Monthly Archives: February 2016

CLUB SPINS SUPPORT FOR PINK STUMPS DAY

Lots of laughs, a few tears, and a huge amount of support was shared at the Torquay Cricket Club’s inaugural McGrath Foundation Pink Stumps Day event at Spring Creek Reserve on Saturday. More than 100 women and two men were in attendance and raised just under $2,700 to support the McGrath Foundation’s work to place breast care nurses in communities around Australia. Guest speakers included Andrew Love Cancer Centre breast care nurse Jacinta Bryan and breast cancer survivor and Torquay Netball Club member Wendy Groteas, who spoke openly about her personal experiences and touched everyone in the room. Local personality Nicky Buckley acted as MC for the event. The two men who attended, Terry Pyers and Frank Wheatland, showed they were good sports and raised $500 towards the total tally by having their heads shaved. A spokesperson for the event said the club will get involved for Pink Stumps Day again next year. “The aim now is to go bigger and better in 2017 as the club proudly supports the McGrath Foundation for fundraising activities.”

Jonathan Unleashed

Jonathan Unleashed promised much from the first few pages, and it delivered. Fans of The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, and dog lovers looking for a light and entertaining but wellwritten book, will enjoy reading this new novel by Meg Rosoff.

Jonathan, the main character, lives in a New York apartment with his brother’s two dogs, Dante, a Border Collie, and Sissy, a Spaniel. He has a job as a junior copywriter writing tedious copy for stationery products. Writing and drawing comic books with his childhood buddy Max keep him from losing it at work.

There are many things for Jonathan to be anxious about. There are many laughout-loud scenes in this book as Jonathan becomes more eccentric and anxious in the rarefied world of New York. Whether she is writing about dog walks in Central Park, or office lunches in the advertising agency, or the extent to which a bridal magazine will go to get that feature, Meg Rosoff brings out the humour and sense of place beautifully. Jonathan has important decisions to make in work, life and love and a strange way of thinking, but the journey is ultimately very satisfying. Published by Bloomsbury. RRP: $27.99 REVIEW BY CAROL NOVACEVSKI @ TORQUAY BOOKS

The High Mountains of Portugal

The High Mountains of Portugal is a suspenseful, mesmerising story of a great quest for meaning. There are three separate, yet intersected, stories of loss and the grieving process of ones left behind.

It has something for everyone, beautiful, witty and engaging, Yann Martel’s new novel offers us the same tender exploration of the impact and significance of great love and great loss that has marked all his brilliant, unexpected novels. For lovers of magical realism this paints an extraordinary picture full of humour and unexpected surprises. Although, at first it may seem disjointed given the three stories, as a whole it is a gratifying read from the author of Life of Pi.

Published by Text Publishing. RRP: $29.99 REVIEW BY STEVEN GEORGIADIS @ TORQUAY BOOKS

Bats’ super-immunity could help protect people

Researchers have uncovered a unique ability in bats which allows them to carry but remain unaffected by lethal diseases. Unlike humans, bats keep their immune systems switched on 24/7 and scientists believe this could hold the key to protecting people from deadly diseases like Ebola.

Bats are a natural host for more than 100 viruses, some of which are lethal to people, including Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), Ebola and Hendra virus, but bats do not get sick or show signs of disease from these viruses.

Published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), this new research examines the genes and immune system of the Australian black flying fox, with surprising results.

“Whenever our body encounters a foreign organism, like bacteria or a virus, a complicated set of immune responses is set in motion, one of which is the defense mechanism known as innate immunity,” leading bat immunologist at CSIRO’s Geelong-based Australian Animal Health Laboratory Dr Michelle Baker said.

“We focused on the innate immunity of bats, in particular the role of interferons – which are integral for innate immune responses in mammals – to understand what’s special about how bats respond to invading viruses.

“Interestingly, we have shown that bats only have three interferons, which is only about a quarter of the number of interferons we find in people.

“This is surprising, given bats have this unique ability to control viral infections that are lethal in people and yet they can do this with a lower number of interferons.”

She said unlike people and mice, which activate their immune systems only in response to infection, a bat’s interferons are constantly switched on.

“In other mammalian species, having the immune response constantly switched on is dangerous – for example, it’s toxic to tissue and cells – whereas the bat immune system operates in harmony.

“If we can redirect other species’ immune responses to behave in a similar manner to that of bats, then the high death rate associated with diseases, such as Ebola, could be a thing of the past.”

BACK PAIN – A CULTURAL THING?

I learned in anatomy at university that the human spine has several curves.

The cervical lordosis (neck is concave), thoracic kyphosis (upper-mid back is convex) and the lumbar lordosis (low back is concave), giving the appearance of an S-shaped spine.

But what if it is this shape that instigates back pain? And it was only in modern society that we witness the S shape?

Could there be other cultures that don’t experience back pain? Apparently, yes.

American acupuncturist Esther Gokhale – A CULTURAL THING?

believes that she’s discovered that having a J-shaped spine eradicates lower back pain.

After experiencing back pain first hand during pregnancy, having surgical intervention to heal a herniated disc and then for the problem to occur again a year later, Gokhale decided she wanted a permanent fix and that western medicine didn’t have the answer.

She began studying findings from anthropologists who had analysed postures of indigenous populations around the world and also studied physiotherapy methods.

For 10 years, Gokhale travelled to remote communities from Ecuador to Portugal to West Africa, all of which were far removed from modern life, observing their posture and movements of daily life.

After carrying buckets on their heads, bending over all day even the older generations didn’t complain of back pain.

The difference being their spines are shaped as a J.

The J-shaped spine can be observed in Greek and Egyptian statues, and closer to home in our children.

Gokhale developed a series of exercises, similar to Pilates and yoga that have enabled her to achieve a J-shaped spine and now, she doesn’t suffer back pain.

The alleviation of pain, however, may not be solely contributed to by the shape of the spine but by the muscular engagement required to achieve the J-shape.

Promoting a healthy lifestyle, by exercising to activate spinal and pelvic floor muscles, to build strength and decrease spinal curves (decreasing the lumbar lordosis and decreasing the kyphosis, opening the chest cavity) has been shown to help with back pain.

Are you experiencing back pain? Stand side on to the mirror, and notice do you have an S or J shaped spine? See a health care professional and then maybe try some Pilates and learn some spine muscle strengthening exercises.

Dr Erin Coffey is an osteopath at the Health Creation Centre in Ocean Grove.

COOKING OFF A GOOD BASE

I learnt a couple of basic cooking techniques when I started catering many years ago.

any meat dish or serve with mustard, a green salad and a bottle of wine to share for lunch.

The first was how to reduce cream and use it as the basis of a sauce.

By simply adding grain mustard, for example to a cream reduction, you create a sauce which is beautiful with poached chicken or baked pork fillet.

It may also be used for a pasta sauce and add flavour with wine, pan juices, mustard, tomato paste, parmesan cheese.

Cream reduction is the basis of one of my favourite dishes, potatoes Dauphinois.

Peel potatoes and slice very thinly. Rinse in cold water, pat dry and layer them in an ovenware dish which has been rubbed with garlic and butter.

Pour over an outrageous amount of cream and dot with more butter.

Cook for an hour or so at 160 degrees then turn up the oven for an additional ten minutes until golden on top. It is a perfect accompaniment to The other sauce I prepare regularly is a simple tomato-based sauce. A wonderfully rich sauce is easy using the best quality tinned tomatoes and adding flavour with onion, carrot, garlic, herbs, pancetta, anchovies and so many other variations.

It can then be used for slow cooked lamb, pasta or tossed through Mediterranean vegetables and served with grated parmesan. The ways to use these sauces are endless.

The techniques are obviously very simple, but when I started cooking, I was very simple, too! I read lots of cookbooks and taught myself much more, but I still use either a cream reduction or a tomato-based sauce every week. (I suppose it is one reason the Italians make such a big deal of preserving tomatoes and making sugo or passata. It is the basis of so many dishes).

Cooking off a good base Although there has been hot summer weather in recent days, we won’t have to wait long for a few colder days to enjoy some slowcooked lamb shanks. For this recipe you’ll need four lamb shanks Frenched (from Torquay Farm Foods).

GEELONG’S BOSS OF LACROSSE

The Geelong-based defensive midfielder is a member of the senior women’s Australian squad and is vying for an official place on the national team, to be decided in January 2017.

Undergoing up to nine strength and conditioning sessions, plus an extra threehour training session per week, Carly is preparing for a March training camp and games against Japan, followed by the Australian National Championships and a three-game test against England in June.

Pending her performance, Carly could be off to the Federation of Women’s Lacrosse World Cup in England and The World Games in Poland in 2017 to represent Australia and attempt to have lacrosse introduced as an Olympic sport.

She’s feeling confident this could finally be her big chance at representing her country after missing out on the Under 19 Australian team, being just 18 days too old for selection.

With no local competition, Carly travels to Melbourne to play for Newport Ladies Lacrosse Club.

She is now balancing motherhood with being an elite athlete as mother to tenmonth-old Indie, but said her determination far outweighs any hurdles she may face.

“I have a lot of work to do to get there but I am doing everything I can to get a spot on that team. To wear the green and gold playing the sport I love – there is simply no greater moment.

“If I make the team, I think I’ll just bury my face in the playing jersey!”

Coming from a sporting family, Carly grew up playing netball and basketball and accidentally fell into lacrosse.

“They just put a stick in my hands and sent me out onto the field, I didn’t even know the rules. It came very naturally and I haven’t looked back!” she said.

“Now I’d really love to get a lacrosse competition happening locally.

“I think there is a lot of potential and some amazing athletes in Geelong and I think if they could have a taste of lacrosse – which is a really fast, exciting game – they would just love it.”

YOU CAN BANK ON THIS

Ah, the famous Coonawarra wine region over in South Australia… only a leisurely four-and-a-half hour or so drive away from here, and there you are, slap bang in the middle of Australia’s cabernet heartland.

You can instantly see why the original land surveyors like the famous John Riddoch were so impressed at the promise of this region for growing fruit: dead flat, rich red soil, a mild cool climate and plenty of water – ideal. Underneath the (at times) thin layer of this justly famous rich ‘Terra Rosa’ red earth is a limestone base – again, perfect for wine production. Thus, the legend that is Coonawarra grew from these very characteristics.

Trivia buffs might be interested to learn that “Coonawarra” is an Aboriginal word meaning “Honeysuckle”, but what we all know well as wine buffs is that Coonawarra is synonymous as the home of some of the best Australian Cabernet Sauvignon on offer, having staked its claim on the noble red variety for a great many years.

The founder of Coonawarra – John Riddoch – a Scottish born migrant, who having landed in Australia at the age of 23, went on to have some luck on the gold fields in the early 1850’s, moved to South Australia in 1861, and purchased a property – ‘Yallum’, near Penola – that he eventually expanded to 50,000 hectares.

Later, having been a member of Parliament and a major player in the district, he was heavily involved in opening up the south east region via the establishment of a railway network which enabled him to subdivide his prime holdings of valuable ‘Terra Rossa’ soil in 1890, thereby establishing Coonawarra. He also planted some vines and went on to produce wine and built a winery (now known as the famous Wynn’s Winery).

Coonawarra’s history is an important chapter in Australian winemaking and their future participation even more so. Here are a couple of great examples worth exploring.

WYNNS COONAWARRA ESTATE ‘THE BANKER’

CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 ($20)

So the story goes that back in the early 1920s, Wynns founder Samuel Wynn was saved from a ruthless property shark by the good nature of his bank manager, who – without hesitation – rescued this struggling Polish immigrant from inevitable financial ruin. Wynn never forgot his bank manager’s support (based on kindness and not financial logic) and went on to found one of Australia’s best known wineries, all the while remaining loyal to his banker for the rest of his life.

Like everything in life, it’s not what you know but whom you know!

‘The Banker’ is an entry level Coonawarra Cab-Sauv brimming with ripe crushed berries, typical of the freshness and generosity that is the 2013 vintage. Bright, lustrous and surprisingly dark in color with pure, even blackcurrant and mulberry fruits to the fore and a softness and rounded easiness suggesting “drink now” approachability. Good value.

EYEING THE WEEKEND

FRIDAY 26/2 Trivia for a cause The Family Trivia Tour is coming to Torquay featuring plastic pollution expert Anthony Hill. The event will be at Grant Pavilion tomorrow (Friday) from 5.30pm. Tickets are $10/$5, available at trybooking.

com/180267 and on the door. The tour will continue to Airey’s Inlet Community Hall on Friday March 4 from 5.30pm. Tickets are available at the school and on the door.

SATURDAY 27/2 Aine and Sean at Salt Take in a night of folk and rich traditional Irish music when dad and daughter team Aine and Sean Tyrell perform at Salt Contemporary Art’s Salt Lounge on Saturday from 8pm. It will be a rare chance to see the pair perform together in an intimate setting. Tickets are $25 each.

Book by phoning 5258 3988 or email to info@salt-art.com.au. Salt Contemporary Art is at 33-35 Hesse Street, Queenscliff.

SUNDAY 28/2 Miriam Lieberman Trio With soulful vocals, a kora (21 string African harp) and percussive styled guitar, Miriam Lieberman’s music is lyrical and uplifting.

Lieberman is performing a special house concert on Sunday at 4pm, alongside Kate Adams and Lara Goodridge on cello, violin and vocals. Tickets are $35, available at trybooking.com/177396. Venue details will be sent via email upon purchase.

Afternoon tea will be provided, BYO drink, glass and cushion if you wish.

Geelong After Dark program released

Highlight events for Geelong After Dark have been released, promising a jam-packed line-up of exciting and unique performances, installations and arts experiences. On May 6, the event will transform central Geelong’s streets into a world of discovery.

This year’s highlights include an interactive and immersive sound installation caravan, a pop up winter wonderland, an art installation escaping its canvas and a one-man cabaret-styled documentary radio project set to air on ABC Radio National. For more, head to geelongafterdark.com.au.