A-List Lunch aids Cancer Research

The prestigious South Australian Women of the Year lunch at Ayers House today had an emotional element when cancer researcher Dr Michelle Lee received a $4000 cheque to continue her research into bone cancer.  She will leave soon to spend time in Hong Kong to study holistic treatment methods for the painful life-limiting cancer.  The event was held at Henry’s Brasserie within the historic Ayers House and among the many eminent women who attended were the  Honorable Jing Lee, MLC, and  renowned philanthropists Pamela Wall and Maria Kenda.  Also among the eminent cross-section of Adelaide’s well-known women were Audrey Stern, Claudine Butterworth, Kali Hunter and Annette Wyllie-Smith.  An elegant, pregnant fashion designer Liza  Emanuel told her story of rising to fashion fame in a question and answer presentation conducted by SAWOY president, Port Adelaide Enfield councillor  Carol Martin.   (Husband Olivier has bone cancer.)



Simple French Cuisine for Australians

It’s Easter Saturday and I plans to make a tasty lunch for Olivier, whom I expect will be allowed day leave from hospital today.

However, this delightful April Indian summer means I must water our new garden plantings first before the heat of another day wilts them. I have planted pansies around the garden borders because I find their happy colourful faces lift my spirits and I have plant my mother’s favourite rose – a pretty rosebud pink Cecil Brunner – outside my study.

However, the important morning task is to cook a tasty lunch to be ready when we arrive home at lunchtime.

Many years ago I heard French  chef  Gabriel Gate speak on French cuisine and I remember he said one sure way to gain confidence in the kitchen is to choose a recipe and then make it three or four times and experiment with it before claiming it as a favourite.

I never did, of course, but in our move into our new Belair home, I found the long-forgotten recipe book I bought at the time – Gabriel Gate’s French Cuisine for Australians – and although it is dated compared with the grand cookbook genre of today, I chose one of his recipes, Chicken Casserole cote d’Azur. I am delighted to find I have all the ingredients. It was a special cookbook because it was the first written by a French chef specially for Australians.

While the casserole simmers, I shower and prepare myself and by the time I am  ready, the dish is cooked, filling the kitchen with a delicious Mediterranean aroma.

After all these preparations, I am disappointed when the doctor says Oli must remain in hospital today, but can have leave pass for tomorrow, Easter Sunday.

CHICKEN CASSEROLE COTE D’AZUR: (Casserole de Poulet Cote d’Azur)


1 chicken weighing about 1.6 kgs, cut into pieces.

1 Zucchini,

½ of a Brown onion, a capsicum and small eggplant,

200 g. tomatoes,

2 cloves garlic and bouquet garni,

1 tbsp olive oil,

100g black olives, stoned.

Salt, freshly ground black pepper.

METHOD:  Brown chicken pieces in a hot, well oiled saucepan.

Cut all the washed vegetables into small squares, remembering to remove seeds from capsicum.

When chicken pieces are browned, add the sliced onion pieces and sauté for a minute. Add choppedgarlic, sauté a few seconds and add all the other vegetables. Season with salt and pepper, add the bouquet garni and cover the saucepan to cook gently for 20 minutes.

Add the olives for the final 10 minutes and taste beforfe adding more seasoning.

So simple, I am sure this is one recipe of Gabriel’s the  I will try again and again.




A Taste of the High Life on the High Seas

It is an idyllic April evening cruising in the Gulf St Vincent and I am enjoying a once-in-a-lifetime experience “steering” for a nonasecond, the multi-million dollar boat owned by renowned housing developer Gordon Pickard of Fairmont Homes fame.

I am one of 13 women invited aboard for a special fund-raising think-tank for the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.  Our host is dynamic Christina Angus, the new events and partnerships manager for the WCH Foundation – the official charity of the hospital.

Our captain of the triple-level cruiser named Triple 888 is retired businessman Colin McLeod, a close friend of Gordon Picard. He has the enviable task of cruising around the gulf for three hours while we 13 women sip wonderful French champagne and nibble on morsels prepared by Chris Jarmer of Air Restaurant.

Of course, there is no such thing as a free lunch, nor as it turns out a free cruise and the inimitible Christina picks our brains for ideas to raise funds for “freshening the ward for adolescents” at the hospital. She proudly adds the WCH isthe only hospital in Australia with a ward for teenagers.

“About 250,000 kids and mums come to the hospital each year and 5000 babies are born,” says Christina, who was formerly the fund-raising guru for Guide Dogs forthe Blind for a decade.

She presents a list of needs including maisoneettes for the palliative care section of the hospital and  research for new treatments.

“Children with cystic fibrosis did not live beyond their teens not so long ago, but now they can live into their 30’s,” she adds.

Eminent women, of a wide age range, include accountant Julianne Parkinson, who heads up the philanthropic activities of Ernst and Young, Mary-Anne O’Leary, Adelaide Festival Centre’s marketing and corporate relations manager, Kelly Baker-Jamieson, Edible Blooms managing director and social media whiz, Kelly Noble of GlamDigital.

Many years have passed since I headed up the Mrs South Australia quest, raising funds for the Crippled Children’s Association, but I remember the big successes we had in raising funds for disabled children. Cassandra Young of Foster Hill PR and Marketing has a far more recent success to impart. She spear-headed a big telephone campaign last year to raise $200,000 for the Queensland Flood Appeal in two weeks.

There is a saying if you want something done, ask a busy person which is clearly why self-employed movers and shakers such as Tanya Cole, managing director of NannySA,  Melanie Flintoft, the design director of Australian Fashion Labels Pty Ltd and renowned artist Marie Jonsson-Harrison were aboard.

Christina thoughtfully stops our meeting to allow us to wonder at the brilliant sunset lighting up the horizon in brilliant crimsons and golds, and as the light leached from the sky,  Adelaide’s shoreline shines in lights right along to the Hallett Cove oil refinery.

(Left) Myself, Marie Jonsson-Harrison and Mary-Anne O'Leary.

It is a heavenly evening giving us all a taste of the high life of Monte Carlo, Nice or St Tropez in France, where such craft are cheek-by-jowl in kilometre-long harbours.  However, as we glide into Holdfast Shores marina once more, put on our shoes and  step off we take with us an inspiring perspective of our beautiful city, set on St Vincent’s Gulf with the Mt Lofty Ranges behind, neatly containing its sprawl of suburbs.







Hey presto! Petit chien is now a poodle!

Our petit chien, cute puppy Oscar has metamorphised. We thought we bought a Shi Tsu Maltese X with a shaggy, long-haired coat just like his mother. And, sure we saw the daddy dog, a handsome grey poodle, but our little bundle of joy was surely mainly Maltese, he wasusuch an adorable puffball.   How wrong can you be?  I take our shaggy four-month-old doggie, who had the appearance of a champagne-coloured powder puff to have his first clip and when I returned a few hours later, I find he has become  ashorn  poodle. Oscar, underneath the fluff, had the tight curly coat of the poodle – and gone was the champagne color, except for his handsome ears.

This is all the more amusing because throughout my history as a dog-owner – and this is most of my life – I have never taken to poodles – and even though my hairdresser Brigitte, raved about the breed for 20 years, I remained unmoved.  We had had two collies, (Lady Jane and
Codger) a beloved labrador (Tyler) and for the past 13 years, our exquisite Shi Tsu Maltese X Jackson.  A poodle?Quelle horreur! Luckily for Oscar, he still had his playful nature and wicked ways which were so endearing and I am happy to report we are still in love with our very different dog.  Here are some new pix of our tiny toy Poodle, Shi Tsu Maltese X.