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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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Friday, 27 February 2015

Clean up Australia day

This is the announcement that came in on one of the flyers from estate agents in the region where I live. 

Clean Up Australia Day
This Sunday 1st of March marks 25 years of Clean Up Australia Day and what better way to celebrate than to participate in one of Australia’s biggest volunteer cause.  
Over the past 25 years Clean Up Australia has removed an estimated 288,650 tonnes of rubbish from across the country. Get behind this great cause and take pride in your suburb! To register as a volunteer or your own clean-up site click here.

Another reason for enjoying life here - the norms of a civilised and ordered society are there in people's lives and everyone abides by them. NO trash on the beaches- nothing- no trash in the forests- but none in the cities either. 

It's just as it is - and on the odd occasion when something has been left, another passer- by will often take the trouble to dispose of it in a nearby bin. 

Now all that needs to happen is for the next message to become part of the everyday - that food wastage is  enormous - nearly 40% of food produced is wasted and this must stop. It must become unacceptable in the same way as littering or anti social behaviour is treated in society and yet no one seems to be talking about this.  I have just reviewed a film called "Just Eat it!"

This film which has been written by Jenny Rustmeyer and Grant Baldwin.They decided to conduct an experiment and see if they could live for six months on food that has been dumped by supermarkets, farmers and restaurants. It wasn't easy but they survived and in the process of this exercise which they filmed they offer the viewer some sobering facts about the amount of food wasted.This has never become taboo, like littering or drunk driving and we all have to ask ourselves why, as the levels of obesity rise in the western world while populations are chronically malnourished in developing countries, as supermarkets conduct price wars on products and farmers and the consequences of all these actions are blatantly obvious but somehow the message has simply not taken off and it needs to. 

So I will get out there and clean up Australia, not just on Sunday but every day where I see any litter.  - But more importantly I will start to think about shopping and meals, I will plan more carefully so nothing goes to waste, I will compost scraps and I will eat imperfect vegetables and fruit because the goodness is in the content not the shape and I will play my small part in sharing their message, and telling you about this film, but also encouraging you, if you feel the same, to treat food wastage in the same as you would littering and make it part and parcel of your everyday. 

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Nature's force

There can only be one blog post this week.
We have had two cyclones Marcia and Lars battering the Queensland coastline and while here in the city we have not had the damaging winds, yet,  we have had two full days of almost relentless rain. Rivers are bursting their banks, creeks are overflowing, storm drains are struggling to keep up with the flow. Suddenly you can see that nature here unfurls in a very strong and sometimes unpredictable way.

I was warned about the storm of 27th November on my phone. I looked out the window and the skies were blue. By the time I had gone downstairs to shut the French doors the skies had turned within minutes and the most unbelievably ferocious storm was unleashing itself upon us.

Cyprus is frozen, I suspect for a short while and Niagara falls frozen for longer. But there is only one take home message from all of this.

From Maria Stylianou- Landscapes of Cyprus 
Respect what is out there and give it a wide berth. The Australian authorities have been proactive in preparing and averting any loss to human life. Property damage is almost inevitable at wind speeds of 250 kms an hour, so for the moment everyone I am staying put, with lots of rainy day projects,  hoping to God, the creek at the bottom of my road doesn’t  end up flowing through my living room.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Valentine's day and all the trimmings

The shops are awash with red roses and cards, dainty little arrangements with snuggly little bears and puppies on backgrounds of hearts and red ribbons and I have, to my shame, written an article encouraging people to scrimp on the roses but splash out on the dinners.

Wandering through the shopping malls and perhaps being longer in the tooth I could see a side of Valentine, which was unashamedly sexy. Lets face it most couples are not just going for the food.

The end result a side to retail that perhaps I had not appreciated till now. Underwear takes on the most lavish, lurid and large sizes I have EVA seen as they say round here and I just had to share some of these with you together with a cracker of a joke from my friend Sarita, aptly combining my old Indian life with my Aussie present.

Bengali Bra

A man found a sales lady, and asked
' I would like a Bengali bra for my wife, size 34 B.'

With a quizzical look the saleslady asked, 'What kind of bra?'

He repeated 'A Bengali bra.

She said to tell you that she wanted a Bengali bra, and that you would know what she means.'

'Ah, now I remember,' said the saleslady.'We don't get as many requests for them as we used to. Mostly our customers lately want the Catholic bra, or the Jain bra, or the Parsi bra.'

Confused, and a little flustered, the man asked, 'So, what are the differences?

'The saleslady responded. 'It is all really quite simple.

The Catholic bra supports the masses.

The Jain bra lifts up the fallen & downtrodden.

The Parsi bra keeps one staunch & upright.'

He mused on that information for a minute, & asked,'So, what does the Bengali bra do?

'The Bengali bra,' she replied, 'Makes Mountains Out of Mole Hills.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone !

Saturday, 7 February 2015

In Niki's light.

Two year ago today my eldest sister left us rather suddenly. We were wholly unprepared. We suspect she had some premonition, some of it reflected in her last paintings in Egypt and in the things she said before she left on this last voyage. We will never know.

The tears still well up but don’t spill so copiously as in those first months. Life is cunningly good to us that way. However much grief consumes you, life pulls you away day by day, almost by degrees, to allow you the strength to carry on. There is however never a severance because she spent her life investing in all of us and now comes the gain. Forever enjoying her love of nature, of culture and literature and lest I forget of course food. She shared all of those with us, a carefully planned meal of some special ingredient, a watercolour that appeared as if by magic on a boy’s birthday or my name day. Books overflowing from our father’s vitrine. Now no longer housing medical manuals and odd human parts in jars, but filled with collector’s copies, precious editions pillaged in the war from my uncle’s Famagusta library and painstakingly found in auction houses around the world which she bought back and looked after. Others saved from certain ignominy as she browsed the church fairs at St Paul’s Church in Nicosia where she picked up books for a couple of euros.  Even a book which I had accidentally given away only to find her returning it back into my hands with the treasured namesake in its cover. That is how perceptive and open she was.

So two years to the day she is lost to our physical touch but none the less present in so much of our lives, whether on voyages of her daughter drawn to places that held equal mystery and fascination for her, or in the writings and passionate embrace of culture by my middle sister, the collective efforts, nieces, sisters, boys and all in the kitchen to emulate some of her delicious dishes and the remembrances of special friends who had shared an event, a musical interlude, a day drawing in the fields or an exchange filled with insight, poetry and passion. My days in Australia are lived in this shared light of the continent and hers and long may they both last.