NIBBLES: Food or art?

IS it art? Or is it food? Perhaps it is both.
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Guests taking part in the next Underground Epicureans dining adventure will be questioning whether to eat, or not to eat, the pieces on display at the This Is Not Art festival (TiNA) fund-raiser.

Nelson Bay’s Ritual Restaurant will prepare 14 edible ‘‘installations’’, which will be interspersed with artwork at the interactive Art Feast dinner on September 27.

Guests will discover art on the walls, in their own hands and on their taste buds.

They can create a masterpiece under the direction of Ann from The Drawing Room, and test the truth of their tastebuds with Ritual’s ‘‘Lab Rat’’ experiment.

But as with all Underground Epicurean experiences, guests won’t know exactly where they will be dining until the day of the event.

Merging food with art and science, Ritual chef Carl Kenzler and wife Kelie have become known as the Hunter region’s answer to Heston Blumenthal.

‘‘At each of Ritual’s installations, guests will get to experience something really quite special,’’ Underground Epicureans’ Neroli Foster told GT.

Tickets are $122 via the website thisisnotart.floktu杭州夜生活m/register.

Landmark Brasserie

THE Landmark Brasserie opened its doors at Charlestown on Friday night.

The owners, chef Adam Gibson and manager Joel Danet, will use their combined 25 years’ experience in the industry to breathe new life into the site formerly occupied by La Vespa and 5th Element Restaurant, Bar and Cafe.

Watch this space for further information.

Subo’s two hats

SUBO’S Beau and Suzie Vincent continued to fly the flag for Newcastle dining at last week’s SMH Good Food Guide Awards.

The husband and wife team, along with the talented staff at their contemporary Hunter Street bistro, earned two coveted chef’s hats from reviewers in the prestigious annual awards.

The two-hat rating is an accolade only once before received in the region.

Before closing in 2011, Hunter restaurant Rock had collected two chef’s hats for three years in a row.

Newcastle’s Restaurant Mason, as well as the Hunter Valley’s Muse Restaurant, Muse Kitchen and Bistro Molines, all earned one chef’s hat in the awards.

Subo’s success follows its recent ranking in the top 100 restaurants in the Gourmet Traveller Australian Restaurant Guide.

Calling all beer lovers

AUSTRALIAN craft brewer James Squire is offering Newcastle’s beer lovers the chance to put their passion into practice.

The ‘‘You Brew’’ competition will pit teams of aspiring brewers from around Australia against each other to create their own beer.

Aspiring brewers can enter via jamessquire杭州夜生活m.au/youbrew until September 16.

Hollywood Nights fund-raiser

EVENT Cinemas Glendale is hosting a formal Hollywood Nights charity fund-raising dinner on Monday, September 16.

Guests will be treated to champagne and canapes, and a sit-down meal and fashion parade before watching one of eight films.

Tickets are $99 via proticket杭州夜生活m.au. Proceeds will go to Ronald McDonald House, Hunter Life Education and Camp Quality.

Ritual Restaurant will provide edible installations for Underground Epicureans.

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Health of man allegedly bullied by Ray Hadley deteriorating, court hears

Sued: Ray Hadley. Photo: Louise KennerleyThe staff member at radio station 2GB who is suing talkback host Ray Hadley for workplace bullying is allegedly suffering from an ongoing medical condition as a result of his treatment and his health has recently deteriorated, a court has heard.
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But the announcer does not want the basic details of the case released to the media, opposing an application by three media organisations for court documents.

Richard Palmer is suing Mr Hadley for damages resulting from the psychological harm he allegedly inflicted during an incident on February 7.

The statement of claim in the matter has not been released, but it is understood Mr Hadley called Mr Palmer into his office because he was unhappy that the digital content manager had not uploaded a podcast of the Ray Hadley Morning Show quickly enough on to 2GB’s website.

Mr Hadley allegedly began verbally abusing Mr Palmer, with the latter reportedly recording the interaction on his phone.

The radio host was temporarily stood down over the incident after the recording was played to Macquarie Radio’s managing director Rob Loewenthal. But he was then quickly reinstated following intervention from higher up the chain.

Mr Hadley reportedly apologised to 2GB staff over the incident, but Mr Palmer is suing him for damages in the NSW District Court.

On Tuesday the young man’s barrister asked that the hearing be brought forward because “my client’s medical condition has regressed significantly”.

Fairfax Media subsequently confirmed that this alleged medical condition is directly related to the alleged psychological harm he suffered at the station.

Counsel for Mr Hadley, Sandy Dawson, later told the court that they wanted Mr Palmer examined by their own medical expert.

He also opposed, on behalf of his client, an application by Fairfax Media, Channel Seven and Channel Ten for access to the statement of claim and defence in the matter.

He said it was standard practice for such documents not to be released until a matter had concluded because they may contain “untested allegations”.

The matter will return to court for legal debate on this issue next month.

with Jonathan Swan

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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Baking for the cake stall

Coconut ice, pretty for the school fair. Photo: Melissa Adams Coconut ice, pretty for the school fair. Photo: Melissa Adams
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Coconut ice, pretty and easy for the school fair. Photo: Melissa Adams

Coconut ice, pretty and easy for the school fair. Photo: Melissa Adams

Cool … Copha-free coconut ice. Photo: Melissa Adams

Coconut ice. Photo: Melissa Adams

Spring is here and with it a fresh round of fund-raising fetes and cake stalls. Some parents will dread finding that notice in their children’s school bag and pulling on an apron, under pressure to produce something that will sell at the school or sport club stall.

But those in the know say mums and dads should keep it simple, because old-time favourites often sell best.

Suzanne O’Connor has a son at Canberra Boys Grammar School and for the past two years has run the cake stall at their annual fete. She says that while some more complex baking, such as biscotti, sells well, tried and true recipes – think chocolate cupcakes – are usually the most popular.

“The things that sell the best are the really old-fashioned basic stuff: Anzac biscuits, chocolate cakes, tea cakes and fruit cakes. Another one that’s a really big seller is coconut ice,” she says.

O’Connor says to remember to bake both for people who want a snack at the fete and for those who are buying to take home.

Gluten-free options tend to get snapped up, O’Connor says. “We often have one section that’s gluten free and that’s usually gone by 11 or 12 o’clock,” she says.

One of her regular bakers, Kacy Grainger, echoes the message. “I can only give one tip: Bake gluten free. It may be a little more expensive but you can charge accordingly and people will love you for it. Think rustic macaroons, gluten-free brownies and biscuits galore,” she says.

Samantha Walker of Amore Cakes regularly sells her cakes at the Capital Region Farmer’s Market and with primary-school-age children has done her share of school baking.

She also suggests that parents make old-fashioned cakes, nothing too complicated, and recommends keeping ingredients at a reasonable cost. Apples, oranges, dates and coconut are good cheap ingredients.

“We don’t have to go for 20-year-old scotch whiskey or anything like that. We’re trying to keep it as basic and as simple but as beautiful as possible,” she says.

Walker encourages parents to avoid icing that is likely to melt on a warm day. Fresh cream is not allowed under food regulations.

“You want toppings that are fairly sturdy and non-perishable. You don’t want to put fresh fruit on the top. For example, strawberries might look great to start with but by the end of the day they look terrible,” she says.

“You could do some sort of icing if it’s firm, but generally just a dusting of icing sugar on a simple cake or a crumble topping always looks really nice, and there’s not much that you can go wrong with there.”

Walker says parents could consider making nicely wrapped packets of shortbread and chocolate-chip biscuits.

“They last for a long time, you don’t need plates to eat them and everybody likes biscuits,” she says.

One cake that ticks all the boxes (not expensive to make, good keeping qualities, no ingredients that perish quickly and a durable topping) is her old-fashioned “lumberjack cake”, for which Walker shares the recipe (on page 11).

The old adage that we eat with our eyes holds especially true at a cake stall, the women agree. O’Connor says that when she and the other parents set up their stall, they put the cakes at different levels so they can be seen, and they decorate the table with flowers.

They buy cellophane in bulk, and as the parents drop-off cakes, biscuits and slices in the morning, they are wrapped and decorated with ribbons in the school colours.

“We have labels that are heart shaped, all that kind of stuff, so the package looks pretty when you’re selling it,” she says. “If it’s just basic and it’s sitting on a plate with Glad Wrap over it, it might not sell as well as if it’s in a nice cellophane bag with a ribbon.”

Rosemary Thompson, who runs the sweets stall (selling lollies and homemade fudge) at the boys’ grammar school fete, agrees. She sets up in a shaded spot and uses a red and white striped tablecloth to attract customers. “We make it feel warm and friendly, and affordable for people too,” she says.

Walker suggests organisers consider finding jobs for parents not confident with baking. They could write labels, design the stall, wrap cakes and write ingredients lists, she says.

“As parents, we’re all busy, so I think what we’re looking for is minimum effort and minimum cost to get the maximum output,” she says. “We want to make a good impact and make the stall look lovely, so I guess it’s the trick of trying to put as little in as possible but make it look like you’ve put a lot of effort in.”

Bev Carroll is a food technology teacher at Telopea Park High School, where students in years 8, 9 and 10 bake chocolate-chip biscuits, hedgehog, lemon slice, chocolate slice and banana cakes for the annual fete.

Carroll says it would be too difficult to have all of the students bake on the day before the fete, so they do their cooking ahead of time and freeze the baking, which works well. The students make 80 to 100 servings of food, which they package themselves.

She says when baking for a cake stall it’s important to be economical.

“When we use a bar [cake] tin, for example, you can get more out of one mixture than a standard way, and then you can cut slices up into smaller packages,” she says.

Walker says that when setting prices, estimate how much has been spent on ingredients, then double it.

“You shouldn’t under sell these things, there’s a lot of effort and ingredients that’s gone into them, so ask a reasonable price, don’t just give them away,” she says.

But if the idea of baking for a crowd still seems unpalatable, “give it a miss, come buy something and spend your money,” she says.

Tips for cake stall baking

■ Keep it simple – traditional cakes, biscuits and slices sell best

■ Don’t use fresh cream or custard

■ To avoid a Friday night rush, bake ahead of time and freeze your cake for the day

■ Use sturdy toppings, such as icing sugar or crumble, which won’t melt

■ Beautifully presented items sell fastest

■ Label all your ingredients

■ If baking is not your thing, volunteer to wrap items, decorate or staff the stall

What to cook?

Tea cakes, lemon syrup cake, banana cake, orange poppy seed cake, fruit cakes, cupcakes, brownies, gingerbread, chocolate-chip biscuits, Anzac biscuits, macaroons, coconut ice, jam slice, lemon slice, scones, and gluten-free anything. Check the goodfood杭州夜生活m.au recipe database for ideas.RECIPESCoconut ice

This recipe has no copha. Using copha makes a firmer coconut ice, which stands up better at a cake stall (recipe below).

300g (2 cups) pure icing sugar

¼ tsp cream of tartar

395g can sweetened condensed milk

3½ cups desiccated coconut

6 drops pink food colouring

Brush a 30-centimetre x 20-centimetre rectangular slice pan with oil, and line with non-stick baking paper.

Sift the sugar with cream of tartar into a bowl. Add the condensed milk and coconut and stir well. Place half the mixture in a separate bowl. Add food colouring to one bowl and stir well to combine. Press the uncoloured mixture into base of pan, levelling well, then top with the pink mixture, pressing firmly.

Refrigerate for an hour to set. Cut into rectangles, place in cellophane bags, tie with ribbon and label.Coconut ice with copha

300g (2 cups) pure icing sugar

100g sweetened condensed milk

1 egg white

90g copha

250g desiccated coconut

6 drops of pink food colouring

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Add the condensed milk, egg white, melted copha and coconut and stir well. Continue as for above recipe.

>>  Recipe from Canberra Boys’ Grammar parents.

>  Recipe from Samantha Walker.

 

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Tour of the old suburbs

Declan King and Anne Latham in their vegetable garden in Braddon. Photo: Jeffrey Chan Declan King and Anne Latham work in their vegetable garden at their Braddon home. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
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Declan King and Anne Latham have lived in Braddon since 1979, after coming to Canberra to study at the Australian National University in the early 1970s.

They lived on an adjoining block in Elimatta Street for 30 years, then bought the 1930s cottage in the next-door block, so they could build from scratch. They built a new environmentally sustainable house in place of the cottage, saving two 60-year-old camellias for the new garden.

The garden is open on September 22 as part of the Down the Garden Path Ainslie Primary School annual fund-raiser.

They brought in tens of cubic metres of forest mulch from Canberra Sand and Gravel and Corkhill Bros to replace topsoil lost where the soil had been scraped back to clay. Home-made compost and the family’s chooks have been indispensable in enriching the new beds.

King and Latham like the quote, ”try organic food – or as your grandparents called it, food”. Both their families were gardeners and it seemed natural to them to grow food and keep chooks, to recycle from kitchen to garden to table. When their children were small, they bought day-old chicks and raised them, sometimes keeping six or eight layers, but now they have just three hens, all hylines. They use crushed eggshells around seedlings to discourage slugs and snails.

On a recent two-month cycling holiday in France, the couple passed vegetable plots on the fringe of most towns. They observed the way gardeners there used branches pruned from fruit trees to support vegetables, rather than using tomato stakes or frames.

They have three espaliered fruit trees which are crosses between apricots and plums, sold by Fleming’s Nurseries. Cot N Candy is an ”interspecific” apricot, that looks like an apricot but it said to have a slight plumy aftertaste. Flavor Rouge is a red-skinned plum, and Marcia’s Flavor is a medium to large hybrid plum, all three of them crossbred by hand pollination between apricots and plums.

King and Latham also grow apples, persimmons and pomegranates and had a small harvest from an olive tree they bought from a gardener in Gowrie, who opened her garden for the Open Gardens scheme, and planted five years ago. They have gooseberry trees, from friends, and raspberries and blueberries.

King tends to graze as he walks the garden, eating an instant garden salad by pinching tops of broad beans and field peas (grown as a green manure crop), outer young leaves from self-sown curly lettuces and the tops of garlic plants. The many rows of broad beans add nitrogen to the soil and Latham uses the crop in a broad bean and haloumi quiche.

They grow most of their vegetables from seed, including non-hybrid beetroot, carrots, and peas from Eden Seeds, and rocket, lettuce, tomatoes from seeds collected at home or from friends. Rhubarb, red onions, garlic and many herbs are staples, and they have not long harvested kipfler and Dutch cream potatoes. They also grow silverbeet with red, orange and white stems.

They grow bee-attracting flowers such as poppies, cosmos and marigolds, which they germinate inside in seed-raising trays.

>> Declan King and Anne Latham’s garden is open for Down the Garden Path on September 22, 11am-3pm. The event, raising money for an Ainslie school food garden, is a walking tour of old, established gardens and modern water-wise gardens in Braddon and Ainslie. Tickets (adults $5), with map, from the school in Donaldson Street, Braddon. The Baker Gardens Preschool sells soup and cakes, and private homes will hold cake stalls along the route. Talks on keeping bees, backyard chooks, and heritage homes (from ACT Heritage).

>> Susan Parsons is a Canberra writer.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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Lithuania through to second round despite loss

Lithuania advanced to the second round of the European championship despite losing 78-72 to Bosnia-Herzegovina, while Germany knocked out Israel.
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Bosnia needed to win by 10 to squeeze out Lithuania and led 72-58 after Mirza Teletovic knocked down a 3-pointer with 5:22 left in the game.

Teletovic finished with 31 points but Lithuania cut the deficit and went through. Linas Kleiza had 20 points and 10 rebounds for Lithuania.

Croatia advanced by beating the Czech Republic 70-53.

Germany, already eliminated, prevented Israel from advancing by winning 80-76. That outcome sent Belgium through.

Earlier, Ukraine and Latvia also advanced to the second round.

The Ukrainians beat Britain 87-68, getting 11 points each from Ihor Zaytsev and Kyryl Natyazhko. Latvia, which got 15 points from Kristaps Janicenoks, defeated Macedonia 76-77 and eliminated a team that was in the semifinals two years ago.

On the final day of group play, defending champion Spain won its fourth in five by beating Georgia 83-59 to reach the second round. Ricky Rubio led Spain with 16 points.

Also, Finland beat Greece 86-77 in a match between two already qualified teams. Petteri Koponen scored 29 for Finland, while Nikos Zisis had 19 for Greece.

Italy, which beat Sweden 82-79, finished on top of Group D, with Finland second and Greece third. Italy is the only unbeaten team, with five victories.

Ukraine dominated from the start to win its fourth in five games.

“They (Britain) had a chance to advance depending on what happened but we also wanted to advance, and it was important to our players to advance by winning,” Ukraine coach Mike Fratello said. “Now we’ll move on and try to keep going.”

Spain trailed by one with just over three minutes left in the second quarter when Rudy Fernandez made a three-point play to put his team ahead by two. Spain then went on a 15-2 run to put the game away.

“We were aggressive on defense and found easy shots on offense. I think we did a good job on defense and that gave us consistency in the game,” Rubio said.

“We always try to impose our pace, but of course that’s not possible at all times. We know that we have had a good first round, with one lost game against Slovenia, so we know that we have to correct some things and we are ready for whatever is about to come.

Latvia outscored Macedonia 27-16 in the first quarter after starting the game with a 12-0 run.

“The plan was to be real aggressive, play aggressive defense. Because of that we got so many fast breaks,” Latvia point guard Dairis Bertans said.

“We haven’t been (to the second round) for so many years and we had a really tough group this year.”

AP

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NRL teams for week one of finals

FRIDAY
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South Sydney Rabbitohs v Melbourne Storm, ANZ Stadium, 7.45pmRabbitohs: Greg Inglis, Nathan Merritt, Bryson Goodwin, Dylan Walker, Dylan Farrell, John Sutton, Adam Reynolds, Thomas Burgess, Issac Luke, Roy Asotasi, Chris McQueen, Ben Te’o, Sam Burgess, Interchange: Luke Keary, Jeff Lima, Jason Clark, George Burgess.

Talking point: Despite losing the round 26 clash to the Roosters, coach Michael Maguire has named an unchanged team.

Storm: Billy Slater, Sisa Waqa, Will Chambers, Maurice Blair, Justin O’Neill, Brett Finch, Cooper Cronk, Jesse Bromwich, Cameron Smith, Bryan Norrie, Kevin Proctor, Ryan Hoffman, Ryan Hinchcliffe. Interchange (from): Jason Ryles, Tohu Harris, Jordan McLean, Kenneath Bromwich, Gareth Widdop

Talking point: The reigning premiers’ chances of going back-to-back have received a huge boost, with five-eighth Gareth Widdop named to return on the bench after three months out with a dislocated hip.

The St George Illawarra bound playmaker appeared to have played his last game for the Storm when he was taken from Skilled Park in agony the Titans in round 15.

However the 24-year-old made an incredible return in the Queensland Cup last weekend, playing 65 minutes for feeder side Easts Tigers.

Referees: Shayne Hayne, Jared MaxwellSATURDAY

Cronulla Sharks v North Queensland Cowboys, Allianz Stadium, 4pm

Sharks: Michael Gordon, Sosaia Feki, Ben Pomeroy, Jonathan Wright, Beau Ryan, Todd Carney, Jeff Robson, Andrew Fifita, John Morris, Sam Tagataese, Luke Lewis, Wade Graham, Paul Gallen (c). Interchange (from): Isaac De Gois, Chris Heighington, Jayson Bukuya, Anthony Tupou, Bryce Gibbs, Ben Ross

Talking point: Cronulla welcome back Todd Carney, Wade Graham Jayson Bukuya and Anthony Tupou from injury, while skipper Paul Gallen returns from a one-game suspension.

Cowboys: Matthew Bowen, Wayne Ulugia, Brent Tate, Kane Linnett, Antonio Winterstein, Johnathan Thurston (c), Robert Lui, Matthew Scott (c), Rory Kostjasyn, James Tamou, Gavin Cooper, Glenn Hall, Joel Riethmuller. Interchange (from): Jayden Hodges, Tariq Sims, Scott Bolton, Jason Taumalolo, Ashton Sims

Talking point: Prop Matt Scott has been named to return from a broken finger that was originally expected to see him sidelined until at least the second week of the finals.Referees: Matt Cecchin, Henry Perenara

Sydney Roosters v Manly Sea Eagles, Allianz Stadium, 7pmRoosters: Anthony Minichiello, Daniel Tupou, Michael Jennings, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, James Maloney, Mitchell Pearce, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Jake Friend, Sam Moa, Mitchell Aubusson, Sonny Bill Williams, Frank-Paul Nuuausala. Interchange (from): Daniel Mortimer, Aidan Guerra, Isaac Liu, Dylan Napa, Luke O’Donnell, Martin Kennedy

Talking point: Jared Waerea-Hargreaves has been named pending Tuesday night’s judiciary hearing. The Roosters welcome back Roger Tuivasa-Sheck from injury and Luke O’Donnell from a three-game ban.

Sea Eagles: Brett Stewart, Jorge Taufua, Jamie Lyon, Steve Matai, David Williams, Kieran Foran, Daly Cherry-Evans, Brenton Lawrence, Matt Ballin, Brent Kite, Anthony Watmough, Justin Horo, Glenn Stewart Interchange (from): Richie Fa’aoso, Tom Symonds, David Gower, George Rose, James Hasson.

Talking point: Manly fullback Brett Stewart and forward Anthony Watmough returns from injury while Jorge Taufua also makes his comeback after a two-game ban.Referees: Ben Cummins, Gerard SuttonSUNDAY

Canterbury Bulldogs v Newcastle Knights, ANZ Stadium, 4pmBulldogs: Josh Morris, Mitch Brown, Tim Lafai, Krisnan Inu, Sam Perrett, Josh Reynolds, Trent Hodkinson, Aiden Tolman, Michael Ennis, James Graham, Tony Williams, Josh Jackson, Dale Finucane. Interchange: Dene Halatau, Sam Kasiano, Tim Browne, Ben Barba

Talking point: Bulldogs coach Des Hasler has chosen to play mind games with veteran Knights coach Wayne Bennett, naming Ben Barba on the bench for their elimination final at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.

Barba was a late inclusion in the Bulldogs team against the Broncos in the final round of the season and was threatening in his return after a five week lay-off with an ankle injury.

Frank Pritchard (suspension) and Greg Eastwood (hand injury) were due back but have not been named.

Knights: Darius Boyd, James McManus, Dane Gagai, Joey Leilua, Akuila Uate, Jarrod Mullen, Tyrone Roberts, David Fa’alogo, Danny Buderus, Willie Mason, Robbie Rochow, Beau Scott, Jeremy Smith. Interchange: Matt Hilder, Chris Houston, Neville Costigan, Alex McKinnon

Talking point: After their 54-6 win against Parramatta last Sunday, Knights coach Wayne Bennett has named the same 17 for the semi final against the Bulldogs this weekend.Referees: Ashley Klein, Gavin Badger

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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Hawkins can play through the pain, says Cats coach

Geelong’s Shane Kersten has been floated by Cats coach Chris Scott as a potential replacement for Tom Hawkins. Photo: Angela Milne Geelong rookie Shane Kersten
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As Geelong weighs up the pros and cons of playing Tom Hawkins, coach Chris Scott says the power forward has shown he can play through the pain of his ailing back injury and still be a match winner.

And one of the more recent times Hawkins performed under significant duress this season, back in round nine, came against Geelong’s opponent in Friday night’s knockout semi-final at the MCG.

Scott revealed that the 25-year-old woke up the morning of the game against Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium with his back ”feeling terrible”, and yet still produced a dominant, six-goal display to front the Cats’ 48-point victory.

”He was touch and go and had a bit of a fitness test before the game before he was actually confirmed in the side an hour or two before the game,” Scott recalled. ”So that’s probably a positive, he has played good footy when he’s felt average at times this year.” The signs are positive, suggesting Hawkins will return to the Cats’ line-up for Friday, but should he fail to get up, Scott declared on Tuesday he would have no hesitation bringing in little-known forward Shane Kersten to make a shock debut.

Scott threw up Kersten’s name as a surprise left-field selection in the event Hawkins’ back problem flared again on game day and forced his withdrawal, as it did last Saturday before Geelong’s qualifying final loss to Fremantle.

The Cats called in Josh Walker last week, but Scott indicated that Kersten, a powerfully built 20-year-old, could be next in line should the same scenario present itself on Friday.

Kersten, the club’s second pick in the 2011 draft, leads the goal-kicking for Geelong’s VFL team and has kicked 24 goals from his past six matches, including four and six in his past two. He would become the first Geelong player in 75 years to make his VFL/AFL debut in a final, with the last being Ted Tuohill in 1938.

The most recent player to make his debut in an AFL final was Andrew Hooper, who played his first senior game for the Western Bulldogs in a 2010 semi-final.

”We’ve got a few options, personally, I wouldn’t have too many issues bringing in a debutant for a big game,” Scott said when asked about back-up plans for Hawkins. ”It would be bold, but I kind of like that. Shane Kersten’s been very solid in the VFL this year, he’s been unfortunate at times to miss with injury when he was on the precipice of senior selection. I’m bringing it up as an option.”

Another choice available to the Cats is playing Harry Taylor as a permanent forward, and then trusting Tom Lonergan and Jared Rivers to hold Jay Schulz and wildcard Justin Westhoff, who might play forward or back.

Hawkins, though, remains the preferred option and both the player and medical staff are hopeful he will be back, with Scott saying the club’s reigning best and fairest had trained strongly the past few days, and ”looks good”.

In any event, it’s likely the Cats will name Hawkins on Thursday and then make the final call on Friday.

”It was a good day [Monday], so we’re hoping it’ll be a good week and most importantly he feels good on Friday. And if that’s the case, he’ll play,” Scott said.

”He can be quite ordinary and not good enough to play, and at other times he feels almost normal.”

On his chances of playing, Hawkins said this week: ”I’m thinking I will be right. It’s just hard to tell how I’m going to be feeling from day to day.”

Two of the games greatest forwards, Wayne Carey and Matthew Lloyd, both agree Geelong should take the risk on Hawkins, even if only at ”50 or 60 per cent”.

Star defender Corey Enright has been ruled out for Friday night with his medial ligament strain, but is hopeful of playing next week if the Cats advance, while Scott said he is ”extremely confident” Josh Caddy and Andrew Mackie will both overcome slight ankle injuries to play against the Power.

Premiership defender Josh Hunt, George Horlin-Smith and Taylor Hunt, who was a late withdrawal against the Dockers with an ankle problem, are among a number of other players in the mix.

Scott confirmed that ruckman Trent West will also come into strong consideration, with the Cats acutely aware of in-form Port big man Matthew Lobbe, who had 59 hitouts against Geelong in round 20.

DEBUTS IN FINALSTHE MOST RECENT2010 Andrew Hooper (WB) 1985 Paul Spargo (NM) 1984 Graham Osborne (Fitzroy) 1982 Dermott Brereton (Haw) 1981 Noel Lovell (Coll) 1980 Scott Howell (Carl) 1975 Michael Cooke (Haw) 1972 Graeme Dunstan (Coll) 1966 Travis Payze (StK) 1965 Len Thompson (Coll)

THE MOST RECENT GEELONG DEBUT IN FINAL1938 Ted Tuohill

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TRY THIS: Le Passe Temps

A LITTLE piece of France has landed in the heart of Newcastle.
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The phrase ‘‘le passe temps’’ has two meanings – ‘‘to pass the time’’ and ‘‘times gone by’’, and that pretty much sums up what this place is all about.

With its selection of French and Hunter Valley wines, and a light menu offering cheese and charcuterie platters, as well as some French classics such as ‘‘boeuf bourguignon’’, Le Passe Temps is an utterly charming place to while away the time with friends. With its 1920s-era setting and decor, it also makes a nod to the past. The French staff add to the venue’s authenticity.

If you want to secure a spot at Le Passe Temps on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night, you’d best book ahead, as the increasingly popular space fills up quickly.

Cold plates: Charcuterie platter for two with French style salami, terrine, ‘‘viande de grison’’ – an air-dried meat, Serrano ham, cornichons, bread and tapenade, $26; tomato and mozzarella salad with pesto, $9; Gravalax salmon with dill, toast and salted whipped cream; cheese platter for two with three different cheeses, quince paste, dried fruit and bread, $26.

Hot plates: Boeuf bourguignon – beef cooked in red wine sauce, carrots, onions and potatoes, $14; filet mignon – pork fillet with cider, mushrooms and mashed potatoes, $13; fish fillet with leeks and lemon cream, $12; poached barramundi with citrus sauce and capsicums, $16.

Dessert: Chocolate tart, $6; caramelised banana crumble, $6; strawberry mille-feuilles with thick custard, $6; Toblerone creme brulee, $5; fruit salad with mint, $6.

Drinks: Le Passe Temps offers a lovely selection of French and Hunter Valley wines, along with aperitifs, digestifs, beers, liquors, spirits and cocktails. Wines by the glass start at $6.50. Soft drinks, mocktails and coffee are also available.

LE PASSE TEMPS

Address: 73-75 Bolton Street, Newcastle

Open: 11am to 10pm, Monday to Thursday; 11am to 11pm, Friday and Saturday; and 11am to 8pm Sunday.

Phone: 4910 4060

Website: le-passe-temps杭州夜生活m.au

Owned by: Serge Laugier

Head chef: Quentin Lorentz

Le Passe Temps in Bolton Street, Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan Carroll.

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Nick Xenophon backs Senate reform, opposes repeal of carbon tax

Senator Nick Xenophon. Photo: Erin JonassonFederal Election 2013 coverageFederal Election 2013 resultsSingle-issue groups set to take balance of powerGreens push to fix Senate vote process
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Independent Senator Nick Xenophon says he will respect his new Senate colleagues despite their lack of experience, but suggests the “bizarre” preference system that led to the election of a number of micro-parties needs changing.

Mr Xenophon, who will play a critical role in the next Senate, also suggested that Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott might have a difficult time fulfilling his signature promises of repealing the carbon tax and introducing a multibillion dollar paid parental leave scheme.

Yet despite being unhappy about the “bizarre and some would say spiteful” preference deals that led to minor party candidates with little primary support populating the next Senate, Mr Xenophon said he would treat his new colleagues with “absolute respect”.

“I remember very well what it was like [when elected to the South Australian upper house] back in 1997, where a number of my colleagues from the major parties treated me with a fair bit of contempt.

“I remember one senior Labor figure used to make poker machine noises, ‘ching ching’ noises, every time I walked past in the corridor, thinking he was hilarious,” said Mr Xenophon who is an outspoken advocate for poker machine reform.

Mr Xenophon suggested it was unfair that candidates who won only a minuscule percentage of votes could win Senate seats ahead of more popular candidates because of exchanges of preferences between minor parties.

If predictions are correct, the new Senate will comprise the NSW Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm, former rugby league legend Glenn “The Brick With Eyes” Lazarus from the Palmer United Party, Ricky Muir from the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party, engineer and former West Australian gridiron representative Wayne Dropulich from the Australian Sports Party, and South Australian Family First stalwart Bob Day.

“I will work with them,” Mr Xenophon said. “They have been elected according to the current system. Now there’s going to be a debate as to whether the system can be improved.

“I think the benchmark for any reform has to be ‘what do voters want?’ What is the fairest thing in a democracy to do? If somebody gets 80 per cent of a quota or 90 per cent of a quota and gets pipped at the post by someone who gets 0.2 per cent of a quota…”

Mr Xenophon was first voted into the South Australian upper house in 1997 after preferences took him over the line, however in the vote at the weekend he fell narrowly short of winning a second spot in the federal Senate for his running mate after Labor and the Greens directed preferences elsewhere.

In an early indication that Mr Abbott will have a tough time negotiating with the new Senate, Mr Xenophon suggested the Prime Minister-elect could not count on his vote to repeal the carbon tax.

Describing Mr Abbott’s alternative climate change policy, Direct Action, as “clunky and inefficient”, Mr Xenophon said he wanted to sit down with the likely Environment Minister Greg Hunt to work out a “more sensible approach”.

Regarding Mr Abbott’s other signature promises, Mr Xenophon indicated he would support scrapping the mining tax (“a dud”), but said in “good conscience” he could not support Mr Abbott’s expensive paid parental leave scheme.

Asked what demands he might make of Mr Abbott in exchange for his support, Mr Xenophon said: “Pokie reform is at the core of what I do.”

“The Abbott opposition was pretty miserable on that … Poker machine reform has to be very much on the agenda.”

Mr Abbott has expressed in-principle support for reform of the Senate electoral process, which looks likely to deliver a Senate spot in Victoria that the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party – which attracted just 0.51 per cent of the primary vote – and another spot in Western Australia to the Australian Sports Party – which received just 0.22 per cent of the primary vote.

“I think this is an issue and I think it will have to be addressed,” Mr Abbott told Fairfax Radio on Monday, adding he wanted to wait until Parliament’s committee on electoral matters completed its usual post-election inquiry.

Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon said her party would draft legislation to abolish group voting tickets and allow voters to control the flow of their preferences by numbering multiple boxes above the line.

Currently, a person must either vote for one party above the line and accept the preference flow decided by that party, or number every candidate below the line.The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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Julie Bishop opts for payback politics with Steve Bracks sacking

Incoming foreign minister Julie Bishop has sacked former Victorian premier Steve Bracks as the consul-general to New York just as he was about to take up the appointment. Photo: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images Former Victorian premier Steve Bracks has been sacked from his appointment as New York consul-general by the incoming Abbott Government.
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Federal election 2013 coverageBracks’ sacking ‘vindictive’

So much for governing for all. The Coalition hasn’t even been sworn in but has opted for what appears vendetta politics.

Steve Bracks was not the first ex-politician to land a prized diplomatic post, and truth be told he won’t be the last.

Incoming foreign minister Julie Bishop’s objection to his appointment to New York in May was not about competency but timing. She claimed the Coalition should have been consulted about the appointment, given Julia Gillard had flagged a September 14 election.

Except, as we know, no writs had been issued and the caretaker conventions did not apply. The prime minister changed, the election date too.

Nor was the timing of Bracks’ appointment so unusually close to an election, given the Howard government had also appointed former Liberal speaker Bob Halverson ambassador to Ireland less than six weeks before the 1998 poll.

It is doubly strange Bishop has not been hitting the airwaves with the name of a replacement, such as a senior trade diplomat to neutralise the view that this is just a decision taken in spite. Should a Liberal insider get the job that view will only be reinforced.

Bracks was the last of a number of ex-Labor premiers to join the diplomatic club, after Bob Carr became Foreign Minister in 2012 and then sent Mike Rann to London.

But the decision to sack Bracks sets a disturbing precedent. Politics can be a tribal business, but in Australia, a change of government has not previously meant diplomatic appointments from the other side have been abandoned.

Labor inherited Amanda Vanstone in Italy and did not recall her even after a bitter staffing clash with her deputy. Richard Alston was in London, Robert Hill at the United Nations in New York.

All kept their jobs. Conservatives Tim Fischer and Brendon Nelson even scored diplomatic posts out of Labor.

But Kim Beazley, Australia’s man in Washington, and Carr’s NSW Labor friend John McCarthy, posted to the Vatican, must be wondering about their futures now.

Australia could now wind up with an US-style system where many diplomats are withdrawn from their post after a change of president.

Australia’s post in New York has traditionally been the stalking ground for former business leaders or political brains. It has long been recognised that politicians – even retired ones – can speak to peers in a manner career officials cannot.

Bracks had already taken up the role in August, and notes on the Foreign Affairs website show him doing the usual pre-departure routine for senior diplomats representing Australia, meeting premiers, business leaders and getting detailed briefings in Australia.

He was due to move to the US this week and given the stringent rules in the public service around job security, it would not be at all surprising if he had a legal case for wrongful dismissal.

Bishop will have to do some explaining.

Perhaps the Coalition’s judgment was that sacking Bracks will make Labor look bad for appointing him in the first place, and keep their opponents talking about the past, not the future.

But the Coalition now can’t sensibly argue Bracks only got the gig as a Labor sop for the boys with a rich salary and plush apartment, and yet still keep paying for the position to exist at all.

If it is such a sinecure role, why have a consul-general in New York at all?

Who Bishop appoints in Bracks’ stead will be a test of whether this is settling a score or a genuine belief that the job is important to Australia’s interests.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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