Tuesday, March 29, 2016


Aerial view of resort and jetty...and restaurant area circa 1986...and of my renegade staff manning the ute on the jetty.  The Toyota ute was the only land-based vehicle on the island, other than the drot, of course.
Some of my staff around the bar...and out on the deck (They used to do some work...truly, they did!)
Me (in the glitter) dining with some resort guests...the fellow on the right in the lower pic is Johnno, who was my barman.  The woman standing was an Aussie champion at game fishing. She'd won many awards.
Me, on the right, and Natalie, my niece who worked for me for a while at the resort

Free-loading wallabies have a look around hoping (and hopping) to swipe some fruit salad!
Unlike the wallabies, this guest was paying his way

(I've probably posted most of the above pics before...oh, well....)

Many a person of repute has become a stuttering newt after drinking the wine of fruit! From the careless pursuit of the juice from fruit one could end up in disrepute; there is no dispute!  What a hoot! The silly coot!  At such times one should be more astute and remain mute!

While on the subject of Hinchinbrook Island, which I was a few posts ago, I’m sure, during my tenure as manager of the resort on the island, a stylish, recently-widowed lady of grace and dignity visited the resort along with her daughter and son-in-law.

The younger couple decided Joyce, the lady in discussion, deserved a diversion from her grief and loss.  At the time, Joyce was a woman in her late fifties, perhaps early sixties. Joyce’s daughter and her husband felt she needed time away from the pressures she’d been experiencing.  They believed she needed time to regain herself; have the space to take stock of her emotions. Listening to no arguments against their cause, they helped pack her bags. Thoughtfully and generously, they brought her to the island to share their holiday.

The three flew north from Melbourne to enjoy a week in the embrace of the tropical sun.  Upon greeting them as they stepped from the seaplane into the punt, I took an immediate liking to Joyce and the young, married couple.  I took a punt on them in the punt!

One night during their visit the sturdy outdoor tables on the deck surrounding the resort’s pool were set for dinner. 

Often, very often, the guests dined beneath the stars and the moon.  The restaurant itself was open with no four walls to encase it; just the roof with wide eaves protecting the interior from the weather.  The kitchen area and my office, which was situated behind the cocktail bar, of course, were walled; but the restaurant dining area was open, with only bamboo railings to separate the inside from the outside.

The night in particular was illuminated by a fluorescent full moon accompanied by a chorus line of effervescent stars; the atmosphere was electric with the infectious vivacity of carefree holiday-makers. 

Islands emanate a special, indescribable magic. Islands have an intangible quality. They’ve a natural capacity to alter the hardest and most critical souls; or the saddest and loneliest. 

With a bottle of Henschke Hill of Grace in hand, I joined Joyce’s table as the evening progressed. 

I always kept a case or two of the spectacular wine – Shiraz - in the storeroom at the rear of my office to share with those I classed as “special” guests.  Joyce and her family were special guests.

In the Eighties I could purchase the exceptional Henschke Hill of Grace much more cheaply than what it costs these days – much, much more cheaply, believe me!  

(A bottle of Henschke Hill of Grace 2010 Vintage these days costs... $649.99 or thereabouts - give or take (more take)....a bottle!  A little out of reach of my pocket)! 

However, take my word - Hill of Grace is a prestigious wine, worthy of all the adjectives of praise used to describe it.

In the early Seventies - I weep as I write this - I used to purchase Henschke Hill of Grace direct from Carlton-United Breweries at Kangaroo Point, Brisbane - Henschke’s agents - for $5.00 a bottle! 

Nowadays I just dream about it! 

No champagne for me if I win the big one in the Lotto...it’ll be a bottle of Henschke Hill of Grace.  I love a good Shiraz...and, in my book, (I wish in my cellar) there are few, if any, better than Hill of Grace.  And, if such a miracle happened...the winning of a big Lotto pay-day...I'd offer no excuses for sipping on a bottle of Henschke Hill of Grace in celebration!  I'd be willing to share it with you, too...if you were so inclined to accept my invitation.... 

The night in 1986 Joyce dined under the stars a contagious, celebratory mood flowed from one table of guests to the other as the island night unfolded. 

Everyone was enjoying a wining and dining experience without whining!

Casting aside her inhibitions, Joyce joined me upon the tabletop. I confess – I put my hand up...I would’ve been the one who instigated table-top dancing.  It was a party trick I’d perfected.

In gay abandon, Joyce and I danced to the strains of “Zorba’s Dance”. We even sang along to the melody, laughingly reprimanding each other for forgetting the words! Not hindered, we invented our own lyrics as we tripped the light fantastic! We did Alexis Zorba proud! 

To our high amusement, in the warm, not cold, sober light of the following day we realised “Zorba’s Dance” has no lyrics!

How I love “Zorba’s Dance”! I love the book, the movie, the soundtrack! I have them all; the book, the DVD, the LP, cassette and CD.  I saw Mikis Theodorakis live in concert at Brisbane's Festival Hall in 1972...a memorable evening. One of the best concerts I've ever seen. What a night! What a man Theodorakis was to see! A tall, giant of a man, dressed in a dark chocolate brown suit with a “Nehru” collar, Theodorakis commanded the stage...he demanded one's attention through his mighty presence and his music. He was mesmerizing, as was Maria Farantouri (Farandouri), the Greek singer, political and cultural activist, whose rich contralto thrilled the audience and filled the auditorium.

Somewhere I’ve photographs of that fun island night; of Joyce and me dancing on the table; and I have the letter she wrote and sent after she returned home, thanking me for her special time in the sun. They’re hidden away amongst my memorabilia.  I must go in search of them.  I really do need to put things into some semblance of law and order!

I hope Joyce found happiness again, and continued to dance to the melody of life.

Duck Red Wine Casserole: Place 4 duck legs in bowl with 1-1/4c good red wine, 1 diced onion, 1 diced carrot, 2 garlic cloves, 2 sprigs thyme, bay leaf and orange zest; cover; marinate overnight. Preheat oven 160C. Pat duck dry; reserve marinade; season with salt and ground pepper. Heat a little oil in heavy pan; brown duck on all sides. Drain vegetables/herbs; add to pan; stir 3mins; add marinade; simmer; cover; bake 1-1/2hrs. Wash 500g baby carrots; steam 2mins. Remove duck from pan; strain sauce. Return duck to pan; add sauce and baby carrots; cover; return to the oven, 15 mins. Serve duck topped with baby carrots and sauce.

Fillet Steak with Balsamic-Red Wine Reduction: Sprinkle 2 thick fillet steaks with salt and freshly-ground black pepper. Heat heavy pan over med-high heat; cook steaks 1 to 1-1/2min each side. Reduce heat to med-low; add 3tbls each balsamic vinegar and dry red wine; cover; cook 4mins each side, basting steaks. Serve steaks topped with 1tbl sauce.

Marsala-Marinated Oranges: Peel and slice (or wedge) 4 oranges, remove all white pith. Add 1/2c raisins, 1/4c sugar and 1c Marsala wine. Chill 2 hours; top with toasted, sliced almonds.

Red Wine Cream: Bring 250ml Merlot to boil. Beat 2 egg yolks and 80g sugar until fluffy; slowly pour hot wine into egg mix; stir vigorously; stir until it nearly boils; add 4 melted (soaked) gelatine leaves; boil 1min; stir constantly. Remove from heat; let cool as it thickens; whip 250ml cream; gently fold into red wine cream. Fill glasses; chill 4hrs. 

anthony quinn: zorba the greek

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Information of what a Cherry Ripe bar is for those who are not familiar with them - courtesy of our friend Wikipedia - Cherry Ripe is a brand of chocolate bar manufactured by Cadbury Australia. Introduced by the Australian confectioner MacRobertson's in 1924, it is now Australia's oldest chocolate bar and is one of the top chocolate bar brands sold in the country. It consists of cherries and coconut-coated with dark chocolate.
Hot Cross Buns....Sunday Here I Come!

Time marches on; and, so too, has March. With no warning March hasn’t missed a beat as it marches rapidly to an end, but it's not allowed to slip away - not before Easter hops in and plays its role. 

Quite a few hints were tossed in my path to alert me Easter is nigh.  I’d have been a silly bunny not to have noticed the clues. An indication yesterday I couldn’t dismiss was I noticed two of the hares that bound about here at frequent intervals were having a dress rehearsal as they tried out their colourful Easter bonnets.  No doubt the hares were road-testing the ties on the bonnets to ensure they were secure enough to remain on their heads as they hopped about the mountain and areas in the valleys below over this weekend.  They’ve a busy period ahead, with no spare time to be chasing after wayward bonnets. 

Attracting their attention by waving,  with a smile,I called out suggesting they could drop off the eggs to me there and then, with the belief it‘d help lighten their load on Sunday.  So involved were they in their practice scamper haughtily they twitched their noses in my direction; flapped their floppy ears and blatantly chose to ignore my thoughtful request; one which was offered direct from my heart. I felt hurt.

To put a salve on my bruised feelings I opened my fridge door and commiserated with Clint, my Lindt bunny who, naturally, is still living unscathed on the top shelf. Clint and I shared a few quiet words.  He’s a very understanding chocolate bunny.  Having resided in my fridge for many years now, Clint Lindt knows me well.  He understands I’m the biggest softie when it comes to him. Clint and I have formed a close, unbreakable bond. He has an uncanny grasp of my fluctuating moods. He knows I’ll never eat him. I’ll never be so desperate. It’s as if he’s coated in gold. Well, actually, he is – golden foil!

A few weeks ago I placed my order for Hot Cross buns at the North Tamborine Bakery. I prefer to get in early; similar to my attempt to lighten the hares’ load. Unlike the hares, the lass at the bakery gladly accepted my request. As it turned out, I was the first to place an order for Hot Cross buns for Easter. 

I could also very well be the first customer to cross their threshold at the crack of dawn on Easter Sunday morning to collect my buns (those of the bakery raisin or currant-filled kind, that is)....if I get out of bed early enough...but it is my intention at this stage to do so.

Even though the supermarkets have Hot Cross buns on their shelves shortly after the Christmas/New Year season, the only time I eat Hot Cross buns is Easter Sunday; and on Easter Monday because, of course, I won’t eat all six buns on Sunday. Well, that’s what I say at this stage, anyway.  I bought a jar of delicious-looking blueberry jam yesterday...especially for the Hot Cross buns that I’ll eat warm, of course.  They’ll still be quite hot when I pick them up on Easter Sunday morning.

My fingers are crossed the bakery will have made a batch or two of their delicious vanilla slices overnight; that they'll be on offer to tempt me.  I’m easily led into temptation.  Without fear of criticism or recrimination, with hand on heart, I declare here and now, a couple of vanilla slices will purposely land in my possession. And once that occurs, there will not be a thing I can do, but to eat them. 

Somehow, I’ll have to leave some room for the Cherry Ripes, though.  I’ll manage it, one way or the other. I’ve built up quite a stock of Cherry Ripes,  They're safely stored away in my fridge. Clint is my appointed guardian of the delicious dark chocolate-covered bars.

For me, Christmas is not Christmas without Licorice Allsorts; and Easter is not Easter without Cherry Ripes.  
I’m not afraid nor am I embarrassed to admit they are two of the frivolous joys of life I enjoy...along with Hot Cross buns and vanilla slices, of course! 

Bakers at the bakery be warned -  I’ll be an early bird Easter Sunday morning, money in hand; motor running (my car motor, that is).  I’ve two hands, so I’ll be able to handle both the buns and the slices without a problem; and there's room enough in my little car for them and me!

Everyone gather your family, loved ones and friends around you....a Happy Easter from Clint, my two furry mates, Remy and Shama.... and from me!  

Stay safe...spread the love, happiness and goodwill.  Don't worry about counting the calories until after you've devoured all the chocolate. Naah....don't even worry about it then...life is too short....enjoy!

Good Friday Salmon Asparagus: Toss 800g new spuds (halve if large) in 3tbs x-olive oil; roast in 200C oven, 20mins, or until beginning to brown; add 16 fresh, trimmed, halved asparagus spears; cook further 15mins.  Add 4 handfuls ripe cherry tomatoes, 2tbs balsamic vinegar; then nestle 4 salmon fillets amongst the vegies; drizzle over 1tbs x-olive oil; return to oven until salmon just cooked.  Scatter with fresh basil leaves; serve from baking dish.

Pea Asparagus Goat’s Cheese Salad: Blanch 500g trimmed fresh asparagus spears in boiling salted water 15mins; drain; cool slightly; diagonally cut into pieces; blanch 300g peas 5mins; drain; cool; wash and dry 1 bunch rocket. Finely puree 2 garlic cloves, 8tbs x-olive oil, 6tbs parsley, salt and ground pepper; set aside 5mins. Toss together peas, asparagus and rocket; scatter with 350g crumbled goat’s cheese; drizzle with dressing.

Crispy Pork Belly with Chinese Five Spice: Preheat oven 200C. Prepare oven tray with a grill for pork to sit on (or a bed of halved onions and/or apples if you like). Grab a 1.5kg pork belly with a good layer of fat. Score skin. Place on chopping board or grill in sink; pour kettle of boiling water over top of pork; pour over white wine vinegar, or rub with halved lemon; pat really dry. Rub 1-1/2tbs Chinese Five Spice powder and 2tbs sea salt into pork, into racks and all. Place the pork skin side down on the grill/ tray; roast 35-40mins. Then turn skin-side up; cook further 35-40mins. Turn grill to high; let skin crackle; don’t close door; be alert as it will char within seconds!  

Bunny Tails: Beat 1/2c cream cheese until smooth; add 3c icing sugar, 1c at a time; add 2tsp lemon juice and 2tsp lemon zest; melt 325g white chocolate with 1tbs butter; add to room temp cream cheese; pour into wax paper-line 9x9 tray; chill. When set, use circle cookie cutter to cut out tails; coat well in shredded coconut, and/or crushed nuts

Saturday, March 19, 2016


Jamie Oliber, Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro Contaldo (Jamie's Italian mentor)
The incomparable Maggie Beer
The hard-to-forget Bernard King!

Dame Nellie Melba

Before a bounty of TV cooking shows and cooking competitions hosted/judged by Australian chefs of note who are sometimes joined by overseas chefs of equal note graced our TV screens; before the help of Executive Chef Extraordinaire aka “Google”, we were dependent upon recipe books. Many well-worn cook books were handed down through the generations from mothers to daughters. Recipes cut from newspapers and magazines filled folders.

Our grandmother was the cook in our household because our mother worked out of the home, something that was a little unusual back in the Fifties.  However, it was necessary in our case.  Our father played no role in my brother’s and my life, in any way.  So our mother was the main breadwinner in the household, and our Nana the main breadmaker!  I learned a lot from watching Nana cook; and asking questions.  She was a willing teacher and I, a willing learner.

When I left home at the end of my teen years to find my own way in the world recipe books were constant purchases of mine. In my spare time, even when I had little to spare, I found time to pour over the recipes and drool over the glossy, colourful pictures therein; reading and learning. The pictures tempted the weak such as I was. They made it easy to fall under their spell. I had no choice but to experiment; picture books for grown-ups. My bookshelves and the bookshelves of others bulged with recipe books. Acrylic book stands were bought so the recipe book would be at hand on the bench when preparing its culinary delights while dinner guests waited expectantly at the dining table. 

And back in the late Sixties and early Seventies when I gained part-time, casual work in the evenings in restaurants waiting on tables I kept a close eye on what the chefs did; and again, I questioned and learned; and assisted when I could.

I was chuffed to say the least when I bought the Larousse Gastronomique. My hard-cover edition, a thick, hard-cover volume was published by Paul Hamlyn in 1968. The Larousse, a most comprehensive, illustrated guide to French cooking; an encyclopedia on food, wine and cooking was first published in 1938.  I learned much from the book’s inspirational, detailed information. It, along with a million other recipe books, remains in my possession.

In the late 60s through to the late 70s Time-Life published a wonderful series of recipe books – “Foods of the World”; 27 cookbooks in total.  Their “Classic French Cooking” and “Cooking of Italy” joined the Larousse on my shelves as did Escoffier’s “Le Guide Culinaire”. A book by Swiss chef Joseph Favre squeezed in beside Escoffier.

Georges Augustus Escoffier didn’t mind the Swiss. He mingled with all sorts in Europe. He also spent time in London. In 1893, when chef at the Savoy in London, Escoffier honoured our own Dame Nellie Melba by inventing Pêche Melba; and then in 1897 he followed up with Melba Toast.  Having done so doesn’t mean they’d shared an overnight tête-à-tête. Melba toast isn’t a breakfast toast, so I guess not.  Escoffier even fed and impressed Kaiser Wilhelm ІІ, the Emperor of Germany in 1913. I doubt the feeling was mutual or a night shared. 

Marcella Hazan and her Italian cookbooks landed on my bookshelves, as did Marguerite Patten’s books.  Marguerite must have been doing something right; she passed away 4th June, 2015, exactly five months short of turning 100 years old on 4th November, 2015. No new-fangled fad diets for her.
Margaret Fulton, still going strong at 91, played her role, too, in cultivating interest in cooking; as did Stephanie Alexander.

Of today’s “celebrity” chefs I’m a big fan of Jamie Oliver, for one.  His love of cooking is palpable; and his food is definitely palatable.  Because I was cooking in restaurants and working split shifts, long hours when “The Naked Chef” hit our television screens I never watched the show when it first appeared; but through the years Oliver grabbed my attention and I like his way.  Oliver’s natural gusto shown in the preparation of food and the eating thereof is free of all the bells and whistles and the posturing of some...(I’m not pointing any fingers at Nigella, of course)!

I’m also a fan of Antonio Caluccio, the famed Italian chef who is based in London. Carluccio who turns 79 in April exudes such a zest for life; a zest for food...for good food; healthy, wholesome food and wine.  He’s a joy to watch.

And who doesn’t like one of our National Treasures - Maggie Beer? Not liking Maggie would be akin to not liking koalas or home-made apple pies.

One of the first TV chefs to pick up a knife or two along with a few pots and pans on our screens was the late, acerbic, Maleny-born Bernard King back in the 70s and 80s. Those of my generation would remember him well.  He stirred the pot...often!

Marcella’s Broccoli-Potato Soup: Combine 1-1/2tbs butter and 1/4c x-olive oil in pot over med-heat. When butter begins to melt, add 2c julienned brown onions; season. Sauté until onions become golden; add 1tbs minced garlic; cook 2-3min; add 2c Dutch cream potatoes, medium dice; stir to coat; cook 1-2mins; add 2-1/2c stem-less broccoli florets; cook 1-2mins; add 3-1/2c  quality chick or veg stock; bring to boil. Adjust seasonings; don’t over-salt. Simmer until vegetables are tender; stir in1/2c grated Parmesan, 1-1/2tbs butter and 6 torn fresh basil leaves.

Poulet Au Vinaigre: Preheat oven 130C. Melt 30g butter in pan; brown 12 chicken joints on all sides, skin first; add 3 finely chopped shallots and 6 large unpeeled garlic cloves; cover; on low heat cook gently 30-40mins or until cooked. Transfer chicken to serving dish; keep warm in low oven, loosely covered with foil. Pour fat out of pan; add 6tbs white wine vinegar; stir to dislodge sediment. Reduce to about 2tbs; stir in 325ml dry white whine, 150ml chick stock, 3tbs brandy, 3tsp Dijon mustard and 1-1/2tsp tomato purée; mix well. Boil until reduced to sauce consistency; press through sieve into a saucepan; squash garlic to get some of the juice; add 100ml cream; boil. Take off heat; whisk in 50g cold, cubed butter; add 3 large, skinned, deseeded plum tomatoes, cut into strips; gently heat through; check seasoning; pour over chicken.

French Rhubarb Cake: Preheat oven 200C; grease 26cm spring pan. Combine 1-2/3rd cup plain flour, 2tsp baking powder and pinch salt. Cream 8tbs butter and 1-1/4cc sugar; add 3 eggs, one at a time until incorporated; add 1tsp vanilla; turn mixer to low; slowly add flour; don’t over mix; fold in 6-8c med-diced rhubarb; put dough in pan; smooth top; sprinkle with sliced almonds. Bake 35-40mins. Cool on rack.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


Bleating Tree Frog
Down Cathedral, Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland

To my relief I’ve discovered it’s not only me who is confused, which is a novelty, I must admit!  

Previously I told the story about Rudolph and Prancer disguised as two Great Danes paying me a visit on Christmas Eve - well, to my surprise, they turned up again the other day, again dressed in their Great Dane costumes; or maybe they came as they really are...hmmmmm....

Because Thursday (tomorrow our time here in sunny south-east Queensland) is St. Patrick’s Day I’m not sure if the massive dogs were inspecting the clothes lines throughout the neighbourhood looking for suitable outfits to wear to the St. Paddy’s Day Parade.  Perhaps they were considering dressing up as St. Paddy in duplicate. They were out of luck here at my place because my clothes line was bare; that doesn't mean I'd been running around bare - sans clothes...it means I'd not fired up my washing machine!

Of course, they could’ve been checking the place out for snakes as Paddy would do on his special day as he did in his day; or perhaps they could’ve been practicing how to be a couple of giant leprechauns.

Another take on their reappearance could be they were getting in early for Easter, conducting a reconnaissance run around the property to uncover likely hiding spots for Easter eggs. Whoopee!  I might be getting a visit by two giant Easter bunnies!  Imagine the size of the basket and the quantity of eggs those two would be able to carry and deliver! I'd better make room in my fridge!

If the GDs (Great Danes aka Great Dogs) aren't going to drop off a pot of gold on Thursday or a woven basket full of dark chocolate Easter eggs come Easter I wish they’d stay home where they belong, wherever that is, instead of giving me a near heart attack each time they ramble around within my perimeters without notice or invitation.  I respect their boundaries; I expect similar in return (unless, of course, they come bearing gifts...particularly of the pot of gold kind). They had the audacity to bark at me when I told them where to go!

I might talk/write a lot of blarney, but there ain’t no blarney stone around here for me to kiss; no frog, either. Although, for a few months I did have a beautiful little Bleating Tree frog living in my bathroom, but he’s since gone on his way.  Every now and then I’d give him a gentle stroke, but I refused to kiss him. Obviously, he hopped off in a huff and went elsewhere looking for a fair maiden who was prepared to do so.

Throughout today - and tomorrow, St. Patrick’s Day -  if I see a rainbow followed by the sound of a loud clunk at my door, faster than Flash Gordon I’ll race outside to see if a pot of gold has landed on my doorstep.  Even though I don’t have an actual doorstep, with me, hope reigns eternal  – unchanging and perpetual!

Much of what is known about Paddy we probably can take with a grain of salt or what would fit on a shamrock leaf because most of the stories were allegedly written by St. Pat himself, giving him carte blanche to write what he wanted about himself; freedom to beef it up a bit; even embellish it to his heart’s content.  No one would think or dare to question him. 

When he was on the lam after fleeing his Irish raider kidnappers (his daily and nightly punishment was to shepherd their sheep during the six years of his enslaved capture), Paddy was left bereft of most of his clothing and wore a shamrock as a loincloth.

After escaping the callous clutches of his Gaelic abductors he returned home, not only to drive off those Pagans who were still lurking about the place, but also to teach his Irish mates how to drink and tell jokes.

Over a few pints (more like gallons) of Guinness to break all former Irish records and enough to end up in the Guinness Book of Records, the tale about ridding the Emerald Isle of Pagans changed from Pagans into snakes. It happens! Many a wild yarn has been spun over a bar.

Nothing has been recorded of Paddy visiting New Zealand, Antarctica, Iceland and Newfoundland and doing similar in those places regarding the removal of snakes, but the evidence (or lack of it) points towards him having done so because those countries don’t have any snakes.  Obviously, he didn’t bother to paddle across The Ditch from New Zealand to Australia because we have more than our fair share of snakes here, which just isn’t fair!  

It's unfair for a couple of reasons...like our neighbours across The Ditch, we have lots of sheep here in this country, too. Once upon a time, for a century or so, Australia was even accused of  "riding on the sheep's back" - that is, until the market shrunk; and it shrunk not from dipping our sheep and their fleecy fleece in boiling water while doing the laundry! 

Paddy would've gained lots of experience during his years taking care of the sheep belonging to his kidnappers....I'm just saying....

Paddy probably didn’t have the time to write about those exploits; either that or he ran out of ink and paper. 

You are, of course, aware I’ve made most of this up. Aren’t you?  It’s up to you to work out which bits. It’ll save you having to do today’s cryptic crossword puzzles.

Rumour has it St. Patrick is buried in a cathedral at Downpatrick, a town a little south of Belfast. 

A county town in County Down, “Downpatrick” seems an appropriate or coincidental name, doesn’t it?

Do you know that Downpatrick is also known as “Duno”?   I’m a bit green – I didn’t know.

However, I do know everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!  Have fun!

Paddy Spud Rosemary Bread: Line baking tray. Sift 4c plain flour, 1tsp bicarb and 1tsp salt; make a well in centre. Add 600ml buttermilk; stir until dough starts to come together. Turn onto floured surface; knead 1-2mins until almost smooth. Shape into 35cm log; place on tray. Cut slashes diagonally at 3cm intervals in top. Insert halved, thin potato slices, overlap slightly and rosemary into slashes. Bake in 190C oven, 35-45mins.

Guinness-Glazed Lamb Chops: Bring 2c Guinness, 1/2c packed light brown sugar, 1-1/2tbs crushed coriander seeds, 1/2tsp crushed black peppercorns and 1/4tsp salt to boil; stir until sugar dissolves; boil until syrupy and reduced to about ½ cup; strain; discard solids. Pat dry 16 lamb cutlets; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Divide glaze into 2 bowls; set one aside. Brush both sides of chops with glaze; arrange on rack of grill pan. Grill 5 inches from heat, 4-5mins on each side for med-rare; transfer to plate; drizzle with remaining glaze.

Paddy’s Peppermint Pie: Heat oven, 175C. Crumb choc wafers to make 1-1/2c; mix 1/4c melted butter into crumbs; press evenly into 9-inch pie pan; push down firmly and up sides; bake 10mins; cool. Combine 3c mini marshmallow or 32 large ones and 1/2c milk in saucepan; cook over low heat; stir until melted; cool. Then add ¼ Crème de Menthe and 3tbs white Crème de Cacao. Fold marshmallow mix into 1-1/2c whipped cream; fold in a few drops of green food colouring; pour into crumb-lined pan; shave dark chocolate over top. Chill 5hrs or overnight.  You can also decorate it with whipped cream, if desired.

Ugly Leprechaun: Combine 45ml vodka, 15ml Irish Whiskey, 15ml Midori, 15ml sugar syrup and 4tbs Kiwi fruit puree with ice in cocktail shaker; shake; strain into martini glass; garnish with Kiwi fruit. 

Murphy lost a hundred dollars on the Melbourne Cup, a famous Australian horserace. He also lost another hundred on the television replay. 

Kieran O'Connor always slept with his gun under his pillow. Hearing a noise at the foot of the bed, he shot off his big toe.

Sunday, March 06, 2016


Two Acrylic paintings done by me, which are self-explanatory.; characters recognisable..I hope! (Both of which I have posted previously somewhere along the line).

While recalling certain memories as I was in my previous post I’d better remain on subject in case I forget what it is I intend to write.

Reading a post on River’s blog last week I was reminded of a couple of things. 

During December, 2015 on SBS-1 TV a four-part documentary on the life of Walt Disney was shown. It was a fascinating insight into the man. My attention was grabbed and held from go to whoa....

No doubt the timing of the documentary was because 5th December was the unforgettable Walt Disney’s birth date.  On 5th December, 2015 Walter Elias Disney would’ve celebrated his 114th birthday.  Walt, as he preferred to be called by everyone he met, passed away 15th December, 1966.  What a wonderful, magical, marvellous, on-going legacy Walt left us.

The documentary told the story of a clever, determined, inspiring, loving family man.

Walt, in reality, was not unlike the boy he immortalised on screen in his 1953 animated film “Peter Pan”.   “Peter Pan” or “The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up” – the play, written by J.M. Barrie, was one of Walt’s favourite stories. Disney had wanted to turn “Peter Pan” into an animated film way back in 1935; for it to be his second film after “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. 

His plan was thwarted. Other factors came into play, along with other projects he had on his plate, and then, the bombing of Pearl Harbour on 7th December, 1941 intervened.  The United States joined the Second World War after the attack by the Japanese.  Many undertakings and dreams were put on the back-burner until after the war was over, and, also, until the studio’s financial situation began to improve.

Walt Disney’s four-part documentary is filled with priceless, archival footage. From beginning to end and all in between I was enthralled; as captivated as if watching any of Disney’s animated features.  It is a brilliant documentary. It’s one I would recommend to everyone.

Walt had dreams...millions of dreams.  To the best of his abilities and time spent on earth he fulfilled many of those dreams, more than one normal person could ever hope to do; but then, Walt wasn’t a “normal” person. Walt was determined to not let anything deter him from his path; his dreams. He succeeded so often, with the help of his older brother, Roy, who stuck with him through thick and thin; through the good times and the bad.  Roy Disney was the “financial” man of the two.  Roy passed away 20th December, 1971, almost five years to the day of his younger sibling.

Walt allowed himself to be free – to be who he truly was – the boy, the dreamer within. He allowed his dreams to come true. He gave every one of us, young and old much to enjoy.  He gave willingly and happily.  We should, one and all remember the lessons he taught us - of how to open our eyes, our minds and our hearts and to believe - to not be afraid to do so. In honour of Walt Disney’s brilliance and in gratitude for the gifts he bestowed, the least one can do is try...

Throughout his life Walt had a youthful love of steam trains. An avid railroad enthusiast, he built a miniature railroad in his own backyard; and then later, he built the Disneyland Railroads, which feature in Disney entertainment parks throughout the world.

I was four years old the first time I watched the picture (as we called “movies” or “films” when I was a little girl), “Bambi”. 

Like millions of other I fell in love with Bambi and his friends, Thumper, Flower and Faline.  And like millions of others, I shed a torrent of tears when Bambi’s wise, loving mother was killed by a heartless hunter.  If I watched the movie again at the age I am now, I would still shed tears; and not be ashamed or embarrassed by doing so.

One Saturday morning about four or five years ago, by accident, when flicking through TV channels I stumbled across “The Fox and the Hound”.  The movie had just begun and I immediately got sucked in.  Dropping everything else, I watched the wonderful movie through to the very end, a smile permanently on my face.  I’d not seen the film before that particular morning.  I’m glad I took the time to watch it. It wasn’t wasted time, in my opinion.  Housework or whatever else needed doing that morning wasn’t as important, to me, as experiencing the feeling of light-hearted warmth and love.  Life should always be that way.

In 1965 shortly before I left Gympie to live and work in Brisbane I was asked to help choreograph and produce a segment for a combined stage production to be put on by the local Musical Union and Drama Group.  At the time I was a member of the Drama Group (I’ve mentioned this minor fact previously); but why I was asked to choreograph a musical segment had me baffled at the time...it still does.  However, being one who doesn’t like to back off from a challenge...in most instances...I grabbed hold of the offer and ran with it.

The first of the two acts I planned and worked on was based around “When You Wish Upon a Star”.

My idea was to have a half moon hanging centre stage surrounded by flickering, silver stars.  Swinging on the half moon the “star” of the show (not me, I was the director and producer, not the singer or dancer) would sing and dance to “Jiminy Cricket’s” Academy Award winning song from Walt Disney’s wonderful 1940 animated production of  “Pinocchio”.  I planned for a spotlight to be focussed upon the sole performer. The stars and the moon would subtly glow against a dark blue almost black backdrop.

The other musical segment was to be based around a gypsy campfire...a fiery song and dance around a fire.  I had everything planned out down to the finest details, and rehearsals for both performances were well underway. For the life of me at this present moment in time I can’t remember the song I’d chosen for the second act! 

But life outside the fantasy world had to carry on. My debut into musical stage productions was rudely interrupted. I was unable to escape its clutches.  I never completed my stint as choreographer, producer and director because just as I’d started swinging from a star, I left Gympie behind to live in the big city of Brisbane!  The city lights were impossible for me to ignore.

Bob Fosse, Martha Graham, Busby Berkley, Debbie Allen, Gene Kelly et al; and Walt Disney had nothing to fear. 

Upon hearing of my departure from the show they let out a collective sigh.

Our dreams, like our memories should be cherished....they're ours to keep....ours to dream and wish upon....