Thursday, June 14, 2018

LIFE IS A CABERNET, OLD CHUM!



It’s been quite a while since I’ve had a decent cabernet.  It’s been quite a while since I’ve had an indecent cabernet.   I’ve three or four unopened, still full, decent bottles lying around hereabouts.  They’ve been in that prone state for quite a while.  A couple, like me, have even managed to remain upright.  It’s because they’re screw-tops, not corked that they’ve remained upright.

I’ve remained decently upright and am not lying around indecently because the bottles have remained unopened.  I’m not lying. 

Some could say – probably do say – I’ve a screw or two loose; others have an even worse scenario for me - that I am missing a few, as well, but that’s okay.  I’ve learned to cope with the situation...the missing or loose screws, that is. I gave up searching for them years ago.  

The movie “Cabaret” was a huge hit when it was released in 1972. 

Like a quality cabernet the movie has aged well.

Liza Minnelli sparkled and mesmerised as “Sally Bowles”. 

Performing at Berlin’s Kit Kat Klub in 1931 during the years of the Nazi Party’s violent rise, Sally Bowles sang, danced and lived life to the full. She experienced the good, the bad, the ugly - the tragic. 

“What good is sitting alone in your room?  Come hear the music play – life is a Cabaret old chum!”  Sally sang night after night, encouraging her audience to forget their woes...to enjoy life...if only for a brief moment.  

For Sally life wasn’t all a cabaret. Not everything was positive.  They were difficult times, hard to bear; challenging, intimidating and fearsome.

 “Cabaret” is not a light-hearted musical, but it is a wonderful musical; an emotional story with an undercurrent of the atrocious Nazi regime ever-present. 

One way Sally got rid of her pent-up emotions, her fears, her anger and frustrations was to stand up close to the railway line as a train roared by.  There and then she would scream her lungs out.  The booming deafening din of the heavy iron, steam-powered locomotive drowned out her piercing shrieks.

I believe we all need a place like that to go to every now and then, to let off steam.  I know I do.    

Driving along the ridge of this plateau, en route to the local supermarkets, with my car windows closed shut is when I do my venting.  No one can hear me bellow, not even those in the valley below.  

This interesting behaviour occurs when things e.g. the behaviour and attitude of some people - have gotten me down.  Doing so does no harm, and it helps me retain what little is left of my sanity - or stops me from becoming a member of the Woodford Correctional Centre...if you know what I mean!

A loud, lengthy bellow or two has to be good for retaining one’s sensibilities - equilibrium.  Akin to releasing a pressure-cooker, the ridding of pent-up emotions, particularly anger would have to be a “load off”. 

Venting in an area where no one else can hear or see you would be far better than forcefully expressing, releasing those feelings in the presence of another or others. 

With the regularly occurring disturbing incidents of road-rage, domestic violence,  neighbourhood battles etc., etc.,  that we read about, or see on the news bulletins day after day, the perpetrators should take a leaf out of Sally Bowles’ book...or mine.

If they did, they might discover life is a cabaret, old chum. Maybe then, they will hear the music play. 

Music sounds much better than angry voices.  Dance actions, no matter if out of tune and off beat, are far better than violent actions. 

As the saying goes – “Dance as though no one is watching; love as though you’ve never been hurt; sing as though no one can hear you; live as though heaven is on earth”.  

That's pretty sound advice, in my opinion.

Many years have passed since I’ve visited a cabaret.  Perhaps I should branch out - alter the situation.  Maybe I’ll go in search of a passing steam engine; or simpler, just open a cabernet.

Cabernet-Braised Short Ribs: Preheat oven 180C. In large bowl, combine 2 celery stalks, cut into 2cm pieces, 2 medium carrots, cut into 2cm pieces, 1 leek, white and light green parts only, split lengthwise and coarsely chopped, 6 garlic cloves, 1 bay leaf, 4 sprigs thyme, whole black pepper, to taste, 2tbs plain flour, salt and pepper; add 1 bottle Cabernet Sauvignon. Add 6 large, trimmed beef short ribs. Marinate 6hrs or so in fridge. Remove from marinade; pat dry. Strain marinade; keep both liquid and vegetables. Season meat well; coat each side with flour; set aside. Heat olive oil in ovenproof dish; sear ribs until well-browned. Transfer to plate. In same pot, sauté veggies until lightly caramelised; add wine to pot; deglaze. Add 2tbs tom paste; bring to boil.  Add 2 litres beef stock; bring back to boil; add ribs; spoon liquid over ribs. Cover; bake about 2-1/2hrs; serve with mashed potatoes or pasta of choice.

Cabernet Lamb Fillets: Mix together a large glass cab sav, ½ c red wine vinegar and balsamic (mixed), 6 crushed garlic cloves, leaves of three rosemary sprigs, freshly ground black pepper, 1tsp salt, 2tbs x-virgin olive oil and 2tsp brown sugar. Rub half of mixture into a couple of lamb fillets; chill 2hrs. Seal fillets on griddle; then place in ovenproof dish; cover with remaining marinade; cook to your liking; turning halfway through. Serve with veggies of choice, and a bottle of Cab Sav!

Kit Kat Brownies: Preheat the oven 175C. Line 9x9 baking dish with foil; spray. Combine 3/4c plain flour, 2tbs cocoa, 1tsp baking powder and 1/2tsp salt. Melt 4tbs butter and 2c semi-sweet chocolate, stirring. Cool 2-3mins. In bowl, combine 3 eggs, 1-1/2c sugar and 1tsp vanilla; add melted choc; slowly add flour mix; mix well. Pour enough batter into baking dish just to cover the base. Break apart Kit Kat bars; lay on top of batter – about 8-10 bars. Pour rest of batter on top; bake 25-30mins. Frosting; Combine 1/3c cocoa, 1/4c butter, 2c icing sugar and 1tsp vanilla; slowly add 3tbs milk; beat on high. Spread over brownies. When frosting has set a little, cut brownie into squares. Break Kit Kat bars into 1/3rd  pieces...place a piece on top of each brownie. 


24 comments:

  1. Haven't heard of Liza Minelli in quite a long time. Well, it appears she's well and still performing. "Cabaret" was one of her best movies, and one that gave the world some of the best musical hits.

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    1. Hi DUTA...Minelli was brilliant in 'Cabaret"...she made it "hers". Her face was so alive...so animated. And she sure could belt out a tune!

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  2. “Dance as though no one is watching; love as though you’ve never been hurt; sing as though no one can hear you; live as though heaven is on earth”. I've never heard the last clause before.

    There seems to be something in the ether at the moment. Many people seem to be adversely affected by the goings on in the world in general and closer to personal 'home' in particular. I think that it is quite a long time ago when I consciously or sub-consciously decided that I was no longer going to be able to influence the world in general and I would not get het up about them or the petty annoyances nearer home.

    As a result I cannot recall when I last wanted st shout at the clouds.

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    1. G'day, Graham...Oh, I'm not able to suffer fools very easily...and some ill-mannered, thoughtless human behavior has a tendency at times to rile me. So rather that cut my nose off to spite my face I find letting off the pent-up steam while driving, alone in my car...where and when no one can see or hear me saves me my nose! :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  3. Yet another movie/musical I haven't seen.
    I vent in the garden. Or walking. And some days it is essential.

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    1. Hi EC...Wow! I thought everyone in the 70s would've seen "Cabaret"...it was such a huge hit at the time. Minelli was fantastic, as was Joel Grey as the Master of Ceremonies...top story...top movie/musical.

      It's good to have a place to vent...and to be able to do so when necessary! :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  4. It's a hard call but Cabaret is probably my favourite movie. None better come to mind at the moment. Storing wine....what a novel concept that would be for me. If it doesn't get drunk, it means I don't like it. I swear like a trooper to myself when I am driving at all and sundry. It is preferable to shooting other drivers.

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    1. Hi Andrew...It's is a great movie. I still love it.

      I find it strange that storing wine would be a novel concept! lol What happens if you feel like a tipple? Best to have some stored away at home rather than having to go out and get some if and when the mood hits. Get your act together, Andrew!!!!! :)

      I drink very rarely nowadays...just can't be bothered, but I always have some on hand - just in case a surprise visitor arrived. I always used to enjoy having a well-stocked "cellar" of quality wines.

      Thanks for coming by...what would you like a red or a white? :)

      Delete
  5. That was rather a good movie from memory.
    Don't drink Cabernet but have used it in cooking many times.

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    1. Hey Margaret...yes it was/is a good movie.

      I've always preferred a good red...either a Cab Sav or Shiraz...my preference. I do also like dry whites, when the situation suits...or a good Rosé...but I do prefer a gutsy red. :)

      Thanks for coming by.:)

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  6. I like my brownies plain, fudgy and warm eaten straight from the oven almost. Coincidentally, I spent most of today thinking about brownies and how long it's been since I made any.
    i don't think I've ever seen Life is a Cabaret, certainly I can't recall anything but the song. I'll have to do something about that toot-sweet.

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    1. Hi River...the movie and the stage show is known solely as "Cabaret". I'm sure you would like it. It's not all sweetness and light...and life going on around it in the time the story is was set certainly wasn't a cabaret. Minelli is brilliant in it. She made the part her own.

      Yep! I like my brownies similar as you describe, but thought because I referred to the "Kit Kat Klub"....I'd give a recipe using Kit Kats. It's years since I've had a Kit Kat. I prefer dark chocolate to milk choc, but I notice there are dark choc Kit Kats available now, too. How long they've been on the market I have not a clue.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  7. One of our sons has always loved lamb … it is his favourite meat. Just add some Cabernet and he'll be in seventh heaven. Thanks for the Cabernet Lamb Fillets recipe!

    Doesn't seem possible that another week has gone by - and it's the middle of June!
    Enjoy your weekend.

    All the best Jan

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    1. Hello,Jan...Yes...this year is flying by all to fast, I agree. The saying goes - "Time flies when you're having fun!" I must be having lots and lots of fun, but not aware that I am! :)

      I love lamb, too.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  8. I should have added that I've not seen Cabaret either.

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    1. Really! Wow! That's amazing. I hope somehow, some way, you are able to watch it, Graham...I feel sure you would like it. It's not a light-hearted, "frothy" tale...it is a very good musical/movie.

      Nice of you to pop in again. :)

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  9. I had a friend who only sang one song when he wished to perform. It was his party piece and the song was "Life is a Cabaret". He sang it with such passion that it seemed he was teaching his listeners a lesson about life...
    Start by admitting from cradle to tomb
    Isn't that long a stay
    Life is a cabaret, old chum
    It's only a cabaret, old chum
    And I love a cabaret

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    1. Sounds like a good mantra to me.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  10. My goodness, Kit Kat gets everywhere. They have a green tea version in Japan! I like the way you find themes for your recipes. Have you thought of doing something about GI diet, which I guess you know about, it uses only the types of carbohydrate which are digested slowly. I've heard that this is good for managing diabetes etc. but many of the recipes I see are a touch depressing. It would be nice to see what you made of the topic!
    Have a good week.
    By the way I am not into Cabaret or Cabernets, but I am rather keen on those beautiful marquetry Cabinets I was looking at in the V & A museum yesterday, created by 18th century craftsmen over many years!

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    1. Hey Jenny...I'm not much into diets. I think there are a lot fad diets, too...changing from week to week, day to day.

      I try to eat a good balanced diet overall, and mostly succeed. My daily intake usually consists of fresh vegetables, fruit, raw nuts, seeds,lentils, muesli, wholegrain bread etc., intermingled with chicken, seafood...dairy. I eat beef,pork, lamb, but not every day...and sometimes not even every week. All fairly in tune with a low GI diet..and Mediterranean....neither of which include boring foods.

      I only use butter and olive oil...no other.

      I'm a kind of "everything in moderation" kind of person...who allows herself to break loose once in a while! :)

      I do try to match the recipes I give with something within my stories...I'm glad you noticed! :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Delete
  11. Hi Lee, it’s been so long since I’ve heard of Sally Bowles’ name that I didn’t realise it was set during the Nazi occupation.

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    1. G'day, Terry! Yes...the story the musical and movie was based on was set in that very bleak, disturbing era.

      How wonderful it is to hear from you. You've had us all very concerned. I hope things are all a bit brighter for you, and continue along that path...and upward path. Take very good care. It is great to hear from you. Thank you. :)

      Delete
  12. Cabernet in a can... Hmmm.

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    ReplyDelete