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Mezze is widely served in the Greek and Middle eastern world. An assortment of little dishes and tasters which accompany a nice ouzo or a glass of wine. So when you read mezze moments you will have tasty snippets of life as I live it, India for four years and now Brisbane Australia, all served up with some Greek fervour and passion.

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Saturday, 31 August 2013

The unforgettable scent of citrus blossom

I grew up on an island famous for its citrus fruit and its potatoes. There was nothing like travelling through the orchards heavy with flowers and inhaling that sweet unmistakable scent of orange and lemon blossom. 
There would be festivals to celebrate the fruit and parades of floats made exclusively of oranges and lemons. A few months later the taste of those first oranges, mandarins and clementines was unparalleled and I have never found the intensity of their flavour nor the freshness of the fruit until now. 
Some person years ago planted a mandarin tree in my garden. Some of you who are readers of the blog may recall that I collected the fruit, ate it and made the most delicious juice out of it. Now it is as if I am transported back to my youth, to spring time on the island as I sit on my deck and take in the sweet smell of the blossom. The markets are awash with Australian oranges and mandarins- the essence of winter fruit and now we are heading unmistakably into a heady spring.  There is no greater joy then sitting in the ambient light of dusk and having this scent envelop your night. 

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Bribie Island

A stone's throw from Brisbane and with a linking bridge it was the obvious choice for a lazy Sunday outing and what fun it was. It took us just over an hour to reach. We parked and wandered off and within minutes we found ourselves on this long stretch of beach with people picnicking, swimming and playing ball games. It was a glorious winter's day and you can see it will take us a while to get used to the inversion of the seasons - by any standards this is some appealing winter weather ! 

We walked for miles and then sat down to a well deserved fish and chips - not just fish, but crab balls, calamari and copious chips. Just as it should be on any coastline. 

In the afternoon we drove to a reserve and another beach which was not recommended for swimming. We kept finding these spherical balls of jelly and we were very curious about what they could be. On this beach we soon found out. We think they are the bodily remnants of blue jelly fish that have been washed ashore, but interestingly on a notice board going into this area we found that it was the hairlike pink seaweed that was poisonous and not the jelly fish. 

We christened the beach Jelly Beach, as there were many Jelly blubber jellyfish to be seen washed up on the beach. They are the most common Jelly fish on the eastern coast of Australia and although they can sting they don't pose much of a serious risk.  We walked much further to find some mangrove swamps and a small fresh water lake which was a bird sanctuary - we saw so many species it would be hard to put them all down but here are some of the bigger more memorable types ! 

Saturday, 24 August 2013

EKKA animals

I have been a little late in posting this. Just too much going on. EKKA is a wonderful show not least because of all the variety and this posting is dedicated to the animal side of it which after all is how it all began. A day is hardly enough time to go through all the animals that appear so this is a potted animal blog. The horses, Arabian, cart horses, miniatures, Appaloosa ( almost like dalmatians).  The bulls magnificent animals that they are. The llamas and the sheep, but also an enormous section on poultry and pigeons which I initially ignored only to be presented with the most unbelievable feathered creatures I had never seen. And that is not even going into the cats and fish which were also on display.

Probably the most popular section was a central pen which welcomed families in to feed the animals. Little lambs and goats, calves and piggies all milling around with little humans who fed them, petted them and interacted with them. There was also a lambing area where you could see a lamb being born.

For me however the best of all were the dogs who had their own little pens. In between competitions and events we could wander around and really enjoy talking to the owners and watching the dogs being groomed and cared for. These were show dogs so blow drying them and giving them some quite special grooming was standard. We fell in love with a Labrador called Sami, a pup of about 6 months who had a beautiful face. I suppose he reminded us of Tara.

This is Sami - he didn't win but got the biggest round of applause !

Monday, 12 August 2013


The EKKA is on - and the town is abuzz with it now. It is the Brisbane Exhibition Show - the time that country meets town, when all those years ago the livestock breeders would come to display their stock, show off the latest agricultural machines and meet other country folk. 
It is called Ekka, because Aussies love to shorten all words and this was more convenient than Exhibition.This show is so loved by all as it was THE show of the year and everyone looked forward to it. After all these years, it started in 1876, it still holds a very special place in the hearts of all Queenslanders. 
This is the time when the animals are still paraded, the fair ground is lit up, the children are whooping and laughing on the rides, when parents dutifully hold the hundreds of "show bags" that they acquire for knock down prices at the fair and where everyone comes to have a good time. It is probably Brisbane's most famous show and it attracts some 400,000 visitors a year. 

Its EKKA time - the days are sunny and warm, the skies are so blue and occasionally there is a wind picking up to freshen us all up. I decided that the best way to find out what this is all about is to volunteer and that is what I have done. I have been a steward for the Garden Platform and its programme of talks and presentations from keeping "chooks," ( Oz for chickens), how to compost, or grow roses in Queensland to many more which go on for ten very full days. 

Its been such a great time and I suspect I haven't seen the half of it. While it holds onto its roots as the agricultural and livestock show, it has also moved with the times. So now there are seafood counters where you can get delicious and creamy oysters, wines from the surrounds, and enjoy cooking demos all day long. There are competitions for everything you can think of, wood cutting, milking, sheep herding, poultry, pigeons and eggs, to horses and dogs, studs and cows but also fashion shows and cooking competitions and cake decorating. 

There are fast food outlets with extraordinary things called dagwood dogs,  candy floss, all sorts of burgers and grilled meats. There are several Greek stalls and some Italian food outlets too. Most popular of all are the strawberry sundaes where 13 tonnes of strawberries are used to decorate 13,000 litres of scooped strawberry ice creams every year. In the Prince Charles Hospital Foundation stall buying a strawberry sundae will mean the profits go to medical research. Since 1990 sales of the sundaes has raised 14 million for research projects. Now how about that for a good outcome any way you look at it. 
Here are some of the highlights of the agricultural  pavilions and more on the animals in my next blog. 

Monday, 5 August 2013

The Wild plants of Greater Brisbane

For those of you who have followed my blog you will know that I am keen on the fauna and the flora. I spent the weekend leafing through "The wild plants of Greater Brisbane" and I am keen to share some of them with you as they show themselves to me. You have to admit to being curious when you come across the Angular Pigface, the Snake Vine, the Coastal Jack Bean, Hatpins and Monkey Rope, Christmas Bells, Milk Maids and Curly Wigs. How about Prickly Moses  or the worryingly named Devil's Rice ? The Red Kennedy Pea is also known as the Running Postman. I simply cannot see the correlation there ! Or perhaps the unfortunately names Blackbutt which is, to you and me, a type of Eucalyptus.The Headache vine - is it as bad as all that ? Finally the bizarrely named " Jam tarts" that could not look less than the objects in question whereas I can tell you that when you see a "Hairy Birds Eye" you will immediately think of one. Just to get the ball rolling here are some of the tamer plants in my neighbourhood. 

Friday, 2 August 2013


Walking out today I was struck by one thing- the blue, blue of the sky with not a cloud in sight. 
I rushed back home to get my camera so that I could try to capture that light for you and the way it penetrates the world in which I live while the sun warms my back in true red neck style.