Monday, 20 June 2011

Simple Garlic Sauce

As I am what I would consider to be a 'modern feminist', I do worry myself sometimes when I suddenly get excited when I succeed in something Stepford wife-like. Last night I finally perfected a garlic sauce recipe after many previous sad attempts and found myself beaming with pride over it. Other Stepford wife epiphanies of mine include finding a shower cleaner that actually cleans grout properly, writing the grocery list in order of the aisles I walk down and baking cupcakes one lazy weekend afternoon.

Picture credit - Link
As a female generation Y-er, I have been brought up in the golden years after the previous generations fought for gender equality, basking in the freedom that I can to do whatever I like. I would consider the olden days of the unemployed, stay-at-home wife/mother and caretaker of the house and family to be old fashioned and outdated. It is tricker now as the boundaries of the male and female roles begin to blur. But there's no need for women to define themselves as the housekeeper anymore.

This is not to say that the younger female generation can't enjoy cooking, cleaning or doing nice things for their partners. That is their choice, and choice is what the feminist revolution was about. However, I can't help but cringe when I catch myself in these stereotypical situations. Luckily for me, when I'm in the kitchen I look nothing like a Stepford wife (see image above). No pearls, A-line dress, high heels or perfect hair. More like I'm in my fluffy robe, with bed socks and hair frizzing from the steam coming from the cooktop. 

So, in trying not to pander to female stereotypes, but probably doing it anyway, here is my recipe for garlic sauce which can be used to top meat or pasta:

Simple Garlic Sauce

1-2 teaspoons of minced garlic
Half a cup of milk
Half a cup of pure cream
1 tablespoon of butter
Sprinkle of parsley, parmesan cheese salt and pepper to taste

1. In a small non-stick pan on medium-high heat, saute garlic and butter.
2. When combined and aromatic, add in milk and cream and stir.
3. Stir occasionally as the mixture thickens (approx. 10 mins).
4. Add in parsley, shaved parmesan, salt and pepper to taste.
5. Serve. 

You can also add sliced mushrooms as you stir to make a nice mushroom sauce. 

Monday, 13 June 2011

Portrait of a Long Weekend

Photo credit - Link

Look familiar? It's common knowledge that whenever a long weekend approaches, you can almost guarantee there will be rubbish weather. Or at least it just seems that way. Currently we are in the middle of the Queen's birthday long weekend in Australia, where a public holiday is observed on the second Monday in June every year. I look out the window and it's absolutely pouring down rain outside.

Most people use long weekends as a chance to go for a short break away (possibly camping), tidying the garden, general DIY or spending the extra time enjoying the outdoors. Instead the traditional long weekend weather forces everyone inside mopping up after surprise leaks in the house. As an added bonus, traffic on the roads become more congested and dangerous in bad weather, adding to the nightmare that is travel on long weekends.

I was interested to see if there was a foundation to the thought of always having shit-house weather over long weekends. According to the Bureau of Meteorology weather data for Nobby's Head (near Newcastle NSW) we have only had six completely dry June long weekends in the last 20 years. That means there's a 70% chance that there's going to be rain at some stage over the weekend.

To top it off, over the June long weekend in 2007, Newcastle experienced one of the worst local flooding events in the area's history. Rainfall exceeded 300 mm in the Hunter Region and combined with king tides and terrible drainage systems, the event resulted in the flooding of many many homes in the area. It was the mother of all crappy long weekend weather. The photo below is of an area of the Newcastle CBD looking only slightly more depressing than normal.

Photo credit - Roderick Breis

Long weekends = crappy weather. It ruins everyone's plans to enjoy the outdoors when they don't usually have the time or energy. However, maybe it's nature's way of telling us that instead of flogging ourselves and being busy all weekend (like every other time of the year) we should be curling up on the lounge, watching movies and eating comfort food. 

There's a positive conclusion I never expected when I started this post . . . . .

Monday, 6 June 2011


I want every Australian unwilling to pay more for polluting energy sources to look the Tuvaluans in the eye and say "We're not doing anything about climate change because it's going to cost us too much".

For those that haven't heard of it, Tuvalu is a small Polynesian island nation in the Pacific Ocean. At it's highest point, the island sits at 4.5 metres above sea level (average 2 metres). The island is highly susceptible to being flooded by rising sea levels and the rising saltwater table could destroy the ability to grow crops on the island. Fish stocks have also decreased. If trends continue as they are, the island may be inhabitable in 100 years.

With their incessant whinging and complaining, Australian's don't know how good they've got it. The poor 'Aussie battler' is a myth. Travel to any areas of the world that are not considered first world countries and compare the standard of living to your cushy life here. The Tuvaluans could lose their entire country to the ocean due to climate change and they are literally one of the lowest emitters of carbon dioxide in the world. Australian's could lose a few hundred dollars a year on higher bills and miss out on buying that flat screen TV straight away. Who do you feel most sorry for?

The Tuvaluan government (as small as they are) are putting in place an adaptation plan to help ward off the effects of rising sea levels as much as they can. Trialling salt-resistent crops, building sea walls on the shore and aiming for all energy to come from renewables by 2020. Unfortunately, the West aren't too eager to change. The argument is that Australia isn't a big polluter, but we do make billions of dollars every year exporting coal to be burnt in foreign countries. Can we really not take any responsibility, however convenient it is? Sadly the only way to help the transition is to use the only language we seem to understand - money. Make it cost more to use energy that contributes most to climate change. Use the money raised to develop cleaner technologies and we may maintain our export potential in delivering energy solutions to the world once all the coal is gone.

Imagine the thought of losing our beautiful country to the effects of climate change. All of our history, culture and sense of home. Everything. If not for the polar bears, frogs and other climate-sensitive creatures, think of our brothers and sisters in Tuvalu.

ABC's Hungry Beast covered the Tuvaluan story recently. Watch it here.

Afterthought - the government could also use the millions of dollars wasted on the school chaplaincy program on developing renewable energy solutions (or ANYTHING else), but that's another topic altogether.