Outback Spectacular

We went to the Australian Outback Spectacular at the Gold Coast on Sunday night for Mum’s birthday along with Aunty Susan and Ian who are over for a short holiday from NZ.
It was an interesting night. For the price of your ticket you get a straw hat, three course meal and a showcase of the outback, the history and where we are now. It was nice to have been once but I wouldn’t be rushing back there in a hurry. Well perhaps I would rush back to have more of the salad that we were served as a starter as it was very very yummy. It had lots of endive which I just love as well. Though I wasn’t fussed over the AACo Steak or the Pavlova.

yummy endive salad at the Outback Spectacular

Upon entry you are herded past a series of photo stations and a shop into the bar/holding pen area where they want you to spend money on drinks for 45mins or so until they let you into the arena to your seat where you are then given free beer, wine, lemonade or water. The holding pen is decorated with lots and lots of outback memorabilia such as signs, hats, fence posts, photos etc etc.

This sign in particular was my fav.
outback sign

The arena is divided into two sections, one half supports Austral Downs, the visiting station with a yellow hat band and the other half supports Wondoola Station with a red hat band. We were in the Wondoola Station section which was good because I thought the yellow hat bands were pretty average.This of course meant that whilst we were in the holding pen it was a sea of hats.
Sea of hats

Now a stereotypical outback bar is just not going to be true blue if there is not a country singer with his/her guitar and if the stage does not suit you, what better stage is there than the back of a ute.

Country Singer

The show overall was pretty average in my view, possibly I think because of how they force the Australian clichés on you. Now I can say g’day and cooee with the best of them but I don’t swing my hat round in exclamation and I certainly don’t do a kookaburra laugh and you won’t force me to said mentioned things if I don’t want to.

There was three acts in the show. The first act introduced you to the outback and the people of the outback as well as some circus style horse riding which was quite good. The second act saw a reciting of The Man from Snowy River as well as “mustering” of sheep, cattle and colts before we see the men breaking in the colts in the stereotypical rough and tough way of literally breaking them and not getting anywhere. Than the daughter comes along and “whispers” to the horse and then proceeds to easily mount it and ride it round the arena. To which the men humbly accept that maybe there are better ways to break in a horse. To show how the outback has adapted to technology they mustered the cattle with a helicopter as well as quad bikes and horses. The helicopter was pretty cool, it is suspended on a rail which runs down the centre of the arena and then uses it own power to move down the rail and turn side to side. Very cool.

The final act was a competition which saw members of the audience pulled out for a kids chicken race, a beer can regatta as well a the typical barrel and flag races.
They also had a camel race round the arena which was a bit of a have really as two camels come in with two riders, they go round the ring once and then out the door again, I would have loved to have seen them go round the ring twice at least so you could actually see the animals and get a feel for them. Whilst points are awarded to the two teams through out the final act it comes down to the audience as to which station wins the show with a hat passing race. On our night the opposing station Austral Downs won the show.

One of the things I did really enjoy were the images that they projected onto the backdrop especially for The Man from Snowy River where they had a series of panoramic scenes which they would pan over as the poem progresses. That was really cool and there were some gorgeous photos on the screen.

Pies, Pies, Pies

Mum and I went to the see Waitress tonight as part of a 612ABC sneak preview for the upcoming BIFF (Brisbane International Film Festival). I am looking forward to BIFF as this year I am actually going to go to some of the movies been shown. I have highlighted I think 35 odd movies that I like the look of. However, as of next week I am getting an extra 8 hours a week at work, which I will enjoy for the money side of matters but since I do work at night it is going to cut into my planned BIFF time.

The waitress was a crack up of a movie, it was sad in parts but other parts just had you laughing and laughing and laughing. And gosh some of those pies that she made up just looked and sounded incredible. Kerri Russell was delightful and a much more developed actress than she was in the last movie I saw with her in Mad About Mambo. However it was the supporting cast that really made the movie for me. Joe the grumpy old man who owns the pie shop, Earl the husband who is not much of a husband, the two other waitresses Becky and Dawn, Ogie the guy who just doesn’t give up and so much more. It was a really great movie with just the right amount of quirk in it. I would like to make a couple of the pies mentioned in the movie and in particular the “Earl Murders Me Because I’m Having An Affair Pie” which as per Jenna’s commentary is “You smash blackberries and raspberries into a chocolate crust.” mmmmm.

The night was going so well until we tried to pay at the parking on our way. In short close to 45minutes and numerous phone calls later we managed to get out of the parking as the machines were extremely poorly designed and don’t like any coins that aren’t minty fresh. One guess who I am ringing in the morning to give a piece of my mind to.

The Farm

Every Sunday arvo we go to The Farm for dinner with Grandad as well as a chance to just chill. Washing the car when that is needed since you can no longer wash your own car in Brisbane now. Taking photos. Picking custard apples and oranges. Reading the paper or National Geographic or just talking.

Here are some assorted photos from The Farm the other Sunday.

Nice Flower Backlit Leaves Kookaburra and Passion Fruit Down to the creek Lines Washing the Car

Bertha Control CD Launch

Last night I headed down to the Zoo (solo because my prospective partner in crime decided that reading Harry Potter was more important than live music, shakes head) primarily to see Banawurun and Saritah and secondly to check out Bertha Control live for their CD launch.

Banawurun were a treat and I knew they would be. Enjoyed them at Woodford and enjoyed them immensely again last night. There was no didg or clap sticks this time though. Troy n’ Trevelyn draw on their Indigenous and Zimbabwean roots respectively and weave the music together in a way which just makes perfect sense, a blend of soul, funk and of course some good old fashioned reggae.
Troy Brady of Banawurun Trev of Banawun Troy n' Trevyln of Banawurun Troy n' Trevyln of Banawurun

Saritah is someone I have known about for a couple of years now after finding her website and downloading some mp3’s so it was an absolute treat to see her live at long last. Saritah was joined up on stage for a couple of songs by local girl Georgia Potter, who I have seen round the traps before, she added some rather incredible soul vocals to the set. The set was closed rather perfectly by Pray.

Saritah 2 Saritah 1 Saritah and Georgia 1 Saritah and Georgia Potter Georgia

Bertha Control, were intriguing, full of reggae and funk with a good dose of rock. For a couple of songs they were joined by a cellist and violinist which was great fun they also had a horns section which consisted of sax, trumpet and flute :D always love a horns section. One song in particular stood out for me, which was Daze of the Week which you can listen to on their myspace page.

Flawless of Bertha Control Flawless and Julz, Bertha Control Julz of Bertha Control CC the Cat of Bertha Control Flawless of Bertha Control Bertha Control 2

Selamat jalan Sam

The wonderful Sam

Sam, the wonderful Sam is leaving on a jet plane tonight, 11:59pm to be exact. Spending about 6 months working her way round the world. Tomorrow morning she will be in Jakarta, using her Indo skills that she has honed well over the last nine+ years. Spending three months in Indo seeing the sights, meeting the people, going on tours, picking up teaching resources and who knows what else. Then it is on to Malaysia for a little while where she will eat probably triple her weight in Roti Canai. From there it is onto England where she will spend six weeks and Christmas with numerous currently unplanned jaunts to the mainland. The final stop is New York, New York for New Years and some time spent absorbing American Culture.

Last night a group of us headed down to The Satay Hut at Southbank for a farewell dinner. The menu gave us just under 100 options plus variations which meant that it was a challenge in picking our meals. I ended up getting garlic mixed vegetables ($12.50) because it was an extra $6 to get it with chicken and I didn’t think it was justifiable. Just as well because the Satay Hut makes the meals big. My veggies were served on a 30cm oval plate and would have been piled in a mound a good 10cm high. Lots of veggies! It was a really nice meal though a bit lacking on the garlic, the veggies were all nice and with just the right amount of crunch. All the meals were huge and most of us struggled to get them down.

The night had to come to a close though and there were hugs and more hugs and more hugs again. Since we met in Indo class during our first year of Uni in 2003, Sam had been my most reliable partner in crime. We have been to concerts, chatted, partied and more.

Some photos from the night.
Justin Jess _MG_8774

Lemon Meringue Pie

First off, every time I see Meringue written/typed I think of Merengue or more precisely Pintame or Sauvemente by Elvis Crespo and my feet start tapping. Ok now that I have that out of the way.

I have never actually had Lemon Meringue Pie before, sorry correction I have no recollections of eating it in the past but Mum says she made it a bit when I was a wee kid so I quite possibly have eaten it before. Nevertheless when I was pulling Bush Lemons off the tree on the side of the road, I knew that the the first thing I was going to make was Lemon Meringue Pie.

Like any good Australian, this recipe comes from The Australian Women’s Weekly Cooking Class Cookbook, our version is at least 29 years old as Mum’s maiden name is written in the front. This book though is a classic and many of our favourite recipes are from it.

I didn’t use the pastry recipe supplied but my last pastry disc from the Chocolate Mascarpone Tart and that pastry worked quite well.

_MG_7771

Lemon Meringue Pie
The Australian Women’s Weekly Cooking Class Cookbook

Filling
4TBSP plain flour
4TBSP corn flour
3/4C lemon juice
lemon zest from the juiced lemons
1C sugar
90g butter, in small cubes
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 1/4C water

Meringue
4 egg whites
2TBSP water
pinch salt
3/4C castor sugar

Line a 9″(23cm) pie plate with your preferred pastry. Decorate the edges with your finger, prick base with fork, line with a disc of baking paper and cover with rice, beans or baking weights. Cook in a 180°C oven for 10-15 minutes or until it is lightly browned. Leave to cool.

Dissolve the cornflour in a portion of the water so that it is smooth. In a saucepan combine the sifted flours, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and water. Stir till smooth over a moderate heat until the mixture boils and thickens, it must boil. Reduce the heat and stir for a further 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and egg yolks, keep stirring till the butter is melted. Leave to cool.

Spread the cooled filling into the pastry shell. Beat the egg whites, salt and water on high speed till soft peaks form. Keep beating at high speed and gradually pour in the sugar until the sugar has dissolved (you can tell this by dipping your finger in the mixture and rubbing it against your thumb, it should be smooth). Spoon on top of the pie, spreading it evenly on top. Peak or rib the meringue decoratively with a knife or a spatula.

Bake in a 160-180°C oven for 5-10 minutes or until the meringue has just lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool. It is easiest to slice this with a normal dinner knife dipped in hot water.