Saturday, May 29, 2010

nous sommes une famille gastronomique!

Okay. My copy of Mrs Beeton's Cookery and Household Management is NOT QUITE as rustico as the picture, but it would be a worthy challenger in any competition that included the category "death by puppy."

I bought my Mrs Beeton's at the old second-hand bookshop in Sorrento. That's Sorrento, Mornington Peninsula, not Italia.

I was rapt when I saw it there on the shelf. Some household had off-loaded it, thinking it worthless. Daggy when on the shelf beside Donna Hay and Jamie Everywhere Dot Com.

And get this.

At the same time, I got the Larousse Gastronomique.

What a fucking coup, ladies and gentleman. (That's you INC, Perseus only reads the diaries. And Ramon only comes on when there are lemons, really, or maybe a Palestinian/Israeli dispute. Just to watch, you know.)

So. you know we had an anniversary last Wednesday. The same day as Ms Fits' birthday. I'll never forget. And the same day she stopped her blog. Ah, how we move on.

"Hello, my name is Melba, and I am okay."

So. The anniversary. Right now Clokes is in the kitchen. He is wearing his Collingwood top and cooking a Masterchef recipe. He is doing Beef Wellington. While we went out Wed night to a local pizza restaurant and test-drove the idea that the kids can fend for themselves, tonight, my friends, is our romantico night where we feast on the Beef Wellington (as Hercule Poirot would say, very fond of the definite articles as he was in his translated Anglais).

So Clokes is Slaving over the Hot Stove and I have run off to my study/library/entirely indulgent and booky space to blog about the Mrs Beeton's index.

"I'm going to blog about this to my three readers!" I shouted, as I left the kitchen after helping Clokes skim the red wine sauce and flip the crepes, in a very George Calombaris manner.

"I thought you had more than three readers," said Princess, as she loaded up her taco. (When you have three kids, you don't feed them The Beef Wellington. It's Tacos For Them!)

"I'm being modest," I lied, and left the room.

So. This is what grabbed my attention.

Looking up God* Knows What, I noticed the following, on page 1324 in my old haggard prostitute of a copy (but Sorrento, don't you know dahling, think of how much she could 'ave 'aggled twenty years ago, dahling):

Bearnaise sauce
Beat, to
Beatrice tartlets
Bechamel sauce (can't be bothered with the acute)
Bed bugs
a la Mode
as mock hare
au gratin
balls, raw
braised, in aspic
brisket of
cannelon of
carbonnade of
chateaubrian steak

(can't be bothered with the circumflexes and graves either.)

So it's a book of household management, and cookery. You can whip up a cheese souffle and conquer warts at the same time?

Mais, bien sur.

This is my post for this week. I am tired, I have no time but I WILL answer any of your questions (using my Mrs Beeton resource or my own mad skillz) to do with cookery or household management.

Post your questions below.

And have a good weekend. Be nice to each other. Wear a condom, or don't use too much tongue when kissing. Just a little bit is nice.

* And speaking of the Old Boy, anyone else read or about to the new Phillip Pullman book on Jesus??

Friday, May 28, 2010

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Saturday musings

Assorted shallow comments:

1. Just did my nails. OPIs Cajun Shrimp. A gorgeous red.

2. Got some new shoes yesterday. It's Clokes' and my wedding anniversary next week. We are doing the traditional gift thing, and 3 years is leather. So he's getting himself a leather jacket and I decided on shoes.

They're like these but the heel's a bit different. They are from Stuart Weitzman and nice.

3. Just finished watching Gossip Girl with my two girls. We have now finished the second season. Princess was having conniptions on the couch during the final episode. You know how these tv series creators like to play with your emotions.

4. We are up to date with Survivor. Happy Rupert survived. I think my kids think I'm revolting for saying that I find him quite fanciable.

5. Tomorrow we will watch some more back eps of Glee. Recently my dear friend Magical_M asked me who was my favourite character. I like lots of them, but forgot to mention Sue. How could I forget Sue? Earlier this week I saw the Season 1 episode where she visits her sister and reads to her. So tender and good. Love it.

6. Last night we had pizza and I really am not a pizza person.

7. I should put another coat of nail polish on.

8. Done.

9. We watched the first episode of Modern Family. It was a bit meh. Anybody else see it?

10. I might have a bubble bath tonight.

Deep and meaningful bits (some of these points probably belong above):

1. My mum's treatment is going well so far, thanks for everyone who's emailed, commented here or texted. I'm not going to bang on about it too much but will give you occasional updates. It's all a bit second-time-around and kind of boring in a way. (That sounds really callous, it's not.) We are planning a trip to Turkey in September, to take Princess to see Ali. I asked mum to come, so if it all goes well, that's what we'll do. A stop-over in Abu Dhabi maybe, and a side-trip to Prague. Oh yes please.

2. Geelong played well last night and poor Clokes was a bit devo but he took it well. My dad called me in the afternoon with a spare ticket and I had to say no. More than happy to be on the couch watching, with pizza, wine and then a Maxi-Bon to follow. I really can't be bothered with night games. They are so torturous. Though I once wrote an ode to a Friday night game, I really would rather be on red couch than on hard seat. And so, I can't see any real challengers to Geelong at this point.

3. I am re-reading Joe Cinque's Consolation.

4. Have stalled in the latest John Irving one. So self-indulgent and wordy. It's like he's too famous now so that either a) everyone is too scared to edit him properly or b) he just says 'fuck off' to editing. Or maybe both?

5. I am reading to my 13-year-old daughter again. I have decided to introduce her to the joys of Agatha Christie, especially the Hercule Poirot detective books. I lie on her bed at night and read to her. I do all the voices, she theorises (very accurately) about whodunnit, and it's all rather cosy and lovely. She still reads her vampire/fantasy books, but we have our little routine which both of us are enjoying.

6. I'm scratching around for another point. Might leave it there. Will try to diarise tomorrow but no promises.

What are you reading, good people? What are you watching on teeve? Who are you kissing, what are you wearing and what are you eating?

Talk to me!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Sorry, no Bali diarama today

I am battling a big headache. Have had it all day. I don't get headaches traditionally, though it has to be said in recent times I am starting to.




I've just had my second coffee, and if that doesn't fix it my recovery-back-up plan involves any or all of the following:

- Blue castello cheese on Vita-Weets (plain)

- Sea salt Kettle chips

- fresh salmon and wild barramundi with green beans and scalloped potatoes (made with cheese and cream, oh my)

- a high top apple pie with cream

- alcohol, ranging from wine to limoncello which really has just turned out a very lemony vodka. Bit disappointing actuallement.

- back episodes of Glee

- a bubble bath

- The Age newspaper on the bed. Now.

My back-up plan does NOT include:

- the Collingwood-Freo game tonight.

Wow. Just writing a list is making my headache recede. Must have been the coffee.

Does that mean I have to resist indulgence tonight?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Who is being tried?

The Gambino-Farquharson case has me intrigued, I admit it. I am drawn to macabre events like this one. Aren't we all? I guess unless you are a super-sensitive person and have to turn away (some people can't read about this stuff, just like my mum can't bear to hear stories about people injuring their toes or fingers) or have suffered something similar, we humans like to read about the dark stuff, hear about it, talk about it. We revel in it. It's the car-crash thing, the schadenfreude thing. The There but for the Grace of God Go I thing.

But those of us who do lap this stuff up, we enjoy, if that's the word, from the safety of our nice, safe lives. Because it makes us feel lucky, perhaps (not a bad thing to feel.)

Puts things in perspective for us, that our small lives are untouched by such tragedy, drama and horror.

Feeds the need in us for thrill and shock and awe.

It's a long time since I wrote here commentarily. I haven't been inspired by the news or current affairs for ages.

But in today's Age, in the article on page 2, I was shocked by the story. We have all heard of rape victims being cross-examined and having to justify the length of their skirts, the volume of alcohol in their blood, or about how faint or inaudible or tardy their No was.

But in a murder trial? Is this a new form of misogyny? Attack a grieving mother who wasn't even within hoo-ie of the scene of death. Who had nothing to do with it. And was clearly a person who believed her estranged husband's story that he blacked out during a coughing fit and drove the car into the dam.

Nevermind that there is evidence that before it happened he told someone he was going to hurt her by killing the kids. Yeah, forget that. Innocent until proven guilty.

This man drove a car into a dam and in the back were his three young sons. This man said he had a sneezing attack, lost control of the car and then was unable to save them. This man called his wife it seems, first? She was on the scene very quickly and called the ambulance and police?

The defence lawyer - a Mr Peter Morissey SC - attacked the mother in court with such provocative insinuations that he got what he wanted - an emotional reaction, and probably thinks he managed to discredit her story. Because, you know, people have to stick to their evidence as given to the police, when you are a witness, not adjust their thinking over time, especially not if new information comes to light. No, just ignore all that and stay with what you originally said. Otherwise you are suspect and hypocritical.

I'm sure the police are suspicious of witnesses who don't change details over time.

But he's right. Her attitude may have changed. Why? Because at first she couldn't believe a father could do that. But then she realised he could. Don't forget, this was before the girl got thrown off a bridge. Irrefutable evidence that people can do awful things. But people don't want to believe the worst. We can't. Otherwise we may have to wonder what did I marry? What didn't I see?

Morrisey is on a mission to discredit her or suggest that she has changed her story, possibly defaced a tomb-marker and dared to be photographed at the boys' funeral in what remains undescribed in the paper but is insinuated to be what one could imagine a friendly, co-grieving clutch with her ex-husband.

So grubby. How does he sleep at night?

The fee? It can only be the fee.

The glory? What glory?

What the fuck does SC mean anyway? Standard Counsel. Satisfactory Counsel. So-so Counsel.

[Flashback - an eight-year-old Melba once took on a barrister, who these days specialises in similar grubby work defending people who clearly "did it." She told him not to call her mother and her friend (his wife) a "couple of tarts."

I remember him standing officiously in front of his enormous fireplace in his enormous house in St Vincent's Place, South Melbourne, red wine in hand, joshing around in his booming court-room voice. He was being funny, you see. Little Melba didn't know that, she took everything on face value, as is fairly normal at that age.

Don't call my mother a tart.

Later, at the age of maybe 14, an exchange:

Do you have to defend criminals?


Do have to be their lawyer even if you know they are guilty?


Thus endeth Melba's small thoughts of becoming a lawyer.

And another time. Melba enters the office on William St of the above barrister's lawyerly friend. The two of them were working on the Mr Asia case. This is oh maybe 1983/84. Melba is doing some work for them, data entry into a tinny little TRS-80 from Dick Smith. Evidence. Masses of it. Interesting stuff. I wish I'd kept a copy. No real link to anything here, just fills out the picture of the calibre of client.

But back to the story.

The defence for Farquharson, Peter Morrisey, who is not a designer of anything other than maybe paperclips in rows on his faux-teak desk, said the following to Cindy Gambino, mother of those three boys:

"What have you got to say about your role, if any?" (relating to the chiselling off of Farquharson's name on the boys' headstone.)

Why is this even being discussed? Even if she did, don't you think most reasonable people would understand why she might have hacked at it? It's something a mother might do, but its completely irrelevant to the case. And why is she being asked about her previous testimony? Is she in contempt of court, is she trying to cause mischief?

As she said:

"What mother could fathom that a father could do such a thing to their children?"

Morrissey insinuates that she defaced their grave.

Then he suggests that she is "deliberately putting a bad spin" or " 'deliberately exaggerating' aspects of her evidence to increase the likelihood of him being found guilt over the boys' deaths."

The trial continues, the paper says.

Whose trial?

Oh, and a literary tip. Book in the offing from high-profile writer. Can't wait.