Stocking My Minimalist Weekender Pantry

One of the best things about a weekender is arriving late on a Friday, sitting on the veranda with a glass of bubbles in hand, and watching the late afternoon light play across the hills. Surrounded by 100 acres of Australian bush, with neither phone nor television to disturb, and the electricity occasionally taken out by a passing kangaroo, it’s the perfect place to escape and recharge the soul.

Part of that serenity comes from not stressing about cooking. Simplicity is always best. With the place being only an hour from home, bringing fresh food is not a problem, plus local fruit and veggie stalls line the way. We’re lucky enough to have the Great Northern Trading Post five minutes away (complete with the oldest continual liquor licence in the colony outside of Sydney), which serves the like of grilled spatchcock or steak with pommes frites, yet it takes little effort to have the makings of meals for every time of day.

Continue Reading →

In Search Of A Perfect Japanese Curry

I never eat hospital food. I used to, some twenty years ago, if my break coincided with their irregular hours. The food was cheap, plentiful, and grey – including the vegetables. One evening as I searched for something to eat, I turned the wrong way coming out of the lifts and found myself outside the morgue. I never ate in the cafeteria again.

Luckily, every hospital nowadays has a private café, usually near the entrance and doused in sunlight. There are even express lines for those flourishing a hospital ID. The range of food extends from sandwiches and pies to offerings such as Persian rice salad or glass noodles. Last time I waited for my coffee I noticed a Japanese curry.

Until discovering the works of Haruki Murakami, I never thought of Japan as a land of curries, my knowledge instead restricted to sushi, sashimi, sake and Iron Chef. (Nor had I had associated Japan with truck stops, but in Kafka on the Shore I found both.) In Murakami the curries fed both body and soul; the curry I ordered tasted brown. So began my quest to find a true Japanese curry.


Continue Reading →

The Poltergeist On My Roof

Death on a hunt from

I should start by saying I don’t believe in ghosts. Never have. Belief is probably the wrong word, as it has no role in scientific argument. Belief and facts are two separate issues. (The classic example: 2+2 = 4. I can believe 2+2 =5 all I want, but the fact remains.) The concept of an incorporeal being able to also interacting with the physical world – tapping me on the shoulder then walking through a wall, for example – defines scientific laws. The only I can see is that a being a spirit or whichever term you care to use comes with an innate knowledge of quantum physics as yet unknown to us (just as vampires seem to have a great knowledge of king fu). Continue Reading →

Ponderings On A Morning Drive

DSC_0044-1024x680The bay stretches forever. Usually the water is still, disturbed only by the pelicans landing to pass their day gliding along the surface. The dark wooden poles of the oyster leases stretch through the tranquility.

Whenever I pass here on my way to work, I wonder yet again: what am I doing? Why am I not out in the sun, enjoying the play of sunlight on the water?

Even on a gloomy day, as the dark clouds roll in, or the rain sweeps across the water, the bay still beckons. Should I have time I pull over and stare over the water for a while. Aside from the peak hour cars zooming past me, there is usually no one else around. Perhaps a jogger, sometimes an elderly couple having a stroll. Continue Reading →