Far Out, Brussel Sprout

In late 2016 the breakfast culinary delight, Smashed Avocado, became a political football when Australian demographer, Bernard Salt, wrote in local media, “that young people buying smashed avocado with crumbled feta on five-grain toasted bread at $22 a pop was contributing to their inability to buy a home”.

This glib remark caused a total social media frenzy, and a new cultural group was formed : Baby Boomers, Gen Y, Millennials, and now, the Smashed Avocado Set. My youngest daughter proudly labels herself thus.

I am quietly awaiting another uproar by the masses following my recent offering of Smashed Brussel Sprouts at Christmas lunch.

Brussel Sprouts have a proud history with their forerunners likely cultivated in Ancient Rome and possibly as early as the 1200s, in Belgium. The first written description of Brussels sprouts was in 1587. These misunderstood little packages of goodness have been included in works of literature throughout the ages, and in Australia became a part of folklore, with the chant “Far Out, Brussel Sprout” being heard within school yards and public service buildings across the country.

Sadly in some countries Brussel Sprouts are reviled. A 2008 survey by Heinz names this compact little vegetable the most hated vegetable in America, and in the Top 5 around the world.

Here is my nod to the humble Brussel Sprout:


Cook Brussel Sprouts in salted boiling water for 15 minutes. We don’t want them soft, just not rock hard.

Drain and tip into an ice bath. Yes, like an athlete after a big game.

When coolled, Smash. Do not obliterate. You want them to retain their shape, so just press the bread board down hard on them, so they look thinner. Appearance is everything these days, and as some old biddy once said “ you can never be too thin”.

Place on a tray which has been lined with baking paper.

In a bowl mix pepper, crushed garlic, olive oil, cheese, and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over Brussel Sprouts

Bake in oven for twenty minutes , or when topping is golden in colour, and serve immediately.



I loved this dish, though in the total scheme of things, it was an abysmal failure. Surrounded by prawns, ham, turkey and several boxes of chocolates this concoction did not even rate a look in by the younger guests at Christmas lunch.

It looks like I’ll be eating it on my own for months to come.




Books As Gifts For Christmas

Okay, so I may have been too busy to do much reading with the lead up to Christmas. That certainly doesn’t mean that I have been too preoccupied to visit bookshops. Afterall, books make great gifts and I do make an effort with my selections.

And yes, you heard right: bookstores. I love them and am dreadfully old school in that I go out of my way to support local business. I must confess to some internet purchases for my Errol Flynn collection but the whole online thing (generally) holds no appeal.

Anyway, here’s a preview of some of my purchases:

For the Son-in-Law In the Defence Forces:


For the Son-in- Law’s Wife or Daughter Numero Uno:

A27CD6C9-ADD1-4378-BC3C-136E49778369 Continue reading “Books As Gifts For Christmas”

2017 Reading List -Done and Dusted.


I surrender. * waving white flag.

With the constant summer humidity, work demands, and Christmas Festivities I am unable to participate in any more reading this year. My head is too full and the old bod is tired.

For the next few weeks, until we get past the day when the jolly man in the red suit arrives, I will only be reading News Updates on the tablet, or watching DVDs under the cool of the ceiling fans, chilled G and T in hand.

And of course, the blogs of wonderful people out  there in blog world. Thank you to all for sharing some truly interesting stuff, the stuff that makes you laugh, cry, think, informs and takes you back to places you had forgotten.

Oh, I might read a cookbook or two. Every summer it is nice to present a new dish to the Christmas table. This summers on trend salad seems to be anything with watermelon in it. Watermelon, mint and Kalamata Olives? Not sure if that will satisfy any of the blokes at the table…..

The only Reading Challenge I participate in is the Australian Author Challenge : books by Aussie Authors. Book numbers hold no appeal.  I find I don’t enjoy reading when it comes to key performance indicators – blame too many years working in Customer Service……

As Frank Zappa once said, “too many books, too little time”. If a book doesn’t grab me within twenty pages they get the flick. It’s my lack of concentration and focus. They didn’t make it to the list.

There is no TBR List. Life is too bloody short. I read what I want to read, and a psychoanalyst would be hard pressed to determine why some reads tickle my fancy at the times that they do.

The pile of books at the end of my bed continues to grow, though to celebrate the end of the year my bedside table is finally clear, allowing more room for cards, letters, and that teapot full of divine sustenance.


In summary, my reading year has again been full of surprises. Coming across a book by total accident that included my Dad’s war history absolutely threw me, anything by Hannah Kent is five star, and I quite enjoyed a couple of “girlie” novels too. Putting that down to old age, hey?

I’m sure a chilled something is calling. So until then, may Santa bring you a heap on new books, and more importantly, the time to enjoy them……..

Star of Aqualina – B C Mercer.
Beach Music – Pat Conroy.
Rogue Lawyer – John Grisham
Perfume – Patrick Suskind.
A Taste of Romance – Anthology -Lauren James
The Good People – Hannah Kent.
Four Godly Kingdoms -Matthew Reilly.
The Crossroad – Mark Donaldson.
Touchstone – Laurie R King
Midsummer Garden – Kirsty Manning.
Jack – Margaret Szalay.
Touchstone – Laurie King
Short and Tall Tales – Lillian Jackson Braun.
Arthur’s War – Arthur Bancroft.
Other People’s War- Justin Sheedy.
X – Sue Grafton.
Down The Dirt Roads – Rachael Treasure.
The Fabulous Flying Mrs Miller – Carol Baxter
Truly Madly Guilty- Liane Moriarty.
All that is lost between us – Sara Foster.
The Blasphemer – John Ling.
MaNamaras Woman – Lisa Gardner.
The Big Score – Peter Corris
Falling – Emma Kavanagh.
The Prophecy of Bees – R S Pateman.
The Big Score – Peter Corris
The Chocolate Tin – Fiona Macintosh.
Under the Spanish Stars – Alli Sinclair.
My Wicked, Wicked Ways – Errol Flynn.
My Fathers War – Sophie Masson.
Girl in The Water – Paula Hawkins.
Dead or Alive – Michael Rowbottham.
The Farmers Wife – Rachael Treasure.
Food, Sex, Money – Liz Byrski.
Q is for Quarry – Sue Grafton.
Miracle Cure – Harlan Coben.
Lancaster Men – Peter Rees.
The Railway Man’s Wife – Ashley Hay.
Memories of a Go Go Dancer.
Goodoo Goodoo – Robert G Barrett.
The Good Daughter – Karen Slaughter.
You Sent Me A Letter – Lucy Dawson
Trial By Fire – Terri Blackstone.
Quentin, Not All Super Heros Wear Capes- Quentin Kenihan.
50 Bales of Hay – Rachael Treasure.
Rain music – Di Morrissey.
Ghost Children – Sue Townsend.
The Secret She Keeps – Michael Robotham.
The Distant Hours – Kate Moreton.
Memoirs of a Go Go Dancer – Justin Sheedy.
The Killer On The Wall – Emma Kavanagh.
The Rattled Bones – S M Parker.
The Museum of Modern Love – Heather Rose.
Wattle Creek – Fiona McCallum.
The Beach Cafe – -Lucy Diamond.
The House At Evelyn’s Pond – Wendy Orr.
Camino Island- John Grisham.
The Dry- Jane Harper.
Perfect – Cecilia Ahearn.
V Is For Vengeance -Sue Grafton.
The Patterson Girls- Rachael johns.
Memoirs – Lindsay O’Brien.
The Happiest Refugee – Ahn Do
Sandakan – Paul ham.
Paper Towns – John Green.
Thirsty, memoir of. Fame Whore – Joel Creasy
Reversal – Michael Connelly.
A Memoir – Peter Fitzsimons.
Mercy – Jodie Piccoult.
Saving Grace. – Fiona McCallum.
Time will Tell – Fiona McCallum.