Parasite attacks Morisset kangaroos: poll  

MORE than 150 kangaroos are believed to have died in less than a month after an outbreak of a parasitic infection led to the discovery of up to 10 carcasses a day in the grounds of Morisset Hospital.
Nanjing Night Net

Alarmed wildlife rescue carers called in the authorities after finding too many of the dead animals to dispose of, prompting a joint investigation involving the RSPCA, Department of Primary Industries, Taronga Zoo experts, the Office of Environment of Heritage and others.

Kangaroos at Morisset. Pic: Dean Osland.

Native Animal Trust Fund president Audrey Koosmen said dead kangaroos were first reported to the organisation, which has cared for the animals at the site for some years, about three weeks ago.

Initially she thought it was the work of more “ratbags” who had run over or attacked the animals in the past.

But with large adult eastern grey kangaroos dying quickly, and more carcasses being discovered, the organisation realised “there’s something really wrong with these animals”.

“There’s a lot of little orphans left too,” she said.

“We had to bring the department in and say ‘we can’t cope with this any more’, when we had to dispose of [the carcasses].”

Initial findings show “no evidence of malicious poisoning” and that the kangaroos have been infected with a blood-borne parasite called Babesia, although the species has yet to be identified.

In livestock, it is referred to as “tick fever”, capable of swiftly killing large cattle and requiring quarantines for large outbreaks.

Samples of the kangaroos have been sent to Taronga Zoo this week for autopsy.

A Department of Primary Industries spokeswoman said other samples had been sent to its Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute.

“Babesia macropus has previously been found to infect kangaroos in Australia,” she said.

“This species is not known to have the potential to spread to humans.”

Hunter New England Health reminded staff and clients of the psychiatric hospital not to touch the animals.

Ground staff have also been asked to wear masks and protective equipment when disposing of the roos.

But animal rescuers are angry large numbers of tourists have ignored signs and fed the kangaroos bread, drawing large numbers of both humans and animals to what has become an unofficial visitor attraction.

“I have never seen so many animals in the one spot. I think they’re over-grazed, they may have contaminated their own area,” Ms Koosmen said.

“Now when you drive in the gates – honest to God, when I got down there, there was probably 150 of them waiting at the gate for the [tourist] buses.”

Ms Koosmen was stunned to witness foreign tourists recently pull a joey from its mother’s pouch for a photo.

“Then one of them was trying to cuddle this big buck who’s about six foot tall. I said ‘leave him alone, he’s a father, he’ll bite you, he’ll kick you’,” she said.

Hunter New England Health population health service director Dr David Durrheim said the number of people visiting the grounds was a concern, “and we request that tour operators and other visitor information websites remove any reference to the facility as a tourist attraction”.

Bland joins Dull and Boring

A COMBINATION of Dull, Boring and Bland is the cause of plenty of excitement with three ordinary-named locales coming together to form the League of Extraordinary communities.
Nanjing Night Net

Last Tuesday, a quirky new tourism partnership was recognised by Bland Shire Council in which it will pair with US Pacific-northwest community Boring and the small village of Dull in the Scottish Highlands in an effort to boost visitors to the region.

Despite opposition, Bland Shire Council mayor Neil Pokoney welcomed the new links saying the partnership was “comedic and fun”, with him hoping the league will give the shire more notoriety to international tourists.

“A few people were worried it was disrespectful to the Bland Shire name,” Councillor Pokoney said, adding he had spoke on US radio as part of the partnership.

“But it’s meant to be light-hearted and a promotional tool for the entire shire, which has plenty to offer for travellers who might want to visit.”

Bland Shire has a population of 6000 people.

Boring has a population of 8000 while Dull is the smallest of the three, with about 80 residents.

Last September, a council employee read about the existing Dull and Boring partnership and thought it could be useful for Bland Shire to become a part of it.

“Boring was driving the initial partnership with Dull it is the biggest of us all,” Cr Pokoney said.

The partnership has already been reported on by the ABC, BBC and in UK, US and Canadian newspapers.

Bland Shire council deputy mayor Liz McGlynn said any publicity was good publicity for the shire and its towns.

“I hope it gets people talking and coming to the region,” Councillor McGlynn said.

Bland Shire has joined forces with Dull and Boring.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Zohab Zee Khan’s performance poetry a slam dunk for reaching high school students

“It doesn’t feel like too long ago that I was one of them, you know”: Zohab Zee Khan.Zohab Zee Khan has little in common with the dead white male poets students commonly meet at high school.
Nanjing Night Net

Dressed in high-top sneakers and a flat-brimmed baseball cap, he delivers his lines with the rhythm and physicality of a rapper.

As a 26-year-old living in the Illawarra, the world he rhymes about is familiar to the students at Dapto High School. ”It doesn’t feel like too long ago that I was one of them, you know,” said Khan, a state poetry slam champion.

The ease with which the artist connects with the teenagers is what drives the Red Room Company’s education program.

”Where normally it’s poetry on the page, this becomes poetry in the air,” said Tamryn Bennett, the not-for-profit organisation’s education manager. ”And they’re themes that these students are encountering themselves.”

The workshop explored the genre of guerilla poetry, writing and performing poetry in unconventional ways.

Students scrawled their verses across windows, which did not look out of place in the creatively-minded school, which has deliberately coated its walls in murals, paintings and graffiti art.

”We have an inexcusable number of blank walls but we’re doing everything we can to make this place beautiful and interesting,” principal Andrew FitzSimons said. ”Engaged students learn better, they attend more regularly and they take more responsibility.”

Maddison Raisin, who says she has created poetry in private from a young age, wrote about ”a stray cat being tossed from home to home and how it feels”.

Phoebe Parkin was ”utterly blown away” by the energy Khan put into his performance. ”It’s not just words on a piece of paper,” the 17-year-old said. ”Older teachers have the knowledge that younger people don’t have but they don’t have the way to engage them. They can teach you about poetry but he shows you what poetry is.”

For Khan, too, poetry has been a form of therapy at times.

”It has got me through plenty of times of jubilation and plenty of times of sadness,” he said. ”If I can give them the skills to write and express themselves, I think that’s a job well done.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

A spicy fix from the deep south

Rice flour-crusted oyster po’boy with sriracha mayo.Huxtabook, by Daniel Wilson, is available in stores nationally from March. Published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $49.95. This is an edited extract.Rice flour-crusted oyster po’boy with sriracha mayo
Nanjing Night Net

As I did my formal chef training in the United States, I’m well versed in the many different sandwiches they make there. These were one of the first po’ boys to appear on a Melbourne menu, and they have now popped up in lots of places around town. I find them especially good when nursing a hangover.

4 small Vietnamese bread rolls

125g (1/2 cup) Japanese mayonnaise (Kewpie)

3 tsp Sriracha chilli sauce (see note)

vegetable oil, for deep-frying

12 oysters, shucked and washed in salted water to remove any shell

rice flour, for dusting

1/2 iceberg lettuce, finely sliced

1. Slice the bread rolls in half, leaving one side intact, and warm them in a moderate oven.

2. Mix the Kewpie with the chilli sauce.

3. Heat about five centimetres of oil in a large saucepan to 180C. Test by dipping a wooden chopstick into the oil: the chopstick will sizzle when the oil is ready.

4. Dust the oysters in the rice flour and lower them into the hot oil. Deep-fry for one minute, or until just cooked through and crisp. Remove from the oil using a slotted spoon and drain immediately on paper towel.

5. Toss the lettuce through the kewpie chilli dressing and place inside the warm buns. Top each bun with three oysters and enjoy!

Serves 4

Note: Sriracha chilli sauce is a Thai sauce made from chillies, vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt. Most Asian grocers stock it.

Jalapeno and cheddar croquettes

These little guys have been probably the most popular bite at Huxtable. They’re inspired by an American bar snack called the jalapeno popper (a whole jalapeno chilli stuffed with cheese, then crumbed and fried). Ours are creamy in texture and do really scream for beer! One is never enough.

250ml (1 cup) milk

35g butter, diced

65g plain (all-purpose) flour

1½ tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)

40g (1/3 cup) chopped pickled jalapeno chillies

50g grated cheddar

Vegetable oil, for deep-frying

Crumbing mixture

2 eggs

250ml (1 cup) milk

160g (2 cups) fresh breadcrumbs

Plain (all-purpose) flour, for dusting

For the croquettes

1. Combine the milk, butter, flour and cornflour in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 15 minutes, until the sauce is very thick and the floury taste has cooked out. Make sure the sauce is very thick, otherwise you won’t be able to roll and crumb the croquettes.

2. Spoon the mixture into a bowl. Add the jalapenos and cheese and season with sea salt and ground black pepper. Refrigerate for at least four hours, until firm.

To crumb the croquettes

1. Whisk together the egg and milk. Place the breadcrumbs in a bowl.

2. Roll the cold cheese mixture into 12 balls. Dust the balls with the flour, then coat in the egg wash, then the breadcrumbs. Put the croquettes back into the egg wash, then back into the breadcrumbs, to double-crumb them.

3. Place on a tray lined with plastic wrap, then refrigerate for about an hour to set the crumbs.

To serve

1. Heat about five centimetres of vegetable oil in a large saucepan to 180C. Test by dipping a wooden chopstick into the oil – the chopstick will sizzle when the oil is ready.

2. Working in batches, deep-fry the croquettes for 1-2 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oil using a slotted spoon and drain immediately on paper towel.

3. Season with sea salt and enjoy hot, with a frosty beer.

Serves 12Ice-cream and fudge sandwich

I have fond memories of being over at my neighbours, who always had ice-cream slices and pink wafers that fit to make a sandwich. This is my pimped version, which has the centre cut out to allow for chocolate fudge to be piped in. We have had this on the menu since day one and change the flavour with every batch of ice-cream made. The possibilities are endless — just start with the vanilla base and add whatever you like. We usually use dark chocolate fudge, but change it to white chocolate sometimes to complement the ice-cream flavour.

Note: The anglaise recipe must be prepared at least one day in advance of serving the ice-cream sandwich.

For the shortbread

155g sugar

300g plain (all-purpose) flour

pinch of sea salt

210g cold butter, diced

For vanilla Anglaise (ice-cream base)

500ml unhomogenised milk

500ml pouring (single/light) cream

200g sugar

1 vanilla bean, split lengthways and seeds scraped

15 egg yolks

1 heaped tablespoon liquid glucose

For dark chocolate fudge

105ml milk

90ml pouring (single/light) cream

90ml liquid glucose

1 tablespoon water

200g dark chocolate, chopped

For white chocolate fudge

50ml pouring (single/light) cream

35ml milk

75ml liquid glucose

2 teaspoons water

175g white chocolate, chopped

METHOD

For the shortbread

1. Combine the sugar, flour and salt. Place the butter in a food processor with half the flour mixture. Pulse until just combined, scraping down the side as needed.

2. Add the remaining flour mixture and pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs.

3. Tip the mixture into a bowl and lightly knead to form a dough. Divide into two portions, cover with plastic wrap and rest in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

4. Remove the dough from the fridge 30 minutes before you want to use it. Roll the dough out to about 5mm between two sheets of baking paper, then place back in the fridge, still between the paper, to rest for at least 30 minutes.

5. Preheat the oven to 160C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Peel the top paper layer from the dough, then use a 10cm ring cutter to cut out 10 discs.

6. Place on the baking tray and prick each with a fork a few times. Bake for 10–12 minutes, or until just cooked and very lightly golden.

7. Leave on the trays to cool, then remove once set. Store in an airtight container in a cool dark place; the shortbread will keep for several days.

Makes 10

For the vanilla anglaise

1. Scald the milk, cream, sugar, vanilla pod and vanilla seeds in a saucepan over medium heat. Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks and glucose in a large bowl.

2. Slowly pour the scalded milk into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly.

Strain the mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the anglaise becomes thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Strain immediately into a bowl set over an iced water bath, then stir frequently until cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

3. The next day, churn the mixture in an ice-cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once churned, spread out on a tray so the mixture is about 1.5cm thick. Freeze overnight.

4. The next day, cut out a disc of ice-cream, using a 10cm ring cutter. Now cut the middle from that ring, using a 3cm cutter. Place the larger outside ring on a tray lined with baking paper and place back in the freezer. Repeat until you have four discs with the centre cut out. (You can save the centre discs for topping other desserts.)

For the dark chocolate or white chocolate fudge (can be made several days ahead)

Make either the dark or white chocolate fudge, using the following method.

1. Combine all the ingredients, except the chocolate, in a saucepan and heat until simmering.

2. Place the chocolate in a food processor. Slowly add the hot liquid, while blitzing to combine. Once combined, scrape down the side and blitz for 1 minute more.

3. Pour the fudge mixture into a disposable piping (icing) bag. Leave to cool at room temperature, then refrigerate until ready to use. The fudge can be made several days ahead, left in the fridge.

Note: Before cutting the end off the piping bag, squish the bag in your hands a little to burst the air bubbles and smooth the fudge.

To serve

Look through your shortbread discs and reserve the four best-looking ones to use as tops. Place the other four on separate plates, with the tray side facing upwards. Place an ice-cream disc on each one, then pipe the fudge into the hole in the middle of the ice-cream. Place the other shortbreads on top. If the ice-cream is really firm (depending how cold your freezer is), you may want to wait for 5 minutes or so before serving.

Most people use a fork and spoon to eat this dessert, but I think the best way to enjoy it is to pick it up!

Serves 4

 

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Year of umami

Why do lasagne and spaghetti bolognese taste so good? It’s all to do with the parmesan and tomatoes. Photo: Marina Oliphant Lasagne with Bolognese.
Nanjing Night Net

Bolognese ragu.

BBQ nori prawns with lemon soy. Photo: Marina Oliphant

It took a long time for umami to come to the party. Recognition of the ”fifth taste” lagged several thousand years behind its bandmates sour, sweet, salty and bitter. But in terms of its game-changing importance, the identification of umami in 1908 was the Higgs Boson – the God particle – of the cooking world.

It’s about as tricky to define, too. More mysterious than the four other straightforward tastes, umami goes under many labels. Savoury and meaty are commonly used. Also see ”deeply flavoured”, ”long-lasting” and ”mouth-coating”. Kikunae Ikeda, the Japanese chemist who revealed umami to the world after painstakingly isolating the dominant taste of kombu kelp in dashi, named it for the adjective umai, or ”delicious”.

You still won’t find it in Larousse. In terms of its application to Western cuisine it’s been a slow build, but here we are at the tipping point. As the pointy end of gastronomy heads further down the geeky science path, chefs are putting it in the toolbox for the role it plays in creating flavour.

Everything augurs that 2014 is the year of umami.

Look no further than all that fermentation and pickling going on in restaurant kitchens. They’re not only the buzzwords of now; fermentation is at the heart of ”the machinery of flavour”, as David Chang memorably called it, and Rene Redzepi, in an interview for thekitchn南京夜网, says, ”The world of fermentation is where you’ll find a lot of flavours that give that richness, the effect of, ‘Ahh, I feel like I’ve eaten something’.”

Umami-rich building blocks such as miso, dashi and seaweed, soy sauce and fish sauce, are increasingly imported into non-Asian cooking for their flavour-giving potential.

Among his various tricks, Dave Verheul, chef at Carlton restaurant the Town Mouse, has used kombu powder in a mussel broth with char-grilled pork loin. ”It gives an amazing extra layer of flavour,” Verheul says. ”It’s a way of incorporating it in a way that’s not obvious.” Seaweed butter is another one – three or four kinds of dried seaweed are at its base – or fermented apple juice, sloshed around a dish of shaved calamari with oyster cream and raw cucumber.

”Chefs have been using umami for a long time – the ancient Romans were using garum, which was a fermented anchovy sauce – but we know where it comes from now,” says Verheul. ”It can be as simple as adding parmesan cheese to a cabbage dish we do. I think a lot of what you do as a chef is get as much flavour out of what you do.”

The kombu salt with creamed corn at Woollhara’s Pinbone has been another cult-ish success story. ”It’s just delicious,” says head chef Mike Eggert of the salt originally created by Tetsuya Wakuda. ”It tastes just like chicken in a biscuit. I love it with corn and butter. There’s just something naughty about that combination.”

Dan Hong (Ms G’s, Mr Wong) is also a kombu proponent.

At its essence, as Ikeda discovered, umami is created by naturally occurring amino acids our brains are hardwired to enjoy. Sound highbrow? Well, umami certainly is comfortable on the high road – it’s high in shellfish, scallops and sea urchin – but it’s equally at home on the low. Commercial tomato sauce is ring-a-ding with umami flavour (a nation’s sauce-addicted children cannot be wrong), Vegemite is essentially umami in a jar, and don’t forget mono-sodium glutamate (MSG), which Ikeda invented and patented as a flavour enhancer destined to attract controversy until the end of time.

Umami has only been part of cooking’s intellectual armoury for a century, yet it explains plenty of instinctual eating. Parmesan cheese and tomato? Yep, umami, meet umami, which certainly helps put the appeal of a classic Italian ragout bolognese into perspective. Cured meats and aged meats are high in umami, as are mushrooms, in particular shiitakes. A hamburger with cheese, tomato and pickles is a complete umami-bomb.

Meat stocks and gravies are another rich source of umami – apparently Escoffier sensed he was on to something but couldn’t put his finger on it – although its effects are more immediately obvious in Asian cooking. As Niki Segnit indelibly puts it in The Flavour Thesaurus, ”In south-east Asian cooking, adding fish sauce to coconut milk is like giving your stew or curry a central nervous system”.

So how to umami-fy your home cooking? Don’t just reach for the tomato sauce bottle, although a splash of Worcestershire sauce can fire up a ragout and a handful of anchovies can do wonderful things to slow-braised lamb shanks. Simply being aware of umami-heavy foods is part of the battle. Add mushrooms and a slosh of fish sauce to jazz up a stir-fry, pickles to make a salad more satisfying. You can easily make your own carrot pickles, for instance, with salt, sugar and white wine vinegar. Verheul recommends kimchi (Korean-style fermented vegetables), available in good Asian groceries, as a backbeat to all sorts of Asian and non-Asian sauces. But don’t, he cautions, disappear down the U-bend with it. ”Harnessing umami isn’t just about getting as much as you can into a dish. There’s got to be balance or you’re left eating some mushroom and truffle pasta covered in parmesan with no balance or complexity.”

Heirloom tomatoes, tomato gazpacho, tofu, basil and sesame

Tomato gazpacho

500g ripe red tomatoes

1 garlic clove

1 shallot

1 red chilli

10g basil leaves

100g cucumber, peeled

sea salt

chardonnay vinegar

1. Roughly chop the tomatoes, garlic, shallot, chilli, basil and cucumber. Lightly season with a little salt and chardonnay vinegar, toss together and store in an air-tight container in the fridge overnight.

2. The following day, blend until smooth with a stick blender, adjust the seasoning with some more salt and chardonnay vinegar. Pass through a fine sieve and chill.

Crisp shallots

2 shallots

vegetable oil for frying

1. In a medium sized-pot, heat the vegetable oil to 140C. Peel the shallots and slice finely into rings. Working in small batches, fry the shallot rings until golden and crisp. Drain on a paper towel and season with salt.

To finish

400g mixed ripe heirloom tomatoes, room temperature

100g good quality silken tofu

10 basil leaves

1 tsp white sesame seeds, toasted

¼ tsp sesame oil

1. Season the tofu with sea salt and leave in a warm spot for five minutes.

2. Cut the tomatoes into different sized wedges, season with sea salt and black pepper.

3. Place the warm tofu in a serving bowl, arrange the tomatoes around the tofu. Pour 100 millilitres of the tomato gazpacho over the tomatoes, add the sesame oil, basil leaves and crisp shallots.

4. Finally, sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top.

DAVE VERHEUL

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Hot food: Creamed corn

Creamed corn Photo: Edwina Pickles Creamed corn. Photo: Edwina Pickles
Nanjing Night Net

Don’t throw out your kernel-free cobs, use them in this dish. Photo: Edwina Pickles

What is it?

It’s that sweet, creamy corn mush that comes in a can, right? Nope. These days, it’s made from scratch using summer’s sweet, fresh corn, stock and cream. Originally hailing from the southern and midwest states of America, it’s appearing on toast at cafes, with scallops as entrees, and with barbecued, smoked meats.Where is it?

At Melbourne’s Small Victories cafe, chef Alric Hansen cooks down sweet onions and butter, adds fresh corn kernels and cream, and serves it in an earthenware dish topped with two eggs, thyme salt, and a soldier of toast dipped in bacon fat and wrapped in lardo.

”People love the sweetness,” he says. His advice to would-be creamed corn cooks is to ”do it nice and slow, and use a lot of butter”.

Newcastle’s popular Three Bean Espresso does an awesome creamed corn on sourdough toast, topped with poached eggs and slab bacon. Owner Ben Armstrong says, ”It’s friendly, approachable, and, for people like me whose grandmother used to cook sweetcorn jaffles, nostalgic.”

Sydney’s funky Four Ate Five cafe in Surry Hills sells more than 100 dishes of creamed corn on toast with poached eggs and crisp bacon on a busy weekend. ”Every batch we make is different in terms of consistency and flavour,” manager Lucas Viselli says. ”It’s not so much a mechanistic exercise in cooking as an artistic one.”Why do I care?

Because it’s sweet, fresh and mouthwatering. And because the leftovers make a great jaffle with ham or bacon.Can I do it at home?

Yes. It’s brilliant for brekkie or brunch, or as a meal with crisp-skinned salmon or chicken.Creamed corn on toast

Don’t toss corn cobs out – make a quick stock from them instead (otherwise, use chicken, or vegetable stock, or water).

5 corn cobs, husks and silk removed

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter

½ an onion, finely diced

sea salt and pepper

75ml cream

½ tsp smoked paprika

1 tbsp finely chopped parsley

4 slices smoked or cured salmon

1 lemon, cut into wedges

 

1. Holding each cob vertically, use a sharp knife to shear off the corn kernels. Use a strong spoon to scrape again, getting the pulp and the milky juices as well.

2. Cover the cobs with 500 millilitres of boiling water, add salt and simmer for 20 minutes. Discard the cobs and reserve the corn broth to use as a stock.

3. Heat the olive oil and butter in a frypan, and cook the onion for five to 10 minutes until soft but still pale.

4. Add the corn, sea salt and pepper, and 400 millilitres of stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes or until tender.

5. Blend one third of the corn in a blender and return it to the pan.

6. Add the cream, sea salt, pepper, paprika and parsley and cook for five minutes, stirring.

7. Serve with smoked salmon, lemon and extra herbs, such as basil and parsley.

Serves 4Sourcing

NSW

Four Ate Five, 485 Crown Street, Surry Hills, 9698 6485; Three Bean Espresso, 103 Tudor Street, Hamilton, Newcastle, 4961 2020.

VICTORIA

Small Victories, 617 Rathdowne Street, Carlton North, 03 9347 4064

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

A little fishy? Oh yes

Carrot and potato salad with caraway, lemon and nigella seeds. Photo: Marcel Aucar Karen Martini: Sardines. Photo: Marcel Aucar
Nanjing Night Net

Sardines on toast. Photo: Marcel Aucar

Sardines on toast. Photo: Marcel Aucar

Karen Martini sardine recipes. Photo: Marcel Aucar

Carrot and potato salad with caraway, lemon and nigella seeds

My meme (grandmother) used to serve this salad with grilled sardines, but it’s also delicious with lots of other things. Think roast chicken with chermoula and thick plain yoghurt, grilled lamb chops with sumac or even in a sandwich with some confit tuna, boiled egg and fresh herbs.

6 large organic carrots, peeled

2 large Dutch cream potatoes, peeled

3 tsp caraway seeds

1 large lemon, juiced

80ml extra virgin olive oil

salt flakes

freshly ground black pepper

2 tsp nigella seeds

1 handful coriander leaves, to serve

1. Cut the carrots into thick rounds. Cut the potato into pieces roughly the same size as the carrots.

2. Cook the carrots and potatoes in salted water with the caraway seeds for around 25 minutes or until tender. Drain well. Reserve some of the carrot rounds and roughly mash the remaining carrot and potato with a fork. Add the lemon juice and most of the oil and mash until you have a coarse paste. Check and adjust the seasoning and pile into a serving bowl.

3. Roll the reserved pieces of carrot in the remaining oil and nigella seeds to coat, drop on top of the paste and finish with the coriander leaves. Serve with smashed sardines and fresh bread or toast.

Serves 6-8

Smashed sardines with cumin, parsley, lemon and garlic

It’s no secret that fresh is best when we’re talking fish, but never is it so true as with sardines. Buy the freshest you can, fillet them yourself and eat them on the day. This is one of my favourite ways of cooking sardines, and a nod to my Tunisian grandmother.

24 whole fresh sardines

4 cloves garlic

4 tsp cumin seeds

2 tsp caraway seeds

1 tbsp salt flakes

1 tsp black peppercorns

2 handfuls flat-leaf parsley, chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

2 lemons

1 green chilli, sliced, seeds in

harissa, to serve

1. To prepare your sardines, lie a sardine flat on your board and, using a sharp knife, cut off the head. Turn the sardine so that it is facing away from you lengthways, trim along the length of the sardine against the belly and remove the innards. Using the tip of your knife, gently open out the fillet to expose the backbone. Using your fingers, snap the backbone near the tail and gently peel it away from the fillet; the bones will come with it. Scrape away any remaining bones and repeat for the remaining sardines.

2. In a mortar, roughly grind the garlic, cumin, caraway, salt and pepper. Add the chopped parsley and oil and grind until you have a rough paste. Rub this mix over the sardines.

3. Grill the sardines over a medium fire in a grill pan or on the barbecue for one to two minutes each side. Add the cooked sardines to a serving platter, break up roughly with a fork, squeeze over the lemon, scatter over the green chilli and serve with harissa.

Serves 6-8

Drink Vermentino

Wholemeal and rye no-knead sourdough loaf

The principle of a sourdough starter is pretty simple: a mixture of flour and water is left to allow ambient yeast and acidic bacteria to generate a stable ferment that kills off any nasty microbes and provides a natural leavening agent for baking. The time it takes for the starter to kick off will vary, as will the strength of the ferment, but once it’s been fed a few times it should be pretty robust.

Makes one loaf, but the starter will keep indefinitely if fed.

Sourdough starter

300g organic wholemeal flour, plus extra to feed

500ml spring or filtered water

1. In a large, broad-mouthed jar (more than twice the size of the starting batter) combine the flour and water until there are no lumps and the sides of the jar are as clean as possible. Cover the jar with cheesecloth and set aside somewhere warm for two to three days.

2. After two or three days the mixture should have picked up a sour, beery smell and started to gently bubble – but how active the starter is will depend on the environment and the flour, so be patient if it is a little slow to get going. Add 100 grams more flour and enough water to keep a thick, paint-like consistency. Mix until there are no lumps, making sure to work all the starter up from the bottom of the jar and to clean down the sides. If the starter increases significantly in volume, it will be ready to use, though sometimes you will need to feed it a couple more times (you can just remove and discard some of the starter, or use some of the starter to accommodate the next feed).

3. Once active, cover (don’t seal airtight as it needs oxygen and will produce carbon dioxide) and refrigerate. Feed every three days with 100 grams of flour and water.Wholemeal and rye no-knead loaf

250g  organic plain flour

120g organic wholemeal flour

120g organic rye flour

250g starter batter

12g salt flakes

semolina, to dust

1. Mix the flours together in a large bowl. Mix together 225 millilitres  water, the starter and salt and add to the flour. Combine  well, shape into a round, place in a large bowl and cover with clingwrap. Set  on the counter to prove and double in size – this will take between 12 and 20 hours.

2. Once the dough has risen, turn it out on to a clean tea towel scattered with semolina. Gently reshape into a round loaf and allow to rise again in a warm place for an hour.

3. Preheat oven to 250C conventional and place a cast-iron pot inside with the lid on. Heat for 20 minutes then remove the pot, scatter in some semolina, drop the dough inside and bake with the lid on for 30minutes. Check to see that the crust has developed – if not, cook for a further 5-10 minutes with the lid on.

4. Remove the lid and bake for a further 20 minutes, then tip out of the pot on to a wire rack and rest until cool. The loaf should sound hollow when tapped.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Alec Baldwin quits public life, not acting

Alec Baldwin has had enough of public life.
Nanjing Night Net

“I’ve lived this for 30 years, I’m done with it,” says the actor, in an editorial in New York Magazine.

“I’m aware that it’s ironic that I’m making this case in the media,” says Baldwin, “but this is the last time I’m going to talk about my personal life in an American publication ever again.”

The 55-year-old actor says the only good thing that happened to him last year was having a baby with his wife. Apart from that, he says, “everything else was pretty awful.”

The 30 Rock star’s turbulent year in the spotlight includes fighting accusations of homophobia, and has seriously turned him off a public life altogether.

Baldwin says the accusations ruined his reputation, cost him his job at MSNBC and have destroyed his faith in the media.

“Now I loathe and despise the media in a way I did not think possible,” says Baldwin.

The first accusation of homophobia came after the funeral of James Gandolfini. Baldwin called a Daily Mail reporter a “toxic little queen” after the reporter wrote that his wife tweeted during the funeral.

Baldwin says he didn’t view it as a homophobic slur at the time, and has since apologised.

A TMZ videographer then filmed Baldwin yelling and claims Baldwin called him a “faggot”. Baldwin denies this, but the two incidents cemented his reputation publicly as a homophobe.

Baldwin’s long-ranging editorial, where he calls American media “Hate Incorporated”, covers his differences with actor Shia LaBeouf and issues with MSNBC’s management.

The TV and movie star also talks at length about the modern costs of being famous, and says he’s had enough.

“I don’t want to be Mr Show Business any more,” says Baldwin.

“I used to engage with the media knowing that some of it would be adversarial, but now it’s superfluous at best and toxic at its worst.”

Baldwin is even considering moving out of New York, his home since 1979, to escape the constant glare of the media who Baldwin says also harass his family.

Even though he once “hated” the idea of living in a gated community in L.A., Baldwin says that lifestyle is becoming more and more appealing as he seeks to protect his children from the paparazzi.

Although this is apparently goodbye to public life, that doesn’t mean Baldwin plans on quitting acting.

“I want to go make a movie and be very present for that and give it everything I have,” says Baldwin, “and after we’re done, then the rest of the time is mine.”

You can read the full editorial at Vulture南京夜网.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Stylishly Gallic, The Returned is an utter mystery

Ana Girardot in The Returned.People who are dead but who turn out to be not dead are quite the fashion nowadays. I blame Lost, but then I blame Lost for a lot of things.
Nanjing Night Net

It is all part of what the French might call La Television de la Spooque. I could just call it spooky TV, but it sounds better in French, like most things, including The Returned (SBS2, 9.20pm), a stylishly Gallic exercise in eeriness in which the deceased of a small town have started showing up and wondering what the hell is going on – in company with much of the viewing audience I suspect.

One assumes that by the end of the series we will have a clue, but it’s only episode three and The Returned has no intention of rushing to give up its secrets, not when there’s so much eeriness to get through.

Being French, The Returned is quite different from the American and British fare we are used to and not just because of the subtitles. The rhythms and pace are different – it unfolds at a languid pace and plays its cards close to the chest; action playing second fiddle to mood.

This, combined with the little mountain town setting is somewhat reminiscent of the unsettling New Zealand series Top of the Lake, though here the villagers are definitely dealing with something supernatural.

But amid the reanimated corpses, the mysterious cockroaches and a creepy little kid, their problems are deeply human. Camille and her family struggle to find a way to live normal lives. Julie is besieged by the terrors of memory. Simon has been arrested, but as a living ghost nobody – including himself – knows what to do with him. And we continue to wonder about Pierre’s story. Through the oppressive atmosphere of chilling mystery cut themes of grief, trauma, identity and loss.

What’s happening is hard to say, but it’s happening to actual people.

Far from the world of realistic eeriness is the garishly surreal American Dad (7MATE, 9pm), the second-best and most satirical in Seth MacFarlane’s triumvirate of absurdist adult cartoons.

Steve tries to prove his manhood by joining Stan on the annual CIA hunting trip – or as it turns out, ”glunting” trip: a glam version of hunting where animals are brought down from a mobile command centre using missiles and the hunters dine on eclairs and Thai food. Meanwhile, alien Roger and talking fish Klaus set out on a quest to achieve five zeroes on Roger’s odometer. Inevitably it ends in a human-animal war and severe hyper-obesity.

Typically demented, taking enormous pleasure in its own ridiculousness in pursuit of laughs, it’s a reliable comedy to kick back to.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

PNG staff to keep security jobs at Manus Island detention centre

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison minister for Immigration and Border Protection arrive for question. Photo: Andrew MearesFederal politics: full coverageMorrison knew he was wrong on brawl death
Nanjing Night Net

The new operator of Manus Island detention centre will continue to use local security staff even though they are implicated in last week’s deadly clashes with asylum seekers.

Transfield Services, which has been awarded a $1.2 billion contract to run the Manus Island and Nauru immigration centres, confirmed it would hire local security staff, as required by the deal between Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Witnesses to last week’s violence, which left 23-year-old Iranian man Reza Barati dead, say local security guards employed by contractor G4S were involved. G4S has admitted the possibility, saying it would ”take the strongest disciplinary action against any employee found to have been involved in any wrongdoing”.

G4S’s contract ends on Friday. The management of the centre will be handed over to Transfield, which has also run the Nauru centre for the past year. The new, $1.2 billion contract to run both facilities for the next 20 months appears to have been given to Transfield without a tender offer even though the value of the work has increased dramatically from the previous cost of running the facilities.

A week after the bloody clashes, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison faced pressure in Parliament over the alleged riot and the incorrect information he provided on it early last week.

He told the ABC: ”There are still a lot of questions to be answered – I have a lot of questions that I want to be answered … the Australian people, and people in Papua New Guinea want answers, and that’s what the reviews are about.”

The matter is set to dominate debate again in Canberra on Tuesday with the head of the government’s border protection regime, Lieutenant-General Angus Campbell, set to appear before a Senate Estimates hearing.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said she would quiz government officials over the level of training and skills the locally recruited security staff had been given.

”All of the eyewitness accounts say G4S has their hands all over what happened,” she said.

”This is precisely the type of thing an inquiry needs to look at.”

G4S is being paid $244 million to run Manus Island centre since October 2012. Transfield is earning $302 million for managing the Nauru site for the past year.

The $1.2 billion contract represents a considerable increase in the cost of offshore processing, partly because of the swelling numbers on Manus Island and Nauru as the backlog of asylum seekers is transferred off Christmas Island.

A Transfield spokesman said the costs were higher on Manus Island due to ”security costs”, more expensive travel costs and bigger taxes than Nauru.

The firm is required to hire locals on Manus Island and Nauru to ensure benefits to their economies.

Former Attorney-General’s Department chief Robert Cornall is leading a government inquiry into the violence, in which 62 people were also injured, including eight who had to be evacuated for treatment.

An independent contractor who went into the detention centre last week said many detainees were still lining up at the clinic to receive bandages for their wounds – mainly on their heads and hands.

”I was quite stunned at the poor level of security at the camp,” he said. ”I could have climbed the fence, it was a very rickety structure.”

Also on Monday, the ABC reported that a former Sri Lankan military officer had been heading the detention centre on Manus Island, even though it houses an estimated 30 Tamils who are seeking asylum from persecution in Sri Lanka.

Dinesh Perera’s LinkedIn profile described him as ”acting centre manager”. But a G4S spokesman said Mr Perera was ”operations manager” and an Australian citizen who had worked for G4S for years.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Report slams TV alcohol ads

Federal politics: full coveragePM stands firm on Nash quit callChoice lifts veil on snack food star ratings
Nanjing Night Net

Current rules on alcohol advertising are failing to protect children and must be tightened, according to the government agency charged with preventing disease.

In a draft report released on Monday, the Australian National Preventive Health Agency recommended the removal of an exemption that allows alcohol to be advertised on free-to-air TV during children’s viewing hours on weekends and public holidays as part of live sporting broadcasts.

A 2007 study showed more than half of alcohol advertisements were shown as part of such broadcasts.

Citing evidence that teenagers were exposed to almost the same level of alcohol advertising as adults aged between 18 and 24, the agency found the current co-regulatory and self-regulatory arrangements were ”failing to sufficiently protect children and adolescents, and in some cases are facilitating their exposure to alcohol advertising”.

”On television, this exposure is largely as a result of the exemption in the [Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice] for broadcast of live sporting events on weekends and public holidays,” it said.

It recommended governments legislate for a ”new regulatory regime” if the industry did not adequately respond to community concerns by 2016.

The agency also recommended alcohol advertising on pay TV and in cinemas be prohibited before 8.30pm.

Australian Medical Association president Steve Hambleton said the existing regulator regime was ”badly flawed” because it was ”voluntary, limited in scope, poorly enforced and without meaningful penalties for breaches”.

”The sheer volume of alcohol marketing that is reaching our children is extraordinary, showing that industry self-regulation is failing. We need tough, legislated measures,” he said.

Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia spokesman Stephen Riden said the agency’s recommendations were based on a false contention that advertising was causing more children to drink.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Magwatch: Kardashians on the catwalk, royal baby girl to be called Diana

This week NW comes in a sealed plastic bag. This is because it is paired with Woman’s Day as a bonus ”2 Magazines For Just $6.95!”
Nanjing Night Net

But visible through the plastic is NW’s cover featuring Kim Kardashian, a photograph of her bottom and the headline: ”Kim’s Body Breakdown: ‘My Butt’s Out of Control”’.

Magwatch has not opened the bag. We fear that, once released, Kardashian’s rear – shown in tight camel-coloured slacks – will burst forth, running wild and causing untold havoc.

Dear publishers of NW and Woman’s Day, you say the bag contains two gossip journals at one bonus low price but we discern your protection of readers: with KK’s arse restrained, they may sleep safely.

Famous reports that Khloe Kardashian recently wore a faux fur coat with ”F**k Yo Fur” painted in red on the back.

Marvellously, her Twitter account was flooded with followers lambasting the killing of ”fauxs” in the name of fashion and warmth.

”How do people not know that FAUX means Fake?!?” she said. ”Come on people!”

WHO reports that Kendall Jenner, Kardashian sister, walked the catwalk for Marc Jacobs in New York recently.

”The hair and make-up today, it’s incredible,” she said. ”I’ve never had my eyebrows bleached.”

Nor has she, perhaps, worn a see-through sweater that ”bared her nipples” for couture appreciators – all in the name of fashion.

New Idea declares ”Kate’s Happy News: I’m Having a Girl!” over a photograph of the Duchess of Cambridge. The duchess’ ”oldest friend” Jessica Hay says Kate ”recently saw a psychic that her mother Carole Middletonsees, who told her they will name their next baby Diana”.

Hay says: ”Kate went home and told William and he said: ‘Actually, that’s quite a nice idea,’ and now they’ve definitely put it on the list of girl names they’re compiling, which also includes Elizabeth, because they want to pay tribute to William’s grandmother.”

Either everyone in this story is thick (Kate sees a psychic, psychic says ”Diana”, William never considered the name) or – lawks! – it isn’t true.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Melbourne Food & Wine Festival: What’s on

Melbourne Food & Wine Festival kicks off this Friday. Wondering where to begin? Dive in with Epicure’s weekly guide of festival events.
Nanjing Night Net

Taste Now: Feb 28-March 2, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; $75 per personAmid the thrill and the newness of the NGV’s popular Melbourne Now exhibition comes a dinner with a difference, matching dishes from some of Melbourne’s best chefs while regarding the artworks that inspired them. A unique and ever-so ”Melbourne” experience that combines a city’s love of cuisine, design, art and philosophy.

Devil’s Water: March 1-8, Campari House, Melbourne; $65 including cocktails, canapes, demonstrations and a take-home kitCampari House is going a little Scandi with a workshop combining two of our northern hemisphere neighbours’ greatest loves: fish curing and vodka (aka devil’s water). Learn how to marry vodka with a range of subtle seafood while mastering the art of cocktail- making. A take-home cocktail kit will allow exploration of your newest hobby.

Acqua Panna Global Wine Experience, Noble Rot, Liquid Gold: March 1, Arts Centre, Melbourne; $250It’s the name that will send any wine-lover into a frenzy: Chateau Y’quem, the best of sweet wines. Join an experienced group, including Tim Atkin MW, Aline Baly, Sophie Otton and Mark Protheroe, as they pour everything from the aforementioned Y’quem to Ontario’s rarest wine made from winter-harvested grapes.

Sailing, Feasting, Competing: March 2, The Point, Albert Park Lake; $165In the tradition of Venice’s San Pellegrino Cooking Cup, five Melbourne chefs will be pitting themselves against the clock to race the lake on sailboats, gathering crayfish, wagyu and caviar to cook up a dish for the spectators.

Eat Ocean Drink Succulent: March 2, Mamasita, Melbourne; $140 includes eight courses and unlimited drinks; $180 for a premium beverage packageEver wanted to eat at Mamasita without the queue? Now’s your chance – book at the usually unbookable Mamasita, then consider what’s on offer: an eight-course, street-style smorgasboard of food from the Mexican heartland with wine, beer, sangria, margaritas and tequila to match. Unlimited drinks and unstoppable fun.

Australian Artisan Cheese Fair: March 2, Northcote Town Hall, Northcote; $30 ($20 ASCA members)Long live the cheesemakers! Celebrate these incredible artisans and learn how moisture, humidity, temperature and living microbes come together to create the rich and varying cheeses we know and love. There will be cheese tastings and lessons on how to choose and store cheese, along with instruction on the best way to use cheese to complement produce and beverages.

Dinner at the Cinema: March 4, Abbotsford Convent, Abbotsford; $75”Dinner and a show” takes on new meaning at Abbotsford Convent where film and food enthusiasts can eat a two-course seafood meal beneath the stars while watching a water-themed film. The night makes the most of the convent precinct, kicking off with canapes and drinks inside the Industrial School before moving outside for the evening’s double bill – a film and a feast, served in fine-dining style.

Inaugural Port Phillip Mussel Festival: March 8 and 9, South Melbourne Market, noon-11pm; free entryThe humble mussel is, well, muscling in on the South Melbourne Market for a weekend of cooking demonstrations, music and feasting as the humble bivalve takes centre-stage. Pop into Claypots Evening Star, Mexican restaurant Paco Y Lola, the Turkish surrounds of Koy, and Simply Spanish for tastings, while Iain Hewitson (fresh from the opening of the nearby Big Huey’s Diner) will be running cooking demonstrations in the market’s LG Kitchen. Entry is free and mussels will be available at $5 a bucket. Bring it on!

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.