Travel

Finishing February in Food

Finishing February with much the same routine

Regular readers will know my routine. I’m one of those people who handles life better if I don’t have to think too much about things that shouldn’t require a lot of thought. So I like routines and finishing February was no different.

Before I get to the food, though, it was an odd week where I mentioned a dream about my maternal grandfather and then I shared a little about my family history

Monday and Tuesday evenings mean what for Yummy Lummy?

I hope you answered salmon!

Crispy skin pan-fried salmon with Hass avocado and beetroot coleslaw dressed with aioli Gary Lum
Crispy skin pan-fried salmon with Hass avocado and beetroot coleslaw dressed with aioli
Crispy skin pan-fried salmon with aioli and smoked cheddar cheese Gary Lum
Crispy skin pan-fried salmon with aioli and smoked cheddar cheese

Please do me a favour

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 side bar (if you’re using a laptop or desktop) or at the bottom of the post (if you’re using a mobile device).

By subscribing you’ll receive a personalised e-mail from me and from time to time, apart from the blog post I’ll share something new, like my ideas for a cook book sometime this year.

Wednesday means chicken

Before I get to the chicken, Wednesday lunch meant Burger Wednesday at Urban Bean Espresso Bar and I enjoyed the Korean barbecue beef bulgogi (grilled marinated beef) burger with chips and aioli. 

#Humpday burger. Korean BBQ beef bulgogi (grilled marinated beef) with Asian slaw, aioli and UB chips Gary Lum
#Humpday burger. Korean BBQ beef bulgogi (grilled marinated beef) with Asian slaw, aioli and UB chips

I posted a status update on Wednesday afternoon that Wednesday meant chicken tonight and of course, I received comments that included references to the jar of stuff called “chicken tonight” which I’ve never used.

Hump day roast chicken wings on Coon cheesy bread with avocado, vegetables and lime zest Gary Lum
Hump day roast chicken wings on Coon cheesy bread with avocado, vegetables and lime zest
Vanilla ice cream with mint flake Gary Lum
Vanilla ice cream with mint flake

Thursday was all about hot and spicy Spam

Before I get to the Spam, for lunch because it was pay day I enjoyed the SHISH special from Urban Bean Espresso Bar. It was delicious.

#payday S H I S H - P L A T E TIME Braised lamb, Greek pitta bread, Greek salad with a garlic tahini sauce on the lamb Gary Lum
#payday S H I S H – P L A T E TIME
Braised lamb, Greek pitta bread, Greek salad with a garlic tahini sauce on the lamb

I had half a tin of hot and spicy Spam left in the refrigerator and it needed to be eaten because I was going to spend the weekend in Brisbane. Some people would say unkindly that it wouldn’t matter because Spam can’t go off, but I’d like to remind the haters that Spam is food, it contains meat from the porcine shoulder as well as ham.

Hot and spicy pay day Spam with Coon cheese noodles and vegetables Gary Lum
Hot and spicy pay day Spam with Coon cheese noodles and vegetables

Friday was a cooking-free night

I was spending the weekend in Brisbane with my parents and daughters so Friday night’s dinner was on QF1554. It was a chicken and rice dish.

Chicken salad and rice Gary Lum
Chicken salad and rice

Of course, I spent Friday at the Canberra Hospital and for lunch, I had this dish which I think maybe a quiche but it could be called something else. It contained asparagus, mushroom, rice, cheese and egg. You could carve it.

Rice, egg, asparagus, mushroom, and cheese slice Gary Lum
Rice, egg, asparagus, mushroom, and cheese slice

Saturday lunch and dinner

I had a big day in food on Saturday. I took my youngest two daughters to Sandgate for fish and chips.

Larissa and Nicola with fish and chips at Sandgate Gary Lum Gary with fish and chips at Sandgate Gary Lum

I took everyone out to dinner on Saturday night to Hog’s Breath Café at Aspley to celebrate my youngest daughter turning sixteen.

Pork ribs with prime rib and mashed potato and pepper sauce at Hog’s Breath Café, Aspley
Coconut birthday cake Gary Lum
Coconut birthday cake

Sunday breakfast meant that I completed all the food groups in a weekend

So, if we count Friday night, I’ve eaten chicken, fish, calamari, beef (steak) and pork (ribs) so far.

For breakfast, Mum and Dad cooked a bacon (pork again) omelet and some lamb chops plus some scones. So that’s all five food groups in a weekend.

Lamb chops with bacon eggs and scones

How did I cope?

I think I need to fast for a while.

Final thoughts

This coming week will break my routine so strictly speaking I won’t be finishing February with my routine. I’m interstate on Monday, going out on Tuesday night and Wednesday is senate additional estimates hearings. Who knows what I’ll be eating on Wednesday.

Hopefully, I’ll be back to normal next week.

Bacon, tomato, avocado and cheese sandwich Gary Lum
Bacon, tomato, avocado and cheese sandwich

Can you do me another favour please

I’m sort of transitioning my blogging to balance between food blogging and light hearted ‘medical’ podcasting. Please check out the podcast at drgarylum.com/blog

You can also subscribe via iTunes and Stitcher

 

My alimentary tract has come alive with the smells, sights and sounds of Delhi

How much of my alimentary tract?

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

Facebook embed for alimentary tract alive tweet

Please do me a favour

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).

Breakfasts

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.  

Cheese omelet with baked beans and bacon breakfast at The Imperial alimentary tract Gary Lum
Cheese omelette with baked beans and bacon breakfast at The Imperial
Tuesday breakfast at The Imperial Hotel. A little more adventurous with some local bread. alimentary tract Gary Lum
Tuesday breakfast at The Imperial Hotel. A little more adventurous with some local bread.
Is it wrong to have lovely spicy baked beans with my poori along with a cheese omelet and bacon? alimentary tract Gary Lum
Is it wrong to have lovely spicy baked beans with my poori along with a cheese omelette and bacon?
The potato dumpling went well with the spicy baked beans as well as the cheesy omelet and bacon alimentary tract Gary Lum
The potato dumpling went well with the spicy baked beans as well as the cheesy omelette and bacon
Croissant and doughnut alimentary tract Gary Lum
Croissant and doughnut
TGIF my last breakfast. Aloo Bhaji on paratha meets my spicy baked beans, cheese and chilli 🌶 omelette with bacon alimentary tract Gary Lum
TGIF my last breakfast. Aloo Bhaji on paratha meets my spicy baked beans, cheese and chilli 🌶 omelette with bacon

Lunches

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.  

Northern Indian food alimentary tract Gary Lum
Northern Indian food
Eastern Indian curry lunch alimentary tract Gary Lum
Eastern Indian curry lunch
Southern Indian lunch Imperial Hotel alimentary tract Gary Lum
Southern Indian lunch Imperial Hotel
French chicken cassoulet and crepe Florentine with mutton masala is such a good flavour combination alimentary tract Gary Lum
French chicken cassoulet and crepe Florentine with mutton masala is such a good flavour combination
Chocolate mousse and vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce alimentary tract Gary Lum
Chocolate mousse and vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce
Friday lunch Imperial Hotel, chicken, cauliflower, lamb and paratha alimentary tract Gary Lum
Friday lunch Imperial Hotel, chicken, cauliflower, lamb and paratha

Dinners

Monday night was a buffet with a northern touch.

Northern Indian dinner at The Imperial Hotel | The big green balls were a bit funky, everything else was fantastic. alimentary tract Gary Lum
Northern Indian dinner at The Imperial Hotel | The big green balls were a bit funky, everything else was fantastic.

Tuesday night I had a Thai duck curry.

Kaeng Phed Ped Yang | Roasted duck cooked in Thai red curry garnished with pineapple and rambutan | Spice Route Restaurant alimentary tract Gary Lum
Kaeng Phed Ped Yang | Roasted duck cooked in Thai red curry garnished with pineapple and rambutan | Spice Route Restaurant

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.

Barbecue Nation, Delhi. Prawns, Chicken and Fish. alimentary tract Gary Lum
Barbeque Nation, Delhi. Prawns, Chicken and Fish.

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. 

My mouth is so happy with Burra memsahib's favourite pepper mutton from Coorg. Mutton tossed in spicy marsala. Sorry about poor light. alimentary tract Gary Lum
My mouth is so happy with Burra memsahib’s favourite pepper mutton from Coorg. Mutton tossed in spicy marsala. Sorry about poor light.
Garlic naan alimentary tract Gary Lum
Garlic naan

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. 

Parting words

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.

Travelling from Canberra to Delhi

Why am I going to Delhi?

I’m currently travelling to Delhi for work. Poliovirus containment is a part of what I do at work. The World Health Organization’s global effort to eradicate polio (the disease, as opposed to containing poliovirus, the microorganism that causes polio) also includes poliovirus containment. The distinction is important, it’s important to eradicate the disease and contain the ætiological agent.

Australia has been polio-free for decades and we’re well advanced in poliovirus containment.


Please do me a favour

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).


What preparation is needed?

Spending time in Delhi had me thinking about potential travel-related health problems I might encounter. In addition, if you visit the smart traveller site hosted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, you’ll see there are some important statements about India.

It’s important to speak with a travel doctor, even for work-related travel. That’s what I did. January and February are low-risk times in terms of mosquito-borne infections, especially if I’m mainly going to be in a building with other health professionals. It’s winter so I’ll be in long sleeves and trousers the whole time.

Eating street food isn’t on the agenda because I won’t have an opportunity. I arrived late the night before the meeting and the schedule is packed for all the days I’m in Delhi.

Eating cooked hotel food is part of my staying healthy plan. I have a colleague who is Indian and she returns to the northern parts regularly to visit family and she told me to eat deep fried food. Exactly the opposite of the nutritional advice she shares with me each Friday at the hospital.

One of the problems that India is experiencing is widespread antimicrobial resistance. So much so, that the usual antimicrobials for diseases like typhoid fever are no longer useful.

Canberra to Sydney

I flew Qantas in a Dash 8. There was a snack. It was a little container of a savoury dip and biscuits along with a small piece of apple and coconut cake. I also drank a Bundaberg ginger beer.

Border control at Sydney International Airport

Fortunately, there weren’t a lot of people trying to cross over into the secure zone. For some reason, there was an apparent randomness to queue allocation and while some people went through unhindered after the electronic assessment I was directed to speak with an Australian Border Force officer. He was very friendly and processed my paperwork very quickly.

One poor Englishman though had to say goodbye to his pocket knife. He was remonstrating with security about how other countries let him travel with it but this was to no avail to the private security contractors at Sydney International Airport. 

Dinner

Dinner at the airport was good. I had a caramelised lamb shoulder and chickpeas and then a small deconstructed pavlova.

 

Caramelised lamb shoulder with chickpeas parsley salad and garlic yogurt | Qantas First Class Lounge Delhi Gary Lum
Caramelised lamb shoulder with chickpeas parsley salad and garlic yoghurt | Qantas First Class Lounge [Click for a better view]
Pavlova with cherry nectarines and raspberry | Sydney Airport Qantas First Class Lounge Delhi Gary Lum
Pavlova with cherry nectarines and raspberry | Sydney Airport Qantas First Class Lounge [click for a better view]

Sydney to Kuala Lumpur

I flew Malaysia Airlines on MH140. The flight left on time and soon after take-off, we enjoyed some Malaysian satay, some smoked salmon and then a piece of beef. I also had a piece of cheesecake.

MH140 Malaysian Satay Delhi Gary Lum
MH140 Malaysian Satay

MH140 Smoked salmon entree Delhi Gary Lum
MH140 Smoked salmon entree [click for a better view]
MH140 Beef main course Delhi Gary Lum
MH140 Beef main course [click for a better view]
MH140 Cheesecake dessert Delhi Gary Lum
MH140 Cheesecake dessert [Click for a better view]
The flight was turbulent most of the way and it got worse over the Top End and as we approached Malaysia. I really didn’t sleep. I deliberately didn’t try to stimulate myself with my iPad or iPhone. I’d downloaded a heap of podcasts and I had a couple of books but I basically tried to keep my eyes closed.

The flight was turbulent enough that breakfast wasn’t served. The flight landed at Kuala Lumpur International Airport at about 3.40 am. It was dark but warm (26 °C).

Kuala Lumpur for ten hours

My next flight, MH190 didn’t leave KUL until 4 pm in the afternoon I spent a pleasant day in the airport reading work papers and walking around. Free Wi-Fi is marvellous. I’m so grateful I brought an ‘English’ power adapter as well as the Type C adaptor for India.

Kuala Lumpur to Delhi

MH190 left Kuala Lumpur on time and the flight arrive in Delhi a little early. It was a comfortable flight with a little turbulence on approach to Delhi.

Me on board MH190 Delhi Gary Lum
Me on board MH190

Again, the food started with some satay followed by a small salad and then a round of beef with vegetables. The beef was nice. Not very tender, but it had a nice flavour.

Malaysia Airlines MH190 satay Delhi Gary Lum
Malaysia Airlines MH190 satay [click for a better view]
Malaysia Airlines MH190 Grouper and vegetables Delhi Gary Lum
Malaysia Airlines MH190 Grouper and vegetables [click for a better view]

First impressions of Delhi

Getting off the aeroplane was trouble-free. I’d packed three small bags and had no check in luggage so I didn’t have to wait at a carousel hoping that my bags hadn’t got lost. Delhi airport immigration area has a specific line for diplomats and official passport holders. I got straight in and out in less than one minute. My best experience ever.

As I moved through I could see long lines of people wanting to buy rupee. I’d been told I could get by with my personal credit card so I elected not to wait in line.

WHO takes personal security very seriously so whenever a delegate lands there is someone to meet them and arrange transport to the hotel. This was no different and it worked well.

India celebrated republic day on 26 January, the same date as Australia day. As I drove past all the government buildings they were lit up beautifully in white light bulbs.

The Imperial Hotel

The meeting is at the Imperial Hotel in the middle of New Delhi. It’s an older building, built in the early 1900s in an Art Deco style. It’s very comfortable.

Room 265 The Imperial. After a long flight a bed is good. Delhi Gary Lum
Room 265 The Imperial. After a long flight a bed is good. [click for a better view]
The food in the hotel restaurants has been very nice. You’ll see examples in my social media feeds.

I’ll catch you later.

Parting words

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.

Fun food on the Sandgate mudflats at low tide

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.


I’d like to put in a plug for my new podcasting venture. Please check out Medical Fun Facts at https://drgarylum.com/blog/


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.

2016-11-11_19-00-51_015_gary_lum 2016-11-11_19-17-27_014_gary_lum

Meatballs with mashed potato
Meatballs with 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.

Caramel condensed milk with Ferrero Rocher
Caramel condensed milk with Ferrero Rocher

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.

2016-11-12_09-27-40_010_gary_lum

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.

2016-11-12_11-27-14_009_gary_lum

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.

Potato scallops and crumbed calamari
Potato scallops and crumbed calamari
Sandgate fishmonger
Sandgate fishmonger
Potato scallops and crumbed calamari
Potato scallops and crumbed calamari

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.

Seafood platter
Seafood platter
Seafood platter
Seafood platter
Buffet plate
Buffet plate

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.

Bacon, sausage, tomato, egg and pikelet at Wheller on the Park #breakfast #yummylummy #foodporn #yummy #delicious #instafood #iphone #bne #brisbane
Bacon, sausage, tomato, egg and pikelet at Wheller on the Park
#breakfast #yummylummy #foodporn #yummy #delicious #instafood #iphone #bne #brisbane
Maply syrup and bacon on a pikelet
Maply syrup and bacon on a pikelet
These plates are older than me
These plates are older than me

I’m now back in Canberra where it is cold, windy and wet. I wish I was back with my daughters in Brisbane.

The three best vanilla slices of my road trip to Bendigo

Before we get to the vanilla slices, I should explain why I’m doing a road trip to Bendigo.

2016 National Clubs Carnival for Gymnastics Australia

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.

Bendigo

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.

The plan

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.

First stop

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.

Coffee and scone road trip to Bendigo
Coffee and scone

Dunny stop

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.

Dunny stop at Tarcutta road trip to Bendigo
Dunny stop at Tarcutta

Morning tea

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.

 

Lunch

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.

Duck fat garlic potato wedges miso mayonnaise Beetroot sweet potato fritter, avocado, mushrooms, poached egg and spinach Beetroot ginger carrot apple drink road trip to Bendigo
Duck fat garlic potato wedges miso mayonnaise, Beetroot sweet potato fritter, avocado, mushrooms, poached egg and spinach, and Beetroot ginger carrot apple drink

Afternoon tea

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.

Lions Park Violet Town road trip to Bendigo
Lions Park Violet Town
Violet Town Cafe road trip to Bendigo
Violet Town Cafe

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.

 

This vanilla slice and tea was a revelation at the Violet Town Cafe. I love the passion fruit in the custard and in the vanilla icing. I highly recommend the Violet Town Cafe! road trip to Bendigo
This vanilla slice and tea were a revelation at the Violet Town Cafe. I love the passionfruit in the custard and in the vanilla icing. I highly recommend the Violet Town Cafe!

Comfort Inn Julie-Anna Bendigo

Comfort Inn Julie-Anna spa bath road trip to Bendigo
Comfort Inn Julie-Anna spa bath

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

 

 

Dinner

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.

Parmesan crusted braised lamb shoulder with pea purée and mashed potato road trip to Bendigo
Parmesan crusted braised lamb shoulder with pea purée and mashed potato
Vanilla cheesecake with chocolate soil and raspberry coulis road trip to Bendigo
Vanilla cheesecake with chocolate soil and raspberry coulis

For dessert, I went with the vanilla cheesecake which came with chocolate soil and a raspberry coulis.

Thursday 15 September

Breakfast

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.

Queen Victoria Bendigo road trip to Bendigo
Queen Victoria Bendigo

Then I saw that the Pall Mall café was open and I went in and had Eggs Benedict. It was a pretty good breakfast.

Eggs Benedict Pall Mall Café road trip to Bendigo
Eggs Benedict Pall Mall Café. The streaky bacon was crisp and delicious.

National Clubs Carnival Bendigo Stadium

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

Dinner

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 pork shoulder rillette, braised pork belly, sweet potato mash and spinach road trip to Bendigo
Crumbed pork shoulder rillette, braised pork belly, sweet potato mash and spinach

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

Breakfast

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.

Bircher's Muesli and Yoghurt road trip to Bendigo
Bircher’s Muesli and Yoghurt
Poached eggs with Hollandaise, spinach and smoked salmon from Comfort Inn Julie-Anna road trip to Bendigo
Poached eggs with Hollandaise, spinach and smoked salmon from Comfort Inn Julie-Anna

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.

Potato gems at NCC 2016 road trip to Bendigo
Potato gems at NCC 2016

road trip to Bendigoroad trip to Bendigo

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.

Breakfast

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.

Benalla rest stop road trip to Bendigo
Benalla rest stop
Hides Bakery road trip to Bendigo
Hides Bakery
Coffee from Hides Bakery, Benalla road trip to Bendigo
Coffee from Hides Bakery, Benalla
Scrambled eggs with bacon and tomato on avocado sourdough bread from Hides Bakery, Benalla road trip to Bendigo
Scrambled eggs with bacon and tomato on avocado sourdough bread from Hides Bakery, Benalla
Takeaway vanilla slice needs protection road trip to Bendigo
Takeaway vanilla slice needs protection

Morning tea

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.

Hides Bakery Vanilla slice at a rest stop midway between Wangaratta and Wodonga at 36°13'12" S 146°26'42" E road trip to Bendigo
Hides Bakery Vanilla slice at a rest stop midway between Wangaratta and Wodonga at 36°13’12” S 146°26’42” E

Lunch

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.

Minted lamb pie from Henri's Bakery, Wodonga road trip to Bendigo
Minted lamb pie from Henri’s Bakery, Wodonga
Henri's Bakery Wodonga road trip to Bendigo
Henri’s Bakery Wodonga

Coffee stop

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.

Coffee from the Interchange Cafe Tarcutta road trip to Bendigo
Coffee from the Interchange Cafe Tarcutta

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.

Fried cheesy noodles with lup cheong and vegetables road trip to Bendigo
Fried cheesy noodles with lup cheong and vegetables

Final words

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.

2016 National Clubs Carnival Ms19 retirement road trip to Bendigo
2016 National Clubs Carnival Ms19 retirement

Have you been to Bendigo?

What did you think? What did you eat? What did you do?

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Helsinki, Finland

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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.

Coffee with my passport

QF795 CBR to MEL Cheese omelet with sausages
QF795 CBR to MEL Cheese omelet with sausages
Almond croissant with pineapple juice in Qantas First Lounge MEL
Almond croissant with pineapple juice in Qantas First Lounge MEL
Crab and vegetable savoury pancake on QF35
Crab and vegetable savoury pancake on QF35
Toasted beef, mushroom and fontina sandwich with crème fraiche and rocquet on QF35
Toasted beef, mushroom and fontina sandwich with crème fraiche and rocquet on QF35
Baked chocolate, wattleseed and almond tart with date cream on QF35
Baked chocolate, wattleseed and almond tart with date cream on QF35
Roast pork with black bean, chilli, garlic, chives, tofu and noodles on QF35
Roast pork with black bean, chilli, garlic, chives, tofu and noodles on QF35
Port Keats from QF35
Port Keats from QF35
Ice cream in Singapore Qantas Club lounge
Ice cream in Singapore Qantas Club lounge
Meripaviljonki Ravintola Floating Restaurant
Meripaviljonki Ravintola Floating Restaurant
Helsinki public art
Helsinki public art

Bicycle rack

Hilton Strand Helsinki
Hilton Strand Helsinki
Transformer cow
Transformer cow
Pepsi Max and biscuit in Helsinki
Pepsi Max and biscuit in Helsinki
Steak and salad
Steak and salad

BRO restaurant menu BRO restaurant Bread from BRO BRO restaurant

Alder smoke reindeer roast from Kemijärvi, juniper berry sauce, shimeji mushroom, fennel butter brussels sprout from BRO Restaurant
Alder smoke reindeer roast from Kemijärvi, juniper berry sauce, shimeji mushroom, fennel butter brussels sprout from BRO Restaurant
Canapes at the Design Museum
Canapes at the Design Museum
The Mushroom at the Helsinki Design Museum
The Mushroom at the Helsinki Design Museum
Hilton Strand Helsinki room view
Hilton Strand Helsinki room view
Vegetable tartlet with morel cream and asparagus caviar at Meripaviljonki Ravintola Restaurant
Vegetable tartlet with morel cream and asparagus caviar at Meripaviljonki Ravintola Restaurant
Roasted pike-perch with spinach quinoa, grilled asparagus and lobster sauce at Meripaviljonki Ravintola Restaurant
Roasted pike-perch with spinach quinoa, grilled asparagus and lobster sauce at Meripaviljonki Ravintola Restaurant
Chocolate ganache with rick salt and caramel plus vanilla ice cream at Meripaviljonki Ravintola Restaurant
Chocolate ganache with rick salt and caramel plus vanilla ice cream at Meripaviljonki Ravintola Restaurant
Chicken breast and meat balls
Chicken breast and meat balls
Bacon and eggs with Hollandaise sauce and egg butter
Bacon and eggs with Hollandaise sauce and egg butter
Salmon, pickled herring and pickles
Salmon, pickled herring and pickles
Pickled herring, smoked salmon, poached eggs, with Hollandaise sauce plus crispy bacon and potato on buttered toast
Pickled herring, smoked salmon, poached eggs, with Hollandaise sauce plus crispy bacon and potato on buttered toast

Helsinki

Firefighters
Firefighters

Helsinki Helsinki Helsinki Helsinki

Beer garden
Beer garden
Pansies
Pansies
Performance art in Helsinki
Performance art in Helsinki
Public art in Helsinki
Public art in Helsinki
Performance art in Helsinki
Performance art in Helsinki

Helsinki

Polka dot trees as part of a public art installation by Yayoi Kusama
Polka dot trees as part of a public art installation by Yayoi Kusama
Public art and pubic art in Helsinki
Public art and pubic art in Helsinki

Design museum

Hors d'oeuvres including wild boar pâté and salmon
Hors d’oeuvres including wild boar pâté and salmon
Surf'n'turf with salmon, prawns and beef plus a slider. The salmon ceviche and Skargen was great.
Surf’n’turf with salmon, prawns and beef plus a slider. The salmon ceviche and Skargen was great.
Meringue and sponge cake dessert in Helsinki. This was better than Pavlova!
Meringue and sponge cake dessert in Helsinki. This was better than Pavlova!
Pressed beef neck, celeriac purée, herb butter and spring vegetables
Pressed beef neck, celeriac purée, herb butter and spring vegetables

Cloud porn coming into Singapore

Have you been to Helsinki? What did you think? If you haven’t, would you like to visit?

 

What I ate this week

In the last week I have really eaten quite a lot. I won’t go through every meal but just the ones that I have photographs for.

Last Sunday I turned 51 and I bought a cake to celebrate.

Big Boy from Ricardo's Cafe and Patisserie
Big Boy from Ricardo’s Cafe and Patisserie

This is from Ricardo’s Cafe and Patisserie in the Jamison Plaza shops. This is known as the Big Boy. It’s slightly larger than a softball but the crispy nutty chocolate shell contains a rich chocolate mousse. It was delicious.

Readers who follow me on other social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter will have noticed that my lunch photographs have taken on an artistic background in the last week. I found an old 2008 calendar and thought it would make a nice backdrop. It’s quite large and it has some interesting subject matter.

Because my leftover meals tend to look ‘beige’ as some friends say (meaning bland and unappealing) I’ve been experimenting with black and white.

Monday lunch was leftover lamb forequarter chops

Leftover lamb forequarter chops
Leftover lamb forequarter chops

Monday dinner was baked salmon

Honey soy baked salmon with vegetables
Honey soy baked salmon with vegetables

Tuesday breakfast was fried eggs and cheese

Fried eggs and cheese
Fried eggs and cheese

Tuesday morning coffee from Urban Bean Espresso Bar

Coffee from Urban Bean Espresso Bar
Coffee from Urban Bean Espresso Bar

Tuesday lunch was leftover chicken giblet congee

Leftover chicken giblet congee with black fungus and an artistic background. Where is that hand going?
Leftover chicken giblet congee with black fungus and an artistic background. Where is that hand going?

Tuesday afternoon tea

Crunchie bar with note paper
Crunchie bar with note paper

Tuesday dinner was baked salmon and crunchy rice

Baked salmon with fried quinoa rice
Baked salmon with fried quinoa rice

Wednesday lunch was leftover forequarter lamb chops

Leftover slow cooker lamb forequarter chops with potatoes and quinoa rice
Leftover slow cooker lamb forequarter chops with potatoes and quinoa rice

Wednesday dinner was Chicken Maryland and crunchy rice

Chicken Maryland with crunchy quinoa rice, avocado, Brussels sprouts and cheesy potato gems
Chicken Maryland with crunchy quinoa rice, avocado, Brussels sprouts and cheesy potato gems

Thursday breakfast was a Snickers bar. I had a 6 am teleconference.

Snickers on my keyboard
Snickers on my keyboard

Thursday lunch was leftover slow cooker beef

Leftover slow cooker beef and vegetables
Leftover slow cooker beef and vegetables

Thursday afternoon tea was charity chocolate

Turkish delight and picnic chocolate on my keyboard
Turkish delight and picnic chocolate on my keyboard

Thursday dinner was Chicken Maryland with crunchy noodles

Baked cheesy Chicken Maryland with crunchy noodles and cheesy potato gems
Baked cheesy Chicken Maryland with crunchy noodles and cheesy potato gems
Baked cheesy Chicken Maryland with crunchy noodles and cheesy potato gems
Baked cheesy Chicken Maryland with crunchy noodles and cheesy potato gems

Friday breakfast was a cheese and spring onion omelet

Cheese and spring onion omelet
Cheese and spring onion omelet

Friday lunch wasn’t leftovers. Normally on Fridays I work in ACT Pathology at The Canberra Hospital. This Friday though we had senate budget estimates so I had to be at my regular job. I ended up driving to Parliament House twice and didn’t get asked anything which I’m not unhappy about. I’ve had a bit to say over the last couple of estimates hearings and gave evidence at a senate inquiry hearing towards the end of April. So for Friday lunch I splurged a bit and enjoyed a Pork belly cheeseburger with a really nice jalapeño aioli from Urban Bean Espresso Bar.

2016-05-06_08.34.48_001_GARY_LUM_IG

Pork belly with Jalapeño aioli cheese burger and chips from Urban Bean Espresso Bar
Pork belly with Jalapeño aioli cheese burger and chips from Urban Bean Espresso Bar

2016-05-06_10.30.14_001_GARY_LUM_IG

Friday dinner was a simple affair. The Australian Kangaroos were playing a rugby league test match against the New Zealand Kiwis so I needed some footy food. In the end I went to Coles and bought a couple of beef and mushroom meat pies for dinner. I used Adobe Photoshop to create the Green and Gold background in support of the Australian team which contained most of what I hope are the Queensland team for this year’s State of Origin series.

Beef and mushroom meat pie
Beef and mushroom meat pie

Saturday breakfast was in the QANTAS club at the Canberra International Airport. I went with a slice of rain toast, a glass of tomato juice and a small latte.

Raisin toast with coffee
Raisin toast with coffee

The flight to Brisbane was pretty smooth. I ended up in an armrest battle. Have you had one of those?

I ended up eating second breakfast!

Breakfast on QF948 CBR to BNE
Breakfast on QF948 CBR to BNE

I flew to Brisbane for my eldest daughter’s twenty-first birthday. Ms21 is a qualified event planner/manager so we had a really nice party with family and her friends.

Mum and Dad took me out to lunch to Portabella Restaurant to celebrate my birthday from last week. We also had Ms18 and Miss15 with us too. Ms18 is now Ms19 so it was a celebration for her too. Yes, my two eldest daughters were born on the same day.

Mum, Dad, Larissa and Nicola
Mum, Dad, Larissa and Nicola
Larissa and Nicola
Larissa and Nicola

I was going to asked for the pork belly or the lamb shank but the fish of the day was a wild caught fresh north Queensland barramundi. My mouth started to salivate.

Crispy skin barramundi with duck fat sauteed potatoes
Crispy skin barramundi with duck fat sauteed potatoes

It wasn’t what I was hoping for. The skin was crispy. The duck fat sautéed potatoes were nice. It looked nice but the barra wasn’t pleasant to eat. It wasn’t moist and flaky. It was spongy and bits clung to the teeth. Barramundi can be difficult to cook, it is bad undercooked and easy to overcook. I suppose having lived in the Top End for nearly 12 years I was spoilt. I’ll know next time to ask for something else like the pork or the lamb.

For afternoon tea I had a vanilla slice

Vanilla slice
Vanilla slice

For Saturday evening we celebrated Ms20’s 21st birthday. No food photographs sorry but here are some photographs from the evening.

Grace and Rhys Grace, Larissa, Nicola, Mum and Dad Grace, Mum and Dad Grace and Samantha

Chinese Lantern made by the birthday girl
Chinese Lantern made by the birthday girl

Grace, Larissa and Nicola at #GraceLum21 Grace, Larissa, Nicola and Samantha

Sunday Mother’s day breakfast at Groove Train Chermside

Hearty vegetarian at Groove Train
Hearty vegetarian at Groove Train

The hearty vegetarian always a good choice and better when Mum gave me some bacon from her Eggs Benedict.

I hope you had a good week!

My week in food

I’ve had an interesting week. Work has been busy and on Wednesday I flew to Perth for work. I heard from Ms18 that the Queensland state gymnastics competition has been going well. She did well on the first day and I’m hoping her second day of competition finishes with even better results.

In terms of sleep, it hasn’t been great. Despite my CPAP machine I seem to be going through a period of early waking and an inability to return to sleep. My tinnitus has been worse and I’m not sure why. I’m quite careful not to expose myself to loud sounds and before bed I try to observe good sleep hygiene. I guess I should try to do more exercise. That always seems to be a good option.

So this week I’ve enjoyed some nice food.


On Monday I had leftover slow cooked beef, speck and spam for lunch

Leftover slowly cooked beef, speck and spam
Leftover slowly cooked beef, speck and spam

For Monday dinner I enjoyed some greens with a piece of baked salmon

Baked salmon with peas, sugar snap peas and broccoli
Baked salmon with peas, sugar snap peas and broccoli

Tuesday breakfast was scrambled eggs Gordon Ramsay style

Cheese and chives scrambled eggs
Cheese and chives scrambled eggs

Tuesday lunch was leftover corned beef congee

Corned beef quinoa congee
Corned beef quinoa congee

Tuesday dinner saw me flake some baked salmon and enjoy it with noodles

Baked salmon with ramen noodles with cheese, avocado, and beef, speck and spam gravy plus sugar snap peas
Baked salmon with ramen noodles with cheese, avocado, and beef, speck and spam gravy plus sugar snap peas

I had sugar and cinnamon doughnuts for Wednesday breakfast

Coffee and doughnuts
Coffee and doughnuts

My Wednesday lunch was a repeat of Monday, this time with different reading material

Slow cooked beef, speck and spam
Slow cooked beef, speck and spam

A friend at work likes to share with me when Urban Bean Espresso Bar is selling really nice cheesecake. This photograph shows three things I really like. A Queensland flag, a photograph of a FA-18 Hornet which was a gift from the CO RAAF Tindal and Squadron 322 and of course a caramel almond toffee cheesecake.

Caramel almond toffee crunch cheesecake from Urban Bean Espresso Bar with a Queensland flag and a gift from 322 Squadron Tindal, NT
Caramel almond toffee crunch cheesecake from Urban Bean Espresso Bar with a Queensland flag and a gift from 322 Squadron Tindal, NT
Caramel almond toffee crunch cheesecake from Urban Bean Espresso Bar
Caramel almond toffee crunch cheesecake from Urban Bean Espresso Bar

I was in Perth on Thursday morning and stayed at the International on the water hotel.

Bacon and eggs with mushrooms and a hashbrown
Bacon and eggs with mushrooms and a hashbrown

On Thursday night I had room service for dinner

Chilli mussels International on the water Hotel
Chilli mussels International on the water Hotel
Stuffed mushrooms International on the water Hotel
Stuffed mushrooms International on the water Hotel

Friday night was an easy one with leftover corned beef quinoa rice congee

Corned beef quinoa congee
Corned beef quinoa congee

On Saturday I had a leisurely breakfast of cheese and chives scrambled eggs with a cup of coffee

Cheese and chives scrambled eggs with coffee
Cheese and chives scrambled eggs with coffee

Saturday much was tinned pink salmon with an avocado on Vita-Weat with cream cheese

Tinned pink salmon with avocado on Vita-Weat with cream cheese
Tinned pink salmon with avocado on Vita-Weat with cream cheese

Saturday evening I had a lovely chicken giblet congee with black fungus

Chicken thigh, drumstick and giblet congee with black fungus
Chicken thigh, drumstick and giblet congee with black fungus

Sunday lunch was a chicken breast hot pie

Garlo's chicken breast hot pie
Garlo’s chicken breast hot pie

This dish is known as “Jacqui” after my friend Jacqui

The 'Jacqui' aka Garlo's chicken breast hot pie with cheesy potato gems
The ‘Jacqui’ aka Garlo’s chicken breast hot pie with cheesy potato gems
The 'Jacqui' aka Garlo's chicken breast hot pie with cheesy potato gems
The ‘Jacqui’ aka Garlo’s chicken breast hot pie with cheesy potato gems
Potato gems
Potato gems

So it’s been a pretty yummy week in food. None of this is really helping my waistline. Oh well, I will work on that later.

Oriental Yum Cha

A family photograph at Oriental Yum Cha as we finish lunch!

Gary Lum My Mum, Dad and daughters
My Mum, Dad and daughters

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.

Queensland nut tart
Queensland nut tart

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.

Gary Lum Oriental Yum Cha
Inside the restaurant on the empty upper floor

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.

Don't waste food
Don’t waste food
Turnip cakes and stuff
Turnip cakes and stuff
Duck, pork and calamari
Duck, pork and calamari
Roast duck
Roast duck
Fried wonton
Fried wonton
Calamari
Calamari
Calamari
Calamari
Barbecue pork
Barbecue pork
Oriental Yum Cha lunch
Oriental Yum Cha lunch
Spare ribs
Spare ribs

Oriental Yum Cha

Prawns
Prawns

Oriental Yum Cha

Custard tarts
Custard tarts
Mango omelet
Mango omelet
Coconut jelly
Coconut jelly
Mango omelet
Mango omelet

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.

Baked salmon with kale and avocado coleslaw
Baked salmon with kale and avocado coleslaw

Nicola's birthday hazelnut chocolate cheesecake

Nicola and her birthday cheesecake
birthday cheesecake
Hazelnut chocolate cheesecake and salted caramel ice cream
Hazelnut chocolate cheesecake and salted caramel ice cream

Have you been to Oriental Yum Cha? What did you think?