Friday, December 26, 2008

Stufftheturkeywhataboutthepeacock


I cheerfully confess the title for this blog is stolen from an ad campaign for Big Sister puddings I think in the UK in 1979??? And so to Christmas. Well, nature's gift to us this Christmas has come in the form of a peacock. We saw three a couple of days before Christmas on our neighbour's front lawn. Now we are down to one peacock - who seems to have taken up residence in our front door patio area. Where are the other peacocks? An interesting Christmas. One that has kept me on my toes. Where will we spend it? Would anyone like to hazard a guess ? Who will we spend it with? How much can we spend? But enough of that. I was very spoilt this Christmas. I ate far too much food - chicken, ham, salmon, prawns. I made coleslaw, sweet potato salad, green salad. Daddy gave me one of his fabulous puds. The neighbours gave us chocolates. All my senses were satisfied having been given a scented candle, iced sweet honey/ginger biscuits in the shape of a dove, fabulous music from the Fleet Foxes, books to gaze upon, a beautiful shawl, a necklace from Uganda made from recycled paper and handcream. Heaven. I'm a lucky girl. And I got to swim at the gorge on Xmas Eve. Very lucky indeed. Christmas cards this year were an interesting mix - five at the most had religious themes - most featured santa or a xmas tree or decorations. Seven charities benefitted from card sales (30%) - RSPCA, Unicef, Qld Baptist Care, Lifeboats (UK), Kids Helpline, Cancer Council and Oxfam. Four families chose to send email greetings. So I think the grim financial future is having its effect on everyone. Tightening of belts all round - except for mine. I think I'm heading towards size 18 - sigh. So, all you bloggers out there...what should I do about this peacock? I plan to ring the vet tomorrow in case someone has reported missing peacocks. I just don't know if we can take any more into the menagerie of the murray cod, budgie, guinea pigs x 3 (shortly to become 33), dog and two families of magpies (not to mention the rats) who seem to regard us as the local Centrelink office. Robert suggested the other two peacocks have ended up on the Christmas table - what an awful thought....

Thursday, November 20, 2008

WOW

Went to Sydney for a workshop and got to see the big school for the first time at Fox Studios. The photo on the left is the view from the School's verandah of one of the studios. Other photos are of the construction workshop and the school's foyer. So much fun! The School looks great! Lucky lucky students who get in to study there - so many toys! Not everything works perfectly of course - they're still adjusting a few things but the building is amazing and we are so lucky to have this as part of our national cultural infrastructure. The markets on Wednesdays are very good too. I didn't take any photos of those but yes, people working on the Fox lot are very lucky in comparison to the poor mob at Warner Roadshow Studios who just don't have much shopping available at all. Check out the mixing desk!
video

Monday, November 3, 2008

Movember

Movember - Sponsor Me

Darcy Yuille has decided to grow a mo to support this excellent cause. Having watched Men's Group at the Blue Room last week we have a long way to go in so many areas to do with men's health. So Robbie, here's proof that I've done my bit for the fight against Prostate Cancer and Depression. What are you going to do???????

Friday, October 31, 2008

BriocheMonAmour

I'm having a week off work...so what does one do...one embraces new experiences. Bel and I did a bit of shopping at Indro on Tuesday. She was looking for new work shoes to replace my old boots held together with gaffer tape. I decided to buy a brioche for the first time in my life. Yes, sad I know....at the age of 47...she realised she'd never drive through Paris ....so she bought a brioche instead! I bought said Brioche from French Twist on the lower ground floor. The man there was very patient. He told me the ingredients and how one could dish it up. He gave me a taste test. I must investigate any new acquaintances/things I encounter so I first turned to my New Larousse Gastronomique when I got home. I was amazed to discover that the Brioche I had purchased was but one of many different styles. My brioche is a Brioche a tete. Caspar declared it looked like an atomic bomb when I unveiled it.

Brioche is strictly speaking a cake. Larousse also tells me that baker's yeast was used in the making of brioche in Paris until the court of King Stanislas was transferred to Luneville in the mid 18th century. Then they started using brewer's yeast. Who is King Stanislas? Well may you ask. I invite you to browse Wikipedia et al. Suffice it to say that he was the King of Poland twice and deposed twice and his daughter married Louis XV. Luneville was the place to be in the 18th century apparently.

At any rate, as with all good French things, there seems to be a lot of eggs and butter used in brioche. Sigh. Winter's edition of Family Circle has a recipe for a chocolate and raspberry brioche pudding which I've been meaning to test for a while. It's like bread and butter pudding only richer. It was very easy to make - although I got distracted and forgot to cut the brioche up into bite size pieces. I don't think it matters frankly. I had a temper tantrum later that night so we didn't get to eat it then but the next night. No harm done - just re-heat. For my money I would skip the chocolate. And of course if you can afford/find fresh raspberries I would use those. It reminded me of another recipe a very dear friend Cia gave me which is a sure fire success for dinner parties on a cold winter's night and also easypeasy to make. I give you both recipes to try...I don't even begin to pretend either of them are healthy. They are comfort food. Food that says "There, there. All's right with the world. Someone loves you. Now, go to bed. Sweet dreams."

Thanks to November edition of Family Circle here is the recipe for
Chocolate and Raspberry Brioche Pudding
Serves 4

350g brioche thickly sliced
100g butter softened
1 cup frozen raspberries
100g milk chocolate chopped
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
500ml cream
1/4 cup caster sugar
2 Tbsp demerara sugar (and yes I just used ordinary)
Thick cream to serve (just in case you don't have enough cholesterol already)

Preheat oven to 170 fan forced. Grease a 5-cup baking dish. Butter 1 side of each slice of brioche. (Oh dear I think I buttered both sides!!!) Cut into chunks.

Cover the base of the dish with brioche. Top with half berries and chocolate. Repeat.

Place eggs and yolk, cream and sugar in bowl and whisk to combine. Pour over bread and set aside for 30 minutes to allow the bread to soak up the custard.

Sprinkle over the demerara sugar and bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden. Serve with cream.

Cia's wonderful recipe
Hot Apricots in Sour Cream
470g can of apricot halves
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp SR flour
1 cup sour cream
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla essence

Topping
2 tbps sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp butter

For topping - combine sugar and cinnamon and then rub in butter.

Drain apricots and place in ovenproof dish. Combine sugar and flour. Add sour cream, egg and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Pour over apricots. Bake in moderate oven for 35 minutes. Sprinkle with topping. Return for 10 minutes. Serve with cream.

And in the spirit of the world wide web and spinning/stirring oceans of knowledge my title references the 1959 Japanese/French co-pro Hiroshima Mon Amour directed by Alain Renais with screenplay by Marguerite Duras (she was nominated for an Oscar for it). The film inspired Ultravox to create their same-titled track in 1977 on the album Ha!-Ha!-Ha!. The track was later covered by Canberra band The Church in 1999. And did you know that Gary Numan will be performing at The Tivoli on 2nd March? Finally in the words of another friend Karen - Cia goes to Paris - You go to Indooroopilly - it's the same isn't it?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Of Mice and Men....


A brief interlude in Byron for a couple of nights. We stayed at the Byron Bay Rainforest Resort. Robert and I agree it's probably more of a swamp instead of a rainforest - not much canopy - but it's probably hard to get guests in the door when you call it a swamp. Not that there's anything wrong with swamps. We found it restful watching a scrub turkey play with his mate and his mound. There were dear little honey eaters in the leaf litter who seemed oblivious of our presence at 5.30 this morning. It's a place where you can take dogs if you want. Next time Jessie. Next time. It's a bit run down but perfectly servicable and much nicer than staying in a cheap hotel. There was a nice big communal kitchen/cabana affair near the pool/spa and we agreed it would be nice to get a big group of people there all staying in cabins. But then again it may not be so peaceful if we did that ! I went to a New Media conference for the day down the road at the very swanky Byron at Byron Resort hosted by Screenworks. A very informative day Ms Chesher - well done ! I particularly valued the Yoga session for my silly back and the speakers were enlightening and patient with luddites such as myself. I was very proud to put up my hand when they asked who blogged. Little did they know I've only been blogging a week or two!!

Robbie played house in the cabin, reading the paper and then caught the bus into Byron to get some tobacco and something for dinner. Whilst having an aperitif he noticed a mouse in the leaf litter. Sometime between my coming home from the conference and our having dinner, said mouse snuck into the cabin. I had my usual waking at midnight fit and read til about 2.30. I polished off Life on the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers-shed a few tears and moved on to Heath Ledger's bio. "Lights out!" I intoned to self. Then the rustling started. Rustle, rustle. Rustle, rustle. Willing myself to sleep, I tried my best to ignore it. Rustle Rustle, Rustle, rustle. "Damn it!, I thought, "That's inside the cabin." I turned on the light. The mouse fixed me with his beady gaze from the kitchen windowsill. I fixed him with a beadier gaze. Then he did a "I'm a very fast mouse" routine up and down the kitchen bench. Then he played statues on the windowsill again. I told him he had very nice ears, turned off the light and let him have whatever he was having. I thought it was the rice crackers. Turned out it was the loaf of rye. Does the plastic make them sick? No sign of him in the morning. I hope he's not sick.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Saviour!


Phew! My Scottish saviour has rung and walking is back on! Jessie will be pleased. Franny has been phoned and alerted to the cause. Walking and talking begins next week. Just when I was getting to my lowest; knowing what the solution was, but too lazy to take it upon myself. Thank goodness for exercise buddies. Robbie recorded Lateline for me and is showing me David Hale - Global Economist. He is a television director's nightmare - moving around in the frame like a flapping spinnaker. But I like the cut of the man's cloth. Bugger the supers I say. The mailbox was chokka today - registration renewal, QBE insurance, newsletters from Ascham and Terrace and the Qld Cancer Fund. Mr Jones arrives tomorrow to service the car. And then it's the weekend. Hooray! Frabjous day. Caloo. Calay. There's a world Thriller challenge on this weekend and the Zombies are getting into it at 4am on Sunday morning. I used to love dancing to Michael Jackson at Jazz Ballet classes in my youth. I fear I would slip a disc now and cause calamity, shame and embarrassment to my nearest and dearest.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Dog's Life



Yes, yes I know that the dog isn't on the windowsill. She simply will not fit. She's too fat. Like her owner. We need to go walking again. Steak (or stake as Caspar used to write on his menu requests), salad and garlic bread for dinner tonight. A dreary day. Data entry or really, to be more accurate, bouncebacks and ringing and checking people's email addresses. A necessary but tedious task. But then I could be Jessie. Waiting for someone to take me for a walk. Hoss came over tonight and cheered her up. He managed to escape bless him. So they played together for a bit. Hoss drank all her water and ate all her food. Weed on the trees. Hunted for guinea pigs. Carried on like a pork chop when I went outside and cheerfully went home with Erin. Jessie is now recovering. Shortly to dream of steak. Of what will I dream? Haven't dreamt for a while. Flat out getting a good night's sleep lately. Christmas approacheth at an alarming rate. Will I be doing the Ham again? Vermouth. Cloves. Brown sugar. ... Yum! My cue cat turned up yesterday in the post. Of course it doesn't work. I'm on Windows 98. Robert is foaming at the mouth that they haven't provided a driver. Guess I'll have to use one of the children's computers....It's a dog's life.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Think...


Gosh - what a long day. It all started with a Pink Breakfast artisan. The yummy cupcake pictured on my windowsill is courtesy of Cake That and there was a fashion show featuring millinery from Alexandra Harper and fashion from various young designers featured at The Tribune in Arthur Street. It was well organised and lots of fun. The staff of Artisan were the good natured models and there was lots of positive energy. We had bookclub tonight but saved discussion of the book until next month when Eva can make it. Gina and I went to the Blue Room afterwards to see Burn After Reading. It was delicious being in that cinema. I love the first five minutes of just about any movie - I can feel the weight of the world drop off my shoulders as I immerse myself in a new world. It is a movie to think about...and I agree with the caller to Australia Talks this afternoon who thinks its quite a dark movie for all its humour. I'm intrigued by the title. Burn has changed its meaning hasn't it? We burn discs now don't we? We burn fat. Well some of us do. I don't. Not much anyway. So, it's a movie about appearances. How appearances can be deceptive. How we are so obsessed with surface appearances...how harshly we judge people on their appearances...including ourselves...we all laughed with recognition as Linda trawls through RSVP.com candidates and intones with Chad "Loser, Loser, Loser". Poor Ted is obviously pining for Linda but she's so wrapped up in herself and her goals she can't see it. Oh it's a silly silly world all right. When will we ever learn....

Monday, October 20, 2008

Clay


Isn't clay a wonderful thing? Deb C gave me this a while ago and I love it. Such nice design and goes so well on my windowsill at work. I ended up at the Avid Reader this afternoon to collect a DVD I ordered - Control. It's Robbie's Christmas present.....shhhhhhh! Can't wait to see it. Then of course I had to make my way out of that landmine of a shop. Ggoodness me - they got me at every turn. I found George's book that he's been slaving over for so long about Leo McKern so that had to go in the basket. Then I found that they had Bastard Boys for half price. That went in too. And then for good measure, given our economic clime I simply had to buy the Upside of Down. So I guess I shall have to do penance now. Perhaps I could give up librarything for lent or something.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Food, Friends and Fine Fiction


An all-too short weekend. Dear friends came for lunch yesterday - Pat and Steve. I dished up burgers with lamb mince, roasted capsicum, raita and jalapeno chilli sauce courtesy of the wonderful Donna Hay magazine. We drank copious cups of tea and talked about the financial crisis, children and retirement plans. Cas and Bel both went out which gave us a rare night in alone together to listen to our music. Karen came for lunch today and we played ladies with asparagus, salmon and brie roll-ups followed by a quiche being real women. We looked at the old Seventeen Magazine I bought on e-bay and pondered on the effects of advertising which promoted flushable napkins and asked questions like "Want to be Somebody?" As opposed to Nobody I suppose. Then I watched Juno and laughed at the outrageous lines and characters and marvelled at how people come up with solutions that I can't conceive but admire. I finished reading Tim Winton's Breath yesterday - you know that book that sold almost as many copies as Wild Tea Cosies. It was very very good. He explores so many ideas so well and gives a real feel for the angst of puberty and all the rest. What will I read now? I have to take back Cormac McCarthy. Could I read the Heath Ledger bio in time I wonder? Librarything.com - check it out. You have been warned.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

500 plus

I have reached 525 books now on librarything. The addition of Robbie's books has led to some interesting changes in my top connections. I feel somewhat like an anthropologist or sociologist seeing how the connections change as I add different books. Some people have great blogs. I need to make this better. The addition of photos would certainly help. Bel and I went shopping yesterday. I caught sight of myself in various mirrors and became instantly massively depressed (commensurate with my size). Having said that it was wonderful to watch Bel engage with all the salespeople - somehow she ended up behind the counter at Loot - I think previewing next month's new stock on the computer. She bought some great shoes at Myer - just insane really - the kind of stuff you can wear when you're young. We had roast pork for dinner last night. I like making the apple sauce. Robbie got the crackling just right. Snort. Snort. Snort. And I wonder why I am the size of a pig. Not that I have anything against pigs. I quite like them actually. Jessie is under my desk. Tweetie is chirping. Robbie is coughing. He has to go to work poor pet. Back to librarything......

Friday, October 10, 2008

I'm still obsessed with librarything......it is loverly outside in Brissie today....rain...rain....rain....wet jacaranda blossoms on the ground....scruffy looking magpies begging for dog biscuits at my back door....wet school kids defying the rain and umbrellas in general....and I've got a day orf...thank goodness...hoobloodyray....I've got my slippers on....my diary open....my list of endless things to do which includes cleaning the car...cleaning the house....and ringing friends...I wonder which will get done today???? librarything librarything...librarything

Friday, October 3, 2008

My obsession with Librarything

I have come here in an effort to distract myself from librarything. Let's see how long it lasts.