Posted by: jkirkby8712 | December 31, 2011

Friday, 30th December 2011 – a few current newsy items as the year winds down, and a couple of tasty dishes!

I found quite a ‘detailed’ discussion this morning,  happening on Face Book between my son and some of his friends about the Australian cricket team –  right at the end, I added my own brief viewpoint on some of the personnel being discussed –    “Interesting ‘discussion’ guys – Ponting and Hussey will be gone soon, but it should be their decision, they don’t deserve, or justify being  dropped at this stage. As for comparisons with Bradman, if anyone fits that category, it should be India’s Sachin Tendulkar, I saw his first Test in Australia and he’s being brilliant ever since, but always hard to compare modern day players who play so many more games, and have more opportunities than the likes of Bradman did. As for the Indians, it’s about time the world cricket authorities started to stand up to the Indian boards, we seem to give them what they want every time, because they’re got the money – while half their population begs in the streets of India!! It’s time to stop bowing and scraping to every wish of the Indians!!   No subsequent response to that, at the time of writing.

While on the cricket, today’s ‘Australian’ newspaper has a good ‘wrap up’ of yesterday’s Test match –  [by Wayne Smith] – ‘It’s only a short hop over Bass Strait from Hobart to Melbourne but what a giant leap the Australian cricket side has taken from Bellerive Oval to the Melbourne Cricket Ground. After being humiliated by eighth-ranked New Zealand in Hobart a fortnight ago, Michael Clarke’s men maintained their maddeningly inconsistent recent form by dismantling the might of India to claim an extraordinary 122-run victory inside four days in the first Test yesterday. What turned out to be the final day of an absorbing Test began with Australia precariously placed, just 230 runs ahead  and with only two wickets in hand. Most of the smart money in Mohali, Mumbai and Melbourne was on India quickly sweeping aside the last of the Australians and then unleashing the demi-gods of their batting line-up. ‘Anything under 300 is gettable,’ opener Virender Sehwag had predicted. That was almost what India was left to chase after tailenders James Pattinson and Ben Hilfenhaus pushed the Australian lead out to 291 with some lusty last-wicket batting. Sehwag’s early departure, brilliantly caught by the suddenly inform Mike Hussey, rocked India on its heels, but while Sachin Tendulkar was still there the Swami Army never lost heart or voice. Then pace spearhead Peter Siddle struck, as he did in the first innings, to remove the Little Master and from that moment the Indian crowd was muted, the Indian cause doomed.  Siddle must have cost Cricket Australia a small fortune when he dismissed Tendulkar in the final over on day two [Tuesday], robbing the Melbourne Test of the massive crowd that would surely have turned out the following day to watch him score his 100th Test century. But by repeating the feat yesterday, he recouped CA’s losses because it guarantees the Swami Army now will descend on Sydney in force next week when Tendulkar takes yet another tilt at a unique century of centuries”.

A beautiful morning in Sunbury  – a brief visit to the shopping centre, saw your writer purchase another small set of bookshelves [almost have more shelves than books these days – well, that’s a slight exaggeration] –  plus another book from the proceeds of a small money gift given to me for Christmas by Shirley’s mother  [another book of short stories, this time by international author Maeve Binchy called ‘Treasury, the quality of which I am anticipating might be a little better than the selection I read by Rachel Treasure the other day – my view anyway!]. Also purchased the latest edition of Songlines Magazine, which in addition to the regular CD attachment, included a second CD of Australian Roots music – Global Sounds of Australia [featuring artists from the Australasian World Music Expo 2008-2010] – a perfect new selection for my Monday night program over the next 18 weeks!!  Back home just as Susie left again, this time for work!

With the end of 2011 nigh, a couple of the news headlines have attracted my attention, and without going into much details, these include:

  • The first full calendar year of the minority Gillard government has been the worst polling period  for federal Labor in modern times. As 2011 draws to a close, the Gillard Labor Government has finished the year in the worst position of any Labor government or opposition since Newspoll surveys began almost 30 years ago. Labor also started 2011 in its worst position of any year and reached an all-time low in primary vote support of just 26% in September…..[and they are still the Government!!!!
  • Australian brain surgeon Charlie Teo is one of 16 world experts who have accused a global newspaper [the ‘Economist’] of publishing ‘technical errors and misleading statements’ in an article that rubbished the idea mobile phones cause cancer –  The experts wrote that history was ‘replete with failures to control highly profitable carcinogenic substances, ranging from tobacco to asbestos, until proof of harm became irrefutable’, and suggested on a conservative analysis that mobile phones and other wireless radiation might be seeding 250,000 avoidable brain tumours every year……………..while the Economist article ridiculed those who believe mobile phones are harming people as a ‘tinfoil-hat brigade hours in the wreck with no food and only a bottled water’ who continue to believe ‘deadly waves in the ether are frying their brains’…….[I think I might pay more credence to the experts, over the opinions of the entrepreneurs!]
  • A NSW woman who survived for more than three days while trapped beneath her upturned car sought to amputate her own leg in a desperate bid to free herself…..Omn 3pm on Christmas Day [she] was driving home after sharing lunch with her daughter when she swerved to miss a kangaroo. Lost control of her Commodore and rolled 8m down an embankment with the car coming to rest in thick scrub not visible from the road…her leg pinned under the car door, she spent the next 75 agonising hours in the wreck with no food and only a bottled water…..found by pure luck, 3 days later by a teenager out walking a neighbour’s dog………………[my query, how come she was not missed by her family for that three days, surely a search along the route of travel would have been the first search action undertaken had the alarm being raised???]
  • A memorial service that provided a once-in-a-generation public glimpse inside North Korea ended yesterday with the country’s military and civilian leadership pledging allegiance to ‘supreme leader’ Kim Jong-un. The window into the world’s Stalinist state slammed shut at midday yesterday…to mark the end of the two-day funeral service for dictator Kim Jonh-il……………….[I am left wondering at the authenticity of the ‘mass mourning and tearful hysteria that we have witnessed on our screens over recent days, just seems so typical of the regimented and forced way that the people of North Korea have lived under for most of my life – depiction of millions of brain-washed actors!!].
  • The Alice Springs to Darwin railway now looks certain to be closed for at least two weeks, in the wake of the after-affects and some consequences of last weekend’s assault on the Top End of Australia by Cyclone Grant  – big industrial cost consequences as well as the affect on private travel, etc.
  • And in sport, Lleyton Hewitt has nominated defending champion Novak Djokovic as the player to beat in next month’s Australian Open after correctly predicting his ascension to the top a year ago……[not exactly a difficult prediction in either situation, as Hewitt prepares to return to the court this Sunday representing Australia in the Hopman Cup].

Meanwhile, from the 30 December publication of ‘Life Choices’, I’ve found a few recipes of  recommended ‘healthy’ meals that appear simple enough in preparation and ingredients, that ‘even I’ could perhaps manage to cook!!!,   I’m going to share three of them here with my readers.

From Centrelink ‘Life Choices’ publication – 30 December newsletter
One Pot Chicken Curry


This is a great dish to rustle up when you’re on the move or looking for a tasty Friday night dinner option…serves four


1 tablespoon cooking oil
750g boneless chicken thighs, cubed
1 large brown onion, cut into wedges
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoons curry powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
250ml chicken stock
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 large potatoes, washed and cubed
375ml tin coconut milk (you can use the light variety)
500g tin canned diced tomatoes, drained
Freshly ground salt and black pepper to taste


Heat oil in a large pot over a medium to high setting. Add the chicken and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until browned, stirring occasionally. Add the onion and fry until slightly tender. Add the ginger, garlic, curry powder and cumin and fry for a further two minutes…………………………Pour over the stock and stir, ensuring you scrape all the brown tasty bits at the bottom of the pot………………………….Stir in the coconut milk and add the potatoes. Leave to simmer for five minutes, and then add the tomatoes and carrots…………………………Simmer until vegetables are tender and season further if required.

Healthy Veggie Slice


Getting five serves of fruit and vegetables every day is easier said than done. This Healthy Veggie Slice is a tasty snack packed with all the goodness you need.

2 medium carrots, grated
2 medium zucchini, grated
100g baby spinach, chopped
1 red onion, finely sliced
1 cup freshly chopped herbs
1 cup cottage cheese
3 eggs
1/2 cup self-raising flour
1 & 1/2 cups milk

Sprinkle vegetables with a pinch of salt and leave in the fridge for 15 minutes. Remove from the fridge and squeeze the liquid from the vegetables…………………Preheat the oven to 2000C and lightly grease a pie dish…………………………Combine the flour, cheese and mixed vegetables……………………..Mix milk and eggs together and add the mixture gradually into the vegetables…………………..Pour into the pie dish and bake for 30 minutes…………………………………………………Serve with salad or crusty bread

And believe or not!!!!

Fish and Chips


Fish and chips are the perfect dish to round off the week but can be quite unhealthy if deep fried. This fresh, oven baked version is low fat and tasty, so why not treat yourself.


For the chips
1 teaspoon sunflower oil
1 egg white
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
400g potatoes

For the fish
75g fresh bread crumbs
A handful of flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped chives
Zest of 1 lemon
20g butter, melted
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 large beaten egg
4 fish fillets such as rockling or whiting, with skin on
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Lemon wedges, to serve

Preheat oven to 180ºC. Rub the oil over a non-stick baking sheet……………………….Peel and cut the potatoes for chips. Whisk together the egg white with the black pepper and salt. Toss the potatoes in the mixture and place onto the baking tray, separating as much as possible…………………………Cook in the oven for 45 minutes, turning every 10 minutes. They may look a little pale and soggy in the beginning but they will start to crisp……………………..While chips are cooking make the coating for the fish by finely chopping the parsley and chives, then mixing well with the breadcrumbs and lemon zest. Next stir in the melted butter…………………….On separate plates, place the flour, beaten egg and breadcrumb mixture. Season with salt and pepper and then coat each fillet in flour, on the flesh side. Next, place in egg and then bread crumbs……………….Place the fish onto a large non-stick baking tray and bake on the top shelf of the oven for approximately 15 minutes. The thinner the fillet, the less time it will take to cook……………………….Once cooked through, serve with lemon wedges and tartar sauce.

What I would actually eat tonight was much more basic than those suggestions – tomatoes, egg and mushrooms!!  Susan eating out again, so my services were not required!! I guess that suited me, as I was also going out myself, though simply to the radio station to do a one-off program tonight – filling a gap with 3 hours or so of jazz music. Not much jazz gets airplay on our station apart from what I play on a Monday night, so I always like the opportunity to produce and present as program of jazz, in the absence of any degree of regular commitment, when the chance to do so becomes available.  A mix tonight of traditional and contemporary jazz music – I know many of our listeners prefer the traditional stuff, but I reason that they need to be  ‘educated’  to move on a little, so I like to mix it up a bit!

Meanwhile, a couple of phone calls this afternoon gave me unexpected news – the presenter I was filling in on early Wednesday mornings, I thought would be back on Wednesday week. No, not until the 29th January!!  Could I manage his show until then?  Admittedly, I’d been looking forward to just one more week!    Ohh well, I’m sure I will manage!  The other call was more disturbing.  My wife’s niece, who had two young children, had been separated from her husband for a year or so now. Apparently this afternoon, he had collapsed and died suddenly, from a heart attack!  At 38 years of age!  Tragic news, and also rather sobering, for us 65 year olds!!


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