly deserted beach in between. It had a very large and wide veranda decked by timber slats and covered overhead by a high cathedral shaped corrugated roof. The ideal retreat from US political turmoil and the night-mare of a Trump-led future. The image of him swaggering around the US, lunging at genitalia, building walls, exporting millions of Mexicans and Muslims became unbearable. We had to go away.

We had just unpacked the car and put milk and the lamb-curry in the fridge, when the first of the birds arrived. You could tell they expected something from us. They looked at us and insisted on making beady-eyed contact. Bird’s eyes are often beady and rather penetrating. When still living in Holland’s The Hague, I kept many pigeons on the veranda two stories up. I started communion with birds rather early.

It is always a good move to try and befriend birds by offerings of food. I broke open a packet of Aldi’s almond meal and marzipan little boat shaped cakes. It is one reason we made a last minute shop to Aldi. It is about the only sweet we sometimes allow to arrive inside our home. Both of us are not fond of sweets. I am much more of a herring man and H.is very keen on any food related to anchovies. We had rented cabins before and then as now, we had taken this marzipan-almond little tarts as a special treat. An Oosterman treat really.

The two coloured birds were getting excited. This is true, but only as far as it is possible to detect excitement in birds. They now moved their eyes to the almond cakes. I broke some off and put it on the railing just a metre or so from the chair. Well, it hit the right note. They immediately gave notice through the tangled jungle. ( in their own language) and all of a sudden all their mates arrived. They share, you see. No building walls, and birds don’t spread discontent or fear.

Just now I remember feeding seagulls in The Hague. A lake opposite, and around the Royal  Palace  was keenly visited by seagulls. All you had to do was to hold a piece of bread, and a friendly seagull in full flight would swoop by and take it from your hand.

A great memory.

The heralding of a Spring and second hand books at Berkelouw.

September 10, 2015

IMG_0618home

Today it will get to 18C and already now it is feeling warm. The sun is reflecting itself on the yellow daisies and the pansies. They are keenly showing their multi-coloured flowers  basking blatantly into the warmth of morning light. A spring is coming. It is one of those mornings where nothing can go wrong. A vegetable curry is on the stove, gently bubbling away despite an accidental overdose of turmeric that spilled out spontaneously when the little jar was uncapped.  It is not often that curry is cooking at 7.30 am in this household. I hope the town-house-compound doesn’t get upset with the pervading fragrance so early. It might cause over-excitement.

Yesterday we went to Berkelouw’s book barn at Berrima. It is a success story of Dutch book sellers’ history. And I quote direct from their web-site.

“Our History from 1812 The story of Berkelouw Books begins in Kipstraat, Rotterdam, Holland, in 1812. Solomon Berkelouw traded in vellum-bound theology books which were en vogue in the early nineteenth century. Publishers of the period were certain of selling publications as long as they dealt with theology. Solomon peddled his wares on Rotterdam Quay and his clients were mainly owners and skippers of the barques that brought grain and other agricultural products from the provinces of Zealand and Zuid Holland to Rotterdam.

The owners of barques were well to do citizens with a growing interest in education. Not much is known of Solomon Berkelouw except that his bookselling career came to a sudden and unfortunate end. On a late winter’s afternoon, with snow falling thickly all around, Solomon attempted to cross an icy plank that connected a customer’s ship to the wharf. Halfway up, he lost his footing and fell into the freezing water. Before anyone could fetch help he drowned, his jute-bag full of books sinking with him to the bottom of the icy harbour.

Solomon’s young son Carel was determined to carry on his father’s trade. He put the business on a more stable footing by opening a bookstore at the Niewe Market in Rotterdam. Under Carel’s direction Berkelouw Books prospered and he later moved to a larger premises at Beurs Station, also in Rotterdam. Carel’s son Hartog Berkelouw continued to expand the family business. After serving an apprenticeship with his father in the Beurs Station store, he opened a new shop at Schoolstraat, Rotterdam. It was Hartog who first began issuing the catalogues that gained Berkelouw an international reputation. In 1928, the firm was granted membership to the prestigious International Antiquarian Booksellers Association.

IMG_0608berkelouw

Berkelouw’s bookbarn

Business subsequently increased and Hartog’s children, Sientje, Leo, Carel and Isidoor, all became involved in the book trade. However, the Second World War intervened, introducing a dark chapter into the history of the Berkelouw family. During the siege of Rotterdam, Berkelouw Books’ premises were bombed and its entire stock destroyed. Amongst the lost books was a collection of antique bibles thought to be the most valuable in all of Europe. Further tragedy followed – Sientje and Carel became casualties of the war.

As Leo had left the firm many years earlier, the once thriving business was brought to a standstill – the work of four generations of Rotterdam booksellers virtually wiped out in just a few years. Immediately after the war, Isidoor Berkelouw began to re-establish the firm. He set up business in Amsterdam and began conducting successful book auctions. However, Isidoor was keen to move the business out of Europe. The Berkelouw collection had already been destroyed once and he did not want to see it happen again. In 1948 Isidoor liquidated his company and made the long journey to Australia.

Shortly after arriving in Sydney, Isidoor issued a catalogue, generating immediate interest amongst book collectors around the country. He set up shop at 38 King St, Sydney and conducted book auctions on a regular basis. As Berkelouw’s clientele and stock expanded, headquarters was relocated to 114 King St and Isidoor began to share the management of the business with his two sons, Henry and Leo. By 1972 the Berkelouw collection had grown to such a size that it was forced to change premises once again. The firm made a brief move to Rushcutters Bay, then in 1977 took a quantum leap relocating entirely to ‘Bendooley’, an historic property just outside the beautiful village of Berrima in the Southern Highlands of NSW.

In 1994, the sixth generation, Paul, Robert and David Berkelouw, returned to Sydney, opening its now landmark store in Paddington. Five years later another Sydney store was opened in the cosmopolitan suburb of Leichhardt. Since then, Berkelouw Books has opened further stores in Sydney, Melbourne and Eumundi on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland. All our stores offer an extensive, interesting and eclectic new book selection covering all interest areas with a special interest in Children’s Books, fine stationery, as well as a hand-picked display of rare books.

Our Paddington, Leichhardt and Eumundi stores have a vast selection of secondhand books. Adjoining many of our stores are the Berkelouw Cafes, a great place to relax and enjoy ambience. Today Berkelouw Books is Australia’s largest rare and antiquarian, secondhand, and new bookseller. We have an overall stock in excess of 2 million books, many of which are listed and available for purchase here via the Internet. Thus the romance of books is engendered. Thus too, the association of books and Berkelouw continues. An old and fruitful tree of Rotterdam, Holland, now firmly planted in the soil of Australia. – See more at: http://www.berkelouw.com.au/pages/about#sthash.9GIb11fl.dpuf

The magnificent Raan Curry for Christmas beckons

December 9, 2013

imagesTOR600JI
If the Turkey for Christmas is getting a bit hackneyed and the ham has soured, consider the Raan dish. I won’t bother with giving you the exact details in grams ounces or kilos. Try and create your own Raan by just imagining tasting the combination of the different herbs, spices and ingredients.

You know that if you put in a kilo of salt the dish is likely to be very salty. Cooking is very much anticipating how things will taste by mixing and imagining the taste of the mixed ingredients before cooking. The religious following of recipes with the book propped up against the kitchen whisk is never going to be a surprise. Not as a failed dish nor of a basking in the glory of an unimaginable masterpiece, hailed by Rick Stein, Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver and all your guests for years to come. Take the risk!

So, here we go. The bulk of this dish is mutton or at least a large leg of sheep. You need a well aged leg not a lamb leg although that is permissible as well. This dish is Northern India and as you travel up further north, the Indian cuisine starts to be less chilli hot and becomes more infused with the sweetness of yoghurt and dried fruit, raisins, currants etc. of the Northern regions.

The secret of this dish is that the leg of mutton is allowed to cure or ‘cook’ for about three days in the fridge by the acidity of the marinade. The marinade has to be enough to cover the meat. Voila, you need plenty of good quality yoghurt, the juice of about 4 lemons about 200 grams of raisons and currants, a tablespoon of turmeric, a couple of teaspoons of cinnamon, about 4 red-hot chillies, some cloves and about two teaspoons of cardamom, salt and sugar.

Mix the marinade in a mixer and let stand for about one hour, mix again. In the meantime pierce the leg and insert cloves of garlic. Good juicy garlic and not the cheap Chinese tasteless carton stuff. Poor the marinade over the lamb in a dish large enough to hold the leg.

Put in the fridge and leave for about two to three days occasionally turning the meat.
Then… as the excitement mounts…pre-heat oven to 200c and cook the lamb for about 30 minutes. Turn heat to 160c and cook 45 minutes for every kilo of the meat. It is cooked when the meat falls off the bone. When it does. Turn off the oven. Boil basmati rice.

I was amazed some years ago when we had Japanese students living in our house they were using an electric rice cooker. When I told them I thought the Japanese had invented boiling rice, they smiled politely but they never tried my system. She said, oh no… too risky! Can you believe it?
Here is how to boil rice; Just cover the rice with one finger digit of water on top of the rice and bring quickly to boil without the lid on. When water is disappearing and holes appear in the rice, put on the lid and turn the gas off. Wait for about twenty minutes and the rice should be dry crumbly and cooked. Perfect

Now, this is the important bit… Break the lamb into bite size chunks, put on the plate with the rice and pour some of the marinade over the lot. Some chutney or cucumber with yoghurt as a side dish compliments the dinner. Have it with chilled water with lime slices floating on top. Don’t muck around with wine. It spoils it. Have it afterwards.
Enjoy and let me know the results.