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Monthly Archives: May 2019

A fare go this Christmas

Making edible goodies for Christmas gifts is a lovely and gratifying thing to do, but it’s good to plan ahead. Although the silly season is still months away, now is the time to start thinking about what to make and how many jars to sterilise.
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Preserved lemons are easy to prepare, look great and can be personalised by using your own blend of aromatic spices. In three months, the lemons will be soft and mellow. They are the gift that keeps on giving, as a little goes a long way and they last for ages once opened, if they are stored in the fridge.

Australian tamarillos are arriving on the market now and make rich, fragrant chutneys and jams. The following recipe has Asian ingredients that give it a lift from the average chutney but this version is still the perfect condiment for leftover ham and turkey sandwiches.

Last but not least is the ultimate Christmas treat, a freshly baked fruit mince pie. If you prepare the fruit mixture now, it gets better and better the longer it has to marinate in brandy and spices. Make the pies when you’re ready to give them – homemade pastry takes patience and care and has good wishes written all over it.

Jane StrodeTamarillo chutney

Serve this tangy chutney with eggs, hard cheese, seafood and Asian-style curries.

600g tamarillos 30g fresh ginger, grated 120g spanish onion, finely chopped 3 small red chillis, chopped 250ml rice wine vinegar 150g brown sugar 1/2 tsp salt 2 bay leaves

Blanch tamarillos in boiling water for one minute. Refresh in iced water and remove skin. Roughly chop and place in a heavy-based saucepan with remaining ingredients. Stir to dissolve sugar and bring to the boil. Simmer, stirring regularly, until chutney has thickened, about 30 minutes.

While still really hot, place chutney in sterilised jars. Secure lids firmly and turn jars upside down – this creates a seal. Leave upside down until cool. Store in the cupboard for three months before using as gifts.

Makes two 300ml-capacity jars.


To sterilise jars, put through the dishwasher on a hot cycle or wash well in hot soapy water, rinse then place in a pre-heated oven on 150C for 10 minutes.Chicken and preserved lemons

Spices that can be used to add flavour to preserved lemons are cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, coriander seeds, star anise, bay leaves, fennel seeds, cumin seeds and cardamom.

1kg thick-skinned lemons, washed 150g table salt 600ml lemon juice Vegetable oil 4 chicken thighs and drumsticks, 8 pieces in total Salt and pepper 100ml olive oil 3 small spanish onions, finely chopped 6 garlic cloves, sliced 1/4 tsp chilli powder 1 tsp smoked paprika 1 tbsp coriander seeds, crushed 1.2kg tin whole peeled tomatoes 1 tbsp brown sugar 10 thyme sprigs 400g tin chickpeas, drained 1/2 cup green olives 50g feta 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley 1/4 cup finely chopped coriander 1 tbsp finely chopped preserved lemon rind

For preserved lemons, cut lemons into quarters without cutting all the way to the bottom. Spoon about a teaspoon of salt into centre of lemons. Squash into sterilised jars, fitting in as many lemons as possible. Cut lemons in half to fill jars if needed. Top with remaining salt, lemon juice and spices of your choice so jars are full. Secure lids and store in a dark place until lemons are soft, about three months.

For chicken, heat a little vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan. Season chicken pieces and fry on both sides to brown. Remove from heat and reserve. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over a medium heat and add onion, garlic, chilli, paprika and coriander. Season and cook until soft, about 15 minutes. Add tomatoes, sugar and thyme. Simmer for 20 minutes to reduce. Add fried chicken and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 40 minutes. Add chickpeas and olives. Sprinkle with feta, herbs and preserved lemon before serving.

Serves 4-6Mince pies

Leftover fruit mince can be used the following year or added to Christmas pudding and cake recipes.

500g mixed fruit 230g slivered almonds 100g dried apricots, chopped 250g golden syrup 75g brown sugar 1 tbsp grated lemon rind 1 tbsp grated orange rind 1 1/2 tbsp mixed spice 250ml brandy 450g butter, cold and cut into 1cm pieces 165g castor sugar 600g plain flour 1 tsp salt 150ml water

Place fruit, almonds, apricots, golden syrup, brown sugar, rinds, spice and brandy in a large bowl and stir to combine well. Place in a container with a lid that seals in aromas and store in the fridge for three months. Turn fruit over every so often – if it looks dry add a little more brandy.

For pastry, place butter, sugar, flour and salt in a food processor. Pulse to make a coarse crumb. Add water and process until pastry just comes together. Wrap well in cling film and rest in fridge overnight or for at least two hours. Roll out in between two layers grease-proof paper to ½-centimetre thickness. Rest for one hour. Pre-heat oven to 160C.

Line small tart shells with pastry rounds that come about ½-centimetre over the edge. Fill with fruit mince mix and top with pastry cut into large star shapes. Bake until pastry is cooked through and golden, about 30 minutes. Cool, dust with icing sugar before serving.

Makes 24 with some mince left over

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Everett’s anti-gay parent comment outrages

Rupert Everett was once a trailblazer for gay actors after he came out as a homosexual 20 years ago.British actor Rupert Everett has stunned the gay community by telling a UK newspaper that he “can’t think of anything worse” than having two gay parents.
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Everett told the Sunday Times Magazine that although his mother Sara had met his boyfriend, she “still wishes I had a wife and kids.”

“She thinks children need a father and a mother and I agree with her,” he said, according to the UK’s Telegraph newspaper.

“I can’t think of anything worse than being brought up by two gay dads.”

Everett was once a trailblazer for gay actors after he came out as a homosexual 20 years ago. He went on to star in Shakespeare in Love, My Best Friend’s Wedding and The Next Best Thing.

Ben Summerskill, chief executive of the gay rights group Stonewall, told the Daily Mail, “Rupert should get out a little bit more to see the facts for himself. There is absolutely no evidence that the kids of gay parents suffer in the way they are being brought up or in how they develop.”

The interview also included comments from Everett’s mother who said she wished her son was not a homosexual.

According to the Daily Mail she said, “In the past I have said that I wish Rupert was straight and I probably still feel that … I’d like him to have children. He’s so good with children. He’d make a wonderful father. But I also think a child needs a mummy and a daddy.”

“I’ve told him that and he takes it very well,” she added.

According to CNN, Everett reportedly told The Observer in 2009 that he wished he hadn’t come out because it had hurt his career.

“The fact is that you could not be, and still cannot be, a 25-year-old homosexual trying to make it in the British film business or the American film business or even the Italian film business,” Everett said.

“It just doesn’t work and you’re going to hit a brick wall at some point. You’re going to manage to make it roll for a certain amount of time, but at the first sign of failure they’ll cut you right off.”


This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Nickel price breathes life into Mirabela

Beleaguered Mirabela Nickel has been buoyed by a rise in the nickel price, gaining as much as 12 per cent on the Australian Securities Exchange.
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Mirabella, which operates the Santa Rita nickel mines in Brazil, ended up 10.6 per cent, adding more than 2 cents to close at 36.5 cents.

After months of pain for nickel producers the price made a timid recovery in recent days to above $US8 per pound after falling under $US7 last month.

However, Mirabela’s managing director and chief executive Ian Purdy remained conservative about the short term outlook for the commodity.

“We’d like to see that we’re back at a floor price, but as we’ve seen from the last week nickel is volatile,” he said. “Longer term in two-years plus the view is that even modest stainless steel recovery will see the nickel market fall into deficit in the supply side and we’ll see strengthening of the nickel price.”

Nickel producers have been under cost pressure since May when the price fell more than 40 per cent from just under $US10 per pound in February.

Others to show strain included mining giant BHP Billiton, which last month announced a $US450 million write-down for Nickel West, adding fuel to persistent speculation of a sale.

But as a pure play Mirabella was one of the most exposed, shedding almost 80 per cent of its value from $1.12 in December to 25 cents July and losing 30 per cent in one day on May 9.

Mr Purdy said Mirabela’s cash cost reduction from $US7.37 per tonne to $US6.03 had also lifted investor confidence around the company.

“We’re moving into full production levels in the second half of this year and our cash costs have come down steeply,” he said.  “The market has just been waiting for a recovery in the nickel price.”

Citigroup resource analyst Daniel Seeney said Mirabela’s performance had also been lifted by the weaker Brazilian real which has held at about 2:1 against the $USD.

“The two macro factors which they have no control over, the real and the nickel price, have started to move in their favour,” he said.

Mr Seeney said despite the cash cost reduction Mirabela would still need a substantial price recovery at about the middle of next year.

Citigroup has been bullish on nickel forecasting a recovery in the fourth quarter when Indonesian nickel export bans are expected to begin limiting supply to China’s nickel pig iron producers.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Full disclosure: the $169m man

Toni Poli … reported pay $572,000, realised pay $169.4 million.THE accountant-turned-mining boss Tony Poli last year enjoyed a $169 million windfall from Aquila Resources, the iron ore interest he oversees, even as its annual accounts show he was paid only $572,000 for his role.
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Mr Poli’s pay day, which came after he cashed in on options issued five years earlier, is a stark example of the real pay packets of corporate bosses, compared to disclosures in filings.

The figures are contained in an analysis by the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors, which advises the biggest superannuation funds, of the top 200 companies.

Other gaps in reported and realised pay include the chief executive of BHP Billiton, Marius Kloppers, who last year was Australia’s highest paid chief executive on $11.8 million. But after taking account of a deferred bonus payment, his realised pay was $17.3 million. Last year the ANZ chief, Mike Smith, realised $4.36 million more than the $10.03 million disclosed.

The chief of Commonwealth Bank, Ralph Norris, was reportedly paid $8.64 million but in fact realised $12.69 million.

Minimum disclosures fail to take into account the upside chief executives often receive from extra packages such as deferred bonus shares or cashing in on options, which is a right to acquire shares in a company often at a heavily discounted price.

The report, released today, reveals that during the past decade, the pay of chief executives has grown at twice the pace of the average Australian and more than three times as fast as inflation.

Since 2002, the fixed pay of the average chief executive of $1.94 million is up 120 per cent compared to the 60 per cent rise in average incomes. The average total pay for a chief of a top-100 company is $4.72 million.

But signs of austerity are emerging. The study shows that fixed pay for the bosses of the top-100 companies has held steady for the past year but bonuses fell as profits slipped.

The chief executive of the council, Ann Byrne, said: ”I think there is a mood for change on executive pay. In the market conditions, it is clear that boards have been listening to investor views.”

Not all chief executives enjoyed the upside, particularly those at companies with a high bar for option-based benefits. Nicholas Moore at Macquarie Group realised only $6.21 million last year, compared to the $8.69 million the investment bank said it had paid out.

Rowen Craigie of Crown received less than half the $7.71 million the gaming company had set aside to pay him.

Ms Byrne said there was a recognition that options were part of the pay of most chief executives but they should be designed to reward excellent performance.

”They need to be rewarded with really demanding hurdles. We also think there should be the potential for investors to claw back benefits if something substantial changes.”

In Mr Poli’s case, he exercised the options in December 2010, paying about 95¢ a share. Aquila shares were then changing hands for more than $9.20. But the value of the shares has since plunged, closing yesterday at $2.77. Mr Poli could not be reached for comment.

Ms Byrne said that while Mr Poli’s windfall was likely to have fallen this year on the lower Aquila share price, investors did not want to be ”surprised” about the size of the payments.

BRW estimates Mr Poli’s wealth fell to about $600 million last year from more than $1 billion in 2009 and 2010.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Qantas wins approval for extension of South African code-share deal

QANTAS has won regulatory approval for its code-share alliance with South African Airways on flights between Australia and Johannesburg to be extended for two years.
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However, the ruling by the International Air Services Commission falls short of Qantas’s request for the alliance to be approved until March 2016.

Under conditions imposed by the regulator, the two airlines will have to operate at least 13 flights a week between Australia and South Africa.

The alliance has long been a bone of contention because Qantas and South African Airways are the only airlines that have direct flights between the two countries. Rivals, such as Singapore Airlines, which offer flights to South Africa via their home ports provide the only competition.

The regulator has previously raised concerns about high fares on the route.

In its decision, released yesterday, the commission said the code-share deal was not likely to ”remove incentives for competition” in the next two years.

However, it said the deal had the ”potential to delay competition” after 2014 because it would reduce incentives for South African Airways to introduce its own services between Sydney and Johannesburg. Likewise, Qantas would be discouraged from flying its own aircraft between Perth and Johannesburg.

The International Air Services Commissioner also said a code-share deal was likely to deter other airlines from offering direct services on the route in the longer term.

”The commission is concerned that [the code-share] may deter or delay the introduction of competing services, particularly on the Sydney route, and increase barriers to entry,” it said.

”The commission is not satisfied that the code share would be of benefit to the public beyond 2014.” The code-share agreement involves South African Airways pre-purchasing a fixed block of seats on Qantas’s services between Sydney and Johannesburg.

The price paid for the seats is determined by the equivalent percentage of Qantas’s total costs of a flight. South African Airways carries a loss if it does not sell enough seats to cover the cost of the pre-purchased block of seats.

The same applies to the blocks of seats Qantas buys from South African Airways on its flights between Perth and Johannesburg. Qantas does not need regulatory approval for the pair’s code-share arrangement for flights on that route.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.