Category Archives: My city

Mince pies -the stairway to happiness

A Year has many highlights, family gatherings, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, weddings, holidays, Christmas, footy season. Anyone can fill in the blanks with their own dates to look forward to.

But for me you can add two other highlights – hot cross buns in he run up to Easter and fruit mince pies before Christmas.

The belt buckle goes out two notches at these times as I go in search of the best hot cross bun or mince pie.

And so, as we rush headlong toward Christmas, my quest has well and truly begun. Slowly at first but it will gain momentum as I hear of “must try” mince pies from all over town.

I launched this seasons’ campaign with a light training run with half a dozen of Vili’s finest.

Vili's Mince pie

Vili’s Fruit Mince Pies

I love Vili’s pasties with the “flaky” pastry and the mince pies didn’t disappoint.   Are they a contender for the best of the best? Time will tell.
Many more of the tiny fruity delicacies will pass down the Goodings gullet before the final votes are cast.

Today I headed to the Semaphore Bakehouse – well renowned for its bakery wares, and I must say, their mince pies will take a power (oops) a lot of beating.

Semaphore bakehouse mince pie

Semaphore Bakehouse

 

Any suggestions will be gratefully received but there are only so many mince pie eating days til Christmas.

A custom from the middle ages says that if you eat a mince pie on every day from Christmas to Twelfth Night (6th January) you will have happiness for the next 12 months!

No guarantees folks but I’m willing to give it a try.

The Barossa Valley – So Much More Than A Great Wine Region

Just back from a whirlwind trip to The Barossa Valley.  My wife Eve and I crammed in so much in 30 hours it was quite remarkable.

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Grape vines at Rowland Flat in the Barossa Valley

There must be some law that states that the closer you live to an iconic region the less significance you give it.

We often rave about Cairns and the tropical far north and how spectacular it is, Tasmania and its wall-wall beauty and charm.  The excitement and vitality of New York and many other wonderful place around the planet that have captured us one way or another.

But right on our doorstep, not much more than an hour away, is  The Barossa, one of the great wine regions of the World, and one of the best places to spend some time, tasting the wines and sampling some of the finest food in a growing number of the best restaurants in the Nation.

I’m not about to name them, that would be unfair to the other highly acclaimed eateries that we’re yet to try.

The accommodation is first rate and for every budget. Then what caps it all off, the people of the Barossa, warm and friendly souls living on a patch of heaven. They definitely know the meaning of hospitality.

I recommend a trip to the Barossa – you won’t regret it.

It’s often said you only appreciate your own city or town when your showing visitors around. Familiarity can breed contempt.  Likewise a popular tourist destination on your doorstep is often seen as a place to avoid. However, in so doing you can be missing out on some wonderful times.

A holiday doesn’t  have to be interstate or overseas – next time check out your own backyard.

Le Cornu site – Just Do It!

I was dining with my wife at Café Peasano in North Adelaide. The food and wine excellent, the atmosphere perfect. The view, across O’Connell Street, abysmal – a vacant block surrounded by a tin fence.O%22Connell St.

“The World’s Biggest Non-Reflecting Curved Glass Window” – that was Le Cornu’s boast on the facade of their North Adelaide furniture store through the 70’s and 80’s.

The store has long since gone, to Keswick,  – but 24 years later in its place is nothing but an empty block. Every couple of years a developer has proudly proclaimed a new and exciting development will rise from behind the metal fence, only to wither on the vine after getting caught up in bureaucracy, dithering and council intervention.

Developer Con Makris has had numerous attempts, but despite some grand plans including a 200 million mixed-use complex with apartments, high-end boutique retail shops, cafes, restaurants and office accommodation, nothing has got off the ground.

There’s been a groundswell of public opinion for a government- council takeover to get something happening. Still,nothing.

It’s almost incomprehensible that a vibrant upmarket inner suburb like North Adelaide can have a prime piece of real estate on the main thoroughfare into the city can sit vacant for a quarter of a century.

 To quote a leading sporting goods company “Just Do It!”

Who Stole Adelaide?

My wife Eve and I had a delightful dinner at Windy Point Restaurant taking in the sweeping panorama of Adelaide.

It’s a breathtaking sight as your eyes drift from the Adelaide Hills across the Plain to the CBD and then across the western suburbs to  Gulf St. Vincent.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Daylight saving meant a 7 o’clock start gave us plenty of sunlit hours to take in the view.

Then the piéce de resistance – the night skyline – the famous  “twinkling lights” of Adelaide, but as I cast my eye across the skyline something was missing!

Where was the CBD?

With a  degree of difficulty I finally spotted the red glow of the logo on the  Westpac  tower.

Adelaide by night from Windy Point - where is the CBD?

Adelaide by night from Windy Point – where is the CBD?

But where were the city lights?  The bright lights of Adelaide are in the suburbs, not the city.

Is Adelaide the only capital that doesn’t light up its’ city buildings?

If our city fathers want the CBD to be reinvigorated and draw people back to the city square mile then please “leave the lights on.”

I don’t want to hear from the conservationists saying “but we’re conserving energy.”   What we are saving in the large scheme of things would be like returning a grain of sand to the beach to prevent erosion.

Then why is Adelaide the only city left in the dark?

5AA – Where News Makes Conversation

I have just completed another stint on morning radio at 5AA. It truly is the best way to feel the heartbeat of the city.

Key points I noted:

  • Politicians can’t get away with what they once did.
  • Spin is dead. The pollies might still try it on but the masses are awake to it.Unknown-2
  • Families Minister Jennifer Macklin’s insensitive comment that she could live on the dole set in stone the politicians’ golden rule.  Never give a definitive Yes or No answer.
  • Even in tough economic times people have an underlying confidence in Australia to come through any crisis.
  • The “she’ll be right” Aussie mentality lives on, and that’s a good thing, but people at large know we have to be ever-vigilant to keep our leaders focused on running the country.
  • Politicians of all persuasions still seem more intent on scoring off their opponents than scoring for the good of the country.
  • Our leaders underestimate the electorate at their peril.
  • Australians can be very generous, particularly in time of adversity, bushfires, floods and other natural disasters.
  • The U.S. influence on our country maybe widespread but Aussies retain wit, charm and cheek that sets us apart from any other race on Earth. Long may it be so.
  • Social media might be the communication system of the “Now” generation but much of that communication is misinterpreted.
  • No matter how much you know on any given subject, someone listening will know more than you do.
  • Radio remains the best source of public interaction.

My conclusion after two weeks on air – Adelaide’s heart is beating the pulse is very strong.

SAHMRI’s 200 Million Dollar Statement

It’s been billed as South Australia’s most ambitious building project in decades and after having a conducted tour of the fast rising SAHMRI* building I can’t help but agree.

The iconic structure on North Terrace is not designed to blend into the Adelaide skyline – believe me it will never do that.

It’s guaranteed to polarize – those who think it’s way too “out there” on   Adelaide’s ultra conservative skyline – and those who say it’s about time  we had a landmark structure in our city.

SAHMRI Building under construction

The Institute will conduct research across six key disciplines in collaboration with SA’s three universities and the new Royal Adelaide Hospital.

SAHMRI project director Michelle Gheorghiu says, “already, the diamond shape rising above North Tce has initiated the transformation of the area into a healthcare precinct.”

 “The envelope of the building with its organic diamond shape and its elevation on flower columns is unique for the Adelaide landscape.”

 “We want to bring researchers back to Adelaide, give them a space that inspires creativity and interaction.” Ms Gheorghiu says.

That’s exactly what the new building is designed to do. SAHMRI already is involved in major research, but it’s be done at various locations around the city.

To bring all the research under the one, innovative centre will draw national and international focus showing  just how significant the work ofSAHMRI is.

Already interstate and overseas researchers have been drawn to the new complex and when fully operational will be home to 600 of the world’s leading medical researchers in August/September 2013.

Despite the sceptics I believe on completion Adelaide will grow to love the SAHMRI centre and the wonderful work which will benefit all of us.

*SAHMRI  South Australia Health & Medical Research Institute.

Radio – The Heartbeat Of The City

I’ve just completed a two week stint filling in for Leon Byner on 5AA’s morning show.

If you ever want to feel the pulse of a city sitting behind a microphone and listening to what people have to say is a wonderful way of doing it.

Subjects ranged far and wide from Riverland irrigators unable to take water from the Murray because they used their quotas – despite record flows running past their properties, to fears over the proposed $2 billion Buckland Park development on the Gawler Flood Plain.

Of course everything paled into insignificance when the floods took hold in Queensland. The pictures each day were overwhelming and emotionally draining, but in an instant South Australians rallied to the cause and came up with unique ways to help the flood victims -many that didn’t involve cash donations.

It’s tragedies like the one that has befallen Queensland that draw us together as one nation and not a collection of self interested and self absorbed States as appears to be more often than not the case.

It beggars belief that as the Nation throws its full support behind Queensland flood victims there’s still bickering between Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia over a water agreement drawn up at the height of the drought.

The eastern states claim SA irrigators have used their allocation and can’t take any of the desperately needed water out of the swollen Murray.

All the irrigators are  asking for is less than two days supply from the Murray which is running at 20 year highs and will go much higher.

The SA government stands condemned for not supporting the irrigators. They should be  saying just take the water we’ll deal with the interstate governments.

The sooner the feds take control of the River the better off we’ll all be.

So the curtain has come down on my return to radio. My brain is buzzing with great story ideas. I guess they’ll just have to wait for another time.