The start of the new year, well almost, and I still found myself saying I must do my tax. Newsflash: saying something doesn’t actually get it done. I even said this too! So I finally set aside some time, with access to all my documents, a plethora of post-it notes and a selection of highlighters for good measure. Guess what, it got done 👍
There is merit to the saying “Actions speak louder than words.” So to all those out there who keep saying, out loud or in your head it doesn’t matter, that there are things to be done – I say, Just do it! Make sure to say it to others as well. Procrastination can be an insidious bed-fellow which we all need to be vigilant against.
It feels good to be done. It saves a lot of mental head space and you can get on with your life. It makes space on your to-do list for other fun things. So create a plan to get it done and then delve into more fun stuff.
Leaving work later than normal, I thought to crash the Yarra Food Street Festival at Burnley as a quick and easy dinner. The array of food trucks was encouraging, but the quick part of dinner wasn’t so easy. The temptations of African flavours, Nepalese dumplings, fresh seafood, deli burgers and exotic curries was a very hard decision to make. Strolling a lap of the trucks to find the best option provided some mouth-watering sites and smells. The perusal resulted in a refreshing cider at the bar for some people watching and contemplation of their meal choices on a warm summer evening. It was a pity to have to finally choose, but this option above from Sliders on Tyres was delicious. A Boston chicken mini burger and a beef mini burger with unusual and tasty condiments in a mini brioche bun were offset with some amazing thick cut chips. It was so good that I polished off every morsel on the plate – yum!
I think I’ll have to plan a few more visits as the festival continues until the end of February with a constant parade of rotating food trucks. I might go to Nepal for my next dinner. So if you get the chance, travel to a new destination for dinner and see what serendipity brings.
You’ll note that one of my indulgences is to enjoy good food. It’s even better when it’s enjoyed with friends. I had been hankering for some ribs. I was fortunate enough to catch up with a friend in the city and we revisited this lovely place on SouthBank. http://breslingrill.com.au/
The smells of the slow-cooked meats are mouth-watering; I’m sure you could just live on that. This then forces the question of lamb, beef or pork – a hard decision. The other question is a half or whole rack, but I don’t like to waste food and you can only eat so much before exploding [Monty Python reference] – half it is for me. There is an option for half’n’half, if you’re a big eater, so work up to it as a personal challenge 🙂
The beauty of this restaurant is that the meat is king, but a small nod to a vinaigrette coleslaw and crunchy onion rings provides a delicious counterpoint to the succulent meat. The spicy BBQ [tasty but not hot] sauce provides a lovely coat to keep the meat tender and juicy. The meat falls apart under knife and fork, but the real fun is using your fingers and slurping the meats and sauce off the bone. This is not for polite society and it’s one-in all-in so the saucy grin is shared! Yum!
The coming of Spring is when nature gets to show off. The yellow and orange daffodils defy the grey skies. The Daphne perfumes the air. The fruit trees explode into blossom. This grey-green unassuming succulent which I’ve walked past many times without a glance blended in with the concrete and chain-link fence over an irrigation drain. There was very little to recommend noticing it, until now.
The competition for attention in Spring is outrageous and it all seems to happen over night. There is a riot of colour and a myriad of smells. Feast on the visuals, then close your eyes and see what else pervades your senses. Little notes of lemon from a lemon-scented gum or the freshness of a gardenia flower can be drowned out unless we stop to notice.
So applaud the show-offs and the magnificent colour displays like this red-flowering succulent, but also appreciate nature’s floor show with your other senses. I’d say stop and smell the roses, but they are not at this party yet, so stop and smell the competition.
This week saw new technology invading my life. A bit scary and definitely a challenge, requiring quite a bit of forethought and planning. Bringing it home in a large plastic bag attracted the attention of my young cat. She proceeded to jump in and out of the bag, managing to spook herself and make me laugh out loud at her antics. This alleviated some of my anxiety about what I was planning to do.
Basically I just had to jump in and roll with the eventualities. I opened the box, inventoried its contents and separated the packaging into recyclables and rubbish [excellent delaying tactics]. Then I connected the power, connected the cables and pushed the On button. It wasn’t as traumatic as I had thought it would be. A lovely set of pop-ups guided me through the initial set up and prompted for links and passwords. By the end I felt that I had really achieved something on my own. I successfully installed a cloud in my study, not the moisture filled variety, but a data back-up somewhere out there in the ether.
I would recommend to anyone to just have a go at new technology. It is made for the masses and has had a level of idiot-proofing so that even I could get away with indulging without really knowing what I was doing. Things aren’t as scary as you perceive them to be, jump in the water is fine.
There is nothing better than having someone else cook eggs for you. A breakfast out, or a brunch if you like a sleep in, at a cafe with friends keeps you in touch with the real world. It’s also a good excuse to try new places and new things.
I was presented with this feast which was a subtle build of many treats. The potato rosti at the base with dukkah spicing was cut into fingers and stacked like Jenga. This was the first surprise. The next treat was the bacon. Pork neck is new to me. This was not your eye bacon with the streaky tail, but a lean rich meat full of flavour. The egg was poached to perfection, and a Bearnaise sauce decorated the top, with a sprinkling of rocket greens and micro-herbs. Beside this tower sat a squeaky textured and slightly salty halloumi. Each morsel complimented the other to provide a delicious feast. Have I got your attention yet?
This creation came from the Winey cow in Mornington and is worth the trip. So try an adventure to a new part of your town or a new place, sample some of the local produce and be surprised by their ingenuity.
I walked into a hotel lobby in Melbourne and was instantly transported to another dimension. The perfume of the floral arrangement was quite strong and invaded my memories. I flitted around in my mind between a few different occasions of happy times and probably looked a bit dazed and confused. It was a rather enjoyable experience.
I looked for the source of the fragrance. The flowers pictured above were quite stunning and not like any roses I’ve seen recently in any shops. I could hardly believe they were the source of the sweet bouquet. Their variegated colour suggested some newly minted cross-bred version of rose. Most modern roses are completely lacking in any powerful fragrance.
My skepticism faded as I moved closer. They were indeed an amazingly strong sensation. I stopped to enjoy them and take a snap, but this definitely is one circumstance that goes under the guise of “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. The new look roses belied their traditional old world powerful aroma. Their scent was beautiful to match their appearance.
So to call on another metaphor, sometimes you just have to literally “Stop and smell the roses”. Go and find a fragrant rose and see where your mind takes you.
The smell of rain on the air. How can we smell something that’s not here yet? But it’s true.
Those smart boffins in white coats at CSIRO looked into it. The word is “petrichor” and it describes the smell of rain in the air. It is the name of an oil that is released from the earth into the air before rain begins to fall. CSIRO suggest that when we relied on rainy weather for survival, we evolved an affection for it. Not only did they investigate it, they named it as well. They joined the Greek “petra” (stone) and “ichor” (the ethereal blood of the gods) to achieve the word. To read more about the CSIRO invention: http://theconversation.com/the-smell-of-rain-how-csiro-invented-a-new-word-39231
We all need to believe in something that’s not here yet; something to look forward to, something to strive for, something beyond our reach, something that during our quest will appear and be explained. It is the meaning of life that we search for and the answers are many, in big and small things, in revelations, in our ideas. It is the human condition to go beyond and see what is there, because we can. A curious mind is a marvelous thing.
A light sweet smell wafts on the rays of sunshine. A more powerful burst is released as you brush past the tree. I call it the bubblegum tree, but it is otherwise known as a Port Wine Magnolia, Michelia figo. A lovely understated bushy tree, which has small purplish flowers at its peak that start green and then finish brown. I took this photo with the sun shining through the leaves. The sight and smell simply brings a smile to your face.
This is one of two that I have in my back yard. I also have Daphne and gardenias. It’s important when designing a yard to have smelly plants as well. Smell is a wonderful sensory reminder and all these floral smells I associate with Summer, sunshine, relaxing and downtime. For some reason when I’m rushing around my back yard I don’t detect smells. It’s only when I sit and read a book, or relax in the sunshine that my other senses kick in to record the moment. There must be something to the saying, “Stop and smell the roses”. I would encourage you all to go out into the wide world and stop and smell the roses, the Daphne, the gardenias and even the bubblegum trees.
Wait a moment. Wait, a moment. A melting moment.
Smell is a powerful memory jogger. Good smells and bad smells, but more importantly the smell of baking biscuits. I understand why they recommend cooking before an open house inspection – people will positively drool.
I’m known for my moments and I hadn’t made them for a while. The bickies came out a golden yellow with the traditional fork stripe imprint, another moment to cool, then glue them together with lemon icing. Very simple and very yummy.
Here are the secrets [not anymore!] to perfect melting moments.
7 tablespoons (tbsp) icing sugar
7 tbsp custard powder (the White Wings one, not the FostersClark one – this way they will have a natural color and not fluorescent yellow)
16 tbsp plain flour
big pinch of salt (grind it in the pestle and mortar – so you don’t have salt crystals randomly in the biscuits)
250g butter (room temperature, on a hot day put the mixture in the fridge to cool before making balls and baking otherwise you will have pancakes, on a cold day you will need more elbow grease and warmth from your hands to make the mixture work, about 20C is the ideal room temperature to cook)
Measure out the dry ingredients and start massaging the butter in with your (gloved – keep it hygenic) hands. When it is mostly mixed, add a slosh of vanilla essence (the good stuff), and work through until the mixture comes together as a big lump. Pull off knuckle sized lumps and roll into a ball. Press with the back of a fork and bake at 170C (fan forced) for 10 minutes. Use the timer (don’t go over or under). Allow to cool, and glue together with lemon icing.
Go and be a devil, give it a try!