I have just finished watching Part 1 of Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo. For non-Aussies, Cleo is the Aussie born rival to Cosmo, born out of the fact that News Ltd lost the bid for the Australian rights to Cosmo to the Fairfax Group. Cleo was born at approximately the same time as me, so I found it compelling viewing for more reasons than one. I am loving the 70s fashion and hair, and I can't help but admire Ita Buttrose, the female editor of Cleo at its inception appointed by the Packers. She is not only gutsy and strong (and it seemed that you had to be working for the Packers), but also stylish and very much a woman at the same time. Ita had to deal with terrible upheaval at home as well as at work, while having to hold it all together - who needs it! I laughed when I heard that Sir Frank Packer's nickname was "God" - I have worked in offices where there is also God. The soundtrack is a fabulous assortment of 60s and 70s hits, including one of my personal favourites, The Real Thing, written by Australia's own Johnny Young. I also chuckle every time that I hear Gough Whitlam's campaign song for the 1972 Australian Federal election, It's Time.
It was a weekend for recapturing my lost youth, and I watched The Breakfast Club, by John Hughes, for the first time. I totally cracked up - it really was just like my school days (minus that scary principal!), despite being set in the US. I blush to confess it, but if I was one of the characters in The Breakfast Club, I would be a girl version of Brian, the geek who believed that he had to achieve perfect marks at all costs (although I have never been called on to make an elephant lamp). And how good was the quote from John Bender when describing Brian as a "neo-maxi-zoom-dweebie"? OMG - I just loved it! And I am also loving Simple Minds' Don't You (Forget About Me), which is the movie's theme song. It is very representative of the era, and a terrific song to boot.
What does this have to do with food? Nothing! Just wanted to put down some things that have been going through my head this weekend before they are lost forever. Now onto the food ...
This weekend, a group of us went out to celebrate my lovely friend Craig's birthday. We went to Birdman Eating in Gertrude Street, Fitzroy. Its name was inspired by the Birdman Rally at the Moomba festival, and there are wooden artists' models with wings suspended from the ceiling as an homage to that event. I won't review the food, which is designed to be shared, but I will say that I adored the slow roasted lamb and the duck confit that we had, as they were melt in your mouth fabulous, while the pavlova was very average and should have been given a miss.
A couple of weeks back, I made the pear cupcakes at the top of this post for Craig - they are gluten free and dairy free, and Craig tells me that they were quite delicious, and unusual because of the inclusion of golden syrup. You can find the recipe here. I think that they are definitely worth bringing to your attention, because so many gluten free recipes that I come across are flourless orange or chocolate cakes. The beauty of these cupcakes is also that they don't use special gluten free flour, just plain old rice flour, which happens to be gluten free but is inexpensive to buy. They are also super quick to make - which is what I need when I am baking mid-week.
Hope you all had a great weekend!