My university days are not over yet and I do enjoy the diversity of ages, peoples and minds. Listening to a group of writing friends, one declared the birth of a new word. The English language is a glorious beast with words for all occasions, double (sometimes triple) meanings and innuendo. Some words are self-evident; others take a bit of understanding to get the hang of. The beauty of a shared language is that you can use building blocks to convey your meaning or message. This new word is required in the advent of opening a packet of bickies in front of the TV and mistakenly devouring the contents without noticing. Other similar examples could involve big bags of chips or pizza, while in deep discussion on a vital topic. We’ve all done it and now there is a word to encapsulate it. A word to explain the foibles of mere mortals when eating and distracted by matters of great import. We can now claim to have fallen prey to a snackcident. Very aptly penned and appropriate. So I humbly cast into service (on behalf of a colleague) this newly birthed word of the English language.
Snackcident (noun): to be used to justify when the last Tim Tam has disappeared, or the last piece of chocolate has been devoured. You have fallen prey to a snackcident!
Our furry feline friends do bring joy and a softness to our hearts. They can be mad-cap and throw a crazy-appleton: bolting from one place to another for no apparent reason. Common sense and logic play no part in this mayhem. They can be indifferent and ignore all your advances regardless of treats or cuddles (what did you do?). They can play like kittens with the curiosity that a forgotten shopping bag can bring, or the dangling end of a belt that sees all your clothes pulled off their hangers, landing in an unceremonious pile at the bottom of your wardrobe. But they can also be affectionate and loyal. They sneak onto your lap while you’re watching TV, or rub against your legs when you’re in the kitchen (because your sole purpose at the bench is food preparation for them – or so they think). They absorb and reflect you mood, but mostly they simply hangout, happy just to be with you.
One of the more decadent things to do is to crawl back into bed after you wake up in the morning. The space is still warm from your slumber and you can snuggle into the comfort of your doona. It’s your choice whether you snooze or read a book or watch the TV. The pleasure of this simple exercise bestows the knowledge that you don’t have to be anywhere or do anything. Your time is your own.
I have been known to declare a ‘jarmy’ day where the traditional observance is to remain in your pajamas all day, thus ensuring you don’t actually go anywhere. The day is spent in simple pursuits of napping, reading or binge watching Netflix. It’s a slow down from the pace of everyday life; reconnecting with yourself, allowing yourself time in this hectic age. Friends think I’m a bit outrageous indulging as I do. Admittedly, I choose to indulge more frequently than most for my own sanity. So it does feels even better to be vindicated. There is an actual National Pajama Day on 21st July. Let’s mark our calendars and take the time afforded us to appreciate the simple things. Happy Pajama Day to all!
Last weekend was Round 16 of the AFL which saw Carlton v Melbourne, the Blues versus the Demons. This is a traditional family rivalry where most in my family are either one side or the other.
It was a game that delivered. The Blues were ahead at the first break, but the Dees came back to within a point at half time. The tug of war continued through the rest of the match with the Blues having 22 scoring shots at full time versus the Dees with 20. Yet the Demons had the accuracy and won 90 pts to 82 pts in the dying moments of the game. Neither side gave up. It was exciting, edge of your seat viewing.
The Carlton coach described the team as giving ‘their heart and soul’ and that the ‘developing side will be forged through adversity’. Carlton has been at sea for several years until Brendon Bolton took over the reins as coach. Their determination has raised hope for the future. The intensity and fervour from coach and players was infectious to die-hard Blues fans and supporters. The game was thrilling and full of emotion. It was good for the soul. So pick a team to follow, it doesn’t have to be an AFL team. Enjoy the roller coaster and the passion of competition. It lets you know you’re alive!
Canberra in Winter is a daily eclectic mix of temperatures. When we landed the pilot said “Welcome to Canberra, where the local time is 8.35am, and it is currently -6oC outside.” Knowing Canberra as I do, I had brought with me a coat, scarf and gloves, but I was questioning whether a beanie would have also been warranted. The trade-off is that during Winter in Canberra the skies are generally clear and the midday hours are spectacular and warm, requiring the need to peel off layers that are required at the start of the day.
Exiting the airport, the bracing chill was numbing my cheeks, making me rethink the beanie option to a balaclava. Wouldn’t that make a scene – Canberra visitors in ski masks. The visitors would be rather conspicuous whilst the locals that are used to the weather simply dress in suits. It feels good to snuggle within warm clothing, with a bracing nip on your cheeks for contrast. Go outside and feel the weather, rather than just observe it from inside your home, office or car. Feel alive.
Ever thought that a project was too big to tackle? I tripped over a way to make it more attainable – at the local cafe of all places. In the past I’ve knitted jumpers and wraps, but they were big projects. Therefore, I’ve generally stuck to knitting baby cloths which are smaller and generally can be completed within the enthusiasm window of the first inspiration. Then there are all those left-over balls or partial balls of wool, what do you do with them?
Reunion Cafe are tackling this in a different way, a community way. They are asking fellow patrons to knit squares. It’s doable in a short time span, it puts the left-overs to good use and builds a sense of community. Donated squares are welcome, but they are also offering hot chocolate/coffee periods to come together to knit. The squares will be sewn into winter blankets and given to the homeless. This is a brilliant initiative and is to be supported by the crafty amongst us like me that like small feasible projects and to contribute to a better world – even in just a small way. Dig out those left-overs, and give it a crack.
It’s those little things that take us back to our childhood. Reading a dinner menu, I came across a pork dish, with an accompanying apple-based sauce. I just had to have it. The dish was like nothing I’d had before, a bit fancy and full of flavours, cooking techniques and jargon: a pork chop, a balsamic jus, an apple reduction, crispy bacon bits, confit mushrooms, garlic mash potato, deep fried carrot string and a sprinkling of micro-herbs on top. But to me, this was a simple dish – think 1940’s Humphrey Bogart – it was a plate of “porkshops and appleshauce”.
This pronunciation was made famous by Peter Brady of the Brady Bunch staple TV show. My sister and I used to say “porkshops and appleshauce” over and over again to each other in the 1970’s (a long time ago). Yes, confession – we watched the Brady Bunch. So this fancy innocuous dish transported me back several decades to two kids impersonating Peter Brady impersonating Bogart until the laughter takes over and we can’t speak anymore . Here is a snippet of Peter Brady immortalizing the phrase for all time.
The tartness of blackberries and the vibrant purple of the juice made this tasty and delicious blackberry sorbet a lovely counterpoint to the rich chocolate mousse with a bitter dark chocolate glaze. The fruitiness of the sorbet complemented the creaminess of the mousse, and the overall smoothness of both was balanced with crunch from the obligatory chocolate ‘soil’. Who calls food on your plate ‘soil’? When did we start eating dirt? For those uninitiated, the ‘soil’ is crumbled biscuit toasted lightly with real butter for a distinct salty crunch. It adds another dimension of flavour and texture to the dessert.
Visually simple on a plate, but a lot of technical preparation in the background. All these elements combine to be elegantly presented as a dish. Food is life, but good food is to be celebrated. I tripped over this morsel at a luncheon at the ‘G’ – and celebration it was, with several courses and matching wines. Is there a better way to spend a Wednesday afternoon? Is there a better way to finish a lovely luncheon? I ask you!
I took a stroll down to the beach. The light breeze was fresh, straight off the southern ocean. The vista vast, the scenery splendid and the sand underfoot familiar. Where were the people? I know it’s winter and not analogous to a beach visit, but a winter seascape has a lot to offer. The solitude of the beach, the continuous and hypnotic roll of the waves, and the cool brisk breeze to make you feel alive. Today was ideal as the gusty southerly wind had even taken pause for the serenity of the moment. The low clouds threatened and created a picturesque moment, framing the distant Eagle’s Nest promontory. I even poked a digit in the retreating tide (only brave enough for that digit to be my finger – too chilly for toes 🙂
The moment was broken when those burdened clouds began to drop their moisture, but this too was a treat. The light moisture sprinkling my face, the determined dash back to shelter and the squelch of the sand from running feet, all got my heart pumping and cheeks flushed. It reinforced that life is beautiful and serendipitous moments can be fleeting. Make sure you enjoy them all!
As a treat, I took myself and some family off to a regional longest lunch event. The food and wine was delightful as expected, but there were two unexpected morsels of serendipity.
The first was the stalls of local tastes with knowledgeable produce purveyors. We could sample and enjoy a range of breads, olives, dips, jams, vegies, etc. Try before you buy! all whilst being plied with bubbles and delectable canapes made from these ingredients. The second was the luncheon menu which explained the picturesque and fragrant offerings on one side, and on the reverse side gave the supplier names and distance in kilometers to their farms. It was a delicious and very local affair, very low food miles indeed. Special mention goes to the rhubarb and macadamia tart. The crumble crunch, beautiful treacle, tart sorbet and smooth quark were lovely subtle counterpoints [Yes, we had a quark – and it wasn’t a subatomic building block of physical matter]. The flavours were delicate and unexpected, an enticing and light finish to the meal and a treat to the senses. See what you can find that is yummy and local!