Have you ever wondered how you could eat your way through a 4 night Cairns holiday? Probably not I hear you say. If you are going on a holiday to Cairns though, here are some suggestions. I recently took my youngest two daughters on a short holiday to Cairns, in Far North Queensland. We had a brilliant time and we ate well too.
This was in two parts and we weren’t sure of whether something would be available at Freshwater Train Station so in the apartment we had Peanut M&Ms and hot drinks. At the Freshwater Train Station, we found the tuck shop and I had a huge damper scone with butter and jam.
After a walk to see the sunrise again, we stopped and ate pancakes at Helga’s Pancake House. I had a short stack which was filling and very nice.
We spent most of the day at Paronella Park. We bought food from the tuck shop there. I had a couple of chicken and mushroom filo pastry creations.
We returned to our Asian roots and ate Chinese at Taste of China. We enjoyed pan-fried pork dumplings, an Far North Queensland (FNQ) mud crab, deep-fried duck and crispy skin lemon chicken. For dessert, we bought a tub of ice cream, a jar of Nutella and added peanut M&Ms to make the best ice cream sundaes ever.
On arrival, I was recognised by the maître d’ which is nice. Our waiter for the evening was Tom, who is a very friendly, helpful and knowledgable about the menu and the philosophy behind each dish. All the produce and main elements of each dish are sourced from Canberra or very close by in New South Wales.
House-made tagliatelle with cracked pepper, black truffle and parmesan
Windsor quail, artichoke, hazelnut and watercress
Baby barramundi, shiitake mushroom, coriander and ginger
OTIS pepper steak, silk-wood brandy jus, served with French fries
Crème caramel, whisky and smoked sea salt
The entire meal was filled with really nice flavours and the portion size, in my opinion, was perfect. Not too big and not too small.
It’s truffle season in Canberra so the first dish was a creamy tagliatelle with truffle infused and two wafers of truffle on top. This was amazing, and if the steak didn’t exist this would have been my favourite dish. As far as a dish licking score is concerned (desserts should be excluded because all desserts should be disk licked), this was on top. If I wasn’t in a public space, I would have put that bowl to my face and licked every last bit of creamy truffle goodness from the dish.
The second dish was a local quail done three ways, with crispy crackling skin and a version of a KFC herbs and spices quail thigh. Apparently, Damian has a thing for KFC. Good to know since I also have a thing, well let’s call it a deep and abiding love for KFC thighs. This was one of those dishes where if there was more I could just keep going, fortunately, it was a perfect portion for the second dish. It had me wanting more.
The third dish was fish, one of my favourite tropical fighting fish is the barramundi. It has firm white flesh and this dish was barramundi but with really crispy skin. It had shiitake mushrooms and ginger. Okay, so I will say, this portion was a little small for my liking. The skin was perfect and the flesh firm. Mmm… I love firm flesh to eat, but you know, I’ve been Barra fishing in the Top End, and the most magnificent fish meal I’ve ever enjoyed was catching a Barra, killing it in ice, watching the guide fillet it perfectly, chuck the skin into the air for a hawk to swoop and take it mid-air, and then pan-fry that gorgeous firm white flesh in a well seasoned frying pan with butter and lemon. Nothing, and I mean nothing can beat that for an eating experience.
The fourth dish was a pepper-coated steak, cooked perfectly rare and rested well. It was served with a brandy jus and some chips (fries). Coupled with a perfectly weighted steak knife, eating a small but thick portion of juicy tender steak is amazing. I loved this dish. The pepper coating sang in my mouth, as I breathed in I could feel the fresh peppery sensation on my tongue. There’s something to be said about having a good quality steak knife when eating a perfectly cooked piece of steak. It’s like being an artist with the best quality equipment.
The fifth dish was dessert and it was a crème caramel with hints of whisky and sea salt in the caramel. Tom told us that the chef who made this, made this dish for her interview and she hasn’t been allowed to modify it ever. The gradient of flavour intensified as you got to the centre. It just kept getting better and better.
This was a superb meal. I just wish I could drink alcohol. Tom described the accompanying wines with great passion.
You can reserve a table online with Dimmi or just call and make a booking. If you live in Canberra or visiting, I highly recommend OTIS Dining Hall.
All my alimentary tract! I’ve just returned from eight nights away from Canberra, five of which were spent in Delhi, India. I was participating in a World Health Organization meeting on poliovirus containment.
One of the highlights, apart from the meeting, was the food. Every meal was filled with flavourful spices from all parts of India.
Twitter embed for alimentary tract alive tweet
TGIF. I’ve loved that my entire alimentary tract has come alive with smells sights and sounds this week.
I think I’ve managed to work out how to use e-mail lists for sending post notifications and newsletters. I’d love it if you would sign up using the ‘form’ in the sidebar (if you’re using a laptop or desktop) or at the bottom of the post (if you’re using a mobile device).
I ate breakfasts in the hotel and each morning I had an omelette with bacon and most days spicy baked beans. I also added a few Indian treats including the different types of bread.
Each day I tried something different and yet each day there were elements that were the same, like pappadums. The main regions with distinctive flavours are the north, south and east.
Monday night was a buffet with a northern touch.
Tuesday night I had a Thai duck curry.
On Wednesday night, I went out with some WHO colleagues and we went to Barbecue Nation. It was a barbeque pit with hot coals placed in the middle of the table with spicy meat on metal skewers cooked as you want it.
Thursday night was my last night staying at the Imperial Hotel, and I ate at Daniell’s Tavern. I enjoyed Burra memsahib’s favourite pepper mutton from Coorg. It was mutton tossed in spicy marsala with lots and lots of black pepper corns.
Would I return?
Sure, if I need to return to work there, of course, I would. Would I go to Delhi for a holiday? I wouldn’t in winter, maybe summer. I’d probably want to explore the other regions.
My reason for not returning in winter is not so much the cold, it wasn’t. It was the very low humidity. My skin became a mess. I was forever applying moisturiser and it didn’t feel like anything would help. It was very uncomfortable.
Final thoughts on eating in Delhi
I titled this post “My alimentary tract has come alive with the smells, sights and sounds of Delhi”. Every mouthful of food was like having a party in my mouth. Some meals were spicier than others. The food from the south seemed to be hotter and more intense. The food from the east seemed to be milder. Each meal though was very nice. I didn’t go much for the desserts, I was eating so much rice, I don’t think I needed any more carbohydrates.
The good news is I didn’t feel unwell at all and there were no episodes of gastroenteritis. That said, there was an awful lot of gurgling noises from my bowels. Some nights it was almost musical.
The food is also very colourful. It was like art on a plate or in a bowl. The only meal I had that didn’t look pretty was my favourite meal, the pepper mutton. Best meal but nothing to look at.
In terms of smells, each dish had amazing aromas, and given the title of this blog post, the fragrant aromas passed completely through my alimentary tract. I suppose I shouldn’t write anything more about that.
Another surprising thing!
Apart from my iPhone, I didn’t bring a camera. You can tell the images are not as sharp. My iPhone photography suffers from motion blur, especially on aeroplanes.
I regularly post photographs of food to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Please feel free to connect with me on any social media platform. I also have a podcast. It’s not food related but each show is short and it’s named Medical Fun Facts. You can find it in the iTunes podcast store as well as Stitcher. A show drops every Monday and Tuesday. It has a little cynicism, a little scepticism and occasionally some sarcasm.
On Wednesday evening I went out to dinner with a mate from Darwin. I’ve known Drapes for a long time. He worked out of Katherine, Nhulunbuy, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs while I was the Supervising Pathologist for the Northern Territory of Australia. He was down in Canberra for a meeting.
We’d arranged to catch up and thought a burger meal would be the way to go. I did a little on-line searching and thought it would be worth trying out Grease Monkey in Braddon.
The restaurant is at 19 Lonsdale Street in Braddon and it opens from 11 am to 10 pm.
They have chairs, stools and tables inside and outside. Drapes and I sat on moulded stools at the front window looking out onto the sidewalk. It was good for watching people walk by. Mostly young Canberrans, the blokes with beards and women in summer wear.
The menu can be downloaded from the website and I’ve made the current one available here.
What did I eat?
If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram you’ll see over the last couple of days I’ve been trying to be mindful of portion size. So I limited myself. I didn’t get fried chicken, mac and cheese, jalapeño poppers or hot wings. I had just one burger and that was the Double Deluxe.
The Double Deluxe
This burger consists of double beef, double cheese, bacon, grease monkey sauce, grease monkey relish, onion and pickles. The bread roll was pretty good. It wasn’t sweet and it wasn’t too much. It was just right. The burger itself was nice, I’d happily do it again. The burger is also served with chips. The chips were cooked really well and nicely salted but they come with extra seasoning. So now I’m going to sound like a food wanker but I reckon on their own the chips would be awesome, but coupled with a nice burger, they’re too much. There is too much competing flavour.
Check out the comment from Kate on Instagram. You need to click on the image and it will open the page in Instagram and you can scroll down to see Kate’s comment. Kate is a friend who avoids animal flesh, so I’m guessing the mushroom burger is really good.
For $20 the Double Deluxe is not cheap. Is it worth $20? Not really. You can make a similar burger for less. What about the experience? It’s a good experience and I reckon Canberrans should check out Grease Monkey and have a burger or two. I’ll go back but it’s not a place I’d go to regularly.
It’s been a quiet week. Last weekend I was down with a head cold, you know, ManFlu. I ended up working from home on Monday because I was really congested and coughing badly. I’m still coughing but at least I feel okay in my head.
Work was busy with a heap of small or medium sized tasks that just had to be done. Wednesday though was a bad one. Wednesday morning, I woke up at 1 am with something on my mind and I just couldn’t get back to sleep. Coupled with the head cold it meant I felt like a zombie while I was at work. I suppose it doesn’t matter in the scheme of things because Wednesday’s productivity across the globe was probably down slightly because it coincided with the US presidential election. Yummy Lummy isn’t a place for political commentary so all I’ll say is that I made sure I had a nice meal while I was watching the television reporting of the results including the victory and concession speeches.
The highlight for me this week was flying to Brisbane on Friday night and spending the weekend with my daughters and my parents.
The flight from Canberra to Brisbane started well. I got a seat in the exit row and had a meal of meatballs and mashed potato.
On landing the doors opened and a wave of humidity travelled backwards and hugged me like a child runs up to greet you at an airport and grabs you around your legs. Best feeling in the world!
Ms19 was working Friday night so after arriving at my parents’ place I suggested to Miss15 that we go see Ms19 and get ice cream. Ms21 couldn’t join us, so it was just me and Miss15.
I had a nice caramel condensed milk ice cream with a Ferrero Rocher crushed into it.
After a pretty crappy sleep (I don’t travel with my CPAP machine) we went and had breakfast at The Groove Train in Chermside.
I had a nice granola which I think did something to really stimulate my gastrocolic reflex because my irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) went crazy. It’s a good thing I was close to a clean toilet.
Now that Ms19 has retired from gymnastics we’re not totally bound to a sports schedule. Miss15 had a gymnastics evaluation from 2.30 to 5.30 pm and Ms21 was working so what to do between 11 and 1.30? We ended up taking a short drive to Sandgate and walking from the swimming pool to the big jetty and back. All up it’s about a 5 km walk. It was really warm and overcast and it was low tide. The sea breeze was really nice. The smell from the mudflats though wasn’t that good. In fact, it was pretty rank. That part of Sandgate with a view of the water and the sea breeze is really nice. The low tide smell though would make me think twice about living there unless I could keep the house fresh.
After a pretty good walk, we went to the Sandgate fishmonger and bought some potato scallops with crumbed squid. Like most good shops, especially in Queensland, when you ask for some potato scallops you inevitably get n+1 with n being the number of scallops you ask for. These potato scallops were really nice. The crumbed squid was also really good. If you’re visiting Sandgate and want a nice takeaway deep fried meal, I can recommend the Sandgate Fishmonger.
After taking Miss15 to gymnastics, Ms19 and I had been thinking about going out for a milkshake somewhere. As it turned out we were pretty full from lunch and the weather put on a show which made driving less than ideal. Brisbane was treated to a really nice thunderstorm. The rain was heavy, the thunder was loud and the sky almost went black. I love this sort of weather. The rain lasted about 45 minutes and afterwards the air freshened and the heat was gone. Perfect subtropical weather. You can’t ask for better.
For dinner, we went to Thr3e Restaurant in the Kedron-Wavell RSL club. This is a cheap and cheerful buffet affair with upgrades. I had a nice seafood platter and Mum and Dad had a bucket of prawns.
We all went to bed feeling fairly sated.
Sunday broke with a brilliant warm and moist morning. Mum and Dad had planned a big breakfast. We had bacon, sausages, pikelets, fried eggs and cooked tomatoes. It’s always good having breakfast with my daughters and parents.
I’m now back in Canberra where it is cold, windy and wet. I wish I was back with my daughters in Brisbane.
The 2016 National Clubs Carnival for Gymnastics Australia is being held in Bendigo at the Bendigo Stadium at the moment. It’s the reason for my road trip. My two youngest daughters, viz., Miss15 and Ms19 competed. Well, Ms19 competed and Miss15 got a 0.00 score because a few weeks ago she fractured her fifth metacarpal in her dominant hand while training on the balance beam. It was a clean fracture which hopefully will heal without repercussions. Anyway, Miss15 was listed to compete, so on the score sheet, she scored 0.00 for all apparatus. Looks silly really. She was allowed on the floor with her teammates so she helped with video recording their routines and doing other tasks to assist her coaches.
Ms19 competed injury-free and did well in the L10 division.
Given Bendigo is a little over 600 kilometres from Canberra it was a good reason for me to take a few days recreation leave and drive down on Wednesday 14 September. I’ve never driven to Bendigo, I’ve never been to Bendigo, I knew almost nothing about Bendigo. What I did know was it is a large country town in Victoria and had a start in gold mining. I learnt in high school there was a lot of racial tension with the Chinese who came in and extracted gold from the waste left behind by others.
[Read with sarcasm] Being Victoria, I knew they speak another language. They refer to things like snot blocks and potato cakes. I knew I had to be careful amongst these aliens. I knew I could ask for a vanilla slice but they wouldn’t have a clue what a potato scallop is. I figured if they didn’t know what a potato scallop is they probably didn’t know how to cook a decent one anyway. For confused readers, I wrote this paragraph with heavy sarcasm, after all, I was born and bred from the greatest of the Australian states, viz., Queensland and lived for twelve years in the greatest of Australian territories, viz., the Northern Territory of Australia.
Before embarking on this trip I consulted with a close colleague from another government agency who is widely regarded as a vanilla slice connoisseur with an excellent knowledge of rural Victoria and New South Wales. I even made an MS Excel spreadsheet containing my extensive ‘research’ findings. I passed this on to my friend and his only warning was to lock my car in one of the towns I mentioned.
The plan for the drive from Canberra to Bendigo was to leave early and have breakfast on the road in Gundagai. This nearly came unstuck because Apple in its wisdom released iOS 10 on the morning of Wednesday 14 September. Being an early adopter (but not brave enough to use β versions) I woke up at 4 am to download iOS 10. Bloody hell, Apple also wanted me to download an updated version of iTunes which was >250 MB. iOS 10 was >1 GB. My ADSL is pathetically slow so I only managed to update my iPad and I was late leaving my apartment at 6.15.
My first stop was the town of Gundagai. I’d been to Gundagai before and seen the dog on the tucker box. Would you believe my kids didn’t know about the dog on the tucker box? What do they teach kids in school these days? I had decided I’d have a coffee and some sort of carbohydrate-laden product for breakfast. I went with a scone and butter. I did this with trepidation. I have irritable bowel syndrome and my gastrocolic reflex is reasonably good and it is the reason I usually never leave ‘home’ without eating, even if it’s for a morning walk. Being caught short is a constant fear for IBS sufferers.
The Gundagai Bakery is pretty nice. The person who served me was very friendly and I got a large scone, some butter and a decent flat white coffee for $4.50. That was the best bargain of the trip.
I got to Tarcutta and the urge to purge struck. Say no more I hear you think!
I posted a photograph to Twitter and mentioned my dunny stop. I received a mention from a fellow food blogger who tweeted when she was younger her father frowned on her use of the word dunny. I like that as an adult I can be as vulgar as I want.
By the time I got to Holbrook it was raining cats and dogs. I couldn’t see the submarine out the window as I drove. I figured it had been carried away by the storm water runoff. When I got to the Holbrook Bakery the gutters and sidewalk were like a white water rafting course. I really hate having wet shoes and socks when driving. Oh well I thought, I’m here for a reason, having wet shoes isn’t the end of the world.
So this was my first vanilla slice of the trip. It was pretty nice. Not the best in terms of texture, taste and consistency but I’d happily eat more of these.
Two years ago I drove to Geelong for the National Clubs Carnival and broke up my trip by spending the night in Wangaratta. This time, I was driving straight to Bendigo so rather than dinner in Wangaratta it was lunch.
I decided to have lunch at Cafe Derailleur. The café has seating in the front behind windows, some outdoor seating and an area out the back. I chose to sit inside near the main counter. I was feeling a little peckish so I went with duck fat garlic potato wedges with miso mayonnaise, beetroot sweet potato fritter, avocado, mushrooms, poached egg and spinach, along with a beetroot ginger carrot apple juice. It was pretty good. A word of warning, though. Having eaten a beetroot fritter and enjoyed a beetroot drink, don’t be surprised if you do both you may have a little scare in the bathroom the following day, especially if your tired and feeling a little vague. I’m glad I don’t need to visit the endoscopist again.
I had never heard of Violet Town before last week when I started planning this little holiday adventure.
As I arrived I noticed a nice Lions Park with public amenities so I stopped for a dunny break before afternoon tea.
The Violet Town Café had a nice looking vanilla slice in the display cabinet. I could see the passionfruit seeds in the custard and the icing. I had to have one. I really like a little passionfruit in my vanilla slices. While I also like a pink icing, it’s the passionfruit I really like.
Comfort Inn Julie-Anna Bendigo
I chose to stay at the Comfort Inn Julia-Anna on Lake Weeroona. I got a room with a spa bath. While it hasn’t been a really cold winter in Canberra, I’ve been crook for a while and I was looking forward to a daily soak in a spa bath.
This is a short video of my room
I had thought I might go to the Bouchon Bendigo for dinner but I wasn’t feeling the best and figured I’d have dinner in the motel restaurant. When I checked in, the person at reception mentioned how much effort they’ve been putting into getting the restaurant up to a really high standard.
The menu looked good. I went with the parmesan crusted braised lamb shoulder with pea purée and mashed potato. It was delicious. I really enjoyed the mouthfeel of the crispy parmesan crust on the little brick of compressed lamb shoulder meat.
For dessert, I went with the vanilla cheesecake which came with chocolate soil and a raspberry coulis.
Thursday 15 September
Rather than have a motel breakfast, I went searching for a café. I had been told about The Dispensary in Chancery Lane but when I arrived it wasn’t open. I went for a little walk around to see if I could find anything open.
I came across Queen Victoria. Victorians really seem to like her.
Then I saw that the Pall Mall café was open and I went in and had Eggs Benedict. It was a pretty good breakfast.
My two youngest daughters, viz., Miss15 and Ms19 are gymnasts. They both compete for Delta Brisbane. Delta Brisbane has a very good record at national championships, regularly winning champion club. Unfortunately, Miss15 recently fractured the fifth metacarpal in her dominant hand. She did it while training. It was great that she was still permitted to travel with the team and help her Level 8 teammates. Both of them have had their share of injuries including fractures of vertebræ, elbows, and arms plus torn ligaments, tendons and muscles. It’s a tough sport but both of them love it so much. Ms19 is at Level 10 and was competing in the combined levels 9 and 10 division.
It was great seeing them both and spending some time with them. Needless to say, over the two days of competition for levels 7, 8 and 9/10 Delta Brisbane won the best club title for all three divisions.
I’ve created a SmugMug gallery of photographs that I shot during the event. I should explain the images are not that good. I was some distance from the competition floor and so I cropped these photographs considerably and had to use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to reduce a lot of noise. I was using a 24–240 mm f/3.5–6.3 zoom lens and shot at 1/500 second with the ISO at 6400 and exposure compensation at +1 stop.
The gallery will run as a slideshow automatically. There are 25 images and they change every 3 seconds.
This is a video of Ms19’s uneven bar routine from Thursday 15 September
After the first night of competition, I was again feeling a little poorly so ate in the motel restaurant. This time I went for the duo of pork. This consisted of a
crumbed rillettes of pork shoulder plus a piece of braised pork belly. This was served with sweet potato purée and a ball of spinach. This was a particularly delicious meal. The crackling was nice and the fat had been rendered out nicely.
Friday 16 September
I slept very poorly. My snoring was out of control and my chronic cough kept me awake most of the night. I decided rather than going in search of another café I would eat breakfast at the motel.
The poached eggs with Hollandaise sauce, smoked salmon, and spinach was delightful to look at and delicious to eat.
Thursday and Friday Lunch and Friday dinner
The best sporting event meal I know is potato gems and chicken salt. The chips at Bendigo Stadium didn’t look that enticing. I could have gone out between events on Friday evening but I had a really good seat and I didn’t want to lose it. In addition, Ms21 made a surprise appearance. It turns out Ms19 had decided to retire from gymnastics after 16 years of training and competing. This was to be her last competition and with each apparatus I could see she was looking happier with the completion of each routine. Would you believe I spent $16 on three potato gems meals!
After the trophy presentation on Friday night, four gymnasts announced their retirement from the sport with Ms19 being one of them. When I got a chance to congratulate her, I started crying and couldn’t stop. All of us had leaking eyes. Gymnastics has been a major part of her life for 16 of her 19 years. It’s helped give her discipline and purpose. My Mum often says that Ms19 is very much like me. Dogged stubbornness and determination. I’ve often said, I’ve never seen anyone so young with the mental toughness of Ms19.
Saturday 17 September
Friday night ended late and well past my bed time. I had another crapulent sleep. I had planned to leave Bendigo at about 6.30 which meant I would need to be out of bed at about 5.30 given I hadn’t packed and I wanted one last spa bath.
After being awake until about 3.30 I fell asleep and woke at 6.30 with a start. I was running late. I still had a bath and was out of the motel room by 7.30.
I decided I would skip breakfast in Bendigo and planned to eat something in Benalla. Just before I got there though the instant coffee I had in the motel room kicked in so a rest stop was needed.
My target for breakfast was Hides Bakery. I got there a little after 9 and requested a coffee and scrambled eggs with bacon on avocado spread sourdough toast.
Before leaving Hides Bakery I bought a vanilla slice to go. I found a rest stop halfway between Wangaratta and Wodonga and enjoyed the treat. It was really nice.
I’d promised myself that on this adventure I would also enjoy a meat pie or two or three. Surprisingly, that hadn’t happened. I went in search of a good meat pie. My search led me to Henri’s Bakery in Wodonga where I enjoyed a minted lamb pie. It was a perfect meat pie. Not too hot, chunky meat and recognisable vegetables.
My final planned break on my journey was the Interchange Café in Tarcutta. To be honest, I was relieved when I entered the café to see a display case bereft of custard filled treats. No vanilla slices and no other pastries that looked appetising. Instead I had a small coffee. It was very good. I really needed it. I had started to feel very tired driving.
How was the drive?
I really like driving and despite not feeling the best, the drive to and from Bendigo was enjoyable. There was a lot of rain on the way south and on occasion there was sufficient water on the road that I had to slow down and carefully drive across the few centimetres of water that was flowing across the road surface. The roads in Victoria aren’t particularly good. There were a lot of pot holes to avoid.
I spent my hours in the car listening to podcasts. One of my favourite podcasts is Quackcast by Mark Crislip. Mark is an infectious diseases physician from the United States. He does a great job at demolishing the quackery of alternative and complementary medicine including acupuncture, naturopathy, Chinese herbal medicine and homeopathy. You can find the podcast in the iTunes store and I assume in the Google play store if you’re an Android user.
Getting back to Canberra
On arriving I filled the car with diesel and went and bought some food for dinner. I made a simple ramen noodles and lup cheong meal. Nothing fancy. Just light and easy.
What can I say. I enjoyed the short holiday. A good drive is always fun.
My favourite meal was the duo of pork at the Comfort Inn Julie-Anna.
My favourite vanilla slice was the takeaway treat from Hides Bakery and eaten on the side of the road.
My favourite moment was hugging Ms19 at the end of her competition and telling her how proud I am of her.
Every time I look at this photograph it brings tears to my eyes. Ms19 has been a gymnast for sixteen of her nineteen years. It’s taught her discipline. It’s helped her develop an understanding of physical fitness. It’s made her powerful and strong. Most importantly it’s developed her as an individual and as a member of a team. This year she captained Queensland at the national championships. A lot of people criticise gymnastics because of the injuries, it’s true gymnastics get injured but the benefits far outweigh the injuries. Well done Ms19 I love you so much and I am so proud of you.
Have you been to Bendigo?
What did you think? What did you eat? What did you do?
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Thanks for visiting. Please check out the rest of Yummy Lummy. I’d love it if you shared this site with your friends.
I’ve just spent three nights in Helsinki, Finland for a work meeting. This is my first time visiting continental Europe. I’ve been to England twice (for work) but never to the continent. As I prepared for the meeting I took a look at where Finland is on Google Maps. I didn’t quite appreciate how far north it is in comparison with England. I recall watching a documentary on World War 2 and learning some history of Finland and its relationship with Sweden and Russia. Helsinki is in the south of Finland, can you imagine what it would be like if the capital was in Lapland. Being summer, the sun set well after 10.30 pm and it never really got completely dark. The sun rose before 4 am so I was grateful for curtains not that I was asleep after 3.30 am. The room I was in had a view of the water and the reflection of the low sun on the water produced a lot of glare that beamed straight into my room. The weather was very similar to Canberra at the same time. Early morning was <10 °C (I note Canberra was ‘enjoying’ some subzero mornings) and the maximum temperature was about 18 °C. It was like being in Canberra with extra sunlight. That’s not a good thing. Like Canberra, it was very dry. We all know how much I dislike the weather of Canberra. I don’t think I would like a Finnish winter. The cold dry darkness would be inhospitable and the snow would depress me.
I flew to Helsinki via Melbourne and Singapore. It was a pretty long trip. Because of the flights schedules I ended up with some time on the day of my arrival and the day of my departure to walk around a bit of the Helsinki CBD.
I’d been told that Finnish cuisine has a high seafood content and that I might also be able to try some reindeer. Regular readers will know my love of salmon. I wasn’t disappointed. I had salmon at least once every day in Helsinki and also became fond of pickled herring. I love whole baked salmon. It is just so moist and full of flavour. Whole baked salmon beats baked salmon fillets hands down. It would be great to bake a whole salmon but it would be hugely expensive and even I would have trouble eating a whole salmon at once. Friends and even my mother told me about rollmops but I never saw any. The best I could do was put a bit of gherkin between two pieces of pickled herring to make my own sort of rollmop. I don’t know that I could eat a lot of pickled herring in one sitting, but a few pieces for breakfast was really good especially with a poached egg and Hollandaise sauce.
I also got to try reindeer. It was cooked very nicely (medium rare) with a juniper sauce which offset the flavour of the reindeer nicely.
I also got to try some pike-perch which I assume is more perch than pike. It has a delightfully delicate white flesh which flaked really nicely.
Apart from proteins, I also drank my fill of lingonberry and blueberry juice. Who knew egg butter is a thing!
I was expecting the coffee to be good, but it was more akin to American and Canadian coffee.
Helsinki is a really nice city. I saw no homeless people and only a few people begging for money. The streets and buildings are all clean and I get an impression that Finnish people are very neat and tidy. I’m guessing the social welfare system is second to none and unemployment is minimal.
The city is about 150 years old, so it is about one and a half times older than Canberra. The buildings, especially the larger ones are beautiful. There are also some magnificent places of worship. They are quite architecturally beautiful.
The other revelation is the taxicabs. They are so clean and the drivers are friendly, neat, clean and they do not smell of really bad body odour. They also speak excellent English and know where they are going without referring to a GPS device and relying on a customer for directions. A trip from the airport to the CBD will set you back about €30.
While in Helsinki I stayed at the Hilton Strand Helsinki. This was the recommended hotel by the meeting organisers. I found it to be an excellent option. The staff are all friendly and helpful. The breakfast buffet was very good and the restaurant served very nice meals for lunch and dinner. I did not try room service because there is an associated €10 service charge. The Wi-Fi was fast and reliable with good upload capacity if you’re backing up files to a cloud service.
One the subject of currency, euros are quaint looking notes and the coins are nice and solid. I like them more than Australian coins.
As part of the meeting we spent one night socialising at the Design Museum which was really interesting. The Finns are very proud of their designers. A significant portion of the museum is currently dedicated to the designer of the ball chair, which in my opinion is a most uncomfortable and impractical chair. This designer, viz., Eero Aarnio,also developed a pony chair for children and the bubble lamp. Again I’m not sure why these designs are awarding winning. I prefer function over form especially when it comes to posture and maximising comfort and efficiency.
On another evening, meeting participants dined in a floating restaurant which isn’t a boat. This was quite nice and gave me an opportunity to meet new people. I learnt quite a lot about Holland, Denmark and Norway. The word is Scandinavia can be seen in two weeks with good planning.
So I shot a few photographs of food and some of the things I found interesting as I walked in the CBD.
Have you been to Helsinki? What did you think? If you haven’t, would you like to visit?
Male prawns use the petasma during copulation (sex) to grasp a female prawn and transfer the sperm sac. This was a highlight of a dinner party I attended last night.
Let’s rewind a little. Regular readers of Yummy Lummy will be familiar with my friends Peter and Li Peng. Li Peng has recently started a handmade chocolate business known as Jasper and Myrtle Chocolates. I recently shared some photographs and information in a post about Good Friday.
Last night Peter and his friend Dave hosted a dinner for ten people including Bron and me. It was a fabulous event and I met some new people. Of course around food the conversation can roam all over the place. We unpicked some historical stories about Peter’s past as marine biologist in Far North Queensland.
Peter even appeared in an episode of Ask the Leyland Brothers. I reckon any Australian around my age would know about the Leyland brothers and their documentary style television program which extolled the exploits of brothers Mike and Mal. As a marine biologist Peter did quite a bit of work with dugongs. You can see Peter from about 18 minutes and 15 seconds. He’s the skinny bloke in the speedos with all the hair.
The conversation didn’t stop with dugong though, from time to time it got a little ribald and Peter raised the subject of the petasma. It lead to an hilarious exchange that extended to descriptions of claspers on sharks and a recent YouTube video I’d watched after a recommendation from Jennifer Paetsch of Little Monster Girl fame about Japanese chickens and eggs. I never knew how difficult it is to differentiate between male and female chicks.
Anyway if you have an interest in the copulatory behaviour of animals it’s worth looking up some of these things. While I will always have a passion for medicine and microbiology, there is something very satisfying in reading zöology.
I suppose you’re wondering what we ate given Yummy Lummy is a food blog.
Peter and Dave went to the trouble of making a menu and everything. We ate outside in the cool (read bloody cold Autumn) Canberra night on the back deck, hence the name of this ‘pop up’ restaurant.
The entrée was pretty amazing. The tuna was perfectly cooked and crusted and protected by a layer of nori from the pannacotta. The wasabi pannacotta was a revelation. The amount of wasabi was just right. Any more and it would have been too much and any less, could have raised questions of lack of punch. The caviar was a nice touch. I reckon finger limes or salmon roe would also be a nice touch.
The lamb was perfectly cooked and the salsa was to die for. It was so refreshing and flavoursome. The sweet potato cake was also very tasty. The peanut and coconut crème was really nice. I wasn’t sure though it was the best fit with the lamb.
This dessert was a fantastic finish to a most delicious dinner. The granny smith apple was cooked really nicely. It retained its firmness and tartness and complemented the pastry nicely. The pistachio cream had a nice sourness to it which offset the salted caramel sauce really well.
As you might expect we finished with hot cups of tea and chocolate.
Thanks Peter and Li Peng for a great dinner. Here’s to all male prawns having an healthy petasma.
A family photograph at Oriental Yum Cha as we finish lunch!
My youngest daughter turned fifteen last week and I have spent this weekend in Brisbane celebrating with her.
First things first breakfast. Getting close and personal with a Queensland nut (Macadamia) tart served with too much cream from a can. The base was a little too thick and dry making the eating experience difficult.
I spent the morning with Ms20 shopping for birthday invitation stationery for her 21st birthday party.
Around lunch time I fought the Westfield Chermside traffic to pick up Ms18 and Miss15 from Gymnastics training while Ms20 drove my parents into Fortitude Valley so we could meet at Oriental Yum Cha.
When we arrived we were taken to a large table up the back. Mum was worried it may be too far out of the main area for trolleys to visit. At first things were a little slow but it picked up and we really didn’t have to worry.
It would have been nice to be on the upper deck but that was pretty empty.
So on weekdays you get the all you can eat option. We visited on a Saturday so we paid standard rates. We also took heed and did not waste food.
In fifty years of eating this was the first mango and cream omelet I’ve eaten. I need to go back for more them. Truly delicious. A must have and equal to custard tarts IMHO.
So what did I think about Oriental Yum Cha? It was my first time but my daughters and parents had been there a few times before. They reckon it is consistently good. Not the best they’ve ever eaten but always good. I’d agree it was good. The food appeared and tasted fresh. The flavours were good. The service was friendly, helpful and easy going. We were able to get some things cut with scissors and if something was in short supply we could ask for more to come out. The meal was also reasonable in terms of price. It didn’t break the bank and my wallet didn’t suffer a knock out punch. I’d be happy returning and eating more Oriental Yum Cha
We spent the afternoon recovering and trying not to move too much. I was charged with cooking dinner so I went simple and baked some salmon with some kale coleslaw and avocado. Mum made a hazelnut chocolate cheesecake which she served with salted caramel ice cream.
Have you been to Oriental Yum Cha? What did you think?