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.