Eat to ease East Africa’s famine

Sunday 16 October is World Food Day, and Oxfam is holding Shout the Horn to raise funds for its East Africa food crisis appeal.

Close to 12 million people in the Horn of Africa are currently facing desperate food shortages following the worst drought in 60 years. Oxfam aims to reach 3.5 million people with life-saving water, food and basic sanitation when people eat out at a participating restaurant.

If you work in a restaurant and cafe, could your place becoming a participating partner? The simple act of collecting donations on 16 October will make a difference to the lives of millions.

Full event details, including a list of participating venues and registration info can be found on Oxfam’s website. Please forward this to anyone who might be interested!

Find a participating restaurant near you – Oxfam will be updating the website daily until the event, so you can eat to ease East Africa’s famine.

My Chinese is a bit shabby, so I can’t give full attribution for this photo, but it pretty much says it all.

Notes from the back of a Daylesford wine bottle

Good Catholic Girl ‘Teresa’ Riesling 2010, Clare Valley: 

‘St Teresa of Avila b. 1515 (patron of headache sufferers) is said to have been viewed levitating during deep prayer. My mother Teresa, prays, but to this point has not achieved levitation. The consumption of Clare Riesling over many decades has not caused her to levitate either. Could this dry crisp Riesling be the one?

Grapes grown by good catholic boys Faulkner and Pearson of Penworthham and Marsson of Watervale. Blessed with 600 dozen. Julie Ann Barry, Maker.”

This excellent young Riesling was sitting perkily in the fridge of Monastiraki (Greek: ‘little monastery), the latest offering from Tina Banitski, the artist and mastermind
of The Convent, in Daylesford. 

The forbidding former Catholic nunnery and school is now a cheeky art gallery, as well as Bad Habits cafe and the Altar bar (because the bar contains a chunk of the original altar in it, as well as the tabernacle). 

Tina has also recently renovated a nearby house, stuffing it with work from her favourite artists, curios and wine to create Monastiraki, the perfect getaway for a bunch of friends or family. 

People, it is officially Out There, from the paint-splattered mannequins hanging from the coat hooks to the scarlet or lime green bedroom walls, the fabulously wild artworks, cushion-tastic daybeds and buttock sculptures, essential, of course, for any self-respecting boudoir.

Spring in the city: good reasons to visit Melbourne

Newmarket Hotel.

Today, I was led astray, into the fabulous Melbourne Middle Eastern restaurant Maha. Little did I know that they are happy to serve up coffee to passers by, and to dish up the most divine donuts that ever wobbled on the face of the earth. They’re not even on the menu, they’re that good.

As we were mainlining the dough balls, crushed pistachios and white chocolate spill (a serve consists of five donuts – five – when inevitably two people are sharing?), I was reminded that Taste of Melbourne starts tomorrow. No time to crash diet before cruising the halls of the Royal Exhibition Building to taste dishes from some of the city’s top restaurants.

There are eight great reasons to visit Melbourne at the moment:
Fringe Festival September 21 — October 9
Melbourne Festival October 6-22
Art deco walking tours
Madonna & Child by Correggio
The Art of Brick LEGO exhibition, until October 9
New bars
Food meets design
and Taste of Melbourne September 15-18

Click here to read more.

Saturday night in Daylesford

On Saturday night, I
was in Kazuki, the newest restaurant in delicious Daylesford, about 90 minutes
north of Melbourne. Daylesford is, of course, hip to the eyeballs. Only a
population of 7000 people, yet it has art galleries, cafes, restaurants and
beautiful villas wriggling out of every pore.
Kazuki is a Japanese
restaurant on up and coming Howe St, and while I was snacking on tiny plates of
smoked eel ravioli and Japanese mushroom and celery soup, I looked across at
the next table, to see a couple enjoying a romantic evening: the wine, the
food, the view of the darkened street. The only odd note  was that they were both about 20. Was I so
composed that at 20, I was taking dates out to swanky restaurants full of
ingredients I couldn’t pronounce? I can quite safely admit that no, I was far
too busy skulking around looking for low-budget entertainment in band pubs,
existing on a diet of unflavoured boiled rice, to even contemplate such
“These kids of
Daylesford,” I thought, “they’re in a class of their own.”
Mind you, several
hours later into the evening, a band of the buggers ripped the two wing mirrors
off my daggy old, hardworking car. They’re not so bloody different, after all.

Poor Ned, it’s hard to get a head

Death mask of Ned Kelly.
 Police killer or a true, blue Aussie? Bushranger Ned Kelly
is back in the news, 130 years after he was hung till dead in Old Melbourne

For the foreigners in the crowd, Our Ned had a penchant for
holding up banks, but was forced to go on the run after killing one or three police
officers during raids. 
Ned, whose dad, Red Kelly, came from Moyglass in Co
Tipperary, was hanged in Melbourne in 1880, but his remains, along with those
of 134 other prisoners, were later moved to Pentridge Prison, in the Melbourne
suburb of Coburg. Prison officers had poured lime over the remains,
unintentionally preserving them so that 130 years later, the DNA from Ned’s
sister’s great-grandson could identify that the bones were, in fact, the
infamous bushranger’s.
Mick Jagger does Ned.
Ned’s skull was stolen in 1978, but when it was returned,
recent comparisons between the skull and his death mask, modelled on his face
while his dead body was cooling, have showed it’s not Kelly’s cranium, but is
possibly the skull of notorious British murderer Fred Deeming.
It’s a rough trot for a bloke, to have his bones carted
around in the public gaze nearly a century and a half later. And now, the Kelly
family and government bodies are beginning the wrangle over where those bones, it
will be a while till he’s finally laid to rest. But where? In a tacky tourist
trap or displayed tastefully in a museum, alongside his death mask? Either way,
his skull is still missing. To use Ned’s last words, “Such is life.”