Friday, July 23, 2010

Outwit, Outplay, Outlast!

We are in a slightly strange situation here in Australia at the moment. We have a general election coming up in less than a month and the two main candidates are debating on tv on Sunday. They have been forced to re-schedule the debate to earlier in the evening though, due to Sunday night also being the last night of the competitive cooking show Masterchef. I have watched Masterchef a couple of times and it's ok but I am puzzled as to its immense success, as I have always been puzzled by shows that involve this incredible idea of competition - Big Brother, The Amazing Race, Survivor etc., etc. I have never understood such intense feelings of competition. I don't mean to make myself sound noble - in fact I suspect my lack of competitiveness has probably done me in a bit professionally. At school even, I didn't 'get' games and the overwhelming sentiment attached to winning - much to the fury of my fellow classmates. But why do we want to watch people battle it out to the last, backstab their opponents and weep with the effort and frustration of it all? With Masterchef it's even been noted that the winners each night are not necessarily the best cooks overall but the ones who managed to present adequately to the judges on that particular night. So what really is it proving?
And what will I be watching on Sunday night? Probably a bit of the debate and then I'll turn off the telly, dejected that both Dr Who and Little Dorrit have finished up...!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Start it anyway

It was cold this morning when I got up. Drizzling rain, frost on the windows. Ugh! But then I noticed that despite all this, the birds outside where still chirping busily and starting their day. They were no doubt cold too but they had begun their day anyway. So I figured whatever the day looks like, start it anyway, go on as normal, grab hold of it and see what happens.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Twitterings without Twitter

Lots of birdlife in our yard at the moment...magpies, crows, mynah birds, rainbow lorrikeets, wattle jacks...excellent practice for my fledgling mindfulness skills to just stand out in the yard and watch them.
Yummy, yummy toffee made on the weekend -
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups macadamia nuts (chopped)
Combine. Stir continuously so that the sugar doesn't burn. When the sugar is dissolved and everything is a lovely brown colour, spread on greaseproof paper and allow to set.
Back to my goth-y inclinations yet again. Bauhaus, "Bela Lugosi's Dead". They were in their heyday in the 80s, I believe, but I have only just discovered them by way of Poppy Z. Brite's novel Lost Souls.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Roasted Squirrel?

Some of the famous Mrs Beeton's desserts.

Still hooked on all things Victorian as I make my way through George Eliot's Middlemarch and Henry James' The Turn of the Screw. Once again though, having last night watched The Supersizers Go Victorian, I am very glad I didn't actually have to live in this era. I am astounded that people who lived - at the latter end of the era - only 109 years ago ate as differently from what we do today.

The programme focussed mainly on a fairly affluent diet but still! Enormous pies made of eight different meats. Roasted squirrel. Calves' heads (with calves' ear fritters). Roasted snipe (a snipe is a bird. The trick was to suck the brains out of its head with your mouth, eat the brains and then pick your teeth with its beak). Enormous wobbling jellies and blancmanges. It would seem that the extent to which human behaviour was repressed in the Victorian era found a way of bursting out in extravagant food. The poor, on the other hand, were served a soup composed mainly of water and flour. No wonder there were not long life expectancies!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Morning flight

Image from Google Images

Despite being in the depths of winter here, there is still plenty of birdlife about. There have been some joyous sights these last few mornings of magpies, mynah birds, blackbirds and even rainbow lorikeets darting through the air. Most beautiful of all, though, have been a number of wonderful ravens, their black wings extended as they sweep regally past, coming to rest with resounding aplomb on the fence.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Catnapping in the sun

Image from

Some lovely sunshine at last today, peeking through the windows. I felt like curling up like a cat in the sunspot which formed on the couch.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Winter grazing

We had a lovely weekend of happy winter grazing. On Saturday, I made Apple Bran muffins (recipe here: and we had a comfortingly warming beef casserole for dinner. Yesterday, we breakfasted on pancakes with cranberry and blueberry jam (my DH is the master creator of pancakes) and then lunched out at a Malaysian restaurant on Nasi Lemak and Curry Laksa. Mmmmmm. In classic cold weather style, we do seem to be packing on our winter coats of warm chub and eating ourselves silly. Or perhaps we are simply responding to the call of our ancestors and keeping internally warm during the winter months. At least I have cut back on sugar... What did you snack on this weekend?

Friday, July 2, 2010


I am currently enamoured with all things Victorian. I especially like the twist the Steampunk trend puts on it - Victorian but with a modern edge. Not quite so serious as the original Victorian look, in other words.

This is an original illustration from Dickens' Little Dorrit. Image from
Tying in neatly with that, I am currently watching with considerable joy the BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens' Little Dorrit. Has anyone else seen it? It is beautifully done with an appealling delicacy of touch and just the right tinge of melancholy. It may even persuade me to try Dickens again after my unsuccessful attempts to read Dombey and Son as an English Lit undergrad many years ago.
Would I have wanted to live in the Victorian Age? Probably not, as Little Dorrit very clearly illustrates as the title character lives out in her life in a 'Debtor's Prison' - social decline and disgrace meant far more than having to send the TV to a pawn shop. But I do find this very precise and symbolically rich look very interesting.