The long dry summer has given way to emerald green paddocks, but, still, most farms could do with a bit of rain. Our apples are just about finished on the trees. The quince are in, most rescued green from the parrots and the possums. We’ve harvested the first broccoli, the first cabbage; both while the tomato plants are still hanging from hooks in the shed, as we ripen the last few for the table. We’ve spun the honey from the hive, and left the bees enough to get them through winter.
Every year, I go through some kind of shock. Surprise at the pace of the seasons. Disappointment as I realise I’ve missed the moment for planting one crop or another. Elation at the new things coming from the garden. The lessened need for watering, or filling wallows. The incredible, exhilarating feel of cool air in the lungs as I climb the hill to move the cattle.
Our wood stack is finished, thanks to a couple of very hard-working volunteers who stayed most of the last month and helped with everything from waiting at table to picking up pig poo. The work is never done, and a couple of extra pairs of hands enabled us to catch up on chores. They helped ensure we have enough firewood for both the heater and the cooker. It’s an enormous sense of security when the firewood is stacked – at least we won’t go cold this winter.
About 12 months ago, someone approached me with the idea to film a TV series that would reveal to the world everything I love about the Middle East. The plan was that I would travel to places I'd never been and gain a firsthand experience of the food unique to each region. I love visiting countries I've only ever heard or read about, so I was on board with the idea instantly. I suppose that’s when Shane Delia’s Spice Journey was born.
Along the way, I met some amazing people, made lifelong friends and ate truly beautiful food. It wasn’t all champagne and caviar, though. Life on the road, while filming a show, wasn't easy. Picture remote locations, scorching heat, long days, all types of language, plus cultural and political tensions. Not to mention being away from all my staff and beloved restaurants. That was tough!
Since returning home, I have a million ideas for new dishes, brilliant concepts and exciting directions for my restaurant family. I couldn't wait to get back into my kitchen studio in Melbourne to start cooking all these new things I'd tasted. Petros, one of my passionate and loyal chefs, has been working alongside me during the filming of the kitchen segments of the show to bring the ideas and flavours of my trip to life! Since I returned from Iran, Petros and I have been busy weighing, testing and creating new dishes that will appear in each episode of the show.
Hearing what Matt White had to say last Sunday on Cycling Central TV, Anthony Tan felt compelled to write an open letter to him.
White’s lawyer also answered questions raised on the show by Tan, concerning the apparent delay in announcing his reduced six-month backdated suspension, awarded by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA), and what led to his sentence being reduced.
If my memory serves correctly, it was November 1996.
Mike Bloomberg may go down in history as one of New York City’s great mayors when he finally leaves office in November. After 12 years on the job, most people would want to have some kind of favourable place in history. The trouble is that one policy Bloomberg feverishly supports is likely to blight his record.
Meet what’s known as “Stop and Frisk”, a highly controversial police strategy that, depending on where you sit (and maybe depending on what you look like), is described as a crucial tool in combating crime or a terrible contravention of civil liberties.
Stop and Frisk gives police the power to stop individuals on no basis whatsoever except “suspicion” they have, are, or may be about to commit a crime. It also provides police with the power to search an individual on pretty much the same basis.
For law enforcement, this is a very powerful tool that provides police with a lot of authority to potentially cut crime on the street. It is from the hey-that-guy-looks-sketchy-stop-him school of policing. Awesome. If only Superman had those powers. If your job is stopping crime, who wouldn’t want to be legally able to do that?
When Christine Manfield’s glorious book Tasting India arrived in our office, the Feast team was literally queuing to browse its pages. Filled with vivid images and mouth-watering recipes, the flavours and aromas of this many-faceted country almost seemed to rise from the paper. Not surprisingly, we were all thrilled when Christine allowed us to use her curry leaf chicken recipe in this month’s curry feature. Mr Ed is a huge fan of Indian food, but not of chilli. As this curry isn't too hot, it seemed perfect.
Bags of dried chillies are something I tend to buy, use once, and then have them in the pantry for the next three years. So I split this packet with the team and am determined to get through my allotment. Fresh curry leaves are widely available – I picked mine up at the Fiji Mart in Sydney’s Newtown and emerged 30 minutes later laden with crunchy, spicy snacks, dried mango, Mexican chocolate and three kinds of pappadums. Everything else was already in the pantry.
The marinade was simple and, considering it only needs 10 minutes standing time, this quick meal is perfect for busy weeknights. However, my chicken ended up marinating for 24 hours as we made a last-minute decision to eat out – all well and good except that it turned out a little wetter than the original recipe. Our food editor Phoebe tells me that’s because the yoghurt would have leached some liquid over that period of time. It still tasted great and I’m never averse to mopping up a bit of extra sauce with a well-buttered piece of naan.
Marjane Satrapi will next make comedic thriller The Voices, starring Ryan Reynolds and Jacki Weaver.
The Iranian-born and Parisian-based graphic artist turned filmmaker Marjane Satrapi has already made a pair of ingenious films with Persepolis and Chicken with Plums, and for her next movie she’s going to make another unlikely mix of genres. The Voices is a psychological thriller with comedic overtones, telling the story of a bathroom fixtures factor worker named Jerry who accidentally kills a female colleague and then takes advice on what to do next from the voices of his cat and dog (who says they can’t get along). The setting isn’t clear, but the cast would suggest America: Jerry will be played by Hollywood actor Ryan Reynolds (Safe House), who used to have an acerbic comic persona until he went to the gym, while his co-star will include Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air), Gemma Arterton (Clash of the Titans) and Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom).
Chastain buys into zoo
The demand for Jessica Chastain, who has been a revelation over the last three years – who else shone in material that spans Zero Dark Thirty and The Tree of Life to Mama and The Help – hasn’t abated. The actress with the flame-coloured hair is already committed to the adaptation of August Strindberg’s classic 19th century play Miss Julie for Ingmar Bergman’s onetime muse Liv Ullmann, as well as Guillermo Del Toro’s horror film Crimson Peak, where she will co-star with Emma Stone (The Help), Charlie Hunnam (Del Toro’s forthcoming giant robots versus monsters epic Pacific Rim), and the impeccable diction of Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek Into Darkness). Now Chastain will play the lead for New Zealand filmmaker Niki Caro (Whale Rider) in The Zookeeper’s Wife, an adaptation of Diane Ackerman’s novel about a couple who used their workplace, Warsaw’s zoo, to hide Jewish targets of the Nazi German occupiers during World War II.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo's Lisbeth Salander comes in a short line of fearless female characters.
Seeing Noomi Rapace again as Lisbeth Salander in the original version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – it’s on SBS ONE this Saturday at 9.30pm – made me ponder who I’d name, before this Scandinavian scorcher came along, as my top three gutsy female lead characters.
I’m talking here about women who show no or next-to-no fear; who dominate the screen; whose actions are pure inspiration. Not all that many quickly came to mind.
There’s never been as much anticipation for the Giro d'Italia as the edition that's about to start on the streets of Naples.
For decades Italy's Grand Tour has been describes as the "poor cousin" of Le Tour de France or worse still "the world's second best three-week bike race."
A touch unfair I feel but there's no doubt the Giro has certainly been challenged for media coverage outside of Italy compared to its more prestigious French equivalent which hogs the headlines of every major news organisation year in, year out.
The media landscape is shifting however, and that was evident last year with the arrival of Michele Acquarone who took over the reigns as the Giro's new race director.
What a breath of fresh air this modern visionary has turned out to be.
Never one to join the bandwagon or tread on eggshells, Anthony Tan tells it like he sees it in the week just past.
Sure, Boonen could do a great job, but is he willing? So far, there’s been no evidence to suggest he is.1. Sayar Isn’t So…
It’s funny how every man and his dog decided to maul Mustafa Sayar after his mountain stage win that, two days later, earned him titleholder in this year’s Tour of Turkey.
In fact, Eurosport commentator and ex-pro Magnus Bäckstedt got stuck into the hitherto unknown third division pro as early as the third leg, considered to be the queen stage of the race and also finishing atop a nasty climb. There, Sayar finished third behind 22-year-old Eritrean Natnael Berhane and Belgian Kevin Seeldraeyers, riding for Astana.
Apparently, churning away in the big chainring, as Sayar is wont to do, is a tell-tale sign of doping.
On April 22, Judge Marianne Bowler convened a hearing of the United States District Court at Beth Israel Deconess Medical Center in Boston.
A doctor turned to defendant Dzhokar Tsarnaev, lying in a bed, and asked: “How are you feeling? Are you able to answer some questions?”
Tsarnaev nodded affirmatively and we were another step closer to discovering just what had motivated the Boston marathon bombing.
What we know for sure: there will be many questions and, unfortunately, not as many answers as we may want to what exactly pushed the Tsarnaev brothers to the point where detonating bombs and shooting police seemed like a good idea.
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