Monday, May 29, 2006

Stepping Outside One's Comfort Zone

It's easy to become complacent, satisfied and comfortable in one's own environment chosen to suit one's own needs and desires. Last night I attended a dinner party with people I barely knew. It was held in the home of the hostest. Four other guests were in attendance, one of whom I'd never met before last evening.. I made up the fifth in the party. The invitation was extended to me last week. To be honest with you, I felt a little trapped after I'd accepted but I knew I had to go through with it. So in the days leading up to yesterday, I'd worked myself into a bit of a lather not really wanting to go. I had no 'out'. I decided to 'grin and bear it', so to speak. I didn't know the people well at all and wondered at my invitation. Promptly at 6pm, I was picked up in style in a new Audi...I began to drool! Oh! Yes...Audis are glorious! When my golden goose lays its golden egg, I'm going to spoil myself and purchase one! No...not a Audi! I do digress....

Taking a deep breath, I prepared myself for what lay ahead. Stepping out of my 'comfort zone' and the Audi into a 'foreign' living room, I was warmly greeted. As the five of us gathered around the fireplace, champagne or scotch in hand (some of the best of both...Moet and Laphroaig), canapes at the fore, the conversation and laughter began to flow freely and immediately. I began to relax, shrugging off my shyness and 'going with the flow'. I suddenly felt at ease and comfortable in the company of virtual strangers. In a little while, we were ushered to a beautifully set dinner table with candles in the centre and classical music playing gently in the background. There the conversation and laughter continued over a delicious meal. The evening was a success.

Arriving back to my home, my sanctuary, I wondered why I'd been uptight about venturing out for an evening with the 'unknown'. It had proven to be so pleasant. I've spent my working life amongst the public, being gregarious, lively and full of's so easy to revert back into one's shell...sometimes we, or me, in particular, need that 'push' to step outside the 'circle of comfort'. Meeting new people, sharing new views (and sometimes similar views) is all part of life. It should be embraced...I must learn to embrace it more often.
It's time to relax...the sun has gone down....
Let's have a glass of wine as we sit around the kitchen table. While doing so, here's a snack for us to share while we chew over today's events.

Goat Cheese Tartlets:Blend together 2 cups goat cheese, 1/2tsp salt, 1 large egg, a pinch of pepper, 2tbs thickened cream. Fold in 1tbl finely chopped chives and 1/4 cup drained, chopped sundried tomatoes. (You could add finely chopped bacon). Fill mini-tart pastry shells, either homemade or bought with the filling. Bake in preheated 220C oven for 10-12 minutes. Top with chopped chives, diced capsicum, tiny rolls of prosciutto or olive halves.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Interesting Point..."Why films make us the bad quys"....Andrew Bolt...'Sunday Mail' 28th May 2006

Bolt's column, as usual, strikes at the crux. Why does Hollywood shy away from making movies trashing Islam? They show no such fear when making movies such as 'The Da Vinci Code'...adapted from the fictional bestselling book by Dan Brown, which makes the Catholic Church the villian, in turn attacking Christianity. The moviemakers tippy-toe around in fear of offending Muslims. Poor old Salman Rushdie still lives under the cloud of a 'fatwa' from ayatollahs upset by his 1988 novel, 'The Satanic Verses', a book which is similar to Brown's novel, but instead of questioning the Bible, Rushdie had the audacity to question the Koran! A couple of years ago a Dutch film director was murdered because he made a 10 minute film which upset the Muslims. I doubt that Ron Howard, the director of 'The Da Vinci Code' or Tom Hanks, the lead actor, will have to worry about suffering similar fates at the hands of Christian extremists! Mike Moore got applauded for his traitorous documentary, 'Fahrenheit 9/11', George Clooney, plaudits for his 'Syriana' that makes US oilmen villians and Hussein-controlled Iraq, the innocents.

Yes, Andrew Bolt's column is worth reading. He makes a very interesting point...'the enemy is within us'...we are treating the Muslim extremists/terrorists with kid gloves, altering our lives and ideology to pander to their radical extremism. Maybe it is time for Hollywood to stand up and be counted! Show some guts and make movies showing the world what really is going on. When 140 people are slaughtered and two embassies burned to the ground over a Danish cartoon lampooning the Islamic prophet, something is drastically wrong! It was damn satirical cartoon, for goodness sake, similar to those that appear each and every day in our newspapers...the sensitivity of these people astounds me! I just wonder how 'true' this sensitivity really is!

We're going to have to shake our heads to clear away the cobwebs clouding our thinking and views. Complacency has no place. Apathy is pathetic.

Friday, May 26, 2006

I Can't Take My Eyes Off You!

World Cup fever has hit hard and heavy, it would seem, though I'm not affected by it in the least. Soccer does little for me but not so the thousands and thousands (millions!) of fans throughout the world. In Germany, these contact lenses are for sale to fans whose heroes kick and chase that little round black and white ball all over the paddock! I will, of course, be cheering the Socceroos on to victory...being a true blue Aussie...I like to see us win in all events in which we partake! I cried tears of maroon on Wednesday night when Qld went down by one point...well, two really...if you want to be pedantic! All is not lost...there are still two games to go in the series! I'll have to put in more training, I think, because I was exhausted the day after Wednesday's game!

Now on to things of a more fun, social nature. RSVP are having a party night at the 'Pig 'n Whistle' in Indooroopilly for the 'baby boomers'...anyone 40 years and over are invited to attend. It's on 1st July and starts around 7.30pm. $8.00 entrance fee before 8.30pm and $10.00 thereafter. I should gather together some of my single mates, one of whom is a member of RSVP online dating...she's been wanting me to join for ages but I've shied away from doing so, being the 'shy' person that I am! It sounds like it could be a fun night, though. It might be time to don my 'glad rags' and head to the city for a night of debauchery! Did I say that?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

My Mumma Told Me There'd Be Days Like This...

John Howard arrived back from his overseas junket yesterday morning. By early afternoon, he headed into the National Security Council Meeting. Seemingly, without pausing for breath, he forged ahead fielding questions from left, right and centre (and answered with knowledgeable aplomb) and, most importantly, immediately dispatched troops to East Timor. Like him or lump him, it must be admitted he is quite an incredible individual. Not many of his age, or younger even, would be able to handle such an exhausting schedule.

Troubled times lay ahead in Dili...let's hope with the arrival of our troops the unrest and violence ceases. However, it's not going to be easy to achieve this, unfortunately. Nobody ever said creating a new nation would be an easy task but I guess one has dreamed that for once it would be. This is not to be. Portugal troops will be arriving in East Timor to assist next week. Let's hope reconciliation can be reached without the loss of more lives. Another 'pipe dream'...yes, probably! East Timor is in crisis and there appears to be no easy solution.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Food for Thought:

I read an article in one of the weekend papers with the headline "Home Dinner Parties Have Run Their Course".
Not with me, they haven't. I much prefer home entertaining than going out to dine. Planning a dinner party, luncheon or party is fun. I usually start way ahead of the date of the planned event, making notes, choosing the format and menu. After many years working in the hospitality industry in one form or the other...working long, long hours and sometimes 24/7, I enjoy being at home. I feel relaxed within my own confines. Conversations flow more freely and openly. Plus it's fun serving the food I've prepared. To see satisfied guests gives me pleasure. Now, if only I could find a perfect solution to the cleaning up afterwards! I never do it when guests are present...I hate that...I'd rather do it myself, by myself.

Maybe the reason for the swing to dining out more is the younger women of today are unable to cook! It's a paradox...both parties work to enable them to buy or build fancy new homes with kitchens displaying every modern appliance available, indoor and outdoor entertainment areas with fancy stainless steel barbecues which rarely get used. I guess 'displaying' is the operable word here. "Keeping up with the Jones'" can be an expensive game. The kitchen is the heart of the home...I'm wondering if many homes have hearts these days or are they just 'stop-off' places to catch a few hours sleep between racing off to work and arriving back home exhausted.

I'm really hoping there are still some grandmothers out there who enjoy passing down to their grandchildren the art of home cooking...or are the grandmothers off being part of the 'Grey Brigade' flitting around the country in their mobile homes! Ummm...that's not a bad idea!

So...yes...I do prefer dining at home. Plus expecting guests is a good motivator to get the housework done and the house in order! Although, I must admit, it always looks like cyclone's been through it after the event!
Bully for him! I'm Not Afraid of Him...I Pity Him!

I'm referring to Osama Bin Laden. Who? You may well ask. Once more he proves what a coward he is. I feel so sorry for those who follow his philosophy of life. And that is really saying something for I feel sorry for so few. But, he...yes, I do feel sorry for this weak man, because he hasn't got the guts to face the rest of the world. He remains hidden away, unable to stand up and face the rest of the world. He has chosen an easy existence and believes, albeit mistakenly, that he will be held up as a 'messiah'. Poor fool him! And even more foolish are those who follow him and hang on his worthless words. What does he have to say? Nothing! He is a clown without a circus in which to perform. And clowns, we know, within themselves, are sad and sorry persons.

I've often thought about those I would like to have at my table as dinner guests. I extend the invitation to Bin Laden. I'm brave enough to attend at my table..I know he isn't. But, then...of course...I my dinner table, those who are in attendance have the right to be. To be free and have the right to express one's self...the right to have fun...the right to never quit...the right to never stoop to the lowest depth of human behaviour...the right to have moral integrity. I don't believe Bin Laden has any rights...he's made his bed...and he has only himself to blame. I think he knows that already...otherwise, why would he hide himself away? It's not because he has values or he has an honest belief in himself and mankind...he is distorted. He has a distorted view of the world...a view he wishes all to share. Sorry, will never happen! The only people who will follow you are those as ignorant as yourself.

Our virtue is our have none. We fight for our do not have you have lost the fight will never win the future you desire. We have already won that battle and are prepared to move on! It's time you put away your toys like a good little boy. It's time you lived in a world of responsible beings. Somehow, I doubt you are able to do, stay in your cave. It's where you deserve to be...and you are not missed.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Quote of the Day: "Some people think football is a matter of life and death...I can assure them it is much more serious than that."

At least tonight it is...the 'State of Origin' is on...Game 1 of series of 3. I wonder why I'm wearing the colour 'maroon'? Yes...yes...I'm a 'Maroon' supporter...of course. Being Queensland born and bred how could I be otherwise? With Meninga as coach, I believe this new, young team have a good chance of setting the record straight. Tonight I'll be glued to the television watching the game, cheering my team onwards to victory!

Some say there is too much sport on television...but I don't see anything wrong with watching's the playing of it that's dangerous! I've never excelled in any particular sport, though I have played and enjoyed playing many. As a tennis player, I make a good golfer and as a squash player I make a good basketballer! In diving, I made a splash, in swimming I was reasonable and at surfing I 'hung five'.
A Glutton for Punishment!
The non-illustrious ex-leader of the Labor Party and 'would-be-if-he-could've-been-prime minister', Mark Latham has written another book! Who cares? I know I won't be searching bookshops for it. Also his ' The Latham Diaries' is being released as a paperback in August with his, no doubt, vitriolic response to the media and critics of the hardback version. I wonder if he also slams those of us who couldn't be bothered buying it, let alone waste our time reading it! Will this man never go away? He must have the hide of a rhinocerous and an incredibly delusional self belief. His own ex-party distance themselves from him. His social circle must be the size of a pin head! His new 'book' is very interestingly being heralded as 'non-fiction'...that's a perfect example of an oxymoron, don't you agree?

Monday, May 22, 2006

'Tie me kangaroo down, sport!'

Both PMs appear to be hiding their disappointment. Feder in not meeting the kangaroo he expected and Howard in not meeting the leprechaun he, in turn, expected to meet. Feder looks like he's thinking, "You tricked me! Get me out of here!"
John Howard's thoughts, no doubt were, "I wanna go home! I wanna go home! Costello's on my trail! Lemme outta!"

Well, he got his wish...he's cutting short his overseas junket after his disappointment in not viewing a special performance of "Riverdance". As far as the 'blarney stone' goes...well, stone the crows, it wasn't even offered to him!

All things to do with 'leadership' will be interesting over the coming months. Will he or won't he? Costello's smirk will turn into a grimace as he continues to chase his elusive tail. Is it time for Howard to step aside and let Costello flex his political muscles? Little Johnnie will run his own race. He's politically savvy and when he believes the time is right, he will make his move...not before. While Labor is still in leadership disarray (and I personally believe it long as Beazley is leader) would be a clever move on Howard's part. To have a new Liberal leader comfortably settled into the top job before the next election would be a smart choice in the game of political chess. In saying that, I'm not 'urging' Howard to step down but if this is to be the case, then perhaps sooner is better than later.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Quote of the Day: "I'd gone so far out on a limb about my feelings, but I hadn't understood I was standing out there alone"

How many times has that happened to you? Just another embarrassing moment to add to the many? Never mind, worse things can happen, I'm sure. The above quote is stolen from Carrie of "Sex in the City" fame. Some shows are dearly missed and that's one I miss. It was funny, wise, witty, raw, to the point...and oh! Those clothes! Too infrequently a television show comes along bringing with it such colourful characters. Wonderful characters who become like friends. You look forward to seeing them again and again to hear the stories of their spirited adventures. And then the show closes and they go away. It's like you've lost your friends...all in one hit!

I love a well-written, expertly-crafted script. They're few and far between. I'm a huge fan of any show created by David E. Kelley...for those reasons. His scripts are always quirky, funny, empathetic, clever and are capable of tugging at one's heart strings at the right moment.

I don't know why or how I got to writing about the initial intention was to share with you a recipe. I guess I should continue with my original intentions! Maybe I should rename it "Digression Lamb"!

Lay one medium-sized, boned and trimmed leg of lamb on benchtop. Prepare a stuffing by soaking 80g dried apricots, 80g pitted prunes in water for 30 minutes. Strain and reserve liquid. Chop apricots, prunes and two shallots. Mix with 2 cups fresh white breadcrumbs and some fresh rosemary leaves. Mix in juice and grated rind of 1/2 orange, salt and pepper. Stuff leg of lamb and pin end flaps over with skewers. Tie meat firmly with string into a roll. Cover surface of lamb with cranberry sauce. Sprinkle with fresh rosemary leaves. Place on a rack in baking pan with a little water in the base. Roast on centre shelf of a 200C oven for 55-60 minutes. Remove meat from oven. Set aside in a warm place. Meanwhile, make a sauce by pouring off the fat from baking dish, deglaze with Grand Marnier (have a sip or two for yourself!) and the soaking liquid. Simmer for 5 mins, stirring well. Serve with sliced lamb.

Doesn't that sound nice?

It Could Have Been Handled Better!

I watched the television interview with the rescued miners, Todd Russell and Brant Webb last night
. The interview, although very emotive, gave me the impression it had been hurriedly put together and lacked a certain kind of professionalism. For the amount Channel 9 paid for the rights, I think they could've presented it better. I also feel it was a very low blow Ch. 9 struck at 'Sunrise' host, David Koch. This kind of nonsense is not warranted and definitely wasn't professional. Anyone who watched 'Sunrise' the morning of the miners' rescue knows what happened and why Kochie entered Todd Russell's ambulance. Koch has had to repeat, often, his explanation of what happened that's only the ignorant and ill-informed who are firing these low shots at Kochie. It's the same old story...people only wish to hear or see what they wish to hear and see. Koch wasn't out of line going into Russell's ambulance that morning...Channel 9 are way out of line the way they've behaved over this. On the other hand...they've given Kochie and the 'Sunrise' crew tremendous publicity!

Don't get me wrong, I have no 'beef' with Channel 9...I watch many of their programmes...but they're acting very childishly over this issue. They're not going to win more viewers if they feel they have to resort to these kinds of tactics.

Why is it, I wonder people find it so much easier to criticise than to praise?

Friday, May 19, 2006

And the merry-go-round, goes 'round and 'round...and 'round again!

The 'culture of fear' continues as does alcohol-induced violence and child rapes within Aboriginal communities. (We know it happens in the white community, too...but it's a easier for whites to escape from the abuse than it is for indigenous women and children living within Aboriginal communities).

'Political correctness' has outlasted its welcome. It's never been welcomed by me. So what if the arrested and jailed perpetrators of these despicable crimes choose to commit suicide in jail? That's their choice, so be it! They chose to commit the crime. It's 'political correctness' gone totally wrong and overboard to keep these mongrels out of jail. They must be jailed for their crimes. Their victims must be have the right to live a life without fear of retribution. A decade ago the Royal Commission into Deaths in Custody found jail for an indigenous person should be the last resort! Unbelievable, but true!

The 'talk' about ending violence in indigenous communities goes on and on as it has done for years. Let's take our heads out of the sand....let's throw the boomerang so it doesn't keep on returning! The problems have to be eradicated, once and for all. The proposed 'summit' is just more rhetoric...over and over and over again it goes...over and over and over again nothing is solved. Over and over and over again the rape of innocent children, the beatings of the women, the murders continue unchecked!

Law and order have to be strongly implemented and upheld. Those who do not abide by the law, are tried, convicted and jailed if found to be guilty. It's black and white...(yes, pun is intended!) No political-correctness...just plain old 'law and order'. Do the the time!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Now for something light!
It's almost like a sketch out of Monty Python! Conservationists cleaning up Britain's highest mountain, Ben Nevis, came upon a piano under a pile of rocks at the top of the mountain! But wait...there's more!

A guy has claimed it as his being a product of youthful folly! Back in 1971, Kenneth Campbell, now 64, had nothing to do one day, so over a cup of tea (more likely a bottle of Scotch!), in his wisdom, he decided to lug the 100kg piano to the top of the mountain. On reaching the summit, he set about playing 'Scotland The Brave'! William Wallace would have been proud of him

It would appear he didn't have difficulty carrying a tune!

He did it for charity and gained an entry in the Guinness Book of Records for his effort. He probably gained a back brace, as well!

Private Kovco's case is not going away. For those of you not aware of the story, the link below will fill you in on the details.,20867,19182581-
Today's quote: "We know what happens to people who stay in the middle of the road. They get run over!"

I'll share with you a recipe given to me a few years ago by a good friend, who is still a good friend! Grab a piece of rump about 1-1/2 inches thick, with the fat cut off. (My friend used flank when he prepared it for me) You can use eye of round, blade or even skirt. In a glass, pyrex or china dish add the following...two parts red wine (shiraz or cabernet sauvignon) to one part soy sauce to one part Worcestershire sauce. Add 1/4 cup raw sugar, 1 large onion, diced, crushed or powdered ginger, crushed garlic, cumin, pinch of cayenne, paprika and ground black pepper. Place the slab of meat into the marinade, ensuring it's covered well. Let it stand in the fridge for no less than 12 hours, no more than 36. When it comes time to cook, fire up the barbecue. Sip on a glass or two of red while the marinated meat is cooking. Don't over-cook it...medium/medium rare would be perfect. To serve, cut the meat into slices and place on a warmed platter. Chat potatoes in parsley/garlic butter and a mixed tossed salad are great accompaniments. The rest is up to you!


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

What on earth is going on now? It's beyond belief! More bungling in the Private Kovco case! Derryn Hinch can't be blamed for running with the information! It's a 'journos' dream' to be handed hot property such as that disk! The Defence Department has a lot to answer over the death of Private Kovco, from beginning to end (it appears the end is not yet in sight in this case!) His family must be absolutely furious with this latest unbelievable event, and rightly so. What else will they have to deal with? This is shocking business. It's turning into 'slapstick comedy'...if it wasn't so serious and so embarrassing, it would be laughable!

On the brighter side...our beautiful little Sophie continues to show her fighting spirit...smiling and chatting with her family, watching the Wiggles...what a wonderful child she is! As someone said on 'Sunrise' this morning...this child must be destined for greater things. Let's hope so and let's hope her little body won't ever again be put through the pain and suffering its already had to endure in her short life. She's our true little Aussie angel. We can all learn from our 'little princess'. My tears flowed freely when I heard of her second horrific accident, but I can't help but smile when I see her beautiful little face, so full of childish hope with wisdom in her eyes, beyond her years.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Howabout this for a classic headline!

'Elderley Man Violently Beaten to Death'
The text goes on to say: 'Police initially thought the elderly gentleman had been shot', even I could tell the difference between being beaten and shot!! I wonder where they did their forensic training!!
An editorial in today's Australian newspaper is very distressing: quote -

"Save the Children: Monstrous crimes are being committed against indigenous Australian women and children, crimes too long ignored because their victims are uniquely disadvantaged. They are crimes that give lie to the obscene orthodoxy that purports to protect all Aborigines by exonerating some of them from full responsibility for their beliefs and actions.

Men get away with hideous crimes because witnesses are intimidated into staying silent.

Last year a 55 year-old man, convicted of having sex with a 14 year-old girl was initially sentenced to serve just a month in prison! The sentence was increased on appeal....." This is but a brief excerpt of the Editorial.

When will these depraved acts be dealt with severity, with no leniency, no excuses such as 'Aboriginal Culture' etc? How long will these violent acts against indigenous women and children be allowed to continue? Innocent babies are victims of these predators! I'm sick and tired of hearing from the 'politically correct'. I'm angry that the so-called 'do-gooders', do nothing! It's not being 'racist' when demanding action be taken...action that must be taken firmly and swiftly to rectify this deporable situation that's been going on for years and years, no matter who's in power. As a country, we give away millions in aid to 'Third World Countries'...and I don't disagree with that, but for Heaven's Sake...let's fix our own backyard, first! These atrocities are going on in our own country every day. We turn a blind eye to them! After a few 'tutt-tutts' and 'Oh! How horrible it is!'....nothing gets done! Women and children in the Aboriginal settlements are living in constant fear of reprisals! I don't understand how or why the arms of the law and government are tied! These atrocities are happening in every State of Australia, including the Northern Territory. Indigenous communities have to be under the control of the Federal government. The Federal Government, in turn, must immediately put into action, methods to change the current situation for a safe future for these persecuted women, children and babies. The men have to be educated into a new way of conducting their lives. Fear of 'standing up and being counted'...the fear of speaking the truth in law courts must be replaced with pride, dignity and courage. The situation MUST change. This is 2006!!! Hiding wrongs, never fixes them! Sweeping paedophilia and domestic violence 'under the rug' will not mend this deporable situation! Tribal law must not continue to be allowed to rule.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Quote of the Day: (Poetic license applies)......'Like Odysseus, the Prime Minister looks wiser when he's seated.'

The above came to mind after seeing the pic of Howard walking the streets of Washington! Somebody should tell him to come home and see his tailor!

Time to change the subject and share a recipe with you...just for something completely different!

Grab a couple of boned chicken breasts (pretend you're cooking for two!) a little oil and butter into pan. Add chicken breasts and turn a couple of times (the chicken breasts...not yourself!) Add a couple of garlic cloves, finely chopped or better still, crushed, some powdered chicken stock, a sprinkle of white pepper and a few splashes or more of dry white wine together with juice from canned asparagus spears. Cook and reduce liquid. Throw in about six fresh asparagus spears. Pour in some cream....reduce and then add about six canned asparagus spears. Serve with suitable vegetables of your choice or a tossed mixed salad! Open another bottle of wine because you've finished the one you opened to add to the chicken dish while preparing it!

I'm a bit late posting this morning...other things have taken up my time since I arose. I was woken early by Remy, my male cat, who likes to land heavily upon me as I sleep (or as I pretend to be). I try to ignore him as long as I can but when I don't respond to his efforts to get me out of bed, he plonks his heavy black and white self upon me and there he lies with his face about two inches from mine! He makes it's impossible to ignore him! And, I love him for it! He's better than any alarm clock, but I'm not sure if he's cheaper! I'm going to send both he and his sister out to work, soon!! It's time they contributed to the family coffers! I'm not sure about what hours they will work, they do spend the majority of their time sleeping! Maybe they could get a job testing the comfort values of mattresses!

Illegal Poachers Make Themselves At Home: What's new? In the late eighties I went up to Karumba. 'Illegals' were squatting in amongst the mangrove areas where they'd set up their camps. They fished our waters illegally. The government was aware of it and did nothing. The front page of the Sunday Mail featured the story...but nothing eventuated from was thrown away into the 'too hard basket'!

So today in 'The Australian', the story reappears...recycled! All talk and no action! We have a vast coastline and not the manpower to maintain, control and guard it. Were any allowance made for this in the latest budget? I think not.

It's time to get serious about's past time! Way past time!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

"Let us outta here!" Cried the Aussie kids
when they heard about the possibility of
Australia being used as a global dumping
ground for spent nuclear fuel.

"Which one is me?"

Or perhaps,

"Did you see that tree move?"

Don't I know you from somewhere? You're a long way from home!"

I didn't name this site "Kitchen Connection" for its connection to food, only.

The kitchen, I believe, is the main hub of the home. It's the room where many major decisions are discussed, accepted or thrown out. It's where family and friends gather to spin their yarns, to tell their tales of the day's/week's events. It's a room where advice on life and living is sought and given. It's a 'learning room'. The lessons learned go with you for the rest of your life, opening up an inquisitive mind to seek more knowledge, not only about cooking, but about living. It's the heart of the home, no matter how humble or grand that home may be.

I never cease to be amazed when looking at plans or pictures of new, expansive/expensive homes to see that little thought or planning has been put into the kitchen. I suppose it's a reflection on today's society. I know if I was building a new home, I would plan the home around the kitchen!! (And I would definitely have a large walk-in pantry! And, not 'perhaps'...I would have a small cold room!) It always appears to me the architects completely forget the kitchens...they're appear to be an 'after-thought'. "Oh! We forgot the kitchen!" All 'outside show' and no care or attention to the inner soul of the home.

Years ago when living at Noosa, an architect friend of mine built a new, upmarket home for he and his wife...and that's exactly what happened! He forgot about the kitchen! I'll never forget attending the 'house-warming' party and being completely 'gob-smacked' when I saw the postage stamp-sized kitchen with the laundry squeezed in beside it (he'd forgotten about it, too!) I should have excused him, I guess as he forgot a dinner engagement one evening. When I rang him he had just finished eating his dinner (this I discovered later) and he hurriedly arrived at my place to then proceed, very politely, to eat another meal! His wife was away in Adelaide at the time and I felt sorry for him so had invited him for a home-cooked meal. He had two that night! Flustered, he did, however, arrive clutching a bottle Chivas Regal which we enjoyed! His wife wasn't too pleased when she arrived back from Adelaide to find her bottle of CR had evaporated! It had been a special gift to her! I was not to know that! Anyway, a few months later she ran off with the guy who'd originally given her the Chivas I kinda figured 'what goes 'round, comes 'round!'

Well, a new week had I must become motivated...I have work to do! I put it off all last week but now I have no more excuses to offer!
Sunday, glorious Sunday. I've not seen nor spoken to another human being. (No complaint from me...I love it!) I've spoken to my cats who've kept me company all day, snuggled up inside my cabin with me. I've spent the day reading, catching up on a couple of tv shows I'd taped...'Cracker' and 'Tipping the Velvet'. Left-overs were the menu of the day, together with grapes, a mandarin or two in the morning. I love spending my Sundays as I've done today. (All I need is my 'knight in shining armour' to find me and share it with me!). I know the day was busy outside as the once-a-month markets were on across the way. I could hear the cars of the madding crowds...crowds I was more than content to stay away from!

My mellow mood was shattered for a short while today, however. The printer loaned to me for a few weeks by a friend while he and his wife are overseas refused to print! (And still is on strike at this moment!) I'm glad I don't have a sledge hammer at such times as I'm very tempted to use it! I have no idea why it won't do the job it's built to do but it refuses to obey my commands! I'm not going to let it get the better of the words of Scarlett O'Hara...'Tomorrow is another day!' I'll consider whether it deserves my patience...or it's going to try my patience and I'll be in search of the sledge hammer! Naturally, the printer will be reprieved as it doesn't belong to me!! It doesn't know how lucky it is!

I wonder if the government is ever going to get its act together and fix the health department? I'm sure I'm not alone being mystified at their lack of action...sure, there's lots of talk but no concrete action is being taken...Beattie flew at taxpayers expenses to try to recruit overseas doctors...but it's a bit like locking the gate after the horse has bolted.

I'm forever gob-smacked by decisions (or non-decisions!) made by politicians...Bjelke Peterson was laughed at during his reign (no pun intended) for wanting to direct water from the a tropical north (and the gulf) during the heavy rains of the monsoon season. If he'd been give the go-ahead to do this back then, none of the water problems now being experienced in south-east Queensland would exist. Take the wet season up north this year as a perfect example. Politicians are too busy taking care of their over-inflated egos and their power plays to do the job we, the voters, voted them in to do. Promises made but never fulfilled...a familiar tune, isn't it?

You're not going to believe this...the printer, hours after I tried to get it to print, has decided to do the job allocated!! Perhaps it read what I wrote about and has an ingrained fear of sledge hammers!!

By the way...I know all our thoughts have been with little Sophie Delizio since the shocking news was aired about her horrific, unbelievable accident. The sweet little angel has gone through so much in her short life. She's such a beautiful little girl and her fighting spirit is awesome and inspiring. If you wish to send her thoughts and wishes for her speedy recovery, look at this She will come through this...this little girl who has stolen all our hearts.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

It's early morning as I write...I woke around 1am and decided to catch up on yesterday's newspaper! Crazy...I know! But I think I'll catch a couple of hours more sleep before finally getting up for the new day. I don't want to even think about food as I had a couple of guests for lunch yesterday and we dined long and well! Great conversation went back, forth and across the table. Some excellent wines were imbibed and far too much food was usual. However, it was all very nice. I served a antipasto/i platter beforehand and then hasselbach potatoes, oven-roasted Roma tomatoes and mushrooms. Both of which had been marinated in balsamic vinegar, virgin olive oil, fresh rosemary, oregano, basil and marjoram...with garlic thrown in for good measure and flavour, of course! A filo pie filled with a creamy chicken, asparagus and corn mixture served with a tossed mixed salad of mesclun, my home-grown cherry tomatoes, Lebanese cucumber, Spanish onion (United Nations Salad!) and bocconcini. For dessert, we enjoyed Creme Brulee accompanied by a jelly made with halved peaches and apricots and the juices thereof. At cheese platter followed. Now you understand why I have no appetite today! Lunch was a lengthy affair...slow and leisurely.

I await the delivery of the Sunday paper...hopefully when checking the Lotto numbers, mine will have come up...for once! I live in a perpetual dream, only to have it rudely shattered every Sunday morning! But I rise up again and continue the dream for the following week! One of these times, the Lotto folk will draw the correct numbers! Never lose faith, I say!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Imagine this....

A child of 12 in Britain is about to become a mother! She fell pregnant when 11 years old by a 15 year old boy during a night of heavy drinking! The girl smokes 20 cigarettes a day and says they don't affect the unborn baby and 'she can give up if she wants to'. Where on earth has this young girl's mother been? Apparently, she's proud of her daughter! She may well be...but is she proud of herself? Another burden to add to the dole lines! One more baby for the welfare agencies to look after, I suppose. What chance does this innocent, unborn baby have?
I guess that's what's meant by 'beefing it up!"

Andy Warhol's painting of a 'Soup Can' fetched $13.6m...time to save those used soup and baked bean recycling a whole new meaning!

Poor Paris Hilton launched her new video game and in doing so called it by the wrong name....I guess she also gives a new meaning to all those blonde jokes, too!

And then there's the guy in New York with a foot fetish...over a period of three years he tried to fondle and lick the toes and legs of over 70 women on the New York Subway....I bet Fergie's kicking herself!

Saturday is upon us...I've got friends coming over to share a tasty lunch, good wine, conversation and laughter. What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon, I say!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Okay....all you lot out there in cyber looks like I'm going to have to give you a 'shake-up' to get you started!! Come on...fingers to the keyboard! No time to dilly-dally! You can't leave all the 'talking' up to me! I'll be needing a drink fingers are getting tired from all the work I'm doing! Time for you to participate!

I'm not even going to mention 'food' in this post as I've not yet eaten today...and I've just received an email from a friend advising me she was just about to sit down to an egg and lettuce sandwich! Like I need to hear that like I need a hole in the head!

So...get 'crackin'....time to get this blog off the ground before it become bogged!
Just to get us off to a good start for the day, here's an idea, which may tempt your taste buds for a special breakfast treat...don't forget the vase of flowers for the centre of the table! For the uninitiated, 'Moreton Bay Bugs' are a crustacean. You could substitute lobster or crayfish...even king prawns would suffice...I'll leave it up to you and your imagination!

Moreton Bay Bugs Benedict: Melt 1/4 cup butter in pan. Add uncooked bug meat (or other), 1 hard-boiled egg, grated, 2tbl sherry, 1/2tbl lemon juice and a splash of Tabasco sauce. Place 4, halved, toasted English muffins in a baking dish. Spread each with bug meat mixture. Top with hollandaise sauce and place under grill until golden. Serve're allowed to cheat, if you wish, and use the packet hollandaise mix if you run out of time! Serve this accompanied by a Morning Glory Shake: In blender combine 2-3 sliced bananas, 1 punnet sliced strawberries, 2 cups chopped pineapple or pawpaw (papaya), 1 cup chopped, peeled apples, some ice cubes and 1tsp honey. Blend until smooth. For the more adventurous...add a nip or two of Malibu...or even a dash or three of champagne to brighten up the morning and get it off to a wonderful start!
A new day has dawned and they're still arguing about the newly released budget. I guess this gives the government something to do. Nothing's changed. The cost of living is still going up daily, if not hourly. My trip to the supermarket later, I know, will cost me more than it did this time last week. One thing I won't scrimp on is food, however. I don't believe in penalising myself...even if, in time, I might be living out of a paper bag under a nearby bridge!! (With a bottle or two of Penfolds and Rosemount Cab Sav to lift my spirits!)

The Beaconsfield miners have voted to reopen and continue operating the mine. It's so difficult for the town as its survival depends on the gold mine. The two rescued miners, Brant Webb and Todd Russell voted 'For' the reopening. No one should be surprised, however, if they don't ever go underground again. The thought of the possibility of going through again what they've already been through would be more than enough to cope with. Miners are a unique group of people. I worked amongst the coal mining community for about three years, up in the rich Bowen Basin here in Queensland.

I'm having friends over for lunch't call me 'Hannibal Lecter'....although, I've not yet decided on the menu! I'd better get my thinking cap on and make some decisions or tomorrow will arrive and vegemite sandwiches might be the offered fare...I doubt it very much!
I can't seem to help myself when it comes to 'restaurant folk'...something inside me switches on and a common bond is found. Today, I visited a local restaurant here where I live, owned and operated by a lovely young couple. 'Belvedere On Main' has a long and interesting history. It opened way back in the 1920's. Little has changed to the original building, other than new paintwork etc. The original timber and ironwork remains. It exudes a magical ambience. On perusing the menu, I found it to be very enticing, indeed, and priced well in today's market. The chef appears to be catering to the tastes and desires of the populace, not going overboard with 'new' fads...which I think is a good thing. They also look after the 'locals', appreciating their patronage. The owners have formed the 'Belvedere Club, which already has160 members. The members are treated to a special cocktail party every couple of months in appreciation of their support. Down a few stairs at the rear of the restaurant is a gift shop filled with lots of tempting goodies. The aromas wafting from the spotless kitchen and those from the gift shop below (scented candles etc.,) make one want to linger longer!

I think 'Belvedere on Main' is not only 'on Main' but is on the right track, as well.
I guess the best place to start is at the's a little tidbit for you to chew over for Mothers' Day....

I've never been a 'Mum" but I can keep 'mum'! However, I did enjoy my own special 'Mother's Day' breakfast one year. I was living on and managing the resort at Cape Richards on Hinchinbrook Island when my staff decided to surprise me! And surprise me they did! Contemplating rising while still lingering under the covers (thank goodness!), I heard the sound of many feet upon the spiral staircase of my little island home. My escape route had been foiled! I had no where to go but to stay put...under the covers! Bearing trays filled with tropical flowers, fresh fruits, yoghurt, orange juice and champagne, my staff, some aptly dressed in 'nappies/diapers' made out of old, no longer used bed linen, joined me on my king-size bed. Full of early morning merriment, we toasted our halcyon life on the island and their mothers elsewhere on the mainland and over distant oceans. Amongst my memorabilia their cherished Mother's Day card remains with its crazy comments and signatures to remind me of those wondrous, incredible, often unexpected and unplanned times! Every moment is forever embedded in my mind and locked in my heart.