Scallops with Cauliflower & Prosciutto Crumb

strawberryquicksand:

Mmmmmmmmm sounds great!

Originally posted on Confessions of a Glutton:

I came across this recipe during my Masterchef audition prep, snugly set in the middle of my copy of Valli Little’s  Simply the Best.  This is a recipe that heralds fresh seafood cooked simply, with accompaniments that are so fast to make, that you’ll be out and amongst the dinner party that you serve these tasty morsels at, within an hour . Guaranteed.

You will need:

  • 20g unsalted butter;
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil;
  • 2 thyme sprigs;
  • 1 slice prosciutto, chopped;
  • 1/2 cup (35g) fresh sourdough breadcrumbs;
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves;
  • 1 cup (200g) small cauliflower florets;
  • 1 cup (250ml) milk;
  • Pinch nutmeg;
  • 8 large scallops, on the half shell.

Melt 10g of the butter with a teaspoon of olive oil in a frypan over medium heat. Pick the leaves from one thyme sprig and add the leaves to the frypan with the prosciutto and breadcrumbs. Cook, stirring, for 1-2…

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‘That’s not how you say my name!’ Bad Baby Names

strawberryquicksand:

The things people name their kids!

Originally posted on teacher versus mum:

 

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Warning: This post may offend some readers (Apologies in advance) 

As a teacher you could say that I am in the know when it comes to names. I know stupid, I know common, I know naughty, I know cute. During my time in the classroom I have witnessed the good, the bad and the downright ugly when it comes to this legalised form of lifelong punishment. Baby Naming. Yes parents, what starts out as a cutesy, unique name ends up an absolute nightmare for anyone else who ever has to read it aloud. Ignore what the family has told you, they also hate the name you have chosen. Will they grow to love it? Well, yes of course they will, so I’ll be brutally honest and give it to you straight with some easy Naming Rules for you to follow. These are just some of the things that…

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Interview with the vampire…

Not mine but look pretty much the same.

Not mine but look pretty much the same.

 

So, dear readers, I recently found a pair of my old wisdom teeth in a drawer I was cleaning out. Now, these babies have survived about four or five house moves and, quite frankly, I have no idea why I still have them. In fact, I don’t even know why I kept them in the first place! Their removal is quite a story in itself.  Basically I booked myself in to get them removed.  My top ones were removed years ago and, while the dentist did recommend getting the bottom ones removed, I had been postponing doing so for a number of years.  Had the dentist informed me that, by delaying the extraction, my wisdom teeth would be pushing my other teeth forwards and a simple removal would not encourage them to move back into place, ever, I may have considered it sooner.

 

As it transpired, readers, at around the same time of my dental operation I had arranged to rent my town house out and move back in with my parents.  I received a call from the dental assistant a few days previously, suggesting that perhaps I get only one tooth out at a time as getting both out might be a bit much.  I replied along the vein of “in for a penny, in for a pound” and decided to get them both out at once.  I mean, last time it wasn’t a problem.  So anyway, I moseyed along to the dentist and plonked myself down in the chair, somewhat nervous.  Again, perhaps had the dental assistant elaborated on what types of problems I might face by having two big holes in my gums rather than just the one, I may have listened.

 

The dentist gave me a few needles to numb the pain, and then started attempting the extraction.  It seemed to take him longer to give me the needles and to poke around than it did to actually remove the tooth.  Finally, with a big crunching noise,  the first tooth came out.  The process was successfully repeated for the second tooth and I was sent on my merry way with instructions not to drink from a straw as this can rip the fragile scabbing off the wounds. (Gross… and presumably result in swallowing said scabs. EWWWWW)

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Anyway, pretty much when I had finished at the dentists, I went home and met the real estate agent there who was holding an open home looking for a tenant for me.  A few people were meandering around the place, having a squiz, and I was amiably chatting with them and telling them about the property.  I was speaking a bit oddly as I still had a numb mouth and mentioned that I had just been to the dentist.  Then I had to go pee. I used the amenities and then went to wash my hands in the bathroom. Well, bugger me if I didn’t look like I’d crawled out of The Lost Boys or an episode of Twilight. I bet most of the people I talked to had been thinking “no shit. I can tell you’ve just been to the dentist just looking at you!”

I rinsed my mouth out as best I could and headed back out to see how the open house was going. Hopefully my Lestat-esque appearance had not scared off any potentials. I mentioned to the real estate agent that I had been a mess and she said she hadn’t even noticed. As time would come to pass, I realised that she didn’t notice a heck of a lot of things, given that the reports that my garden was looking “just fine” clashed violently with my actual observation upon an inspection.

 

Sure, sure. The garden looks just fine. The tenant is doing a great job maintaining it....

Sure, sure. The garden looks just fine. The tenant is doing a great job maintaining it….

 

My mouth didn’t seem to be getting any better in the week that followed so I went back to the dentist for a check-up and turns out that I had somehow managed to remove the scabs and had what was called “dry socket”.  The dentist kindly packed some gross seaweed stuff into the cavities left by the wisdom teeth and eventually it all healed up.  I even did manage to get a tenant to rent my place out despite my role-playing as a star of an Anne Rice novel. Now, do you reckon my wisdom teeth will sell on eBay, or what!?

 

 

Excuse me, driver… how was YOUR day?

 

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So anyway, readers, you know how some days just go so well, and others just turn to hell in a hand basket before your very eyes? Well, yesterday was fitted the latter of the aforementioned descriptions. It was Sunday to start with, but I didn’t start until 11am, so I managed to get a sleep in until 9am.  Now, while this sounds late, it really wasn’t as I work nights and don’t get to sleep until about 12.30am.   I toddled along to work and when I arrived there were none of the nice MAN buses left.  Well, there were a couple that had been fixed by workshops, but they didn’t have enough fuel to get to the end of the block, let alone do a nine hour shift of hot laps around Canberra.

 

So I took a crappy old Iris. The Iris buses look nice, and can be nice to drive, and have air conditioning, but rarely are they in top working order.  They are also rather slow, cramped in the driver’s cabin area and have a lot of little things wrong with them that drivers don’t bother to defect as they don’t affect the actual running of the vehicle, so they are, in sum, shitboxes.

 

A crappy old Iris. They look lovely, don't they? Looks CAN be deceiving!

A crappy old Iris. They look lovely, don’t they? Looks CAN be deceiving!

 

Anyway, dear readers, that’s enough background on the Iris buses.  I had what I thought was a pretty good shift. Lots of turn-around time (fifteen or so minutes in between trips, which can be handy, as you will soon see, when running late as it means the next trip might just leave on time), nice easy runs etc.  So much for that.  I did my first trip which encompassed 40 roundabouts (yes, readers, I did count them one very bored and frustrated evening when I had no passengers on my bus).  The Irises are low-slung and I actually grazed a gutter when turning a corner, at one stage, even though I took it ever so slowly and carefully.  Then when I arrived in the city, I had to go pee.  Now, we usually have a toilet facility in the city right at the main interchange, but, due to a fire that closed the city centre down for about four days, our bathroom is out of action so I had to drive a few blocks away to the other bathroom we use.  When I returned to my bus after making use of the facilities, I saw that my bus looked like a pigsty.  I’d say that rocking and rolling around the roundabouts rousted the rubbish out from under the seats and into the aisle.  I then dashed back into the lunchroom and grabbed a broom and swept a huge mess of old sandwiches, bottle caps, 7 11 slushy cups and even a broken mouth guard case out from under the seats.

Sweeping the bus out and having to drive half way across town made me a couple of minutes late for my next trip.  I pulled up at the stop to be greeted by a dozen or more eager passengers who stampeded aboard.  Just as the last one got on the bus, a couple of Asian women started struggling with the bike rack on the front of the bus. They were pissing around for at least four minutes. Now, company policy dictates that the driver is not to assist with the bike rack, prams, bags, etc in case of injury to the driver. Asides from that, it can take five minutes to even get out of the driver’s seat and back into it again once the seatbelt is unclasped, the bus secured (hand brake, neutral, etc), drivers bags and stuff moved out of the way, cabin door opened, and then all in reverse to get back in.  Anyway, the younger Asian lady had her MyWay card to scan, but the older one didn’t. The older woman then proceeded to tell me she was a senior and it was free travel for seniors week this week.  She had left her  purse at home so, after her digging around in her bag for it for two minutes, I let her travel for free because I figured she was genuine. Turns  out it was free travel for seniors week, but I didn’t know that at the time.  Off we went.

 SeniorsCard

Next drama was when I started my next trip (again, already a few minutes late thanks to the last trip running late) and an Indian girl got on the bus and asked if the 935 (which I was doing) went to Kingston.  Apparently the field supervisors had told her the 935 went where she had to go.  I told her that I didn’t think it did, and asked her where she had to go in Kingston.  She said “Kingston”.  I said “Well, what street?”  I have a list of lefts and rights, and if the passenger can tell me a street or landmark, it will often be on my directions and I can clarify if I go there or not. I’m still getting used to Canberra and it’s zillion suburbs that all sound the same.  The girl was getting frustrated and said “you should know. You’re the bus driver.”  At this stage, all I wanted to do was grab her by the scruff of her neck and slap her face a few times, but I refrained. Instead I called Comms on the two-way to see if they were any more clued up than I was.  In the meantime she was calling the assistance line to ask for, well, assistance.  I was running about eight minutes late at this stage.   Finally she deduced that the 935 did not, in fact, go to Kingston, which was exactly what I had been telling her.  She told me she would then have to catch a taxi, and got off.  I floored it out of there.

 

Anyway, readers, I was running along about seven or eight minutes late at this stage, half way through this trip, when an African fellow saw me hooning down the street and he tried to hail the bus on the corner of a roundabout. (bit of an oxymoron that – do roundabouts HAVE corners? Food for thought…) I ignored him and kept on going as a) he was not at a stop and b) I was running late and if he had really wanted this particular bus he would have been at the stop ready and waiting. Anyway, I got to the stop a few blocks up, and another African girl got on and told me that there was someone coming. I couldn’t even see him in the rear view mirror, folks, that was how far away he was. I told her he could get the next bus as I was running late as all get out. She got on and I closed the doors and took off, to find people waiting at almost every stop on the way back into town. I hardly managed to make up any time.

 

The next trip, I pulled up as a route 939 about two minutes late to leave the stop from the city, all my turn around time used up, and then some, and a woman asked me if the 939 went to Lyneham.

“No”.  I replied.  “That would be the 936 and the 937. They go in opposite directions to one another”.

“But doesn’t the 939 go to Lyneham?” she asked.

“No. No it doesn’t.  You want the 936 or 937” I said again.

“But I thought the 939 went to Lyneham”.

“No,” I said again.  I unclipped my directions and read out where the 939 did go.  “The 939 goes to Ainslie, Dickson, Watson, Dickson and Ainslie.  Nowhere near Lyneham. You want the 936 and 937”.

“Are you sure?” she asked.  What, was I speaking Italian? Yes, I was bloody sure!

The woman then got back onto the bus (she had moved as far as the doorway during this inane conversation) and picked up a bag or an umbrella, or perhaps her common sense, and got back off the bus. She went over to the timetable just outside the bus door and started looking at it. While this conversation had been taking place, a number of other passengers had been boarding the bus, too.   She came back over to the bus door to, once again, confirm that the 939 did not go to Lyneham and I finally said “I’m running ten minutes late. I really have to go.” And I shut the door and took off, leaving her to process that information and wait for the 936 or 937… or perhaps the next 939 just to clarify what I had told her.

 

The next trip involved a very long and convoluted route and I was, yep, you guessed it, running late.  I was about ten minutes late on this one, but by the time I was nearly at the end of this trip, I had made up all but about three minutes of time. I was feeling pretty good by this stage.  Until I pulled up at stop and as I approached the stop, I could see the person who had hailed the bus cursing and swearing.  I popped the doors open and he got on and said “you’re late”.  I couldn’t believe my ears.  A quick bit of background here, readers, is that I have no patience for people who tell me I’m late when I am anything less than ten minutes late. Drivers ALWAYS know how on time or not they are, and, on the Gold Coast, my record for being late is about 57 minutes. Now try THAT on for size.  Sure, the driver LOVES being late. Cutting meal breaks short, getting home an hour late from work, busting for a pee, being starving as one expected to be able to eat about an hour ago… it’s great fun. So THREE MINUTES, readers? COME ON!

“You are kidding me?” I said to him, icily. “I’ve been running fifteen minutes late all day and you are having a go at me about THREE MINUTES? I can’t believe you! I’ve been driving this old banger of a bus that wouldn’t pull the skin off a custard and you are HAVING A GO AT ME ABOUT THREE MINUTES? NEVER TELL A BUS DRIVER THEY ARE RUNNING LATE. THEY BLOODY WELL KNOW THEY ARE!”

“Oh, oh, oh,” he said, backing down.  “It’s not just you. All the buses are always late.  I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”  And after a little bit more of a banter and a chat, he went and sat down.

I kind of turned it into a joke, but once he sat down I was really fuming. I was furious. Probably irrationally so, but THREE MINUTES!?

 

How I felt after the clock-Nazi dickhead had sat down.

How I felt after the clock-Nazi dickhead had sat down.

At one point, readers, during the day I did manage to fit my scheduled meal break in. I was in dire need of a coffee, so I headed into the mall to grab a quick bevvie.  Now, you might or might not be aware that there is a particular type of person called a “bus enthusiast” or “gunzel”.  Often these folk are rather simple (but, of course, there are others who are not simple, just, how could I say, perhaps socially deficit in some manner or other?).  Anyway, while I was sipping my coffee and window shopping, one of these gunzels spotted my uniform at 50 paces and lumbered over to have a chat.  This fellow had two crutches and one shoe had been bulked up at the sole to help him keep his balance.  He said to me “It’s hot today, isn’t it”.

I replied that “yes, it was hot!

He then said “lucky it’s cooling down. Becuase imagine if you called workshops up and told them your gear box had broken when it was really only  the hot weather”.  He seemed to think this was hilarious.  I humoured him and agreed.

This line of conversing went on for a few minutes and finally, after three attempts,  I managed to extricate myself from this mildly inane conversation and get on my way.

 

At the end of my third last trip I ended up back at the depot so I swapped the Iris for an MAN, hoping to get some extra comfort and speed.  By the time I did this, I managed to leave about three minutes late on the next trip.  I just got later, and later, and later.  Finally I made up some time as I hit the home stretch, and eventually managed to garner myself about ten glorious minutes on my turn around time. I buggered off to the facilities, and when I returned, there was a driver standing at my door. I said “what’s up?” and he told me he was bored on his turn around. He then proceeded to stand in my door way and bang on about nothing in particular. I got the impression he was rather simple. I ate my cookie and then told him I had to go. He kept on wanting to talk. Finally I all but slammed the door in his bloody face and took off.   The last trip went without a hitch. Until I got to the city.

 

At the city I picked up a few people and then once they were all on, I heard a “snap-pssscht” of a can being opened. I looked in my rear vision mirror at the girl on the back seat, who was hiding her hand behind the other seat so I couldn’t see what she had.

“Don’t open a can on the bus” I called out.  As they do, when they have alcohol on board and they know they are not supposed to, she gave me a blank look.  “I’m talking to you” I yelled out.  Again, blank look. “What have you got in your hand?” She finally showed me the can she had. At first I thought it was a can of lemonade.  I said “don’t open cans on the bus.” Then I thought for half a minute and turned back around and asked what she was drinking.

“UDL” she replied.

“Well, it’s against the law to drink on the bus or have open alcohol on the bus. So you can either get off, finish your UDL and get the next bus, or you can go and throw it in the bin and get this bus”.  She opted to throw it in the bin and stay on my bus.  I tell you, readers, I couldn’t get home fast enough after this shift.  My throat was sore like I was coming down with something and I was starting to feel exhausted.  May today be a better day!

 

‘Twas the Night Before St. Patrick’s

strawberryquicksand:

Ode to St Pat by Nathan. Read and giggle! I did!

Originally posted on The Life and Times of Nathan Badley...:

‘Twas the night ‘fore St. Patrick’s and all through the home,

No creature did stir, except me writing this tome.

The stockings were folded and placed in their drawers

Because the wife does get angry if I leave them on floors.

The dog was nestled all snug in the bed

While visions of whatever dogs think about flew through her head.

And my wife comatose on the couch without tossing

Because dealing with me is completely exhausting.

When outside my window there arose a great sound,

I jumped from couch, stubbed my toe, then fell down.

“Stupid coffee table,” I hissed under breath

Then limped to the window, my toe feeling like death.

The moon in the sky could barely be seen

Due to our window’s layer of filth that is quite obscene.

When through the layer of dirt, I did finally spot

An Irishman flying on a gigantic shamrock.

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Excuse me, driver… you got change for a $50?

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So anyway, dear readers, the other night I was out doing hot laps around Canberra in my bus.  It does get very dark in some streets due to a combination of inadequate street lighting and very overgrown trees obscuring what light does shine down from the dimly glowing bulbs.  I turned down a particularly dark street and, as there was no oncoming traffic, I flashed the headlights onto high beam, only to see a dark skinned woman frantically waving at me from a bus stop, clutching her unilluminated mobile phone in her hand.  Naturally people never think to light up their iPhone/iPod/iPads/etc when they see the bus, but rather prefer to believe in the notion that we bus drivers have a sixth sense as to whether people are at the stop in the pitch black and want on or not.

 

 

So, readers, I pulled the bus up in a hurry and this woman clambered on. I said to her “see that thing in your hand” referring to her phone, “well you should consider lighting it up when you see the bus and wave it then. I only put the high beams on because I couldn’t even see where I was going, let alone whether there was anyone actually at the stop”.  She giggled and said “Oh, I’m not thinking too hard today”.  She then proceeded, with a practiced flourish, to whip a $50 bill out of her bra. I actually wondered what else she kept in there, at that rate!  And yes, she did actually have a handbag slung over her shoulder, too, readers, so as you will see, yes, she was actually was thinking hard today.

 

 

I took the note and then realised it was a $50. I said that I hadn’t been too busy today and didn’t have much change.  I had no sooner got the words out of my mouth when she said “Can I have a free ride then, if you don’t have any change?”  Ohhhh, that old trick, I thought to myself.  I replied that I could certainly change a $50, just not notes.  It would be in coins. I then asked her if she had a concession card (of course she did) as that way I could give her even more coins in her change. Naturally THAT was not stuffed down the other tit as it was not part of her “free ride” plan.  (Are you getting the picture yet, readers?) She dug about in her handbag for a good two minutes looking for her Health Care Card while I patiently waited. Really, under my breath, I was saying to myself “come on, you stupid slapper. Have your f**king concession card ready for the bus”….

 

Finally she got her card out of her handbag and showed it to me. Miraculously it had not expired, so I accepted it, charged her $2.20 and proceeded to count out $47.80 in change, $42.70 of which was in coins as I had one $5 at this stage.  “fucking hell” she said. “Excuse my language, but fuck”, as I was counting out coins. I just smiled cheerfully at her and kept counting.  Heck, I even helped her pick them all up from the cash tray so she could put them in her bag. It’s amazing how much time can be wasted on one passenger sometimes, when others are all organised and take all of literally two seconds to swipe their card as they board, or have the right money and their concession card all out ready and waiting. Again, practically a two second transaction.

 

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Anyway, readers, we finally continued our journey. When we arrived at the end, naturally, guess who came up and asked if she could get off at the pedestrian crossing, rather than go the extra couple of blocks to the next stop.  I said “no” straight away, as I don’t let passengers off in the middle of the road. I did, however, manage to pull the bus over (in a no standing zone, mind you) to get rid of her as quickly as I could.  She thanked me and lumbered off the bus and I winced as her high heels hit the pavement, hoping she wouldn’t twist her ankle and thus cause me more paperwork for the day…

 

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Around the world in … 300 days?

Olympic-mascots-Wenlock-and-Mandeville-London-UK-Olympic-games-the-olympics-33197020-1280-800

So anyway, readers, I have this great friend in the USA. Her name is Susan Kate. Now myself and this wonderful woman have never met one another but we share a close bond of friendship. We started out as penpals and then, when her husband sadly  passed away at an age younger than I am now, we  embraced the higher technology that is Facebook and Skype.

olympics

Recently, Susan has embarked on a fun and exciting project that I seem to have adopted as my own.  She has a friend, Kyle, who is Olympics MAD, apparently.  To surprise Kyle, she has managed to lay her hands on a 2012 Paralympic mascot called Mandeville. Her dream is to have Mandeville, or Mandy for short, to be photographed in each and every one of the 41 Olympic cities.  She would also love to have him photographed with various Olympic athletes and their medals/Olympic tattoos etc. She will then make these photos into a book for Kyle. Luckily, Kyle does not have any interest in Facebook so chances are, she won’t give the game away (pardon the pun).

harbour-bridge-and-opera-house-banner

As I said, dear readers, I have embraced this project and have managed to line up quite a few different cities. I, myself, will be taking Mandy on a tour of Sydney. Not only will Mandy visit the Olympic Park out that way, but I’m sure he will check out the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House, stop in for a beer at a local pub, try vegemite on toast and even maybe hang out with some local wildlife.  He will also check out some very exciting things in Canberra, my current home town… such as the OFFICIAL 2000 OLYMPICS MEDALS in the Royal Australian Mint.

Once he’s done gallivanting around with me, he will be off to Melbourne where a very Olympic-opposed friend will grudgingly take a picture of Mandy at one of the Olympic sites in Melbourne.  Mandy will then head off to Tokyo and Helsinki with my long-suffering parents-in-law.  Russia, China and Canada are also on his itinerary.

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Mandy is looking forward to leaving the snow behind for a few months! Here he is “sledding” in the snow in Virginia at Susan Kate’s place…

Now, my loyal readers, I would love, love, LOVE it if you could CLICK HERE and LIKE Mandy’s Facebook page (it will open in a new window), SHARE Mandy’s Facebook page and REBLOG this blog post for me!!! We are aiming to have 500 Likes for Mandy’s page.  The further he travels the more interesting and fun it will be.  If you have younger kids, it will be a great way to teach them some geography, too.  The only scary thing is that, for the most part, we will be relying on the postal service as his mode of transport.

I thank you in advance, my wonderful readers, and can’t wait to see what Mandy gets up to next!!!