Golden syrup is my favourite syrup out of all the syrups. I mean I love maple syrup, treacle and honey and I know they’re probably way healthier (I don’t even really know how golden syrup is made!) but golden syrup is so thick and luscious with a sweet flavour which is difficult to explain, it actually tastes golden. It’s a bit of an Australian institution, most of us having grown up with it in Anzac biscuits and on our porridge and such and I always have a bottle in my cupboard.
Anyway. I thought I’d make some golden syrup flavoured scones for our Australia day weekend. I really wasn’t sure how they’d turn out but they ended up beautifully flavoured with crunchy tops, fluffy insides and the golden syrup whipped butter is so delicious I think I’ll put some on my toast tomorrow morning. You can have these warm with the butter melted over or cool the scones completely and serve with the butter dolloped on top.
I’ve been revisiting the beautiful 2006 movie The Painted Veil, based on Somerset Maugham’s 1920s novel and starring Naomi Watts and Ed Norton; both visually stunning and wonderfully performed, I recommend this film if you haven’t seen it. The scenery is so breathtaking, every time I watch it I want to travel to rural China.
And I really want the first (English) edition pictured below (bit out of my price range though, eep).
Images from the movie: The Painted Veil (China, USA, Canada), 2006
First Edition book, the Painted Veil from: Peter Harrington London
I really don’t make enough pies. So I decided to whip up a rustic pie with some luscious summer fruit. Initially, I was going to use yellow peaches but they sent me nectarines instead in my shopping so I tried those. This lovely pie is packed full of fruit, as it should be in summer! And I didn’t make mine too sweet but feel free to add a bit more sugar to the fruit if you feel like it.
Oh and recently I purchased a great metal pie tin (like this one here) with a removable base with holes on it; I really recommend this if you a) make a lot of pies, or, like me b) are relatively inexperienced in making them as it makes things so much better for baking and removal of the pie later on. However if you can’t be arsed buying one (and why should you?) then just use a decent sized, normal pie tin, except you won’t be able to remove the whole pie from it, obv., so just serve slices straight from that.
So, here are some intriguing Australian shows to keep an eye out for this year:
The Secret River (ABC);
A TV adaptation of Kate Grenville’s novel, this 2 part dramatic miniseries follows the story of a convict and his wife who are sent to the penal colony of NSW in the 1800s. The ugly conflict stemming from the colonial settlement of the European settlers, mainly consisting of criminals from Britain, and the detrimental impact on the first Australians, forms a large part of this historical drama. This series not only looks brilliant but will be quite confronting to watch at times (but necessary as we shouldn’t ever forget those dark times).
Gallipoli (ch. 9);
No doubt about it, this will be a big one with a lot of people relying on it, and a must-see. An 8 part historical drama seen through the eyes of 4 young soldiers fighting to stay alive in the Battle of Gallipoli. It looks like there’ll be heaps of epic battle scenes combined with a character driven storyline. From what I can gather, they aren’t afraid to show the unnecessary mistakes made at the time by the powers-that-be, then subsequent failure of the mission, at the expense of so many brave young soldiers’ lives.
Stock up on tissues for this one, it’ll be particularly emotional since it’s the 100th anniversary of the Anzac troops landing at Gallipoli this year.
The Kettering Incident (Foxtel subscribers);
This psychological drama, 8 episode series about 2 missing girls and a doctor setting out to clear her name and face her past, is set in Tasmania and should be seen on our screens later this year – some have dubbed this series as Tasmania’s answer to David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. I love me a good psych mystery, particularly set in beautifully moody places (as clichéd as that is) so I’m looking forward to this a lot.
The Principal (SBS);
In this 4 part murder mystery series starring Alex Dimitriades (remember the cute kid from Heartbreak High in the 90s with Claudia Karvan?!) and Aden Young, the bloke from the excellent yet underrated series Rectify, Alex plays the new principal of a disadvantaged boys’ high school who has to deal with the aftermath of the death of one of his students in amongst government bureaucracy and a disaffected multi-ethnic student body.
This one’s a bit of a mystery and it really intrigues me! A police officer is called to the local cemetery one night and discovers that 6 people have returned from the dead. This is billed as 6 part paranormal drama set in a small town and ‘not a vampire or zombie movie’, yet has a “Les Revenants” feel. We shall see though as I could be way off.
This crime thriller 8 part series looks at a Queensland family who have to rebuild their lives in another city after being placed into the witness protection program; It looks like a family oriented drama interspersed with mystery and crime. I don’t know too much about this yet, however we don’t do much witness protection stuff here in Australia so I’m sure it’ll be interesting.
The Beautiful Lie (ABC);
Billed as a retelling of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, a “contemporary re-imagining of tragic romance”, this 6 part dramatic series involves 3 interconnected families across 3 decades so it should be very grand and full of adultery, scandal and doomed love affairs. Produced by the same people who made channel ten’s Offspring, this looks like something we haven’t really attempted recently (or ever really?) and I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out.
800 Words (ch. 7)
A co-production with New Zealand, this 8 episode family drama is about a widower dad and 2 daughters who relocate to New Zealand where he writes a newspaper column.
Peter Allen, Not the Boy Next Door (ch. 7);
I couldn’t find out much about this (seems a bit hush hush right now) however looks to be a miniseries about the life of our very own Peter Allen, the iconic entertainer and song writer who was famous in the 1970s/80s. This project is being produced by the same people who made INXS – Never Tear Us Apart and if you know anything about Peter Allen, this will be wonderfully over-the-top and at the same time, very poignant to watch. I haven’t read much about Peter lately as he died in 1992 but his song “I still call Australia Home” always makes me want to cry. Bless him.
Winter (ch. 7);
There’s not much out there about this yet however this seems to be a spin-off crime series based on last year’s mystery telemovie The Killing Field and will star Rebecca Gibney, who reprises her original role as a police detective attempting to solve the killer of two women. You can’t beat a good crime/police drama so I’ll be tuning in again.
These are just some of the TV gems coming out this year from our talented bunch, I’m sure there are many more in the works so drop me a line if you spot any more.
Images belong to the TV series:
The Secret River
I love love LOVE Annie, she’s awesome. She was a great inspiration to me as a kid (remember Sisters Are Doin It For Themselves with Aretha?). Little Bird is one of those brilliant yet underplayed songs from the 90s.
Image of Annie via: Billboard
The flavours of summer right here in this gorgeously cheesy, tomato & basil tart. I whipped up a quick, fragrant and rustic pesto to have with this and it was perfect for a light lunch.
Blimey it’s hot here at the moment! So over Christmas I made some lovely iced coffee with spices and cream. I’ve always wanted to try coffee with cream from watching American movies and TV where they often ask for cream in their cups of coffee (it always sounds so lovely!). Anyway, it tastes wonderful but not necessarily good for the waistline at this time of year I suppose, so milk on it’s own would be just as refreshing and flavourful.
Widower Walter, a humble, quiet university professor plodding through a fairly institutionalised life in Connecticut years after the death of his wife, reluctantly travels to New York to read a research paper for a colleague in The Visitor. On arriving at his flat, he finds two asylum seekers living there and from that moment, his quiet, comfortable and mundane existence changes. I really don’t know how I missed this 2007 movie and I’m glad I found it as the characters are so lovely! I found myself caring so much for their wellbeing and happiness.
The film is largely character driven and looks at life for immigrants in the USA post 9/11 and is seen from two sides; refugees seeking a new home who simply wish for a modest life, democracy and safety, as well as a kind, gentle man who wants so much to help and do the right thing and in doing so, truly connects with people. This movie is ultimately about immigration, cultural identity and the rigid unfairness of detention centres and bureaucracy however, through learning the African drums, music and friendship, you also see Walter evolve and come out of his shell. Walter’s character is wonderfully sympathetic without being cloying and patronising (it’s difficult to make a movie about refugees or those seeking asylum from the perspective of a privileged westerner without going down the path of being pitying or insincere, however this movie manages to do it well).
The lack of obnoxious technology also sold me on this film because I generally think technology ruins movies, particularly movies where you care so much about the characters, 2007 being a world where people still read papers, before the influx of social networking and when mobile phones were, well, mere mobile phones.
If you liked Sideways and the Station Agent (same producer/director) you’ll enjoy this lovely and thoughtful film. A timely movie to watch now, even 7 years after it’s release, as the world we live in now has changed so much.
Images from the movie: The Visitor, USA, 2007, Groundswell Productions
This is a lovely, fresh and healthy salad I made recently. Now just to warn, it’s quite onion .. y so if you’re not into raw onion I would (Obv), leave out the red onion. The paper thin slices of vegetables aren’t mandatory but texture wise and as far as flavour goes, they do make this salad very light and crisp and the onion less sharp, however if you don’t have a mandoline, just use a sharp knife and slice as thin as you can. You could have this just on it’s own as a low carb and energy giving lunch but it was lovely with some buttered baguette, as most things are!