Saturday, January 26, 2008

Australia Day in Enmore Park

Planes roaring overhead, a band with a woman lead singer doing Jimmy Barnes covers, people dancing with kids and babies, everyone with their picnic rugs, and dogs galore. Bats flapping powerfully against the breeze. Then the fireworks. It's quite a small park, and only about 50 square metres were cordoned off for the pyrotechnicians. Chrysanthemums, crackles, wagon wheels and strobes were bursting right above our heads and were incredibly close. There was no music while they were going off, which was wonderful because for the first time since I was a kid I could really hear them. They crack and crackle, screech, fizz and bang. Some sound like massive sparklers, others like surf breaking. Silver streaks wheezed their way upwards before turning into delicate stars.

David from Mount Druitt and Daniel from Marrickville

Boss, a Bull Mastiff cross Great Dane, and Beukannan, both from Marrickville

Dougall, a Boston Terrier, and Glen, both from Newtown

Sophia and Prince
"This is our local park, he's never seen so many people at his local park!"

Andrew and Grant, and their beloved Lily.

Gyoza and Sergei
"He's called Gyoza because he has ears like Japanese dumplings"

Leonie, Sunnai and Booty from Newtown

Bridge Andrews with Oscar and Bosie

Max and Marie

Mary and Lily.
Lily is half Papillon, half Chihuahua; she belongs to Mary's granddaughter Amy.

Standing, from left to right: J-me, Josh & Jika. Sitting, from left to right: Alex & Jermaine.
They all go to Marrickville High.

Margo and Sam from Enmore.

Glen Moss of Petersham and Charles Guarroch of Penrith.
They work for Marrickville Council.

Denny Burgess from Newtown

Monday, January 21, 2008

TIM Products - Greek pastries

By Grant

Now if you’re a Marrickvillian and have not heard of TIM Products then it’s time you did. I’ve known about this outlet for traditional Greek pastries for a few years now, but Andrew first discovered it during one of those gourmet food safaris:

I met the son (pictured), whose name escapes me now. He was a pretty dynamic guy and very passionate about the tradition that he is carrying on with his family. I quickly found myself taking about food and how it sustains a culture and facilitates the sharing of cultures. His dad started making traditional Greek pastries a year after I was born (1967) from almond shortbread to baklava and galaktoboureko (layers of filo pastry filled with custard and lightly syruped). They have all been Marrickvillians since 1979!!

On Australia Day, let’s reflect on the richness of the traditions that make up this “big brown land” – that diversity that makes Australia unique – something greater than the sum of it’s parts.

TIM Products is up a long flight of stairs at 407 Enmore Rd Marrickville – you’ll smell the sweet pastries the moment your foot hits the first step.

More info at:

Black Forest Smokehouse

By Grant

I love living in Marrickville – especially will all the local businesses and produce about. But I’m learning to never judge a book by its cover when it comes to good food.

Andrew’s sisters husband is a chef and told me about this week’s shop of the week, the Black Forest Smokehouse. This place is only round the corner from me but I never noticed it - it is easy to miss.

I met Richard and Cate who’ve had the business for 3 years now as “purveyors of gourmet delicacies to Sydney’s greatest chefs”, but the smokehouse has been around for 15 years or so.

They had a pretty good range of meats – some chicken and chilli chorizos I’d never seen before and fresh cut grain fed meats. Also duck, which is hard to get, and heaps of different air-dried meats.

I left with some of the best speck I’ve ever tasted...and got it for about $4 it was cheap! Richard and Cate were really friendly folk carrying on a tradition with good Australian produce. I know where I’m going before my next BBQ.

Black Forest Smokehouse is tucked away at 150 Edinburgh Rd Marrickville and is open Monday – Thursday 10.00am – 5.00pm and Friday 10.00am – 4.00pm.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

First and Second Childhoods

When I was on holiday in Melbourne, Griff, Richard's little son, was visiting from London. We spent a lot of time with this delightful nearly-two year old and I was constantly reminded of how much very young humans live for each moment. "Look, truck!" is Griff's most common declaration of joy, and the happiness created by the discovery (each sighting a wonderful surprise) lasts until said truck/van/tram/ride-on-mower has been admired, waved to (and so many drivers wave back to small children), and has roared or sailed or putt-putted off into the distance.

At the other end of the spectrum is my Pop. Eighty-seven, he is beginning to suffer from dementia. Well, I say suffer, but I don't think he's really suffering... in fact in some ways he seems happier than ever before. He's become uncritical, non-judgmental, accepting. Like Griff, he's also living for each moment. We had afternoon tea. I got him a cappuccino and the richest, most sickly-looking bit of cake, which he gobbled down with relish. Then we walked slowly arm in arm along the St Kilda pier and he looked for a long time at a hovering seagull. "They make it look so easy" he said, then asked when we were getting our afternoon tea. But his memories of long ago are still intact; he knows that in 1941 he had lunch every day at the Lyons tea rooms in Liverpool opposite the university: ox-tail stew for sixpence - "it really filled you up" - and for an extra threepence you could also have soup or pudding. He can still tinkle out a Chopin waltz or a Mozart sonata, and he tells the occasional joke - "I can't walk far you know, I might wear my shoe leather out" - which tickles him, especially if you repeat it straight back to him.

There are so many similarities between Griff and Pop right now: the pleasure in the moment, the love of and need for repetition, the total dependence on others. But while Griff develops by the day, nay, by the hour, learning new words, walking backwards and on tippie-toes, jumping into the pool, Pop slowly loses things: names, events, the alphabet, his PIN. He often says "it's all very confusing". He brings home other people's mail, wanders off, falls over, and is driven home by kind strangers. My frail Nanna is beside herself with worry, and they're looking at nursing homes for Pop this week.