Saturday, May 19, 2012

Food, the Night Sky and the Aurealis Awards

Food, the Night Sky and the Aurealis Awards

Dinner in Sydney

In the movie A Touch of Spice the Pappou says to his grandson, Fanis, that in the word gastronomos (gastronomer) is hidden the word astrononomos (astronomer). Well, stargazing is something I love - not in a scientific sense (ask me the zodiac signs and I'd fail you every time) -  the glitter in the night sky for me is more of a whimsy, the same kind that lures me towards food. There's something fanciful about them both.

On my first night in Sydney, I enjoyed a sumptuous Greek dinner at Xanthi restaurant with my old childhood friend, Andrew Lui. The watermelon and manouri salad was a winner. I haven't eaten manouri cheese since my six month sojourn in Greece some eleven or so years ago (it's more subtle than feta). The pork belly baklava was an inventive success, the souzoukakia compared to my own father's 'special' recipe, and the tuna souvlakia were chunky and satisfying. The octopus was a little too well done and they served the baby kind that never seem to taste quite right, but the rest of the meal was 'five-times tasty' as they say in Greek.

The Aurealis Awards

The following night, after a starry walk from the hotel to the Independent Theatre, I saw some other stars -  the literary kind - at the Aurealis Awards. My category was won by Thoraiya Dyer, who made a gracious speech. It's her second win running, which did not deter Margo Lanagan, DC White and me from having a fabulous time.

Winners in other categories can be found via the link. Once again, congrats to both them and all the finalists, especially Thoraiya.

Nick Stathopoulos' portrait of  artist, Shaun Tan.

For lunch the next day we salivated over and then ate moussaka made by the talented artist, Nick Stathopoulos. With Nick's culinary magic, perhaps he also finds the stars above something to delight in.

Nick and renowned movie critic, David Stratton. That's Gloria Swanson from Sunset Boulevard in the background.

And finally, scientific proof that food in stories makes reading a sensual experience (see the attachment below). I'm sure that someone will soon discover a similar link between reading and writing and the night sky...


  1. Greek food is truly delicious. Thought that was Shaun Tan - his art hangs at Subiaco Library where I work and we run an art competition in his name - it's always very popular, as is Mr Tan himself.

  2. My indulgent waistline agrees with you, Jeremy. And that is Shaun Tan in the portrait. Nick is a remarkable artist and also a good friend of Shaun's. I recently saw Shaun's exhibition in Fremantle - well worth a visit. There's some fantastic landscape paintings that capture the essence of both urban and coastal Perth.