One of the true joys of summer has to be sugar snaps fresh off the vine.
One of the true joys of summer has to be sugar snaps fresh off the vine.
Two weeks ago I was sent me a lovely CV-19/isolation gift – a one week trial with Hello Fresh – a company that delivers meal packages with everything you need to cook from scratch. So I thought I would take the opportunity to get a little creative and make a film with it.
I will admit I was sceptical, but I have to say – the food is really good!
I have to admit that I live in a bit of a bubble. I don’t watch commercial television or listen to commercial radio. I don’t read newspapers (online, or paper).
I have terms like “Donald Trump”, “Scott Morrison” and “politics” blocked on Twitter.
I really don’t need the ongoing train wreck of Western politics in my face – even occasionally.
And then there’s commercial TV and radio – swamped by cheap to produce reality TV, “current affairs” programs that platform racists in the name of “balance” and ignore the very real problems in the world in favour of tabloid sensationalism.
I’m happy in my bubble honestly. I spend my work times with interesting people who on the whole care about the sort of things I care about – social justice, tolerance, freedom – people who understand that the world is bigger than them and requires an open mind.
As I write this, I am in Canberra. I stopped earlier at a self serve car wash to wash my car and (disappointingly) had to listen to a commercial radio station for the 15 minutes it took me to clean the car.
It reaffirmed to me that I haven’t been missing anything. From the inane banter about clothing to the news items delivered in the most effective way to make a listener feel stressed about things that don’t actually matter.
It was all just noise. Noise that, if you let it, will drown out the things in life that do matter. This is the very real problem with the “modern condition” living in a place like Sydney.
I heard recently of a man, who emigrated to Australia from India and settled in Sydney. He found employment and has been living like so many of us do – working to pay the rent and have some free time and money to enjoy himself.
His realisation though is profound: he has decided to return to the small town that his family comes from in India – because the quality of life there, while modest, is better for him than the kind of life that we live here in Sydney. In his home town he doesn’t have a lot of money, but he has time – time to spend with friends and family doing whatever they want to, or even nothing at all. He may not have great restaurants to go to like we do, but food is cheap and he and his family have time to cook and share good meals.
The list goes on, but I think that you can see the point I am making – we sacrifice a lot living in a place like Sydney. Our lives are driven by work. Our free time is seriously restricted by the daily requirement to earn money to pay rent.
A semi-rural lifestyle with limited money may not seem like the best life to you and me – we have grown up in a different way and have different expectations – but I think that it can still teach us something.
That lesson is: we shouldn’t see work and the assumption that we must all do it all the time as an inherently good thing. For most of us it is a necessary thing, but it tends to draw us away for the fundamentals of human nature – that is connections with the people around us, the sharing of simple pleasures, and time to just “be”, rather than “do”.
I think that this lesson is particularly relevant when considering my industry. Paying for the services of a male escort like myself absolutely costs money. But it’s trading money not for another “thing” in ones life, but for an experience. The older I get, the less interested I become in having things in my life and the more I value the experiences I have with other people.
Much like the gentleman from India, what I really want is to live a life full of people and new experiences with them. I think that, if anything, is the way to live a fulfilling life.
There are few things I enjoy more for breakfast than a good omelette – with buttered toast and a cup of tea. This is how I make mine…
Two weeks ago I was in Melbourne. This week I’m in Canberra for a couple of day!
I haven’t been so lucky with the weather – it’s pretty wet and blowy down here today – but it just makes it a nice day to sit in a cafe, drink tea, and write. Something of a luxury really.
The aesthetic of cities changes with the season. Having lived in Canberra a couple of times, the thing I remember most about winter is the stark beauty of the European trees, stripped of their leaves by the cold…
Walking to the cafe this morning I saw a bus with a bike rack on the front (and two bikes attached). I have never seen this before and it struck me as a very clever idea! Especially in a city like Canberra where public transport and you intended destination may not line up well. Being able to take your bike “on” the bus seems like a splendid idea.
It’s truffle season here in Canberra – and while I am not traditionally a fan of truffle oil – I have been sampling some fresh truffle and found it quite delightful. If you love truffles then Canberra is a great place to be in July, not just to eat truffles, but I am told that there are people who will take you out truffle hunting in a Truffière (the French name for a truffle orchard).
Since truffles grow underground on the roots of trees (often oaks), the hunt is conducted by truffle hounds (yes dogs! What can’t they do I ask you?) – or some people I have heard off use pigs (who love truffles too). The dogs can smell the truffle from above ground and lead the hunters right too them. It’s a rather quaint kind of industry, but given the price that black truffles fetch in restaurants (up to AUD$3000 per kilogram), it also a very serious business.
So, if you were thinking of a trip away somewhere for a weekend and are happy in a cool climate then I think that a truffle tour in Canberra would be a lot of – tasty – fun.
I watched the movie Burnt (staring Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller) recently. If you love food, cooking, restaurants, and drama, then this is a fabulous movie. It’s witty, with a great script and cast, it’s also beautifully directed, with outstanding production values, and a great score (including some excellent John Lee Hooker).
For whatever reason, this movie scored very badly with critics, but it really touched me. Perhaps because for me (having run a bakery and loving good food and cooking), I can absolutely understand the passion, the intensity, the need to create and to astound with fabulous food. I also understand the lifestyle that people who work in the food industry live, the long and horrible hours, the poor pay, the work done because you love what you are doing, even though no one else will ever get it in the same way – even as they adore your food.
And then there are the egos. Many chefs truly are like psychotic rock stars. Their staff living in fear of the next outburst, the thrown pots and pan, the broken crockery. Cooper had experience growing up working in kitchens, and he then took that to the next level studying for the part at Gordon Ramsey’s three Michelin Star restaurant in London – as did all of the cast. It really was a movie that took the job of authenticity seriously. You can read more about that here and see what Gordon Ramsey himself had to say here.
It’s a great film – regardless of what the critics say (plebes).
If you love food you should watch this movie. If you also love sex, then come and watch this movie with me and we can have great sex afterwards ;-)
I just noticed this article in the Herald …
Looks like my favourite hotel in Sydney has had a makeover! Seriously though, for the best harbour views from a hotel in Sydney I can’t recommend a better choice than the Shanri-La. They also do an excellent breakfast.
The staff are also extraordinarily professional. I once arrived (in fancy dress – painted blue from head to toe and wearing a kilt) for a book launch and the parking valet didn’t even bat an eyelid.
There is no denying that life is more fun when we are fit and healthy. You feel good, you feel virtuous, you can do the things you want to do. And it makes sex and relationships better.
The list goes on and on. Sadly, the society that we live in makes it ever harder to look after our diet and exercise needs; putting tempting foods, and longer working hours in our way every day.
My whole life I have been an active person. I played hockey from age seven and have never looked back: cross-country running, skiing, cycling, swimming, triathlon, sailing, rock climbing and more. Exercise and a good diet have become the habits of a lifetime for me.
I get out to exercise most days, but usually I am doing it alone. So, here’s my offer:
Would you like to be a fitter, healthier version of yourself and have fun doing it? Then employ me as your personal trainer+.
I had the pleasure this weekend of visiting The Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay for dinner.
The ideal way to get to The Boathouse is by water taxi. You approach from under Anzac Bridge and the taxi drops you a short distance along the waterfront from the restaurant.
It’s a great location looking out over the water back to the city, especially on a warm evening like last night.
As you might expect The Boathouse specialises in seafood. They have a great menu and I have to say that the snapper pie is fabulous. No, I really mean it. It is absolutely fabulous. They also do very good chips!
Sadly I don’t appreciate oysters, but if you do, then The Boathouse will deliver. They have a special section on their menu just for the oysters (all natural of course) listing the oysters that they serve that come from a dozen or more locations or more. The Boathouse is oyster lovers heaven.
This was the view from the corner table at The Boathouse looks back over the bay to Anzac Bridge. It really is a spectacular place.
So, there you have it. If you are looking for somewhere special for lunch or dinner, then The Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay is a great choice.