Festive Indulgence

Saturday 27 December 2006

VENUE: Union Hall

Attending: Julie, Andrew, John, Chris T, Chris w, Di and Sam, Kevin and Irene


Here is my suggestion for dinner at Union Street on 27 December: everyone bring leftovers from their Christmas dinner. Knowing all of you as I do, I expect that will be enough to feed an army. I won’t have leftovers in the fridge (having not been here to cook Christmas dinner) but I will have a fridge full of raw materials to fill any gaps which may appear when the dinner is assembled.

I suggest we get together at 5.30, which will allow time for a little perambulation through the garden. I don’t propose that we eat outside, mainly because I have no outdoor furniture and it could all get a bit too hard (literally).

Do not bring Christmas cake, as I have a perfect one here, courtesy of Chris Wilmot, complete with reclining Santa, just begging to be put into circulation.

Andrew, could you please pass this on to James, and to Chris, as I don’t appear to have his home email address.

Look forward to seeing you all soon.


Sunset at Ben Lomond

The Dinner Party Expedition to Ben Lomond

11-13 March, 2006

VENUE: Ben Lomond – Northern Tasmania Ski Club Schloss

ATTENDING: Di, Sam, Christopher, Andrew, Kiri, John, Irene, Kevin, Julie

Pointing out the key features

Pointing out the key features


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Saturday night: Traditional roast dinner

Appetiser/s: Bruschetta (Di, with Andrew, John and Chris to bring fresh tomatoes, basil and French bread)

  • Roast chicken (Julie)
  • Roast pork (John)
  • Gravy (Andrew/John)
  • Roast potato/pumpkin/sweet potato/parsnip (Andrew)
  • Green vegetable/s (broccoli from Di, zucchini from John)
  • Dessert: apple crumble (Di)
  • Tea/coffee (Andrew and Di to bring coffee/plungers; tea-drinkers to BYO)
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The NTAC Ski Lodge, Ben Lomond

The NTAC Ski Lodge, Ben Lomond

 Sunday morning: Breakfast

New York breakfast (Irene and Kevin)

Vodka, tabasco and tomato juice (Di and Kevin: this seems to be a lot of vodka, but then we aren’t driving)

Sam and Di preparing Bloody Marys for breakfast

Sam and Di preparing Bloody Marys for breakfast

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

 Sunday lunch

Roast pork sandwiches (peanut butter for Irene)

Bread (everyone to bring a loaf of some sort of bread)

Tomatoes and basil for tomato sandwiches (John and Andrew: don’t forget the pepper and sugar)

Slice (Di)

Fruit (Chris)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Botanising along the way

Botanising along the way

Sunday night: Indian banquet

Appetiser: something Indianish (Irene)

  • Beef and vegetable curry (Andrew)
  • Pumpkin in coconut milk (Julie)
  • Dahl (Julie)
  • Something else Indian, not necessarily vegetarian (Chris)
  • Yoghurt/cucumber sambal (Di)
  • Tomato (there it is again)/mint sambal (Di, with tomatoes from the usual suspects)
  • Dessert: something chocolaty (Irene)
Looking east. Freycinet Peninsuar peaks in distance (in haze behind another mountain)

Looking east. Freycinet Peninsuar peaks in distance (in haze behind another mountain)

Monday morning: Breakfast

Scrambled eggs (John)

Fruit juice (Julie)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Bennett's wallaby

Bennett’s wallaby

CAMPERS KIT LIST (from Di & Sam)

  • Linen: Sleeping bag/doona, Pillow slip(s), Tea towel, Bath towel
  • All food
  • Ice and eskies
  • Wet weather gear
  • Walking boots
  • Warm clothing (incase of weather change)
  • (Feel free to pack dressing gowns, slippers etc – most of the lodge are carpeted!!)
  • Torch & lantern
  • Matches
  • Maps
  • Compass
  • Mobile phone
  • Games
The Dinner Party crew convene at Shark Point for a picnic

Picnic at Shark Point

Saturday 11 February 2006

VENUE: An alfresco exploration of Di and Sam’s oyster farm least at Penna

ATTENDING: Di and Sam, Irene and Kevin, Julie, Andrew, Christopher, James


— Meet at 11.30am at Barilla Bay Seafoods. Di and Sam will then lead the cavalcade to the site.

— Di will bring picnic rugs, plastic plates/cutlery. Kevin will bring a card table for the food. Everyone else should bring a chair, a mug and a thermos for tea/coffee. Andrew will bring a gas ring for coffee.

— Keen fisherpersons welcome to bring fishing gear.



Julie, James, Irene and Chris

Julie, James, Irene and Chris

Admiring the lease

Admiring the lease

Oyster leases at Pittwater

Oyster leases at Pittwater

Now to the food:

  • Fresh bread (Di)
  • Sushi and Vietnamese rolls (Andrew and Chris)
  • Tomato and basil salad (John, Andrew)
  • Russian salad (Kevin)
  • Cold meats (John)
  • Roast chicken (Di)
  • Fruit salad (Julie)
  • Brownies (Irene)
Di sets the tone of the evening

Balderdash Challenge

Sunday 14 August 2005

Riahlannah Heights

Attending: Julie, Pat, Irene, Kevin, John, Chris, Christine, Di and Sam (and others)

The menu does not seem to have survived, but the message below from Di sets the tone of the evening.



John and Di

John and Di



 Dear All,

Sam and I would like to propose Mt Nelson (so Pat can relax!) on Saturday 31 July (later changed to Sun 14 August) for our next dinner.  There was recipe in the Australian a few weeks ago for lamb shanks cooked slowly in lots of good things that suggested that a good stew and with a nice red (or white for Sam) around the fire would be nice.  But when did we ever stop at one dish or why opt for a simple stew when a whole banquet can be prepared??

The challenge for you quiz enthusiasts is a game of Balderdash (or more precisely the latest version, “Absolute Balderdash”) after the meal. This is a game where you are not expected to know the real answers to any of the questions (a major relief for some of us).

Instead the main objective is to bluff the other players; points are awarded for fooling other players as well as getting the right answers (something which, I am told, although rare, does occasionally happen.) Whereas the original Balderdash was based on word definitions, the newer version includes categories of initials, dates, people (what is this person known for?) and movies (what is this movie about?)  I have played the early game in the past and found it to be hilarious.

There is even a footnote in the instructions to the effect that: “if during the playing of “Absolute Balderdash” the game erupts into a riot, the creators will not be held responsible..blah..blah..”.  By the way Balderdash is a board game – strategy is involved!!!

Look forward to seeing you all on Sunday at Irene’s birthday party.

Cheers Di and Sam

Sam documenting the evening

Sam documenting the evening

Julie and Chris

Julie and Chris

Kevin, Irene and the Balderdash set

Kevin, Irene and the Balderdash set



Athens Olympic Games Challenge

Saturday 21 August 2004

Held at Rialannah Heights

In Attendance: Di & Sam, Irene & Kevin, Julie, Pat, Jan (John was in Devonport so this dinner will be without the usual Bernard King inspired selection. This led to some spirited correspondence – see below.)


Andrew – Mezethakia (aka Mezze) – a selection that will entice the most discerning gourmands and armchair travellers.

Jan – Spanakoppitta.  French fries are optional as Jan brings us the most recent Greek culinary practices.

Chris – Moussaka which, we have just learned, is also known as ‘Chris’s bersekka’.

Di -Steffado – her traditional rendition.

Julie – Greek salad – your discretion but there should be at least three ingredients.

Kevin – a stuffed vegetable to be decided – likely candidates are zucchini, tomatoes or eggplant.

Irene – a fruit based dessert with no baklava in sight.



Thanks for the non-Bali evening – good fun! And I look forward to the Sunday session, but I can’t make the Dins, as I will be Virtuosing in Devenport that evening. It still takes me a while to find out where I am…



I agree with Andrew but would go one step further. John should make octopus a la bernard when he comes back from his tour of Devonport. He might manage to catch one while he’s there.



Just as long as we/I don’t have to eat it!



Well, yes, however since John doesn’t read his emails I think we are safe.



You know, I am very distressed at the high tone of those who question my introduction of the collected works of Bernard King into our little culinary circle.

After all, as a foreigner I am merely trying to bring back into the Tasmanina mainstream the serious efforts of someone who must have had a major influence on the mothers – or, dare I say it, fathers? – of some of our members.  I was also persuaded that someone who was clearly as highly regarded by the Australian television audience as a sterling example of the evolving glitterati of the seventies should still have some place in our collective consciousness as a pioneer of the culinary art in Australia.

Anyway, my middle name is Bernard, so I am biased.

Although I had not thought of Ouzing Octopus John Bernard as an entree dish, I think it demands consideration. Sadly I shall not be there on Saturday to try it out with you.

In fact I am thinking of penning a series of menus ‘a la John Bernard’. But that is, like many, merely a putative work in progress at this stage.

Until the next time


John Bernard



My dear sir,

As a seventh generation Tasmanian I feel it is no more than my duty to point some serious historical and cultural flaws in your (no doubt well intended) proposal to foist the culinary dribblings of the former celebrity TV chef Bernard King upon what you clearly view as the otherwise starved and desiccated landscape of Tasmanian cuisine in the early part of the twenty-first century.

As a poor immigrant refugee to our land you cannot possibly be aware of various salient facts that must be comprehended and accepted before expecting that any conjecture you may casually make about the various men who might or might not have impressed our (apparently) impressionable mothers (or indeed fathers!) might be taken laying down and without riposte.

Anyone with a passing knowledge of historical television broadcasting practices, procedures and technologies in Australia would know and understand that, whilst the late Mr King may, indeed, have been a member of the ‘glitterati’ in Sydney during his heyday of the 1970s, it did not necessarily follow that he was seen, or even particularly well known, in the provinces. Indeed, the nature of regional commercial television in Tasmania, and in many other far-flung parts of the nation, remained more reminiscent of a friendly local meeting place; a corner shop by comparison to the glittering but ultimately hollow and unsatisfying mega-malls of larger metropolises. As such, local telecasters had their own pantheons of local celebrities with which to fill the dull and lonely days occupied by our poor deprived parents.

Now it may be that, in the opinions of recent newcomers to our land, such stars may have faded from view; indeed it may be argued that at the height of their luminescence they burned more with the friendly glow of a well-tended hearth than the dazzling display of more cosmopolitan counterparts. The publishing deals of our local stars, too, may not have been as substantial as they might have been. Their thoughts, opinions and collected wisdom are not so immediately available in the bargain bins of opportunity shops and weekend fetes, the staples from their books’ cheap bindings long since having given way and their pages scattered to the winds. This, however, does not mean that they do not live on, cherished in the hearts and minds of those with a care to remember them.

On the culinary front, our own dear, departed Mrs Godfrey was a far more substantial and lingering influence on Tasmanian cooks and cooking than any flamboyant flibbertigibbet from the big smoke. A veritable model of thrift and virtue, Mrs Godfrey doled out recipes and good sense from behind her heavy black spectacles and bouffant hairdo on Tasmanian television screens and on local radio to generations of housewives and aspiring cooks, myself included. She had no need to resort to packet mixes and imported spirituous liquors to dress up her honest fare. What that woman could not produce with a cup of Four Roses self-raising flour and a pinch of cooking salt was not worth eating. Desiccated coconut was, to Mrs Godfrey, an exotic foodstuff.

Even in death, it might be argued, Mrs Godfrey demonstrated thrift and practical good sense whereas ‘Saint’ Bernard (for I feel sure he was, in life, rarely ever far from a barrel of brandy) would seem to have taken excess just one final and fatal step too far…

If you wish to make a significant contribution to local culture and cuisine, I would urge you to seek out and celebrate the work of this major force in local foodmaking. Seek her out, in your perambulations amongst the dog-eared National Geographics and the more expensively bound but culinarily less durable memoirs of lesser cooks that pile up in church halls.

If you are still then in doubt, might I suggest the preparation of a meal at which a side-by-side comparison might be made? Mrs Godfrey vs Mr King – a sort of post-mortem ‘Iron Chef’? To do any less, and still to insist upon honouring such insubstantial icons and to attempt to impose them upon a native population that knows better smacks of cultural imperialism of the worst sort. As an Irishman, I would have hoped that you might be a little more sensitive about such things.

Vale, Mrs Godfrey.

The Lords and Ladies assembled

Royal Wedding Celebration Feast – Danish Challenge

Saturday 15 May 2004

Venue: Washington Square

In Attendance:

  • Dame Irene DCS, DQCBMJG, DCM, FAQ (eftpos)
  • Sir Kevin KRVCZFR, CS, CD, DVD (myob)
  • Sir John KMDCM, DMM, FYI, RDO, RC (lapsed)
  • Dame Julie KGKH, KSSBQCBSFTNISGA, ATO, BAS, IBM (qwerty)
  • Sir Andrew KEMCP, CCM, DIY, DNA, VHS, LP (scratched)
  • John and Christine
  • Absent Friends were recalled.



ENTREE Salmon steaks (Krissy)

SOUP Yellow pea soup (Julie)


  • Roast pork with apples and prunes (John Sexton; Julie to supply recipe)
  • Danish meatballs (Andrew; Krissy to supply recipe)
  • Sugar browned potatoes (Kevin)
  • Leeks in butter (Julie; Krissy to supply recipe)
  • Mrs Jensen’s mushrooms (Andrew; Krissy to supply recipe)
  • Red cabbage (Irene)
  • Pickled cucumber salad (Irene)

DESSERT Danish pastries (John Ancher)


  • Fino sherry (Julie)
  • Carlsberg beer (Kevin)
  • Wine (everybody else)
Royal Danish baskets

Royal Danish baskets

Insignia and Honours to be Worn at Times of Significance and Self-Importance

It is hereby declared that at the forthcoming and aforementioned celebration of the marriage of Our Lady of Taroona to some Danish chap, full insignia and honours will be worn by all those such as are entitled to ‘em.

In the event of any, or all, of the party being of generally dishonourable demeanour and not having had the foresight to obtain previously any appropriate insignia, there will be held in advance an investiture of the following honours upon those concerned (whether they be feeling at all concerned or not).

The ceremony shall be preceded in good time and spiritous liquor by a working bee to appropriately fashion and festoon the insignia for this great occasion (sequins and hot glue gun provided). The working bee may also serve for the fashioning of headgear suitable to the occasion.


Dame Irene DCS, DQCBMJG, DCM, FAQ (eftpos)

Dame Commander of the Order of the Saucepan (DCS)

Dame Quite Cross of the Order of Saint Bernard of Montjoux and Saint John of God (Patron Saints of Skiers and Booksellers – believe it or not!) (I chose Skiers because there doesn’t appear to be a Patron Saint of Bushwalkers – maybe we should petition for the beatification of Saint Olegas?)


Sir Kevin KRVCZFR, CS, CD, DVD (myob)

Companion of the Order of Saucepan (CS)

Knight Really Very Cross of the Order of Saint Zita and Saint Frances of Rome
(Patron Saints of Lost Keys and Motorists – I’m not making this up!)


Sir John KMDCM, DMM, FYI, RDO, RC (lapsed)

Distinguished Misconduct Medal (DMM)

Knight Most Displeased of the Order of Saint Columba and Saint Matthew
(Patron Saints of Poets & Accountants)



Lady of the Garter, Knickers and Hose (KGKH)

Dame She-Should-Be-Quite-Cross-But-She’s-Far-Too-Nice of the Order of Saint Isidore of Seville and Gabriel the Archangel

(Patron Saints of Computer Users & Communication Workers – you heard it here first!)


Sir Andrew  KEMCP, CCM, DIY, DNA, VHS, LP (scratched)

Knight Errant of the Order of Saint Martha and Saint Casmir of Poland

(Patron Saints of Cooks and Bachelors – and I don’t think they mean Martha Stewart)

Conspicuous Consumption Medal (CCM)


Other Medals may be bestowed as the availability, need and mood may dictate:

Distinguished Flying Duck (DFD)

Queen’s Commendation for Culinary Conduct (This one doesn’t entitle the bearer to any postnominals.)