Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The 99 cent challenge

My response to The Felt Mouse's 99 cent challenge.
The Aussie-Irish Cool & Casual Sporting Bloke's Lunch
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THE CHALLENGE
The Felt Mouse issued a challenge. The 99 cent challenge. Table setting with goods coming from a 99 cent store. I had to indulge in special pleading because in Oz we don't have 99 cent shops - we have $2 ones. Is this due to inflation or the rate of exchange with the US$? I had to take advice because I don't go to these sort of shops. Not because I'm snooty. It's because I am practical - you get the quality you pay for. Eventually, I resorted to the Yellow Pages and finished up making my purchases at the Boronia $2 Shop and Go-Lo in the Boronia Mall.

EVOLUTION OF A THEME



I started off thinking I would focus my theme on February 1, the Feast of St Brigid - my saint's day. I'm rather fond of Brigid. She is important to the Irish - right up there and even stevens with St Patrick. So this meant Emerald Green. Not just any green. It had to be Emerald Green. But as I went shopping yellow began to intrude - which looks rather good with the green. So good that green and gold are Australian's sporting colours and they are seen everywhere - and with a Boxing Kangaroo.



So the Aussie-Irish Cool & Casual Sporting Bloke's Lunch was born. And it is not so far-fetched. Here in Melbourne where Australian Rules Football is a religion, it is a great disappointment that there is no international competition - because it is a homegrown game - like Rugby Union and Rugby League have. However, the AFL has moved some way to a solution. You see Gaelic Football has a similar difficulty and its game is not too dissimilar to Aussie Rules.. So Ireland and Australia play one another in International Rules Football. I am sure St Brigid would smile on this and approve my Aussie-Irish sporting themed lunch.

THE CENTRE PIECE




As you can see, the centrepiece pays tribute to the colours of both nations. The Green, Orange and White of Ireland and the Green and Gold of the Land of Oz. The balloons are set into a plastic terracotta flowerpot (taken from someone's hardwaste on a footpath) covered with emerald green rope. On the left is a genuine imitation Australian cricket cap (more like the one-day-er cap - not the real test-match baggy green). On the right is a little bit of me in the form of a decoupaged glass cup and saucer. Around the saucer are real Aussie Macadamia Melts and in the cup is green "rock candy". Now that "rock candy" might do for Americans but it is an unAustralian name. We would call these green and white boiled lollies.

THE MENU




The meal comprised tinned PMU Corned Beef (I didn't realise it was still made); Potato Salad; Asparagus; Marinated mushrooms in chili; and olives. The salad is served on paper plates in cane holders (the holders came from hardwaste on a footpath). The place mats are non-stick liners purchased in a roll and cut to size. The cutlery cost nothing - inherited from my aunt as was the table. The table is covered in table runners cut from alfoil.

THE DOLLARS AND THE CENTS

Olives - $2; Macadamia Melts - $2; Corned Beef - $2; Asparagus - $2; Rope - $2.99; Potato Salad - $1.50; Mushrooms - $2; Boiled Lollies - $2; Souvenir Cap - $5.99; Plates - $2; Balloons - $2; Alfoil - $2; Non-stick liners - $2. Well under the $40 limit.

THE UPSHOT

I am amazed at Jenn's tour-de-force. An example to us all - quite a clear talent. Mine is light-hearted and, because it was a sticky and busy day, cooking was not on the agenda. I forgot to put any cups or glasses on the table but I figured the blokes would bring their own beer in stubbies complete with stubby coolers, wouldn't they? As for the food, I threw it out. Not what I would want to serve my guests - and I hate to think what the fat conten would be in the tinned corned beef and the dressing with the potato salad. But then the setting and the shop and the cost was the thing, wasn't it? If you want some decent Oz Tucker get across to Food from Oz at http://oztucker.blogspot.com where I am attempting to put my hand written recipes and my clippings and associated stuff on the net and hoping some non-Australians will do as Barb from Woof Nanny does, and trade some information and comments.

Monday, January 30, 2006

The Crop

My tomatoes are really starting to crop now - with all the heat and rain. I have three tomato plants which spread themselves everywhere and I have to stake, and stake, and stake them to keep them up off the ground. The three tomato plants include two heirloom varieties - the yellow tomato, the little Black Russian, in addition to the popular Don Burke Italian variety. The Black Russians aren't really black, except when they are photographed. They are a very dark red with the top part of the fruit being on the way to black. I have discovered that the yellow tomato should not be put in a bowl with navel oranges - until you get close you can't tell them apart. Homegrown tomatoes are wonderful and flavoursome. You can use plenty of compost or organic fertiliser and not use inorganic chemicals and pesticides. And, with growing them, comes a sense of virtue and achievement. Posted by Picasa

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