iPhones wide shut

Coconut waffles with palm-sugar-caramelised banana and Serendipity coconut and kaffir lime ice cream: not nearly as nice as they sound, but slightly better than they look.

So, here you have it – the reason why I’m neither a food editor nor a food stylist. These waffles were a little project I undertook last Sunday afternoon, the result of not a little soul-searching as to my fallibility as a food oracle, as well as providing a means to confirm for once and for all my suspicions that I am unlikely to be publishing a cookbook spin-off from this blog any time soon.

Or ever.

So, waffles were my oracular shot in the dark. I had this niggling feeling that they were going to be the next big thing. I’m sure I’d already subliminally absorbed the information somewhere else (for all I know, waffles have already made a comeback and gone out of fashion again). But if they’re not the next big thing – or they were and have already been elbowed aside by galette bretonne or some other doughy receptacle for other, far more toothsome, ingredients – I now know why. A waffle’s raison d’être is simply that of a series of handy, regularly spaced pockmarks to fill with maple syrup, then pile with fruit and ice cream.

Like most Australian politicians, they have no intrinsic value in themselves.

Even my, usually indulgent, mother told me not to give up my day job. She was my official taster. The poor creature had been foolishly anticipating a Sunday lunch of roast beef with all the trimmings, and all she got to eat was a flaccid pile of over-embellished craters.

Standing up at the kitchen bench, to add insult to injury.

I really am a crap daughter.

Luckily, we could laugh about it, and, it turns out, laughter really is the best medicine.

But only after the painkillers have kicked in.

I’m ready for my close-up,
Mr de Mille.

Suffice to say, the unseemly sexual tension between my culinary prowess and iPhone camera has reached its perfunctory climax, and I can now leave the people who do this stuff really well to get on with it, and get back to doing what I do reasonably enough.

But note that if waffles persist, please see your medical practitioner.

Stuff I like: Happy International Left-handers’ Day

Spring in August: the sky is falling

Just a quickie. I wanted to send a belated message of good wishes and solidarity to all my fellow lefties. No, not you…

A startling fact was brought to my attention this morning by my young, winsome and temporary colleagues at ABC delicious. magazine. Today is International Left-handers’ Day (and, indeed, has been thus since 1992, as far as I recall from my fleeting check on Google just now).

I can’t believe I’ve missed it for all these years. Granted, this may be because I’m not, technically, a thoroughbred ‘cack ‘ander, as our family has always so charmingly coined it. I do certain things with my left hand; others with my right. Writing, drawing, cleaning, soup-and-wooden-spooning, unscrewing: left. Cutting, chopping, slicing, stirring, scissoring, tennising, knife-and-forking: right. But I’m not technically ambidextrous, either, as these (dubious) skills cannot be alternated ‘twixt those two extremities. Ambi Pur then.

That news this morning was slightly less well received, and only briefly retained in my increasingly sieve-like memory, because I’d awoken with something of a start at 5.30am to the familiar doleful, relentless calls of our miserable bastard of a local koel (local koel – try saying that after a couple of glasses of pinot and a ‘Rural Juror’ episode of 30 Rock).

Too soon. Too soon… Koels, jasmine blossom, purple lilly pilly berries. I’ve only just mastered winter braises, already. We’re all doomed.


Vote 1: Bear Grylls

Seagulls discuss the relative merits of Labor and Coalition same-sex marriage policy, Merimbula, NSW South Coast

At this momentous moment in Australian political history, I’ve naturally been pondering conundrums such as: is it just me, or do others among my Monetise This community feel the need to wash all the utensils, glassware, cookware and crockery at holiday homes? I’ve acronymed it – see how easy it is for any fool to impact nouns into verbs? – SCOCD (self-catering obsessive-compulsive disgust). That instinctive shrinking from the lip-smeared glasses, food-clotted forks and chewed plastic spatulas so prevalent in even the swishest of rental properties.

Or at least as swish as you get when holidaying with a dog (not for us the chic white-on-white of minimalist beach living). Although things are improving slightly, as we found on a couple of recent road trips along NSW’s South Coast, despite the colour schemes tending more towards the turquoise-on-turquoise. But no matter how smart and un-turquoise the digs, I can’t eat – let alone cook – before I’ve sprayed my territory.

Spoonbills bury their heads in the sand over public education funding, Merimbula, NSW South Coast

Most recently, I was sprung washing the cutlery drawer. Strange, really, considering the parlous state of my own house. But that’s our filth, which is, obviously, different.

Talking of somebody else’s filth, since the election was called, the Monetise This household has had to resort to the televisual equivalent of closing our eyes, sticking our fingers in our ears and singing ‘Lalalalala’ very loudly for a couple of hours a night. Switching over from worthy, early-evening, free-to-air news and current affairs to some Discovery channel or other liberates us from the horror show of those two charisma-free automatons seeking to rule this wide, brown land.

Which was how we washed up at hearty Man vs Wild last week, and a surprisingly absorbing episode during which the endearing Bear Grylls (now there’s a man who wouldn’t shrink from crumbs in the cutlery drawer) drank his own urine and ate a live spider to survive in the harsh Kimberley outback.

Frankly, if it means avoiding the spectacle of Rudd, Abbott and Rupert Murdoch campaigning to lead this fair dinkum sunburnt country, I’ll drink Bear Grylls’ urine, too.

Rainbow lorikeets throw around a few ideas on asylum-seeker policy, Tura Beach, NSW South Coast

Directly after last night’s first, unedifying debate ‘twixt Arthur and Martha – which, like the proverbial car crash, was impossible not to watch, no matter what Bear Grylls might have been getting up to with his bodily fluids – I decided to put my rabid and entrenched political bias to the test with the ABC’s online ‘Vote Compass‘ survey, to see where my political allegiances can best be served.

I’m a swinging vegan, apparently.

Happy birthday to us

Lucy and Monetise This

Monetise This is celebrating its first birthday today, in much the same way it celebrated its launch last year, with the occasional gnashing of teeth and intermittent waves of despair. (But happily, without the added inconvenience of A: the London Olympics; and B: flu.)

Granted, the gnashing and waves are no longer brought about by this particular media platform, though there have been many times when I’ve twisted my proverbial ankle teetering around on it. Far more pressing issues to infuriate, frustrate, rail against – but let’s not get into such fripperies as Australian politics on such a momentous day, eh?

Other platforms have not faired so well: Twitter lasted about a week before it brought on severe anxiety attacks (too many comments, opinions and jokes about stuff I hadn’t had the time, energy, or wit to read about quickly enough).

An uneasy (essential, allegedly) relationship has been duly forged with LinkedIn, but it only serves to highlight my paltry networking and business skills, inspire awe and envy of those of my cohorts (‘Variance Analysis’ – who knew?), and showcase my deficient credentials for career opportunities such as Leader of the Free World (‘must have PowerPoint and be a team player’).

Grey Glacier, Torres del Paine, Patagonia

Most recently, after a pause that lasted some six months due to my unmitigated fear of the unknown, I’ve engaged in a now-flourishing romance with Instagram (or A-lot-later-gram, as I’ve dubbed it, owing to my characteristic techno-tardiness and stumbling mastery of its myriad secrets; namely, sharing pictures instantly).

But there have been triumphs, too – trips taken (no, gentle readers of a certain vintage, not those kind), travel stories written and published, cookbooks edited, Women’s Weekly readers satiated and blog posts survived without lawsuit. New friends made (and not just Facebook ones, praise be) and, so far, none lost (as far as I know). Food cooked and eaten without injury (and blessedly unphotographed, for the most part).

And plenty of lessons learnt. First and foremost: the more people who officially ‘like’ one’s Facebook page, the less likely it is to transmit any of one’s posts. Of the now 555 august followers of Monetise This, some three of you will likely be granted access to it at any one time (thanks, by the way). Damn your eyes, dark lords of anti-social media.

Dog at The Dromedary Hotel, Central Tilba, NSW

Second – no matter how profound, fascinating, erudite and entertaining one’s writing may be (or not), there’s nothing like a cute dog picture to pull in the punters. So I’ll end as cynically as I began a year ago (and, coincidentally, at the top of this post), but without the ruthless exploitation of my own hapless pet just this once. It was taken on a recent trip to the South Coast, which I’ll be posting about imminently. Stay tuned, and thank you for not deleting.