Toast To A FruChoc

Fair full’s your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain of the lolly race,
Above them all, you take your place;
Apricot, coconut, chocolate.
Well are you worthy of a grace,
As big’s my eye-ball.

The orange baggie there you fill,
Your form is like a distant hill,
To reach you one would run a mile,
In time of need.
While in your core the taste distill,
Like amber bead.

One bite, see rustic labour dight,
And break you open with ready slight,
Exposing your orange entrails bright,
Is any’s wish.
And then, oh what a glorious sight,
Apricot, chewy, rich!

Then, piece by piece, we stretch and strive,
To eat our fill, then on we drive,
‘Til all our bellies, stitch in side,
Are bent like drums.
The old man, looking on with pride,
“Delicious” hums.

See over there with French brulée,
Or Mozart-kugeln at billiards to play,
Or fricassee would make him say,
With perfect word,
Looks down with sneering, scornful eye,
On such a dessert?

Poor devil! see him over his Smarties,
Though colourful and great for parties,
Not fruity and not very hearty,
His fist like ham.
Through shopping mall or park to dash,
Or traffic jam.

But mark the healthy, FruChoc-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Goyder’s line along he sped,
Or Torrens River.
With smiling face, orange packet led,
Best confectionary ever.

You powers which make mankind your care,
And dish them out there bill of fare,
South Aussies want no sugar-coated ware,
That rattles in plastic.
But, if you wish our grateful prayer,
Give us a FruChoc.

Adapted from Robert Burns’ “Toast To A Haggis”.

FruChoc slice.
Part of one wall of the FruChoc shop in Hahndorf.
The FruChoc Man.
The Official Website: http://robernmenz.com.au/

Two Instances of Gaelic Phrasing You Use Every Day

… And Probably Don’t Realise.

(… provided you speak English.)

There are probably more instances, but I can only think of two at the moment. So, here they are.

“Awake” and “Asleep”

Gaelic (and less so Irish) very commonly uses what I would describe as the “present continuous” or “gerund” tense rather than the simple present.

If you don’t know what I’m on about, don’t worry. All you need to know is that Gaelic-speakers will say something that roughly translates as “I’m a-walking” or “I’m a-writing”. (And, in fact, some speak like that in English, too. It’s a very (stereo)typical Irish thing to do).

But the “a-” in Gaelic, “ag” or “a'” is actually – you guessed it! – a preposition, “at”, and they call it a “verbal noun” rather than a “gerund” or “present participle”.

(I’m convinced the language has some innate phobia of verbs, and a fetish for prepositions, since it seems to drop – or claims to drop – verbs all over the place, and replace them with prepositions).

The point is, there isn’t really another common way in English (modern, standardised English. Older English and dialects are another matter entirely) to describe being conscious, other than “I’m awake”. Likewise, you’re just as likely to say “She’s asleep” as “She’s sleeping”.

“It’s fine with me.”

In Gaelic (and Irish), you use the construction “Is (insert adjective here) with me (insert noun/verb here).”

Therefore:

“‘S toigh leam e” (Gàidhlig) = It’s good with me = “I like it”

“‘S cuma liom é” (Gaeilge) = It’s neutral with me = “I don’t really care”

“‘S breá liom é” (Gaeilge) = It’s beautiful with me = “I love it”
“‘S breagha leam e” (Gàidhlig) = It’s beautiful with me = “I love it”

Whilst in English, you would use constructions such as “I love it” and “I like it”, if something’s “fine”, it’s “fine with you”.

So, there you have it: two instances you use Gaelic and you didn’t know it. If you speak English, you’re halfway there already! And who said Gaelic was a difficult language to learn?

Prepositions are Evil!

Okay, this is another Lady of the Cakes-inspired post. She thinks prepositions are evil, too.

(She also thinks verbs are evil. I’m not so fussed with verbs. Verbs and I have come to an understanding. Then again, I’m no longer trying to live solely through Spanish, which no doubt accounts for that.)

Check out her post on prepositions here: http://ladyofthecakes.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/prepositions-so-much-depends-of-them/comment-page-1/#comment-8642

And her post on verbs here: http://ladyofthecakes.wordpress.com/2013/07/05/i-hate-verbs/?relatedposts_exclude=2057

Even though I don’t really mind verbs at the moment, I totally agree with the whole prepositions thing. I mean, if you conjugate a verb wrong, 99% of the time, you’ll still be understood. Except in Spanish, because Spanish verbs have evil twins. And you don’t use personal pronouns. But I’m not going to get into that. But prepositions… get a preposition wrong, and you can, as Lady of the Cakes so eruditely puts it, change the whole meaning of a sentence. Which is made even worse in German by the fact that if you get the preposition wrong, chances are you’ll get the adjectival endings wrong, too. (Even though I usually fudge over endings of any sort, be they adjectival or pronominal.)

I’ve posted about the evils of Gaelic prepositions recently, here: https://coveredrachel.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/owning-stuff-in-gaelic/ and here, at the end: https://coveredrachel.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/how-to-learn-a-language-and-the-seven-stages-thereof/. So I won’t get into that again.

But prepositions can really stuff you around in other languages, too. Yes, in English, you might be used to waiting for someone, being scared of something, looking after someone, going by car, or being angry with someone, and that might seem perfectly natural to you. But consider this: In German, you wait on someone (which, now I think of it, you can do in English, too. It usually means you’re they’re butler, but it can mean you’re waiting for them to arrive), you’re not scared but in fact have fear from something, in French you don’t look after children, you simply guard them, and in German you go with the car rather than by it.

And even when you think you’ve got a handle on the idea that the correct preposition you use changes from language to language, you then come to the startling and unwanted realisation that they change within a language, too! Are you look at something or on it? Are you angry with someone or at them? Why is it that some Germans are in the post office, while others inexplicably seem to be on it?

And then you find out that German not only uses different prepositions to English for just about everything imaginable, but prepositions also change the case you use! Which happens in most languages, to my knowledge, but there are two cases which German prepositions can sent the rest of the sentence into, and the reasoning isn’t always clear. (I’m pretty certain that if there’s any sort of movement at all, it goes to the accusative, while it being stationary means it’s in the dative. But whether there’s movement or not isn’t always clear, and like English grammar rules, there are exceptions!).

Oh, and Gaelic conjugates its prepositions. I like Gaelic, because it doesn’t conjugate its verbs (at least, not in a way recognisable to the speaker of a Romance or Germanic language – the verb doesn’t change depending on who is doing it, but rather whether it’s a negative, positive, or questioning statement, or some combination thereof). But then I discovered it conjugates its prepositions, in pretty much the same way a Romance or Germanic language conjugates its verbs. (I know Scandinavian languages may or may not be Germanic languages, being so similar, but in this instance they’re not, because they don’t conjugate their verbs).

For example:

Air (on)
Mi – orm (I – on me)
Thu – ort (You – on you)
E – air (He – on him)
I – oirre (She – on her)
Sinn – oirnn (We – on us)
Sibh – oirbh (You – on you)
Iad – orra (They – on them)

or:

Le (with)
Mi – leam (with me)
Thu – leat (with you)
E – leis (with him)
I – leatha (with her)
Sinn – leinn (with us)
Sibh – leibh (with you)
Iad – leotha (with them)

Fun. But surprisingly easy to guess. Particularly as Gaelic uses prepositions all over the place, so if you have even a few words of Gaelic, chances are the majority of them are prepositions.

So, there you go, the evils of prepositions. Here are three of them to leave you with:

1 – Prepositions used with verbs change from language to language.

2 – In German, prepositions send sentences either into the accusative or the dative, which changes the endings of everything.

3 – In Gaelic, prepositions conjugate.

“You Just Pick It Up!”

Hi! Me again! Sorry… how long has it been? Sixteen days? My goodness!

Well, I have an excuse. I broke my foot. And no, I don’t have a dramatic story. I fell out the back door. That’s all. But it’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.

And I’m not even going to post my own post! Gasp! Actually, I wanted to reblog something from Lady of the Cakes, but I can’t work out how to do that, so you’ll have to just click on this handy link:

http://ladyofthecakes.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/urban-language-myths-you-just-pick-it-up/comment-page-1/#comment-8641

Because she makes some really good points, and she does it while being witty and funny.

I’ve blogged about a similar topic before, here: https://coveredrachel.wordpress.com/2013/06/17/what-is-fluency/. The topic in question being the annoying tendency of… well, pretty much anyone who can only speak/ hold a conversation in one language… to assume that people who speak more than one language have some freakish abnormal innate talent for learning languages.

Which, as anyone who’s learnt a second language can tell you, simply isn’t true.

I’ve probably mentioned it before, but here’s my stance: I firmly believe that there is not such innate talent for language (despite someone trying to convince me I have it at least once a week), and that anyone can learn a language with time, motivation, and stubbornness. (Or persistence. I’m not entirely sure on that one.)

Oh, and a good reason is probably important, too. Actually, I’m pretty sure that’s why Australians apparently aren’t particularly good at languages. (And Australians who bother are considered some sort of genius).

The other day, someone tried to convince me that people say they don’t see the point in learning a language to cover up the fact that they feel stupid about being unable to do so. This I can’t believe. A lot of people who claim to be unable to learn a language say just that, not that they can’t see the point in it. (Unless you’re talking about Gaelic. Then no-one can see the point in it). And living in a rather large country which pretty much all speaks one language, English  (ignoring some parts of central Australia where monolingualism is Pitjantjatjara is high), and where the closest country is five hours on a ‘plane and is New Zealand, which amazingly enough, also speaks English (and is pretty much like Australian in every way except it’s greener and wetter and smaller), means that a lot of the “true-blue” Aussie types really, truly, don’t quite comprehend that there are places out there where they’d be unable to communicate. (This is something that I doubt most people comprehend until they’ve been stuck in a strange country unable to communicate their utter lost-ness).

But anyway, I diverge. After getting rather annoyed that whomever I’m talking to thinks I have some freakish innate talent for languages, I then want to explain to them that I believe anyone can learn a language if they really want to. Some of them nod, accept my point of view, and move on. Others will argue the point.

And, really, how can you say all this to someone who is monolingual and convinced you’re a freak and that they’d never be able to learn a language, mostly because they did Indonesian or German in primary school and can barely count to ten due to a lack of a decent teacher, without making it sound like you think they’re lazy and not trying hard enough?

That said, and yes, I think I’ve said this somewhere before, yes, of course, now I have some sort of “freakish talent” for languages… by monolingual standards… maybe… and it’s simply because I’ve stuck at a few and now have the appropriate skills to compartmentalise, relate concept, and, well… I actually know the difference between a noun and a verb now, which I wasn’t quite clear on five years ago. Anyone who’s studied four languages, even if they’ve only managed to become anything resembling proficient in one, would be able to do that. It doesn’t mean I have any weird gene, it just means I was really stubborn when I started out.

(Which, now I think of it, could be a weird gene… After all, people with Asperger’s are known for being really stubborn and sticking to whatever their current obsession is.)

And, you know, while I might be some sort of crazy language genius to a monolingual person, I’d personally consider myself somewhere down the bottom of the talent range when it comes to learning languages. Yes, I know bits of a lot, but I don’t know much of any, except English and possibly German. I have a friend who is fluent (native-speaker level) in two (German and Dutch) and very close to native-speaker level in English, and did language Continuers in Year 12 for Spanish and French. One of my piano teacher’s other students is doing Continuers German and Spanish… and she’s a year ahead in German. Those people really are good at languages, and they don’t think anything of it (and probably don’t obsess about it like I do).

Anyway, I think what I’m saying is that there’s a certain amount – and by a certain amount, I mean a lot – of hard work that goes into learning a language to any sort of proficiency. Well, that and embarrassment, but usually both. And, even though people seem to think I’m some sort of crazy language genius, the truth is I’m not. By the standards of pretty much anyone remotely interested in learning languages properly, I’m probably lazy, slow, and have a short attention span. The only language I consider myself fluent in is English. My German is pretty good, but I can get out of my depth very easily. I may be able to impress with a few sentence is some languages, I may be able to hold a basic conversation in others, but I haven’t “picked up” those languages… I’m still working at them.

And now this has grown into a very long post, and I’m not at all sure that any of it makes sense. Oh, well. Just go over to Lady of the Cakes’ blog and read hers. It’s much better than my ramblings, I assure you.

Irn-Bru

As I mentioned in the other post, today I found a can of Irn-Bru.

IMGP1629

Well, okay, I found multiple cans of Irn-Bru. It was in a rather strange little sweet shop that sold other such strange things as passionfruit- and pineapple-flavoured Fanta, Jalapeño-Cheese Crisps, and powered Bubble Gum:

SIMGP1635

But since, over the past year or so, multiple people have told me to try Irn-Bru, I bought a can and did so.

After seeing those adds, I’m beginning to question my desire to revisit Scotland.

Anyway, one of the first things I discovered about Irn-Bru, upon examining the can, was this:

It’s a lie! It’s not actually made from girders. They’re not in the ingredients list.

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There is, however, this helpful warning:

AdverseIMGP1659

Which, given that it’s a sugary carbonated beverage with added caffeine, feels like a bit of an obvious thing to say.

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Irn-Bru has a bit of an odd taste – a bit like a cross between chewing gum and banana lollies (neither of which I like). Despite this, and the initial shock of the taste, it grew on me, and about halfway through the can I was actually enjoying it.

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Here’s a little bit in a cup to show you the colour. The picture doesn’t really do justice to the amazingly bright shade of orange it is.

I’m not really a fizzy drink connoisseuse. Actually, I don’t like fizzy drinks very much at all. And Irn-Bru’s not really my favourite, but in terms of foreign fizzy drinks, it’s got to rate pretty high. Which, given that Coke makes me feel sick, Root Beer reminds me of hospital disinfectant, and Doctor Pepper tastes like cough medicine, isn’t very hard.

It can’t compete with Orangina, though.

For more information on Irn-Bru, see http://www.irn-bru.co.uk/.

Happy Birthday, Mum!

IMGP1663

Wrapping paper.

Yes, it’s my mother’s birthday today. I’m not going to say how old she is.

We went out for brunch at a café on the foreshore.

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Mum’s eggs Benedict.

Dad's eggs Benedict.

Dad’s eggs Benedict.

My "Spanish tortilla". It was a real tortilla, which was surprising, topped with eggs, tomato chutney, and bits of chorizo.

My “Spanish tortilla”. It was a real tortilla, which was surprising, topped with eggs, tomato chutney, and bits of chorizo.

IMGP1595

Jessica’s steak-mushroom-potato thing.

Jessica tried to take a photo of Mum.

IMGP1600And then she tried to take one of me.

IMGP1601And then I tried to take one of Dad.

IMGP1602Then we left the café…

IMGP1603… and went for a walk on the jetty. It was very windy.

At the beginning of the jetty was this sculpture thing:

IMGP1604IMGP1605They look like lifesavers to me. Here’s the plaque:

IMGP1606It’s a bit difficult to read.

IMGP1607Then we actually walked along the jetty.

The view about ten metres along the jetty. It's a cold, windy, overcast day... We could have hoped for better for a beach party in November.

The view about ten metres along the jetty. It’s a cold, windy, overcast day… We could have hoped for better for a beach party in November.

About halfway along the jetty is this overhead sculpture thing:

IMGP1611According to the sign, it is called a “Aeolian”, and makes a “constantly variable hum” (which, on a day like today, is a nice way of saying “annoying drone”).

IMGP1610We eventually got to the end of the jetty.

IMGP1612

Nothing between us and Antarctica.

And then we were a bit silly on the way back. I had the camera.

IMGP1614IMGP1615IMGP1616IMGP1617IMGP1619IMGP1620IMGP1622IMGP1623IMGP1625IMGP1626Well, some of those photos were nice. Some just look cold.

This is a pretty good photo of my dad. We don't have many good photos of him.

This is a pretty nice photo of my dad. We don’t have many good photos of him.

And a not-so-good one of my mum, feeling windblown.

And a not-so-good one of my mum, feeling windblown.

Then we went to the ice-cream shop.

IMGP1627

Jessica loves her ice-cream.

IMGP1628Mum and I both got “apricot, almond & honey yoghurt ice-cream”, which was surprisingly yummy. Dad got a waffle, since he feels he missed out in America. Jessica got a waffle basket with three scoops of stuff in it, as you saw above. Mum and I also shared a plate of freshly-made doughnuts.

Then we went to the sweet shop, which sold a lot of strange and interesting stuff, including powdered Bubble Gum:

IMGP1635And Irn-Bru:

IMGP1633Which I’ll write more about in my next post.

On the way home, Jessica tried to blow bubbles:

IMGP1646IMGP1645IMGP1634IMGP1636She eventually succeeded when we got home.

IMGP1651Here are some more pictures of the journey home:

IMGP1644IMGP1641IMGP1650IMGP1643IMGP1639Stand by for my analysis of Irn-Bru.

Chick Pics

Yay! I finaly have pictures for you!

IMGP1537This is one of the bantams; the Welsummer lookalike I mentioned. Here are her feet:

IMGP1536Her maternal grandmother was a Sizzle (half Silkie and half Frizzle; hence the extra toe, which is a Silkie characteristic).

Here’s the other interesting bantam:

IMGP1542And her hairy legs. She’s called Charlotte.

IMGP1540She’s the only chick with hairy legs thus far.

Here’s the ideal “black-and-gold” chick:

IMGP1554She’s such a show-off.

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She’s got gold-ish coloured fur (down) around her eyes, which is promising.IMGP1548And here’s a pic of her tummy.

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The other interesting one in the “black and gold” lot is this one.

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Mum found it first and showed it to me, and I got really excited because I thought one of the green eggs had hatched – this is the colour Graham (the half-Araucana rooster) was when he hatched. But no, she’s from the black and gold lot. Which is strange. Even stranger is the little white-yellow chick that hatched from the black-and-gold lot.

IMGP1562And here’s a nice orangey one from the “stripes” lot:

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And, just for cutes, I’ll add another orange-y one from the stripes lot, who was only about an hour old at the time of photo:

IMGP1585Old enough to be fluffy, but still young enough to not really be able to stand up properly, or walk; and to flop over and fall asleep in adorable poses, rather than face-planting as older chicks do:

IMGP1586Oh, and there’s also this slightly weird chick – I think there’s something wrong in its head. No, honestly, take a look:

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I mean, there’s one in every lot that sits apart from the rest, closes its eyes, and cheeps loudly and repeatedly. But they don’t usually start it until they’re a day or two old (this one was less than an hour old at this point); and they don’t usually have random bald patches or take much longer learning to walk than others. So, yeah, I’m sort of worried about this one.

Anyway, another cute chick from the “stripes” section is this one, Spot:

IMGP1579Isn’t she cute? There’s something to be said for asymmetrical markings.

The current total – and probable total total, since more are unlikely to hatch – is ten in the “stripes” group, four bantams, and seven “black-and-gold” chicks. There were four stillbirths (chicks who pip and even begin to zip in some cases, but die before hatching) – three bantams and one “stripes”. The bantam chicks are 1/4 large fowl, so it’s possible they’re just too big for the egg or something.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the drowned hen made a full recovery. And stank out the brooder area.

It’s Chick Time Again!

Yup. That’s right. Spring has sprung, the grass is green, and I set three dozen eggs in the incubator before I realised that most of my hens had decided it was their life’s work to go broody.

(Seriously, these mixed breeds? People say that mixed breeds / hybrids are among the least likely to go broody. Totally not true. Well, yes, a good ISA will hardly ever go broody. But most of the ones I’ve hatched go broody like clockwork at the beginning of spring. I’ve got three sitting on eggs, due to hatch next week, and at least five, possibly six, more, whom I am currently shooing off their nests twice a day.)

Anyway, tomorrow is the due date for all the eggs currently in the incubator. Only they were impatient, and decided to start hatching around midday yesterday. Go figure.

IMGP7619Above, you can see the following:

One slightly drowned hen. It’s one of those stupid rescue ISAs I bought a few weeks ago who still hasn’t learnt that when it gets dark, she’s meant to go into the coop. Instead, five or six of them consistently perch on the edge of the pond. Don’t ask why. So the first rainy night since I bought them, and a bunch of them were washed into the pond. Dad just fished her out – there were two more dead in the pond. Anyway, this one should recover all right. She’s lucky we’ve got the heat lamp going at the moment.

Next to her are five chicks from my “striped” line. You can’t really see them, since four have light yellow down and one is slightly orangey. Anyway, their parents look like this:

2013.02.15 - Pullet 032013.06.23 - 01And this:

2013.06.23 - 152013.06.23 - 17Plus variations thereupon. And a couple of dark barred hens.

The next lot of chicks are mixed bantams. There are four of those: two which are half white Leghorn bantam, one which is a totally mixed up one third generation mine, but looks sort of Welsummer (both parents had a Wellie grandfather) and one which is equally mixed up from a mother I bought from a lady in Strath of unknown pedigree. The bantam rooster is half lavender Araucana, quarter Welsummer, and quarter golden-laced Wyandotte. I really should get pictures up of him – he’s quite interesting-looking.

The final lot of chicks, to the far right, are five from my “black and gold” line. They’re now orphans, since their parents were taken by a fox about two weeks ago, and I had pretty much resigned myself to not really continuing with that line of breeding, except I’ve got a couple of rather promising-looking chicks already.

Anyway, their parents looked like this:

2013.06.23 - 01And here’s a better one of the father, Goldilocks:

2013.06.23 - 02Believe it or not, his tail only got more impressive. It got ringlets. And almost touched the ground. And his saddle feathers got longer and danglier, too. I wish I’d gotten some photos of it.

I’ll try to get a photo of the most promising chicks to put up soon.

My sister reckons that once these chicks are grown, I should take some photos and put them on the wanted section of Gumtree. If I do end up continuing this line, after all, I’ll probably do that. And some photos of Goldilocks and his girls, too.

Anyway. that’s all for now. Again, I will get more photos… once the camera battery is charged. Some of the chicks are pretty cool-looking, this time ’round. Now, if only I could get one of the green eggs to hatch…

Leftovers Pasta

Until only about three years ago, I lived in what is arguably one of the most Italian areas in South Australia. It should therefore come as a surprise to no-one that pasta is as much an essential, non-negotiable part of my diet as peas, carrots, and schnitzel.

So therefore, when faced with leftover chevapchichis and roast vegetables, it doesn’t take all that much thinking to work out what I’m going to do with them.

(I could make pasties. Of course I could. But pastry is a lot more difficult to make than pasta, and it involves lard, which isn’t something I have commonly sitting around the kitchen. Not to mention pasta is just a lot more satisfying to eat.)

IMGP1494Here’s the table, all set up for pasta-making. I have flour, water, egg, olive oil, a box of leftover meat and veggies, and a book with the recipe in it.

IMGP1495I don’t really need the recipe, but it’s nice to have it, anyway. This is from John Seymour’s “Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency”, which belonged to my grandparents. I quite like the book, because once you get past the pencil sketches in greys and browns and the slightly odd phrasing, it’s quite a useful book. A modern “self-sufficiency” book will encourage you to grow strawberries in a pot on your balcony, and if you’re really lucky, you might learn how to do decoupage. John Seymour’s book basically chronicles everything your average 18th-century English farmer would have known. If you actually did everything in the book, which would be almost impossible, you really would be completely self-sufficient.

Anyway, the first step, after making sure you’ve got a clean flat space to work, is to dump a whole lot of flour on said clean flat space, make a hole in the top, and crack an egg into it.

IMGP1496Mix the egg and flour with your fingertips. Be sure to squish the yolk so that it breaks early on.

IMGP1497Once the egg is mixed in as well as you can, repeat the process, but with a little olive oil this time, rather than an egg. Alternate adding a little oil and a little water until the dough actually sticks together in a ball.

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IMGP1500At this point, you should start chopping up whatever it is you plan to put in your pasta – if you’re making ravioli or tortellini – and then start rolling it out.

IMGP1501The rolling it out is the hardest part. It takes a lot of strength and persistence and now my forearms hurt. We do have a hand-cranked pasta-squishing machine, but I couldn’t find it, so I used a rolling pin.

IMGP1502Next, you need to place your filling at regular spaces. Leave a finger-width or so between each filling, and only cover half of the dough. Above, you can see little bits of chevapchichi and roast carrot.

IMGP1503Fold the pastry over, and press down between the bits of stuff inside.

IMGP1504Then use a good knife to cut around the bits. It’s easier if you’ve laid them out in lines. You will need to squish around the edges of each bit of pasta. If it doesn’t stick, dab a little water along the inside of the tortellini.

IMGP1505After everything’s wrapped and chopped up, put it on a tray in the sun. For spaghetti, hang it over a clothes horse. As you can see, the little edge bits of pasta that couldn’t be made into tortellini were cut into strips.

After making this much pasta, there was still a ridiculous amount of chevapchichi and vegetables left – you really don’t need all that much filling to make tortellini – so I decided to make sauce, as well.

IMGP1507The first thing you need is obviously tomatoes – the base ingredient of pretty much all pasta sauce. Since it’s not tomato season, I’m making do with cheap Italian imports.

IMGP1508The pomodori pelati are basically just large tomatoes (Romas) swimming in their own juice.

IMGP1509I attacked them with a masher. It’s probably simpler to just use a can of diced tomatoes.

IMGP1510I then added tomato paste.

IMGP1511And mixed them together.

That would probably work as a pasta sauce, but it’s sort of boring.

IMGP1512My next step was to absolutely mince the living daylights out of the remaining chevapchichis.

IMGP1513And add them to the sauce.

IMGP1514And the onions.

IMGP1515

IMGP1516And the carrots and sweet potato.

IMGP1517

IMGP1518And mix it all together. And that’s pretty much pasta sauce. All that’s left is to heat it up.

At this juncture, I will just mention that when working with tomatoes, it’s a good idea to either not wear white, or to wear an apron.

IMGP1519I didn’t do either. Oops.

IMGP1521Anyway, all that’s left is to cook the pasta – just like normal pasta from the shop.

IMGP1523By that, I mean; cover with water, and boil until satisfied with the texture. You may like your pasta al dente. I personally don’t.

IMGP1522You also need to start heating up the pasta sauce. Since all of my ingredients had previously been cooked, heating up was all that really needed doing. I also added corn, which you can see here – the little yellow bits.

IMGP1525IMGP1526Then drain the pasta and serve.

IMGP1527With cheese.

IMGP1528There you have it: pasta that any Italian nonna of my old neighbourhood could be proud of, almost entirely made out of leftovers.

IMGP1531In this half-eaten bit of pasta, you can clearly see the carrot and the chevapchichi.

All in all, a pretty yummy way of using up leftover food.

You Know You Go To A German Ethnic School In Australia If…

… “Which language?” is a valid question when starting a game of Scrabble with your friends.

… 14% of Australian Year 12s study a language other than English. 90% of your class studies a language other than English and German.

… You can understand the German original title on your AMEB piano music, and know that it was translated incorrectly into English.

… When discussion about career paths and uni choices comes up, you all admit that there’s at least one person in your family that wants you to be a translator for the UN/EU/Australian embassy/German embassy/SBS/Eurovision. However, you quickly decide that none of the languages any of you speak is “exotic” enough – and between the eight of you, you speak ten different languages.

… A game of “snakes and ladders” tells you to give four German first names, so you list your teachers (well, the other option is to give Mozart’s baptismal name).

… All of your friends are bilingual, and you feel a little stupid because you’re really just monolingual, and German is your second language.

… You have nightmares about Karneval/Fastnacht/Fasching celebrations at your school… Which involve the “Hokey Pokey”, “Kopfen, Schulten, Knien, und Füssen”, and “Schnappi”.

… Almost everyone in your class pronounces their name two different ways, depending on which language they’re speaking.

… You and your friends buy, and munch on, Brezeln bigger than your handspan, during Pause.

… While waiting for your Spanish exam in the SACE language orals holding yard, you run into your Dutch-speaking friend from German School, who’s waiting for her French exam.

… You’ve ever wondered if you’re just part of some strange experiment on Hochdeutsch or vocab control.

… Being a dual- (or even tri-)national is completely normal. Even if neither of your passports is from the DACH.

… You actually know that DACH, when capitalised, doesn’t mean ‘badger’ (or ‘trousers’ [dacks]).

… Berliners mean a party – usually Fasching or Weihnachtsfest.

… Flying for 26 hours (50-hour round trip) every year or two is considered perfectly normal.

… You know the terms for various grammatical concepts in German, and don’t understand when a teacher’s using the English translation to explain the same concept in another language.

… It’s not recess. Or even smoko or break. It’s Pause. Get that? Pow-Za.

… Your teacher sends you an e-mail, and changes languages at least four times in it – usually halfway through a sentence.

… Most of your class flew before they could walk. Several times.

… You’ve ever shaken your head and wondered how your teachers can possibly believe you don’t know the swear words. (It’s called TV. Or Fernsehen. Take your pick.)

… No-one at school bothers asking where you’re from – they ask either where you live, or where your parents are from.

… When you get bored on an aeroplane going to Spain, you watch “Alvin and the Chipmunks” in German. (You haven’t actually seen it in English yet).

… One of your teachers inevitably disappears for three to eight weeks every year… but that’s all right, because you know she’s in Germany. (And she’ll probably bring back textbooks and chocolate for you.)

… Ritter is your favourite brand of chocolate.

… You actually get German jokes and humour.

… Someone asks what school you go to, and you realise that “Deutsche Schule” isn’t the right answer. Oh, that’s right, you go to school during the week, too.

… You only ever get your favourite brand of chocolate after your teacher gets back from Germany.

… Someone in your class was talking about an annoying person they’d sat next to on a ‘plane once, and finished the story with, “But that was all right; it was only a seven-hour flight.”

… You know all or most of the words to “Schnappi, das kleine Krokodile” by heart.

… Sometimes you’re not actually sure which language your teacher is speaking… but you can understand everything anyway.

… The answer to everything is “Nee”. Your teacher picks you up on it half an hour before your year 12 oral exam, and you all mutually decide that saying “Nein” sounds silly.

… There are eight in your class. Eight of you speak English and eight speak German. Seven speak or learn French, three learn Spanish, two speak or learn Dutch, Russian, and Japanese, and one speaks Swiss German.

… When you were in Year 10, your teacher realised that your class was being bored to death by the state-mandated Year 12 curriculum, and so went to Germany and bought you textbooks for adults learning several CEFR bands higher than Year 12s are meant to be.

… You’ve ever wondered how, exactly, people from West Berlin got to the rest of West Germany.

… You always pronounce composer’s names the German way, even when the average person can’t understand who you’re talking about, and it annoys the examiners.

… You believe that the DSD was devised solely for torturing second-language learners (and some expat kids).

… You call your principal by her first name.

… You can discuss philosophical topics in depth in German, but have no idea what the words for commonplace things like scissors or a fork are.

… You live quite near “Australia’s Oldest German Town”, but can’t stand the place because there are signs that say such things as “The Haus”, “Sells Gifts and Geschenke”, and “Hahndorf Kaffeehause”… And really, no-one in that town outside of the old folk’s home actually speaks German. Certainly not anyone in any of the shops. Despite the German signage on said shops.

… You can never remember which definite article to use, so you just speak really fast and pronounce them all as “duh”.

… Your class is asked to fill out a survey for high school students about learning languages, and you collectively get stuck on the second question: “What is your nationality?”

… You can usually identify when someone’s speaking Dialekt, and which one, but you wouldn’t dare speak one yourself.

… When you go on an excursion for Hahndorf (Australia’s oldest German town), your teachers, who speak English with thick accents, have to translate your orders at the (“German Arms”) restaurant at lunch. (Because it’s still German School, and you’re not allowed to speak English at German School).

… You feel comfortable using German to discuss a wide range of current and historical events, philosophical topics, and special interests… But a simple novel has you stumped.

… You go to school on Saturdays.

… You know exactly what acronyms like DSD and KMK stand for – massive headaches.

… You see Gummibärchen in a local shop, and speak German to the cashier without thinking.

… Someone in your class gets special consideration for internally-marked assessments, because she’s from Switzerland and uses different spelling. (But she still has to use ess-zeds for exams).

… You don’t know how to spell ess-zed (β).

… You know the names of all of the German states and their capital cities… but if someone uses the English name, you have no idea what they’re talking about.

… Anyone pronouncing any foreign word the wrong way really bothers you. (Up to and including “croissant”, but particularly the way everyone seems to pronounce “braun”, a common sur- and street- name in your area, “brawn” [and not “brown”. Seriously, people, it’s pronounced the same way!]).

… You meet a classmate at a holiday Spanish-language workshop, and immediately start speaking to each other in German.

… You say “Wien” and “München”, not “Vienna” and “Munich”.

… You start learning the organ, and you can already understand the labels on the stops.

… You swap to Spanish to say something to your friend, because your teacher and the boys can understand the German (and the French).

… You think of languages in terms of the CEFR system.

… You watched Kommissar Rex when you learnt German at public school, but the teachers have all but forbidden it at Deutsche Schule because it’s in Dialekt.

… You use very complex sentence structures in casual speech and quick writing, but almost invariably get the gender wrong.

… You were given Gummibärchen for a correct answer when you were younger.

… You will always call them “Gummibärchen”, even in an English-speaking situation.

… You know what a real Brezel looks and tastes like.

… Your class was ever given a free Brezel each in the middle of an exam by your principal.

… Even in French, where it’s called a “trema”, you still refer to the two dots above a vowel as an “umlaut”.

… You’re playing scrabble, and exceptions are made for words in other languages, provided the majority knows that word (or language).

… Your teacher is away, and you automatically assume she’s in Germany.

… You’ve been known to use both “es ist uns besser” and “it goes us better”.

… You’ve also used both “du bist richtig!” and “you’ve got right!”.

… You’ve been on over 80 flights yourself, but it’s one of the lower figures in the class.

… You call one of your favourite TV shows “Kommissar Rex”, even though in Australia it’s known as “Inspector Rex”.

… You’ve heard three sides to both of the Wars, and the gap in between, and side with the German people up until 1940 (not Hitler. The people).

… Your friends constantly bemoan how expensive Gummibärchen are now they’re living Australia.

… Your teacher corrects your work, pointing out over a dozen mistakes, and finishes it with, “You’re really writing at a very high level of German.”

… Your teacher starts speaking to you in Spanish once she realises you’re learning it, and you just stare at her in confusion for a long while, and then reply in German (because, really, Spanish with a  German accent?).

… Your Year 12 class has students aged from 14 to 18, in years 10 to 12 of “normal” school.

… At least one of your classmates started coming to school as a teenager, after emigrating around the age of 8, able to speak fluent German but unable to spell it at all.

… Someone at your (English-speaking) day school asks you if you know any good tongue-twisters, and the first one that comes to mind is, “Wenn hinter Fliegen Fliegen fliegen, fliegen Fliegen Fliegen nach.” The second is, “Heute kommt der Hans zu mir, freut sich die Lies. Kommt er über Unterammagau, oder ob er aber über Oberammagau, ist nicht gewiss!“ It’s only on the third try that you remember Peter Piper.

… You can’t stand the little hard pretzels you can buy at the supermarket – you insist on calling them “Brezelchen” (or “quatsche Brezelchen”).

… You feel more than a little jealous of the younger children in the schoolyard, because they’re speaking perfect German to each other.

… One of your friends tells you how annoying it is that all of her friends back in Europe have already started uni, and she’s still in high school.

… You know that your level of German is far beyond that of an average Year 12 German-language student… but you still feel like you can barely speak it, and know you’re the worst German-speaker in your class.

… Your English surname really stands out in the roll.

… You’ve ever sung “In der Weihnachtsbäckerei” in front of a large number of geriatrics.

… 99% of your friends are bilingual, or at least speak a second (or third, or fourth) language.

… When you go to Spain, you spend the whole time wishing someone would speak German to you, just so you could communicate fully.

… You’ve ever seen men in Lederhosen and little girls in Dirndl wandering around your school.

… You graduated from school two years ago, and you’re now in university, and you’re seriously considering enrolling as a mature-age parent because you miss it so much.

If you go to a German school yourself, in Australia or the US, or have any similar experiences, please feel free to add more in the comments!