Archive for the ‘culture’ Category

Guava swaps 2017

This is what the poor guava tree looks like right now:

Guava tree 2017

The birds… and the bats… have told their friends. So I had to double exclusion bag the fruit, because they had worked out that they could still bite the fruit through the netting and suck the sweet goodness out. This meant I had half the number of bags available. My partner saw a magpie fly past, and then hang *upside down* from a fruitfly exclusion bag, then swing and peck at the fruit within. No photo!

I ran out of netting, and fruit exclusion bags. The local hardware store had 4 x 4m netting for $25. Instead, I went to the local haberdashery store and bought gauze curtain remnants – about 3 pieces for the same price.

Gauze remnants

So I promised you last time, that I would tell you about my guava swaps.

In previous years I have made jelly, jam, guava butter, guava bread, guava nectar, dehydrated guava (failed – don’t do this), guavas in sugar syrup and then just frozen guava with dots of butter, ready for my next pie. Then I changed jobs and lost access to incredible amounts of freezer space.

So this year, I decided to swap them. I have no idea how many kilos have fallen off the tree, but it’s at least 10kg.

Swap 1: 1-2 kg guavas for 12 dozen backyard eggs
No photo.

Swap 2: 500g odd guavas for 1.5 pomegranate fruit

Guava swap 2
These were really very tart pomegranates. My co-swapper had been having them in cocktails

Swap 3: 2kg guavas for vegetarian kimchi from the intertwined foodie, preserved lemons and 6 passionfruit

Guava swap 3

I didn’t even realise that standard kimchi wasn’t vegetarian – it uses shrimp or fish sauce. The substituted seaweed added a really moreish yumminess that made me want more.

Swap 4: 1-2kg guavas for fermented honey & garlic and 3 seeds potatoes (royal otway, snow queen, royal blue)

Guava swap

Fermented honey and garlic is supposed to be a good health tonic, warding away colds and flu type things.

Swap 5: 1-2kg guavas for soapwort cuttings, dwarf peach seedling, broad bean seeds (for planting)

Guava swap 5

I planted the tripoli directly about a a fortnight ago, but still haven’t seen any shoots come up. This is against my better judgement, because I think broad beans are just *so* *much* *work*.

Swap 6: 4 guavas for purple asparagus seedling and pineapple sage cuttings. Some of the pineapple sage I then used to swap for a horseradish plant and a chinese veggie – White Mugwort.

Swap 7: 6 guavas for 3 x monsterosa deliciosa fruits (fruit salad plant/swiss cheese plant)

Guava swap 7

This fruit comes off a very common ornamental plant. The fruit is actually the “stamen” of the lily-like flower, and may take up to a year to ripen. You have to wait until the ‘scales’ start falling off (& ricocheting across the room) before the fruit is ripe. To me, it tasted like custard apple. Of course, once I had swapped this fruit, I started to see it *everywhere*, and got so excited when I managed to harvest three in short succession from a roadside ornamental garden.

Swap 8: 6 or so guavas for some “not too hot” chillies (Bishop’s crown chillies)

Guava swap 8

I still haven’t tasted them. My co-swapper was just happy to get rid of some, but he did promise that they weren’t too hot.

Swap 9: 6 or so guavas for a little butternut pumpkin and a few lilli pilli fruits

No photo.

Swap 10: 2kg guavas for 8 empty jars
No photo.

Swap 11: 6 or so guavas for cumquat & lime marmalade (big jar) and spicy plum jam (little jar).

Guava swap 11

The spicy plum jam reminded me of a spicy rhubarb pickle that I had made recently. At the end, I had a little of the spicy sugar syrup left over, so I added some plums, mushed it up and called it done. My co-swapper makes jams and jellies professionally, but only uses a little guava to make a jelly for one client. The rest is bulked out with apple juice (!?!).

Swap 12: 6 or so guavas for a ginger bug from kitchen adventures!

Guava swap 12

Ginger bug makes drinks fizzy. You start off with ginger, sugar and water; and the bacteria on the ginger ferments. When you feed the bug, you take a little of the liquid off and add that to tea in a sealed container. A few day later – fizzy!! The bottle of tea blew off the swing top lid because it didn’t get out of the way in time.

Guava swap 12

Swap 13: 1 kg guavas for 1kg homegrown mandarins

Guava swap 13

Some of the mandarins were a bit tart at first, but when they ripened up they were sweet and delicious.

I didn’t actually realise until I started writing this out, how many good things my guavas had gained me this year. Guava season started about mid May this year, and I’m now 3/4 of the way through June. Thirteen swaps!! Really?! That seems like so many.

Sydney Festival Village 2017

I went to the Sydney Festival village this year, not because I was seeing a show, but because I wanted to try a burger from Mary’s. I had seen their burger truck, briefly at the Big Design Market 2016 (Sydney Edition), but the queue was too long for my tastes.


Mary’s Burger ($12):

Mary's Burger

Toasted plain bun, slice of tomato,”mary’s sauce”, melted cheese, beef patty, butter to make the bun crispy.

This was quite tasty; and the bun remained crispy on the inside to the last bit. The special Mary’s sauce is probably just the same as the special McDonald’s sauce on a Big Mac.

Mary’s CBD has the same burger for $10, so there is a slight premium for the portable Mary’s/village atmosphere.

Since it was taking *so long* for my burger to be made, and I was hungry, I also ordered from the Bodega stall.

Corn and Cheese Tamale ($12):

Corn and cheese tamale

A proper tamale is corn flour (masa harina), add various flavourings like meat, fat, garlic, onion packed into corn husks and steamed. It ends up log shaped. This was kind of like a polenta ‘mush’, but very tasty (deep fried corn chips), all the same. Perhaps I’ll do this sort of thing to my polenta next time I cook it at home.

Sydney Festival Village
Hyde Park North (near Archibald Fountain)
Until Sunday 29 January 2017
Mon: Closed
Tue-Fri: 1630 till “late”
Sat-Sun: 12noon till “late”

Sculpture by the Sea 2016

This year I planned ahead, and booked a day off months in advance to visit the annual Sculpture by the Sea exhibition. We picked a day just after the exhibition had opened to try and avoid the queues. This is very unusual for me. Unfortunately, it also appeared to be the day that all the school groups had chosen to do the work, so the crowds were approaching weekend levels.

The view over Tamarama:

Sculpture by the Sea 2016

104 – Fair Dinkum Offshore Processing (Bronek Kozka):

Fair Dinkum Offshore Processing

Kind of poignant with the ‘tourist’ crowd outside the fence looking in, and this other woman walking away. I’m sure that the placement of this installation on the end of a concrete ramp, closest to the water was a deliberate statement.

100 – Buried Rhino (Gillie and Marc Schattner):

Fwd: Buried Rhino

Against the rules, I tapped the sculpture. I thought it was made of plastic; but no, it’s fibreglass, steel, bronze. Small children really seemed to like playing in the sand mound above the rhino’s “belly”. I suspect this will get the people’s choice award.

87 – Reality TV (Anne Levitch):
Reality TV

This is part of the detail of the reality tv ‘cube’. The detail in the cutting of the steel is amazing. I suspect that a laser cutting machine was used.

84 – Fluid (Norton Flavel):
Fluid//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

This one is interesting. If you approach from the Tamarama end, it looks like a big drop of water, particularly as you can see the ocean beyond as you walk up the stairs. If you approach from Bondi, it looks like a big bunch of rusty drums.

82 – Chronic Series No. 1, I(L), 2(L), 8+ 5(L) (Zheng Yuan Lu):

Chronic Series

Upon approach, it looks like a bag of rubbish. Then you see the form taking shape in front of your eyes – oh my god, it looks like a body bag! If you’re at the right angle, you too can spot a photographer tourist, taking a photo of an adjacent sculpture, and posing in the same fashion as the ‘body bag’ in front of you!

67 – Naturally Volatile (Elaine Clocherty)

Naturally Volatile

This was a work in progress as we walked past, made out of a swirly pile of dirt, and a selection of Australian nuts and seed things.

66 – Three vessels – Amphora, Pug and Torpedo (Andrew Burton)

Amphora, Pug, Torpedo

This one is Amphora. It looks like these were made in ‘sections’, and then bolted together. It looks very labour intensive with all those little bricks, and piled here and there, mini chimneys. I like it.

60 – After Party (Sean Cordeiro & Claire Healy)
Fwd: After Party

I now work in projects where earth movers are a little more common. This one made me laugh with the disco ball in the cabin and the bling in the bucket.

57 – Big Intentions (Mikaela Castledine)

Big Intentions

I have done some weaving, and made a teeny tiny basket. Enough to know that this is very labour intensive artwork. Not to say that the others aren’t labour intensive, but I have more of an understanding with this one. There were quite a lot of sculptures this year which had weaving as a theme.

27 – Place of our Dreams – (The Bankstown Koori Elders Group Inc)

Place of our Dreams

This was quite neat, a “portable” version of the cave art and dreamtime storylines that are scattered over the Australian landscape if only you knew where to look, or had been told the stories.

10 – Weave the Reef, Love the Reef (Marion Gamers)

Weave the Reef, Love the Reef

This was a collection of net, wire, beach & urban rubbish; used to reveal a threat to The Great Barrier Reef. This was placed quite pleasing to the eye, making you feel like you are under water on a reef. There were a lot of turtles. These had been crocheted and woven from found materials. Then, opposite, was the very essence of what this artist was protesting about. Plastic rubbish from a ‘temporary’ installation of bright yellow flags and warning tape along the hand rail.

9 – Adaptation (Niharika Hukku):

Adaptation

Glows in the dark! Also in with the ocean theme, but also a little like bleached coral…?

2 – Many Many III (Stephen King):

Many Many III

Many Many IIIb

There were quite a lot of tourists and sightseers having photos taken with themselves at the ‘front’ or face end of this sculpture. Did any of them pause for more than the time to take the photo to actually look at the faces?

The sculpture by the sea outdoor exhibition runs along the Coogee to Bondi coast walk for 20 October – 6 November 2016; and in Cottesloe Beach, Western Australia for 3 to 20 March 2017.

Pyrmont Farmers markets is closing

The granddaddy* of farmers markets in Sydney is closing down!

I think my sister heard rumours about this before it was announced in the paper.

I was quite sad to hear about this, it was probably the first farmers markets that I attended.

Looking at my earlier posts, although the first dated post discussing the markets is in 2009, I had definitely been going in the years before. I remember overhearing someone declaring “these are the best markets ever!”, and me thinking: Hmm, you don’t get out much, do you?

I wonder – was it because there’s now a lot more competition for farmers markets, the one at Pyrmont being one of the first?
Was it because the rent charged by the nearby casino got too expensive?
The lack of parking and public transport?
Or has Sydney followed America’s lead, and reached peak farmers market saturation? I did ask a producer at my local market, and it was agreed that market sales had been slowing down.

Saturday 2 April 2016 will be the last growers markets for the forseeable future. I do wonder if there will be a special one off for good food month later on in October.

*I acknowledge that the Orange grove markets in Rozelle were in-place before the Pyrmont markets started.

Buy nothing new month 2015

My normal practice is to see that buy nothing new month has already happened, and then do my own thing for the month of November.

This year, I was about to buy (another) yoga mat. Not because I needed it, but because I couldn’t be bothered carrying my yoga mat between offices. There is a yoga program at the office in the CBD; and there is a yoga program in my main office out in the western suburbs.

Carrying the yoga mat between the two just too much effort; have you been on a sydney train in peak hour?

The document obtained by Fairfax Media shows patronage on the Western Line is expected to increase 4.5 per cent a year until 2021, the fastest growth on the network. This is followed by the Northern Line (3.7 per cent) between Epping and Strathfield and the Airport & East Hills Line (3.3 per cent).
The documents show the average load on Western Line services arriving at Parramatta would be more than 1400 passengers a train. It is difficult to run services on time when trains carry more than 1200 passengers because people take a long time to get on and off carriages in the crush.
Punctuality figures released last week show the Western Line, Sydney’s busiest, is already struggling to cope. The line recorded the city’s lowest punctuality figure last year at 92.2 per cent, just above the government’s 92 per cent target and below the overall rate of 94.7 per cent.

So the existence of buy nothing new month has worked! I checked my desire for a new yoga mat up until the end of October. After that, I’ll have to re-evaluate after seeing if carrying it in between locations is really all that bad.

Did the “buy nothing new month” campaign make you re-evaluate the need for a purchase? What was it?

Transmission will resume shortly…

I’m so snowed under what with bees, family, work, uni studies… I’m still here underneath all this stuff!

I promise I will try and resume transmission shortly. Speaking of test patterns, I recently bought a dress from Preap and Coutts that I have nicknamed the test pattern dress, because of the colouring. What do you think?

Vivid Sydney 2015

I only saw a snippet of the Vivid 2015 light festival in Sydney this year.

I caught the train to Circular Quay, saw the lights from the Cahill Expressway. Watched the light show projected on Customs House. Whilst waiting ferry to Darling Harbour, I also saw the light show projections on the Museum of Contemporary Art building and the Opera House. Finally, there I saw a bit of the light and music show in the water at Darling Harbour. That one reminded me a bit of the light show at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, except the music was turned all the way up to eleven and was WAY TOO LOUD. Eh? Wazzat? I can’t hear you.

My favourite?

Customs House:

Vivid 2015

Unlike may others in the crowd, I didn’t take simultaneous video and still photos of the show. Apparently it was called Enchanted Sydney, designed by the Spinifex Group. I just know it had an explanatory sign on it for number 12. Plus there was a bee flitting around some of the early botanical scenes.

I liked it because it told a story. The projected shows on the MCA and the operahouse were just pretty patterns. It reminded me a bit of the 2014 Christmas light show on the Melbourne Town Hall – created by the Electric Canvas.