I like October so much that my husband and I got married in October. For this anniversary, we went away for the weekend on our own. We wanted to go inland to Mudgee or somewhere coastal but everything was sold out for the long Labour Day weekend here. We ended up taking a short drive into downtown Sydney and staying there. Both of us were a bit disappointed to go away so close to home. However, we had a great time eating, drinking, sightseeing, shopping and relaxing. It is fun to be a tourist in your own city and go see the sights you don't make time to see as a local. The highlight of the weekend was the International Fleet Review.
I had not heard heard about the International Fleet Review but it has been in the making for the past 2 years. The original Fleet Review started hundreds of years ago when Henry V of England wanted to see all his ships before they went off to battle. Since then, there have been fleet reviews throughout the world when a country's ships assemble for war or to show their united strength to their enemies. This International Fleet Review was to celebrate 100 years since the first Royal Australian Navy ships arrived in Sydney. There were 40 warships, 16 tall ships and 8000 sailors in Sydney for events lasting 9 days. More than 20 nations, including the US, sent ships and Navy personnel to participate. Yes, it was a mob scene! They estimated that 1.6 million people were in Sydney CBD over the course of the weekend. Can you say, 'crazy'?
Luckily, even though there were crowds of people, the warships and boats were scattered in the harbour so if the Opera House, Circular Quay, Rocks, Harbour Bridge areas were too crowded you could walk to another area of the city and look out on the water and see boats. After braving the crowds and security check at the Sydney Opera House, Derek and I walked to nearby Woolloomooloo (yes, that is the name of a hip, Sydney suburb. It is linked to two Aboriginal names meaning, "young black kangaroo" and "burial place". Thanks wikipedia.org) and enjoyed a great aerial plane shows. For me, the warships and tall ships were nice but the aerial displays were awesome!
A guest at the event was Prince Harry. This was the Princes' first official trip to Australia representing the royal family. Australia is a constitutional monarchy with the Queen serving mostly as a figurehead to the government. There are mixed emotions regarding the attachment of England to Australia but most people here seem fascinated by the royal family. They are in the news and magazines here a lot more than in the US. I was fortunate to see Prince Harry by sheer accident when trying to enter the Hotel Shangri-Lai. We were heading up to see the fireworks display at the hotel bar on the 36th floor that has amazing views of the city. We were stopped by police and told to wait as a VIP ('I can't say who but you'll know soon') was coming in. When he did arrive, I was amazed by the amount of police and security. I would have only thought the Queen would receive that much security. Poor Harry! It's no wonder he is a bit of a crazy boy sometimes; he's got to let his hair down when he can. It was exciting to see him and then go up to the bar for an excellent panoramic view of the fireworks. THE FIREWORKS WERE AMAZING!!! Sydney is known for its' New Years' Eve fireworks but the International Fleet Review fireworks were special because the fireworks were shot off 13 different Navy boats in the Harbour. So, instead of most of the fireworks being over the Harbour Bridge and Opera House on New Years, the fireworks were scattered throughout the Harbour. It was truly an awesome sight to see and I was glad we were high up in the hotel so we had a great panoramic view.
With the Navy and boats, I am compelled to have a fish dish for this blog. I have chosen my Not-so-Fishy Curry. This is a mild Indian Curry that is fast & easy to make and a general crowd pleaser. You can also use frozen white fish to make it which makes it more economical than buying expensive fresh fish. Even my youngest daughter, who is a picky eater, likes this dinner. That says a lot as she would ideally like to eat like a 3 year old - bread, chicken nuggets, pasta, string cheese, sausages. She does not eat fish normally but will eat this fish curry. Give it a go!
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large brown onion, chopped
1 tablespoon mild curry powder
2 tablespoons tomato paste
270ml/9oz can can light coconut cream or milk
(I prefer coconut cream over coconut milk as it is thicker and richer)
400g/14oz can of chopped tomatoes
800g/1.7 lbs of frozen Basa fish (any light, white fish can be used)
1) Start cooking rice.
2) Since this is a curry, you can use frozen fish. Thaw out fish and cut into chunks.
3) In large saucepan, heat olive oil and cook onion for 2 minutes until slightly softened. Add curry powder and cook until onion is soft. Stir in tomato paste.
4) Add coconut cream and chopped tomatoes.
5) Add fish pieces and let cook on low simmer for 15-20 minutes.
6) Serve over rice.