Friday, January 19, 2018

COME ON, EILEEN! LET’S BE KEEN ABOUT TWENTY-EIGHTEEN!



/Fun acrylic paintings done by me a few years ago




Bindi Weed
Cobbler's Pegs



Flashing by at the speed of light, 2017 made 365 days seem like 182!  Already the past 12 months are a blur.  In some instances, that’s good.   If you’re not already aware - the Mad Season is all over Red Rover. Don’t be fooled into thinking otherwise because, you see, upon opening the fridge, glaring back at you bedraggled scraps of ham desperately hanging onto the bone; or you discovered fruit mince tarts and a square of Christmas cake hiding on a shelf.    

In truth, I still have some of my Christmas fare left - not a lot - but none will go to waste.  Already, as I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve enough pea and ham soup stored in individual containers in my freezer to see 2018 out!

Already half way through January, I’m a few steps behind in catching up with my New Year postings - more than a few when I take note of the date.  It’s okay...I do have a very valid excuse for being a tardy blogger.  After my explanation below, a note will not be needed.

My Christmas-New Year period was spent with my two best friends. I couldn’t have wished for better company.  The avidity of the humidity sapped our energy - an excellent excuse to halt any thoughts of unnecessary activity.

Because my mates are experts in the art of lounging, sprawling, loafing and reclining, I followed their lead.  I’m a quick learner when the need arises.

Feeling no guilt, and with no one to answer to, we three were happy to loll around like sloths through the steamy, steamy last couple of days of 2017, and the first couple of weeks or so of 2018.  It’s still quite warm here, but with the humidity giving us a rest – temporarily, no doubt – it’s not half bad. 

My four-legged friends and I watched the cricket, the start of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race and the tennis; still sweating, but not sweating the small stuff, or the big stuff.  Mostly, my furry rascals snoozed while I kept a look-out. 

In between the various sporting events I binged, but not on food or liquor.   Not a drop of alcohol has been imbibed by me since the pre-Christmas party I attended at my landlords’ home on the Wednesday evening prior to 25th December.  How boring am I!!?    (Don't answer that)!
 
Australia Day is coming up...Friday, 26th January, and I intend letting my hair down, and kicking up my heels by having a couple of liquid liquor refreshments in the late afternoon.  A small street party has been organised by the good folk up the far end of this lane.  It will include the folk in the lane that runs parallel to this one, as well...if they choose to enjoy our company, that is.  If not, they don’t know what scintillating company they will be missing out on!

However - back to my hectic schedule of the past few weeks leading up to this very moment....

Strolling along Atlantic City’s boardwalk with Enoch “Nucky” Thompson and the mob in “Boardwalk Empire” I had a bird’s eye view of the fun, games and rackets of the Prohibition era; a time when, ironically, banned alcohol flowed freely. It was a binge-worthy series.  No money was spared on its production.  It's a fabulous series, brilliantly produced, directed and acted.   With the two Executive Producers being Martin Scorsese and Mark Wahlberg, one could not expect anything less.  The soundtrack is also superb.   If you've not watched the series...I highly recommend it.

My roomies and I were bereft at series’ end. 

Nucky had departed, but lucky for me the tennis gangs, with their racquets arrived.   

The bingeing continues....

It began with The Hopman Cup (held in Perth, capital city of Western Australia) and The Brisbane International...held in....well, Brisbane, Queensland’s capital city.  After a bit of fun courting the nets in Sydney, the Australian Open being held in Melbourne, now has my undivided attention.   This addiction hits me every January.  I battle my way through without need of going into rehab..it is touch and go at times, though.  

I do love the tennis.

Resolutions are not on my New Year’s agenda – I don’t have a New Year agenda - other than to discount what the “experts” tell me to eat and what not to eat; how much and how little to eat; how to eat it, and when to eat it – even when not to eat it!  Fingers will always be “in” in my book.  Saves on the washing up!

The advice changes daily so there’s no point being excited about the latest best thing since sliced bread.

Hopefully, we’ve seen the last of glass jars as drinking vessels!  To the scrap heap with activated charcoal, chicken sashimi and air diets.

Take heed!  You heard it here first...the 2018 craze is bindi-eye needles and crushed onehunga-weed leaves.  In case you’ve a hunger for weed - “Onehunga-weed” is bindi-weed.  The leaves are parsley-like; no one will know the difference.  Dried, crushed bindi-eye needles substitute for cracked black pepper.   

Along with cobbler’s pegs, they’ll be the next best thing since Cherry Ripes...close, but no cigar!

As with most of the fanciful nonsense we’re told, follow my above advice at your own peril! 

You have been warned!

On the other hand, in some parts of the world black jacks aka cobbler’s pegs are used as a food or medicine source. During the Vietnam War soldiers adopted cobbler’s pegs as a vegetable. It became known as the “soldier vegetable”. 
It could be said I’m not as mad as I seem after all - it’s your call...

Mediterranean Salad: Whisk 1/2c x-virgin olive oil, 1/4c red wine vinegar, 1-1/2tsp sugar, 1 crushed garlic clove, 1tbs fresh dill, minced, 1tsp dried oregano, 1/2tsp garlic powder, 1/4tsp salt and freshly ground black pepper. Combine 450g cherry or grape tomatoes, halved, or 3 large tomatoes, chopped (seeded, if desired), 450g diced cucumbers, 1/2c chopped Kalamata olives. 1halved, sliced red onion, 1 can drained, rinsed cannellini beans and 1/2c crumbled feta. Toss with dressing. Chill 4hrs; take from fridge 30mins before serving; drain off excess dressing; garnish with fresh dill or basil.

Tuna Salad:  Combine 450-550g  drained, rinsed chickpeas, black-eyed peas or kidney beans (or combinations), 360g water-packed chunky tuna, drained and flaked, 1 finely diced red capsicum, 1/2c finely chopped red onion, ½c chopped parsley, 4tsp rinsed capers, 1-1/2tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary, ¼ c lemon juice and 2tbs x-virgin olive oil. Season with freshly-ground pepper. Combine ¼ cup lemon juice, 2tbs x-virgin olive oil and 1/4tsp salt in bowl; add 8c mixed salad greens; toss. Divide greens among 4 plates; top with the tuna salad.

Couscous Salad: Dressing: 1/2c fresh orange juice, 1/4c lemon juice, 1/2c x-virgin olive oil, 1/2tsp turmeric, 1/4tsp salt. Place 1c whole wheat couscous in bowl; pour over dressing; stir well once; set aside 10mins without further stirring; then place 2 diced med-tomatoes, 3 finely diced, red, green, yellow capsicums, 1 large jar drained, marinated artichoke hearts, 1 rinsed, drained can chickpeas and 1/2c chopped basil on top; gently stir. Sprinkle with roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds.

Irresistible Salad: Blend until creamy, 1/3c white balsamic, 1/2c x-virgin olive oil, 2tbs water, 1/2tsp salt, 1/4tsp freshly-ground black pepper and 1/2tsp honey; set aside.  Heat 2tbs of dressing; add 750g green, peeled prawns; don’t overcook, In bowl, combine 180g baby spinach, 125g mixed salad greens, 2 large, peeled, diced mangoes, 1-1/4c pomegranate seeds (grapefruit segments could substitute; imagination alert!), cooled prawns, 1c cooked, cooled quinoa, 1c roughly-chopped walnuts. 1/3c crumbled feta; add dressing; toss well.

39 comments:

  1. Much to the horror of my entire family, I have never seen BOARDWALK EMPIRE.

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    1. Well, Annie....it is time you did!

      Hope you're feeling fine..thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  2. I haven’t seen Boardwalk Empire, but I have been known to binge watch quite a few series. I is satisfying to see all these episode from beginning to end, but I can seldom do it at one sitting.

    I hope you have a good time at your block party. Happy 2018, Lee.

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    1. Hi Arlene...It's be a bit difficult to watch the complete series of "Boardwalk Empire" in one sitting! There are five seasons in total....11 of which had 12 episodes...and I think the final season had 8 episodes. It's well worth setting time aside to watch it, in my opinion.

      The street party will be a fairly small one...probably only about 15 people...these two lanes are not long or over-populated....but it should be enjoyable.

      Happy New Year to you, too, Arleen...take good care. :)

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  3. Your cats are so pretty -

    I made a copy of every recipe!
    Sandie

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    1. And they are very spoiled, Sandie!!! :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  4. I haven't seen Boardwalk Empire either. OK - off to look for how to watch.

    Those recipes looks so good - I love making things like that during hot weather (which is what it is for you right now.)

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    1. Hey Lynn...I'm sure you will enjoy Boardwalk...it's a classy series. I loved it....very authentic settings.

      It certainly is salad weather here at present.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  5. Glad you have found some relief from the heat and its ugly cousin humidity.
    Going to be hot here for the next few days and I am going to do quite a lot of nothing.

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    1. Hi EC...the southern states really are copping the heat at present. I don't know how the tennis players keep playing in that scorching heat. Fortunately, a cooler change hit Melbourne late yesterday afternoon.

      I make and give no excuses for being lazy during the heat.

      Take it easy...try to stay cool....thanks for coming by. :)

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  6. Well now Lee I too have been keeping close company with my tv since the starter's gun went bang in Sydney Harbour and we witnessed the near bingle of the two main contenders. I'm not scared of the reaction from others when I tell them I exist on a diet of Tennis and Cricket (in various forms) over this period until the year proper begin after Australia Day and the local kids go back to school.
    Oh and I was really interested in your recipe for Tuna Salad and then the desire faded once you made mention of Capers lol. I'm sure it will be just as good without them - what do you think?
    Take care
    Cathy

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    1. G'Day, Cathy...."Wild Oats" and "Commanche" certainly did have a close shave at the beginning of the race...incredible. I don't care what others say, either, about my enjoying watching the tennis and the cricket...and the beginning of the yacht race...my life and choices are mine to make. :)

      Leave the capers out of the tuna salad...they're not integral to the salad. Not adding them will make little, if no difference to the end result. Cook to one's own taste is always my motto.

      Thanks for coming by...continue enjoying the tennis! :)

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  7. Your cat painting is cute. I have very bad childhood memories of bindi-eye when visiting country NSW. The tennis outfits on tv hurt my eyes. I don't watch much American made tv, but Boardwalk Empire does appeal to me. It has been around for a while now.

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    1. Hi Andrew...the last season of Boardwalk was in 2014; the series began in 2010. It was originally on pay-TV here, and as I only have free-to-air I couldn't get to watch it, but wanted to because of all the terrific reviews it received. However, now with streaming that all has changed for me...thankfully.

      I like American series, not all, of course. I like British series, too...and again....not all of them, either. I enjoy quality series/shows, whether they're American, British, Irish, Scottish, Australian, Danish or Swedish.

      One of the many joys of living alone....I can watch whatever pleases me! lol

      One thing I can't stand is our biased ABC news and current affair shows...and their self-serving so-called comedians who, in my opinion, are not in any way funny. (Some of their mates are on free-to-air TV, too...and I don't waste my time watching them, either, for the same reasons).

      I will watch dramas such as "Luther", "Line of Duty", "Broadchurch" and similar on the ABC...but that is as far as my interest in that network goes. That's just me and my choices and preferences.

      Wear sunglasses when watching the tennis. They're bright lot this year, but they'll have to calm down again when Wimbledon comes around...back to wearing white only. :)

      Thanks for coming by...stay cool. :)

      Delete
  8. You have been busy with 'things'. I rather like the tennis myself, so keep and eye on it.
    How good is your street to celebrate the coming Australia Day :) Do have a lovely time as this year will go quickly too.

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    1. Hi Margaret....Yes, I'm kept busy making a racket during January! :)

      There are only five abodes in this lane, Margaret (which include my little cabin), and about the same number of homes in the lane that runs parallel - so it won't be a huge gathering....most of the people I've never met! lol

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Thanks for coming by.

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  9. Now I know what those spider like thingies are; sort of glued to the white boards around the edge of our patio, "are you certain they are edible?" even so i'll give them a miss.

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    1. Hey there Vest...welcome! Yes, from what I've researched Cobbler's Pegs are edible, but I won't be adding them to my menu any time soon. I'm sure I've plenty other more tasty foods to eat!

      Thanks for dropping by..don't be a stranger. :)

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  10. I don't mind dry heat, but I hate humidity.
    Your salads look great! I'm a lover of both tuna and couscous, and so I'm interested in any recipe featuring these two tasty ingredients.

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    1. Hey, DUTA....yes....the humidity is very sapping, that is for sure.

      A salad is the ideal meal for this weather.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  11. Bindii weed for eating?? Surely not. There are far better things, tastier things, that don't threaten to pierce your gut on the way through. I haven't seen any bindii weed in years. Decades even. Plenty of Burrs with their similar-to-clover leaves.
    Interesting little tidbit for you in my Sunday selections tomorrow.

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    1. As I said, River...follow my advice at your own peril...I was just kidding around. :) I've not seen any bindis around here, either. They were never much fun to stand on when we were kids! :)

      I look forward to reading your Sunday post...you're raised my interest even more now!

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  12. Shirley and I had a lovely lunch last week at The Rhubarb Shed. The waitress brought my apple juice in a jam jar. I said, "Business must be bad if you can't afford proper glasses. I will try to remember to bring my own glass next time we come for lunch!" The waitress looked non-plussed as if she thought she had just been addressed by a lunatic!

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    1. G'day, Yorkie...it's a craze that really grates on me. I just don't like it. I can see nothing attractive about them...and I can't see any point to those types of drinking vessels.

      To me, it appears to be pretentious. And, in my opinion, it's not at all attractive. There is nothing quite like a nice glass - quality glassware...the feel of it in one's hand and at the lips.

      Maybe it's just me...I can't get with the craze - maybe I'm crazy...I don't get with any craze!

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  13. I keep forgetting that you are on a different planet down there where it is hot!
    Meanwhile, sweat freezes here where I am splitting firewood.
    Hope your next year has many nice surprises.

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    1. Hi Goatman! Yes...we're all off the planet down this way! :)

      I wish you all the best for 2018, too...thanks for coming by. :)

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  14. You must be the best cook in the world, I love your recipes.
    Your cats have the right idea, just laze around as much as possible.

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    1. Oh....I don't do much cooking these days, Kay....I've left those days way behind me. I go the very simple route nowadays. Simple...simple...easy and swift is my way now.

      I like posting recipes...but that doesn't mean I'm preparing! I'm too busy lolling with my two furry mates! lol

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  15. Loved seeing your photographs.

    Thanks for sharing these salad recipes, they all sound so good.
    We had a little snow today in my part of the UK so I will wait a while for temperatures to warm up before I try them.

    I'll try to keep warm and you'll try to keep cool!

    My good wishes

    All the best Jan

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    1. It's a deal, Jan! I don't need much, if any, persuading, though! :)

      Thanks for coming by...stay warm. :)

      Delete
  16. "bindi-eye needles and crushed onehunga-weed leaves."
    Don't tell the 'Daily Mail' about these or they will become this years 'superfood!'

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    1. That's what I said, Mr. Ad-Man! Take heed! The new craze for 2018....you heard it here first!! :)

      Thanks for coming by. I don't mean to sound prickly! :)

      Delete
  17. The pictures and recipes of the salads are making my mouth water.
    I love the paintings of your buds:)
    Lazing around sounds purrfect:)
    Enjoy.

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    1. G'day Sandra....while the tennis is going on I've finding it very easy to laze around...let the players do all the work! :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  18. oh I love a good salad, dh doesn't like olives but I do, I'll keep these in mind for summer. you cats are taking advantage of cat naps I see. your summer is similar to that we had in California I don't miss it, never heard of cobblers peg, must look that on up.

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    1. Hey, Linda...Once upon a time I didn't like olives. It was New Year's Eve 1971 or 1972...long ago...I had an epiphany. And from that night forth, I've loved olives...green, black and stuffed.

      I think as we get older...speaking for myself, anyway...the heat of summer becomes harder to bear. When I was younger it didn't worry me, but now I long for our winters. Our winters here where I live never get very cold. And, of course, we don't get snow. Winter is most pleasant...again, as far as I'm concerned, anyway.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  19. If you were referring to the stupid craze of using Mason jars for everything including as a drinking vessel I'm absolutely with you all the way. Another case of "the Emperor's new clothes" syndrome.
    On the good news front I saw winter clothes in Target yesterday !! Gives you a little hope that there's an end in sight !

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    1. Hey there Helsie....Yes...that is the stupid craze to which I refer...the Mason jars. I can't see the point in using them as drinking vessels. To my eye and feel, there is nothing attractive about them...they look clumsy, for one thing!

      If I served guests drinks in jam jars, they (along with me) would be horrified!!

      With the appearance of winter clothes and Hot Cross buns in the stores...there is hope yet! lol

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  20. Until I read YP's comment I had no idea what you were talking about in relation to jam jars. People use them for drinking out of? Why? I don't envy you the humidity. I think I'd rather have our gales. When I played competitive croquet the hotter it got the happier I was because I love the heat and most of the rest of the players did not. (We rarely had high humidity in Hawkes Bay). This gave me a slight (and rather unfair) advantage. On the other hand when the breeze blew and the temperature dropped to 20 ℃ I was at a decided disadvantage.

    Reading your recipes made me realise what was missing from the quinoa, mixed bean and feta salad I've just made: olives! Thank you.

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