Thursday, September 04, 2014

THE DADDY OF THEM ALL!



My late father-in-law...Lloyd George taken the day Randall, his eldest son and I married.
Randall and I, on our wedding day...and me with Father's mother
Again...on our wedding day...I said in my previous post I wasn't into the "normal white wedding dresses". We got married in denim



Father & Mother at our house in Sunshine Beach circa 1981

A Christmas lunch with family & friends at our house at Coolum. Father is in the navy & white striped shirt. Circa 1984

A Decadently, Delicious Paris-Brest

Prawn & Mango Salad





Father's Day Down Under....7th September, 2014



Come around Father’s Day…no…that’s not an invitation! What I mean is – when Father’s Day comes around I’ve rarely, if ever, written about the celebration honouring fathers. Usually, to be honest, nothing is farthermost from my mind. Put simply, I forget.  In no way is it my intention to offend.   

You see, I never knew my father. I grew up in a fatherless household. When I was still a wee baby my parents were confronted by a number of insurmountable hurdles and a few fathomless potholes; all of which caused them to part. They went their separate ways and, in due course, divorced. As often mentioned, my older brother and I were raised by two good women, our mother and our Nana; therefore, we had no reason to celebrate Father’s Day. Father’s Day came and went without fanfare throughout my childhood and beyond.  I never gave it a second thought until I married my ex (who wasn’t my ex when we married).

My father-in-law, Lloyd George, was a wonderful man. That’s correct – his name was Lloyd George. He wasn’t the British Liberal politician and statesman, but he could very well have been.  A fine man he was; as fine a man I’ve yet to meet; a gentle man and a gentleman.  I never heard a bad word said about him; nor did I ever hear him utter a bad word towards anyone else. I called him “Father”, not “Dad”. Brought up in the era I was I could never have referred to him by his Christian name, even though on the day I married Randall, his eldest son, he asked me to do so. Up until then I’d always called him “Mr. George”. Switching to “Lloyd” wouldn’t have sat comfortably with me. For me to do so would’ve felt disrespectful. When, instead, I christened him “Father”, his eyes twinkled and his face bore a proud smile. He liked it. The title suited him. 

At the same time, I also christened Randall’s Mum, “Mother”…again for the same reasons given above.                                                                   


Randall and I were married by a Marriage Celebrant in Father and Mother's home...on a Sunday afternoon - 21st March, 1976.  It was a very relaxed, leisurely event. After the ceremony a party ensued outside on their back deck and garden, shared with immediate family and a few close friends .  It was a fun afternoon.


Father also liked his sweets.  No…he loved his sweets! 

Every birthday, Christmas and Father’s Day amongst our gifts to him, without fail, we included a box of dark chocolate-covered ginger.  To see his face light up in child-like pleasure was thanks enough; include a packet of Licorice Allsorts in his presents on Christmas Day and he out-shone the lights on the Christmas tree!

I’ll never forget one particular Father’s Day lunch we held for him when we lived at Sunshine Beach.   

Around the corner from our home was a French patisserie. Father’s special treat that Father’s Day was a delicious Paris-Brest, the celebrated French pastry dessert. The dinner plate-sized circular, wreath-like shape of choux pastry is filled with praline-flavoured cream; sprinkled with icing sugar; sometimes also topped with toasted flaked almonds. If it had been night when his eyes fell upon the decadent dessert, forget the Christmas tree lights, Father’s face would’ve lit up the sky brighter than a floodlight could ever have done.

Many enjoyable lunches and dinners, followed by spirited games of Bolivia or 500, were shared with my father and mother-in-law; either at their home or ours. After a while, Father and I became partners in the card battles, and continued being so - never the twain would be separated thereafter.  

Our card games were played more peacefully with he and I partnering  we soon discovered. In secret consultation Randall and I decided it was better that way than when Father and Mother partnered against he and me…less the “War of the Roses”. Father, as my card partner and not Mother’s suffered no reprimands when he made a thoughtless move; or didn’t make a move I thought he should have.  I kept my thoughts to myself; a smile on my face and took another sip of Bundy rum and Coke.

For years, once a week we’d meet for dinner and cards; one week we’d host the evening at our place; the next week Mother cooked dinner at their home with Father in charge of the bar, and so on, week after week; year after year.  The four of us had a lot of fun during those evenings.

And, on days such as Father’s Day and Mother’s Day we’d host a special lunch at our home.  Same applied on Christmas Day when Randall and I opened our home for Christmas morning drinks to all and sundry of our friends; morning drinks and canap├ęs were always followed by an expansive hot Christmas lunch for those who remained to share our table. Father and Mother were always our most important Christmas lunch guests.  Our lengthy Christmas lunches, with the decorated table sagging beneath the abundant array of hot and cold Christmas fare, always continued throughout the afternoon until after the sun had set in the west.

Father loved mangoes.  When I had my greengrocery-health food store in Noosa gift-giving time was made easy. Along with Father’s chocolate-coated ginger, a tray of Kensington Pride aka Bowen mangoes were a much-appreciated gift.  Fortunately for Father mangoes were still in season when his birthday came around in January.

Father also loved fishing. His catch rate wasn’t worth writing home about; but he didn’t care; that was a mere bagatelle; a trivial trifle.   

One Saturday afternoon he and I went surf fishing at the northern side of the mouth of the Maroochy River, the spot where I used to pull in bream after bream.  For an hour or so he contentedly stood at the water’s edge, lost in his own world of thoughts; casting out, and then pulling in his line to check his bait. He’d barely got a nibble, let alone a bite - when all of a sudden his rod bent and his reel began to spin. 

I’ll never forget Father’s face that afternoon.  It was a joy to behold.  His eyes became invisible as his cheeks crinkled up to meet his eyebrows; a smile spread across his face in childlike excitement and delight.

When he landed his catch, a just legal-sized bream one could swear he’d landed “the big one”.  It was such a special moment, the memory of which I’ve cherished to this day.

Sometimes Randall and a mate took Father along with them when they went fishing, by a powered, half-cabin motor boat, to an outer reef off Sunshine Beach.  Father would be as sick as a dog throughout the trip, but as soon as they set foot back on land he’d ask if he could go out with them again the next time; and he meant it. He was keen to do it all over again! 

I was fortunate to have had such a wonderful substitute father as Lloyd George.  He was a lovely man; and I loved him.

Happy Father’s Day on Sunday, 7th September! Be kind to your kids - teach your children well!

Prawn Mango Salad: Slice ½ an unpeeled continental cucumber into thin rounds. Combine with 1 sliced red capsicum, 250g quartered cherry tomatoes, 2 large sliced mangoes, 16 cooked, peeled, deveined king prawns, leave tails intact, and 150g mixed salad greens in bowl. Dressing: Mix together; 1 crushed garlic clove, 1tbs chilli sauce, 2tbls olive oil, 4tbs lime juice and 3tbls chopped fresh mint. Gently stir into salad; pile salad onto individual serving plates; season.

Filet Mignon with Herb Butter: Mash 1tbs butter until soft and creamy; stir in 2tsp olive oil; add finely-chopped chives/shallots, 1tbs chopped capers, 1tsp minced oregano or marjoram, 1/2tsp each lemon zest and juice; season. Place in freezer to chill. Combine 1tsp oil, 2tsp marjoram/oregano, 1/2tsp lemon zest, 1tbs minced rosemary and 2 minced garlic cloves. Rub into both sides of 4x1-1/2-inch thick eye fillets. Rub both sides of 4 thick slices of whole-grain bread with halved garlic cloves. Grill steak 3-5mins per side for med-rare; grill bread until toasted. Divide 4c watercress between 4 plates; top with steaks; top steaks with chilled herb butter.

Baked Herb-Parmesan Potatoes: Preheat oven to 190C.  Rinse 2 whole medium-size russet potatoes and 2 whole large red potatoes; don’t peel; dry with a paper towel; slice the potatoes at a slight diagonal. Try to keep the slices at a similar width (1/4 of an inch would be on the thicker side; about 1/8 of an inch is a nice size or even smaller if you like them more crispy) so they cook evenly. Add the potato slices to a large bowl. Add 1/4tsp each onion powder, dry chicken stock powder, garlic powder or crushed garlic, dried oregano, dried thyme, pepper, dried parsley and dried rosemary; add 2tbls olive oil. Mix together well, so the oil and herbs evenly coat both sides of potato slices. Layer slices in shallow ovenproof dish, sprinkling some grated parmesan in between the layers. Pour over ¼ to ½ cup of liquid chicken stock over the layers. Sprinkle grated parmesan over the top. Bake for 20-25mins, or until the potato is cooked and the top golden; serve hot straight from oven as a side dish.

Chocolate-Ginger Trifle: Cook a batch of brownies having added chopped crystallized ginger to the mix. When cool, break brownies into 5cm pieces. Melt 150g dark chocolate; beat cooled chocolate with 500g room-temp mascarpone. Whip 350ml cream. Place half the brownies into glass serving bowl; sprinkle over some chopped crystallized ginger; spread with half choc-mascarpone and half whipped cream; repeat layers. Grate chocolate over top and sprinkle with chopped crystallized ginger, for garnish; chill.


28 comments:

  1. Gorgeous memories of someone who was obviously very special. Thank you.

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  2. You're welcome, EC...he was a lovely man. Everyone who knew him liked and admired him.

    Thank you for popping in. :)

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  3. What a lovely, lovely Father (in law)
    My dad's favourite gift was a box of Cherry Liqueurs and one year I wondered why he liked them so much, so waited until he'd had a few then sneaked one for myself. Yum!

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  4. Your FIL sounds like such a very dear man....And this was a lovely tribute to him.
    You and your Ex were a gorgeous couple! It looked like a Beautiful Wedding Day.....
    All your food always makes my mouth water! And it all sounds and looks so YUMMMYYY!

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  5. What a nice tribute you have written for your father-in-law. And it's lovely that you considered him your father - I'm sure he loved that.

    I wish that Paris-Brest was sitting in front of me right now - I have a weakness for cream filled goodies like that.

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  6. Lovely read Lee, thank you for sharing.

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  7. G'day River..I've not had a Cherry Liqueur in ages and ages...now you've got me wanting one. :)

    Thanks for popping in. :)

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  8. Hey there Naomi...it was a wonderful day...our wedding day was treated just as a party and we happened to get married during it. Very casual and relaxed.

    Father was exactly as you said.."a dear man".

    Thanks for your comment, Naomi. Good to see you...take care. :)

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  9. Hey there Lynn...that was the last time I've had a Paris-Brest, too, I think...the one we had for Father's special lunch that day. At a restaurant I worked at in Brisbane they were a regular on the dessert menu...they're decadent and delicious!

    Thanks for coming by. :)

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  10. You're welcome, Carol. It was my pleasure to do so. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for popping in. :)

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  11. There is so much love pouring from this post, I could not stop smiling. How fortunate you were (and he also) to share those special times.

    That salad sounds yummy. I also love anything with mango.

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  12. Arleen, thanks for coming by. Father was unique. He was a special man; he had the capacity to light up our lives, and he was never aware of it. :)

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  13. What a sweet tribute to your father in law. You were so cute at your wedding and pretty! That cake looked delish and that chocolate dish - do you have the recipe???

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  14. Sandie...the recipe appears at the bottom of this particular post..."Chocolate-Ginger Trifle"

    Thanks for your kind words and for popping in. :)

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  15. He looks like he could be a bit mischievous! My (ex) fiance has the same name as your ex. Great parents...don't know what happened to their son!

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  16. Ahhh...Father was great, RK...a simple man, of simple pleasures. I still get on well with my Randall, my ex; and am glad it is this way. I'm still on good terms with my first husband, too.

    Thanks for coming by. :)

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  17. Great old pictures.

    So far my day is good - breakfast and daft games!

    I never get tired of seeing echidnas, and I hate having to keep driving if I see them by the side of the road!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  18. Hey there Stewart...I'm glad to hear you're having a leisurely, fun-filled Father's Day. Enjoy it to your utmost.

    Yes, as per your post on your blog and my comment there...they're fabulous creatures, that for sure.

    Another of our native animals that are fascinating is the platypus...

    Thanks for coming by. :)

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  19. You said a lot and so does that smile on his face in the photo. Truly you were blessed to have a substitute father and mother in your in-laws.

    PS: When do you celebrate Mother's Day?

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  20. G'Day, Annie...Mother's Day is celebrated the second Sunday in May as it is in the US...but our Father's Day differs here to you guys up that way...it's always the first Sunday in September here in the Land of Oz.

    Yes...I was lucky...my in-laws were great and we got on very well together.

    Thanks for dropping in. :)

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  21. How original of you to get married in denim and you look lovely. Lloyd George sounds a great character!

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  22. Hey there Pat...we just wanted a party...no bells or whistles...and we had exactly that...it was great.

    Father was a good man...he just loved being happy...I doubt very much he knew how to cause hassles...I don't think I ever saw him angry.

    Thanks for coming by, Pat. Cuddles for Simi. :)

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  23. 'Tis a wonderful tribute to an obviously very wonderful man.

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  24. You lucky woman. He seems a great man to know!

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  25. G'Day Jerry and Adullamite...good to see you two out and about together! Thanks for coming by. :)

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  26. I'm NOT with HIM!!!!

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  27. Very nice tribute. And I need a Paris-Brest right now! Yum!

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