Friday, September 28, 2012

Please can we stop the blind assumptions and victim blaming?

What a sad, sad few days it's been. Reminders that tragedy can strike swiftly and brutally, as with the death of a three-year-old in a house fire here in the goldfields. And that it can also be excruciatingly slow, until the final blow falls just as quickly and devastatingly, as with the Jill Meagher case. 
An awful time for all the families and friends involved. Your heart can't help aching for them. 
And in among the pain, behaviour by some sectors of the community that is appalling. I'm talking of the double standard on display when Meagher disappeared.  
This double standard basically goes that when disaster befalls a woman she is somehow to blame, but when men (young, white men, anyway) are harmed something or someone else is responsible. 
Clementine Ford wrote a great piece about victim-blaming in the Jill Meagher case. You can read it here. 
Yet look at what happened when Thomas Kelly died in Kings Cross a couple of months ago. There was, quite rightly, a huge outcry about alcohol-related violence and calls for crackdowns and a greater police presence. I was disappointed the response didn't go further and question our country's drinking culture, but that is a whole other post. 
Pic courtesy:

At the time I couldn't help thinking how different the response would have been had it been a woman attacked, or an Aboriginal or, say, Indian man. I suspect there'd have been a fair whack of victim blaming, and probably also in the latter examples very limited, or no, mainstream media interest. 
What happened to Kelly was a tragedy. He should have had the right to go out and enjoy himself without suffering harm. Call me dim, but shouldn't this mean Meagher did too?
I'm aware I may sound like a whinging, wowser of a woman. Oh well. Too often non-white, non-male people get shafted by this double standard for me not to whinge about it. 

What do you think? Does this kind of thing irk you no end too?

**My thoughts and prayers are with those touched by these terrible events.** 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Toddlers, teenagers and tantrums

I was watching the Country Music Channel (am a pathetic addict) the other day and discovered the following song. Now, given I was no little trouble as a teenager, I should be fine when my young miss becomes one, right? Right?

However, I also heard of a study that found mothers of toddlers were at or near breaking point, while dads with teenage daughters on their hands were losing the plot. So perhaps I'm only a year or two off being temporarily unhinged, and my husband will suffer a similar fate 15 years hence. 
As for teenage boys, this song springs to mind. I think I've posted it before, but it's a classic.

So, those of you to have spent time in the toddler and/or teenager trenches, got any advice for me?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Win friends and influence people with caramel slice

I'm told my caramel slice is wickedly good. My husband loves the stuff, as does almost everyone else who has a sample. I'm not a fan myself - I do have sweet tooth, but this is one treat that is just too rich for me. 
It is so popular (not that I'm the kind to brag, of course) that people often request the recipe. To the point where I'm a bit jack of typing/writing it out. So I thought I'd put it up here and can simply point future request-ers to it. Genius or what!
Note: This is not strictly 'my' caramel slice. I just follow a recipe from a well-known cookbook, which I won't mention here and hope the copyright police don't get cranky.

So, you will need:

1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup brown sugar
125g butter, melted

Caramel filling
1/3 cup golden syrup
125g butter, melted
2 x 400g cans sweetened condensed milk (I generally use the Nestle stuff but on one occasion it was sold out so tried no-name cans and the caramel was just as caramel-like) 

Chocolate topping
185g dark chocolate (Decent chocolate is preferable here)
3 teaspoons vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 180C. 
Place flour, coconut, sugar and butter in a bowl and mix well. Press the mixture into a 20cm x 30cm slice tin lined with non-stick baking paper and bake for 15-18 min or until brown. 
Crunchy, golden baked base.

To make caramel filling place the golden syrup, butter and condensed milk in a saucepan over low heat and stir for seven minutes or until the caramel has thickened slightly. 
This 'slightly' business is a bit vague. I just make sure everything has been mixed together and on the heat for at least seven minutes and decide that's good enough.

Pour the caramel over the cooked base and bake for 20 min or until the caramel is golden. 
Refrigerate until cold. 

Unbaked caramel. Which becomes...
Rich, golden gooey baked caramel.

To make the chocolate topping, place the chocolate and oil in a saucepan over low heat and stir until melted. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before spreading over the slice. 

Refrigerate until firm and cut into slices. 

The chocolate tends to crack when I cut it, but I found doing it when the chocolate was still a little soft, while being somewhat messy, did result in an intact topping.
Or you can just leave it whole so your husband can lop off massive chunks whenever the urge to scoff a piece takes him.
I forgot to take a photo of the finished slice, which I made more than a week ago so of course it has been polished off by now. You will just have to use your imagination. 

Do you have a fail-safe recipe that always impresses everyone?

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