A Fitting Birthday Feast for a French-born Fellow

What a surprising birthday gesture it was and so fitting for a French-Australian fellow.

Son Tyson and his wife Vanessa came to our island home laden with produce to prepare a fabulous home-cooked feast (packed
with love) to celebrate Olivier’s birthday.

“Out of the kitchen you two, it’s now our domain,’’ says Tyson in his usual assertive manner. Vanessa’s parents, John and Sandra also arrive and Sandra has brought thick, creamy pumpkin soup. She also has brought our table centrepiece, a beautiful basket of pink camellias. The Herbigs live at Mt Pleasant and they will all stay the night as our guests.

It is fitting for the two men to celebrate because Oli’s birthday is the first of a list of many milestones written on our
fridge which we hope to celebrate as we live fearlessly with his life-threatening disease.   John had a narrow escape from death during his recent trip to China (read about that in my Travellers’ Tales blog) and we had not seen him since. Suddenly our older men are vulnerable and each birthday is cause to celebrate.

The children have planned a mysterious dish, a piece de resistence, which we now discover is a Jamie Oliver recipe-  delicious baked white fish wrapped in proscuitto in a  rosemary and lemon marinate.   Broccocini spears covered in lemon marinade and lemon mash complete a superb meal.

However, the anticipation began a day before the big event when Tyson telephoned Oli to exclaim that we needed to
find the decanter he had given us a few years back because such was the calibre of the wine that he wasn’t going to open it unless it could breathe properly.

Oli immediately consulted his computerised list of the contents of our 120 boxes stacked in the garage and there it was in
Box No. 64, which miraculously was easily accessible. We have been living so much as gypsies that few of our worldly belongings have been unpacked for the sojourn in our island home while our retirement home is being built at Belair.

However, soon we parents and the guest of honour, step-dad Olivier, are summoned to the table where the dish is presented
with flourish.  We are told as we sit  Jamie himself said in the Cook With Jamie cookbook that “This combination is a complete winner.’

And so it is! The children used King George whiting fillets instead of Haddock and placed lemon zest in the centre of the
two fillets before wrapping them in the proscuitto.  The manner in which the whole filleted fish was poached and then baked made the attractive fish parcels wonderful carriers of flavours.

The wine was a terrific 1998 Limited Edition Jacobs Creek Vintage Shiraz Cabernet and it warmed our hearts to watch
as Tyson proudly poured it from the decanter.

This is the environment for a fun family meal peppered with the fellas recounting their respective recent hospital sojourns,
doggie stories, fishing tales, jokes, a house building report and general camaraderie. London-based daughter and the grand-children telephoned half way through to trigger another round of bonheur. A fabulous mix of French and Australian cheeses are presented with salad and a Wirra Wirra Scrubby Rise 2010 Unwooded Chardonnay.

We somehow found room in our tummies for a delicious selection of French pastries from the Adelaide
Central Market and we washed down the crumbs with a dessert wine  I had chosen for tonight at Allinda winery, Dixon’s Creek in the Yarra Valley. Its Allinda Fortified Shiraz Liqueur.

“Une soiree magnifique!’’  pronounces Olivier. To which German-background John replies: “Das ist gut!”.
(See my Foods blog for the cheeses we devoured).




Academic spells out Discourse Analysis for Judges

South Australian communications academic and author, Dr Pamela Schulz, has told a top conference of Australasian judges
that the media and politics have “conspired’’ to marginalise them. The opening key speaker of the 21st Bi-annual National  District and County Courts Judges Conference held in Adelaide on June 30th Dr Schulz presented her case by analysing
discourses surrounding the justice system in Australia, New Zealand and around the world.

Judges from around Australia and New Zealand attended this significant conference.

Dr Schulz presented an overview and analysis of her recent book “Courts and Judges on Trial: Analysing and Managing
the Discourses of Disapproval” published by Lit Verlag Berlin, London and New York.   Her research illustrated  how  the media – in its search for grabbing headlines – and politians have conspired to make judges the “other” and
marginalise them as a type of new “offender” in the courts.

“The judiciary system is constantly berated as being too soft on crime,’’ said Dr Schulz, a communications management
expert.  “And the justice system is under threat as a result.’’

She had plenty of evidence – slides of “screaming headlines’’,  pictorials pillorying judicial officers and graphic illustrations of sentencing issues. She bundled them together under the academic term “discourses of disapproval and direction
, a major finding in her work.

She reckons that such a barrage of negative messages holds that judges are somehow to blame for an insecure and anxious community.

Dr Schulz also exposed what she called “fear discourse’’, a notion of a scary world delivered by media daily into the
nation’s home.

It was all new news to the judges who kept Dr Schulz at the podium answering comments and questions from her captive audience for another 45 minutes.

Dr Schulz wants to see the language surrounding sentencing to change and to be more relevant to community.

She said afterwards that judicial officers seemed keen to find ot more and to learn new and better ways to communicate
effectively with the community they serve. Find out more on < http://pameladschulz.com/>



Vive la France en Australie du Sud

Guests dressed in 18th century French Revolution fashion will feast of an array of classic dishes prepared by InterContinental Hotel’s sous chef, French-born Frederick Boussard at the Bastille Day Gala Dinner on July 14.

Frederick has selected a mix of seafood including Tasmanian salmon and  South Australian smoked Huon salmon to create
one of seven entrees – tartare de saumon a  la ciboulette et aux capres. Shark will be the basic seafood for Requin a  l’armoricaine, one of eight choices for plat de Resistance. Including classic beef and chicken dishes.

It’s the one A-list event when Adelaide’s French-Australian community and Francophiles alike kick up their heels to celebrate Vive La France. This year the Governor of South Australia, Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce and Mrs Scarce will be honoured guests at the event  organised by  the French Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry South Australia to celebrate France’s
national day.

State Opera of South Australia opera singer Deborah Caddy will entertain guests and deputy head master of Brighton High,
Jeff Kong will accompany her on the piano.

Guests can choose to wear 18th century costumes to provide a spectacular fashion show. However, the highlight of the event will undoubtedly be the French menu par excellence. Entrées will be followed byPlat de Resistance of eight choices including Poulet roti a la fleur de thym, gousse d’ail rotie entiere and Lentilles vertes du Puy a la moutarde de Meaux. It would be a brave French chef who did not include a mushroom dish in a French banquet and Boussard has included Poelee de  champignons de Paris. Dessert will be dedicated to sweetness with classic French favourites include Selection de macarons maison and crème caramel among six choices as well as a  plateau de fromages sponsored by Calendar Cheese.

MC will be media identity Tim Noonan and proceeds of the night which begins with two Kir aperitifs, will go to the Christchurch Appeal.

Further information please contact Anais 8240 0244.

Front Door heralds lock-up stage

The magnificent front door of our house was installed this week heralding  lock-up stage. It ‘s an ornate Western Red Cedar door with leadlight panels and a side panel, which may beg the question why choose such a traditional design for a home which is obviously contemporary in style?

We found the door in an unlikely place for sale at one of the stalls at the Pt Elliott show propped up along with a heap of other recycled materials and plants.

This door, though, was new – and our house still had not had its foundations poured. But there in October, we looked at each
other and headed over to inspect. The bloke, who clearly buys and sells as a trade, told us it was from the old showroom of Regency Doors at Regency Park, an establishment we noted but had never visited. The door had not been chiselled out for hinges yet.

With a brother-in-law who is managing director of renowned timber merchants, Otto and Co, I know a few things about solid timber western red cedar doors – the price, for instance – when I had to replace a beautiful WRC back door vandalised by robbers. This one carried a low pricetag, less than the cost of the three leadlight panels which had their price still marked in white. Before us was one of  Regency Doors’ top-of-the-range Western Red Cedar panelled doors with leadlight insets, a specimen used to attract sales. The side panel wasn’t exactly the same leadlight design, but it still worked well as a stylish companion. “Hold that for us,’’ said Olivier and we scuttled home t o check the house plans. It fitted – and a long nine months later, it arrived on site and so did we to capture the moment when the carpenter hoisted it into its strategic position in our new home.

A front door not only welcomes, it is stamps a house with style and as we st epped past the carpenter, we delighted in  discovering that the gyprocking and the cornices (quite stylish stepped contemporary design) have been  completed.

Tomorrow I am meeting the carpenter who  will install our choice of timber floors. After much research into timber
characteristics, colours and durability, we chose brush box in 130mm x 19mm tongue and groove planks, which will be laid on batons  throughout the living areas and hallway of the house to give that lovely hollow timber sound. This was an expensive option, but timber is a special building material for me, thanks to my brother-in-law, Ken Otto, who once designed and built  a stunning timber fire surround for me using six different solid timbers and veneers. It saddened me to have to leave this behind when I moved on to marry Olivier.

For our new home, Ken acquired a big lot of beautiful timber for us and it means  for the rest of our lives, our living environment will be stamped with the warmth and characteristic style of timber.  On this beautiful base, we will scatter our
existing collection of oriental carpets. In one strategic corner, I will place a superb turned timber pedestal which Ken made for me for my 50th birthday. It is rarely without a bowl of flowers or a pot of azaleas.

So, as you can deduct, I am beginning already to visualise our lovely new home even though completion is still a few months away.