Thursday, May 8, 2014

El Nino on the Horizon

I don't want to be unnecessarily alarmist, but it does appear as though another El Nino event is looming in South Eastern Australia. According to the Bureau of Meteorology, there is a current warming trend across the tropical Pacific Ocean. If the warmer conditions persist over the Tropical Pacific, this can interrupt the trade winds around the equator, resulting in cloud build up, and a change in ocean temperatures. The El Nino occurs when there are differences between the Ocean Temperature in the Western Pacific around Australia, and the Eastern Pacific around South America. This difference causes a change in weather patterns, with higher rainfall in the East, and lower in the West. Past El Ninos have been associated with droughts in Australia. At the moment, the BOM is saying that an El Nino could develop as early as July, with warnings at an alert level. WHilst it is early days in the modelling, watch the Bureau at as the conditions develop. I would suggest to farmers and growers in South Eastern Australia, start planning for dry conditions, and plant your crops early to take advantage of Autumn soil moisture.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Logging of Tasmania

What planet is the PM on? He is supporting the logging of old growth tassie forests. It must be Venus, where there are no trees, and it's hotter then hell..

Thursday, February 27, 2014


No I'm not talking the upcoming World Cup, but the debate taking place, mainly by the right wing media on penalty rates. I did a bit of searching, and you know what, the established award rates seem pretty fair to me. Here they are: Hospitality Award (covers hotels, motels) Sat - 125% Sun - 175% Pub Hol - 250% (casuals get an additional 25% loading to cover sick/annual leave etc) Restaurant Award (self explanatory) Sat -125% Sun - 150% Pub Hol - 250% (casuals + 25% loading except the Pub Hols, which is the same) Registered Club Award Sat - 150% Sun - 175% Pub Hol - 250% (casuals + 25% loading only on Mon - Fri, no extra on Weekends or Pub Hols for being a temporary gun for hire) Retail Award M-F after 6pm - 125% Sat - 125% Sun - 200% Pub Hol - 250% or time in lieu based upon hours worked casuals + 25%, and + 10% on Saturday, but on Sunday they get 200% including the 25% loading ie the penaly rate is in effect 175% so we can see from the above, penalty rates are reasonable, time and a quarter to time and three quarters, and double time and a half for working on Christmas Day, Anzac Day, Boxing Day, when the rest of us are at home catching up with family that we don't see the rest of the year cause we are too busy working! note that many people are employed casually in the services or retail sector, and these casuals are not getting any extra for weekends or public holidays for working at the RSL..

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Politics, politics, POLITICS!

Why does it have to be so divisive? Why can't there be more unity amongst our leaders, on issues of (inter-) national importance. Climate change? Refugees? Globalisation? Borders are just boundaries on a map. Parties are just parties. How about reaching across the divides, and working together? Politics, politics, POLITICS!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Rustic Spaghetti

I was chatting with a new friend at work yesterday, he originates from Calabria in Southern Italy. Italian food is one I like to cook, as it is so fresh, seasonal and CHEAP! I conjured up this recipe last nite, using my friend Ross's freshly made chilli sauce. 1/2 packet of wholemeals spag, about $2 from the super 1 bottle of passata (italian tomato pasta sauce), about the same 2 or 3 diced home grown tomatoes 1 home grown capsicum 1 tsp chilli sauce, home grown of course! 2 cloves coarsely sliced garlic sea salt olive oil, extra virgin if u can afford it. i have bottles given to me by a friend basil leaves fresh from the garden cook your spaghetti according to instructions, and set aside to keep warm in a hot sauce pan, add 3 tbsp olive oil, passata, capsicum, tomatoes, chilli, garlic slices and a good pinch of sea salt. pretty much everything! let it bubble away for about 45mins, while opening and consuming a bottle of local wine. serve with fresh basil leaves sliced, crusty bread, more olive oil and the rest of the wine!!!!!!!!! so fresh, healthy, tasty and wholesome. Gotta love the Italians!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

When is a Parliamentary Political Party meeting

actually a meeting? is there a quorum? do a majority of members have to attend? is an agenda worked out before hand, or is it just bring your own knife? I wonder how they work.. because on 22nd and 23rd of March 2013, some of the Queensland Liberal and National Party Senators and Members have claimed travel allowance for attending a parliamentary political party meeting at Rockhampton. However, the majority haven't claimed TA, and don't appear to have attended. It seems to be like this likely number of senators and members of QLD Lib/Nats at that time, 24 actual people attending, or claiming for attendance 6. one member, Paul Neville seems to have got his dates wrong, and claimed for 1st May 2013 instead. if that is the case the select 6 becomes the secret 7. The only other person also claiming for the 1st May 2013 for staying at Rockie, is their leader, Warren Truss. I wonder if 2 people having coffee constitutes a party meeting? all in all it looks like a few thousand have been spent on this meeting, when they could possibly have met in Canberra the day or week before hand, as Parliament was sitting..

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

It's officially a stinker

Southern Australia is in the middle of a 5 day heatwave at 2pm Eastern Daily Saving Time Adelaide is 45 deg Melbourne is 43 all parts in between 40-44degrees even Canberra is getting up there...38 degrees! Keep cool and carry on..

Friday, January 10, 2014

Basic Risotto Recipe

I was chatting with friends last nite, and the subject of risotto came up. I have been making risotto for years, using this method, and these basic ingredients. It does take a bit of practice, to get it right. but persevere! U need 1 leek, quarted (sliced down the guts), and washed carefully to remove the dirt. slice finely 1 -2 cloves of garlic, crushed 1 cup of white wine about 1 litre of warm chicken or vegie stock handful of sliced brown mushrooms, cleaned first 1/2 cup of frozen peas 1 good handful of arborio rice sea salt freshly ground black pepper 1/2 cup parmesan cheese good amount of olive oil, extra virgin is best freshly chopped italian parsley in a large stainless steel saucepan, finely slice the leek, and saute in a good amount of olive oil on medium heat, stiring continuously add your garlic, saute for a couple of minutes on low heat, careful not to burn the garlic and small bits of leek add your arborio rice, and sliced mushies, and coat well with the olive oil, and cook for a couple of minutes on medium heat. Add a tiny bit sea salt, and finely ground black pepper. deglaze the pan with the white wine 1 soup ladlefull at a time, add the stock and stir the risotto, so it absorbs the liquid. Keep adding stock by the ladle, and stir until the rice absorbs the liquid. The whole process of adding stock, stirring and absorbing takes about 25 minutes. The rice should be soft, and creamy, and the rissoto should be the consistency of a thick oat porridge with similar creaminess. Adjust salt carefully! Add your garden peas, parmesan, and put a lid on the saucepan, to let it rest, while u prepare the salad! I also like to add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, chopped parsley, parmesan and a little more stock over the top of the finished dish..

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Ayan's Plight

Recently I became aware of Ayan, a Somali woman who's face was badly disfigured by a bullet when she was a child. She was to be flown to Australia by Rotary and operated on by a surgical team who was to donate their services. No cost to the taxpayer. A genuine case of need. It all sounded extremely positive, in this age of doom and gloom. Only 1 problem: Scott Morrison. As Immigration Minister, Mr Morrison denied her access to Australia, citing her as a 'non genuine visitor'. Now, in response to a 40,000 strong petition, and coverage by Channel 10's The Project, he has relented. Ayan Mohamed will be allowed in. Thank God. more info here

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Biodiesel - The Way of the Future?

My friend Mick, has cottoned on to a source of bio fuel for his diesel landcruiser...olive oil! Now that makes me think..what is biodiesel, and how can we use it? Biodiesel is a form of fuel created from plant or animal oils, as opposed to regular diesel, which is refined from mineral oil. There are many sources of plant or animal based biodiesel, from vegetable oils such as soybean oil, or from waste vegetable oil (fish and chip shop waste oil). Animal fat sources are typically from fish oil, this has been used as a biodiesel in Canada. Biodiesel is one kind of biofuel, other kinds of biofuels include plant derived ethanol. One commercial example of biofuel is the E10 fuel that is widely available here in Australia. There are claims that using biodiesel can reduce emissions at the engine exhaust, my reading on this suggests these claims should be read with caution. It does appear that the fuel can have some benefit for modern diesel engine protection, provided fuel systems are cleaned regularly (the injectors and filters). As mineral oil is a finite resource, the world does need to look for alternative fuels. Also mineral oil production is controlled by a handful of countries, meaning if non producing countries can reduce their dependence on the producers, they can become more self sufficient. In my book, that has to be a good thing.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Winery Website on the Wane

It appears popular wine sales website, Winery Lane, is on the fritz. Their website is down, and their facebook page also cancelled. Calls to the telephone number are directed to their email address, which is also not replying. Winery Lane has been operating for around 12 months and specialised in internet based wine deals.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Dan and Andy's Tasty Fritatta

I whipped this up the other night, with new friend Dan. A fritatta is basically an Italian omelette, that is cooked in pan. 5 large eggs, room temp 2-3 tbsp milk pinch salt/pepper whisk together and set aside 1 medium red onion, sliced finely 2 cloves of garlic, crushed finely 2 or 3 roma tomatoes, diced 1 small or 1/2 large sweet potato, peeled, diced and microwaved for 2-3minutes until soft. sea salt extra virgin olive oil cracked black pepper 1/2 tsp dried italian herbs Method fry onion, and garlic in 3tbsp olive oil, until soft. Add your diced tomato, and sea salt, and continue to cook for 5-10 minutes over a low heat, until the tomato softens, and blends with the onion and garlic. The olive oil will carry the flavours beautifully. Add sweet potato, cracked black pepper, italian herbs and the egg mix. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Cook on low heat for 2 minutes, then transfer under a hot grill and cook the top until the fritatta is golden and puffy. Voila.