Thursday, May 28, 2020

IT TOOK SO LONG TO BAKE IT... I’LL NEVER HAVE THAT RECIPE AGAIN!







 
Highclere Castle









Over the past few months I’ve watched documentaries about various legends of the music world, all of which were very interesting...fascinating in so many ways.

A couple of months ago SBS also ran a brilliant documentary about the origins of country music in the US. The aptly-named documentary... “Country Music”...consisted of eight episodes,   It was created by Ken Burns, and covers the period from country music’s US beginnings in the mid-1920s through to 1996.

Of course, the music didn’t end in 1996.  Don Mclean’s lyrics “the day the music died”...from his 1972 No. 1 hit, “American Pie”, don’t apply to country music. I doubt they ever will. I hope they never will....

My hope is Burns produces a follow-up “Country Music” multi-episodes documentary...continuing on from where he left off...from 1996 forth....

Ken Burns’ documentaries, which cover a wide, varied range of subjects, including the American Civil War, are all excellent.  Each and every one of the Burns’ docos will captivate the viewer.  They did me.  High praise applies to his “Country Music” doco, as well. I feel it would be remiss of me not to suggest others watch Burns' documentaries...I'm sure they won't disappoint.

Burns’ documentaries are narrated by actor Peter Coyote.  (Americal actor who appeared in “E.T.. The Extra-Terrestrial”, “Cross Creek”***, “Patch Adams”, “Erin Brokovich”, etc., etc) 

I've always liked the timbre of Coyote’s voice.  I love good speaking voices. 

Without prejudice, my late ex-husband, Randall, had one of the best voices I’ve ever heard.  I’m not alone in my assessment. Shortly after my ex’s passing in August, 2019 some of his peers from his radio years and beyond contacted me stating similar when expressing their condolences.  Their sentiments meant a lot...mean a lot to me.

*** The 1983 movie “Cross Creek” stars Mary Steenburgen (wife of Ted Danson) playing the role of author Majorie Kinnan Rawlings. Rawlings wrote the beautiful book “The Yearling”.  “Cross Creek” is based in part on Rawlings’ memoir of the same name.  Both book and movie are wonderful...worth reading and viewing.

Watching documentaries about Quincy Jones, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and others, caused me to reflect upon the early 60s. 

As mentioned previously...and often... at the age of 15 years I left school, having gained employment as a legal secretary in a Gympie law firm.

Leaving school mid-Junior year...in late July, 1961...going it alone in the wide world of wonder and intrigue, meant I threw away my school uniform, and I left my schoolmates behind.

Being the “new kid on the block”, as well as the youngest, an older group of teenagers and “twenty-ish-es” of both sexes generously took me under their protective wings.

Friday night dances in Gympie’s Soldiers’ Memorial Hall were must attends.  Attend them, I did...not missing one!  And the few times Wednesday night dances were held at the hall, I attended those, too.

Fortunately, I was never a wallflower.  Unselfishly, the young blokes taught me the quickstep, waltz, foxtrot; barn dance, jazz waltz, cha-cha-cha etc.  

One corner at the far end of the dance floor was the designated “jive” area.  It was there we let our hair down, skirts twirling (the girls,that is), swinging and twisting to the rock an’ roll beat. 

Such fun the Friday night dances were; as were the Saturday night country dances held in halls in the surrounding rural areas on Gympie’s outskirts...such as Cedar Pocket, Kybong, Chatsworth, Traveston...

The delicious suppers served by the farmers’ wives...the cheerful ladies of the CWA...were integral parts of the country dances. Those ladies could cook! Their home-made scones, cakes and tarts were unmatched.

Bobby, a local Gympie fellow, who was about 10 years older than me, was a jazz aficionado.  He was one of the young men and woman who took me under their wings during those early years of my tentative advance into adulthood.

Bobby's parents owned and operated a large, local business...a store that sold just about everything from food to hardware, and all in between.  

 Bobby not only worked for his parents, he also remained living in the family home, which was a rather large house.

The four walls in a second lounge room of the home were covered by floor to ceiling shelves, not unlike those in a well-stocked, public library; or a library one would expect to see in Highclere Castle...the mansion depicted as the home of the “Downton Abbey” gang...the Crawleys, and their loyal servants. (The same castle was used in “Jeeves and Wooster”, a British comedy series of the early 90s). 

The room was Bobby's regular hang-out, and the shelves held his vast collection of records, LPs and 78 rpms (revolutions per minute)...sleeve to sleeve; jacket to jacket.  Jazz and blues’ discs kept in tidy, strict alphabetical order.

Every time I was a guest in his home - in that special room - along with other friends, I was in awe of Bobby’s vast collection; as was everyone else.

Lounging on the carpeted floor, propped on cushions, we listened to the music on offer, speaking softly, and only when necessary. The music was the centre of our attention.

Our appreciation of the music; the art of composition, and the knowledge gained about the artists grew from each such evening spent at Bobby’s home.  He was a generous host.

Alcohol was present, but never abused. It was sitting on the carpeted floor of that room I first tasted Scotch Whisky...straight up...in a fine white porcelain tea cup of all things!  I don't know why a glass wasn't used...but I wasn't complaining....and didn't....

To this day, I remember clearly what I said following my first sip from the tea cup. 

 “What is this?  Hmmm!  I like it!”   So I took another sip...

That night at Bobby's place, sitting next to me was the young man who had handed me the drink.  He was five years older than me.  And, a little more than five years on from that evening, unknown at the time by both of us, and not even imagined in the wildest dreams by either he or me...he was to become my first husband...Mervyn.   

A lot of Life’s experiences were lived and experienced by me between that night sipping on my first Scotch in Bobby’s home in 1961 and an evening in 1966!

Other than the extensive record library at 4GY, Gympie’s radio station, and Colour Radio 4IP's massive record library, I’ve never seen a record collection like the one Bobby had.  It was the envy of many.   I'm sure it still would be...if still in existence...

Those of us whom Bobby befriended were grateful beneficiaries of wonderful evenings shared...thankful for the introduction to some brilliant music...and artists.


Chicken Pie: Place 3c plain flour and 1c butter, cut into ½-inch pieces into freezer 30mins before preparation. In processor, pulse flour, 1tsp baking powder, and 1tsp salt until combined; add butter; pulse until pea-sized and some slightly larger pieces form (or do it the old-fashioned way...using your fingertips, not your palms).  With machine running, add 1/2c icy water, 1tbs at a time, until dough just comes together and is moist, not wet and sticky (test by squeezing some with your fingers). Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; form into 2 balls; flatten into 2 discs (make sure there are no/cracks). Cover with plastic wrap; chill 40mins. Preheat oven, 200C. Grease baking dish with butter; grease one side of a large piece of baking paper with butter. Season 4 boneless, skinless chicken all over; then place in baking dish. Place buttered side of paper over chicken, so chicken is completely covered. Bake until chicken is cooked through; let sit 10 mins; then cut into cubes. In pot over med-heat, melt 2tbs butter; add 1 chopped onion and 2 chopped large carrots; cook until they begin to soften. Add 3 minced garlic cloves; then stir in 3/4c plain flour; cook until flour mixture is golden and begins to bubble. Gradually whisk in 3c chicken broth. Bring to a boil; cook until thickened. Stir in 1/4c heavy cream, cubed chicken, 1c frozen peas, chopped  parsley and thyme; season . Roll out one dough disc on floured surface, to about ¼” thick. Place in shallow pie dish; add cooled filling; roll out second disc; place on top of filling; trim and crimp edges; create a couple of slits on top; brush with egg wash; sprinkle with salt flakes.  Reduce oven heat, 175C; bake pie, about 45mins.

Salmon Fillets with Whisky Sauce: Mix sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, 2tbs brown sugar and 2tbs sweet hot mustard to form a past.  Brush on 4 salmon fillets; then brush with olive oil.  Oil the grates for gas or charcoal grill, and heat. (Or use oiled pan on stove).  Place salmon on the grill, or in hot pan; cover and cook to the desired doneness. Don’t over-cook! Combine juice from 1 lemon , 4tbs  whisky, 1/4c butter, 1tbs olive oil,1tbs capers with caper juice, and 2tbs lemon zest in a saucepan; heat until the butter melts. Pour the sauce over the salmon to serve.

31 comments:

  1. As you know music is pretty much a closed book to me. I like some of it, but it certainly isn't the passion to me that it is to so many.
    I never acquired a taste for Scotch either.
    I did love Cross Creek though, and still reread it most years.

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    1. Hey there, EC. I will never understand how music can be a "closed book" to anyone...I can't imagine not liking music. But, as in everything...each to their own...we are individuals with individual likes/loves.

      "Cross Creek" is such a beautiful story. I have the book, too...and the movie was/is a perfect adaptation of the book. Beautiful...beautiful...so full of emotion...as, of course, is "The Yearling".

      Thanks for coming by. I hope all is well with you and yours...including your furry mate. :)

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  2. Your early working life was so different to mine. For me it was up early, work in the cheese making and milk bottling factory, home again and read or play my records in my room. There were a few dances down at the Murray Bridge rowing club that mum dragged me to, I was willing enough, but didn't know how to dance and still don't. All I did was follow my partner, usually some older man there on his own, until I met my future husband who dance me right out of the door..cheeky. From then on his and my mothers pushed for a wedding and I just went along with it all. Seemed like a good idea at the time. I did end up with four great children and was happier away from my mother. I have a neighbour who doesn't like music :(

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    1. Hey River...I wanted so much to get out of school, into working, to earn some money of my own...much against my mother's wishes. She wanted me to go onto study to become a teacher...but I didn't. I won the battle in the end...with Nana's help. She could see and understand how much I wanted to do so. It was Nana who convinced Mum in the end to see ;and understand my point of view.

      There wasn't a lot of money in our household...and it as my desire to contribute...so I fought for the right to do so!

      You have your children...and they make it all worthwhile. :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  3. I'm looking for my next book to read on my Kindle. I will have a look at Cross Creek.
    I suppose country dances have died off now. Such a shame. It was a good way to meet people where old and young danced together in progressive dances. Ours were usually ladies bring a plate (It's ok, men did their bit. They brought their beer to be drunk outside only). I don't remember the CWA in our area. My parents met at a then outer suburban dance.
    Bobby sounds like a great young man.
    I was surprised to learn that in the small northern Japanese town where our Australian friend lived, there is a very active jazz scene, made up of musicians and those who appreciate jazz.

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    1. Hi, Andrew. I'm sure you, too, will love "Cross Creek". It's a lovely story, and that it's based on true life events, makes it even more worthwhile reading.

      Yes...sadly...I believe there wouldn't be many country dances these days. The fellows did do their drinking out by their cars during the evenings...with a few biff-ups along the way! A lot of rum was guzzled as well as the beer, I think! :)

      Bobby was a nice fellow. Most of the young fellows were...the ones I mixed with were, anyway....as were the girls. It was a good time to be a teenager back then...in my opinion, anyway.

      Thanks for coming by.:)

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  4. So that is how you met your first husband, interesting Lee.
    Dances way back when, such fun times, remember them well those dances and balls...Supper was to die for from the CWA, pity those cakes and savouries are not made today like those were back then.
    Not into Jazz, well heavy stuff.

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    1. Hi, Margaret...I met my first husband through the dances...but from afar earlier than that. He grew up in the street over from the back of where I grew up. I knew him from a distance.

      With him being older than I was, at school there the difference in our ages was huge. Our paths crossed mainly at the beach...he was a lifesaver in the Noosa Heads Surf Lifesaving Club...my girlfriends and I spent every summer weekend at the beach...and my brother was a lifesaver in the same club.

      Mervyn, in those years, already lived and worked in Brisbane...but always came home for the ball season..and always partnered me to the balls in the early Sixties. We never dated, as such...he just for some reason or other...always was my ball partner. His life was in Brisbane in those days...and mine was still in Gympie.

      The dances were so much fun...as were the record hops that followed a couple of years later. Thanks for coming by. :)

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  5. I get also captured by the timber of a voice,not only the voice of a presenter or a narrator, but also the voice of ordinary people.
    You did well to go into the world at a young age, earn a living, and experiencing things. Being a teacher as your mother hoped, was even in those times, not a dream job.

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    1. G'day, DUTA....As you read above in my response to River..I desperately wanted to earn my own money...to pay for my own way in the world. Mum and Nana had done their best throughout our childhood years...and I felt it was my turn to contribute to the family budget. So, for the first time in my life, I think, I stood my ground...and really fought for what I wanted.

      Thanks for coming by...take care. :)

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  6. Ken Burns is a national treasure. I have loved all his documentaries and Country Music was wonderful. I like all kinds of music, but my favorite is folk, which country evolved from. They all tell a story and who doesn’t like to listen to a good story. We all have one in us, and your’s is very interesting.

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    1. Hi, Arleen...Ken Burns is a genius, that is for sure. I am...as you can tell...a massive fan of his work. Anything with his name on it, I will watch, knowing I will not be disappointed in any way.

      Like you, I love folk music, too...and, in particular, in the early 60s, it, too, played such an important roll in my life.

      Take good care...and thanks for coming by. :)

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  7. oh my that chicken pie, I do love crust so much, but now gluten free I haven't made one in eons. My mom used to play country music and I liked rock and roll and blues at the time, she'd turn the channel on the radio and I'd turn it back, needless to say I've never liked country music since then. dh likes it all especially big band music as he used to play in the trumpet in band in high school and later in his own band in clubs, they were too smokey and it paid poorly so he gave it up. He went to high school with Stevie Nicks, lol. I partied with Santana back in the day. Had a friend that worked for Bill Graham and he used to get me tickets to see all the rock and roll bands playing back then, Rolling Stones, The Band, and Jefferson Airplane, etc. those were the days.

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    1. Hi, Linda...Oh! Santana...how wonderful he is. What a way to party!!! :) And the wonderful Stevie...and the complex relationships they all had within Fleetwood Mac...tremendous music!

      Rock and Roll...you gave me the best years of my life!!! How true that is for so many of us! lol The list certainly does go on...and on....

      Those were the days my friend...to coin a lyric! :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  8. You have such seemingly fresh memories of it all. Did you keep a journal? All those dances you mentioned are fine, but I didn't see polkas. Did you learn how to polka too? I used to entertain at weddings, playing polkas, waltzes and obereks with my brother's rock band (I came in for the older folks). Now those older folks are mostly gone and my accordion gathers dust.
    You ever check out those dances on TicToc? Wish I were young enough to try one of them.

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    1. Hi Dave...no, no journal...fortunately, I have a very good memory.

      No, no polka...the polka wasn't in vogue here, then or now. Perhaps the reason was there wasn't a huge Czech community in the area; nor Polish...so no oberek. I enjoyed watching the dances being performed in movies, though. Always have had, and I hope it continues to serve me well for some time yet! :)

      And, no also to the Tik Tok dance videos...until now after you've pointed them out. I guess if I was at the age now...I'd be joining those kids At the age I am now, I'd be breaking my joints if I joined them! Maybe it might be a good work-out! And maybe, it would be best if I just do them in my mind! lol

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  9. Looking way back when … dances were great to go to, everyone dressed up and yes there was alcohol but it seemed people drunk responsibly … nowadays it makes me shudder some of the TV and newspaper articles you see about how dances are held now and the abuse of alcohol!!! Perhaps I'm just getting old and grumpy! LOL!

    The Salmon Fillets with Whisky Sauce has caught my eye here :)

    All the best Jan

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    1. Oh! I'm already old and grumpy, Jan! But, between you and me... I could be getting grumpier...I know I'm getting older)!! :)

      Yes...alcohol was always about when we were younger, but I can honestly say we did drink responsibly. The legal age to drink alcohol was 21 years back then, and those of us under that age who had a drink were fully aware of the law. We knew we weren't supposed to be drinking...we didn't want to get caught...so we behaved ourselves while breaking the law...if that makes sense!

      Gympie didn't have a huge population...everyone...almost everyone...knew everyone else. What others did was often the most popular topics of over-the-fence conversations.

      In the case of my older brother and me, all the years throughout our childhood and teenage years our mother worked as a barmaid in local pubs. We were fully aware of the consequences so flew beneath the radar. We didn't want to draw attention to ourselves. I know I didn't. Private parties were the "thing"...every week someone threw one, it seemed. There was always alcohol available. We had a drink, but didn't abuse it. I knew I still had to go home...and to go home drunk was not something I wanted to do!!! That was a no-no!! I'd never be allowed to go out again! lol

      Things are so much different these days...sadly.

      Thanks for coming by. :)


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  10. I'm going to share your recipe for Salmon Fillets with Whisky Sauce with my son as he is a fan of Glenfiddich and salmon but I don't know if he's ever had them together. Thanks for the recipe! I hope you are doing well!

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    1. All is well with me here, thanks, Bonnie...my two partners in crime (Remy & Shama, my furry mates) and I are all doing what we always do...them bossing me about...and I, obeying them! :)

      I hope all is well with you and yours, too. Thanks for coming by. :)

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  11. Another delightful tell. I enjoyed Burns Country Music but I found he left out a few things that should have been said. Too much on some and not enough on others and some not at all. But it was his to tell and he could pick and choose. Maybe he should do a second one called More Country Music. Also I have not watched the one on The Civil War since it was held up to me as the true meaning reveil of the war as he was calling my views offensive. Still stings. Peace

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    1. Hi Lady Di...Oh! A documentary on country music could last forever ...limitless....many, many more stories still to be told; and still more being made as each day and year passes.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  12. You have great taste in music, and drinks! On the rare occasion when i do indulge, i also enjoy Scotch Whisky, neat.

    You've certainly led an adventurous life, and that record collection sounds stupendous. Did he leave it to a museum or some such in his will? That would be what i'd want done if i had such a thing.

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    1. Hi messymimi...I rarely drink these days...alcohol, that is. I had one beer and two glasses of wine in celebration of our Australia Day...during a little get-together street party here in this lane where I dwell...shared with neighbours...and that was back on the afternoon of the public holiday on Monday, 27th January....in celebration of Australia Day which actually falls on 26th January.

      I've an unopened bottle of Dimple Haig Scotch that has sat in its unopened, untouched state for about five years now. I keep thinking I should pour myself a Scotch...straight..but never get around to doing so....one day....

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      As for Bobby's record collection. I have no idea what happened to it. He married when in his late 20s, and had a family. So, I imagine, if his offspring were interested...they were the lucky beneficiaries. I lost track of him over the years.

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  13. I bet those chicken pies are more tasty than the bland Aldi version filled mostly with carrots and peas. BTW I have returned to blogging after a spell of medical stoppages.

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    1. Great to have you back, Vest. You had me worried there for a while! Keep taking good care. :)

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  14. That was a totally pleasurable read, Lee. I wish I had your recall for detail and could relate "those early years of my tentative advance into adulthood" just half as well as you do.

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    1. G'day, Pauline...My friends and I had a lot of good, innocent fun back then in those days...years...times worth remembering. :)

      I hope all is still well with you, and your loved ones over here across The Ditch! Thanks for coming by. :)

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  15. Both the documentaries and the dances sound marvelous. What fun times.

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    1. That they were, Sandra. Take good care, and thanks for coming by. :)

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