Wednesday, April 04, 2018

WE ARE THE CHAMPIGNONS!





The Games have begun!    

The 2018 Commonwealth Games being held on Queensland's Gold Coast, in case you're not aware.....

Don’t bother knocking.  I’ve no intentions of being among the frazzled crowds waiting hours for public transport, and/or trying to find a spot to park my car.  Between my own four walls I’ll be watching the many events via my television.  I’m staying well away from the mayhem.  Stress-free in the comfort and peace of home and hearth I shall remain, receiving an unobstructed view with only Remy and Shama, at times, demanding my attention.
 
A few weeks ago I made similar comments in my post re the Winter Olympics, and I make them again, here:-  

Winners or losers; place-getters or not; Gold, Silver or Bronze medallists, or no medals, all competitors are winners, in my opinion.   Having been chosen to represent one’s country in one’s chosen sport is a win in itself.  It would make for a great topic of conversation across the dinner table for years to come.  The over-indulgence of alcohol, for once, wouldn’t be the cause of the boasting. 

Having nothing to boast about, I must be a boring dinner guest. Perhaps that’s the reason I no longer go out to dine, and no longer entertain at home...other than entertaining my two furry mates...they, of course, have little other choice.  They are a captive audience.  When they become bored with the conversation, they just curl up and go back to sleep.

Hmmmm....food for thought, I suppose. 

No matter...I’ve no intention of changing my ways and habits.  I’m completely content to eat alone.  Well...not quite alone....Remy always joins me for lunch.  Shama chooses to sleep through...she enjoys her midday cat naps, uninterrupted.  Remy has a tiny wrist watch hiding somewhere in his fur.  He always knows when it is MY lunchtime.  It’s not cooking aromas that alert him, either.  Even when no cooking is involved, or even begun, he just knows the time, and makes sure that I do, too.  Obviously, it’s not just Remy’s nose that knows.

My opportunity to boast about my sporting achievements were thwarted once and for all back in 1959 or early 1960.

To my delight and pride, I was chosen to be a member of the Gympie State High School basketball team.  

One bright, sunny Saturday, off to the nearby town of Maryborough, 90kms (56 miles) north of Gympie we went to represent our school and town.  

Alas and alack! To my dismay, after the first half of the match my role on the wing was taken by another player.  In harsher terms, I was replaced. I wasn’t given a reason why I was sitting on the sidelines. I felt as deflated as a deflated basketball. 

So, please have a little room in your heart to understand why my representative basketball career is/was never part of my dinner table chatter.  At times I still suffer unbearable nightmares over the thoughtless, un-explainable slight; but I put on my big girl pants, and I try my utmost to face adversity head on.  Sob!

After entering the workforce, on Monday nights, I played the game...basketball, that is. 

Off and on, I also played tennis.  Mostly my tennis prowess was “off”, but I loved the game, even if I was never going to be a Steffi Graf. 

Swimming and surfing were my loves, and regular activities.  Ariel, the Princess Mermaid is a distant cousin. 

Many leisure hours were spent in Gympie’s Olympic pool, and in the ocean. On a scale of one to ten...water, salty or chlorinated, was most favoured at No. 10, or No. 1, depending on which way you look at it.

Those who boast lose me the moment they open their mouth. 

I’ve met a few braggarts throughout my life. The odd thing is, I have found, 99.99999% of those who boast have the least about which to boast!

One of the worst I’ve met was a lawyer from Melbourne.  He was a guest at the resort on Hinchinbrook Island.  He’d been on the island less than an hour when he announced to everyone within earshot, including me, he was the most eligible bachelor in Melbourne. 

I choked, disguising my gagging with a cough.   

He was nothing much to look at; the dugongs were more handsome.  In passing, I wouldn’t have given him a second glance; not even a first glance.   

Men in Melbourne in the mid-80s must have been in short supply.

From my brief, early glimpse of his personality he had nothing to boast about in that department, either.  

His attitude didn’t improve during his stay, nor did my impression of him.   

I didn't need to have a trumpet on hand...he kept blowing his own!

“Mr. Eligible” did win in one respect, though.  He succeeded in alienating himself from the other guests. He holidayed alone; alone he was allowed to be.  

I noticed one night at dinner he didn’t have a clue how to peel prawns.  To assist, unobtrusively, I took his plate that was filled with large, fresh king prawns, and I peeled them for him.   

He then proceeded to eat the delectable morsels with a knife and fork!  
  
Oh!  Dear!  He didn’t want to get his pearly white hands marred by such creatures!  He didn’t deserve that plate of prawns!

One evening during “Happy Hour” my guests were served marinated champignons as part of the bar snacks.  Again I choked when I noticed he didn’t know what they were.

It was obvious he only championed himself, never champignons.

It takes all kinds, I guess....and, boy....I’ve met my fair share over the years!  

Marinated Mushrooms: Heat a pan on med-high heat; add 375g small button mushrooms plus 1tsp x-olive oil; sauté 5mins, until tender and slightly browned. Whisk together 1/4c red wine vinegar, 2 crushed garlic cloves, 1/2tsp red pepper flakes, 1/2tsp dried basil, 1/4tsp each dried oregano and thyme and 2tbs chopped parsley; season. Transfer mushrooms to bowl; toss with marinade to coat. Marinate 10mins, or longer, overnight even; serve at room temp. 

Marinated Canned Champignons:  Drain 2x240g cans whole champignons. Combine 1-2tbs olive oil, 1-2tbs fresh lemon juice, 1 small onion or white part of shallot, sliced thinly, 1 crushed garlic clove, 1tsp minced dill, chives and/or parsley, salt and cracked black pepper; add champignons. Marinate overnight.

Deep-Fried Mushrooms: Remove most of the stem from 250g small button mushrooms. Slightly beat 2 eggs. Coat mushrooms in flour; tap lightly to remove excess dip in eggs; coat with panko breadcrumbs; add Parmesan to breadcrumbs if desired; set on rack a few mins to allow batter to set.  Deep fry in batches in preheated oil approx 3-4mins. Drain; serve with Garlic Sauce; whisk 1/3c each cream and crème fraiche until smooth; add 1 finely minced garlic clove, 1/2tsp dill and salt.

Stuffed Mushrooms: Remove stems very carefully from 45 button mushrooms. Soften 250g cream cheese; add 2tbs sour cream, 2tsp lemon juice, 1/2c grated Swiss cheese, 1/4 c grated Parmesan, salt, pepper, 1/2c finely chopped crab meat, 1/4c finely chopped cooked prawns and 3 minced shallot stalks. Heat 1tbs olive oil in pan over med-high heat. Add mushroom caps; sprinkle with a little salt; sauté 2-3mins each side until softened. Line baking tray with foil; place wire rack on top; add caps; spoon filling into caps. Cook in preheated 200C oven, on lowest rack, 15mins; then switch oven onto grill; cook 2-3mins; serve immediately; can be chilled 24hrs and re-heated 10mins.  


32 comments:

  1. Most of the trumpet blowers I have met had little to toot about. And some stretched the truth to incredible lengths.
    Eating fresh prawns with a knife and fork? Unfamiliar with champignons? A bachelor forever.

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  2. My thoughts exactly, EC....on all fronts! I'm sure that fool is still a bachelor...he was eligible in his mind only.

    I remember his making that statement a clear as if it had occurred only yesterday...and his performance with the prawns, too.

    Thanks for coming by. :)

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    1. PS...I failed to mention in my post....after I'd peeled his prawns for him, and then saw him attempting to eat them with his knife and fork good-humouredly I took his plate off him, saying he didn't deserve such wonderful fresh prawns if he had no idea how to eat them! I gave them to the others dining at his table. They enjoyed the moment....and the extra prawns!

      I did it with humour; good-naturedly...the seriousness I felt was disguised well! ;)

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    2. You took his food away? Good-natured or not, why not a suggestion that prawns are finger food? or leave him to it with his knife and fork...

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    3. Because he deserved it, River...and I give no apologies to anyone for doing so. I suppose it is one of those situations where you have to be part of it to appreciate the doing of so and what was prompted it.

      To make a suggestion to him would not have sunk in....he was too full of himself to understand. Sometimes actions are more appropriate than words.

      He accepted the moment with humour, too. As I said, one would have to be there "in the moment" to understand.

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  3. I find myself being quite proud that I have never played any sport ever. PE classes with volleyball don't count in my opinion, since they weren't voluntary.

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    1. See...I don't understand feeling "proud" not having played any sport, of any kind. I am not, and never have been a dedicated "sporty" type...having only played the sports that I have just for the fun of doing so, but I find that to be quite an odd statement! :)

      Playing sport as a child I enjoyed and I believe it is a good thing for a kid to do. It doesn't have to a pressured thing, but I think children should play sport of some kind...it doesn't have to be madly competitive.

      For a time back in the early to mid-80ss I played golf every Wednesday morning. Never competitively or part of the golf club - that never interested me. I always played just nine holes with a couple of friends...and we had a great time. We'd hit off around 7 am or before...and then it would be all over and done with early.

      Golf is a fun game to play...in my opinion...not everyone has the same opinion, of course.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  4. For some reason I'm not interested in the Games - I'm not a great sports lover but do like Ice Skating/Dancing and Tennis I don't mind, oh and I forgot the Cricket!! We won't go to the cricket..
    Having dinner guest on Saturday night but then always having them, I don't talk a great deal as can never get a word in :)
    Take care Lee.

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    1. Hey Margaret. Each to their own...our own, I guess. I've always enjoyed watching the Summer and Winter Olympics - when I've had the chance to do so. And I will watch the events I'm interested in, in the current Commonwealth Games.

      In the years since I've stopped working, reached the age of retirement I have the time to watch the sports I choose to watch. During my working life I very rarely watched television, never having time to do so.

      I also used to entertain a lot, but gave up doing that a few years ago. Dinner parties or luncheons were enjoyable...the catering of and the actual act of have guests sitting around the dinner table...but I neither have the energy (the hips don't allow it anymore) or the money to continue the practice. But I have many great memories....

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  5. I didn't know what champignons were either, till today, but I do love them, better to play half a game than not at all (volleyball for me)

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    1. Hey Linda...you're probably more familiar with the name "button mushrooms"..."champignon" is the French name for the small white button mushies.

      Yes...I was thrilled just to have been chosen for the team. I was only about 14 or 15 years old at the time. The most exciting part of it all was having the trip away to another town. That had never happened to me before..or after, for that matter. lol

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  6. I grimaced when i read about the man eating his prawns with a knife and fork, thought for a moment he might never have come across them before but then recalled you said he was a lawyer from Melbourne and even back in those days every one would have known what a prawn was and how to eat them.
    Mind you Lee my mother was appalled when she visited us from the UK in the early 1970s and we bought pies for the kids from a milkbar down at the beach and then ate them hot from the paper bag. She thought we were going to take them home to eat off a plate with a knife and fork.
    And we had our first champion 'crowned' today - a silver crown for a young lad from Tassie - and meanwhile down here on the Surf Coast at Bells one of our champions passed his crown to the next generation.
    Take care
    Cathy

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    1. G'day, Cathy...Firstly...yes today was memorable. The wonderful Mick Fanning has hung up his competitive board. He's a credit to his chosen sport, to his family and to himself. A great surfing living legend. :)

      That guest I described in my post was so, so full of himself...he was unbelievable...and deserved to be taken down a few pegs. He rubbed the other guests, my staff and me up the wrong way. I wasn't alone in my assessment of him. With his inflated image of himself he caused much amusement!

      Today was a wonderful first day of the Games. Young Jake Birtwhistle did well coming second in the triathlon...he was beaten by only seven seconds. How great for him.

      The swimming tonight was terrific, too....world record by our girls in the 4x100metre relay...Gold medal and world record...very exciting. :)

      There's nothing quite like a good old meat pie with the juices running down your chin...and pastry bits going everywhere!! Love it! lol

      Thanks for coming by. One day we'll have to sit down together, and enjoy a good feed of fresh prawns! :)

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  7. Oh, had I have known you back then I could have warned you about eligible bachelors from Melbourne. I am tempted to say, what games? But our ABC makes sure I hear about them. You would only be a boring dinner guest until we poured you your third glass of wine and then you would become a brilliant raconteur. Aunty Andrew knows such things.

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    1. Dear Aunty Andrew....I don't need wine to lubricate my story-telling abilities! Having someone who is interested enough in hearing them is enough incentive! :)

      Even though I drink very rarely these days...I still do like a good red such as a Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon. I've a few bottle here...probably because I drink rarely these days!

      I should set up the table; prepare a special three or so course dinner for myself...open a bottle and start telling myself stories! I'll certainly have a captive audience then! And if I interrupt myself, it will be okay...because I'll know the story, anyway! :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  8. I think all participants are winners as well in any games. No, I don't care for most finger foods because I don't like to get my hands sticky.

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    1. Hey Annie. I like watching people giving their best...no matter what field it is in...sports, arts - whatever...striving to reach the goals they aim for. Being the best that they can be in whatever it is. I admire them...their inner fortitude and determination is to be admired, I think.

      As for finger food....I like finger food. Freshly cooked prawns...just as is...no fancy sauces etc., aren't sticky!!! Anyway, you save on water by licking your fingers! :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  9. Basketball player? That means you're tall. I'm not; so, height is one reason I might envy you.
    Nowadays, sports people are paid too much for too little and, I feel, sports in general, has deteriorated like all other things. I like to watch, however, women gymnastics, ice skating/dancing.

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    1. G'Day, DUTA...I almost hit the heights of 5ft 9 inches (175.2cm). I doubt there is little to envy about me! lol

      The Commonwealth Games event is similar to the Sumer Olympic Games. The Games are held every four years.


      The Commonwealth Games, similar to the Olympics is a multi-sport event involving athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations, bringing athletes from 71 countries throughout the world. Over 6,600 athletes and team officials from the competing countries have converged on the Gold Coast. The competitions commenced on Thursday, 5th April and will continue through over the following 11 days.

      The current Games are being held here on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. I live in the Gold Coast Hinterland, which is not far away from all the activity. But I will be staying well away from the activity...watching the events I want to watch via my TV. :)

      Sure, some sports people are being paid a lot of money these days...it's a business and if some are able to make good money from their sporting abilities/talent and hard work, then good luck to them, I say.

      There is a lot of hard work and long, long hours put in over many years to become an elite athlete...and that is not only by the athlete...by their supporting families, etc.

      I enjoy and appreciate watching humans giving it their best. Showing humans can achieve much if they set their minds to it is a welcome respite for a change. It's far more pleasurable than hearing about all the murders, robberies etc., etc., that go on endlessly day after day.....

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  10. Regarding the pompous Melbourne lawyer, he reminds me that a lot of truth is contained in the old saying, "Empty vessels make the most noise". It's nice to gradually and naturally discover things about the people we meet. Humility is an admirable quality.

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    1. Hi Yorkie...that saying certainly does contain a truth...and that fellow was a prime example of an empty vessel...and a most foolish one.

      He had such a false impression of himself, I'm sure he didn't recognise his own reflection when looking in a mirror! :)

      Thanks for coming by...I hope you wiped the mud off your boots before you did! :)

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  11. An odd man, it seems. I didn't know what champignons were either - I just googled. Mushrooms, right?

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  12. Yes, Lynn...small button mushroomas as shown in the recipes! lol "Champignon" is the French name, often used in other countries...as it frequently is here in Australia.

    And, yes...that fellow was most odd...although he didn't believe he was! ;)

    Thanks for coming by. :)

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  13. Sounds like Mr. Boastful was trying to convince himself he must be the most eligible bachelor in Melbourne, as well as convince other people! I always seem to buy a lot of mushrooms, something about them appeals to me but in practice only ever eat them gently sauteed or, (in small quantities) raw in salads. They have a rather nice nutty taste eaten raw, in smallish quantities.

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    1. I, too, eat a lot of mushrooms, Jenny. I love them...I always have since I was a little girl. Along with our grandmother, when we were little kids, my brother and I would go collecting the field mushrooms after the rain. I've also grown my own.

      As for the marinated canned or fresh "champignons"...small button mushrooms they make for a great hors d'oeuvre. I've made them very often over the years, for both home entertaining and when I was cooking professionally, etc. And, I still do include them in antipasto platters to this day. They are a popular addition.

      Actually, sauteed mushrooms will be part of my lunch today - accompaniments to some grilled short loin lamb chops.

      "Mr. Boastful" convince no one other than himself. :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  14. Speaking of cats joining us for food...I set down a package of (cooked) chicken that I got for someone else, and Mandrake helped himself!

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  15. Hi RK....Remy, my male cat loves chicken. And when I buy a BBQ chicken it's a given I share it with him. Shama, his sister, doesn't care for it much, but he loves it! In fact, Remy thinks he is my permanent luncheon companion and always is interested in what I'm having...and insists on sharing!!! :)

    It's good to hear from you, my dear...take good care...and thanks for coming by. :)
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  16. Yum! Love mushrooms.
    We had some this evening with a moussaka ... don't you just love aubergines too!

    All the best Jan

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    1. Yes, Jan...I do.. There's isn't much I don't like! We're so lucky to have such a varied range of fresh foods at our fingertips...and I sure make the most of it. :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  17. I'm not a great watcher of sports and, indeed, I was never a great participant either until later life when I took up croquet with a reasonable degree of success. As a young teenager I had lung problems but went to a school where games and PE were very high on the agenda. Most games involve running which was beyond my capability if the distance was more than a 100 yard sprint or sustained as in soccer or rugby. Only having one useable eye made tennis and cricket impossible. Later I became a soccer linesman and nearly took my refs ticket but soccer started to become too much of a business and I lost interest. I used to be a member of the Lancashire County Cricket Club and really enjoyed watching the old style test matches. These days I enjoy lawn tennis on the television and that's about it, so I have no sport dinner conversation whatsoever. As few of my friends do either that's not a problem.

    As for being eligible I work on the basis that as I've never fancied myself I don't see why anyone else would.

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