Every drip matters

Can’t travel but the appetite remains:
filter drip Vietnamese coffee at home on a wet Summer Saturday morning in St Kilda.

A gift from lovely Nanna Soerensen visiting Phu Quoc island, it was sure to come in handy during Covid-19 pandemic …

Day Tripping to Epping

These hills that greet visitors on Melbourne’s northern approaches once were dotted with sheep and rocks. Now they are blanketed with houses and huge shopping centres.

For lunch, a taste of Japanese tonkatsu at Plenty Valley.

Not fancy, just crumbed pork with udon noodles, vege and egg in a curry, heated by a cute, gimmicky blue gel tealight.

A filling lunch for $16.80 at Fukutontei.

Instant noodles have their place, but …

Food TV in 2021? A “serious” doco on how Maggi instant noodles is now integral in the modern cuisines of the World – India, Singapore etc.

No kidding.

Chefs, CEOs, experts all trotted out to opine about Maggi noodles in a super cheap production with a cringeful, faceless, English “voice over” commentary.

THIS, shown after enjoying a superb Rick Stein update on Palermo food/travel on SBS Food.

Is this aimed at school children? Let’s hope not.

This is an insult to your brain cells as well as your taste buds.

This is media marketing madness …

Travel can be a bit ‘touch and go’

The experiences of a Travel Editor can at times seem a little too hands on, as Greg Hackett recalls with a laugh

If I moved any farther away from him, I would be hanging out of the limo’s door. I should have wised up when the two publicity girls quietly took me aside, before the limousine ride from the airport to the hotel, and apologetically asked me to tell them if I felt uncomfortable at any time, and that one stretch limo would have done the job but the senior airline executive had insisted that he and I had a limo to ourselves. “No worries!” What a privilege – the VVIP (Very Very Important Person) treatment! In the other limo was a competitor Travel Editor, stuck with the PR and the nagging freelance writers. Hehe, suffer. 


However, it did not take long to discover that this drive would be a very tactile trip. Despite the voluminous capacity of the limo, the two of us were quite snug on the rear seat. Too snug, I thought. The best French champagne was poured into two flutes, jokes were cracked, travel tales – long and short – were told, and there was much good natured banter and laughter. Also much hand touching of my knee and patting of my arm. A little too much, it seemed. Okay, I got the message: he was “testing the water”. I thought: I’m sorry to disappoint, my good friend, but I swim with a different stroke.


Politely shifting away, I kept “playing a straight bat”. I did not wish to offend, I also did not wish to give a false signal. I mean, this was a huge honor and I felt quite chuffed, me being an undersized, overfed Travel Editor and no oil painting and all of that, but it’s just not my cup of tea. Hey, I could have “milked it” for all it was worth – I know some who would – however that’s not how I roll. Needless to say, I did not complain nor mention anything to the PR or others. You could say, my lips were sealed (and my legs were crossed). And always will be. Overall, it was another fun trip as a Travel Editor. They all are fun.


I’m laughing as I write this: I was not uncomfortable nor did I feel victimised in any way. For me, it is just one more funny travel anecdote. My high opinion of the fellow has not altered in any way. We are all human while in many ways different. Hey, you will never know if the kite will fly if you don’t give it a go. The key is to show respect and not use privilege or power to cajole or coerce. 

If I saw him today, I wouldn’t hesitate to say hello and genuinely enquire of his good health. He is a fun guy, gracious, easy going and unpretentious in the overbearingly pretentious world of travel celebrity egos. I would gladly spend a convivial evening together swapping travel stories – and with the playful hand fully occupied with holding a glass of good wine.

*Cross posted from Asian Journeys magazine: https://asianjourneys.com.sg/eMagazine/singapore/2020-12-01/page-1#book/

Off-the-shelf pasta pesto

This little one was on the “bargain shelf” at Woolies. (The sauce, not the dog.)

Not bad for an “off-shelf” pasta pesto.

Ingredients include orange, tomato, almonds, capsicum, and pecorino romano cheese.

Add a dollop of egg mayo for extra creaminess.

Would suit eggplant, chicken or try steamed mussels/scallops …

Big Jack or Fake Mac?

The beast in all its glory: meet the Big Jack, the burger that’s giving McDonald’s so much indigestion. Maccas is suing Hungry Jacks, claiming the Big Jack is a fake Big Mac.

Taste test: Jack gives the Mac a run for its money with salt and fat content but I reckon it outperforms the Mac for sugar overkill; the “special sauce” seems much sweeter than Maccas’.

The buns are not the same. You can’t trademark lettuce, cheese and minced beef.

Judgment: McDonald’s don’t waste your money on lawyers, there are enough fat people to go around for both of you.

A man’s boots

We are gathered here today to honor and pay tribute to the life of a great pair of leather boots. Their reliability was unparalleled, their comfort never in question, their dedication above reproach. While so many just talked the talked, these boots walked the walk … traversing St Kilda’s many cobblestone alleys and backstreets, grassy parks and sandy foreshores. Ne’er pricked by a needle, nor slipped on bullsh*t.
“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, when the boot is cracked and broken, to the wheelie bin it must.”