Monthly archives: September, 2019

Rich hit

Rich on flavour with Neil Perry. Neil Perry gets rich.
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Eggplant caviar on bruschetta is versatile. Photo: Neil Perry

EGGPLANT CAVIAR ON BRUSCHETTA

2 medium eggplants

1 whole head of garlic, unpeeled

1/2 tsp sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

juice of 1/2 lemon

6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp white wine vinegar

2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley

freshly sliced and toasted sourdough

bread, for serving

Serves 4

Preheat oven to 180°C. With a fork, prick eggplant all over and oil slightly. Wrap garlic, oiled and salted, in foil and place both on a baking sheet and place in oven. Roast both for 40-60 minutes – the garlic should be very soft and the eggplant should be soft and collapsed. Remove from oven and cool.

Cut eggplant in half and scoop out flesh with a spoon. Place in a sieve and strain juices.

Cut garlic in half across the equator and squeeze the flesh out like toothpaste into a small bowl. Season with sea salt and pepper, juice of half a lemon and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Use a fork to mix to a purée.

Place drained eggplant in a bowl and add vinegar. Whisk mixture while pouring in remaining 5 tbsp of olive oil, little by little as though making mayonnaise, until the eggplant mixture is creamy and light. Season with salt and pepper, and fold through parsley.

To serve, spread garlic purée on warm toasted bread slices and dollop eggplant caviar on top.

ZUPPA INGLESE

5 large egg yolks

150g sugar

50g plain flour

500ml milk

few drops vanilla essence

125g grated dark chocolate, plus extra to serve

125ml Alchermes liqueur

125ml rum

20 Italian ladyfingers (sponge finger biscuits)

whipped cream, to serve

Serves 8-10

Whisk egg yolks and sugar until straw-coloured, then stir in flour until all lumps have dissolved. Heat milk with vanilla extract until fairly hot, but not boiling. Pour milk onto egg mixture and then cook for 7-8 minutes in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a low heat, stirring to prevent lumps forming in the custard.

Pour half the custard into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap that touches the surface of the custard to prevent skin forming.

Melt chocolate in a double boiler (or in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan) over barely simmering water. Return remaining custard to heat and stir in melted chocolate. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring continuously. Pour chocolate custard into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap that touches the surface of the custard to prevent a skin forming. Set custards aside to cool before using.

Mix alchermes, rum and 60ml of water together in a bowl. Dip ladyfingers into water and liqueur mixture, then use 1/3 of them to line a 2-litre glass bowl or soufflé dish, or individual glasses. Pour plain custard over the top, cover with another layer of dipped ladyfingers, and spread the chocolate custard on top. Finish with remaining ladyfingers, cover with foil and refrigerate for about 12 hours.

Just before serving, decorate with plenty of whipped cream and grated chocolate.

HOT TIPS

• The eggplant caviar makes a great sauce, particularly with grilled or roasted fish.

• You can also add cumin and tahini to make a version of baba ghanoush that is, again, wonderful by itself, but awesome with roasted or grilled food.

• I also love the garlic purée with chicken or fish. Roast about 3 heads and make a pot of roast garlic sauce. Because the volatile oils have been neutralised, the harsh garlic flavour yields to a sweet roast caramel flavour.

• The zuppa inglese is a trifle, so feel free to add seasonal fruit.

SOMETHING TO DRINK

MarsanneA white wine grape grown in France’s northern Rhône, marsanne is also cultivated at Tahbilk, a Victorian winery that has some of the world’s oldest marsanne vines. The 2005 Tahbilk Marsanne ($15) has a viscosity that complements the bitter qualities of the eggplant.

Photography by William Meppem. Styling by Hannah Meppem. Food preparation by Kirsten Jenkins.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net….


Lleyton Hewitt’s US Open adventure continues

It was not enough for Lleyton Hewitt to topple Juan Martin del Potro under the tennis world’s nostalgic, almost affectionate, gaze. There was no point stopping there.  Buoyant, vindicated but not yet satisfied, the former No.1 has advanced safely – if less spectacularly – into the fourth round, with the romantic possibility of going even deeper still.
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Hewitt defeated 102nd-ranked Evgeny Donskoy 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 6-1 to book a place in the last 16 for the eighth time in his long career, but the first since he reached the quarter-finals in 2006. Hewitt was still to learn the identity of his next opponent, but it promised to be an all-geriatric affair against either 35-year-old 12th seed Tommy Haas, or 31-year-old Mikhail Youhzny, the 21st seed.

“It’s always great coming back to the place where it all started for me, here at the US Open,” said Hewitt, the doubles champion in 2000, and 2001 singles winner at Flushing Meadows. “It’s a special place to come back and play and I have played some of my best tournaments here. I’ve always played well on the American hardcourts, for starters, but the atmosphere as well, it suits my personality.”

Having landed in the third round courtesy of a marvellous five-set night win on Arthur Ashe Stadium over sixth seeded del Potro, another former champion, this this was a much more low-key occasion on a muggy afternoon on the No.3 court. But there was plenty to play for, and no let-down, Hewitt breaking serve to love in the opening game – two forehand winners and a couple of errors from a nervous Donskoy set the tone for what was to follow – and a Donskoy double-fault gift-wrapped the set within the half-hour.

Hewitt, positively, was more willing to finish off points at the net – winning 24 of his 31 attempts – than an opponent whose comfort zone does not extend far beyond the baseline, but Donskoy settled into his potent groundstrokes, and damaging forehand in particular, as the match tightened up in the second set, with Hewitt forced to save three break chances in the 11-minute 11th game.

Hewitt had buried del Potro under a series of winners in conceding just two points in his previous tiebreak, and then successfully carried the momentum into the deciding fifth set. This was a less emphatic affair, but Hewitt produced a good first serve on his second chance to take the two-sets-to-love lead he had not quite managed two days before.

Donskoy is no delPo, but he started hitting out in the third, with seven aces among his 14 winners to Hewitt’s five, breaking serve for the first time in the eighth game, and serving out the set 6-3. Yet the experienced world No.66 soon regained control, taking the early lead in the fourth, and clinching the match in just under three hours, after fending off two further break points in the final game.

Hewitt had never seen Donskoy until the pair practised together before their opening round matches, although, interestingly, the Muscovite’s mentor is dual grand slam champion, now Russian politican, Marat Safin, the player who famously denied Hewitt his treasured Australian Open title in the 2005 final. Donskoy was making his US Open debut, and with a third round effort at the Australian Open his previous best grand slam result. It was also his first.

Hewitt is playing his 58th major, at the only place where he is a two-time finalist. He is in top seed Novak Djokovic’s quarter, but that prospective appointment is still another round away. Who, though, would have tipped that he would get even this far?

The same could not be said for fifth seed Tomas Berdych, who completed a 6-0, 6-3, 6-2 rout of Frenchman Julien Benneteau and will play Stanislas Wawrinka, who needed four sets to overcome Marcos Baghdatis. Unseeded Denis Istomin’s five-set defeat of Andrea Seppi places the Uzbek in the path of defending champion Andy Murray, a 7-6 (7-2), 6-2, 6-2 winner over Florian Mayer.

The major women’s upset was of tearful eighth seed Angelique Kerber, dumped 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) by Spanish No.18 Carla Suarez Navarro, while top seed Serena Williams won the much-hyped all-American affair against Sloane Stephens 6-4, 6-1 on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Hewitt said he had done enough homework on Donskoy not to be surprised by anything he saw. “He’s obviously got a great forehand. Hits it well,” Hewitt said. “But I came out aggressive at the start and I played well right at the start to get up that early break. That was sort of the telling point for that first set really.

“I served a lot better today, as well; hit my spots well. Even my second serve, whenever I was under pressure, I didn’t give him too many chances to run around and take second cuts on my second serve, which was positive.

“I came in right from the start today. I felt his forehand was his biggest strength. His backhand, he was going to make a lot of balls and not make a lot of errors, but I felt like I could dictate play and come in on that side. That’s what I did right from the start, just to try to set the tone out there.”

Hewitt admitted the possibility of let-down had been on his mind.

“Yeah, absolutely. It was a matter of still staying focused and staying in the moment as much as possible. I still felt a little bit flat today going out there. Actually felt like I got better as the match went on. That was a good sign physically for me, as well.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net….


Sarin: how a single drop of Nazi nerve gas can kill

Sarin, the deadly nerve gas which the US says was unleashed last month by the Syrian regime in a Damascus suburb, was developed by Nazi scientists in 1938.
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Originally conceived as a pesticide, sarin was used by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime to gas thousands of Kurds in the northern town of Halabja in 1988.

A cult also used the odorless, paralysing agent in two attacks in Japan in the 1990s.

US Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday said tests on hair and blood samples taken from the emergency workers who rushed to the scene of the Damascus attack on August 21 had shown indications of sarin.

He said the samples had been given to the US independently, outside of an outgoing UN probe.

Washington has squarely blamed the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad for the attack, which it says killed more than 1400 people including hundreds of children.

Inhaled or absorbed through the skin, the gas kills by crippling the respiratory centre of the central nervous system and paralyses the muscles around the lungs.

The combination results in death by suffocation, and sarin can contaminate food or water supplies, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which notes that antidotes exist.

“Sarin is 26 times more deadly than cyanide gas. Just a pinprick-sized droplet will kill a human,” according to the World Health Organisation.

Exposure symptoms include nausea and violent headaches, blurred vision, drooling, muscle convulsions, respiratory arrest and loss of consciousness, the CDC says.

Nerve agents are generally quick-acting and require only simple chemical techniques and inexpensive, readily available ingredients to manufacture.

Inhalation of a high dose – say 200 milligrams of sarin – may cause death “within a couple of minutes”, with no time even for symptoms to develop, according to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Exposure through the skin takes longer to kill and the first symptoms may not occur for half an hour, followed by a quick progression.

Even when it does not kill, sarin’s effects can cause permanent harm — damaging a victim’s lungs, eyes and central nervous system.

Heavier than air, the gas can linger in an area for up to six hours, depending on weather conditions.

UN inspectors, who have been in Syria investigating allegations of the regime’s use of chemical weapons, left the country on Saturday. The analysis of their samples could take up to three weeks, UN experts have said.

AFP

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net….


Police discover mortar bombs during $12,000 robbery raid

Source: Maitland Mercury
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The Australian Defence Force has launched an investigation after police found three military bombs at Kurri Kurri during a search over a $12,000 heist.

Three mortar shells and parts of mortars were seized from the home and the army has confirmed some of the weapons were ­standard issue military artillery.

The defence force has seized the mortars and is trying to determine how the bombs – which police said was enough to blow up a village – were obtained.

Investigators are deeply concerned the weapons were being stored in a suburban house where a 36-year-old woman and two young children were living.

Charges have not yet been laid.

A police investigation into a robbery in East Maitland on August 23 led Central Hunter detectives to the house.

A 42-year-old female security guard from Maitland Security Services at Ashtonfield was walking to a bank at Green Hills ­carrying $12,000 in a discrete bag at 3.20pm when a hooded man grabbed it, ran to a ­nearby yellow Holden Commodore, got in and fled.

Witnesses told police a female driver was waiting for the man in the car and their descriptions helped police trace the vehicle to the Kurri Kurri address.

A police search recovered a bank ­security bag and some of the money inside the house.

Police said the security guard had picked up the banking bag from a Rutherford business on then completed other security duties before driving to Green Hills shopping centre to take the cash to the bank.

They also found cannabis, hashish (cannabis resin), cannabis seed, amphetamines, ice and prescription medication.

The 36-year-old woman has been charged with stealing and two counts of possessing a prohibited drug.

Central Hunter crime manager Detective Inspector John Zdrilic said police sought advice from the NSW Police Bomb and Rescue Squad and army bomb experts when the mortars were found.

He said police were concerned about the welfare of the woman’s children in the house – especially the one-year-old who allegedly was wearing a heavily soiled nappy at the time of the police raid.

Inspector Zdrilic said police notified the NSW Department of Community Services which conducted inquiries and took the children on Wednesday.

DOCS ordered the woman and her partner to undergo urine tests late last week to determine if they had drugs in their system, police said.

Further inquiries into the robbery led police to believe the security guard was involved in organising the theft.

A police search of her home at Macquarie Hills, near Newcastle, resulted her being taken to Belmont charged with stealing and possessing fireworks.

She was taken to Belmont police station and charged with stealing.

The hooded man who grabbed the cash has not yet been identified.

Police have appealed for witnesses who saw the man or who have information about the robbery to come forward.

He was wearing a dark hooded jumper pulled over his head, sunglasses, and jeans at the time of the incident.

Inspector Zdrilic urged anyone with information to phone Maitland detectives on 4934 0200 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Mortar bombs and shells seized in search on a Kurri Kurri property.


Major parties vie for best offers for regional Australia

Source: The Courier
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The majorparties have got themselves into a war over regional Australia, with each claiming the better policies for helping local communities.

The Coalition has unveiled its $1 billion National Stronger Regions Fund, which would go towards infrastructure in regions with high unemployment.

But Labor has said the Coalition would cut local projects that have been supported under Labor’s Regional Development Australia Fund.

Ballarat MP and Minister for Regional Australia Catherine King said government funding for the Daylesford Victoria Park multi-purpose centre and Bacchus Marsh swimming pool was at risk.

Ms King said the opposition was showing it had “no understanding” of how the regional Australia portfolio worked.

She said there were 750 projects worth $2 billion nationally that could go if the Coalition scrapped projects not contracted.

“Under Mr Abbott and Mr Truss, every last cent of this funding will be on the chopping block,” she said.

When asked recently what the Coalition’s policy would mean for projects already funded, Nationals leader Warren Truss said only signed contracts would be honoured.

He said the program was long overdue recognition that regions were important for a strong country.

Councils and local community groups will be able to apply for grants between $20,000 and $10 million, with local government contributing 50 per cent.

The plan would see $200 million a year over five years for projects in regional communities, with disadvantaged areas given highest priority.

Mr Truss said some communities across the country are going backwards “at a rate of knots”.

“More has to be done for those communities,” he said.

The major parties are each claiming they have better policies to help regional communities.