Yesterday morning I woke and watched the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games (LOG2012) on television. Channel 9 in Australia has the broadcasting rights. In my personal opinion, Channel 9 doesn’t listen to viewer feedback. They won the rights to other programs like Top Gear from SBS and as a result that program has lost popularity and the sales of DVDs of the Top Gear series I imagine have gone up. Channel 9 was warned by loyal viewers and a strong fan base. Did they listen? No, they twitched too early when the ratings were not to their liking. Any fool could have told them it would not rate as well as they had hoped. It’s a program about cars hosted by three blokes who separately are not as funny as when they are together.
I thought the opening ceremony was fantastic and certainly better than anything we’ve seen in recent decades. As proud as I am to be Australian, the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games (SOG2000) was a forerunner for the movie Australia. A ghastly waste of Australian tax payers’ hard earned money. The volunteers were fantastic, don’t get me wrong. I just don’t think the person in charge had any idea.
The highlights for me were the tribute to the National Health Service, the anthem sung by a choir and the lighting of the Olympic cauldron. There were many other fantastic elements, not least the segment of Rowan Atkinson playing the character Mr Bean and the orchestra playing Chariots of Fire. The clip below is not from the LOG2012. It looks like many youtube users are rightly concerned with copyright.
[Please note I do not endorse and detest absolutely cigarette smoking. ]
I think it’s a wonderful thing that the British are so proud of their health service that they would integrate it into their opening ceremony and to focus on the Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) for Children. Having a nation and their government dedicated to ensuring every citizen has a right to a high standard of health care is a wonderful thing. It made me think of fabulous hospitals in Australia like the Royal Children’s Hospital in Brisbane (not the one in Victoria), the Princess Alexandra Hospital and the Royal Darwin Hospital.
I’ve ranted on social media plenty of times about the singing of national anthems. At important footy matches and other sporting events, all too often the organiser didn’t use his or her brain and selected a “talented” rising star or well known celebrity to mangle and screech or scream or simply add their stupid and ridiculous take on our anthem. In my opinion, the best way to respect with dignity the importance of our anthem and the anthem of other countries is to use a choir. At a footy match is could be a school choir from a local school, for something bigger it could be a professional children’s choir, and for the LOG2012 it was great to see and hear the voices of a group of singers. It was respectful. It was good.
There was a lot of speculation on who would light the Olympic cauldron. It was great seeing Sir Steve Redgrave take a prominent role towards the end, but what was better was seeing a group of young developing athletes each nominated by a former great of British sport light the thing. It was a nice touch seeing Muhammad Ali there given his role in 1980 in Atlanta. It made me think back to SOG2000. I thought it should have been Susie O’Neil but I’m in a minority there.
After a fairly quiet day Bron and I went to dinner with friends P and L. We’ve enjoyed many fine dinners with them before and their meals have featured in this blog.
Alaskan king crab with aioli
Last night we brought Alaskan King crab that we’d purchased from Costco and Bron made some aioli. For the main meal we had steamboat (hotpot) plus a tray of roasted pork belly. I was fortunate to have the tray of porcine heaven in front of me. There is little better than bite sized pieces of perfectly cooked belly pork along with an amazing dipping sauce.
The steamboat was really good. We had noodles, pork, chicken, beef, fish and prawns plus heaps of vegetables and mushrooms plus some great dipping sauces. L and I like a really hot chilli sauce while P is a big fan of plum sauce. There was also tofu. Bron and L tried to explain how good tofu is. How tofu absorbs flavours and can taste really great in a laksa. If I have a table of real meat and vegetables in front of me, I’m not deliberately going to choose tofu.
Mmm…roast pork belly. I love roasted pork belly.
The table laid out ready for dinner.
You can see in the net some lovely mushrooms.
Towards the end as all the meat and vegetables and yes tofu was coming to an end, we tipped everything into the now developing broth. P and L had laid the table with sipping cups like the ones we have hot chocolate in at Max Brenner. You know, the ones that look like toilet bowls. These are a fantastic idea for steamboat. At the end, when everything was cooked in the broth, we spooned out the final bits and pieces and from the sipping cup drank then best tasting oriental soup you’ll ever taste.
Doesn’t it look good.
This was amazing soup.
P has been continuing his exploration of the world of desserts. His journey is continuing (P understands why I wrote journey…private joke) and discovering new delights. Last night he made a baked cheesecake with coconut cream and topped with slices of pineapple. This was served with Zabaglione. This is the first time P has made it and the first time I’ve tried it. It was fantastic. P, L and Bron enjoyed it with a sticky dessert wine that had a 20 per cent alcohol content. Everyone was pretty happy when the coffee and walnut rocky road plus chocolate covered blueberries came out at the end.
Coconut cream cheesecake topped with pineapple and Zabaglione
Cheesecake and Zabaglione get in my belly now.
Bron also developed a canine crush on Bundy. Bundy belongs to P and L and is a pretty happy pooch.
Bron and Bundy on her lap.
Coffee and walnut rocky road and chocolate covered blueberries
I’m not sure if it was the amount of food and a late night or the week I’ve had at work, but I had some freaky dreams last night. There was lots of thinking about death and mortality. I watched someone die in my dreams and was asked to verify death. It made me think of late night ward call when I was a resident and being called to verify a patient’s death. I went for a walk with Bron this morning and started thinking again about how good it would be to plug my brain into a robot. I’m now at an age when I’m thinking about life and death more often. I’m witnessing my body go through the changes you hear about and learn about when you’re younger. Wouldn’t it be nice to simply plug your brain into a mechanical body and go and skip and jump and see things just like when you were a kid?
This afternoon instead of lunch we had an early afternoon tea and I had a lovely vanilla slice from Ricardo’s at Jamison.