American Crime Story is a true crime anthology TV series in which the first season covers the trial of O.J. Simpson for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. The show is based on Jeffrey Toobin‘s book The Run of His Life: The People v. O. J. Simpson. A behind-the-scenes retelling of the trial, it is a fascinating look at the implications of race, celebrity, media and the criminal justice system on this infamous case in America in the early 1990s. It is one of the best cast shows I’ve seen recently with Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark a standout. Apart from the superb acting of all involved (including Cuba Gooding Jr., David Schwimmer, John Travolta and Courtney B. Vance), these re-creations of the real people they played are uncanny. There are 10 episodes, all around an hour each. Watch the trailer. Watch the series on Netflix.
Spaghetti alle vongole would be a top contender if I had to choose a last meal. This creamy (but not in an over-the-top way) take on it is one of many great dishes in a Gourmet Traveller Seafood cookbook from 2004. If vongole/clams are not available you could substitute with pippies. The following serves 4:
- 20g butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large leek, washed well and thinly sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 125ml dry white wine
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1 cup pouring cream
- Large pinch of saffron threads, soaked in 1 tablespoon boiling water for 10 minutes
- 1kg clams (vongole), soaked in cold water
- 400g spaghetti
- 2 teaspoons chopped dill
- 1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Housed in Enmore’s Queens Hotel and inspired by Hong Kong street food, Queen Chow by Merivale delivers Cantonese classics and diverse dim sum. The food was outstanding and service friendly and informative so I will excuse the fact they forgot our duck and that the fortune cookies at the end told extremely lame fortunes (“the only thing better than a cookie is cookies”). We chowed down Queen Chow steamed dim sum platter ($32); Honey glazed pork spareribs ($21); Salt and pepper squid, silken tofu, prawns with chilli bean mayo ($24); Snow pea leaves, ginger, shaoxing ($16); South Australian pippies, black bean, chilli, Young Henrys Natural Lager ($36) – a standout dish; Hokkien noodles, Sichuan pork slices, black fungi, garlic stem ($24); followed by a couple of fruity desserts that were a little underwhelming after all the goodness that preceded them. We completely missed the fact there is a cocktail bar upstairs which would have been a more sensible option than finding an alternate venue for a nightcap and being forced to eat bread due to ridiculous licensing laws. Queen Chow takes online bookings and is at 2/167 Enmore Rd, Enmore, Sydney.
First, there was an opportunity… then there was a betrayal. Twenty years have gone by since the original Trainspotting film, directed by Danny Boyle. Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) returns to Scotland and reunites with his old friends: Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), Spud (Ewen Bremner), and Begbie (Robert Carlyle). Much has changed but much remains the same. I was so taken with this film because (1) I hadn’t expected it to be any good and it was and (2) It made me quite emotional due to the fact that I sat there mulling over friends, time and paths chosen. This was all very much amplified upon returning home to an 18-year-old babysitter who, when asked what I saw at the movies, replied: “Hmmmm… Trainspotting… I don’t think I’ve heard of that. Who’s in it?” I couldn’t speak. Watch the trailer. Watch the film wherever you can catch it.
These tuna meatballs made with fresh tuna are from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italy cookbook and are perfect with pasta. Made with fresh fish (not canned or jarred), herbs and spices, they are just as tasty as the meaty version and make delightful and versatile leftovers hot or cold – eat them on their own or put in a sandwich. Easy to make (so says my husband who has cooked them 100% of the time I’ve consumed them). The following recipe serves 4 and you will need:
- olive oil
- 1 small onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 x 400 g good-quality tinned plum tomatoes
- Red wine vinegar
- 1 small bunch plus extra handful fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 400 g fresh tuna
- 55 g pine nuts
- 1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 100 g stale breadcrumbs
- 25 g Parmesan, freshly grated
- 2 free-range eggs
- 1 lemon
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
View the full recipe here.
Unexplained is a podcast about strange and mysterious real life events that continue to evade explanation. A show that explores the space between what we think of as real and what is not. Where the unknown and paranormal meets the most radical ideas in science today. It’s eery, atmospheric and mind-bending in parts. The host and creator, Richard MacLean Smith, has thoroughly researched each story and presents in a calm and almost hypnotic way. He doesn’t dictate a conclusion, rather poses possible scenarios to the listener which adds to the intensity. You don’t need to listen in order – start with ‘Do You See What I See (S1, Ep 3) and ‘The Last Flight’ (S2, Ep 3) both available here or on iTunes.
I love the idea behind this book There Is No Good Card For This: What to Say and Do When Life Is Scary, Awful and Unfair to People You Love. We’ve all been there and sadly the older you get, the more likely you’ll hear that crap stuff has happened to those you know and love. I doubt many of us can confidently say we’ve handled these moments with aplomb. One of the authors of the book also creates these brilliant empathy cards that are a sweet, honest and often much needed/appreciated way to tell someone you’re thinking of them and there for them when bad shit happens and you don’t quite know what to say. Like this ‘Infertility Judging‘ card or ‘Everything Happens‘ card. The creator, Emily McDowell, also has a range of cards you can send via Paperless Post to make it even easier.
Clementine Ford‘s debut book Fight Like A Girl is personal, brave, honest and powerful. It’s described as “an essential manifesto for feminists new, old and soon-to-be, and exposes just how unequal the world continues to be for women. Crucially, it is a call to arms for all women to rediscover the fury that has been suppressed by a society that still considers feminism a threat. It will make you laugh, cry and scream… it will make you demand and fight for a world in which women have real equality and not merely the illusion of it.” I opted for the audio version (narrated by Ford) and found her voice so impactful in telling her story. A chapter in, I vowed to buy it for my daughter to gift to her when she’s old enough to read it but by the end, I felt it was an important read for everyone, regardless of gender. Watch her talk about it. Buy the book.
If you haven’t seen season 1 of The Missing, do so, though it’s not mandatory to appreciate the excellence of season 2. Alice, daughter of Sam and Gemma Webster, went missing in 2003. In 2014 the police inform them that Alice has reappeared and claims she had been held captive with Sophie Giroux, a French girl who disappeared around the same time. French detective, Julien Baptiste (who starred in season 1), was in charge of the Giroux investigation. Although now in retirement, he cannot help becoming involved again and travels to Germany and Iraq to find answers. There are eight episodes and you will you be gripped by the drama the entire time. Watch the trailer. Starts on BBC First 5 March or buy it via UK iTunes.