Fringe/Festival Adelaide 2018

This is a WIP of shows we are going to.

F25 4pm 90 mins Grace Emily
Ukelele Death Squad

F26 6pm 70 mins Buckingham Arms Hotel
Dickinson’s Room

F28 7.30pm 65 mins Bakehouse
Shell Shocked

M1 7.30pm Bakehouse 60 mins
Mengele

M7 7.00pm 65 mins Garden of UD
Fleabag

M12 5pm 4 hours Festival Theatre
Kings of War

M14 Garden of UD 9.30pm
Rich Hall

M15 2pm Banquet Room at Fullarton Park Community Centre
Three Little Sisters Come to Unley – An Andrews Sisters Tribute

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Char Kway Teow

Serves 6-8.

Ingredients

1 kg/2 lb fresh rice noodles
250 g/8 oz barbecued pork
250 g/8 oz small prawns
2 lap cheong (Chinese sausage)
125 g/4 oz fresh bean sprouts
3 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
3 shallots, finely sliced
3-4 fresh red chillies, sliced
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 eggs, beaten
4 spring onions (scallions), chopped
salt and pepper to taste

I wrote this up in Geneva some time ago….now I’m in Australia and fresh noodles abound.

I’m in Geneva, so mine is missing fresh noodles – arrgghhhhhhhhh! I am assured that I can make do by cooking dried noodles the night before and then have them sit in the fridge until using them the next day. We will see…

Also, I’m not a big fan of Chinese sausage, so it’ll be getting the gong.

These directions are from Charmaine Solomon Encyclopedia of Asian Food

Method

Pour boiling water over noodles to soften and separate them. Drain in a colander. Slice pork finely. Shell and devein prawns. Steam sausages for 5 minutes, and when plump and soft, cut into thin diagonal slices. Rinse bean sprouts and pick off tails.

Heat half the oil and fry garlic, shallots and chillies until soft. Add pork, prawns and sausage. Stir-fry for 2 minutes or until prawns change colour. Add bean sprouts and toss for 30 seconds. Turn mixture out of wok, heat remaining oil and stir-fry the noodles to heat through. Add soy sauce and oyster sauce and mix. Push noodles to side of wok, pour eggs and spring onions into the centre and stir till set. Return fried mixture and toss with the noodles. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Rise and Grind (Adelaide) vs Bishopgate Kitchen (London)

On the weekend we went to breakfast at Bishopgate Kitchen (Spitalfields).  It’s part of a posh chain and I hope that we saw the worst of it. Mine was probably worst. I ordered poached eggs with smashed avocado, side serves of salmon and bacon and loose-leaf tea.

I got a plate so challenged to fit what was on it that the bacon was chucked on top of the salmon. The avocado wasn’t smashed, it was pureed with a large quantity of vinegar, such as you would put on avocado to stop it discolouring if you made it about once a week. It was inedible. The bacon had been cooked much earlier than it was served and was only lukewarm as were the overcooked poached eggs. The ‘loose leaf tea’ was a teabag. When I asked the staff about that I was cheerfully told that yes, they should change that. Apparently they changed hands several months ago. Well, that would explain why they haven’t yet updated their description of the tea. Rome wasn’t built in three months. As it happened, later on in the day I had a cup of tea at the Maritime Museum’s cafe, also described as ‘loose leafed’ and also a teabag. Maybe real loose leaf tea doesn’t exist in London anymore. Maybe they don’t even know what it is. The ‘fresh’ orange juice was not made on the premises, upon further interrogation, which in my opinion means it isn’t fresh. I know Londoners beg to disagree on this.

Neither of my companions had better food, but they are born and bred in the UK, so they are used to being dished up stuff that wouldn’t let a cafe last a week in Australia. So they ate all theirs, blissfully indifferent to what they’d shovelled down.

Today we went to Rise and Grind, our closest cafe in Clarence Park (Adelaide). It was Carnavale on our last visit and the change is definitely for the better. The menu is a small but interesting selection, healthy options that sound enticing. We started out simple. I had poached eggs with a side serve of spinach, presented on turkish bread, toasted. Manny went for the smashed avo (with feta etc) and poached eggs on dark rye (maybe, I’ve guessed the bread). The avo was everything that the London version wasn’t. Vinegar? If it was an ingredient, we didn’t notice. It was excellent.

Coffee was high standard, tea was good – thought I balk at $6 for a pot, it seems a lot for a cafe. I took a mug for $3.70.

First impressions is that it is a cut above the standard of its predecessor and we are thrilled to have it at close quarters.

My only complaint is that Rise and Grind need better signage. It is mainly an ad for FACEBOOK, as it was for the predecessor too. Weird.

 

 

 

 

 

Experiment replication – an example of failure

Much talk is made of the crisis in replication in various areas. I report one experience.

In 2010 I was the lead author of a research paper which was presented at a conference in Melbourne. We were investigating the idea that if people said ‘fuck’ while talking, that speech recognition would improve – the Holy Grail of those working in the area. It was intuitively obvious to see reasons why that might happen.

We had available to us an online game my co-author had developed as advertising for the movie Despicable Me. It was the first (only?) speech enabled internet game. The user would tell Minions to do things and they would do them. While developing it, Manny figured that it would be used mostly by boys of an age to find it vastly amusing to say ‘Fucking play table-tennis’ as an alternative to ‘Play table-tennis’. Etc. As he tested the system he had the idea that maybe he was being recognised more when he used the word ‘fucking’.

So we devised a test where people were given a set of randomly generated orders to give the Minions. They all included expressions without swearwords, with ‘fucking’ and with other swearwords instead. Nobody knew why they were doing the exercise. For lack of resources I asked people I knew to do this for me. We had a small group, but I thought a reliable one as a consequence.

We established statistical significance for the hypothesis that ‘fuck’ as an intensifier did improve recognition. You can see What’s the Magic Word? here.

About a year later we decided to do the experiment again. I didn’t have any more friends left (I know, it’s sad) but we had the resource available of AMT – the Turk. We did not achieve statistical significance. There were various possibilities as to why that was. Of course it could have been that our first experiment did not produce accurate data. But we had to acknowledge two important differences in the nature of the data collected which might also have been at issue. Firstly, using lowly paid (though we paid them much better than going rates) Turks. Secondly our Turks were US based. In our first experiment our users had been mostly Australians with a few English thrown in.

Ideally we would have used Australians again. However, at the time (I don’t know about now) this idea of crowd-sourced labour had not come to Australia yet. Furthermore and rendering the idea of a close if not exact repetition of the experiment impossible, the Minions game was taken offline and we could no longer use it.

We do think from time to time of exploring the ideas further, but the one thing we can state for sure is that neither we nor anybody else can repeat our original experiment.

postscript:

For anybody looking at the paper, please note that it had a second agenda which is why it is oddly written by normal standards of academic work. Having proofread various papers in the same area which struck me as excruciatingly boring, I questioned the idea that one had to write in that way in order to be published. I wanted to write something that would be both interesting and intelligible to a person walking in off the street to listen to the paper being presented. In fact you have to pay a lot of money to go to academic conferences, so people off the street are excluded. I believe that is wrong and I believe that many, if not all, academic papers could and should be written in ways more accessible to the population at large.

Chou and The Marcel: two new cafes in Geneva

Both these cafes are on rue des Eaux-Vives, but there the resemblance stops.

The Marcel is a French chain which opened up its (first) Geneva branch on Friday. As you can see from their menu, the prices in Geneva are more expensive. Not a lot more, but given Paris’s reputation for expensiveness, I’m curious to know if this was necessary.

The Marcel is dark and very noisy. Even though, along with everybody else there today we shouted, I could scarcely hear my companions. Chou is light and quiet.

The Marcel seems to be making an attempt at an Anglo-Saxon cafe, both in style and menu. For us this didn’t work. The coffee doesn’t stand up to the better places in Geneva and we found the food disappointing. One of us had The Full English Breakfast at 19CHF. It was crowded onto a plate too small for the food, but at the same time we could see it was substantially smaller than such a dish would have been in Australia. Notably it came without toast, though toast was listed as an ingredient. I might add that the cafe latte was approximately half a glass of coffee, with about an equal amount of froth.

The biggest disappointment was the cinnamon roll, which had almost no cinnamon taste and was heavy going. One of my companions who declined to taste it said it looked industrial which made me wonder what its pedigree was. Certainly at 7CHF, I would much rather have had two of Paradiso’s light cinnamon rolls. A bagel with cream cheese and avocado was okay, not special, but safe. I am undecided on whether a few pomegranate seeds scattered through worked.

No doubt The Marcel will cope with these comments. It was packed and presumably is going to thrive.

Chou has all the grace and delicacy that The Marcel lacks. Everything on its (small) food menu is refined in looks and taste. Coffee from a barista whose pedigree includes Paradiso and Boreal is at the best end for Geneva. Tea is good quality with a better range than in most cafes which focus on coffee – and therefore think that they don’t have to cater to tea drinkers – and your pot is refilled, for which I am most appreciative. The decor is light and for anybody looking for a lovely place to read a book whilst taking some refreshment, this is the place for you.

No doubt there is room for both these places. I hope I was never young enough to think that having to shout through a meal is acceptable, but maybe I’ve just got a bad memory. For me, it’s Chou every time….I leave you with their exquisite apricot and matcha tea sweet temptation:

Apricot matcha tea chou

What IS a ‘small’ garden?

 

The other day at Our Australian Gardens, I clicked on their subset ‘small gardens’, looking for inspiration, analysis, HELP! But the two gardens discussed are both huge by my standards. We live in a modern semi-detached with a small courtyard back and a slightly larger front garden. When we first bought the place the front was nothing more than succulents, unloved ones at that. We’ve taken them all out and put in flowers, trying to create something that looks pretty instead of sensible. At the same time, in our very small back, we have four citrus trees planted by the last owner and a magnolia, all along the fence, trying to create privacy screen which is pretty and useful between us and the people behind. We have a vine and flowers along the side and the vine is to do the same thing, provide privacy. It’s amazing what can fit in a small space.

We would love to see what people who are good at gardening do with such spaces – maybe it’s a contradiction in terms, maybe if you are a good gardener you just don’t get a place like ours. We’ve never gardened in our lives (we are not young either!) and so it’s all a mystery to us. We’d love enlightenment.

It seems to me that this kind of place we live in is very common in Australia and that there must be lots of people who would love to be more informed about what others do with their (truly) small gardens.

One issue that particularly pertains when  you have neighbours so close at hand as you do when you have places with shallow back yards abounding is the ways in which you can improve privacy – both visual and noise, without encroaching on sun where it may be wanted.

And finally, what should one be patient about and what should one seek for instant gratification such as advanced trees ready to plant. For people like us, we don’t have 40 years to watch trees become established. We need something quicker. But nor do we want something that looks like a quick fix….

 

Herbs and greens pasta sauce

Ingredients for two

  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • one shallot chopped
  • two cloves garlic chopped
  • a couple of good slugs of dry white wine
  • a good sized zucchini chopped
  • a couple of tablespoons pine nuts dry roasted to a light brown
  • flat leafed parsley, perhaps one cup of leaves
  • maybe half a cup or more of pouring cream
  • chopped green rounds from spring onions
  • chopped chives, maybe half a bunch
  • parmesan grated for the table

Method

While the pasta is cooking, in a medium saucepan fry the shallots and garlic in the butter until softened. Add the wine and boil until the alcohol is burned off. Add the zucchini and cook at a lively pace, saucepan covered, until the zucchini is soft. Add the cream, pine nuts and parsley. Puree. I continued to add parsley until there was a noticeable green fleck to the sauce.

Keep warm on a very low temperature, season with salt and pepper. When ready to serve, stir in the chives and spring onion rounds leaving a handful for decoration. Put drained spaghetti in bowls, add the sauce, mix thoroughly and then sprinkle the green rounds on top.

Parmesan and more pepper are required at the table.

I think when I try this again I will use at least double the zucchini and less cream. I would also like to try vodka rather than the wine, which I thought was a bit sweet. Not clear to me that the pine nuts added to this.