Dark Exposures: The Veiled (2016) review

the veiled 1Director: Glenn Fraser

Writers: Glenn Fraser, Peter McLeod

Stars: Janet Shay, Zoe Carides, Nicholas Papademetriou

Haunting, eerie, yet thoughtful and composed with consummate care, The Veiled follows Cassandra (Janet Shay), an Australian fashion photographer used to shooting models by the breezy, open seaside, as she ventures into the world of women shut away from the daylight. Visiting family overseas is also a chance for Cassandra to search for clues to the disappearance of her sister years ago, leading her to the dark underworld of local sex-trafficking.

Having made a financial success of herself, transforming a mere hobby into paid work, Cassandra now seeks to put her snapshot skills to more urgent purpose, using her camera to turn her lens back onto predatory men, as well as to snatch important images of their victims. Photographs are of great symbolic importance in the film as (among other things) a currency of proof: verbal tales seem to count for little, and the women Cassandra is trying to help cannot speak English.

Although short, the film is populated by authentic and often sinister performances, and shots are composed with high attention to detail and atmosphere, while never cluttered or overdone. Overall, The Veiled is a striking and powerful film about guilt, memory, and responsibility, all structured around a terrible and urgent social problem. Highly recommended.

The Veiled Teaser from Digital Realm on Vimeo.

West African Groundnut Stew

I don’t post recipes; that I am choosing to do so in this instance will thus indicate my satisfaction with this one I’ve been fiddling with. Following the directions below will leave you with a luxuriously thick, healthy and cruelty-free West African Groundnut Stew. A colleague kindly passed this recipe on to me (exact source unknown. . . West Africa!). I’ve made it several times, gradually making a few amendments that make it both tastier and more nutritious.

Preliminary note: I don’t own or care about actual measuring cups. I use drinking mugs, so when I say 1 Cup, just throw a mug-full in there. If you do this consistently it’ll all balance out in the end!  (Or you can use exact cups if you like; I’m sure it won’t matter.)

Ingredients: (Serves 4)
1 half of a 375g jar of crunchy peanut butter (approx 1/2 cup)
2 garlic cloves, pressed (minced from the jar is fine; 2 generous teaspoons)
2 teaspoons of grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (adjust to taste; this is supposed to be spicy but not infernal)
3 tablespoons of peanut oil
[optional: 1 & 1/2 cups of chopped green beans; this will make it a little more filling though)
2 teaspoons of salt (adjust to taste, you might like an extra half-teaspoon or so)
3 cups of cubed sweet potato (I recommend approx 1/2-inch cubes, or you’ll be waiting forever for them to soften)
2 fistfuls of chopped fresh coriander leaves
1/2 170g bag of fresh spinach leaves, or two decent handfuls (optional but recommended; I like a lot of green on the scene. Add even more if you like.)
2 cups chopped onion (approx 2 good-sized onions)
3 cups of tomato juice
1/2 cup of apple juice
2 generous-sized chopped tomatoes
4-5 cups of fresh chopped choy sum (a.k.a. bok choy sum; i.e. a whole bunch as purchased)

Sidekick: your favourite thick and crusty bread (to be toasted in slices).


  • Groundnut Stew - simmerSaute the onions in the oil for about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the cayenne and garlic; saute for a couple more minutes.
  • Add the choy sum, sweet potatoes and saute, covered, for a few more minutes; but lift off to stir it around a bit. That’s a lot of choy sum in there, but it’ll reduce down of course.
  • Mix in the juices, salt, ginger, coriander, and tomatoes. If you go too heavy on the apple juice this will be too sweet and it’ll be a pain in the ass to re-balance it. I recommend starting with a half-cup (no more); you can always add a splash more later.
  • Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are tender.
  • If you like, you can put the chopped green beans in at this point, then simmer for another 5 minutes. This is where I add the spinach instead. There isn’t any reason why you can’t add both — never too much veg, right?
  • Stir in the peanut butter, then gently simmer until ready to serve. Give it slurp to see if it’s spicy enough. If you like it a little sweeter, add a further splash of apple juice. If you can’t get enough of that peanutty taste, spoon an extra dollop in there. You know what you like.

If it gets too thick, simply add more tomato juice; it’s a stew but you don’t want it too boggy. Also, naturally you’ll lose liquid when you reheat later, so add a little more tomato juice before you do so.

Add your favourite garnish and serve with the lightly toasted bread.

Groundnut Stew