Brisbane

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

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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

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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!

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?

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

I’m writing this from my parent’s dining table in Brisbane.

It’s Friday 25 December 2015. It’s Christmas Day.

Merry Christmas 😃🎁🎅🎄⭐🌟🖖

My flight from Canberra to Brisbane departed shortly after 9 am. I enjoyed meeting some friends at the airport before boarding which was great.

My flight was uneventful and smooth. I was surprised how full the flight was. I managed to get an aisle seat with no one next to me so that was a plus.

The Brisbane roads were pretty barren so the journey to my parent’s place was very quick.

It was good to see Mum and Dad. It’s been a few months since I last visited. I’ve been busy with work and trying to save a little money.

As soon as I arrived mum had me preparing coleslaw. I made it with a special surprise. I added some fried shallots and crushed Queensland nuts (Macadamia). Mum had two chickens (chooks) in the oven full of her stuffing which I love. Mum made a green salad with hard boiled eggs, mango and avocado. We also had smashed potatoes (spuds). Dr48 (my middle brother) was due to arrive with roast pork and crackling, chicken wings, Moreton Bay bugs, Endeavour prawns and a lobster. Mum made a seafood sauce to go with all the seafood. Dr48’s wife (SIL) brought along a pavlova (you know that Australian invention that people from New Zealand claim they invented).

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I feel so full. I had three plates of lunch followed by a big slice of pavlova with ice cream.

It’s been a good day. It was good seeing my brothers. It was good seeing Mum and Dad.

I feel so full. I’m not having any dinner. I think if I tried eating more I’d make myself feel sick.

I hope you had a great Christmas Day.

Tell me what did you eat for Christmas 2015?

The #Ekka 2015

I love The Ekka (aka the exhibition or the Royal Queensland Show). Every year I try to go. This year I’d booked tickets and had been chatting about it with my daughters for months. There was a new nights show we all wanted to see.

I flew up on Friday evening on Qantas Flight (QF) 1554 and when I arrived Dad was watching the Brisbane Broncos defeat the team from Illawarra.

After a restless sleep the girls and I went to Westfield Chermside to get some groceries for Mum and grab a bite to eat for breakfast.

I went with a nice slice of coconut loaf and a tall white chocolate mocha.

Coconut loaf from Starbucks Westfield Chermside
Coconut loaf from Starbucks Westfield Chermside

After taking Miss14 and Miss18 to gymnastics training Miss20 and I did a few things to help with her university study.

If you want to see the photographs as a gallery check out Google Photos. Click on one image to see it full size. To see the EXIF data (including a map if the photograph was geotagged) click on the information (i) icon in the top right corner. You can navigate through the gallery using the arrow keys or by swiping if you’re using a tablet or smartphone. Here’s another gallery that I created with Adobe Lightroom web gallery module.

We picked up Miss14 and Miss18 at 2 pm and proceeded to Wooloowin Train Station to catch a train to Fortitude Valley Station and then the Loop ride.

 

Wooloowin Train Station
Wooloowin Train Station
Wooloowin Train Station
Wooloowin Train Station
Wooloowin Train Station
Wooloowin Train Station
Wooloowin Train Station
Wooloowin Train Station
The new communications equipment at Fortitude Valley Train Station
The new communications equipment at Fortitude Valley Train Station

When we arrived we went straight to the racing pigs to check out how these little porkers run around a ring and dive into a pool of water.

Pig racing at The Ekka. Diving pigs too.
Pig racing at The Ekka. Diving pigs too.
Pig racing at The Ekka. Diving pigs too.
Pig racing. Diving pigs too.

We then went to the food pavilion and checked out the free tasting treats. We had caramelised onion dip, doughnuts, bread, meatballs and other samples. We then went through and bought some dumplings and samosas. They were delicious.

Next on the list of things to do was the cake decoration display.

Cake decorating at The Ekka
Cake decorating
Cake decorating at The Ekka
Cake decorating
Cake decorating at The Ekka
Cake decorating

We’d agreed that at around 4.45 pm we’d wander over to the main arena to settle in for the evening’s entertainment. But before that we had one very important thing to do.

The best ice cream in the whole world is the strawberry sundae made by volunteers for The Prince Charles Hospital. If you’ve never had one you need to go to The Ekka and try one. They are so good when I worked at The Royal Brisbane Hospital in 1995 we used to go over everyday and get someone on the inside to buy a tray for us and bring them back to the laboratory.

Gary Lum eating a strawberry sundae at The Ekka.
Gary Lum eating a strawberry sundae at The Ekka.
Strawberry sundae at The Ekka
Strawberry sundae at The Ekka

After inhaling the ice cream we went to the main arena and sat on Machinery Hill.

We watched the horse whisperers and then the wood chop and then the rest of the light entertainment waiting for the monster trucks, motorcycles and drift cars.

I apologise these photographs are pretty crap. They’re mostly unprocessed and RAW out of the camera. I used a long lens with an aperture that was too small. The shutter speed was too long for sharp shots. I hope the ‘vibe’ of the photographs are okay.

Wood chop competition at The Ekka
Wood chop competition at The Ekka

After the wood chop Miss20 went and bought some popcorn which we devoured.

Saturday night fun at The Ekka. Monster trucks, motorcycles, and burn outs.
Saturday night fun at The Ekka. Monster trucks, motorcycles, and burn outs.
Saturday night fun at The Ekka. Monster trucks, motorcycles, and burn outs.
Saturday night fun at The Ekka. Monster trucks, motorcycles, and burn outs.
Saturday night fun at The Ekka. Monster trucks, motorcycles, and burn outs.
Saturday night fun at The Ekka. Monster trucks, motorcycles, and burn outs.
Saturday night fun at The Ekka. Monster trucks, motorcycles, and burn outs.
Saturday night fun at The Ekka. Monster trucks, motorcycles, and burn outs.
Saturday night fun at The Ekka. Monster trucks, motorcycles, and burn outs.
Saturday night fun at The Ekka. Monster trucks, motorcycles, and burn outs.
Saturday night fun at The Ekka. Monster trucks, motorcycles, and burn outs.
Saturday night fun at The Ekka. Monster trucks, motorcycles, and burn outs.
Saturday night fun at The Ekka. Monster trucks, motorcycles, and burn outs.
Saturday night fun at The Ekka. Monster trucks, motorcycles, and burn outs.
Saturday night fun at The Ekka. Monster trucks, motorcycles, and burn outs.
Saturday night fun at The Ekka. Monster trucks, motorcycles, and burn outs.
Saturday night fun at The Ekka. Monster trucks, motorcycles, and burn outs.
Saturday night fun at The Ekka. Monster trucks, motorcycles, and burn outs.
Saturday night fun at The Ekka. Monster trucks, motorcycles, and burn outs.
Saturday night fun at The Ekka. Monster trucks, motorcycles, and burn outs.
Saturday night fun at The Ekka. Monster trucks, motorcycles, and burn outs.
Saturday night fun at The Ekka. Monster trucks, motorcycles, and burn outs.

The entertainment ended with fireworks. I love fireworks. I’m so grateful I have eyes and ears to see and hear them. They are so beautiful. The Ekka fireworks are awesome.

I apologise these photographs are pretty crap. They’re unprocessed and RAW out of the camera.

Fireworks at The Ekka
Fireworks at The Ekka
Fireworks at The Ekka
Fireworks at The Ekka
Fireworks at The Ekka
Fireworks at The Ekka
Fireworks at The Ekka
Fireworks at The Ekka

After the fireworks we walked through sideshow alley and settled down to share a foot (12 inches) long Dagwood super dog.

Gary Lum eating a Dagwood dog at The Ekka
Gary Lum eating a Dagwood dog at The Ekka
Foot long Dagwood dog at The Ekka
Foot long Dagwood dog at The Ekka

We left on the train, got off at Central Train Station and proceeded to have a late night Maccas run. I had a cheeseburger, small chips and vanilla thick shake.

Post Ekka late night snack at Central Train Station. McDonalds cheeseburger, small fries and a vanilla thick shake.
Post Ekka late night snack at Central Train Station. McDonalds cheeseburger, small fries and a vanilla thick shake.

After a much better sleep Mum and Dad made us all waffles with eggs, bacon and sausage.

Sunday breakfast in Brisbane. Bacon, sausage and egg with waffle and strawberries and tomato.
Sunday breakfast in Brisbane. Bacon, sausage and egg with waffle and strawberries and tomato.

Have you ever been to The Ekka? How did you spend your weekend?

How to have the best weekend ever

This weekend just past has been awfully cold in Canberra. On Sunday I heard the maximum temperature didn’t get above 5 °C. So how would I have the best weekend with that sort of temperature? I escaped of course. I went to visit my kids and parents in Brisbane and had the best weekend I’ve had in ages.

The flight up was comfortable and I enjoyed a tuna salad for tea.

Tuna salad on QF 1554 CBR to BNE
Tuna salad on QF 1554 CBR to BNE

When I arrived we started planning the following day. Toast for breakfast, drive to Nambour and check out the markets at the Big Pineapple and hopefully pick up some morning tea. Drive on to Noosa, walk around and enjoy lunch. Drive back via Yandina and visit the Buderim Ginger Factory and Nutworks, hopefully for afternoon tea and then back to my parents’ place for dinner.

The Big Pineapple Sunshine Plantation
The Big Pineapple Sunshine Plantation
Meat without feet
Meat without feet

It sort of worked out that way. When we got to the Big Pineapple we enjoyed a walk around the old building and into the pineapple. The markets have taken over which is good. I’m glad to see the buildings are still getting use. The little zoölogical gardens are still there and fields of pineapples too. The cafe didn’t seem to have any pastries so we decided to look through Nambour.

As we drove through the main drag of Nambour we were surprised at how many of the shops were closed. Some were boarded up and most of the others were closed for business. We drove around and around and couldn’t see a bakery or a cafe open. Disappointed we drove on.

As we approach Eumundi we thought we’d check out the markets. Well that was great in theory but rubbish practically. We spent thirty minutes lined up along the road trying to find a park. In the end we decided to give it a miss. The place was so crowded it would have wasted time we didn’t have.

We drove on to Noosa, found a car park pretty easily and started walking around. We found a bakery and had morning tea. I had a small pecan tart.

Pecan tart from Noosa
Pecan tart from Noosa

As we walked up and down Hastings Street we had fun walking in and out of shops and checking things out.

Cockatoos by two
Cockatoos by two
Hairy Mannequin
Hairy Mannequin
Interesting tree roots
Interesting tree roots
Miss20 with a mask on Hastings Street Noosa
Miss20 with a mask on Hastings Street Noosa
Miss18 with a mask on Hastings Street Noosa
Miss18 with a mask on Hastings Street Noosa
Miss20 with a mask on Hastings Street Noosa
Miss20 with a mask on Hastings Street Noosa

We thought we’d buy some lunch and have it on the beach. Miss18 had brought a couple of beach towels and the girls wanted chips and gravy while I wanted sushi rolls. We bought both and shared it all 

Sushi rolls on Noosa beach
Sushi rolls on Noosa beach
Chips and gravy on Noosa beach
Chips and gravy on Noosa beach

The beach was glorious. It was about 22 °C and sunny. The water was so blue, the sand so white and fine. I looked at my weather app for Canberra and laughed out loud. I was in a T-shirt basking in the sunny goodness.

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You can see the beach reflected in my sunnies
You can see the beach reflected in my sunnies

My daughters went to town taking selfies. All through the day they had their telephones out capturing everything around them. We were so happy, we kept saying to each other how glorious the weather was and how we wished we had brought our togs. The water would be cold but there was no wind and with the sunshine we could warm up on the sand.

After a couple of hours of just sitting under the shade of some trees looking out into the ocean we packed up and drove to Yandina.

We headed to the Buderim Ginger Factory and Nutworks.

Buderim Ginger Factory train crossing
Buderim Ginger Factory train crossing
A can of Buderim ginger beer and pear
A can of Buderim ginger beer and pear

This ginger beer and pear was delicious.

Buderim Ginger Factory Ginger scone with ginger marmalade and cream
Buderim Ginger Factory Ginger scone with ginger marmalade and cream

Miss18 loved her afternoon tea

Lizard on a turtle on a rock at Buderim Ginger Factory
Lizard on a turtle on a rock at Buderim Ginger Factory
Crocodile jerky
Crocodile jerky

I’ve never tried crocodile jerky.

After buying Mum some Queensland nuts for Sunday breakfast we headed back to Brisbane.

Mum had tea ready for us. I got to carve an amazing butterflied and stuffed lamb shoulder. It was glorious.

Roast lamb shoulder and vegetables for Saturday dinner
Roast lamb shoulder and vegetables for Saturday dinner

After a good sleep Mum and Miss18 put together waffles for breakfast. We had butterscotch sauce, caramel ice cream, Nutella, Queensland nuts and fruit. They were amazing.

Table set for waffles for breakfast
Table set for waffles for breakfast
Waffle with butterscotch sauce, ice cream, nutella, fruit and Queensland nuts
Waffle with butterscotch sauce, ice cream, nutella, fruit and Queensland nuts

After such a great weekend it was difficult to say goodbye and catch my flight back to Canberra.

Cheese box on QF1549 BNE to CBR
Cheese box on QF1549 BNE to CBR

When I landed in Canberra it was 3 °C and I was back to reality. I’d had a dream weekend. The best weekend. It’s a good thing I love my job, the people of Canberra and small town life in Canberra. They are the only things keeping me here.

 

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Weekend wrap

Birthday ice cream cake made by Miss17. Three layers of Queensland nut with extra Queensland nuts, choc chip mint with TimTams and Coconut with 100s and 1000s.
Birthday ice cream cake made by Miss17. Three layers of Queensland nut with extra Queensland nuts, choc chip mint with TimTams and Coconut with 100s and 1000s.

This weekend has been one of the best. I got to celebrate my 50th birthday with my parents and daughters. After the Friday, it carried on in a similar vein to most weekends in Brisbane. That is, driving daughters to and from gymnastics training, to and from gymnastics events, having breakfast out as well as dinner.

So on Saturday morning I took Miss19, Miss17 and Miss14 to Groove Train for breakfast. Miss19 tried the corn fritters for the first time. She thought the fritters were okay but not a super breakfast. I had a taste and agreed the fritters were a little dense but did have a really nice corn flavour. Miss17 had a breakfast burger which of late has become her ‘thing’. Miss14 surprised us all and selected the granola. I went for the eggs Florentine and asked for a side of smoked salmon.

Eggs Florentine and smoked salmon from Groove Train Chermside
Eggs Florentine and smoked salmon from Groove Train Chermside

I was pretty happy with the eggs and salmon. I got so much salmon I was able to share some with Miss17 who really likes smoked salmon.

After dropping Miss17 and Miss14 at training I spent some time with Miss19 who was busy with an assignment and wrote my birthday blog post. We avoided lunch in preparation for afternoon tea and dinner while Mum and Dad enjoyed some really great smelling tomato soup.

At 3 pm we picked up the gymnasts and drove to Cold Rock to see if my birthday ice cream cake that Miss17 made had survived the power outage from the previous day’s deluge.

GOOD NEWS, the cake survived. It looked fabulous. Three glorious layers and extra scoops on top. The ground layer was Queensland nut ice cream with extra Queensland nuts added. The middle layer was mint chocolate chip with TimTams. The top layer was coconut ice cream with 100s and 1000s added. The cake was superb and the perfect afternoon tea.

Birthday ice cream cake made by Miss17. Three layers of Queensland nut with extra Queensland nuts, choc chip mint with TimTams and Coconut with 100s and 1000s.
Birthday ice cream cake made by Miss17. Three layers of Queensland nut with extra Queensland nuts, choc chip mint with TimTams and Coconut with 100s and 1000s.

After afternoon tea we went to the Kedron-Wavell Services Club for dinner in Cafe HQ. Miss19 had to go to work so it was Mum, Dad, Miss17, Miss14 and me.

Mum and Dad had the tempura battered snapper, Miss14 had beef nachos, Miss17 had crumbed flathead and I had surf and turf.

Mum's tempura battered snapper and chips from HQ Cafe Kedron-Wavell Services Club
Mum’s tempura battered snapper and chips from HQ Cafe Kedron-Wavell Services Club
Mum's tempura battered snapper and chips from HQ Cafe Kedron-Wavell Services Club
Mum’s tempura battered snapper and chips from HQ Cafe Kedron-Wavell Services Club
Miss17's crumbed flathead and chips from HQ Cafe Kedron-Wavell Services Club
Miss17’s crumbed flathead and chips from HQ Cafe Kedron-Wavell Services Club
My surf and turf, prime rib on the bone with garlic prawns at HQ Cafe at Kedron-Wavell Services Club
My surf and turf, prime rib on the bone with garlic prawns at HQ Cafe at Kedron-Wavell Services Club
My surf and turf, prime rib on the bone with garlic prawns at HQ Cafe at Kedron-Wavell Services Club
My surf and turf, prime rib on the bone with garlic prawns at HQ Cafe at Kedron-Wavell Services Club
My surf and turf, prime rib on the bone with garlic prawns at HQ Cafe at Kedron-Wavell Services Club
My surf and turf, prime rib on the bone with garlic prawns at HQ Cafe at Kedron-Wavell Services Club

 

On Sunday morning, Miss14 and my parents went to a gymnastics event while I took Miss19 and MIs14 to breakfast at 63 Cafe Wilston. They had waffles and I had what was called the Stockman’s treat. The Stockman’s treat consists of lamb’s liver, bacon and gravy. I asked for a couple of fried eggs too.

Liver, bacon, fried egg and gravy from 63 Cafe Wilston
Liver, bacon, fried egg and gravy from 63 Cafe Wilston

 

I’d have to say this was a pretty good breakfast. I’d happily have it again.

On the flight home back to Canberra (QF1549) I enjoyed some delicious cheese and a piece of coconut cake. 

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After getting home I went and bought some food for dinner and switched on the TV to watch New Zealand defeat Australia in the Rugby League test match. I wonder what the result might have been in the wet conditions of Friday night with Dad and me there to cheer on the Kangaroos.

For dinner I made some salmon with noodles. A nice light meal after a huge weekend of eating.

Curried salmon and noodles
Curried salmon and noodles

 

So that is the weekend wrap  I’m exhausted

How to celebrate a 50th birthday

Who would have thought I’d make my 50th birthday the way I eat! This year on Friday 1 May I was able to celebrate 50 years ex utero. Few people know that in the eight or so months of my gestation I travelled around the world in utero. You see I was conceived on the Indian Ocean on a merchant ship with my Dad as the ship’s doctor. He and Mum were travelling to England so Dad could sit examinations. On the way to England I visited Cairo and while Mum saw the pyramids I was busy with organogenesis. On learning she was pregnant Mum wanted to return to Australia to confine. If I’d been born in England I’d be a citizen of Britain and Fiji. Dad was born in Fiji and was yet to become an Australian citizen. Mum wanted me to be Australian. So Dad’s youngest brother, then an engineer for Qantas, flew over to England and picked Mum (and me) up and took her (us) to Brisbane via Boston, Los Angeles, Honolulu, and Nadi. 

I had arranged with work to take my birthday as a formal leave day. Normally on Fridays I’m working at The Canberra Hospital in ACT Pathology as an Hon. VMO. I cleared it with both workplaces first. I wouldn’t normally take a day off work just to celebrate a birthday but I’ve noticed it’s a growing trend and I really wanted to share my 50th birthday with blood, kin, family. 

My iPhone. It's 1 May!
My iPhone. It’s 1 May!

I had booked a flight and arranged with Qantas for an upgrade in my seat to Business Class as a present to myself. 

Breakfast was a salmon and boiled eggs plate which was served with some bread and a small bowl of yoghurt. It was quite delicious.

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Prior to boarding I’d been called by my daughters and they had mentioned South East Queensland was about to be hit with a deluge of rain because of the formation of a significant tropical low pressure depression off the coast. My eldest also told me that my birthday present was a ticket to the Rugby League test match between Australia and New Zealand that night at Lang Park (very close to where I spent the first few years of my ex utero existence). I was so excited. Miss19’s voice quavered a little though because she was concerned about the weather. The other bonus was that she had arranged tickets for Dad and wheelchair access because he’s now quite frail. Dad’s birthday is later in the month. 

As QF950 began its descent into Brisbane the turbulence become noticeable and as we flew lower the bumps were increasing in amplitude and frequency. I tightened my seat belt a little more. Out of the window it was grey. Just grey. 

The pilot of QF950 on Friday 1 May did a splendid job, despite the bumps the landing was smooth. I was in Brisbane. It was noticeably warmer than Canberra so I removed my coat and let my skin drink in the moisture in the air. 

The colours reminded me of the NT
The colours reminded me of the NT

Sitting in a Hertz rental (a Ford Mondeo…my first Mondeo) I quickly learnt where all the windscreen wiping actuators were and quickly put them into use. The rain was quite heavy but nothing out of the ordinary.

On reaching my parents’ retirement complex we arranged lunch. We would be joined by Miss17 and Miss19. Next Friday they will become Miss18 and Miss20. Mum had booked the Aspley Oriental Chinese Restaurant for yum cha. We’d been to this place before. It was local, convenient and the maître d’ was well known for his brusque mannerisms and behaviour. He didn’t disappoint! I wouldn’t say that the Aspley Oriental Chinese Restaurant has the best yum cha in Brisbane. Not even close but for Mum and Dad convenience is key.

 

 

We enjoyed some steamed and deep fried dumplings, some Chinese tea and finished our meal with some custard tarts. 

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After lunch we visited Coles and Aldi and then headed back to home base. 

This is when the fun began. I had to pick up Miss14 from school and drop Miss17 at gymnastics training (she’s competing for Queensland in a fortnight in Melbourne at the national championships in WAG Level 10). The rain was now very heavy but nothing I’m not used to. The radio was calling it a super storm. 

Miss17 in her Queensland hoodie
Miss17 in her Queensland team hoodie

For what should be a 15 minute drive took 35 minutes to pick up Miss14 and then drop off Miss17. Sandgate Road was moving at a slow pace. It took about 45 minutes to get to Gympie Road in Lutwyche and then I spent three hours on Gympie Road trying to get to Chermside.

If you go to the @igersbrisbane account you’ll see one of my photographs used from my iPhone.

By this stage the rain was sort of reminding me of a decent shower in Darwin. I love this sort of whether and don’t mind driving in heavy rain. 

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I had the radio on the whole time and listening to 4BC for updates. I like 4BC because they carry most of the good rugby league news and much better than the ABC. I was even sending them road updates via twitter

 

 

Up until about the last 100 metres of our journey the footy match was still on. I’d been calling Mum and Dad and Miss19 throughout the traffic hold up as well as Mr43 (youngest brother) to discuss the logistics of the evening and how to get to Lang Park. After many iterations of how we were going to do this, we ended up with catching a bus from Chermside. Then on the radio the message was read that the NRL in conjunction with the television broadcaster had agreed to reschedule the game to Sunday 2015-05-03 1600 AEST. Poor Miss19 was so upset. She and her sisters had been planning this as a big surprise for me and my Dad. The weather got the better of the situation. I’m not sure as you read this if you’re aware that as of Saturday 2015-05-02 1400 AEST five people have been confirmed dead as a result of the water. I’m guessing they were in motor vehicles trying to cross flooded roads and were swept away. The Queensland emergency services and state emergency service undertook a large number of swift water rescues. We saw some quite extraordinary scenes. Water covering the entire northbound lanes of Gympie Road in two sections in Chermside. Later in the evening we saw cars floating on Shaw Road. 

Once we got to home base Mum had burgers ready for us to eat. The original intention was a quick and light meal to get Dad and me to the footy but in the end it was my birthday dinner 

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The next bit to this story was the trip to pick up Miss17 from training. The rain was still pretty heavy and we knew there were numerous road closures. The added importance of this trip is that Miss17 had made me a birthday ice cream cake at Cold Rock (she has a part time job at a local Cold Rock Ice Creamery). We set out and immediately got stuck in some traffic. We eventually got to Miss17 who told us she’d seen that her Cold Rock had suffered a power outage that evening because of the bad weather and she didn’t know if the freezers were affected or not. By the time we crawled past the lights were out and no one was there. Who knows if my birthday cake still exists or if it’s a milky creamy mess on the floor seeping out of  a freezer. Determined to celebrate my 50th birthday with cake after an hour being in traffic we got to a Coles and bought a cake (only a few were left). 

We got home and Mum added candles. There was singing cutting and then eating. Mum thought it would be funny to get a 40 candle and surround it with 10 candles to signify 50. This would also make it easier for me to blow out the candles. 

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All in all it was a memorable 50th birthday. I was with my parents and daughters. I spent about 5 hours in a Ford Mondeo in traffic. I enjoyed some nice tropical rain. I ate well and I laughed a lot. I smiled the entire day. Check out the next post to see if the ice cream cake survived.