reconsidering meat

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been watching a documentary series called “For the Love of Meat”, hosted by journalist turned farmer Matthew Evans. The main point of the series is to make people more aware of how their meat is produced, and how the animals are treated, particularly on “intensive farms”, where the focus is on high output.

In the introductory blurb, Evans says that he is a “dedicated carnivore”, and I actually think this is a really good thing because you’d expect these sorts of documentaries to be hosted by people intent on turning everyone into vegetarians. I feel like this documentary series is more about the question of how to farm meat sustainably and ethically, rather than the question of whether or not we should eat meat at all.

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winter is coming

It was quite warm on the week-end. Not uncomfortably so (not really anyway) but quite warm. Monday was ok, but then yesterday it suddenly got really cold. I think it was the first time this year that I actually thought “yes, winter is coming!”

I’m sure that I’ve mentioned in previous posts that winter is, in fact, my most favourite season of the year. Well, winter and autumn. Suffer through a Brisbane summer and you’ll understand why. Anyway, that’s why this change in weather has me quite excited. While other people are complaining about how cold it is, I’m just embracing it. It’s positively invigorating (although I will concede that it is anything but invigorating when you’ve just woken up and there’s no sunlight but you have to get up and go to work).

We did have a bit of a cold snap a week or two ago, but then it suddenly got warm again, so it was kind of a false alarm. It didn’t last very long either, and you could kind of tell that it was just a bit of a tease.

On to other matters, I also started watching Game of Thrones on the week-end. Yes, trust me to take three days to post about something that happened on the week-end. (I still haven’t gotten around to posting about “Wicked”, which I saw a month ago…) And, yes, by “started watching” I do mean season 1, episode 1.

A lot of people I know watch GOT, so I suppose it was kind of peer pressure, but I like to think that it wasn’t really peer pressure because I resisted for so long, and it was really my own choosing to watch it in the end (mostly). I generally don’t buy into hype, and prefer to wait for it to die down a bit before checking out a new book/movie/tv show/whatever. (It’s possibly why I haven’t seen a movie in the cinemas for over a year. Well, that and the fact that cinemas are expensive, and I’m usually too busy with work and other things anyway.)

So, with some new episodes of GOT released last week (or accidentally leaked, as I was informed), a colleague at work talked me into finally starting on GOT. I watched three episodes total and, actually, I think it was alright. A lot of people have told me previously that it’s just a whole lot of sex and violence, so I was kind of prepared for that. And I’ve been told that there are a lot of characters and different stories and people dying just as you’re starting to like them… But, apart from not being able to remember all of the characters’ names, I’m finding it not that hard to follow.

All in all, I suppose GOT has my tick of approval. But I’m not someone who can just sit in front of a TV or computer for a whole day (and night) and marathon a TV series, so I’m going to wait for the week-end or some other day to continue watching it. Well, that’s if I continue watching it. This won’t be intentional; it just seems like I’m also not very good at committing to watching complete series.

Well, either way, it kind of seems appropriate to start watching it now – what with our winer approaching, and their winter approaching (except that their winters can supposedly last for years – doesn’t that sound magnificent?)

cooking clean

I’d intended to do a lot of cleaning and tidying today, but ended up doing more cooking instead. I do like to cook, but I just don’t get the chance to cook often enough, since a certain member of the family tends to take care of that. Yes, I’m part of that generation that’s getting a reputation for never wanting to move out because of various reasons – not least of which are financial. But I digress…

I’ve learnt a lot of my cooking knowledge from my mum, but a lot of it also comes from TV cooking shows, such as ‘Ready Steady Cook’, which is always full of tips and easy recipes. Of course, ‘MasterChef’ is another favourite of mine in this category, and their “master classes” are always interesting (particularly Matt Preston’s cheat recipes), but I find ‘MasterChef’ is more useful for learning about flavour combinations and cooking terminology than for general know-how and recipes. Again, I digress – sorry.

I reckon that, in the past, I’ve been hesitant to cook certain dishes because I know the mess that it will create and/or I think about all the washing up I’ll have to do afterwards. (Yes, it seems that, as a general rule, the onus to wash up is never on the cook, but I sometimes feel obliged to clean anyway.) But I don’t mind doing the dishes so much any more. It’s never going to be my most favourite chore, but at least I dislike it less now. And so now I can cook a bit more freely.

Something else that I’ve learnt from ‘MasterChef’ is the importance of working cleanly and being organised in the kitchen. Watching Jamie Oliver’s 15 and 30 minute meals shows has also reinforced this. I’ve also noticed that Mum tends to clean as she cooks. I’ve been working on this, and it’s actually really good because there’s less cleaning at the end of it, which is great because that’s when I just want to sit down and eat. Plus, it feels like there’s less washing overall.

So today I cooked fish (not exactly sure which species – my dad bought it and left it in the fridge for me to find) with lime and cracked pepper. It was really tender – I’m surprised it turned out so well. I did think about following this up with some cupcakes or something, since it was early afternoon and, for some reason, baking is kind of an early arvo thing for me. But I’m not much into making sweets and desserts (love eating them, though!). Instead, I cooked up some thyme & oregano potato cubes.

I’ve only recently discovered how much I like oregano. It’s not that I’ve never eaten it before, but I’d never been able to pinpoint the taste because it’s always been with a number of other herbs and fragrances. I do like the smell too. Coriander is probably still my most favourite herb, but it’s got some stiff competition.

And the last dish today was a kind of stew that my sister and I created using pork and the classic mirepoix (a term I’m pretty sure I learnt from ‘MasterChef’). The aim of making this was basically to clear out the fridge a bit more, so we threw in some tomatoes and mushrooms as well. Of course, plenty of thyme, oregano and basil went in too.

Cooking probably isn’t something that I could do as a career, but I did speculate that if certain friends of mine follow through with their dream of opening up a cafe/bistro, I’d totally work for them every week-end (not going to give up Pharmacy, of course).

Rove lives!

Ok, I have decided that this is post-worthy, and I am actually going to write a post about this…

There are a number of reasons why I haven’t been watching ‘The Project’ very much recently (mostly because my dad insists on watching ABC News or something, and also because I don’t always leave work on time) but this week I’ve made a point of trying to get home early enough to watch it (except tonight when I had to stay back and do the late shift because the person who was supposed to do it called in sick).

Anyway, all of that isn’t actually the post-worthy part. The post-worthy thing is that Rove has been co-hosting ‘The Project’ this week! But more than that, he’s co-hosting with Carrie Bickmore and Peter Helliar, so it’s like a ‘Rove Live’ reunion! ‘Rove Live’ was one of my most favourite TV shows through high school. I have fond memories of watching ‘Rove Live’, and trying to quickly do my homework in the ad breaks. And I’d watch right through to the end credits and maybe even catch a bit of ‘Ten Late News’ before bed.

It would be cool if Rove could stay on ‘The Project’ for longer…

It’s been kind of weird not having Charlie Pickering co-hosting anymore. I was lucky enough to catch his final show, the farewell episode (I’d heard about him leaving the show but forgot it was his last day until I actually turned the TV on that night – hence why I consider it “lucky”). I had considered writing a post about it back when he left, but I must have forgotten or decided that I did not have the time/energy to dedicate an entire post to him…

Well, I will say that he was perfect for the show and the show was perfect for him. It’s a real shame that he left because, although the other male co-hosts that have stood in for him when he was on holidays or whatever, and also since he left – although they’re funny and they’ve done a good job of co-hosting, it’s just not quite the same.

And then along comes Rove, and he doesn’t seem to have changed at all… But, not to say anything about his intellect, he just seems more suited to something more light-hearted. I’m probably just too used to thinking of him with respect to ‘Rove Live’. Charlie was good because he seemed to know everything about everything, but he was quick-witted and his jokes were always funny.

One final thought: Maybe, if Channel Ten run out of shows to re-run, they should do ‘Rove Live’ re-runs. I’d totally watch that. Also, ‘Talkin’ about your generation’ – what happened to that?

fact: there are still good shows on TV

I never expect there to be particularly good shows on during this time of the year because (1) it’s the ratings off-season and (2) the majority of shows/movies on TV are Christmas-related and cliched.

However, to my good fortune, I happened to be watching ABC2 the other night (can’t remember if I was channel surfing or it was already on for some other show) and I happened to watch a show called “Would I lie to you?”, which, I gather, is produced by the BBC. I don’t think the show itself is new but, damn, it is funny!

If you haven’t seen it before, you could probably just Youtube it and find out what it’s all about, but if you can’t be bothered (do it anyway!!), then I suppose I can just explain it. Basically, it’s a game show where people tell random anecdotes, etc and people in the opposing team have to figure out if it’s actually true or a lie. It’s a good show to watch if you’re after some good laughs.

As it happened, I liked “Would I lie to you?” so much that I kept the TV on ABC2. The next show, if I remember correctly, was “Life’s too short”, which might sound like a serious sort of show but is actually a funny documentary-type show about the life of Warwick Davis, who supposedly played something (Ewok?) in “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi”. Some parts are very wrong (as in politically incorrect) but overall I found it quite funny.

And, finally, since ’tis the season, I’m going to share a Christmas show that I actually really liked. Well, it’s one of ABC’s “Xmas Quickies” and, as the name suggests, it’s only a short clip (less than seven minutes) but it’s probably the best Christmas documentary I’ve ever seen (to be honest, I don’t think I’ve seen that many, but that doesn’t matter).

It was created by the Van Vuuren Brothers and explores the existence of Santa. I could try to explain it more, but it’d just be easier (and funnier) if you just watched it. Merry Christmas.

a story punctuated by music

The Cory Monteith / Finn Hudson tribute episode of “Glee” (season 5, episode 3, “The Quarterback”) was aired recently (a week or two ago?), so I’ve gone back and re-watched a few old episodes as well since then. Well, not really whole episodes – I mostly just re-watched performances and stuff – but that’s not the point.

Also not the point but I thought the tribute episode was done so well. All the emotion… and still moments of humour (particularly classic Sue Sylvester humour). The music, the memories, the original cast returning…

Anyway, in the midst of my reminiscing, I came across the song “Barely breathing”, which is performed by Finn and Blaine in season 4, episode 4 (for those of you playing along at home), which I regard as “the break up episode” (not sure if it’s actually called “break ups” or something but everyone breaks up in that episode – sorry to spoil it if you’ve yet to watch it).

I really liked the song, so, out of curiosity, I went in search of the original version by the original artist. Turns out it was originally by Duncan Sheik, who released the song back in 1996. I was actually surprised to find out it’s a ’90s song because I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard it before. I really do like the song, though – both the original and the “Glee” version. And this is another reason why I like ‘Glee’: it introduces me to new songs and new interpretations of songs.

Speaking of new songs, and going back to the Finn tribute episode, I also really liked “Seasons of love” that the cast performed at the start of the episode. Makes me want to watch “Rent” (which is where the song is from).

And speaking of new interpretations, the other night, I happened to be watching “The X Factor”, and one of the male contestants sang Cindi Lauper’s “Girls just wanna have fun”. To be fair, he did do a great job with it, but the praise that he (and his coach) got for being so original hardly seemed justified. I’m not trying to have a go at anyone here – I’m just saying that Cory AKA Finn already performed that on “Glee”.

On yet another side note, that “break up episode” is probably one of my favourites in terms of music. And it’s not because they sing songs I love, but because of the performances, the context, the meaning, etc. Other than “Barely breathing”, I also particularly like the performances of “Don’t speak” and “The scientist”.

Just going off on another tangent (because this is my blog and I’ll write what I want) but I really like the MV for “The scientist” (Coldplay). I remember watching it as a kid and thinking how cool it was. I also vaguely remember seeing an interview that Chris Martin did in which he explained that he had to learn to sing the song backwards so that when the video was played backwards, the song would the be right way around.

Ok, that’s probably enough rambling for one post. Sometimes it just feels like I need to write about certain things/events to sort of put my mind at ease.