Wednesday, 24 July 2013

A tea-ribute to Lady Grey

Drinking tea is a very British pass time.  When I think of tea and Britain I always recollect a great scene from Guy Ritchie’s cult classic Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.  It went as follows:

Eddie: The entire British empire was built on cups of tea…
Bacon: Yeah, and look what happened to that.
Eddie: … And if you think I’m going to war without one, mate, you’re mistaken.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Hope not far gone...

It’s that horror filled time of year – school holidays. Not any old fear-instilling school holidays, but the US summer holidays. ‘What does that mean to those of us in Australia?’ I hear you cry. Well, it results in a drought and a deep and foreboding darkness in my soul. It’s time for the onslaught of Hollywood blockbusters, in their explosive, glossy, excessive and expensive glory, reeking of quantity over quality.

The world slows, crawling along like a never ending slow motion picture show. But, don’t despair my friends hope is never lost for long. Despite the fact that you fear you might be lost in the wilderness forever, you know as well as I do, over that distant horizon are the Boxing Day releases, the films jostling for award season recognition, a time when all is right with the world (well, as long as the films are deserving of their reputation).

It is this hope, deluded or otherwise, that helps me navigate the seemingly endless winter. This year is no exception with a number of tantalising prospects. The first movie on my shortlist is Inside Llewyn Davis (Australian release date TBC).

The formidable brothers Coen, Ethan and Joel, return with a film that brings to life Greenwich Village, New York City in the 1960s. The film is loosely based on the life of a prominent figure of the burgeoning NY folk music scene, Dave van Ronk. A guy who may not spring to mind immediately (well, he didn’t for me at least), but I understand he rubbed shoulders with the likes of some of the biggest folk/blues icons – think, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell.

Monday, 15 October 2012

A thing or two about manners

I don’t even want to think about how long it has been since my last post.  It’s been a long time for which I offer my sincerest and most humble apologies.  But there is no excuse for bad manners, which is absolutely what I’ve demonstrated.  However, it’s probably time to move on, to get passed this and talk about serious matters.

But I can't ignore the fact of my manners, so over the course of the next few weeks I hope to bring you some sweet little tid bits from my gospel on all things etiquette (in a time where being sexist was probably not as much of a faux pas as it is now).  The book that holds the key is Amy Vandebilt’s Complete Book of Etiquette (for info, Amy Vandebilt is not directly of ‘the’ Vandebilt family, figures of American aristocracy who made their fortune in shipping and on the railway.  According to wikipedia, which never lies, they are the seventh wealthiest family in history).

Sunday, 26 August 2012

A bloodless victory

I'm a little bit ashamed, but I have to admit that while walking through the aisles of our local green grocer last weekend I was guilty of releasing an excited, childish squeal of delight.  You might wonder what made me react in such a manner.  Well, you see, what was just a normal Saturday afternoon grocery shop was transformed when I set eyes upon a table of plump blood oranges.

Blood oranges are notoriously hard to grow, requiring dry, hot summers and cold winters.  According to Red Belly Citrus, a local producer of blood oranges with orchards in the Riverina region of New South Wales, they need to be grown in a location that will provide temperatures that are almost freezing at night and very high temperatures throughout the day.

They also have a relatively small season, running from August to October.  This, combined with the limited number of producers in Australia, means that there's only a very small window to enjoy this extraordinarily, exotic-looking fruit.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Recipe roadtest: Spiced tomato relish

Despite being a relatively regular Masterchef viewer I must admit that it irks me that almost everyone’s food dream revolves around opening their own restaurants.  Look, it’s admirable that they have these goals, but can we please leave the restaurant game to suitably qualified professionals?

I do, however, appreciate the obvious love and zeal that the contestants have for food and cooking (which to some extent I share).  Some of the feats they undertake in the kitchen successfully frequently make me think, if they can do it, and they’re regular Joes, so can I!

Until recently, our home only paid host to Masterchef when on TV.  I did not own any of their cookbooks (because if I could choose anyone’s cook book, why would I choose one of theirs?).  That was until recently, when I became the owner of one their cookbooks only by virtue of the fact it was in the $5 throw out bin at my local supermarket.

Marion Grasby is probably better known for not winning Masterchef, defecting television networks to appear on The Celebrity Apprentice and not winning that either and finally returning to Ten as a Masterchef All Star.  

Her cook book, simply titled ‘Marion' has been produced with a keen eye and attention to detail.  It looks simply gorgeous with its matte pages, beautiful photography, heart warming stories, interesting styling and simple illustrations.  From my recollections of her from TV the book seems very ‘Marion’. 

Monday, 23 July 2012

Movies reviewed: The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises has finally arrived, the final instalment in the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy.  It’s been four years since the Batman last graced our screens in The Dark Knight.  There’s no doubting that is a hard act to follow up.

The film opens several years after the conclusion of The Dark Knight.  Gotham is a changed place - Harvey Dent’s death has not been in vain as he is now held up as a beacon of hope, strength and righteousness, there are few that know the depth of that lie. Bruce Wayne is a recluse, taking with him the Batman.  He mourns the death of Rachael, closeted and hidden within the walls of Wayne Manor.  Gotham is unrecognisable, a changed place, a haven.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Vietnam dreaming

I have an easy relationship with Vietnam.  A beautiful place, with friendly people and delicious food, it was hard not to fall in love.  Those of you who have been there before will probably agree I’m sure (at least, I hope you would). 

Since my return this easy love affair has turned into a not-so-secret obsession.  Our Lonely Planet guide to Vietnam has been there and back no less than four times since.  There’s no doubt in my mind that my friends are going solely due to my persuasiveness – or, perhaps, to shut me up.  But no matter how you look at it, I’ve been a boon to the Vietnamese travel market (really).

A street market selling lanterns in Hoi An