Friday, April 28, 2006

The tale of the blogs and the FeedDemon




Once upon a time in the Land of Blog, Miss Robyn asked:

how many blogs you have in your favourites list and how many you actually visit regularly.

Well, Miss Eagle has lots. Lots enough to have FeedDemon and have them all in categories. There are sixteen categories. Now Miss Eagle hastens to add that these are not all visited everyday. Some are what one would call reference blogs. They're there for when Miss Eagle needs to know something.

The frequently visited categories number ten. Now when Miss Eagle says frequently there is the everyday sort of frequency (unless she gets behind) and the others that always do fall behind to once a week depending on how she goes getting through the first lot.

The high priority categories are the 'Aussies' and the 'Charmers'. Well actually, as of this week there are three priority categories: 'Aussies' (10), 'Charmers' (19) and 'Charmers - Aussies' (18). (Did you guess Miss Eagle was once a very dedicated librarian?) 'Aussies' are a very mixed bag while the 'Charmers' are just that, charming. You know the sort - gardens, crafts, homes, pleasant pastures, a dash of spirituality. The 'Charmers' category got far too large - all those 'Charmers - Aussies' were getting out of hand, wouldn't you guess. Then Miss Eagle notices that Anni's Mayday is still in the 'Aussies' because Miss Eagle wasn't too sure in the beginning. But she thinks Anni should really go into 'Charmers - Aussies'. All that bit about garden gates has over-qualified her!

Then next Miss Eagle goes to the 'Feminists' (7). Now these are not all overt feminists. But they are serious high-minded women. The women whose posts Miss Eagle has to get her head around and think about them.

The next three categories jostle for priority. They are 'Food' (19), 'Progressive Christians' (30), and 'Religion' (35). At this stage there may be only a select and favourite few chosen.

The four bringing up the rear are 'Fun', 'Furry Friends', 'Peace' and 'Photos' - a combined total of 21.

So my sidebar is not authoritative. FeedDemon and actual visits are. But if you want to exchange links please let me know - and you will go on the sidebar.

How does Miss Eagle come to have those blogs in the FeedDemon? Because she likes the cut of their jib. Not to say that they are there permanently. Some stop blogging. Some change and what once had things of interest to Miss Eagle no longer do. A very, very few cause Miss Eagle to wonder what on earth, why on earth she bothered to put them on. And in case you are wondering about the diversity of the categories and the unmentioned reference categories - Miss Eagle has four very different blogs to feed as you will note on the sidebar.

So with all that going on in her blogs, in her FeedDemon, and on her screen Miss Eagle lives happily everafter.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

A boon companion - in an angelic way

"Tobias and the Archangel Raphael returning with the Fish"
From the collection of the National Gallery, London

Miss Eagle has noted Ms Robyn's fondness for angels and archangels. Miss Eagle has a fondness for the Archangel Raphael written about in the Book of Tobit in the Old Testament (Tanakh). The reason that Miss Eagle is fond of Raphael is that he walked and talked with Tobias. Now Miss Eagle is a good talker herself and appreciates fine conversation and good companions on the way. And what a great companion Rafael is.

Postscript: When Miss Eagle gets to heaven she expects to find a few angels and archangels with much bedraggled wings. These will be the ones who protect her on the road and have intervened in those near misses.

A little green tea - for the body and the soul.


Dr Robyn has recommended green tea for faulty immune systems. Now Miss Eagle is not the biggest tea drinker in the world. In fact, her tea drinking would not even register a blip on anyone's scale. However, she does like green tea. So, thinking Dr Robyn's suggestion a reasonable idea, Miss Eagle is trying to introduce this to her morning regimen.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Miss Eagle has been tagged.


Sorry, Ms Robyn. Only just discovered that you have tagged me. Health hasn't been too good since half-way through March and the immune system got run down. The last week it was the 'flu. But enough of the excuses. Time to meditate - and tell of my 10 Simple Pleasures.

No. 1: A Life Enlarged
Miss Eagle has been a widow for sixteen years and there is one thing she misses more than sex. That one thing is the end of the day when two people get together in the evening light before it's dark. There will be a drink in their hands - tea, coffee, a beer or a wine. It is a time of sharing, a time of one life interacting with another and enlarging it. When this time is subtracted from one's life, existence becomes one-dimensional.

No. 2: The Memory of Moonlight

The full moon high enough in a clear sky to brightly illuminate the land or the water. Miss Eagle thinks of her early childhood when she lived at Bay Terrace, Wynnum Central in Brisbane and her home looked out over Moreton Bay. She has never forgotten the moon on the water. Her second favourite memory of moonlight is the opposite. It is the view of moonlight from the hill behind the Overlander Hotel in Mount Isa, North West Queensland looking east towards Cloncurry over the flat expanse, transforming an arid landscape.

No. 3: Domesticity with Love

Miss Eagle was never a brilliant sewer like so many women in the blogosphere are. She is a plodder. Take away the McCall's paper pattern and she is likely to collapse in a heap. Her knitting was done with patterns from the Australian Women's Weekly. But if Miss Eagle sewed or knitted with little skill, she certainly did so with lots of love. Miss Eagle has kept a select collection of these items. Baby clothes; a little white dress with a blue sash lovingly constructed for Herself; teeny weeny suits for two boys who grew into two metre tall men, Mr Brick Outhouse and Mr Pump Water. Lastly there is an olive green gabardine safari suit constructed for Big Red, Miss Eagle's Dearly Beloved, when such things were in vogue.

No. 4: Saturday lunch

Miss Eagle's favourite form of entertainment is Saturday lunch. The preferred place is outdoors under a shady tree. There is something about a Saturday lunch. The weekend stretches ahead and there seems to be lots of time: lots of time for conversation and sharing the company of family and friends. Saturday lunch is a great success if it extends into early evening and the left overs come around again.

No. 5: A Garden Room

Miss Eagle loves a home that integrates house and garden. In her current home, there is a sun room that opens on to a courtyard with lots of flowery pots. From this room, Miss Eagle can look across to the hills of the Dandenong Ranges National Park. Miss Eagle's home before this was at Bluewater north of Townsville in North Queensland - between the World Heritage listed rainforest of the Bluewater Ranges and Halifax Bay looking across to the Palm Group of islands. It was a sprawling home of western red cedar with a garden room, walled only on three sides, opening out into the garden. The Garden Room and the Terrace it opened onto were paved with stone laid by Big Red just prior to his death. It was a gathering place - for parties and afternoon teas - with living and dining areas opening on to it.

No. 6: A Night of Crime

Friday night is not the same if there is no decent crime on the ABC. The particular pleasure that Miss Eagle recalls is when she was a corporate PA in a Kerry Packer company working in North Sydney. Now Miss Eagle has never been a beer drinker - except that, when living in Sydney, she took a liking to Toohey's New. So the pleasurable memory is of leaving work on a Friday afternoon, heading through Greenwood Plaza to North Sydney station and, en route, picking up two bottles of Toohey's New at the supermarket. Jonathan Creek would commence at 8.30pm and Miss Eagle would curl up on the couch and take the top off the first TN. Pleasure, indulgence, relaxation, a week's end!

No. 7: State of Origin

The three great football games of the year are Rugby League games: Queensland -v- New South Wales (Cane Toads -v- Cockroaches) in the State of Origin series. Miss Eagle is not a pretty sight at this time. She is known to be very loud in barracking for Queensland. In Sydney, the TV viewing was accompanied, as before, by a Toohey's New. In the Northern Territory and Victoria it is accompanied by Rum and Coke (Bundaberg Rum - from Queensland - and Diet Coke). Miss Eagle has never seen a State of Origin in person - but she notes that the third Origin Game will be held in Melbourne this year and Herself has said that she will shout the ticket. Miss Eagle will almost certainly freeze - but, oh, the pleasure of seeing Billy Slater run!

No. 8: The Official Family Dinner

There is an official family dinner in Miss Eagle's family. It is in its third generation. It is a roast dinner - a corner piece of topside, approximately 3kg, especially ordered at the butcher shop because the selvedge of fat must be left on top; vegetables and gravy; and a Yorkshire Pudding. So when there is a family re-union, we don't kill the fatted calf - we order the topside roast.

No. 9: Celebrating the Seasons

As readers of The Trad Pad know, Miss Eagle likes to mark the seasons: the changing patterns of the planet; the spiritual calendar. Particular favourites are those that incorporate food.

No. 10: Making Memories

This is the most important of the simple pleasures and bookends nicely with No. 1. In a marriage, in a family, it is important to have shared memories. This is the story, the biography of a marriage, a family. It helps to forge the bonds that keep people together. While memories come in all sorts, shapes and sizes and a range of price tags, the best ones are simple and pleasurable. They can be funny, adventurous, inspirational, or just drawing together in the mundane minutes of daily life. There are two things, two very short sermons, Miss Eagle preaches following the experience of her Dearly Beloved's death. The first is that relationships are the most important thing in the world. Whatever looms large in your life at the moment - unpaid bills, job loss, difficult children, insecurity - none of these holds a candle to personal relationships and the bonds of marriage and family. The second is: make memories. Don't sit in front of the television like couch potatoes with little conversation. Go make a memory.

PEOPLE MISS EAGLE WANTS TO TAG

Miss Eagle wants to tag the following people:

  1. Sharon at Beyond 'the blank page'
  2. Kali at Enjoying the Journey
  3. Mary at Devonhouse Recollections
  4. Bec & Kim at Glamourouse
  5. Carol at My Garden and Decorations
  6. Anni at Mayday 34°35'S 150°36'E
  7. Kitty at Peregrine Sojo
  8. Mindy at Peaceful Corner
  9. Revem at Rev Em's Ponderings
  10. Barb at Woof Nanny

A Feast of Reason and a Flow of Soul.

Picture of Pot from The Old Foodie

Miss Eagle has come across two delightful food blogs from the same author. They are The Old Foodie and The Companion to the Old Foodie. These blogs are a rich tapestry of food history, anecdotes, quotes and the general all-round aesthetic of good food. As you will see if you delve into the origins of these blogs and the collection on which they are based, this is a passion which has turned into a collection which may turn into something else yet again. There is charm here and information and, because food is so integral to life, something that has deep appeal.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The ANZAC Spirit - in a biscuit



To-morrow is Anzac Day. Somewhere in London there is a nostalgic, dare I say homesick, Aussie who has sent - anonymously - this email:

Any chance you could put Miss Schauer's recipe for Anzac biscuits up in time for the big day?? tried to find it online but no cigar!! you're blog was the first thing that came up!!

cheers, an aussie in london missing Nana's cooking...


For those who are unaware, Anzac Day is an important day on the calendars of both Australia and New Zealand. One bit of culinary culture eaten all year round is the Anzac Biscuit. US residents please note: what you call cookies we call biscuits; what you call biscuits we call scones.
The army biscuit, also known as an ANZAC Wafer or an ANZAC Tile, is essentially a hardtack biscuit, a long shelf-life biscuit substitute for bread. Unlike bread though, the biscuits are very, very hard. Some soldiers preferred to grind them up and use them as porridge. (Add water and sugar, cook, serve with generous dollop of jam.) The biscuits are regarded as having high energy and are quite nutritious. To-day, bushwalkers like to have them in their backpacks to keep them going on a long hike. While the original may have been very, very hard, the one's Australians are used to to-day are just really crisp.

So of course Miss Eagle can't have an Aussie across the world with his or her tongue hanging out for an Anzac bikkie, particularly Miss Schauer's Anzac Bikkie. Miss Eagle has posted the recipe at Food from Oz.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Slow cooking food 2 - Soup


In Miss Eagle's reply to Ms Robyn's comment on my previous post, she mentioned the soup. Here are the ingredients for Miss Eagle's traditional beef soup which is beautifully rich and thick and has been simmering slowly for almost 24 hours.
The beef is shin beef - otherwise known as gravy beef. Shin beef is used in making soup because it makes a rich beef stock which is highly nutritious. Years ago in nursing courses and in primary school domestic science there used to be a subject called "Invalid Cookery". One of the highlights of invalid cookery was something called Beef Tea. Shin beef was used in this. Beef Tea was designed to put nutrients into the body weakened by illness. Miss dice and trim the beef so that nice tender morsels are part of the soup.

The potatoes are Kipfler Potatoes otherwise known as German Finger Potatoes. Kipflers are a waxy, finger shaped potato with creamy-coloured flesh. Great boiled, steamed and in potato salads and for presentation purposes. Miss Eagle likes them for soup because they are small and irregularly shaped. She leaves them whole but chooses the tiniest of them so they go well in a traditional soup plate.

And speaking of soup plates. Miss Eagle loves the traditional soup plate with the wide brim about the edge. Certainly not a deep bowl - and mugs are only for when one can only manage the chemicals in hot water known as cuppa soup. You see, there is a reason why a soup plate is large and broad and shallow. It is because it keeps soup at the right temperature - neither too hot, or too cold. If it is too hot to start with, it cools quickly. As for the wide brim, it can hold a morsel of broken bread.

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Miss Eagle prefers her very old Crescent English bone china plates. But if you can't get any vintage soup plates Maxwell Williams does a satisfactory, but slightly smaller, modern version in the famous plain white.

The herbs are fresh from the garden as with the Lamb Shanks and Macaroni. The other vegetables are onion, parsnip, and carrot (a feast of nutritious root vegetables) and mushrooms and snow peas. The little heap of grain to the left is pearl barley.

One thing Miss Eagle must say about the soup, the shanks and when you bake bread and pudding: you decorate the atmosphere of your home with aromas to die for, the aromas that become memories forever after, aromas that make one's mouth water, and make one hungry for all that is good and nutritious.

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