Tuesday, February 07, 2017

A GLASS HALF FULL OR HALF EMPTY? IT'S EMPTY!!!! STOP STUFFIING AROUND – FILL IT UP!!!




Two acrylic paintings I painted a few years ago - I was experimenting on how to paint glass






One of my guests on Hinchinbrook Island holding me down..."No! No! Lee!  No dancing on the table tonight!!!"








How long is it since you’ve done something “wild”? 

When did you last swing from the chandeliers, for example? Metaphorically speaking, of course, re the swinging from the chandeliers; let’s be honest, it would be a difficult, if not impossible, feat if there are no chandeliers!   

I can picture it…there I am mid-air swinging in tune to Charlie Pride’s “Crystal Chandeliers” when I suddenly realise there are no chandeliers……..

How long is it since you’ve danced on the table while trying to balance a champagne flute on your nose, or a glass of red wine, full, half empty or half full, on your head? Or just danced on a table to the beat of the music sans glass of wine?   

I’ve done a lot of table-top dancing in the past…but those days/nights are past. However, the fun, happy memories remain.   Many enjoyable times were shared with friends of a similar mood.  No harm done, no crockery or glasses broken…nor any bones...and, surprisingly, no tables, either!

When did you last jump puddles in the warm summer rain; or danced naked beneath cooling summer tropical downpours?   

There is nothing quite as good as the freedom felt as the rain caresses your skin - your body; and there is nothing that makes your skin feel quite as silken soft as after being out in the rain.  The rain is far better than all the expensive lotions and potions.

Did you ever plant a few double-bungers in your neighbour’s letter box on Guy Fawkes’ Night?  I never did, but my brother Graham and one of his mates did one Cracker Night.  What a cracker that was!

The neighbour, the owner of said letterbox exploded, too!   She wasn’t very happy.  

She was a sticky-beak of the first degree, one who got great pleasure watching the comings and goings of the neighbourhood.   

Through the slats of the wooden blinds on her front verandah she kept a diligent eye on everyone’s movements.  She believed no one noticed, but because her blinds didn’t fall right to the floor her feet could be seen clearly; evidence, proof of her daily pastime!  Silly woman! 

My brother Graham and his mate, Don were reprimanded accordingly for their prank, but they weren’t sent to purgatory as punishment.  Secretly, I think they were hailed heroes of the neighbourhood.  Don and his family lived next door to us.  His father was one of the local cops.

Every now and then it’s good for the soul to “take a walk on the wild side” to spice one’s life up a little bit, don’t you agree? 

No…okay…I’ll say no more. I’ll leave you to your own imagination. It does one good to unleash the beast sometimes, though.

I speak of an innocent wild side; one that causes no one any harm.  Not a wildness that causes damage and heartache to others and/or their property. 

I believe it does us good to let our hair down once in a while, to kick up our heels and rejoice in the fun, simple pleasures of life.  Such pleasures cost little and are worth a mint.

There was something about living on the islands, Hinchinbrook and Newry that unleashed the untamed, passionate side within – begging to be set free - not just with me, and members of my staff, but with guests, too.   The begging was rewarded - the desire to be free was set free.

What happened on the islands – stays on the islands!!

The late 70s and early 80s in Noosa Heads and surrounds had more than their share of wildness, too.  Same applies as above!

I’ve a vault of stories – more than fifty shades of spring, summer, autumn and winter…and definitely more than fifty shades of grey…stories much more colourful than grey!

What started me on this untamed tangent was a thought about wild rice.  As with doing something wildly wanton, I’ve not had wild rice for a while, either.

Obviously, it doesn’t take much to set my set imagination off! 

Wild rice was the “in thing” back in the late seventies. Food, I believe, has it’s “in vogue” moments just like fashion in all its forms.  

“Smashed Avocado” was the “In” food of 2016, even though we’d be spreading it on toast for years and years.  Suddenly, 2016 arrived and the “Café Set” discovered mashed avocados by another name!  You weren't part of the "scene" if you didn't sip lattes while delicately munching on smashed avo!  I was never part of the "scene" because I munched on avo privately here at home seen by no witnesses other than Remy and Shama.  They showed little interest, thought, because they're not fond of avocados, smashed, mashed, sliced, chopped or otherwise.

I guess now we’re a month and a half into 2017, smashed avocado is old hat. 

Dammit!  And I have all these avos here, too (yesterday I picked about 15 avocados off the trees on this property ready for me to devour upon their ripening)…but then, I was never one to follow the crowd…I’m not about to start now.

As I’ve done for many a year, I’ll keep spreading avocado on toast, topped with sliced tomato, salt, pepper and sprinkled with curry powder; or I’ll make a madly flavoursome guacamole for my lunch; or I’ll add a sliced avo or two to my salads.  My choices are wild and free!  

I'll let my hair down, spin around three times, and then pin the fork in the avocado to see which way I'll eat it today!

Food “crazes” enter our lives, and after a while, they fade into oblivion, only to be resurrected at a later date, years later.  

Remember when French Onion Soup, Chicken Maryland, Carpet-Bag Steak, Filet Mignon or Beef Wellington, to name but a few, were “musts” when entertaining at our dinner parties or  when we were being entertained in the homes of our friends? 

A party was not a party without Chicken Pâté as part of the fare.

Let’s go on a wild stroll into our kitchens or along the supermarket aisles to see if we can reinvigorate our imagination juices.

En masse, we could let our hair down and go wild again over Wild Rice, for instance - perhaps singing "Wild Thing" while doing so.

Aha!  Rain has begun to fall!  I’ll catch you later!

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole: Place 6-8 chicken breasts, bone-in, in a large pot with 1c water, 1c dry white wine, 1-1/2tspn salt, 1tspn curry powder, 1 sliced onion and 1 cup chopped celery. Cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 1 hour. Remove from heat, strain, reserving broth; refrigerate. Remove chicken from bone; cut into bite-size pieces. Prepare 12oz Basmati and Wild Rice mix as per instructions on packet. Replace the specified amount of liquid with the same amount of reserved broth. Preheat oven to 175C. Lightly grease baking dish. In a large bowl combine chicken, rice and 250g sliced mushrooms; blend in 1c sour cream and 1 can cream of mushroom soup. Spoon into baking dish; bake for 1 hour.

Wild Rice & Cranberry Salad:  Cook 1c wild rice and let cool. In medium serving bowl, mix rice with 1/2c dried cranberries, 1/3c pine nuts, 1/2c chopped pecans (toasted or un-toasted). ¼ cup each sliced shallots and diced Spanish onion. In a jar, mix together 1tbl lemon juice, 2tbls olive oil, 1tspn grated orange peel, 1/2tspn sugar, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Just before serving mix dressing into rice. Serve warm, chilled or at room temperature.

Wild Rice and Potato Latkes: Cook 1/4c wild rice in 1-1/2c water until completely tender. Drain and let it sit until dry to touch. Place warm rice in mixing bowl. Peel and finely shred 1 medium potato. Using paper towel, squeeze as much moisture as possible from potato, a handful at a time; add to the rice. With a fork, mix in 2 large eggs, lightly beaten and some finely chopped shallots. Sprinkle with 1tbl plain flour; mix in. Add salt and pepper to taste. Coat a large pan with cooking spray until well coated. Place over medium-high heat. Place rounded tablespoons of mixture in the pan, one at a time, pressing each firmly with back of fork to make thin, 2-inch pancakes with lacy edges. Place latkes 2-inches apart. When lightly browned, gently turn latkes to the other side and brown, another 2-3mins.Transfer to warm plate; keep warm. Repeat with remaining mixture, re-spraying pan before adding more latkes.

Ham & Wild Rice Quiche: Cook 1/4c wild rice in 3/4c water for 45mins or until tender. In a pre-heated 220C oven, cook a 9-inch pie crust for 10mins or until golden brown. Reduce heat to 200C. In bowl, combine cooked rice, 1c cubed ham, 1/3c finely chopped red capsicum, 1/4c thinly sliced shallots and 4oz finely sliced mushrooms. In separate bowl, mix 3 beaten eggs, 1c sour cream, 1tbl Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Sprinkle bottom of pie crust with 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese. Spread the rice and rest of the ingredients over the cheese; cover with the egg mixture. Sprinkle over another cup of shredded Swiss cheese. Bake 30mins in pre-heated oven or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let the cooked quiche stand for 10 minutes before serving. 

 

Avocado Pesto Pasta: Cook 75g wide fettucine, al dente; drain; reserve 1/4c cooking liquid; cover pasta to keep warm. Place 3c fresh, loosely packed basil leaves, 1 chopped garlic clove, 2tbs toasted walnuts, 1tsp finely grated lemon rind and 1/4c lemon juice in processor; process until finely chopped. Roughly chop 1 avocado; add to the avocado, 2tbs x-virgin olive oil and 2tbs reserved pasta cooking liquid to basil mixture. Process until smooth – if mixture is too thick, add another tablespoon of cooking liquid; then season well with salt and pepper. Combine pasta, pesto, 100g baby rocket, 250g halved cherry tomatoes, 185g peppered hot-smoked salmon, skin removed, flaked in large bowl. Slice 1 avocado; serve pasta with sliced avocado and fresh basil leaves.


Avocado Hummus: Use 2x400g canned chickpeas for this recipe.  Heat 1tbs x-virgin oil over med-high heat; add 1/4c drained, rinsed, canned chickpeas.  Cook, stirring occasionally, 3-4min, or until just golden; remove from heat; set aside to cool.  Process remaining chickpeas with 2 medium, chopped avocados, 2tbs tahini, 1/2c lemon juice and 2 crushed garlic cloves until smooth; season with salt and pepper. Spoon hummus into serving bowl; top with the golden, toasted chickpeas and any oil from the pan; sprinkle with paprika; serve with Lebanese bread.

26 comments:

  1. I don't like wild rice, or brown rice. There is a good reason why it is processed. All those remembered dishes were terrific. Who declared they were no longer fashionable? Even canned French onion soup was fine. Add to the list, prawn cocktails and Bombe Alaska (what a curious name).

    Most of my wild behaviour cannot be written here, or in public anywhere nice really. Keeping with the coffee table theme, I did once lick up spilt Pepper Schnapps from a coffee table.

    Pepper pate! Bring it back.

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  2. Oh yes, I love the way you painted the glasses in the second photo.

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    1. Hi Andrew, well, wild rice, really is rice, but a grass originally grown by Native American and Native Canadian tribes. I eat brown rice...I prefer it to white rice. Although I do eat white rice, too.

      I've never eaten French Onion soup from a can. I've only ever made it from scratch (beef bone stock as the base and so forth)...I've not made it in ages. I must do so this coming winter. I love it.

      Dinner tables were my specialty, Andrew! lol

      Thanks for coming by - and thanks for your comment re my painting. :)

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  3. I love the glass painting and I'm sure Andrew remembers me dragging him around a glass shop, a very expensive one.
    That food list took me right back to the 70s. When the ex left and I was going through papers I found my dinner party book and couldn't believe the work that went into them (no kitchen whiz). I had great pleasure in tearing the book to shreds and burning it now if I feel like I'll eat off a paper plate with a plastic fork.

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    1. Hey there JahTeh...thanks for visiting...don't be a stranger. You're always welcome. :)

      Expensive glass is special...very lovely, indeed.

      Oh! Boy! A lot of planning and preparation went into those dinner parties, that's for sure. I no longer put "do" dinner or luncheon parties, but once upon a time I did them very often...every couple of weeks. Nowadays, I just entertain me and my two furry rascals...that's enough! I've done more than my bit! No more, I say!! :)

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  4. Glass half empty? Dust it for fingerprints and find out who's been drinking my coke :)
    I'll read the post now....

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  5. The glass paintings are lovely. I tried wild rice once and wasn't at all impressed. I eat brown rice occasionally because it is in some of the "healthy" frozen dinners I "cook" (microwave) in the summers when it is too hot to have the oven on.
    I never danced on tables or even got a little bit wild, not that I remember anyway, I'm a bit on the dull side, preferring to read a book rather than go out.
    When did I last jump puddles in the summer rain? Last week! :)

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    1. Hi River...I'm sure you're not dull. If by reading books makes one dull, I must be extremely dull!

      I very rarely go out these days, preferring my own company, it and that of my two furry rascals. The majority of our entertainment when I was younger was found at home...and homes of friends...parties, dinner parties and the like. I'm sure there were times you let your hair down - in your own way.

      Thanks for your comments and for coming by. :)

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  6. You captured the glass especially well in the second picture...

    I know what you mean about wild behaviour... breaking through the ordinariness and doing something rather crazy. It's good for the soul but as we grow older we seem to embrace routine and keep our heads down. It's starting to rain here too but I shall not be dancing naked on our lawn as it's cold February rain and dancing in that would be just too wild for my liking.

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    1. G'Day Yorkie. Yes, speaking for myself I certainly do fly beneath the radar these days...by choice. That doesn't mean I still don't enjoy myself...but as you say as we grow older things do change.

      Seeing it's too cold to dance outside in the rain...dance under a hot, indoor shower, instead! :)

      Thanks for coming by - and thanks for your remark re my painting (I posted them as a subtle hint for you to look at that site...because I'm not going to blatantly ask again at the risk of becoming a nagger - Hehehehehe) :)

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    2. Is that the sound of cackling?

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  7. Good job on the glass painting, I think.

    And I adore avocado on toast, smashed or in chunks - yum.

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    1. Thanks Lynn and thanks for popping in. I'm having avocado on toasted bread for my lunch today. :)

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  8. I have pulled some very good pranks but my children have topped me almost every time. Too many to list but my memory is bursting with their antics. Now you've got me trying to think of something I can do next.

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    1. Ahhhhh, Annie....pranks are good...harmless, innocent pranks make the world go 'round and smile while it does so! :)

      Thanks for calling by. :)

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  9. I have never danced on a table top, but I do remember times that I wish I could forget. I try to keep my glass half full, but lately there seems to be a hole in the bottom.

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    1. Hey there Arleen...we might all have times that we have forgotten and glad that we have! lol

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  10. You are a 'wild thing' indeed. Happy table dancing.

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    1. Hey there Ms Mumbles....My table top dancing days and nights are long gone. I'd be flat out climbing up on top of one these days, and once there, I'd probably have to remain forever! So, I stay away from that trick! lol

      It's good to be crazy sometimes...to feel free and just have some innocent, harmless fun.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  11. Dancing on tables? Not with my weight...

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    1. I'm sure you wouldn't crash a sturdy table, Mr. Ad-Man...one that's set firmly into the ground, pavement or whatever base it sits/stands upon!

      But just in case....remain with your feet set firmly on the ground!!

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  12. You had a good time...
    Did the Sword Dance with a knife and folk in a shop about 5 years ago..but on the floor with no one around.

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    1. Hahahahahaha! Good for you, Margaret! Ahhh...thanks for the laugh...and thanks for coming by. :)

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  13. My son would love to pick avocados as he can slice and eat a whole one at a setting. I too like them but only a little at a time. lol I have not down any hair letting down in so long I think I must have forgotten how. I like the phrase sticky beak and may have to use it some time. Peace

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    1. Hi Lady Di...I can eat a couple of avos in one sitting, and depending on the size of them, sometimes three, but they have to be part of a salad, spread on toast or made into a guacamole. Salt and pepper are necessities...and I like to have sliced tomato on top of the mashed avocado on toast, with curry powder sprinkled over the top as well.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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