Tuesday, October 23, 2012
ABSTEMIOUS MAKES THE HEART GROW FONDER
Everything in moderation; that’s the plan! I won’t, and don't tell porkies; there’s no point going down that path. I have no desire or need to do so. I’ve nothing to hide or feel ashamed about. There have been times in my life when seduced by the mood of the moment, and by the contagious company of others, I’ve drunk too much (alcohol, not water or milk), but I caused no harm to anyone. I was the one who suffered the hang-overs; nobody else. If there is any “tut-tutting” and rolling of eyes happening because of my remarks, reflect upon the old saying about he or she who casts the first stone etc., etc,. and so on and so forth!
Nowadays, for me, it’s a drought between drinks. Water and coffee are still high on the list, of course. Don’t worry, though - I’ve not turned into a wowser! In the words of Buddy Holly …“That’ll be the day!” A sip or two once in a blue moon, and oft times not even then is more the case with me these days.
I always have a tipple on Melbourne Cup Day – that’s a given; and if the mood takes, I’ll even dare lash out on my birthday! Damn birthdays! They’re a clear sign of getting older! I received a shock the other day when I realised that I’m no longer 35! See what sobriety does to you! I might have to reconsider my habits!
Another reason for imbibing infrequently is these days I don't entertain as often as I once did. I used to entertain a lot, but I ceased doing so a couple of years ago. I've done more than my fair share of catering for others over the years, both for personal pleasure and professionally. However, if and when I do cater for friends; or am being catered for by them it's never a "dry argument", if you know what I mean! I could never have a luncheon or dinner party without a few bottles of good wine; and a Frangelico, Grand Marnier or Drambuie or two to complete the picture. (Substitute your own personal preferences)!
A couple of months ago I did celebrate some very unexpected, exciting news with friends. I unscrewed the top off a bottle of quality red, which I enjoyed without one iota of guilt. In the meantime, my hosts contentedly sipped on their white wine. They, too, showed no remorse between sips. We were not a remorseful trio.
It’s not every day that I get asked for my permission by the State and National Libraries of Queensland and Australia, respectively, for them to archive some of my writings. It was a momentous moment worthy of celebration to my way of thinking; and it’s not often I sit way up there on Cloud Nine! I always thought I might go down in history one day – but not that way! I’m not as infamous as Ned Kelly, after all! My wicked, wicked ways have all been in vain! I should’ve tried harder!
Moderation applies to the intake of food, too. There’s little I don’t enjoy or eat, but I do try to exercise some restraint. "Some" perhaps being the operative word. I have to be honest and admit there are times I succumb to my lack of will power; and all restraining flies out the window; it doesn't matter what window it is...it's not always the kitchen window. The others have their turn, too!
A stranger, an elderly woman I’ve never laid my eyes on before reprimanded me the other day because I bought a bottle of homemade guava jelly at the “Green Shed”. I'd not eaten guava jelly in years; and I love fresh guavas. The "Green Shed" operates up here on the mountain upon which I dwell every Sunday morning. Local growers sell their supposedly "organic" produce to all-comers.
Lordy! Lordy! I was told by the stranger in no uncertain terms that I was buying a jar of sugar! Oh! For goodness sake! Taking things to extremes is a bit over-the-top, in my humble opinion - an opinion I intending sticking to! It’s not as if I came home and devoured the whole jar in one sweet mouthful; although, if I had that would have been my business, and my business only; nobody else. Up until now as I write, I’ve spread a mere morsel on one piece of toast only; and that’s no porky!
And then, to top it all off, as I got into my car, the stranger, not one to give up, then began to enforce her eating philosophy upon me! She told me that she only ate raw foods; the way "God intended people to eat"!
It was then I snapped. That was the proverbial "straw"! I'd heard enough of her self-righteous sprouting.
My retort was; "Well, God intended me to enjoy everything...so I do!" I turned on the ignition and drove away, leaving her standing with her eyes agog, mouth open, and a plastic container of raw food in her hands.
I talk to anyone; anywhere; any time; but I hate being lectured!
Perhaps I should revert to the teachings of my childhood and abstain from speaking to strangers!
My mantra: Enjoy life; enjoy the good things in life; enjoy everything in moderation. Whatever floats your boat – just don’t go overboard! However, never curtail your enjoyment of the good people in your life.
Pork Mince Pies: Heat oil in pan; brown 1.5kg pork mince and 2 finely-chopped onions over high heat; stir in 2 diced carrots, 100g peas and 2 potatoes, diced; season; toss in a little thyme. Add 300ml stock; bring to boil; add 100g gravy powder mixed in 80ml water; bring to boil; reduce heat; simmer 20mins; cool. Fill individual pie ramekins; cover with rounds of puff pastry; crimp edges to secure; brush with beaten egg. Bake in preheated 200C oven until golden; serve hot with tomato chutney.
Sweet & Sour Pork: Cut 350g pork fillet into 5x1cm strips; place in bowl with 1tbs soy sauce and pepper; stir to coat; stir in 2tsp cornflour; set aside. Drain 1x440g can pineapple pieces in natural juice; set aside juice and fruit. To make sauce: mix together 1tbs each cornflour, brown sugar and rice wine vinegar, 2tbs dry sherry, 2tbs tomato sauce, 3tbs salt-reduced soy sauce and reserved juice. Set aside.
Cook 140g egg noodles in boiling water, 3mins, or according to the packet instructions; drain well; set aside.
Heat wok until really hot; add 1tbs sunflower oil; swirl to coat wok. Add pork; brown 1min; then stir-fry over high heat, 3–4mins. Remove pork with a slotted spoon; set aside. Heat 1tbs oil in wok; add 80g baby corn, quartered lengthways; cook 1min; add 1 julienned carrot, 1/2 red and 1/2 green capsicum, cut into 1-inch pieces, 1 chopped garlic clove and 1tbs finely-diced ginger; cook 1min. Sprinkle over 5tbs water; let steam, 2–3mins. Add sauce mixture, stir well; bring to boil. Add pork, noodles, pineapple and 300g bean sprouts; heat through, stirring and tossing. Add 4 spring onions, diagonally sliced and 1tsp sesame oil.