Saturday, November 06, 2010


Effort: noun. Strenuous exertion: display of power: something accomplished involving concentration or special activity.

Frequently on rainy, frosty mornings snuggled warmly in bed under my feather doona, I forestall rising. I have to exert an excessive effort to extract myself from its fold!

I have a weakness – “Only one!” I hear you declare flabbergasted! At times I flounder at holding my tongue. I fail to bite it or foreclose its flourish when in the presence of some folk. In my favour, most times I force myself to grin and bear it!

I do experience embarrassing times when it’s an effort to keep a straight face! It happens at the most inappropriate times and places! What is a “straight face”? Faces are made up of protuberances, curves and slopes! By the time we “keep our tongue in our cheek”; “keep our chin (or chins) up”; try not to “lose face” or “keep a stiff upper lip”, one’s face would certainly be very animated and active! It would definitely take an effort to keep it “straight”!

Fostering and forging friendships should never be an effort, nor should it be an effort to be pleasant. However, as mentioned above there are some who make it hard for one to be forever felicitous!

We’ve all fidgeted and feigned attention when forced to attend boring seminars! We’ve wrestled to listen to never-ending laborious speakers. Those times we’ve found ourselves furiously fighting our feral eyelids in faltering attempts to fend off falling asleep! Those efforts, fervently directed at keeping said eyelids open are usually fruitlessly feeble! The well-meaning/self-indulgent emissions of the orator are wasted upon our otherwise occupied feverish, fitful selves!

Christmas is fast approaching! A few amongst us shall be in a flap when confronted with that other “F-word”- “family”! If forced to become a fellow- participant in such a frazzled family festivity/fiasco, attempt to forage all efforts to keep a lid on festering feelings of angst created by past fracture-causing misconceptions or fetishes, whether they be one’s own fault or the fault of others (mostly it’s “the fault of others” - they’re the ones fraught with foibles who are failures at making an “effort”)!

Don’t fret! No need to fabricate - there are many favourable “F-words” - like “fun” and “food”, for instance!

Fortunately, you can have your fill of both!

It’s no folly or fallacy!

Fennel Seed Dip: Beat 1/2tsp fennel seeds and 1c softened cream cheese together; add 1c sour cream; blend in 1/4c minced onion, salt, pepper and 1tsp paprika; cover; chill.

Falafel Burgers: Put 1/4c fine dry breadcrumbs in dish; set aside. Process 450g can rinsed, drained chickpeas, 1/2c chopped onion, 2 garlic cloves and 1tsp cumin until coarsely ground; add 2tbls plain flour and 1/4c chopped parsley. Shape mixture into 4 patties: brush with milk; coat in breadcrumbs. In nonstick pan, cook patties in hot oil over med-heat, 8-10mins or until lightly browned. To serve; Cut pita breads in half horizontally; fill halves with patties, cucumber and tomato slices; drizzle with Ranch dressing.

Feta-Prawn Linguine: In pan, heat 2tbls olive oil over med-heat. Add 500g prawns, 5 minced garlic cloves, 2tbls chopped shallots, 1/2c red capsicum strips, cracked black pepper, pinch of dried chilli and 1tbl dry white wine; cook 5mins; remove prawns; set aside. Cook 2 chopped tomatoes with 1tsp oregano and 2tsp torn fresh basil in wine mixture for 10mins. Cook 450g linguine until al dente; drain; toss hot pasta with prawns and sauce; add 180g crumbled feta.

Farmhouse Honey Fruit Cake: Cream 175g butter, 175g honey and zest of 1 lemon until light and fluffy; gradually add 3 lightly-beaten eggs; fold in 2c wholemeal flour, 2tsp baking powder and 1tsp mixed spice. Stir in 300g mixed fruit, 50g chopped dried apricots and 25g ground almonds. Pour into greased, lined 20cm cake pan; make slight hollow in centre; arrange blanched almonds around edge; bake in preheated 160C oven 2-2.5hrs; cool in pan 10mins before turning out.

Fine & Dandy Cocktail: Over ice, shake 1 dash Bitters, ½ nip Triple Sec, juice of ¼ lemon and 1.5 nips gin; strain into cocktail glass; decorate with a cherry – fabulous!