Sometimes My Typing Fingers Have a Mind of Their Own…

June 23, 2009 at 1:34 am (Uncategorized)

It’s a phenomenal day here, not at all a winter’s day. It’s unseasonably warm, and people are in t-shirts and singlets. I’ve left the house completely overdressed. The beachfront cafes are, as usual, packed, and I wonder for the millionth time what it is they all do. I’m always amazed by the number of people slouching around Man Town in civilian clothing who don’t appear to have jobs to go to. Okay, granted, I must look like one of them, but actually I’m not, and I spend many more hours working at my desk than your average person with a job in the CBD. I’m not the only one who’s surprised. When Llew took last Thursday off to come to Dr F’s with me (not a day like today – pissing rain, in fact – poor Llewie!!), I could see his head swivelling from side to side in quite a manic fashion, and I knew he was madly calculating the odds of joining this throng of apparently self-employed or unemployed people.

“I always think Man Town ceases to exist when I’m at work,” he said, his voice full of wonder. “But look at this. Look at them all. What are they doing here?”

“I’ve given up trying to figure it out,” I admitted. “I have no idea.”

And today is no different. If it were all retirees, that would be one thing. But it’s not. And it’s not the great unwashed, either, people who are taking some winter sun for lack of anywhere else to be. No, they all smack of affluence. They all live in cafes. They all have designer sunglasses and white t-shirts and bling. Many do tote the ultimate accessory: a child. Parents of young children do account for a good proportion of these people, but I wouldn’t even feel confident claiming them as the majority. Plenty of them just seem to know something we don’t know. Anyway, there’s not much more to say about it than good luck to them.

Llew and I had another little excursion over the weekend. It didn’t start out as a very adventurous 48 hours – we had friends for dinner Friday night, and Saturday was just miserable, torrential rain, grey skies, so we blobbed and blobbed good. I read my book for hours – and at the moment that’s The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet, by Reif Larsen, which I am thoroughly enjoying (the twelve year old protagonist reminds me so much of a friend of mine… I’m just not sure how to break it to him…). – which was almost as delicious as the leftover lasagne from the night before (I’m into bastardised recipes, and this lasagne was a doozy in that regard and all the better for it; it was probably my best ever), which Llew served up to me while I lazed about in my pyjamas well past an acceptable hour. Glorious. It would be a candidate for the laziest day of my life, and I loved it.

We had to pull ourselves together mid-afternoon because we were due across town in Bondi for another dinner party (I won’t deny it, yes, there’s a lot of face-feeding going on… there’s been a sudden outbreak of socialising after months of hibernation… It’s weird how everyone seems to have synchronised their watches…). Llew wanted to hit golf balls at the driving range en route, so he dropped me at the Max Brenner chocolatier on Oxford St and I read my book, scoffed my Belgian waffle, and drank my dark chocolate hot choc in the back corner banquette that became available like it was destined to be mine. The only thing wrong with this cosy picture was the peculiar incompetence of the staff that seems to be a condition of employment at all Max Brenner stores. We have one in Man Town at the wharf, and Llew and I have been forced to leave without our coffees when we realised it was taking so long we were about to miss the ferry. You need a generous lead-time if you’re going to risk a visit. The cashier managed to grow one of the most extraordinary queues I’ve seen in quite some time by being otherwise engaged chatting to her colleagues about her break, her shift, and her Saturday night plans. And yes, standing there listening to this enraged me. I had my lazy day too, it’s true, but I wasn’t supposed to be at work.

Deep breath. Deeeeeep breath. Llew hit his little white balls into the middle distance, I accompanied T.S. a little further along his journey, and then we went to S and O’s place for a fantastic three course extravaganza. Homemade gnocchi in a blue cheese sauce for starter, delectable roast pork with THE BEST crackling I have EVER eaten in my ENTIRE life, and the tastiest of the tasty roast taties (potatoes), and other gorgeous roast vegetables that were a bit of blur as I sank into a contented crackling coma. Salty, crispy fat: sometimes there is no substitute. As I slid down my chair, wondering if it would be terribly uncouth to unzip my jeans at table (the answer is a resounding yes, but I was a little addled by the food and wine at the time and it truly seemed like an excellent idea). But O and S weren’t finished with us yet. There was one of my favourite desserts to come: citron tart. Made from scratch with their bare hands, the same hands that rolled the gnocchi. Talk about feeling spoilt – what a meal! And talk about raising the bar…

Gosh, here I am nearly 1,000 words in and I haven’t even arrived at the excursion this post meant to describe… I do get so sidetracked by the taste buds… well, tomorrow I have my procedure, and I think I’m unlikely to post live from the recovery room, so I think we’ll meet again on Thursday, when there will be much to discuss.



  1. charlotteotter said,

    Good luck for your procedure. This post has given me food envy.

  2. Simonne said,

    Hmmm, citron tart….. Lucky you!!
    Good luck tomorrow. I’m sure all will be well x

  3. litlove said,

    Very best of luck for tomorrow. Hope it goes incredibly,wonderfully smoothly.

  4. doctordi said,

    Thank you, girls… I do feel very reassured by the number of friends who’ve had these things done, sometimes multiple times, and don’t seem to think it’s anything other than an opportunity to unplug the drains and sweep the floor. Plus I trust Dr F.

    On the food front, apparently duck fat is the secret to S’s signature roast potatoes. Duck fat and par-boiling. My mouth just filled with drool.

  5. Grad said,

    Well, I’ll be thinking of ‘ya tomorrow. Best thoughts coming at you. Might you be able to spirit the gnocchi recipe away from your friend? I tried to make them once, but they all dissolved in the water when I tried to cook them. And duck fat is the secret to many a gastronomic wonder, which begs the question, why do we call people lucky ducks? I mean, certainly it’s not lucky to be in a position to have your fat rendered. Unless it’s at a pilates salon. Anyway, sounds like a wowzer of a meal and I’m hungry.

  6. Lilian Nattel said,

    Good luck tomorrow! I’ll be thinking of you.

  7. davidrochester said,

    Duck fat makes everything better. This is just the simple truth.

    I thought of you last night as I was making my strange little dinner, which was sliced heirloom tomatoes sprinkled with fleur de sel, julienned fresh basil, crumbled goat cheese, and 20-year Balsamic vinegar. I thought: This is something a die-hard foodie would appreciate. And so naturally, you came to mind.

  8. Pete said,

    I hope the procedure went swimmingly. Just realised the tomorrow in your post is today. And that food sounds divine. I could always do with a good lasagne recipe. Poor ducks though.

  9. doctordi said,

    Thanks, Grad. Yeah, I’ll ask about the gnocchi. The first time I had homemade gnocchi – a university flatmate gamely tried her hand – the results were so awful, like eating a bowl of warm glue, that I’ve never been able to bring myself to try making it. We’re fortunate to have an Italian friend who is such an excellent cook. I’ve since had hers so knew before last Saturday what was possible out of a domestic kitchen, but I’ll ask for the recipe and pass it on. Maybe the ducks are lucky during the lives they lead acquiring all that fat…

    Thank you, Lilian! It’s so lovely having everyone’s good thoughts spinning my way – I am quite sure it helps.

    David, you’re right. Duck fat is the answer. We may try to trump it up and make it all more complicated than it needs to be, but really, it’s all about the duck fat. Yeah, see, I don’t think that sounds like a strange little dinner at all. That sounds like several of my favourite things combined in perfect harmony. Yum. I am honoured to be the die-hard foodie du jour!

    Pete, I don’t even really know how to give you the recipe… but I used a bolognese sauce [the base of which comes from Donna Hay, but I add red wine and a splash of balsamic vinegar to mine and use a heap more garlic], but then I also added layers of slow-roasted cherry tomatoes [they get done with salt, pepper and olive oil in a very low oven over several hours], crumbled feta cheese and basil leaves atop each sauce layer. Then I made the Bechamel sauce from a Charmaine Solomon recipe. The result was great – even better the next day for reasons I would like explained to me.

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