Tuesday, September 25, 2018


Touch wood!  I’ve never ever had the flu.  I hope I’ve not blown my cover, and the status quo remains!  On we go!

Don’t shake your head.  Don’t even try making denials because you won’t be believed.
Every single, and married, one of us, young, old, and in the middle, has experienced feeling listless and/or dissatisfied at some time or the other - fleeting moments, though they may be. There are times such feelings of lethargy last longer, often for reasons we can’t put a finger on.  As the feelings are invisible and intangible, even if we did put our finger on them, we’d not feel a thing.

However, one’s languid indifference, in the majority of instances, is only a passing phase; a brief interval of feeling disinclined to exert energy towards anything, everything, and everyone... no favouritism shown. 

Don’t beat yourself up about your lack of interest or enthusiasm.  We can’t be wide-
eyed, bushy-tailed, full of beans (unless we’ve just eaten a bowl of baked beans or kidney beans), active, lively, high-spirited and alert all of the time.  It’s not natural. 
Being continually stimulated and invigorated would be exhausting, to say the least - not only to one’s own self, but to those around us, as well.  

Feeling listless doesn’t necessarily mean we’re bored.  Boredom is an over-rated, often over-used word.  It is admissible to experience a bit of “off time” every now and then. 

Boredom isn’t necessarily part of the equation. 

The chilly mornings we experienced during winter encouraged me to be listless, happily without apology.  Disinterested in what was going on in the outside world, I was more engaged in remaining snuggled under the warm bed covers as long as I felt like doing so – no excuses offered.  Not dissatisfied with my decision, my two furry mates didn’t protest.  In fact, they encouraged my behaviour.

When in the presence of others you’re feeling a little languorous you are allowed to “put on a front”, otherwise known as “a happy face”; a pretence.  

For your own sake, it’s probably best you do. There is nothing quite as bad as being in the company of a clone of Sad Sack, the morose comic book character of years gone by.  

Better still, the best place to be if you’re feeling down-in-the-dumps is either keep to yourself, or visit the dump, rather than dump your feelings of gloom and doom onto those around you,

If you find yourself in the proximity of a person prone to sharing their lassitude, and you sense clouds of boredom descending upon you 10 litres of strong, caffeinated coffee with one kilogram of sugar added won’t stop you being dragged down with them.   

Take my advice! Invent a polite, believable excuse, and hightail it to the hills, or to the dump, as quickly as you can without a backward glance.  It has been my good fortune each time I’ve visited the local dump lately to have come across pleasant gentlemen who willingly help me unload my load, without me having had to dump my load on them. 

There is one particular woman here on the hill I try to dodge when I see her headed my way.  Unnoticed, she succeeded in creeping up on me a while back as I was loading my grocery purchases into the boot of my car.  

Caught by surprise, realising I was cornered with no possible escape route within reach, silly me, not thinking, asked, “How are you?”

Oh! Dear!  I do know better than to ask.  The floodgates opened.
Fifteen minutes later....having spent those minutes just nodding or shaking my head, not able to get a word in sideways or lengthwise....I heard the whole medical history of her and her husband – all of which I have heard previously over the years.  It beggars belief she and her husband are still alive for her to tell the tales!  

Her father had been a doctor, and she had been a nurse, so a vast range of medical terminology is always thrown into the mix to make matters worse!   

She is a nice enough person.  I don’t mean to come across as sounding mean, but suffice to say, I am not the only one who dodges her.   She has a similar affect on others.   

The reason given above is why I don’t encourage a friendship.  It is why, when our paths do accidentally cross, I try to remember not to ask the question...”How are you?”

A sensible way of understanding what is going on when you’re feeling lethargic and disinterested is to tell yourself you’re taking time out to smell the roses, even if there are no blooming roses blooming.  Roses aren’t the only blooming flowers worth smelling. Flowers aren’t the only things worthy of our nasal olfactory abilities. 

Add fresh fruit to the list.  Freshly-cut grass, and rain showers (more please) settling dust alert and satisfy our sense of smell.  Just ask our struggling Aussie farmers.  Let’s keep supporting them.  In dire straits, they need our support, now and always.  We need them...we depend on them. There’s nothing better than Aussie grown and produced.  

Oh! Yes! The aroma of onions frying; of freshly-baked bread: curry, or a hearty stew simmering on the stove top; a roast roasting; the scent of cakes or biscuits in the oven -wafting through from the kitchen will stir one’s mood in the best of ways. 

Make sure you leave the windows open, to allow inertia to escape. 

On we go...spirits and energy once again lifted.  It takes very little...just a word, a smile...and the tantalising aroma of home-cooking.

(Ennui...pronounced...”ŏn-wē′, ŏn′wē”:   Meaning – Listlessness from lack of interest; boredom)

Fragrant Lamb Curry: Heat oven 180C. Separate coriander stalks and leaves of small bunch; finely chop stalks. Put stalks, 500g lamb fillet, cut into chunks, 2 halved, sliced red onions, a large chunk of ginger, finely grated, 2 sliced red chillies,  320ml coconut cream, 400ml chicken stock, 2tsp cumin seeds, 2tsp ground coriander, 2tsp ground fenugreek, 1tsp ground cardamom and 1-1/2tsp turmeric in ovenproof pot; mix well. Seal with foil; cover with lid. Cook 1-1/2hrs. Serve sprinkled with coriander leaves, and with basmati rice and chapatis.  
Herb-Crusted Roast Rump: Pre-heat oven 200C. Mix 2tbs each roughly chopped parsley, thyme and rosemary, 2 crushed garlic cloves and 4tbs olive oil to form a paste; evenly rub herb mixture over whole 1-1/2 to 2kg rump roast; season.  Place beef in roasting pan; bake 30-35mins.  Reduce temp to 180C.  Place 2 bunches vine cherry tomatoes around roast. Sprinkle with 4-5tbs balsamic vinegar and a little olive oil.  Return to oven; bake 20mins for a medium roast.  Serve with roast vegies, including roasted red onions.

Coffee Cake with Cappuccino Butter-Cream: Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.  Put 200g butter, 200g golden caster sugar, 200g muscovado sugar and 250ml water in a pan; heat gently until the butter has melted. Remove from the heat and stir in 250g S.R flour, 3-4tbs instant coffee, pinch of baking powder, 2 eggs and 125 soured cream. Mix to a smooth batter. Pour into a lined 20 x 30cm cake tin (leave some baking paper overhanging to help lift the cake out, once done). Bake 25-30mins, until a skewer comes out cleanly. Cool, then lift out. Make icing: Gradually beat 250g icing sugar into 125g room-temp butter, along with 1tbs instant coffee mixed with 1/2tbs boiling water.  Spread all over the cooled cake; dust with cocoa powder.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

POETRY MONDAY...(or every day).....


I shall lavish you with jewels to match your sparkling eyes
Said he

I shall profess my love for you through the waking hours
Said he

I shall  walk beside you showering you with scented flowers
Said he

I shall tenderly embrace you every morning at sunrise
Said he

At each day's dawning I shall celebrate my love for you
Said she

I shall caress and bestow you with ardent passionate kisses
Said she

Everlasting my love for you is a love so deep nothing else eclipses
Said she

Around you my arms lovingly will enfold at every morning's debut
Said she

Together hand in hand we will run along the beach like carefree children
Said they

At night we shall name the evening stars encased in our love's delirium
Said they

Romantic love we will make in rain showers shrouded by a grey atrium
Said they

Consumed by our passionate desire as if by a sensual seductive siren
Said they

Your smile I adore, your inviting lips about you I will change nothing
Said he

I shall see life and beauty forever through you awake and in dreams
Said she

I will love you forever for you I would cross oceans fight raging streams
Said he

We shall spend timeless hours immersed in our warm tender loving
Said they

Poem by Me.....

Thursday, September 06, 2018


I am aware that  “hate” is a harsh word, but here I go.

I hate greed...greed in its many guises; guises that fail miserably at disguising greedy behaviour in all its repulsive forms.

Base greed, impure and disgusting is on display at its lowest and ugliest level every time we see media footage of break and enters; of hooded, masked low-life dimwits who are far too cowardly to show their face as they leap counters grabbing what is not theirs; greedlyraiding cash registers; of staff and shop owners being terrorised.  

The gut-churning actions are examples of greed at its worst perpetrated by lazy, ignorant wastes-of-space who are too dumb to get off their bums to earn a living and live a decent existence.   They are leeches who live off the blood, sweat and tears of others who have personal pride. Bums who assault and rob from those who care how they lead their lives; persons who care about how they treat those around them.

 “Respect” is a powerful word.

Having worked in the hospitality industry for years often I experienced, first hand, greedy patrons.  In particular, witnessing the way ill-mannered gluttons behaved when they came face to face with a buffet, turned my stomach.  From their actions, I swore they’d never seen food before in their lives. 

Staggering back to their table under the weight of plates piled higher than the Empire State Building, unable to wait to begin gobbling the food, so they could race back and do similar all over again, was not a pretty sight, I can tell you!

Hot food, cold food; food that didn’t go together...it mattered not what they heaped on their plate. Greedily, they took as much as they could.  

Food, glorious food! Terror alert!  Quick - take a load of that; a pile of this! Someone else might get more than they did! Steal the lot!  

To make matters worse, it became a competition to see how much food they could put into their mouth in one go. 

The image of one particular diner gorging on a buffet at a venue in which I was cooking back in 1997 has, unfortunately, remained embedded in my mind.

More than once he’d been back to load up, but when he noticed the buffet tables and bain maries were being cleared away to allow for the arrival of myriad, deliciously-tempting desserts, with food dangling out of the side of his mouth, I swear, he began to have a panic attack.  

Chewing and slobbering, grabbing his plate that still had food on it he raced, at break-neck speed, back to the buffet to see what else he could scrounge. 

Was a famine to begin the next day, or was he readying himself to hibernate for the winter? Did he know something I didn’t?  

There was no fear of leftovers that evening, not with him present. 
He almost fainted when the wide variety of desserts arrived.  

Regrouping - another race was on!  Off he flew!

When I was cooking at the Town & Country Hotel-Motel, Collinsville, up in the Bowen Basin, the rich, coal-producing area,” Happy Hour” was popular with our regulars, but never as in-demand as it was for one particular couple -  both of whom reminded me of garden gnomes!

Every afternoon, without fail, they arrived on the dot of 5 pm; and left promptly at the stroke of 6, after having had more than their share of the abundant, free bar snacks. 

My offerings of bar snacks, which were served throughout “Happy Hour” were always plentiful, varied and delicious. 

Spending very little money during their on-the-dot afternoon visit, the couple only ever had one drink each while they greedily stuffed their faces. 

Their behaviour didn’t go unnoticed.

Fed-up with their blatant, miserly greed, one afternoon, for the fun of it, I decided to bring “Happy Hour” and bar snacks forward an hour.  

Upon arrival at 5 pm, the couple got the shock of their lives.  Their mouths fell open, but not for the intake of food.   

Tsk! Tsk! For them to have missed out on their daily free feed was a tragic disaster! 

My purposely not-so-subtle hint managed to hit home, though.  It was the last time they partook in “Happy Hour”; no more feeding at the free trough for them
It doesn’t take much to amuse me – then or now!   (I'm the clown in my own circus)!

Stuffed Mushrooms: Place rack in centre of oven; preheat oven 200C. Remove stems from 10-12 large mushrooms; chop stems finely. Heat 2tsp olive oil in pan; cook stems, 5-6mins, until reduced by about half.  Combine half block cream cheese, 1/2c packed chopped spinach, 1tbs minced garlic, red chilli flakes, to taste, 2 finely chopped shallot stalks, cooked mushroom stems, salt and pepper.  In bowl, combine 2tbs breadcrumbs, 1tbs grated Parmesan, 1tbs finely chopped parsley and 1/4tsp granulated garlic. Arrange mushroom caps on baking sheet; spoon filling into cavities; sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over each; drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake until mushrooms are tender and filling is heated through, and golden on top, about 12mins.
Spinach Balls: Preheat oven 204C.  Drain 300g drained steamed or thawed frozen spinach; set aside.  In pan, heat 2tbs olive oil; sauté 1/4c finely chopped onion until translucent.  Add 2 chopped garlic cloves; sauté until fragrant.  Add spinach; toss to combine.  Remove from heat; place in a bowl; allow mixture to cool slightly.  Add 2c herbed breadcrumbs/panko, 1c grated parmesan, 6 beaten eggs, 3/4c soft butter, salt, pepper, 1/2tsp chopped thyme; toss until well combined.  The mixture will be wet.  Scoop mixture into heaping tablespoons; roll into balls.  Place on a greased baking sheet; bake 25-30mins or until the balls are golden.  

Kumara-Avo-Bacon Bites aka Sweet Potato Avocado-Bacon Bites: Preheat oven, 200C. Bake 4 thick-cut bacon rashers; drain; dice. Increase heat to 218C. Line 2 baking trays with foil; brush with olive oil. Cut 2 unpeeled kumaras into ½ to ¼-inch slices.  Arrange slices in single layer on trays; brush tops with olive oil; season; bake 20-25mins, until gold underneath. Flip slices over; roast further 8-11mins, until golden. In bowl, combine 2 avocados, diced, 1tbs fresh lime juice, 1/4tsp salt and 1/2tsp smoked paprika, or cumin; mash lightly, leaving slightly chunky; set aside. Transfer kumara slice to serving plate; top each with dollop of avocado mixture, chopped bacon and chopped coriander; serve warm or at room temp.

Parmesan Sun-Dried Tomato Palmiers: Lay sheet/s of ready-rolled, thawed puff pastry out on a well-floured board; and then sprinkle evenly with drained, sun-dried tomatoes, chopped finely, grated parmesan, finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves and plenty of black pepper.  Carefully roll up both of the long sides of the pastry until they meet in the middle. Brush the area between the two parts of the roll with a little egg; push the two parts together so they stick. Chill whole roll/s for at least 30mins.  Heat oven 200C.  Remove the pastry roll/s from fridge; slice into roughly 1cm-slices with a big sharp knife. Carefully place slices on baking tray/s lined with non-stick baking paper; brush tops with egg.  Bake 10-15mins until palmiers are puffed and golden. Cool slightly on the tray;  serve warm.