Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Salmon - prepared twitter style!

Stumped for some ideas on how to prepare salmon fillet this evening (one of my favourite fish) I put the call out to twitter.  Foodies abound in the twitterverse along with some generally really awesome people.  Tonight I had the resounding input of some of my favourite twitter folk - @merejames, @DoTheWoo, @Akagrp and @Donology - this post is for you entirely!

After providing me with a mixture of suggestions I discovered I was missing at least one ingredient from each idea! So I improvised!  Relying on some internet searching and recommendations I created the balsamic glaze with the addition of za'atar (Israeli in origin and similar to dukka - no almond flakes) and sumac.  Next time I'd leave the za'atar out simply because the marjoram is a little pungent for the delicate fish but as the glaze is only applied to the flesh side of the fillet the taste didn't overwhelm.

Served on a bed of baby spinach with stuffed eggplant & pumpkin (looking a little worse for wear cos well I'd had 3 glasses of wine by then and had left it in the oven!!).

So thanks my delightful twitter friends - I had fun but no I did not video (see reference to 3 glasses of wine before dinner!).

M.I.A, Born Free - Not for the faint hearted

EXPLICIT: NSFW Call it what you will, artist M.I.A and director Romain-Gavras have pushed the boundaries on this ~ 9 min clip depicting genocide targeting red-heads. No more brutal than your average gore Hollywood flick but inviting some interesting reactions from press and community. YouTube pulled the video from US audiences. Not sure what is more disturbing - the content or the target. Senseless violence? What do you think?

I will add this - few of the commentators on this release have survived civil war like the artist has. And its a shame the music is almost secondary from an artist I have enjoyed in the past because of how she challenges musicality.

Posted via web from Radhika's posterous

Friday, 23 April 2010

Six Men in a Leaky Boat

In the last week I have enjoyed the most amazing conversations with people. Inevitably on these occasions the subject of conversation might cover the work I once did in refugee determination.

I witnessed the good, the bad and the ugly even in the short years I worked there then the further six months studying the area in depth. I had a 95% decline rate by the time I left and I was never over turned on appeal – I saw my share of vacuous claims, up close and personal. Not judging from a safe distance in a suburban home. I was so hardened as a person by the time I left that it took almost a year to tap back into my humanity – the part in you that has tears well up when a stranger shares their pain. Not sitting expressionless while an older woman shares how she was gang raped on several occasions during her escape and was so humiliated to reveal to you that she had contracted a sexually transmitted disease as a result of that repeated violation. Another one of my 'declines'. So I don't automatically leap to the defence of those that seek refugee status.

A young Iraqi refugee in Syria: An Iraqi refugee boy stands beside his mother, who holds her registration certificate from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Photo by Catholic Relief Services (CC)

That being said even as a 'jaded' ex-officer I can't help but get frustrated at how damaging media coverage of the plight of refugees is. Not just to the target of the vehement reaction but society as a whole. The Australian media drive fuelled by a recent influx of "boat people", politics and immigration policy has very effectively polarised the general public into being either for/against refugees. It isn't as simple as that but given the level of xenophobia in this country it has been an effective strategy.

The UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees 1951 and the countries that have ratified it have agreed to receive and protect refugees. There are two types of refugees - spontaneous claimants (those that are the subject of the attention recently) and quota refugees. The major difference is that spontaneous claims are made onshore, i.e. when they have landed in the country where the claim is lodged. That is where I came in – I 'determined' whether the claim to refugee status was legitimate and fell within the very specific grounds of the Refugee Convention. This was done by way of a thorough investigation of the country conditions, the claim made on paper and then intensive interviewing of the claimant to establish credibility and details. The process was intense for all parties. My longest interview ran for 12 hours (not in one go!). I still declined the guy.

Quota refugees, are those that have made it (this is a feat of human endurance in itself) to an UNHCR camps globally and lodge their claims with them. They're often the ones that may receive a 'welcome with open arms'. I often wonder how much of that is actually driven by the legacy of previous refugee intakes following the world wars. Something about a Kodak moment perhaps?

True refugee determination is not immigration, here as across the Tasman, the decision making process has been converged with immigration departments largely because the avenue is heavily used by those "shopping" for means to gain entry/migrate to a country. As an officer there was never anything more rewarding than to write the magic words on a decision "Mr X's claim to refugee status has been accepted". It came so rarely but was so sweet when it happened. We can't forget that refugee status is a RIGHT not a privilege and it is only given to the exceptional few that can actually meet the grounds. It really is not as easy as the media would lead us to believe.

A refugee from Somalia, Mohammed Hussein Abdi, 42, describes how Somalia's Islamic militias assaulted him during their takeover of the port city of Kismayo last month. Abdi is among 14,000 Somali refugees who've arrived in northeastern Kenya since September. (Shashank Bengali/MCT)

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Calling All Women

The title of a wonderful poem by the artist, actress, activist, thought leader Ruby Dee I first heard her recite in an episode from Season 3 of the show "Iconoclasts". New Zealanders would recognise her as the matriarch Nanna Maria in "No 2" again in a reflection of her infinite talent, Ms Dee plays this role of the Fijian grandmother with skill and grace. No easy feat for a woman who grew up in Harlem.

The inspirational Ms Dee exchanges ideas and share with the modern day poet , musician and philanthropist Alicia Keys ( This episode witnessing the mutual admiration of someone who shall enter history books as having contributed so much to her community, country and art alongside an exquisitely beautiful being that is still leaving her mark on the world today was a sight to behold. I was overwhelmed by it, captivated, left with goosebumps and brought to tears.

Keys asks the question what does it mean to be the proprietor of your destiny? Dee describes her as an old soul having returned to finish what she started, and given her success, confidence and fortitude in her short life she is certainly a leader of our generation.
Together they have in their own way navigated the gender gap, the racial divide and the artistic critique demonstrating consistently that the challenges that are thrown into our path serve to boost our trajectory in life if we choose to treat them as such.
Inspired greatly by these two women I hope you too might take a few moments to get to know them better in their art and in the lives they lead.
For a synopsis of the episode of Iconoclasts mentioned check out
A copy of this fine poem that is as relevant today as the day as it was written (1987, published in her book One Good Nerve) is reproduced here.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Radhika | Meaning of Radhika Name


The Meaning of Radhika

The girl name Radhika comes from the Indian word which means, "Successful." It also stems from the word which means, "The girl with this name must be understanding character.." It also stems from the word which means, "prosperity." It also stems from the english word which means, "person with good heart."
Numerological Meaning
People with this name tend to be very spiritually involved. They are often found lost in thought, philosophizing and can be quite eccentric. They can be quite successful in an analytical field, or as a business owner

I like this game - this is for @tiphereth !!

Posted via web from Radhika's posterous

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Soul Food

One of the lasting memories from Laura Esquivel’s novel Como Agua para Chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate) was the expression of one’s passion through cooking and serving food.  Watching Bridget Davis , the Internet Chef at work certainly drew on this memory.  Gentle and rhythmic in her style she effortlessly engages with her guests while skilfully in charge of a masterpiece she is creating in her hands.  In an age when the world of the Chef is beamed into our homes we witness the cult of personality that goes along with the industry. It can be loud, raucous, arrogant and infamous.  It’s easy to overlook the talent behind it. 
The Internet Chef and her talented partner the infamous @Iconic88 have embarked on a wonderful event, an intimate breakfast degustation where you get to experience the genius.  An invitation to one of these events is not to be missed so I was so honoured to join them and their eminent guests at a breakfast like no other.
Bridget takes you on a gastronomic journey where you are in left with no doubt that she is creating an experience for her guests.  She wears a beautiful expression of love and generosity as she describes each dish and quietly observes the reactions to her dishes.  There is no pomp and ceremony but just exquisite dishes that delight.  And they do! Already there is magic in what she does...she puts the taster at the centre?!  One of the words used that morning to describe Bridget’s dishes that morning was “sensuous” and it is a fitting description of the dining experience she delivers to her guests. 
I am no foodie so I will steer clear of glowing descriptions of the marvellous ingredients (which they were of course) however I will add I didn’t get this way from looking at the pictures! I appreciate the effort and talent required to achieve balance while tantalising tastebuds.  During a previous conversation with Bridget I realised I had the pleasure of dining at one of her restaurants in Auckland more than 6 years ago (where I discovered I had a food allergy I did not know about, and figured if I didn’t pass out, just keep going it was so good!).  I immediately recalled how ‘heart warming’ the menu was even back then.  Bridget has undoubtedly mastered her craft further since those days and her talents have clearly not gone unnoticed by those on this side of the Tasman.
I left the event walking on air and swearing I would be doing more exciting things with cayenne pepper soon!
Thank you my beautiful generous friends Bridget & Mahei for bringing together such a delightful group of people to enjoy your alchemy!
You can join Bridget yourself at an exciting Media 140 event coming up in May where Sydney’s foodies can go nuts!
Follow on Twitter:
@Iconic88 @Bridget_Cooks @simonmainwaring @superfabulous @divinemisswhite 

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Mind The Gap - ConnectNow

#cnow fantastic presentation delivered today at the Connect Now conference in Sydney. Digest and enjoy.

Posted via web from Radhika's posterous

Yes, I Do Mind the Gap: Tara Hunt (aka @missrogue) at ConnectNow | Missing Link

Thanks to @missinglinknz for getting this up so soon after the presentation. Enjoy the post and check out some of the resources she has been so great about sourcing and attaching so quick to share in a really valuable presentation by @missrogue #cnow

Posted via web from Radhika's posterous