Have a lovely weekend all.
Has anyone seen this? It’s so intense!
In film noir thriller crime style, a bit like Drive but grubbier and more stark, this excellent film shows the desperate scavengers of society the average person never sees. Nightcrawler stars Jake Gyllenhaal as we’ve never really seen him before (edging into a sort of method acting which seems to be trending now, think Matthew McConaughey and you’ll get what I mean) in a role which can only be described as the lowest form of humanity.
This is brilliantly minimalist; superb acting with a low-key but great soundtrack and showing the seedy side of LA and TV news journalism which survives from night to night and on the ugliest and most gruesome of crimes, routinely crossing lines of morality and skating on the wrong side of the law. Nightcrawler is literally a bad car accident which you can’t look away from, it manages to tap into those base desires we all have – despite that though, the violence is kept to a disturbing but bare minimum.
The last driving scene is thrilling, making you feel as if you’re right there, feeling your stomach tighten as the car drives faster and faster, the movie then culminating in a genuinely shocking scene (I mean you expect something awful to happen but still, totally gobsmacked).
Image from the movie: Nightcrawler, USA, 2014, Open Road Films
I haven’t used my poor waffle iron in ages so this morning I used some lovely, fresh blueberries to make waffles for a special Sunday breakfast. Although I’ve made waffles before quite a few times, they were usually a bit thinner and crisper and I really wanted to make higher, fluffy ones.
They turned out really well, crisp on the outside and fluffy in the middle. We added loads of maple syrup and extra blueberries.
I was watching the Little Paris Kitchen one recent weekend and spotted Rachel’s Croque Madame Muffins which looked so easy I immediately jumped up to make them for lunch. I didn’t have any ham so used up some herbs and added heaps of cheese. This recipe was also serendipitous because my organic fruit & veg people sent me a free pack of small eggs and they were perfect for these muffins.
Anyway, these little tart/muffin hybrids were really tasty, delicious actually, basically a crunchy base with creamy, herbed, cheesy eggs and I recommend making them – a handful of dressed, crunchy salad on the side would work well. A word of warning though, they are very hot out of the oven (well duh) but of course naturally I stuck into them and burned my mouth. Yet kept eating. Why?! This is one of the big questions, FYI I also do this with hot chips.
Note: I found it a bit challenging to get the eggs to stay at a runny consistency as I needed to cook these for at least 14 minutes for the crust to become brown and crisp; if you prefer your eggs on the really soft side, I would use larger sized eggs and get rid of some of the egg white so you’ll be left with a bigger egg yolk which won’t cook as fast.
Oh and Rachel’s doing regular YouTube videos now so sign up!
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