Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Must Love Dogs. And Cooking

I'll be honest with you; there were two deal-breakers
between Mr Fascinata and me when we first met.
 Cooking and dogs.
Both had to be in the affirmative.
I have kept up my end of the deal.
And he, his.
He has bought me many beautiful cookbooks.
The Artist's Lunch is about how art and cooking is a happy marriage.
Haven't road tested it, but I should.
However, it is nothing for me to be one minute slumped on the couch, half asleep.
Then in another sixty seconds pounding a lump of dough on the bench.

Here's Rachel Khoo's brioche, sausage and onion recipe.
French Hot Dogs.
If you've got room to spare around your middle or not, try it.
It's comforting.
I don't muck around.
If I am caramelising onions I might as well do a whole bag.
But I do have a mandolin.
I can't stand the frippery of chopping and dicing.
You do have to simmer the snags first.
Bit graphic I know.
Then caramelise.

Throw the spices in.

Let the sausages cool.
You've got to knead about a kilogram of butter through the brioche.
So don't leave it 'til the last minute.
You also have to have time for it to rise.
The whole thing can be quite vexing for those who are impatient.
Wrap the dogs up in pastry.

Let those buttery buns proof again.
Serve the Hot Dogs with onion jam and mustard.
And tomato sauce, if you are inclined.

By the way who is reading AUS L'Officiel?
Where is the June edition?
In pressing news it is very late at my news-stand and no-one seems to know why.
Stay true to whatever you have promised others.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

My Cousin's Arrival:The Dress and Politics

I have been reading Dale Carnegie.
 Written in 1954.
It is still sage.
 I am eagerly awaiting my cousin's imminent arrival back from living in America.
Her daughter is my God-daughter.
And I long to see them both.
My God-daughter said one of the most important things I have ever had said to me.
On my Engagement the three of us were looking for frocks.
The dress for my Engagement soiree.
Of  course, I thought I might buy 'one a size smaller'.
To whittle down into.
My God-daughter's reply was succinct.
"Just buy a dress that fits".
I have since applied this advice to many things and it works.
Dale Carnegie agrees.
Megan Hess would agree.
Have you bought her little book of fashion plates?
It is lovely.
Megan Hess gets fully endorsed here because recently
in one of her interviews she thanked her Art teacher.
Who is actually my old chalkface colleague from a time ago.
How lovely for her.

 Quickly flick through the pages.
 I hope Megan doesn't mind me doing a bit of PR for her.
But I couldn't resist a quick book review.
 If you have $29 AUS to spare or a gift to buy, get a copy.

 Sorry, should have put the contents first.

Meanwhile, I need to follow Carnegie's Rule 1 for the next two months or so.
Plenty of action.
I am under the pump with all sorts of work to do at the chalkface and
there's plenty of Flora Fascinatas that are looking forlornly at me.
I miss them.
I have had to endorse some sort of Lenten fasting.
Hair vest wearing.
Things have to change around these traps for a while.
 I am tightening the time-management belt starting with eradicating daily macarons.
Sparkling at soirees.

 Cake-making with alarming regularity.
 Sunday lunches.
 Et al.
 Desserts every night.
 I am not even going to look at you Marche du Macaron.
I am serious.
Just before I go.
And in no order of importance.
Have you been to any rallies raising awareness of the effects of forced closures
of Aboriginal communities?
Go. I have.
You will hear music and see dancing.
Hear people and highly respected Elders talking about First Nation culture.
There's dignity and grace.
 There's been two rallies in my city outside City Hall.
Here's City Hall with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags sailing for
a celebration week last year. NAIDOC Week.
I felt ashamed and annoyed at the Council that the flags were not out for the rally.
 At another rally I noticed a regional council had given shade tents with council logos to groups.
I will be contacting Brisbane City Council this week to ask why they won't put the flags out
for these key events that shape our democracy. The Federal Government have a "Recognise" Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islanders in Australia's Constitution campaign so surely this is a sincere approach to
recognising means to Reconciliation.
I will assist in the celebration at NAIDOC Week 2015 at my chalkface, let me know
if you would like some ideas for yours.
Keep your belt tight.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Rainbow Bridge

I"ll try to stick to my mission statement but I will admit there's
been way too much else to stand in the way of frippery.
Lots of sadness in and around the traps.
Massive earthquake in Nepal.
Two Australians executed alongside six others in Indonesia.
Lots of rigour at the chalkface.
 And, finally the house-muse is no more.
Here he is in better days, just sleeping.
After a bedtime story.
Last week the house-muse retired to the biggest poodle parlour in heaven.
Over the Rainbow Bridge.
That lovely soft euphemism that includes all pets
returning to their healthy state, trotting around with butterflies and birds.
Thank you for your kind thoughts.
I have been sad for days.
He was my constant for sixteen years and never disagreed with
a thing I said.
I liked him.
Nature permitted him nearly 18 years in total.
I went against good advice and gave my heart to a dog to tear.
It'll mend slowly.
I'll let it take its sweet time.
 Meanwhile, I finished off an orchid inspired and feather leaf headpiece.
Keeping occupied.
Thanks to the stunning blooms at the Orchid Society's Species Show.

The Power of the Dog

There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie--
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart to a dog to tear.
When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet's unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find--it's your own affair--
But ... you've given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!)
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone--wherever it goes--for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

We've sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we've kept 'em, the more do we grieve:
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-term loan is as bad as a long--
So why in--Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?
Rudyard Kipling

 This has always been one of my favourite portraits, Coco Chanel
with a cream coloured poodle, by Impressionist Marie Laurencin.