Tuesday, March 04, 2008

How To Eat Australian

Finally had the only Aussie marsupial to have evaded me so far: possums.

Most restaurants in Australia don't serve possums, partly because they love possums like they love koalas. But unlike koalas, possums are not protected animals. Which is why you might just come across a restaurant that serves possums, if you're lucky. Which is what happened last night, at Tukka's here in Brisbane...

Well, here's how you make the Baked Possum and Sweet Potatoes dish that I had:

2 young possums, 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 lbs each, dressed weight
1 baking potatoes, 1/2 lb
7 cups cold water
2 lbs sweet potatoes or yams
4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp red pepper
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup cold water
2 cups possum broth

Clean possum carefully and remove scent glands and any clinging hair.

Pare potato, wash and cut in quarters lengthwise; lay potato inside possum.

Fit into a 5 qt kettle. Add water, cover kettle but leave open space on one side for steam to escape. Heat to boiling and boil gently 15-20 minutes; then skim froth that collects; pour off about half the broth.

Add 3 cups fresh hot water, return to heat, again partially cover and boil gently until meat is tender, but not tender enough to pull away from the bone. Remember possums will not become more tender after they are placed in a roasting pan.
Sprinkle outside well with the seasonings that have been well mixed in a coup.

Make gravy by sprinkling flour over cold water, mix to a smooth paste, then blend with 3 coups of broth drained from kettle in which possums were parboiled. Mix and pour around possum.

Arrange pared, washed sweet potatoes around possum. Cover pan and bake until possums and potatoes are about tender. Now uncover and bake until possums and potatoes are tender and beautifully browned or from 35-40 minutes.

Baste every 10 minutes with the gravy in the pan.

Remove meat and potatoes to platter and garnish with parsley.

Pour gravy into separate dish and serve meat and gravy piping hot.

Makes 5 to 6 servings...

NOTE: We don't have possums in India, so these directions are for anyone who might to cook a bandicoot or a big field rat at home.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

An event to remember

Every year, Sydney lights up around this time of the year for one very special Saturday night. It's the annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras here in Sydney. The fun starts around afternoon and goes on late into the night. People come in from all parts of the world. Costumes. Acts. Masks. Floats. Dances. The works.

And it's fantastic. One of the greatest things you will ever see...

It is close to impossible to get decent photographs unless you are one of the accredited journos covering the event. I tried. Not very successfully.

The Pope makes an appearance amidst massive cheer.

One from the Net...the same float + costumes were there last night as well.

The Queen and I. Wonderful picture, isn't it? Except that the person who took the snap left out the Queen's costume - shimmering gold.
Shot from the crowd.
The giant screen that was televising the whole show...shot by FTV.

Random people in colourful costumes.

Justice, finally...

I hate sounding jingoistic, but as someone who has followed the Australian summer very closely, I think that I have just witnessed one of the greatest stories in cricket history.

After getting Andrew Symonds' wicket, Harbhajan has just picked Matthew Hayden's wicket. It doesn't get better than that, does it, at the end of all the nonsense that has gone one for heaven-knows-how-long?

Below is a hastily-taken picture of the Indians celebrating Hayden's wicket, as the giant screen shows Hayden walking off.

More time in Sydney

Haven't had too much time to write, but with the 8.1 megapixels of magic in my pocket, the photographs have been thick and fast in coming.

In the meantime, we have come back to Sydney for another 5 days. The match is currently on, and India have picked the first four Australian wickets in the first final here. Of course, they had the first three in a hurry. After that, Hayden and Symonds - two Queenslanders and two of Harbhajan Singh's favourite people - put together a few runs. Till Harbhajan got Symonds.

Anyway...the photos. Here they are:

At the Darling Harbour. Behind me is the massive cruise ship that came in with piles of people ahead of the Mardi Gras on the 1st of March. It's freezing cold, which explains the hands in my pockets.

Not so cold in the morning though, as Debu-da paints Sydney white in his laundered kurta-pyjama. Balancing out the frame is Moses Kondety of Deccan Chronicle.

Back at the Sydney Harbour area - just outside the Opera House in fact. Edward Scissorhands is playing and I'm playing Johnny Depp (though of course, it's not the movie but the play that's on).

On the steps of the Opera House with (L to R) Nishant Arora (CNN-IBN), Shivendra Singh (Star News), Anurag Bharti (Zee News) and Sunder Iyer (Times Now).

Seagulls at the Harbour Walk.

Later, at Shivendra's hotel room. A boys' night out.