Posts Tagged ‘Sardines’

The words just keep on moving.

August 14, 2020

IMG_0856French Sardines

French sardines and my birthday cards

There has been a spell between the last time I wrote down some words in a certain order. The times just keep on going and for every intention to get back to write, something came between the intention and the words. The birthday was a main event but reaching 80 has now passed and it feels the same. I keep a keen alert on moments of forgetfulness or lack of instant recall on names.  Many people of my age I noticed now are doing crosswords and even cryptograms to remain sharp and alert. In my Bradman Cricket café group called Stumps, we help each other out onto remaining alert by recalling movies we might have watched with details of actors’ names, or special events that were shared in times gone by.

We all nod in pleasurable contentment we still know the details of war battles or the Queen’s birthday, the capital of former Rhodesia or what it means to have fallen down a ha ha. When I go through my garden I try remember the names of the different plants that were put in, and at times I do struggle with the instant re-call, but when I let it go, through the sheer magic of my brain, the name will suddenly pop up. So, all is good and still in order.

However, a serious slip-up came to the fore this morning. My usual wake up routine, (as if this is of any importance to you, my dearest and most faithful followers), is to go downstairs and ignite the heating systems, before hopping back into bed to wait for the comfort of a warm and pre-heated wave of air to greet my face. This usually takes about half an hour which is spend, while still in-situ under the blankets, by checking any dire messages or the latest Covid-19 fatalities on my iPhone. It’s not exactly reassuring knowing that those of advanced years are by and large most likely to be locked within the latest fatalities.

So, to keep this short and reverting to the slip-up. As I finally got up, had a shower and got dressed, I noticed after carefully ambling downstairs, that I had left the milk outside the fridge. Can you believe this? I might have told you that instead of sipping Shiraz I now have taken to drinking warm milk with honey. I take one in the morning and one before going to bed. I hope it is not a sign of slipping. Perhaps giving up the Shiraz was not such a good thing. Mind you, I buy the top label of milk named A2, and is twice as expensive as normal milk. It is the best milk money can buy but of course it is not Shiraz. I don’t get a buzz out of this top-milk no matter how much honey is in it. (12%)

Was it a mistake and should I go back to Shiraz?

A normal day.

November 19, 2015

After all the sardine excitement of a few days ago topped by the glorious rack of lamb yesterday, it was time to calm down, take a breather and try have a normal day. One ought to be on the guard of excessiveness, even if it involves sardines.  As I got up this morning I was so resolute. Before even the first coffee, I went to the front of our compound and picked up both garbage cans. Earlier on I had heard them getting emptied. I have seen those modern garbage trucks in action.

They are fitted with extendable hydraulic forks that clamp the garbage can, hoist them up while also tipping them upside- down. They disgorge their contents inside a covered truck.  All this is done flawlessly in one swoop by just a single person who also drives the truck. The empty can gets gently put back on the nature strip.

With a bit of squinting and fogging ones glasses one could just imagine it being a kind of ballet where the prima donna gets picked up, turned over and then gently put back on the stage. A kind of  modern Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s ballet of The Sleeping Beauty. Other aficionados of watching garbage trucks in action might well prefer and dwell over his version of the Nut-Cracker suite.

In the old days, the garbage cans were made of zinc and it took a whole army of men to deal with them. I remember a kind of large heavy gate at the end of the truck compressing the garbage. It was the norm to leave a crate of brown ‘long necks’ for the garbos at Christmas time. This was a particular difficult period for garbage- men. Especially afterwards when all the remnants of the festivities would rank darkly inside those cans. The hot sun relentlessly cooking the prawn-shells and heaven knows what else that had putrefied. A  tough period. A cold beer was very welcome. That has now all gone. No more gifts for the garbo.

After I picked up the plastic lidded garbage cans, I dressed and made coffee. The plan was to tackle the snails in the garden for which we had to shop. We also had run out of garlic. Lately we have made the decision not to economise on garlic and get the Spanish variety. The Chinese garlic, with all respect for Mao, doesn’t cut the mustard. We make up to the Chinese by getting their Bok-Choy. There is just nothing like blanched fresh Bok-Choy glazed with some sesame oil. It really is the most delicious vegetable and at 99cents a bunch at Harris Farm Market, is a top buy. Go and get it.

I do hope farmers make good money. They deserve it. I can’t believe when dieticians complain that the poor get fat because they can’t afford good food. How cheap are vegetables, including carrots, potatoes,  beans. A packet of rice or pasta? Tinned sardines or tuna. Even fresh Australian salmon,  four fillets for $12.90? It is far more the intrusion of the Macdonald’s and their rotten food quarter pounder outlets, KFC is another one. Why are they still given development application approvals when Australia has one of the world’s highest numbers of those Fast food and take-outs Per Capita? It is Capitalism murder on a grand scale now. It is! How long before action is taken? It kills more than Isis. Far more.

Take it easy now, Gerard. remember a ‘normal’ day.


The sardines are coming your way.

November 15, 2015


The week-end was exceptionally good. We met up with our daughter her friend and our grandsons. Of course, much of it was also spent in reflections on the horrors of Paris and Beirut. Both Lebanon and France subject to so many people getting killed. It seems the media’s attention was focussed on France and much less so on Lebanon where over forty five people were also massacred. No national Lebanese colours draped over our harbour bridge or Parliament house. Hardly a word!

Our daughter’s boy friend is a well known chef who used to run the kitchen at Berowra Waters restaurant near Sydney. He now runs his own restaurant. He was going to cook lunch at our daughter’s place in Allawah. To give them both a free go, we took one of our grandsons to Miranda  Shopping Mall, a Mecca for shoppers and eating. We parked just outside the parking station on the street because in the parking station itself there are just too many trying to park and nerves get frayed and agitation is so often just below the surface. A kind of mini-terrorism classes seem to be growing at large Shopping Mall parking stations. Has anyone else noticed that too?

I decided to follow a terrific act of generosity and benevolence . Some days ago as we were getting out of the car at Aldi, a woman offered me her trolley. She was getting in the car and had finished her shopping. I quickly flashed her my two dollar coin. She refused with kindness. “No,” she said; “I want you to enjoy this as a small deed, a small gift,”, she added. I was so pleased that I returned the favour after we had done our shopping. The woman I gave our trolley to, looked somewhat perplexed. I quickly walked back to our car. I did not want to be seen as some Samaritan which I am not at all. I do hope she appreciated it. I remember many years ago when the Harbour Bridge toll still had to be paid in cash. The driver before me paid my toll.  I have never forgotten. There are kind people about.

While at the large Miranda Mall I managed to get a hard-cover linen bound cooking book on fish dishes. It was discounted to $ 5.99. I noticed a brilliant recipe for sardines. I told Helvi that we should now also try to get fresh sardines to practise the recipe. I bought a kilo of them!

Back to my daughter’s place, daughter and friend were almost ready with a lovely lunch of grilled lamb cutlets,  grilled Dutch  carrots and Dutch Kipfler potatoes. All that downed with a very fine bottle of Leeuwens Estate  wine. It was a great day.

After driving back home I decided to fillet the small sardines, take the back-bone out. Dust them with some flour and pepper and fill them with pine-nuts and spinach. We are going to have them tonight.

I will keep you informed.

Of Sardines between St Petersburg and UK’s Whitby

April 8, 2015
The Hermitage

The Hermitage

The week in St Petersburg was somewhat marred by a bout of intestinal hurry I suffered within minutes of entering The Hermitage Museum.  The origin  of this was perplexing as the night before we had enjoyed a terrific meal of genuine Russian fare. The borscht was part of it together with potato dumplings drowned in a rich sauce of red wine with lots of bay leaves, sage and pepper. As a side dish we had piroshkies.

Our dinner was very interesting in that, apart from the delicious food, it included a large Russian wedding party which intermittently  in between eating and imbibing copious Vodka would repeatedly shout gorko, gorko which actually means ‘bitter, bitter’ but bitter would only cease if the groom and bride would get up an make bitter sweet in a long-time kiss and more kiss. This would happen every ten minutes or so. The noise was terrific and soon the bitter vodka was made sweet. The bride looked lovely and very happy.

But back to this annoying intestinal hurry the day after and inside The Hermitage.. After asking for toilet directions they kept pointing towards the distance. Anyone who has been inside the Hermitage would know it takes about a week to walk from beginning to end. I did not have that much time so I started running through gilded room through gilded room. I lost care and interest. Monets, Manets, Gauguins were rushed past. Things were percolating madly to unbearable levels. I was in great panic. I remember the sad look on  Rembrandt’s The return of The Prodigal Son, the father’s eyes following me as I ran past. The moments of such great importance now  in total avoidance and ignorance of the world’s greatest art. Can you believe it?

Whitby? Captain Cook's cottage

Whitby? Captain Cook’s cottage

Final, triumph…the toilet is in sight. It was as huge as the rest of this museum.  The reader would know that Russian communism at that time was in flux but had as yet not changed with holding on to having full employment. A large seated lady overseeing the comings and goings in this huge toilet was part of this full employment. Ladies seated on chairs were everywhere in Russian society. The toilet I was in did not have a door or perhaps not a functioning door. I don’t know or remember if all the toilet cubicles were like that but mine was not door inclusive. I could not care less, I was so happy. Afterwards I calmly sauntered back and took some time to atone to The Prodigal Son  for my strange hurried behaviour, all was forgiven. The Monet’s looked so peaceful now too.

All good things come to past as so did my Russian trip. The time for departure to London had come. We all said goodbye and I made my way to the airport to fly back to Moscow and from there connect with a flight to London. Alas, the flight was delayed. Aeroflot was apologetic but made good with a ravishing lunch dish of freshly grilled sardines and salad. Butterflied sardines deeply grilled are my favourite. Soon after the sardines we took off and within an hour or so landed at Moscow. The connecting flight to London again was not forthcoming. I suppose with Russia in political flux or even without flux, patience gets rewarded. Soon a lunch was provided for the traveller. I was somewhat surprised to again be given the grilled sardines. They weren’t the last ones!

When we were finally put on board to London and dinner arrived soon. I had already enjoyed a couple of very fine Georgian white wines. As the food trolley slowly made its way towards my seat a familiar waft came towards me. You guess right, sardines again. I could only surmise a rich Russian oligarch  had gone long on the sardine option market and was forced to take the stock of a hundreds of tonnes of sardines at a loss. This loss was now shared by putting the whole of Russia on sardines including passengers on Aeroflot.

I arrived at Heathrow’s airport and was met by an Australian friend who took me to a house of a Lord and book-publisher at Shepherd Bush. Life can be very strange, even stranger than fiction. Who could imagine I would sleep in an English Lord’s house being full of sardines?

Robyn Hood Bay.

Robyn Hood Bay.

The Energy Interview.

May 30, 2014


It had to come about. Australians are according to the stats the world’s most proliferate energy users, per capita, in tandem also as being the fattest, we had a University Research interview about the former at our home. This was scheduled for 1pm yesterday and I can’t wait for the next study on our relentless surge in fatness. It seems, that all escape routes are now being pursued. We will not be allowed to get away with either.

We have always been keen to try and reduce consumption of energy. Much more so out of necessity than out of a moral obligation to supress our ecological hoof print, which I believe is also one of the highest. (per capita) We needed our bills to calm down and match our income. Generally sufficient to buy bread, butter, eggs and hot Hungarian salami. Since a few days ago I discovered a huge bunch of Bok Choi at Harris Food Farm Markets for the mouth watering price of $0.99c. We are almost daily feasting on this Bok Choi with carrots and Mozart’s requiem.

We do try and eat fish at least once a week. The omega 3 fatty acids in copious ingestion of sardines with the occasional late night raid in the fridge of a slice of smoked salmon also often feature in this Opa and Oma family, even though H (Oma) excludes herself from any smoked stuff. We do try and mini-use energy but the bills slowly but surely are sneaking up, but with the resolute resolve also not let it get us beaten.

I snoop around late in the evening switching off anything that is still glowing. The thermostats on the heaters are turned down another degree during the day to 17c and the electric blankets are on 2 instead of 3 previously and reduced to ten minutes before bedtime instead of the previous winter of fifteen.. I chucked the electric water jug years ago and boil just enough for 2 cups on an old kettle with a whistle. We have gas cooking and instantaneous gas hot water set at 48c.

Apart from sitting in the dark I don’t know what else we can do. Perhaps sit closer together and share a single light for reading.?

Anyway; here is the synopsis of what the interview is about;