Tuesday, March 07, 2017

I’M NOT A CELEBRITY....GET ME OUT OF HERE!




After I spent most of Saturday, 25th February preparing and cooking 120 savoury mini-muffins, to be eaten the following day - if I see another muffin it will be too soon!

I’m not sure how or why it is I get invited to parties of whatever description that end up costing me more than it does the hosts!  I think I have a flashing neon light on my forehead that only others can see!

This “garden party” was the 40th wedding anniversary “celebration” of my ex-sister-in-law and her husband (the sister of my second husband, and now ex, but still good mate).  

The husband is a retired barrister; the wife a retired nursing sister.  Both have much more money than I do.

Their home is not far from where I dwell; probably about half a kilometre or thereabouts, give or take. Less as the crow flies. 

However, I when I tried to hitch a ride on one of the crows that – take note of this – that gets regular hand-outs from me - it refused because of the large platters I was taking with me! More particularly, he declined to give me a lift when I refused him a muffin or two!  Unruffled, I packed the goodies in my car and drove myself to the party, instead.

Forty years ago my then husband and I attended his sister’s wedding, the reception of which was held at the top of Brisbane’s Mt. Coot-tha – in the restaurant thereupon.  

My ex and his sister no longer talk. I know and understand the reasons why...and I know whose side I stand on, and it’s not the side of my ex-sister-in-law.  I know a lot she doesn’t know I know.   I keep my own counsel.

My ex wasn’t invited to the garden party.  Lucky him!    My ex-brother-in-law and his wife were invited, but they didn’t attend...lucky them!

Reluctantly, I accepted the invitation (there is always a method, purpose and reason for my bursts of madness...too long and complex to go into in detail. Suffice to say, I find it difficult having to deal with hypocrites and/or pretentious people - and the party the other day had more than its fair share of them!

Between 60 to 80 people attended the garden party.

The invitation said to “bring a plate”.  Until the heat of summer hit with full force I had been doing some de-cluttering, taking what I no longer need or use to the local OP Shops; one is run by the RSPCA and the other by the local Presbyterian Church.  

Seeing I was asked, on the invitation, to bring a plate, I had considered taking along quite a few plates I no longer use, plates that are hijacking space and gathering dust. 

Instead, of course, I did as I was bidden, deciding against playing the fool.

I should’ve gone with my original thought and played the fool.  Instead I was taken for a fool, as were other invited guests, in my opinion.  

Along with the two large platters brimming with mini muffins, I also took with me a bottle of Andrew Peace Rosé.  

I’d not tried this particular Rosé before, but I’m glad I accepted the word of the fellow at the bottle shop because it was a very nice wine.  

Andrew Peace Vineyard and Winery is situated at Piangil, on the banks of the mighty, majestic Murray River, in the Mallee Region of northern Victoria. We are fortunate in this country.  Australia produces a vast array of wonderful wines.

When I was working in the role of Groups-Conventions Manager at the Ramada Reef Resort, at Palm Cove, north of Cairns after I’d left the resort on Hinchinbrook Island I tried to promote Rosé because I believed it to be a perfect wine for our summer months.  I couldn’t understand why Rosé wasn’t more popular back then.  

My personal preference is for gutsy red wines, such as Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon, but during summer, particularly during the daylight hours, Rosé is a perfect match for our long, hot summer days.

For many years the best-known and best-selling Rosé in this country was Mateus Rosé, a wine imported from Portugal.

Fortunately, the “climate”...and tastes have altered over the years.  Australia now produces some excellent Rosé wines, and Aussies are choosing them over the imported ones.

One of the best is Bird in Hand Pinot Rosé....it is magnificent.   

Bird in Hand winery is located near the town of Woodside in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia.  

As far as alcohol goes, I drink very little these days, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a quality wine (or spirits, both of the alcoholic kind and human kind!) when I have it.  

I suppose similar applies all over. I may not have a lot of money, and I live in a rented, humble cabin, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the good things in life, as humble as many of those are, too.

These days I no longer host and cater for dinner or luncheon parties, or for parties of any description.  I stopped doing so a few years ago.
  
However, when I did entertain others in my own abode and surrounds, I never asked, nor did I expect my guests to bring a “plate”. Everyone, or most, brought their own liquor, as is the normal, unspoken practice, but never food.

More fool me regarding the food, I guess, but I enjoyed the planning; the purchasing of the necessary ingredients; the preparation, the creating and the cooking.  I enjoyed being the hostess; I enjoyed presenting the food that I had prepared to my guests.

However, I digress....

I think the party the other day, for me, was the most boring I’ve ever attended.  

People were too spread out, for one thing.  Parties, to get them going off with a swing, need “body heat”.  Meaning - having people spread wide apart over a vast area never works well.  People need to be near people – up close to each other – to have fun.  

The garden party on Sunday, 26th February, as the name denotes, was held outside in the garden...the grounds of which cover about four acres.  Having tables dotted around the grounds, at distances apart from each other, is never going to work well.
  
Party-goers like to be “up close and personal”  Once you have people seated at tables apart in their little groups, that is where they remain for most of the time.

To make matters worse, for me, one of the guests, the best friend of the male host, early in the proceedings, attempted to, in the presence of people, some of whom I didn’t know, or who knew me...tried to start a conversation in which he was going to be derogatory towards my ex-husband, the hostess’ brother!  

Well, I wasn’t going to stand for that (although, I almost did leap to my feet in anger). I will never stand for ignorant comments being made!  And that clown who dared to open his mouth should have known better.  He soon closed it.  Looking him directly in the eye, I put him in his place quick smart, leaving him floundering in his own mess.

I’d met the fellow concerned in the early Seventies.  Our paths have crossed only a handful of times since those days.  

The last time was about seven and a half years ago when I catered for said ex-sister-in-law’s 60th birthday party.
  
Each crossing of our paths has been brief.  But there he was about ready to mimic, to echo thoughts he’d picked up from his best friend, the host of Sunday’s party, and those of my ex-sister-in-law. Some people never learn.   

The host and hostess of the party choose not to have anything to do with her, the hostess' brother, my ex-husband. My ex and I are in regular contact, a few times a week.

My loyalties will always be with my ex-husband, even if there are times and have been times he gives me the shits (he’s aware of this, of course), but I will always have his back.  He’s aware of that, too.  It works both ways.  

I will not sit by and allow another or others spew out stuff about which they have no idea.  It is not their right to do so, nor is it any of their business.  

To make matters worse the other day, that clown was about to offer his “ill-informed insights” about my ex-husband in the presence of strangers...people who don’t know me or my ex – who know absolutely nothing about our lives, together or apart!!

He will never again attempt to do so when in my presence. 

Personally, although I kept it well-hidden, I gained pleasure witnessing the way his mouth dropped open and remained so mid-word, and the way he began to squirm when I retaliated forcefully!   

My prompt response cut him off short. It was not expected by him.  He stayed far away from me after the incident, which pleased me.  At least, he was smart enough to do so. Perhaps he realised he valued his safety much more than he thought he did.

I think he went away to wipe the egg from his face.

People should learn to shut their mouth, and keep it shut when it comes to matters they know nothing about.

I don’t suffer fools easily...I don’t suffer fools at all.

Along with the rests of the guests, I was forced to sit through a self-indulgent “concert” put on by the above idiot who classes himself as the Brisbane equivalent to Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice and Steven Sondheim all wrapped up in one!

The first glimpse I had of an escape hatch...I headed for it.   

Politely, I said my farewell to the hosts,  and, relieved, I came home...where I let out a loud sigh!  

There’s no place like home!



Savoury Muffins: Preheat oven to 190°C (170°C fan-forced). Grease muffin pan/s. Cook bacon in heated pan until crisp, drain on absorbent paper, cool. (Or replace bacon with drained sun-dried tomatoes, as I did). Sift 2c self-raising flour and 1 cup plain flour into large bowl. In another bowl, combine bacon/sun-dried tomatoes, 1/3c grated parmesan cheese, 3/4c sliced black olives and Italian herbs;  then add 2 lightly-beaten eggs, 2tbs tomatoe puree,3tsp  sambal oelek, 3 crushed garlic cloves, 3/4c light x-virgin oil and 1-1-1/2c buttermilk (or a combination of milk and sour cream); fold into flours; don’t over-mix.  Spoon mixture into prepared pan; sprinkle with extra herbs and grated cheese.  You can top them with pumpkin/pepita seeds, halved cherry tomatoes or sliced black olives, if you like..

Corn Muffins:   To make buttermilk - in glass jug/bowl, stir 1/2c milk with 1-1/2tsp vinegar; let stand for 5 minutes. In large bowl, whisk together 1c yellow cornmeal (polenta), 1c plain flour, 1/2tsp baking soda, 1/2tsp salt and1/2tsp pepper. In another bowl, whisk together 1x420g can creamed corn, buttermilk, 1/4c light ex-virgin olive oil, 2 eggs and 1/4tsp Sambal Olek; pour over cornmeal mixture. Sprinkle with 1c shredded cheddar and parmesan cheeses, 1/2c frozen corn kernels, thinly sliced chives and 1/4c finely-chopped parsley (and/or fresh spinach leaves); stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.  DON”T over-mix. Spoon into greased muffin pan. Bake in centre of 400°F (200°C) oven until tester inserted into centre comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool on rack. (Make-ahead: Store in airtight container for up to 2 days or wrap individually and freeze in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.)




27 comments:

  1. Shudder. Social occasions like that are things I dread even without an idiot with a large mouth to contend with.
    Bring a plate was fine when we were all poor. All equally poor. After that? I don't think so.
    Home and your furry friends must have been very welcome after that.

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  2. I can't stand such occasions either, EC...and this was a prime example of one of the worst...too many "pretenders" for my liking.

    Yes...it was so good to be back home. I wished I'd never left it!

    Thanks for coming by. :)

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    1. It's my second husband, Randall, to whom I refer, not my first husband. He and I will always remain good mates. I remain on good terms with both my exes, as I've mentioned previously.

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  3. I try to avoid all social occasions that don't absolutely need me to be there. I don't like to get 'caught in the middle' if people start talking about other people that I might know.

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    1. Hi River...I wasn't "caught in the middle", and never have any intention of being so. I've already made my position perfectly clear to my ex-sister-in-law and her husband; and I made it perfectly clear to the clown on Sunday when he tried to open his mouth what I thought. He'll think twice if he ever tries to do that again while in my presence...and he won't try it on again. I don't tolerate stupidity and ignorance, nor do I abide pretentious people. And if people don't like that about me...that's their problem, not mine. :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  4. Doesn't socialising become increasingly tedious as you age, even with family. I try to be bright and conversational and interested, and perhaps I succeed, or maybe not. I'd rather be at home with R indulging in our own selfish lives. Ah yes, Mateus forever put me off Rosé (what is the keyboard code for one of those thingies over the e? I know, I will cut and past the word).

    Did Turtle Cove where we stayed become Palm Cove. I have checked, and no. Turtle Cove was a bit further north.

    While we are not party people, we have been some terrifically well organised parties in the last decade or so, mostly hosted by dykes. Yes, there is no great space between guests.

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    1. Hi Andrew...I agree...socialising does become tedious as one ages. Enough is enough already - and I've done enough already! :)

      I enjoy my own company too much these days, and that of my two furry rascals. I can't be bothered half the nonsense that's discussed! My two cats make more sense most of the time! ;)

      Yep! Turtle Cove is at Wangetti Beach, approx 18kms north of Palm Cove. I lived at the northern beaches of Cairns...at Yorkeys Knob and then Clifton Beach for approx 3 years after I left Hinchinbrook. And then, I went to live on Newry Island and run the little set-up that was on there back then in the early 90s.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

      Thanks for coming by.

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  5. Among very good friends, we not only bring wine to a party, we often bring a small dish of food. The important thing is to all get together and enjoy each other's company. If it is a party given by people we don't associate with often, a bottle of wine is sufficient. However, we no longer have to go to the latter, and for that I am grateful.

    It is too bad that you had to go to that party and supply such a large amount of food. To have to put up with insufferable fools and be around people that you don't like sounds awful. Start thinking of excuses now for he next time they ask you over.

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    1. Hi Arleen...there is more details as I mentioned in my post...but I don't intend going into the finer details....they're private. There is a reason why I decided to attend. I knew before I went that I wouldn't enjoy the party...I knew it wasn't going to be my kind of party. If I had decided not to go...I wouldn't have made an excuse...I would have just said I wasn't going - pure and simple; black and white. :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  6. Love the keeping your mouth shut meme. So true.
    I'm sorry this party didn't turn out better after all the time, effort and money you put into it.
    Those muffins sound wondrous.

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    1. Hey Sandra...the party was as I expected it to be, really. I wasn't surprised.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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    2. One night not worth going to for you then after all your cooking.
      Bring a plate - often said, would be funny if we did just take a plate with nothing on it. Really it's an odd saying.
      Well 4 acres is rather a large area as you say to have people on who are expected to small talk to each other, one could get well and truly lost in that area.
      Definitely no place like home.

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    3. The "bring a plate" was taken literally, I was told once by a friend up north. She had said it when inviting a fairly newcomer to our Aussie shores...and the guest did just that...brought an empty plate, wondering why the hell she had to do so! lol

      Thanks for coming by, Margaret. :)

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  7. When I was very young we were relatively new to Australia and my mum didn't know about "bring a plate" she thought it meant an empty plate because maybe the hostess, usually a Sunday school group or something like that, didn't have enough crockery to be serving the numbers that would turn up. So she sent us along each carrying an empty plate and a spoon. We got laughed at. When we explained it to mum she wasn't amused. "They" make a party and 'we' have to bring the food? she did get used to it eventually.

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    1. I can imagine your Mum's incredulous thoughts re the "bring a plate", River. And for someone not used to that Aussie practice would be confused and mistaken about what is meant by the term.

      I was never able to bring myself to ask my guests to do so when I used to entertain. It just wasn't part of my thinking. It was just the way I was, I guess...and yet, I never go anywhere empty-handed! A paradox I am! lol

      Thanks for popping in again. :)

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  8. So glad you shut that fool down - you are a good and loyal friend.

    Your muffins look so good - I'll bet they were a hit! That happens to me, too, sometimes - invited to parties in which I am supposed to bring a nibble to share. I have an ex-friend who is rather pretentious and has an even more pretentious sister. I was invited to a quickly thrown together party on a Saturday evening once at the pretentious sister's home - one of those stand around on the terrace and chat evenings. I was very busy that day and didn't have time to think through a nibble. So I stopped at the market and one of those platters that has cubes of cheese and toothpicks. And no one ate any of it - not one cube. I was young enough to be embarrassed then - I wouldn't be now. I left it there when I departed and imagined it being made fun of and it going in the garbage after I left. :) I do not miss those gals one bit.

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    1. Hey Lynn....I got great pleasure out of doing so, too. I was not at all interested in hearing his opinion, or partaking in a discussion with him about someone and something about whom/which he knows little, if anything! He'll never try it on with me again, that's for sure! :)

      I can't stand pretentious people, Lynn...and there were quite a few at that "garden party" the other Sunday. Pretentious, self-indulgent pretenders! Some have their heads so far up their nether regions they need miners' lamps to see! ;)

      The muffins I made did turn out well. I was very happy with them. I tweaked the recipes a bit as I always tend to do...adding what I felt like adding and leaving out other things.

      Thanks for visiting. :)

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  9. From that I read that Rose wine is dangerous...

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    1. No, Mr. Ad-Man...you heard incorrectly. I don't know who has been feeding you false information! :)

      Seeing I had only two glasses of Rosé throughout the painful couple of hours it's not the wine that is dangerous. But, on the other hand, if an idiot presents himself in front of me, the bottle could become dangerous!

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  10. The drama with Mr Gob-on-Legs was all very well and good but I wanted to know how the mini-muffins went down? "Oh Marjorie! These mini-muffins are absolutely divine. So light and tasty. They must have been shop bought."

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    1. Actually, the mini muffins were a great hit, Yorkie. They went down a treat. I was very pleased with them...if I hadn't been, I wouldn't have taken them along with me. And I certainly wouldn't have taken store-bought ones if I'd not been happy with them. I've never bought muffins...perhaps they're better than the ones I made...but we will never know, will we? :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  11. I have always had a dislike of parties. The one advantage of age is that I rarely feel obliged to attend them. Small gatherings of good friends on the other hand are, and always have been, for me the epitome of life's social enjoyment. I can't say that I am good mates with my ex (a term I rarely use) but I certainly having nothing bad to say about her and people know better than to say anything derogatory about her to me. Taking a plate is, of course, also a New Zealand practice and one I found it very easy to slip into. My cheesecake even got me a proposal of marriage at a croquet club tournament.

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    1. I'm not fond of big parties, either, Graham...I prefer/preferred smaller get-together with friends than mobs of people I have little interest in knowing or don't know at all.

      I'm now wondering if you ever again took cheesecake along with you...in fear of being inundated with marriage proposals! It would be kind of a variation on the Pied Piper theme! :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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    2. All is revealed in my latest post Lee.

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  12. Wise words at the end there.

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    1. Hey there, Cosmo...I agree...I should send it to that fellow who tried to open his mouth at the party! ;)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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