Posts Tagged ‘potato’

How 2019 might turn out.

January 2, 2019

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The house is in a scandalous way. The Hoover ‘Freedom’ will have to be re-charged and one of my first task will be to vacuum. I’ll start downstairs first.  My blood pressure this morning was a comfortable 109/73  with a reassuring beat of 82. With the relentless heatwave continuing, and our Government urging people to keep out an eye for dehydrated elderly, we have unlocked the front door in the forlorn hope someone younger will check on us. It would be a nice start of the new year getting my forehead wiped by a strapping young female athlete. With luck she might even do the vacuuming!

The certainties of 2019 will include the continuing march of China towards the new boy on the block of becoming the biggest economy. The poor US will dwindle in importance with an increasingly cranky blood thirsty President bullying the most vulnerable. Heaven knows what will happen. A dangerous country, and with that enormous arsenal of nuclear weapons too!

The remarkable thing of China is that they seem to continue growing in strength without resorting to warring everywhere or bombing the shit out of other countries. Australia would do well to swing over to Asia a bit more. After all, that’s were we are situated geographically. Perhaps teaching the Indonesian language to all school students would be a good move. Indonesia is closer to Australia than the distance between Sydney and Brisbane. Indonesia alone has a population almost the same as the US. And then there is China? Another super power on the rise is India.

We are fortunate of  being in the slipstream of those growing economies which could well rub off on our own economy.  I hold the forlorn dream that with a growing economy, a brave government will try to get more revenue in so that we can finally do something on a social level. Isn’t it finally time to increase the old age pension and the income for the unemployed? They are very low compared with most OECD countries. We can’t call ourselves a caring country if we can’t give the retired elderly a decent income.

Last but not least, it would be nice if those that kept refugee children and their parents in indefinite detention on hellish off-shore camps face an International Court of Justice. It is an international disgrace that hundreds of refugees are now facing their sixth year on Nauru and Manus islands in direct contradiction of international law that prohibits that.

Australia gets away with it because it is the only country that doesn’t have Bill of Rights.

Yes, it would be more than a bit of schadenfreude to see Dutton in front of a Court. I still get this nightmarish image of him each time I peel a potato.

Happy New Year again to all of you, my dear friends.

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Buffet.

August 13, 2018
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Grapes, strawberries and figs.

We sometimes like  to eat out.  This eating-out is usually a lunch. The winter cold keeps us inside more than is necessary. But, winter-cold and getting older seem to result in an increase in staying indoor. However, when we do take the courageous step to eat out we chose venues for value and lively atmosphere. This usually means either a pub or a well-run restaurant or café. There is nothing worse than eating in a place that is empty. So, a good lively crowd is part of our occasional lunch or dinner.

Our choice of eating out last week was a buffet dinner at a Returned Soldier’s League (RSL) club of which both of us are members. They do give exceptional value. I play my twice weekly indoor bowls at different soldier’s clubs. The value those clubs give are due, to no little part, to gambling and poker machines. The income from gambling gives discounted meals and cheap drinks to members and friends. I feel a bit ambiguous about that. No-one seems to care much about socials ills that gambling brings. The ‘free choice’ is often muttered. But many mums and dads go home to hungry children. How free is that?

Part of this generosity are discounted meals and drinks on member’s birthdays. Mine was last week. I received a letter congratulating me with an enclosed list of vouchers which gave free meals and discounted wine and something called ‘Tombola’. I don’t know what Tombola is. It might have something to do with winning a meat-tray or a chance at Karaoke gift.

One gift I received was a discount of $25.- on a buffet bought by at least two people costing $37.50 each. Last Thursday we braved a fierce evening’s arctic storm and drove to the RSL club at Mittagong. This buffet includes table settings on white linen with an impressive assortment of cutlery only outdone by a linen napkin the size of a bedsheet and in red. I suppose the red is to camouflage any wine stains.

It was a self-service which we both are very comfortable with. Nothing worse that a waiter hovering about like a drone on a flattening battery. The entree was impressive. Cooked prawns, Pepper Calamari, Potato and leek soup, chicken Vol au Vents etc.

The mains including Roasts; Glazed ham Yule, Penne Boscaiola, Peppered medallions of Steak, Curried Prawns & Rice. You name it and it was there.  Breasts of some poor Turkey. Pork and Crackling. All that with vegetables/salads.

But, the best was yet to come; Desserts! Being mid-year, Christmas was thrown into the mix. Christmas Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce& Custard. Pavlova with Fresh Fruit Salad including Figs. Triple Chocolate Torte, nut Tartlets and so it went on. And for those still standing up, Tea and coffee bread roll & White Christmas.

Now here comes something totally amazing and worth mulling about. A couple, both ruddy faced and corpulent did the same as everybody was doing. Getting the cooked Prawns, Calamari rings followed by generous helpings of many Roasts and Main courses. You could tell they enjoyed it all. He, I assume a husband, was very quiet till he had his fill. His wife looked at him waiting for the moment he would say something. And he did. His became animated and you could tell they were enjoying themselves.

After they had eaten all the choices and varieties of the food courses, both ambled towards the table with the Pavlova with Figs and Fruits and Cakes.  We too ate some dessert. We are not normally given much to desserts, but what the heck? We too enjoyed the eating out, and the size of the napkins really gave the experience a totality normally missing. Part of the table setting was a small dish of water and slice of lemon swimming. We could wash our hands in this. This is how I came to understand the size of those napkins. They seconded as towels.

At this stage and after the eating of the Pavlova we thought the evening was coming to an end. The couple near us seemed to also had their fill. The husband got up again. I thought perhaps a call of nature, after all that drink and food. No, I was wrong. He came back with a plate of prawns and rings of Calamari. We were flabbergasted. How could he? But, that’s not all. The wife got up, all shiny with mirth and pork crackling. She came back with a plate of curried Prawns and rice. They hoed into it with gusto, yet again.

Unbelievable.

 

 

The potato.

May 29, 2018
Image result for potato
Image result for peter dutton

 

The latest piece mentioning Dutton and his likeness to a potato was unfortunate. Each time I look at a potato I get this scary Dutton image. Horrible. And yet, when I see Dutton a potato appears. I thought the best way to get over this is to make a good potato bake. This dish is very simple. You need a good solid cast iron baking dish. We use a red enamelled Chasseur. It is very heavy. Even an empty Chasseur, one needs to be fit just to be able to put it in an oven. I hope when reaching the nineties I will be strong enough to continue using this great baking dish.  (I don’t want to be found lifeless at the bottom of my stove with a Cast iron Chasseur pot on top me.) Apart from a potato bake it is ideal for almost all slow cooking recipes, especially slow simmering curries.

Image result for Chasseur pot

Anyway, thinly sliced raw potatoes are layered with a mixture of tinned tuna in between. For a garnish I mix fried garlic, lots of rosemary and anchovies. Also chopped up leek with a red capsicum. All this is tucked in between the layers of Dutton/Molan, sorry, potatoes. When the Chasseur is ready to put in the oven I fill it up with milk into which I have whisked a couple of eggs. Depending on how we feel, I might also top it up with pouring full cream.  Some grated parmesan cheese on top before you close the lid and bang it into the oven at about 160C for a bit more than an hour. Don’t use salt as the anchovies generally provide enough salt. Helvi likes her salt and an exception can be made for those with low blood pressure. Apparently, salt raises blood pressure which can be beneficial for those, who like Helvi, have low blood pressure.

At last night’s Q&A, a mate of Dutton was on the ABC’s panel. His name is Jim Molan. He also is wildly enthusiastic about keeping refugees ( including 113 children) detained indefinitely on Manus and Nauru.

Image result for jim molan

Jim Molan

It will take a lot of potato bakes to get over this strange turn that Australia has taken. Is it just a foolhardy sticking to one’s point of view, no matter how wrong this is? Are those Duttons and Molan’s unable to see the misery this is causing? How can they justify their point of view for years on end?

We used to say; ‘Fair crack of the whip.’ But, indefinite detention for people who have done no wrong, who have not been charged with any crime, are not getting a fair go or ‘fair crack of the whip’.

The reason that Dutton and Molan give for putting and keeping refugees in detention indefinitely is to prevent more refugees from drowning. In other words, the refugees are being used/ punished for not having drowned or as a punishment and warning for others trying to seek asylum by boat,  ‘we will also put you in detention.’ Seeking asylum is not illegal.

A court should try those two for committing crimes against humanity.

Q&A

Is a sugar-tax cricket?

March 20, 2016
Still in The Hague. My parents

Still in The Hague. My parents

 

The last few weeks have been trying. Getting a book to fruition during a heat-wave is nothing more than self-flagellation. Readers might remember that it was suggested to change back the Father and Mother words to Dad and Mum. This was done via my newly advised and learned Word- processing trick, by instantly replacing all the words in the whole book instead of trawling through the whole manuscript, word by word. It even lets you know how many Mums and Dads were changed. There were new issues about ‘keeping Mum about a secret, ‘changed instantly into ‘keeping Mother….’

Of course, during changing from Father& Mother back to Mum and Dad (for the second time,) when writing about an episode of a budding artistic career involving hand painting Friesian Grand-Father clocks with windmills and sea-gulls in endless flight, it changed into Grand-Dad clocks. It still meant going again through it all. How does one remember having used words in a totally different context or co-joined? Just as well the Catechism wasn’t written. ‘It the name of the Dad, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

My good friend, Paul in Balmain offered to format the whole caboodle.  When it was mentioned more changes were likely to come, he stopped. The formatting formula whereby pages get numbered, photos with descriptions or titles underneath introduced, sub-headings appearing, the different fonts  and so much more, would all become hay wired when any changes are made. It does mean it finally has to come together as good as possible. And, all this, with not excluding serif or sans serif, is making an enormous demand on keeping sane.

It has now come about when opening a book the emphasis is on any mentioning and checking the fonts, both the size and look of the letters, spaces between paragraphs, the inclusion of ISBN number, catalogued with National libraries, the back page blurbs. Dedications and grateful murmurs to all sorts of helpful people. The issue of laying claim to copy-right. Issues of privacy and possible libel. Do people who get their manuscript published continue writing and reading?

Most publishers want the first few chapters and a bibliography. Others want the whole manuscripts ‘print-ready.’ Some want one to study the books they have published and write a synopsis of this or that book.

My goodness. One could have been a good surgeon, or prominent lawyer.

Rest assured that all is well. Just now I have made some cuts in potatoes, added chopped garlic and pepper and wrapped them in alfoil. Did the same with some carrots and shallots. For a few weeks all our cooking has been done outside. We sit in the shade with Milo chasing lizards. We chase some Shiraz instead and wait an hour or so when the spuds and carrots will be almost cooked. We put on the salmon cutlets with some red capsicums that have been sliced.

Voila, a perfect solution to book publishing fatigue. And…not a single spoonful of sugar is used. Poor old England, the sugar- tax bogey man is coming. People are starting to hoard sugar in their cellars. Soon, like smokers, sugar ingestion will be done on street corners behind newspapers or in dark alleys. People will try and stir in the sugar when no one is looking.  Husbands will be suspicious of wives coming from the larder. What is the world coming to…a sugar-tax!

The tuna dish.

September 24, 2015
wives waiting for their men at Scheveningen

wives waiting for their men at Scheveningen

We all know that fish is good. As we get older and start to stumble with memories and forget the name of a previous world champion runner or a failed Prime minister, it is time to call in the fishing fleet. As a child I used to watch this fleet coming in with the first herring which would be rushed and presented to the Dutch queen. Those first herrings used to cost a fortune. Our family would wait for the price to fall before able to buy them. The fishermen’s wives were waiting anxiously  at the peers for the boats to come in.

I was at the tail end of the herring fleet still being under sails. I might have been nine years or so. It wasn’t always that the boats would come back. It was a risky business and storms on the North Sea were frequent and dangerous. Many a husband would be lost. In those days the women waiting at the peer still wore traditional clothing, dark brown billowing skirts down to the ankle, and white head- gear. Perhaps they also wore a lacy scarf around their shoulders. It was all so long ago.

Now-a-days, fishing vessels are so large and so sophisticated they graze the ocean floor like never before. The whole area would be covered in miles of netting more or less depleting everything that swam. I remember two years ago a huge Dutch factory boat tried to enter Australian waters to fish. The local protesting fishermen were successful in fighting for their own rights to fish. The Dutch ship retreated and lost their case. Why has everything become so unromantic? I know losing your life while fishing isn’t romantic but so much of the past made and held memories. What memories will our grandchildren nurture in their old age? Perhaps in the future the Alzheimer will be cured by simply living along life’s path without anything remarkable to imprint on our memory’s storage. Memories will simply not be there anymore to lose!

Here is a dish to remember though. It is simple, cheap, healthy and guaranteed to refresh memories of failed Prime ministers and long time champions including Zátopek.

Its ingredients are potatoes, a good leek, onions, garlic, milk, herbs, a bit of butter, a bunch of bok-choy, tinned tuna in oil and little salt, pepper and chili. Also, young grated cheese.

Bok-choy

Bok-choy

Simply slice thinly a few potatoes and in layers interspersed with all the above sliced ingredient, place in a oven-proof ceramic dish. Soak the whole lot in milk level with the top of the dish and bake for an hour or so at 150C temperature. Make sure you are generous with the grated cheese on top to make sure this is brown and crusty. You then eat it with your spouse without saying a single word, except at times, just say mmm and again mmm.

I do hope my grandkids will remember my pancakes made with buttermilk.

We will all be lucky to get out alive.