Yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised to learn Ekka Day was not next Wednesday but today. The news spurred me into finishing things up at work on hump day eve.
What is Ekka Day? I hear you say. It is a public holiday for Brisbane folks to be able to attend the Royal Queensland Show, organised by The Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland.
In true Aussie style the word for show or ‘Exhibition’ was changed to ‘Ekka’. I don’t see this word replacing expo any time soon, keeping it as an Australianism.
Those of you who follow me on Instagram may have seen the above photo taken at Cloudland, Italian restaurant, bar and event venue. Another word anchored in the hearts and memories of Brisbanians or Brisbanites. A taste of a post to come.
Stan has been an important member of our family since 2010. We prefer for Stan to accompany us when going out for long lunches rather than leaving him alone at home.
In Australia, rules about pets attending eating establishments are created and monitored by local councils.
Being creatures of habit we have favoured venues that welcome us with Stan including, Capriccio Osteria, Leichhardt, New South Wales; Marinara Ristorante Cafe, Hawthorne, Queensland; Julius Pizzeria, South Brisbane, Queensland; Patina at Customs House, Brisbane, Queensland.
Occasionally we try out a new place. Mostly we check online or call ahead to find out if our party will be welcomed.
There is a shared excitement about going for lunch. An anticipation about the potential delightful delicacies we may well devour.
Nothing pours cold water on our enthusiasm more than comments about ‘the dog’, especially when we have previously been to the eatery.
‘You will have to sit to the right of the opening (into the restaurant) in case the dog’s hairs fly in’. Mamma’s Redcliffe, Queensland.
Or a new place
‘You have to sit at a table on the footpath. The dog has to be on the ground. Please take the dog off your lap, it has to be on the ground. The council come around and check. I will get into trouble’. La Dolce Vita, Milton, Queensland.
‘You can have the table at the end. You cannot sit under the canopy’. Cafe Gioia, Norton Street, Leichhardt, New South Wales.
The pedestrianised part of Queen Street in Brisbane, a.k.a Queens Street Mall does not allow dogs even on a lead.
Similarly if we were to take Stan on public transport (buses, trains) in Brisbane he has to be in a carry case.
Fortunately, we can now sit outside on the river ferries providing Stan wears a muzzle.
Horizonal Glass House Mountains seen across north Moreton Bay from Jamieson Park, Scarborough, Queensland.
Excepts from Wikipedia, below.
‘The Glass House Mountains are a cluster of thirteen hills that rise abruptly from the coastal plain on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. They are located near Beerburrum State Forest and Steve Irwin Way. The trip is about one hour from Brisbane.’
‘The Volcanic peaks of the Glass House Mountains were formed by intrusive plugs, remnants of volcanic activity that occurred 26-27 million years ago. Molten rock filled small vents or intruded as bodies beneath the surface and solidified into land rocks. Millions of years of erosion have removed the surrounding exteriors of volcanic cores and softer sandstone rock.’
‘The term ‘Glasshouse Mountains’ was given by explorer Lieutenant James Cook on 17 May 1770. The peaks reminded him of the glass furnaces in his home county of Yorkshire, UK.’
The signs in the hotel’s common areas are many and clear. Observe social distancing, sanitise your hands, wait here to be seated, use the QR code to see the menu.
My husband had already experienced four people, millimetres away from him, exchanging pleasantries, while he attempted to eat his poached eggs on smashed avocado and toast.
Almost at the end of breakfast a woman drags a chair over to join a couple behind him. Parked a hair’s breadth from his back an unspoken outrage charged the air. Members of staff engaged with the interloper. Nothing was mentioned of the infringement.
If my husband had said something he would have been the one drawing gasps and stares from onlookers. On this occasion our group of four stood up as one, escaping to the outdoors.
Australia has been largely spared the pandemic’s deathly grasp. I find the flagrant disregard of measures, put in place to protect the populace to be unconscionable, especially in the context of society’s new normal.
Since posting a recipe for sourdough bread in 2014, I have lost count of the number of loaves made. Over the years, I have tweaked the proving times, the timing of the knocking back stage, ditched the sourdough starter, and tried different flours.
Using 1/4 teaspoon of active dried yeast and Laucke Crusty White Bread Mix (flour and salt), this loaf is the largest yet. It was achieved by proving for 24 hours in the fridge followed by 12 hours at room temperature. A gentle knock back as described in the amended recipe below and baking for 30 + 15 minutes.
425g unbleached bread flour
1/4 teaspoon of active dried yeast
1 teaspoon salt (not needed when using bread mix)
1. Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl then stir in water.
2. Cover with glad wrap (cling film).
3. Store in the fridge for 24 hours then 12 hours at room temperature.
4. Preheat large lidded Pyrex casserole dish or Dutch-oven in oven at hottest temperature.
5. Meanwhile line a bowl or basket with baking parchment and turn out dough onto floured surface or board. Save the cling film for later.
6. Using floured hands or bowl scraper, fold the edges of the dough into the middle. I usually work from quarters then eighths.
7. Place the dough right side up into the lined bowl and cover with cling film.
8. When the oven is at temperature remove the Pyrex bowl, take off the lid.
9. Transfer the baking parchment and dough the into the pre-heated container and replace the lid.
10. Bake the bread for 30 minutes then turn the temperature down to 200oC and remove the lid.
11. After 15 minutes at the lower temperature the bread should be cooked.
12. Cool on a wire rack.