Sunday, April 25, 2010


Nowadays, one has to be a contortionist to survive.

Constantly we’re told we have to “buckle up”; “knuckle down”; “tighten your belt”; “put on the brakes”; ”bounce right back”; “toe the line”; “keep your head down”; (or “pull it in”), “brace yourself”; “bite the bullet”; “keep your eye on the ball”; “keep your chin up”; “keep your nose to the grindstone”; “pull your socks up”; “put your best foot forward” (I don’t know which is my best foot – they both look much the same to me and appear to do similar jobs); “broaden your horizons”; “keep your head above water”; “sink or swim”; “take a deep breath; “exhale” (I wish they’d make up their minds!); “don’t jump into the deep end”; “think twice before you leap”.

Personally, I prefer to think more than twice before taking a leap!

If we attempted to do all the above tasks, we’d have no time to spare, not to mention the total confusion trying to follow so many commands! Perhaps it’d be better to go out on a limb and play it by ear! Or it would be best to twiddle our thumbs to decide if it’s thumbs up or thumbs down while taking one step forward and ten back; all the time rolling our eyes, raising our eyebrows and shrugging! Of course, we could spin in one spot and go nowhere!

It’s important to remember, however; if you can’t jump that pesky hurdle, go around it, or dig a hole and crawl under it! Whew! Now we need a nap, but before you go, here are some budget-friendly ideas to chew on.

Cajun Beans: Cut 2 bacon rashers into ½-inch pieces; cook until brown; drain: set aside. To pan, add 1 chopped onion, 2 chopped celery stalks, 1 chopped capsicum, 1 zucchini, diced, 2 chopped garlic cloves, 2tsps Cajun seasoning, pinch of cumin, 1/2tsp thyme; season. Cook 10-12mins, stirring occasionally. Add 2 cans diced tomatoes, undrained; cook 10mins. Stir in 2-1/2c cooked kidney beans and 1-1/2c of bean cooking water (or canned beans) and the bacon. Cook 3-5mins. Serve over brown rice.

Macaroni Tuna-Cheese: Cook 250g macaroni until tender, drain; rinse. Melt 4tbls butter in saucepan; add 2 chopped onions and 1 small chopped capsicum; sauté over low heat 3-4mins, until tender. Add 2tbls plain flour, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, until smooth and bubbly. Add 1c milk and 1 can of mushroom soup; stir over low heat until smooth and thickened. Add cooked drained macaroni, 250g canned tuna, drained, 1/2c thawed frozen peas and 1/2c grated cheese to sauce mixture, stirring constantly. Pour the mixture into buttered casserole; top with grated cheese and some buttered, soft bread crumbs; bake at 175C about 40mins.

Chicken in Puff Pastry: Cook 4 bacon rashers until crisp; drain; crumble; set aside. Drain pan; don’t wipe out. Add 1tbl olive oil to pan; add 3 boneless, cubed chicken thighs and 1/2c chopped onion. Cook together until chicken is no longer pink. Remove with slotted spoon to a bowl. Add 125g softened cream cheese and bacon to chicken; mix well; add some chopped fresh herbs. Cut a sheet of thawed puff pastry into 4x6-inch squares. Divide chicken between squares; fold in half. Seal edges; press with fork. Place on baking tray; brush with beaten egg. Bake in preheated 200C oven 20-25mins.

French Onion Pork: Slash edges of 4 pork loin chops. In pan fry 2 chopped bacon rashers until crisp; drain. Add a little oil to pan brown chops; transfer to plate. To pan, add 2 sliced onions, 1tspn Italian herbs; season. Cook 10mins. Sprinkle 1tbl plain flour into pan, cook, stirring 1min. Add 3/4c chicken stock; bring to boil, stirring and scraping. Return bacon, chops and juices to pan, turn chops to coat. Cover, reduce heat; simmer until cooked. Stir in 1tsp cider vinegar.

Seven-Layer Casserole: Layer thinly-sliced potatoes, carrots and onions in buttered casserole. Sprinkle 1/2c uncooked long-grain rice over vegetables. Add 2 undrained cans of peas; arrange 500g pork sausages over peas. Dilute 1 can tomato soup with water; pour over sausage; season. Cover; cook in 175C oven, 1 hour – then uncovered a further hour.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


It’s beyond my comprehension the gung-ho behaviour that's displayed by certain elements of our society. I’m constantly disgusted and angered by the violence and lack of respect perpetrated by some sections of today’s youth; despicable, intolerable actions that are insults to human intelligence. I have momentary flashes of optimism, but these disappear rapidly when I hear another report of a shameless, cowardly act.

If it was within my power, my punishment for these louts would be to send them off for a long weekend to Afghanistan to stand beside our troops, and if they re-offend, I’d send them off again for a week-long stay! And if they’re eager for more…a month! If these numbskulls are so keen to fight they should walk in the boots of our fine men and women who have fought in past wars, and of those who are still representing this county on today’s battlefields! Perhaps then they’d fully understand what fighting is all about! Instead of being two-pot screamers or bar-room cowboys they might learn the value of life; their own and that of others.

Thousands upon thousands of our brave Diggers have given their lives, and thousands upon thousands of others have forfeited their souls for their fellow Aussies to have the right to stand tall and be free; strong, proud men and women whose deeds and memories deserve much more from us all…the clowns especially! These brainless cowards who roam our streets bashing, robbing and worse have no idea of the true meaning of “standing by your mate”!

One of the most sobering and emotive times in my life was the day I visited the Bomana War Cemetery, Port Moresby on PNG’s Remembrance Day, 23rd July, 1987. On their way to Afghanistan, perhaps a visit could be organised for the morons who terrorise innocent others. They could also be given a guided tour of the Kokoda Trail! That would surely get rid of their pent up angst and ignorance!

Can You Hear Australia's Heroes Marching? Lest we forget – lest we forget!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


There’s an amusing story tied up in the title, however, until I get to know you better it shall remain untold! Suffice to say that because of the misguided politically-correct world in which we dwell these days it would go down like a lead balloon or worse! Sexual harassments cases would be rife if one was so inclined! More the pity when something innocent and fun can be contorted into something evil and defamatory. Speaking of “gold”; time spent reading is golden.

As children growing up in the gold town of Gympie, my brother and I were encouraged to read, receiving books as gifts for birthdays, Christmas and times in between. Also, our fertile, impressionable imaginations were nurtured by our Nana whose fascinating tales of her “golden olden days” growing up in the Gympie area kept us enthralled night after night. There’s a lot of history emanating from Gympie.

This morning I was struck by a bug...a violent bug! I started cleaning out the drawers of my computer desk and those of a nearby chest of drawers. Boy! I'm a hoarder of paper; paper with many notations upon it! So far I've managed to fill five bags full of rubbish!

However, on going through my many jottings and other bits and pieces, I came upon "The Beadle", a little Gympie newsletter published in February, 1918! "The Beadle", apparently, was published by the Gympie Presbyterian Church. Reading it, I came across the following:

"We regret to record the death of Mr. Robert Hose, who was killed in the Scottish Gympie Mine (gold the time acclaimed to be the biggest in the southern hemisphere) by the fall of a rock. He was buried on the 24th, the Rev. W.J. Taylor officiated.

Mr. Hose was just over 50 years of age, and within a few days would have left the mine to take up land at Goomboorian."

Said Robert Hose was my great-grandfather. He usually didn't work underground but that particular day he was covering for another workmate who had called in sick.

Reading an article a short while ago I learned that Tom Bath, the grandfather of Clarissa Dickson Wright, one of the famous “Two Fat Ladies” was born in Gympie. “Bath Terrace” in Gympie was obviously named after him, a fact of which I was unaware.

Judy Cornwell who played Daisy, Hyacinth’s daggy sister in “Keeping Up Appearances” came from the Gold Town. I knew Judy’s brother, Max quite well when he and I were members of the Gympie Drama Group. Their father, Barry was a writer with the “Gympie Times”. And, of course, I come from Gympie…there has to be something golden in that, don’t you think? No? Okay…perhaps that’s a load of bullion!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010


Who wants a pink world, anyway? I, for one, don’t!

The other day a wild thought rattled the door to my mind. Out of curiousity I reacted to the summons, of course! What would happen, thought I, if I put my glasses on upside down? Would all around me be inverted? Naturally, I tried! Hey! Presto! Regretfully, I report everything remains the same! Well, it was worth trying – you never know until you try! Nothing else requiring my attention was on my schedule at the time!

One must never assume that all is what it appears to be. One should never be so presumptuous! Think about it - until my experiment and revelation you might never have known! It could have been otherwise, and you would have missed out in a lot of fun if it had been other than what it is! Stop scoffing! You could’ve been marvelling instead, if my experiment had proven successful!
You should be commending my convoluted musterings; a laborious labyrinth that works in intricate, mysterious ways; and that I dare to dip my toes in where others fear to tread!

I proffer no shame or embarrassment when revealing the methods by which I keep myself amused while whiling away my days! In contrast, my evanescent musings would vanish in a vacuum; my non-resident truant thoughts hidden in a void, eclipsed by an obscure veil of slothful inertia! An uninhabited mind depleted of thoughts is like a freighter with non-existent cargo or a deserted island with an absentee Robinson Crusoe; vacated by Friday, as well!

Friday Tuna Quickie: Preheat oven 190C. Roll and shape 1sheet puff pastry to fit quiche dish. Defrost and drain 1 packet frozen spinach. Place 2-3 eggs, 1/2c cream and 1/2c milk in bowl; mix well; add 425g well-drained, canned tuna, 100g grated cheese, salt and pepper. Pour into pastry; bake 35-45mins.

Friday Night Spaghetti: Process 2 garlic cloves and 2tbls Italian parsley with salt in processor. Cook 500g spaghetti. Heat 2tbls olive oil in pan; stir in garlic-parsley mix and 2tbls diced onion; cook about 3mins; don’t brown; blend in a little chicken stock; reduce to nil; stir in 2 drained, rinsed canned anchovies and 1tbl tomato paste together with 1/3c chicken stock; stir over heat 1min. Blend in 1 can drained tuna in oil; season. If it needs more stock, add a little to moisten bottom of pan. Toss in drained pasta, 2 more tablespoons diced onion, 1/3c coarsely chopped black olives, and 1tbl drained capers. Toss over medium heat a few minutes to thoroughly coat the spaghetti with sauce.

Mini Meatloaves: Preheat oven to 190ºC. Lightly spray a 12 capacity muffin tin with oil. Line each muffin hole with bacon slices so bacon hangs over the sides. Place 500g mince, 1 minced garlic clove, 2tsps chopped ginger, 1tbl Worcestershire sauce, 1tbl rosemary, salt and pepper, 1c breadcrumbs, 1c frozen peas, 1c chopped parsley and 2 lightly beaten eggs in a bowl; mix well. Press on top of bacon then fold bacon over to enclose. Place in oven; bake 25-30 minutes. Refrigerate until needed, if serving cold with salad.

Chicken a La Friday: Heat oil in pan; cook 2 chicken breasts, cut into chunks with 1 chopped garlic clove and 1 chopped onion until chicken is cooked through. Season with 2tsp ground ginger, chilli, 1/2tsp each cinnamon, turmeric, cumin and white pepper; set heat to medium. Mix in 250g canned, chopped tomatoes and 4tbls chicken stock; simmer; stir in 2tbl slivered almonds. Stir in 4tbls each cream and yoghurt; cook gently 2 to 4mins; serve on rice.

TGIF Egg Pita Pizzas: Preheat the oven to 180C. Place pitas onto 2 oven trays. Spread with bottled pasta sauce; arrange shaved ham, drained pineapple pieces and grated tasty cheese onto pitas; leave an 8cm round space in centre. Break an egg into centre of each pizza; bake15mins, until eggs have set and base is crispy.

TGIF Cocktail: Blend 1/2oz each Frangelico, Baileys and white Crème de Cacao with 2oz cranberry or strawberry sauce, 2 scoops vanilla ice cream and 1/2c crushed ice; blend until smooth: pour into tall glasses; garnish with aerosol whip and finely chopped pecans.