24 July 2014

Bread and Butter Pudding with a Difference

I occasionally watch a show on the Lifestyle Food Channel, called Come Dine With Me. It's a UK production where a group of strangers have to host dinner parties for each other in the hope to win a thousand quid. Every now and then something they cook appeals to me, such as this version of the old faithful English dessert, Bread and Butter Pudding. This one uses croissants instead of bread and when Woolies had a bunch of croissants on special, we bought a tub full and got down to it.

We started with the tub of croissants purchased from Woolwoth

Then we cut them in half, lengthwise.

Spread them with a little butter. Not much is needed as croissants usually a laden with butter already.

W place one layer of halves into a pre buttered baking dish and sprinkled sultanas over them.

We had pre-cooked a couple of diced green apples which we also placed on top of the first layer. That means you don't need much sugar, as the apples provide ample sweetness.

Then we placed the second halves on top, this time facing down.

In a bowl, we beat three eggs.

Added a cup of milk.

2 tbl spoons of brown sugar.

1 teaspoon of vanilla essence.

Then we pored the mixture over the croissants.

We flattened the 'bread's soak them in the liquid.

Finally, the dish went into a pre-heated oven at 180ºC and baked for 20 minutes or until it was brown.

It's a wonderful pudding, sweet but not too much sugar.

We had it for dessert on a rather cold winter's night. Well, cold for Queensland conditions.

12 July 2014

Glenn Miller lives - at least for a few days

When, a few months ago, I saw an ad saying the Glenn Miller Orchestra is coming to Brisbane for a few concerts, I had to purchase tickets to go and see one of the concerts. For years I have been following this band and receive their newsletter on a regular basis. In fact, whenever we're in the USA, I always check if they're performing in any town we're in, so far without success. Last time they were in Japan and the time before in Canada. So here was our chance to see them live in our home town. I am a big fan because in my 20s I was playing in a Big Band in Switzerland and we played most of Glenn Miller's tunes. So yesterday, we went to see them in Brisbane at the Concert hall.

If you're too young, you may not known who Glenn Miller was, I suggest you borrow or buy the movie 'The Glenn Miller Story', made in 1954 about the eponymous American band leader and the beginning of this famous band right to the end when Glenn, now in the US army is lost in a flight from London to Paris during the second world war. The film includes most of the band's hits, like Little Brown Jug, In The Mood, American Patrol and many others.

Glenn Miller
The Glenn Miller Orchestra kept going even after Glenn's sad demise. They are stationed in Los Angeles, CA and tour throughout the United States as well as overseas. It was fantastic to have them here in Oz. If they come to your town, I strongly recommend you go and see them, that is if you're into real music.

 Today, the Glenn Miller Orchestra is run by musical director Rick Gerber. Rick has worked with many big names over the years, including Johnny Desmond who was Glenn Miller's favourite vocalists and Ted Beneke, a member of Glenn Miller's pre-war civilian band. He also played trombone in one of my favourite bands, the Harry James Orchestra.
Musical Director of the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Rick Gerber
The orchestra was enhanced by the Moonlight Serenade Singers, Mark Kopitzke and Wendy Smith and the Swing Kittens who remembered the Andrew Sisters.

Mark Kopitzke

Wendy Smith
A couple of shots I was able to sneak in during the performance
The band with the Swing Kittens
In the second half of the program, the band was really turned into an orchestra with the additions of strings and French horns.
The full Glenn Miller Orchestra

Here are a couple of pictures from 1965 with our own band, The Modernairs in Switzerland,
Our Band Promo

Yours truly, second from left

08 July 2014

Queensland State Library

Brisbane U3A opened its Winter School yesterday at the Queensland State Library at South Bank. It started with a private library tour through this magnificent institution. When U3A opened it's bookings a few weeks ago, it was fully booked within three days, so we were pleased to secure a place in this tour.

We were divided into three groups with a guide each taking us through the three floors of the building.

One of the other groups down on the ground floor

The QL is a reference library only and doesn't lend out books as such, but they do lend out music scores of any kind from early Baroque to modern day pop and experimental music.

The library building at South Bank is part of the Queensland Cultural Centre, between the Museum and the Gallery of Modern Art. It houses not only every book ever published in Queensland but just about every book ever published anywhere.

It also has a vast collection of items people have and are donating to the state from decesed estates. It has a collection of every newspaper ever printed in Queensland right back to the start of newspapers. They can be accessed on film by members of the library.

A wall of photos donated to the library by the public.
 There are numerous areas with free access to computers and the internet. A favourite by students researching topics for their studies.

Students making use of computers and the internet

Another area used by the public for research
There is a an area designated to Design. It has references to anything to do with design, from fashion to the Built Environment, available to members of the library.

The Design Library
 There are 'Quiet' areas overlooking the Brisbane River, suitable for reading any of the newspapers available to read, not only from all over Australia but also from overseas.

Quiet Rooms

Reference books on just about any subject
A lot of us then joined the Queensland Library while we were there.

The Bl;ogger and I joined the lState Library as well
After the library tour, we attended the keynote address by Professor Roly Sussex in the auditorium of the library. Professor Sussex is an Emeritus professor in linguistics, a very clever and funny man. Very well known for his talks on 612-ABC.