Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hail, rain, shine and still blooming

An almighty hail storm hit our district last November. Gardens were stripped bare. Huge river gums snapped - toppled. No leaf or flower left in the storm's wake. Except, bless 'em, our little Stonehenge circle of old bridge timbers where Vanda orchids flower in profusion. 
It's a secluded part of the garden, right by a rainforest gully that a friend named The Lost Garden. We already had a Grevillea Hill, Pawpaw Island, and Lake Leaky. They are as they sound, but it's the Vandas behind the Orchid Igloo that radiate the real joy. Except in hailstorms.
By a stroke of luck the Vandas came to no harm in the tempest. Maybe tall timbers protected them. Or maybe, like bamboo, they can bend with the wind. In any event they budded up, bloomed profusely as never before. Quirky things orchids.
Vandas love growing on old fence posts and, given a spare tree trunk, they are away. Up! Up! Up! - the sky's the limit. Old disused bridge timbers on site gave us the clue. We concocted a kind of wooden Stonehenge, a circle of wooden uprights, where orchids cling close and radiate good vibrations. Even in inner-city Sydney we successfully grew Vanda coerulea on native Bangalow Palms. Blue coerulea Vandas appreciate warm days and cooler nights for plentiful blooms.
With garden space becoming an issue for city folk, the tendency is to breed smaller and smaller stock. Large inflated flowers on small compacted bodies is not my bag - a little like binding feet. Let Vandas run free I say.   MaX

A few thoughts on the subject of self publishing gathered together as part of a video being prepared on the subject. Graphics speak for themselves.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater

It was at the old La Rhumba in Darlinghurst I first encountered a stuffed pumpkin. Barbara Wilson and a bunch of journos tossed me a memorable lunch prior to a 6 pm takeoff for New York. Been anxious to stuff pumpkin ever since. Here we go!. Top off a two kilo Jap pumpkin. Remove seeds, hollow out the inside flesh [a curved knife would have been handy. Had to make do with a dessert spoon]. Pumpkin into a skillet with splash of oil, diced fresh peach, chunks fresh mango, chopped apple, cup of plump sultanas soaked overnight in what pleases you, cup of lean mince, splashes of white wine as the mixture cooks to 'almost done'. Season.
Spoon mix into the pumpkin shell. Bake at 200 degrees C for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and gussey up for the table. Tomato slices were a bit of a miss. Hereafter mango and orange slices perhaps. Goodbye fatty Christmas hams! This is it for my Yuletide. Delicious cold as well.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

fruit from the Saturday market

Queensland grown tropical fruit from the Saturday markets, a 350 metre stroll along the river from our Brisbane West End apartment. Hurrah! for summer. Is there anything better than Queensland grown mango, Tahitian limes, plantains, pungent red papaya, yellow pawpaw, juicy oranges and bush lemons. And those impossibly sweet rough leaf pineapples