Sunday, 15 February 2015

the incredible and phenomenal journey of the giants to the streets of perth

The Little Girl Giant walks the streets of Perth.

The Giants are in Perth for the weekend!

So, for Valentine's Day, Simon and I spent our Saturday afternoon following giant marionettes up and down the streets of Perth.

The Giants is street performance art, created by Royal de Luxe, a French mechanical marionette street theatre company founded by Jean-Luc Courcoult. Since the 1990s, the Giants spectacular has toured city streets around the world, bringing delight and wonder to their wide-eyed inhabitants.

The summer 2015 event in Australia is titled "The Incredible and Phenomenal Journey of The Giants to the Streets of Perth", with the story unfolding gradually over the course of three days, featuring the main marionette puppet characters of the 6-metre-tall Little Girl Giant and the 11-metre tall Diver Giant.

Giant girl cruises the streets of Perth in a boat, wearing a raincoat to help keep herself dry amidst the splashes!

During her travels, the Little Girl Giant stumbled upon an Aboriginal community, where she was warmly welcomed, and she decided to stay.

One day, however, she realised that she wanted to return to her family again, and embarked upon a voyage across Western Australia in search of her uncle, the Diver Giant.

In the end, the Giants were reunited. They embraced, the Little Girl danced, and on the last day, they both left in a barge for their next exciting journey.

Diver Giant, the Little Girl's uncle.

I was grateful to be part of this unique spectacle - it was crowded, yes, but people were generally quite well-behaved, and it was a truly magical sight to see these giant marionettes trundling the streets of Perth, dwarfing the shops and the people in their presence.

There were several facets to the performance, where in addition to walking the streets, you could observe the Giants partaking in various activities - sleeping, exercising, resting, reading a book, licking ice cream, riding a scooter, taking a shower, changing clothes, drinking water, even doing a wee - in various locations in the Perth city. We didn't catch all of that, but we are happy to have experienced some great moments of the Giants up close. So thank you, Royal de Luxe, for this creative production, and thank you, Perth International Arts Festival and all the sponsors and supporters, for making it happen in Australia. You've got me hooked, and I hope to see the Giants again, somewhere in the world, someday!

Little Girl Giant in Perth, Australia.

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Sunday, 8 February 2015

summer potluck butter bean salad

Summer potluck butter bean salad.

Potlucks are fun. I fret about what I make, and I worry about how they will be received, but I also love thinking about potluck ideas - I get excited about all the possibilities and what I can bring to the table. Not to mention how awesome it is to try all the potluck dishes that everyone else is sharing with the crowd. Ultimately, a potluck is a pretty cool food adventure.

But in addition to potlucks, I want to talk about something else. I have only recently realised that butter beans are actually rather tasty, with their mild flavour and soft, creamy texture. To think all this time I've been ignoring them in the supermarket aisles.

Driven by an impending summer potluck date with friends, and fueled by a desire to make up for lost butter bean time, here's a corn and butter bean salad I created for the occasion. It's supremely wholesome, it's light and refreshing, and it travels well in a container to take to a potluck, or even a picnic if you're feeling outdoorsy. It's also gluten-free and vegan-friendly. Best of all, it's easy to make. No complicated tricks, no cooking required: just a bit of chopping and then tossing it all together, and you've got yourself a sunny salad with a friendly outlook - bright and colourful with an abundance of healthy, delicious ingredients.

summer potluck butter bean salad

2 cans butter beans (cans of approximately 400g / 14oz each)
1 can corn kernels (can of approximately 420g / 15oz) or 1.5 cups fresh corn kernels
20 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 capsicum / bell pepper, sliced (any colour - I used red)
1 chilli, sliced thinly (any colour - I used green)
2 celery stalks, sliced
2 tablespoons lime juice or lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

Drain the cans of butter beans and corn kernels, but reserve 2 tablespoons of liquid from one of the butter bean cans to form part of the salad dressing.
Mix the butter beans, corn kernels, and reserved liquid in a large bowl or container. Add all other ingredients and toss everything together thoroughly.
You may serve the salad immediately, or allow the flavours mingle for a while before eating. It keeps well, so you can make it in advance and store it in the fridge overnight for consumption on the following day.

Assorted vegetables, butter beans, and corn salad for summer picnics and potlucks.

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