|/Fun acrylic paintings done by me a few years ago|
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.