Tales of food, sex and friendship




Archive for January, 2013

Season 8, Episode 10

January 23, 2013

GGB

“That was, without a doubt, the worst movie I’ve ever seen,” Ana exclaimed as the group of friends left the cinema. Given they were the only people remaining at the end of the three and a half hour epic, it was obviously a sentiment shared by a large portion of the population.

Joey shrugged. “I didn’t think it was that bad.”

“That’s because you slept through it!”

Joey grinned sheepishly, turning to Willow, Johnny and Mia. “I seem to get severe narcolepsy after nine pm,” she said with a wink.

Mia yawned. “You and me both.” She tucked her arm into Johnny’s and batted her eyelashes playfully at him. “Will you carry me to the car?”

“And me,” Willow said. “I’m too tired to walk another step.”

“Not sure that I can manage 2.5 people,” Johnny said. “Besides, Willow, where’s Bryn tonight? I would’ve thought carrying you to cars was his job these days?”

“Working,” Willow said, gently poking Johnny in the ribs.

The elevator stopped at the lowest level, the doors sliding open. The five of them stepped out into the flickering glow of a fluorescent bulb. Aside from a handful of other cars, the carpark seemed to be completely empty.

“Hey!”

The friends turned. Walking towards them was a young man, dirty blonde hair and clothes that looked as though they didn’t see the inside of a washing machine too often. His eyes darted around and he had his hands tucked deep into his jacket. He sniffed loudly and then coughed.

“Keep going to the car,” Joey said in a low voice. “I’ll deal with this.”

“Joey, just leave it,” said Ana.

“I’m sure he’s harmless,” Joey said. “Just wasted.”

She stood her ground as the young guy walked closer. “How’s it going?” she said, casually.

“You got a dollar?” His eyes darted from Joey to the elevator to Willow, Johnny, Ana and Mia, who were standing a few feet away.

Joey dug her hands into her pockets and pulled out a handful of coins. “This is all I’ve got, mate.”

He hungrily snatched the coins and licked his lips. “What about your friends?”

Joey shook her head. “That’s all we’ve got,” she repeated.

“Joey, come on!” Ana called, her face etched with concern. Something didn’t feel right. “We’ve got to go.”

A slow smile spread across the guy’s face. “Joey, is it?” He reached back into his pocket and removed his hand. In it, he held a small, black gun. “You want to double check if they’ve got any cash?” he said in a low voice, waving the gun.

Ana screamed. She didn’t mean to. It just came out.

“I want all your wallets and purses,” the guy said calmly. He was now standing behind Joey, the gun pointed squarely at her head. “Now!”

“Give me your bags,” Willow said quietly to the others.

Silently, they gave their handbags and wallets to Willow. Johnny clutched Mia’s arm, pulling her behind him protectively. Ana looked as though she wanted to run to Joey’s rescue, but Johnny put his other hand on her arm and shook his head. No point. Do what he says. It’ll be over soon.

Willow walked the three steps to where the man was standing. She could see the desperation in his eyes. Beads of sweat gathered on his forehead and his hand was shaky.

“Here,” she said. “Take them.”

“Put them on the ground,” he rasped.

Willow nodded and put the bags slowly onto the ground.

Suddenly, everything started moving. The ground shook violently, as though someone had picked it up and were shaking it like a beach towel. The concrete pillars looked as though they had become fluid columns of liquid as they shifted erratically from side to side. The noise was unbelievable. Shrieking metal, concrete buckling, glass shattering, water rushing from somewhere. Screaming.

Willow and Joey clutched each other as they fell to the ground. Ana, Johnny and Mia flew in separate directions, hitting the floor hard. The man clutched at nothing as the gun went flying out of his hands and fell into a chasm that had opened up in the ground, followed closely by all the bags. Dust swirled and got into their noses and throats. Lumps of stone and metal bombarded them from every side.

It was the longest sixty seconds any of them had ever experienced.

When the earth stopped shaking, their bodies lay scattered on the broken ground. The roof of the carpark had caved in, sealing the entrance. All the power had gone out and they were engulfed in a thick blackness

Gingerly, Ana pushed herself up. She gagged, her throat sticky with dust. “Hello?” she croaked. “Can you guys hear me? Are you all OK?”

Joey’s voice appeared from somewhere in the darkness. “I’m here and fine. Willow?”

Willow sat up, resting against a makeshift wall that definitely hadn’t been there earlier. She put her hand to her forehead. It was sticky and warm and had started to throb. “I’ve cut my head.”

“Badly?”

“I don’t think so.”

A groan echoed from somewhere, followed by an angry cry. “My leg’s trapped.” It was the young man who, only minutes ago was brandishing a gun at them.

“Serves you right,” Joey said under her breath. She sighed. “Don’t move,” she said loud enough for him to hear. “You might do more damage. I’m sure someone will come and help us soon.”

He mumbled something under his breath.

Ana tried to make out the shapes of the others. “Johnny? Mia? You both OK?”

Mia’s voice was panicked. “I don’t know where Johnny is.”

“What?”

“He was here. And now I can’t find him.”

“Keep talking,” Ana said. “I’m going to come to you.”

She hadn’t been thrown more than a few feet away, but it took five minutes to navigate her way over the uneven terrain to where Mia was.

“You’re not hurt? The baby…?”

“We’re fine,” Mia said in a rush. “Just help me find Johnny.”

They sifted through rocks, crawling on all fours. Willow and Joey slowly made their way over and helped. Even though their eyes became accustomed to the darkness, there wasn’t enough light to make out more than faint shapes as they searched.

Willow’s hand touched something. Fabric. Denim. Johnny’s jacket. “He’s here!” She shook his shoulder gently. “Johnny?”

No response.

Mia crawled over, letting out a gasp as she felt his stationary body lying on the ground.

“I can feel a pulse,” Willow said. “But…”

“What?”

“He’s unconscious. I think he hit his head pretty badly.”

Mia pursed her lips together to stop the sobs from coming out. That wasn’t going to help anybody.

“Let’s move the rocks and dirt off him,” Joey said. “And we can use our jackets as blankets. At least it’ll keep him warm.”

“How are we going to get out of here?” Mia asked in a small voice. “We need to get him to a doctor.”

“We just need to sit tight,” Willow said, wrapping her arms around Mia. “Someone will come and find us. Very soon.”

***

It was probably no more than six hours, but it felt like days had passed by the time a shaft of light pierced the blackness. It was came from outside and penetrated the gaps in the concrete. Ana scrambled up.

She cupped her hands around her mouth and yelled. “Help! We’re trapped.”

A faint voice replied. “Is anyone hurt?”

“Yes,” Ana yelled. “We need a doctor.”

“I’m coming down,” the voice called back.

Willow’s heart skipped a beat. That voice. It was so familiar. “Bryn?” she whispered. She jumped up, trying to peer through the concrete carnage. “Bryn!” she shouted. “Is that you?”

“Willow! Thank goodness! Are you OK?”

Willow was giddy with laughter. “We’re fine. Well, sort of.”

“I’ve been to every bloody movie theatre in this city,” Bryn said.

“You came to find us?” Willow said, tears streaming down her cheeks.

“Of course,” Bryn said. A hand appeared through a crack of the concrete. Willow grabbed it, smothering the dirty fingers with kisses.

“I sure hope that’s you, Willow,” Bryn said. She could hear the smile in his voice. “How was the movie?”

“Terrible,” Willow said, half sobbing, half laughing. “Worst movie ever.” She wiped her face with her free hand, taking a deep, shaky breath. “Bryn?”

“Yeah?”

“Will you be able to get us out of here?”

“Help is on it’s way,” Bryn said.

Willow turned to the others. “Not long now,” she said. “We’re all going to be fine.” She squeezed Mia’s shoulder reassuringly.

Mia put her fingers back to Johnny’s throat. His pulse fluttered weakly. He felt cold. Clammy. She leaned down and kissed his bloodied, dirty cheek.  “Hold on,” she whispered in his ear. “Please hold on.”

***

It is with sadness I announce that this is the final episode of Ravenous: Tales of Food, Sex and Friendship. I can’t thank you enough for your continued support and encouragement over the last few years as we have journeyed through the loves and lives of Ana, Mia, Willow, Johnny and others.

If you have enjoyed the series, please spread the word (the website will still be running for people to read all eight seasons) and make sure to keep in touch! You never know, the gang may get a renaissance at some point in the distant future….

For now, au revoir.

Roxy-Rose Walker  XXX

Season 8, Episode 9

January 15, 2013

IMG_0271
Willow sank heavily onto the couch. She looked at Bryn, confused. “You work for the government?”

Bryn nodded. “For the FBI. In the fraud division.”

“But…” Willow’s mind reeled. “At dinner the other week…Didn’t you say you worked in finance? Or economics? Or something?”

Again, Bryn nodded. He was being infuriatingly calm about all of this. “I couldn’t tell you the truth. I was undercover.”

“You were investigating Fred and Marjorie?”

“Yes.” Bryn paused. He glanced quickly at his colleague, Samuel, who nodded almost imperceptibly. “Although their names aren’t Fred and Marjorie. They are Paul and Betty, and we have been watching them for years. They’re on the FBI’s most wanted list.”

Willow put her head in her hands. “I am such an idiot,” she said, her voice muffled.

“No, no,” Bryn said emphatically. “You’re not an idiot at all. They are just extremely good at what they do. Over the last five years, they’ve managed to trick over twenty people out of vast sums of money. We estimate that between them, they’ve scammed over five million dollars.” He paused. “Mostly from elderly people in care facilities, but…” Willow glared at him and he trailed off. “That’s not helping, is it?”

“Not really,” said Willow between clenched teeth. She put her head back in her hands and groaned. Ana sat next to her on the couch and put an arm over her shoulders.

“So what do we do now?” Ana said.

“Nothing,” said Bryn. “We’re going to take it from here.” He lowered his voice. “Don’t worry Willow. I…”

Bryn’s colleague cleared his throat.

“I mean we,” Bryn added hurriedly, “are going to get to the bottom of this. It’s going to be OK. I promise.”

Willow lifted her head and looked deep into his eyes. “Alright,” she said in a small voice. “I believe you.”

Mia stood up suddenly, pulling Johnny’s arm. “How about we put the kettle on?” she said. She looked meaningfully at Ana. “We’ll leave you two alone to… take some notes.” She paused at the door. “Samuel? Would you come and help bring the tea things in?”

Samuel looked mildly insulted, but stood up and followed the others out of the room.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t say anything before,” Bryn said quietly, when he and Willow were alone. “I couldn’t risk the operation.”

“I understand,” Willow said. “To be honest, I’m not sure I would have believed you anyway. Besides, he already had the money. If I’d tried to do anything he would have just disappeared earlier.”

They sat in silence for a few minutes, listening to the noises of tea being prepared in the other room.

Suddenly, Bryn cleared his throat. “You probably think it’s very unprofessional of me to ask this,” he said. “But I was hoping that maybe you’d like to have dinner sometime? With me?”

Willow smiled. “I’d like that,” she said. “But I have to warm you…”

“Yes?” Bryn said.

“I’m not very professional either.”

And with that, she leaned forward and kissed him.

***

After Bryn and Samuel had left, the four housemates were clearing up the kitchen. Willow was humming to herself, a tiny smile on her face. Ana and Mia were glancing at each other knowingly.

Finally, Ana could take it no more. “Well?”

“Well what?” Willow said.

“Oh come on,” Ana said. “You’ve been humming since they left.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Willow said primly.

Mia stopped what she was doing. “Oh please, he couldn’t take his eyes off you for two seconds!”

“Really?” Willow said.

“Really,” Ana and Mia said in unison.

“So when are you and lover-boy going out?” Mia added.

Willow managed to keep a straight face for all of three seconds. “Tomorrow,” she said, with a grin. “For dinner.” She sighed. “I know that I should be upset about everything that’s going on – and I am – but…” she paused. “It’s just so nice to have this feeling again.”

“What feeling?” Johnny said.

Willow squirmed. “Oh you know, the feeling.”

“Ohhhhh,” Johnny said, finally cottoning on. “That feeling.” He put his arms around Mia and looked adoringly at her. “Yeah, that’s a pretty great feeling.”

“All we need now is to set Ana up with someone and we can all be stupidly sappy,” Mia said with a laugh. “Right Ana?”

Ana didn’t reply. When they all turned to look, Ana was staring into space, a dopey smile on her face.

“Earth to Ana!” Mia said.

Ana blinked. “Huh?”

“You were off in another world,” said Mia.

“I was, wasn’t I?” She beamed at her housemates. “I have to go out. Sorry.” She gave Willow a kiss on the cheek. “You’re going to be alright?”

Willow nodded. Ana leaped off her stool, scooped up her jacket and bag and walked quickly down the hall.

“What on earth was that all about?” Johnny said, baffled.

“Is it possible,” Willow said slowly, “and none of us knew?”

“Knew what?” said Johnny.

Mia and Willow looked at each other and started laughing.

“What?” said Johnny impatiently. “Tell me.”

“Ana’s in love,” Mia said. “Completely and utterly head over heels in love!”

***

Joey pulled open the front door. “Ana,” she said, surprised. “What are you doing here?”

Ana was breathless and the words came out in a rush. “I’ve been so concerned with what I am and what I’m not. Or what I’m supposed to be. Or what I’ve always thought I was. Or something. Anyway, the point is…well, the point is that I’ve totally missed the point!”

“OK,” Joey said slowly, her face blank.

“So,” Ana said. “What do you think?”

“About what,” Joey said patiently. “I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.”

Ana smiled sheepishly. “Yeah, I possibly should have rehearsed that a bit.”

Joey sighed. “Ana, you told me how you felt the other week. It’s OK. You don’t have to try and make me feel better. I know you’re not interested in me… like that.”

“That’s where I was wrong though,” Ana said. “I am.”

Joey looked at her in stunned silence. Ana moved a step closer, gently taking Joey’s hand and intertwining their fingers. “I think I’m in love with you.” She paused and looked deep into Joey’s eyes. “Scratch that. I know I’m in love with you.”

***

Sauteed Kale with Canelllini Beans and Egg

January 10, 2013

I realise the recipes have gone by the wayside of late, but I couldn’t resist putting this one up: my new favourite meal.

Kale seems to be the vegetable de jour, and although I personally LOVE it, I know a lot of people find it a little difficult to stomach as it can be quite bitter. This recipe, however, ensures you get your superfood fix without feeling like you’re being ‘really good’. Fabulous for a lazy weekend brunch, or a quick evening meal, it’s filling without being heavy, healthy without being boring.

Serves 2.

photo(22)

Ingredients

1 large bunch of Kale*

2 eggs

1 tin Canellini beans, rinsed and drained

Large clove of garlic

olive oil

butter

nutmeg

salt and pepper

1 large rasher of bacon (optional), diced and cooked.

Method

Wash the kale and chop roughly (about 2 inch pieces). Place a large sautee pan over a medium heat. Add the kale immediately (still wet) and place the lid on. Cook for a few minutes, or until the kale has started to wilt and turned dark green.

While the kale is cooking, place a small saucepan over a medium heat, adding a splash of oil and the crushed garlic. Warm the garlic, but don’t fry it. Add the beans and place the lid on, cooking until the beans are completely warmed through (about 5 mins), stirring occasionally (make sure they don’t burn).

After the kale has been going for a few mins or so, add a generous knob of butter and a splash of olive oil to the greens. Toss this through until the kale is completely coated. Add a healthy pinch of nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Add the bacon if you want it. Turn the heat to low, and put the lid back on, cooking until the kale in completely wilted and dark green (another  few minutes or so). It will have reduced by about half it’s size.

While this is happening, cook the eggs. Put some oil in a medium fry pan (I like to rub this with a paper towel to get rid of excess) and place over a high heat. When the pan in hot, carefully fry the eggs, so that the whites are cooked and the yolks are runny – a few minutes. (If you add a tablespoon of water to the pan in the last minute or so and then put the lid on, I find this cooks them to perfection). You could also poach the eggs if you were feeling this way inclined.

While the eggs are cooking, use a potato masher to gently mash the canellini beans, adding another generous slug of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. (you could add some herbs too if you had them – basil, parsley etc.)

Split the kale between two warmed plates and top each with a fried egg. Put beans on the side. Can be served with a chunky slice of sourdough (brunch) or some brown rice (dinner) for added substance.

ENJOY!

* massaging the kale can be a good way to soften it up and get rid of some of the bitterness, even before you cook it. To do this, gently rub the leaves (as though you were massaging someones shoulders) while you’re washing them. I usually chop it first, then wash and massage. If you don’t like kale, then this should hopefully improve it even more than the butter and bacon already do 🙂

Season 8, Episode 8

January 8, 2013

pastry

Sunlight streamed through the curtains in Willow’s room. She could already tell it was going to be one of those typical San Francisco winter days, where the sun fooled you into thinking it would provide any warmth and then left you shivering in your poorly chosen jacket. But Willow was so excited that she didn’t think she would feel the cold anyway. Today, she and Fred were launching their portable coffee and cake business!

She sprung out of bed and threw on a thick robe before heading downstairs to triple check that all the cakes, pastries and tarts she had spent the last day baking were ready to be loaded onto the carts. Fred was due over in an hour, when they would load everything into the car and head to his place, where the custom-made cart had been delivered. Willow hadn’t seen it in the flesh yet – a friend of Fred’s who lived an hour out of the city had made it for them – but she’d seen photos and Fred had assured her that it was as handsome in the flesh as in the pictures. She and Fred had both been taking coffee-making classes, and between them could make a mean macchiato, cappuccino and latte. And Fred had mastered the quintessentially Australian flat white so perfectly that even the most prolific Melbourne coffee snob couldn’t find fault with it.

***

Mia was sitting in the kitchen drinking a cup of tea and reading the paper when Willow came down. Willow leaned down and rested her hands on Mia’s barely there belly. “Good morning baby,” she said.

Mia rolled her eyes, but couldn’t hide the grin. “Are you guys going to do this every morning for the next five months?”

Willow grinned back. “Yup.”

Johnny and Mia had broken the news to them the night Johnny had proposed. Willow and Ana had promptly burst into tears, which in turn had made Johnny and Mia start blubbering too. The crying was then followed by a prolonged session of jumping, squealing and hand-clapping. Ana and Willow had started referring to the bump as ‘our baby’ and had subsequently come home each day with yet another trinket for the kid – a hat, some socks, a toy – anything they found on their travels that the newest addition of the household might like.

“This kid has more crap than we do and it’s not even out of the womb,” Johnny would grumble good naturedly as yet another package was delivered to their room from the doting ‘aunts’.

***

At five minutes to eight, the entire household were gathered excitedly in the kitchen, ready to spring to action as soon as Fred rang the doorbell. They all wanted to help Willow on the first day of her new venture, and had self-appointed tasks that they seemed to be taking very seriously.

When Fred hadn’t turned up at ten past eight, Willow tried calling him. She was met with a loud beep and a recorded message: “The number you have called in not in service. Please check the number before dialing again.” She frowned and pressed the number again. The same message.

“I’m sure it’s nothing,” Ana said.

Willow nodded. She smiled brightly at her friends. “Of course. Everything is fine, I’m sure.”

“What if he slept through his alarm?” Mia said suddenly. “And… his phone was cut off because he forgot to pay it. Willow, why don’t you and Johnny get a cab over to his place and Ana and I will wait here in case he turns up.”

Willow nodded grimly and pulled on a jacket. She was feeling light headed. Giddy. When the cab pulled up in front of Fred’s place, Willow felt her stomach lurch.

A huge sign out the front proclaimed: For Lease.

She jumped out of the cab and peered through the front windows. The entire place was completely empty. “This cannot be happening,” she said, almost under her breath.

“Did he move in with his girlfriend?” Johnny said uncertainly.

Willow swallowed hard. I will not cry. I will not cry. She directed the taxi driver to Marjorie’s house. As they pulled up, she couldn’t hold back the tears anymore. Same real estate company, same sign.

“Let’s get home,” Johnny said, his voice shaking.

***

For hours, they called everyone they could think of, retraced the steps of every place Fred had ever been, trying to find some clue of where he had gone. The real estate agent had no forwarding address and the bank informed them that Marjorie had resigned suddenly a few days prior.

“I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation still,” Willow said, her voice hysterical. She looked frantically at her friends. “Right?”

“Willow, he’s stolen all your money,” Ana said gently. “I think it’s time to call the police.”

Willow shook her head. “I can’t,” she said with a sob. “Not yet.” She sighed and wiped her tear streaked face. “I need to lie down.”

“Willow, we…”

“Just give me a few hours,” she said cutting Ana off. “Please. I just need some time alone.”

***

Willow was curled up in a ball on her bed. More than a few hours had passed and the tears had dried up long ago. She sat staring glumly at a blank space on the wall. There was a quiet knock on the door. Willow ignored it. She didn’t feel like seeing anyone yet. The knock again, this time louder.

“Willow?” The door opened a crack and Ana stuck her head through. “Willow, there’s someone here to see you.”

“Unless it’s Fred with my million dollars I’m not interested,” Willow said flatly.

“No.” Ana paused. “But I think you might want to come downstairs.”

Willow sighed. “Ana, I appreciate you trying to cheer me up, but I’m really not in the mood for any…”

“Just put some clothes on and come down,” Ana said gently but firmly. “Please Willow.” She pulled the door closed and Willow heard her footsteps pad away.

Sighing, Willow heaved herself off the bed and threw on a sweatshirt and some jeans. She walked downstairs, pulling her hair back into a ponytail as she went. Her eyes were red and raw, puffy from so many tears. She paused outside the living room. Muffled voices came from inside. She pushed the door gingerly open. Mia was sitting on a chair, Johnny perched on the edge. Ana was hovering near them, obviously too jumpy to sit down. They all turned at once and face her, concern etched on their faces.

“What’s going…” She stopped. There were two other people in the room, sitting awkwardly on the couch. They stood as Willow entered.
Willow blinked. One of the men looked almost exactly like Bryn, the guy she’d had dinner with at Fred and Marjorie’s: the guy who had seemed interested in her, and then had totally clammed up. It couldn’t be Bryn, Willow told herself. Apart from the similarity in features, he looked totally different to the preppy guy she’d met previously. This guy was dressed in a well-fitting suit, glasses on his face, with his short hair combed neatly back.

He smiled at her.

Willow blinked again. Hang on, it was Bryn.

“What are you doing here?” she said finally.

“Hello Willow.” Bryn said. He looked tired. “This is Samuel.” The other man – who was dressed in a similar dark suit – nodded at Willow and didn’t smile.  “Would you take a seat?” Bryn continued. “We need to speak to you about Fred and Marjorie.”

***