Posts Tagged ‘Russian’

Christmas and the Pavlova.(667 recipes)

December 24, 2018

IMG_0052 a horse, a horse

We have bought the ingredients for the pavlova including the cream. Helvi thought that the cream was overdoing it, but reading the recipe on the box, it clearly stated that cream was needed. The supermarket was in a total pandemonium. Some people so swept up, they grabbed whatever they could get hold of. As if possessed by voodoo magic. It is the same each year. People try and remain calm but then totally loose it during the last few days. Hospitals are on standby, broken bones, bloodied faces and marital whiplash are so common during the Christmas festivities. For some it just gets too much. The say; ‘uncork and unwind’ does come with consequences!

My Christmas started early when I found an abandoned trolley with its 2 dollar coin still in its little holder near my car.  I suspect some shoppers might well think it costs two dollars to go shopping. They walk to the car with the full trolley and after loading the car just leave the trolley to its own devices. All the better for the canny shopper on the look-out for trolleys with 2 dollars. Something for the school kids to latch onto.

Getting back to the pavlova. Its history continues to be a much disputed item over a sweet dish made in honour of the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova who toured New Zealand and Australia during the 1920’s. It is a dish made in honour of her. Till this day both countries still claim ownership of this dish. Some even totally dispute the Pavlova being of NZ and Australian origin, and say it was invented in the US. Another in-depth study claims its origins are Austrian.

This from Wiki.

“Keith Money, a biographer of Anna Pavlova, wrote that a hotel chef in Wellington, New Zealand, created the dish when Pavlova visited there in 1926 on her world tour.[7]

Professor Helen Leach, a culinary anthropologist at the University of Otago in New Zealand, has compiled a library of cookbooks containing 667 pavlova recipes from more than 300 sources.[8] Her book, The Pavlova Story: A Slice of New Zealand’s Culinary History, states that the first Australian pavlova recipe was created in 1935 while an earlier version was penned in 1929[2] in a rural magazine.”[1]

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The lie of “it isn’t cricket.”

March 26, 2018

 

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Our Grandsons at earlier times. Now teenagers!

 

A few days ago the ABC featured an article whereby fathers were trying to come to grips with the upbringing of boys. It was a father and sons article. It featured a photo of young smiling boys with cricket bats in their hands. The perfect roll model for creating future generations of wholesome men. It was presumed that young boys could not fail but to grow up as honourable and steadfastly focussed in pursuing a life on being good and caring adults. Learning cricket with fathers is sure-fire antidote for young boys to the dreadful Trump and Weinstein culture now so pervasive all around them.

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2018-03-24/how-junior-sport-can-help-teach-boys-to-be-good-men/1744754

And then the biggest scandal in cricket exploded. Australia has always been a country of cricket. I remember during the first year of having arrived in Australia I became curious about the steady serious drone of male commentators on radios filtering through the venetian blinds of the suburban street walking on my way home from work. . When I inquired, I was told ‘it is cricket’, ‘don’t you know?’

We now know that the expression; “it isn’t cricket” has to undergo some serious revision. ‘Cheating’ is now embedded in cricket. The fall of this sport from grace is spectacularly shown on every front page and on every TV channel. The cricket ball was tampered with. Every few minutes we are shown the video in slow motion of a world famous cricketer trying to hide a small piece of yellow tape in his underpants. This piece of tape was supposed to alter the cricket ball’s curvature and spin when hurled through the sky on its way to the wooden bat and so presumably give an unfair advantage to one side of the playing teams. The plot to cheat was apparently hatched when during a spell they all were drinking cups of tea. The cricket Captain was involved during the tea break and it met the approval of those ready to win at all cost.

Anyway. For those with long memories, I have always maintained that as long as any sport is run maniacally to win at all cost, it will sooner or later come to a sad end. I even suggested and fostered the idea to have losers declared to be the winners at times. In other words, enjoy the playing of the game no matter what the outcome. Winning is all so overrated.

There are all sorts of sport worms now coming to the fore. In Rugby, rorting with salaries is now being exposed. In cycling a champion had to give up his medals because of taking cycling enhancing drugs. Russian sports people are banned for doping and heaven know what else.  One burly Australian footballer went on a rampage in New York City assaulting a family with children and is welcomed back into his rugby team. Can you believe it?  He hasn’t even apologised and paid the amount of compensation as demanded in a Court of Law.

http://www.news.com.au/sport/nrl/aussie-league-stars-new-york-rampage-i-didnt-know-when-help-was-going-to-come/news-story/257c6eb3211f91cb63801ff2a96e357d

Well, young fathers; I would give visiting sports venues with young sons ( why not daughters as well?) a miss for a while. What’s wrong with a nice outing to a library or art gallery, let the kids run wild amongst friendly non combatting books or soak up a good nicely coloured Chagall painting?

It might do some good. Sport is just not ‘cricket’ anymore. That is a great pity!

 

The running of the Shoppers.

December 14, 2016
Grand dad Oosterman design of church window

Grand dad Oosterman design of church window

It has been written by others that Christmas period is often highly charged. It would be wise to remain in control. The police are never so busy as during the Christmas and New Year period. While we are glowing with joy, shaking hands, giving presents and baking the dinner, others often feel less convivial. Whatever we might feel, both the good and bad reach fever-pitch in the lead-up to Christmas. It is a period of great expectations for happiness but we would be wise to remain wary and wise to the images of commerce and tinkling cash registers that want to sweep all before it. A tsunami of reckless spending and gluttony is threatening all. This is the opposite of happiness. The nail in the coffin for what Christmas used to have, is the almost demonic commercialism of it all. Joseph and Mary would turn in their graves. Baby Jesus would weep, I am sure.

Many shoppers even at this early stage are already running around nervously. They confer by iPhone for advice on whether the pavlova is better or cheaper at Woollies or Aldi. Should they get the double smoked ham now? Yet, was it only last year they promised not to ever get ham again. Or has it been forgotten that the pavlova ended up in the recycle bin with rotten mangoes and the over-ripe prawns? The trolleys are already being filled as if expecting a Russian bombardment. Calm down. The shops will only be closed for one day. Remember, last year how the David Jones’s crowd on boxing day slept overnight outside in order to get T-shirts at a fantastic discount on Boxing day? Yet, a cursory look inside their wardrobes might well indicate a huge surplus of T-shirts. How can commerce have such grip on us?
Still, let’s not get too churlish. The ones that ought to be allowed to enjoy the magic of a happy Christmas are the children.

But, dear Lord; what about Aleppo? What about the Syrian Christmas? I am afraid that we shall just continue to keep our eyes closed and switch of the telly or change over to the cricket score instead. The shouting about war crimes being committed are now just that, shouts.

I noticed that the Johny O’keefe song ‘ You wanna make me shout’ is now being used in a commercial without even a hint of an acknowledgement to the long dead pop-star. The patent on his music score must have run out and is now blatantly being used to sell stuff. Nothing is spared to make a buck, especially not a dead pop star.

Of course, if we want to revive the true spirit of Christmas we should just ignore the lure of the shopping and spending. Remembering it is a time for friendship, sharing and giving. Spare a thought for the refugees on Manus and Nauru detention. Hopefully, they will be finally allowed out of those torture camps and welcomed in the US. After three years, surely they deserve a good outcome.

What did they ever do wrong?

The greatest form of flattery. A literary ‘must.’

January 31, 2016

IMG_20150713_0001

In Finland 1966

A huge book of almost 800 pages is named; letters to Vera by Vladimir Nabokov edited by Olga Voronina and Brian Boyd. The amount of work that the editors/authors went through is mind boggling. It starts off with a list of Abbreviations and ends with a huge Index. It has a Bibliography and Acknowledgements.

My interest is more what is stated on the first page giving the summary; “without limiting the rights under copyright, and goes on about written permissions and copyright ownership.”

A lot of stuff is now stolen by copying and downloading on the internet without the original makers or creators being acknowledged or paid. However, in my case, please feel free. I would be so happy to get copied.  I claim no rights to any words or sentences. Nabokov died at seventy seven years of age after having written many masterpieces both in Russian and English.

I will be of the same age next year and hopefully will have self-published my first book of  ‘Almost There,-‘memoirs, with dubious and unreliable philosophical musings.’ I am again going through the thousands of words and am now googling formatting. What about a Foreword. Should it have an index of chapters or headings. What about spacing, size of pages or lettering? Should I dedicate it! Do I acknowledge anyone. Be aware of possible libellous statements? It just never ends.

I can perhaps lay claim and copyright to my Leeks and Potato bake. The inclusion of sour cream instead of just plain milk makes it uniquely my recipe. I know that it is mine and Helvi’s favourite, with pancakes and Golden syrup coming in at a close second.  Of course with pancakes comes the use of butter-milk which I know other cooks use as well.

Did you know that in Australia during the fifties and sixties, wives were sometimes introduced as ‘the cook,’ or worse ‘my cook.’ It happened to Helvi once on the farm when someone asked me; where is the cook, meaning Helvi. H did not like it and told the man so, who had referred to her as  ‘the cook.’ He stopped doing it to us, but I bet you he continued it with others. Anyway, feel free to copy the words or recipes.

What is it again that Imitation is the best form of flattery?

My Russian Camera.

April 5, 2015
1958 Gerard with his sister on the Lambretta Scooter

1958 Gerard with his sister on the Lambretta Scooter

I’ll try and find my box of photos that I took while I was in the USSR during the mid eighties. I don’t write in diaries so my dates have to be given much leeway by those readers diligent and tenacious enough to keep following my words. Most of what I seem to write is from many decades ago. With old age also comes a kind of carelessness. Why not enjoy at least that luxury?

What is true so far, is that back in the eighties, or so, I noticed an advertisement in the travel section of our biggest Newspaper, The Sydney Morning Herald, about an all inclusive trip of USSR. It included as one would expect Moscow and St Petersburg, and would end in London. All hotels and all meals included. Russia was also going through a profound change whereby its last leader was being challenged by a more modern and forward looking man named  Mikhail Gorbachev. He was the last of Soviet Union’s Presidents.

I have now found the box of photos taken by the Russian Camera. As I mentioned it had a very powerful shutter mechanism which reminded me somewhat of my BSA 22 single shot rifle I used for rabbit hunting during the late fifties. The shutter spring must have been so strong the film was exposed twice during the release of the shutter on the bounce back.

Moscow University.

Moscow University.

Lomonosov Moscow State University is so big students have been found at an advanced age simply because they lost their way to the exit, and finally gave up preferring instead to live in its library with 9,000,000 books, 2,000,000 in foreign languages. The university has 1 000 000 m2 floor area in 1 000 buildings and structures, with its 8 dormitories housing over 12 000 students of its 40.000 students and 300 km of utility lines. All free of course, even the foreign students.

A Babushka paying respect to a noble forefather, probably a Tolstoy.

A Babushka paying respect to a noble forefather, probably a Tolstoy.

  • The Russians are big on visiting graves and so they should. Some say, you can tell a culture by the way they look after their departed souls. The graves are often surrounded by Syringa vulgaris (lilac) both pink and white, are well kept and thankfully not a plastic flower in sight. As you dear readers might know, I too am fond of graves and grave yards. There is something so life confirming about them, especially when you know it befalls everybody. A life well lived deserves a nice farewell and a good grave.
  • A bit of a drink party in Moscow.

    A bit of a drink party in Moscow.

    This photo shows a group drinking. I did not investigate what it was they were drinking. It might have been some soft drink or Vodka. Who knows?

  • Bartering in the USSR (Moscow)

    Bartering in the USSR (Moscow)

    A group of women exchanging goods. This was very common and westerners cunningly used to bring lots of jeans and quality goods for exchanging but I never understood what was wanted in exchange. You could not really buy much and had to account for all money spent by showing receipts when you left the country.

  • Moscow shop showing some fashion articles.

    Moscow shop showing some fashion articles.

At last a photo of a shop with some fashion items clothes. We had some Australian girls in our group who thought they would like to shop. They hadn’t done their homework on the USSR. I found it to be a very fascinating insight and absolutely enjoyed my stay there. People were curious and knew a lot about literature and art. I was ashamed to admit some students knew more about Australian writers than I did. On the train Moscow -St Petersburg I met a German speaking Russian woman named Lily who kept giving me sugar cubes dipped in Absinthe and when I told her I was an artist she told the rest of our train compartment. I was just about carried on the shoulders of the Russian travellers. But of that more next time.

I might call next article. ‘Valley of the Lily’.

ps. The scooter photo also shows my mother in the door of our temporary dwelling.  It was on ‘own’ block of land at 51 McGirr Street Revesby, Australia. It was made of the lethal asbestos cement!

The dog was nice but hated the postman who came by motorbike. It was always a race between the bike flat tack uphill and the dog chasing him.

Dutch News. “Us and Them.”

November 10, 2012

Annemarie van Gaal: Developing countries

Thursday 08 November 2012

Developing countries are catching up fast. Development aid can be more of a hindrance than a help, writes Annemarie van Gaal

We are cutting the development aid budget by €1bn a year and this is a good thing. The inequality in the world is no longer a matter of ‘us’, the industrialised world, and ‘them’, the third-world countries. Inequality is mainly a problem within the countries themselves and throwing money at it is not going to solve it. If anything, it will make it worse.

In 1990 the Dutch gave massively to ‘Help the Russians through the winter’, as the slogan had it. We were bombarded daily with images of desperate Russians in empty shops, shivering children and long queues outside soup kitchens. Sonja Barend hosted a programme from a shabby little studio in Moscow and the Dutch donated generously. The whole thing was a great success and the Russians were ‘saved’.

Free market

In fact, there was no lack of food in Russia. The only problem the country was struggling with was its rapid development. Russia was emerging from a communist regime and had trouble adapting to the free market. Under communism, goods were produced and trucks trundled back and forth according to a fixed route. Nobody asked whether the goods were actually answering a demand or whether the trucks were going to the right place.

Moreover, Russian officials had no intention of giving up their comfortable positions, so they preferred to keep the food-laden trucks waiting at customs for weeks instead of promoting a quicker flow. The real problem was a lack of compassion from the haves for the have nots, the division of wealth and the inequality between the different layers of Russian society itself. No amount of money was going to solve that.

Gap

On Ted.com Hans Rosling, one of the founders of Doctors without borders, compares our perception of third world countries with the reality on the ground. According to Rosling, third world countries are catching up fast. Some differences remain but these countries are developing at a much quicker rate than any western country.

He supports his comment with a graph showing child mortality on the y-axis and the gross national product on the x-axis. If you look at these data over time you will see that third world countries are gaining rapidly on the industrialised countries.

A century ago the gap between a country like Chile and the United States and Western Europe was huge. Right now, Chile’s economic welfare level is comparable to that of the US in 1957. But because the Chilean economy is growing at a faster rate than that of the US, Chile could well be replacing the US on Gosling’s graph in twenty or thirty years’ time. Ghana is now where Sweden was in 1900. In 1920 Sweden was where Egypt is now and in 1950 the Swedish economy was at the level Mexico is at right now.

Healthcare

Former third world countries in Asia, the Middle East and South America already have better healthcare systems than the industrialised nations. It won’t be long before they beat us economically as well

Rosling thinks the term ‘third world countries’ should be scrapped. If we didn’t hold them back by handing over our money – which ends up lining the wrong pockets and keeps the wrong people in power -these countries would develop a damn sight more quickly than many a western country. The greatest problem that these countries have to tackle is the difference between ‘us’ and ‘them’ within their own borders.

Annematie van Gaal is head of publishing company AM Meda. She is also a writer and television personality

© DutchNews.nl

Boeuf Tartare avec un Oeuf

March 20, 2011

Boeuf Tartare avec un oeuf.Posted on August 3, 2009 by gerard oosterman

The Geoffrey Russell Nightmare Special

The walk around Montpellier resulted in needing to have lunch so we dove into one of those intimate little lunch and dinner places that seem to appear as soon as one gets hungry, especially in France and even more so in the south of France.

We were shown our seat and left to ponder the menu including a wine list. The atmosphere was intimate with lighting subdued and with all sound reduced to a sotto voce. The garcon in white jacket and with the right un-pretentious manner, putting even the most belligerent customer at ease, came around our table to take the lunch order. The choice by Helvi was a sound one, a piece of top side beef with vegetables and ‘Pomme de Frites’. She was asked for her preferred choice of the ‘boeuf’ to be rare, medium or well-done.  Medium was her choice.

I had chosen the ‘Beef Tartar’, and told the garcon to have it ‘medium’ cooked as well. He laughed heartily but I did not really understand the finer points of his laughter until after the dish arrived. A plate of raw minced steak with a raw egg in the middle of it was what finally turned up on our dimly lit table. There was nothing cooked about it, never mind the ‘medium’ part of it.

I bravely finished the plate but Helvi sensed my lack of enthusiasm and asked if everything was alright. I confessed my total ignorance of beef tartar and thought that the dish was a kind of steak done rare. A bit Russian perhaps, with images of horse riding Tartars doing the cooking of the meat on a fire after a fierce battle deep inside the Crimea.  This embarrassing dereliction of culinary knowledge has been a source of endless mirth and enlightenment to our friends when the tale of medium cooked ‘beef tartar’ at Montpellier gets re-told by my beloved wife. It has been an ice breaker at many a social evening.

In the case of readers being surprised by this embarrassment, please consider that so many of my friends probably think nothing of eating vegemite, a food so horrendous to look at, so terrible to contemplate inside its brown jar, that I feel justified in making slight of this minor slip up.

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