Who doesn’t love a Parma and a Pot (glass of beer) or a Burger and Wine deal? I’m not sure if these are available outside of Australia but here they are on most pub and ‘modern Australian’ menus. Last night my friend and I went to a restaurant called Switch at Fountain Gate shopping centre and chose our wine and burger for the second week in a row. Normally we have a policy of not going to the same restaurant too many times because there are so many to choose from.
I don’t really eat burgers but both weeks I chose the Pulled Pork burger. It was delicious but I’ve had my fill of burgers for a while.
After dinner we went to the Village Cinema to watch Ladies in Black, a lovely Australian movie directed by Bruce Beresford with a great Australian cast.
I live about 30 minutes drive from Melbourne so I have never felt the need to stay in the CBD or surrounds before. If I go to a restaurant or event in the city I normally just drive home because it’s not far. However when friends of mine decided to come to Melbourne for the weekend I didn’t hesitate to say I would stay there as well.
I suggested we stay at the Travelodge Southbank which is just south of Melbourne’s CBD and right in the heart of the restaurant belt of Southgate and Crown Casino which is my favourite part of Melbourne.
The rooms themselves are small, but very fresh and comfortable. Prices are very reasonable considering their location a few hundred metres from Crown Casino, Southgate, Federation Square and Flinders St Station. From my room on the 9th floor I could see a glimpse of Flinders St Station through the gap between the Langham Hotel and Mobil building.
I have recently become a Your Inspiration at Home consultant. We sell lots of different herb and spice mixes, dip mixes, olive oils and vinegars to name a few things. If you would like to have a look at the online YIAH catalogue feel free to do so.
In this recipe I have used our Herb and Garlic mix and Caramelised Balsamic Vinegar. Using different coloured vegies means you get plenty of different vitamins and minerals. To make it I just chopped up the vegies, placed them in the roasting pan then sprinkled the products over the top. I saw the idea on Pinterest and thought it would be a perfect way of using up some vegies that were in the fridge and having a healthy meal. I popped them into the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 35-40 mins (depending on your oven).
Last Friday my Mum and I went into Melbourne to watch the A-League semi-final between Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City. We went in early so we could have dinner. Federation Square (aka Fed Square) is one of the great meeting places in Melbourne despite being very controversial in design.
Feddish overlooks the Riverwalk and the Yarra River. It would be lovely to sit outside in Summer. We sat outside because it wasn’t very cold. It is quite protected from breezes on that level and they have heaters on nearby.
We arrived in time for Happy Hour with house wine only $6 per glass and quickly chose two meals from the Sharing section of the menu. One of my favourite dishes is Salt and Pepper Calamari with Lemon Aioli so we chose that and also Traditional Arancinni. Both dishes were very light and delicious. I can’t wait to go back there for a full meal.
Each year on the night before Mother’s Day, the MCG hosts the Pink Lady Match. The aim is to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research. The Melbourne Football Club hosts this event that over the years has raised millions of dollars. This year my team, the Sydney Swans, played Melbourne. It’s the first time we have played in this game so my first opportunity to experience the night. I’ve only watched it on tv before.
As I walked towards the MCG from the train station I noticed the exterior of the ground was lit up pink. It looked really good lit up in the dark. Not knowing what to expect, I got to my seat and sat down to watch the players warm up before the game. Once the players left the ground I realised the light towers had been switched off. Soon after the lighting within the ground was also switched off, plunging the ground and stands into darkness.
On the way in we were given free torches that shone pink light. Once the ground lights were switched off we were all asked to point our torches on to the ground. It created the effect you see below. During this part everyone stood for one minutes silence as a mark of respect for all those that have died from, or receiving treatment for, breast cancer.
Months before our cruise we had to choose our day trips. The one I knew immediately that I wanted to do was to go to Highfield House in Stanley. Although we visited a few other places that day, Highfield House was the one I was looking forward to the most.
The house was built in the Regency Style in the 1830’s for the chief agent of the Van Diemen’s Land Company. We were given a guided tour of the property by the lady that manages it now. The front facade of the house has recently been painted along with some of the interior. This was paid for by a film production company who wanted to use it for a movie set. The parts of the house that weren’t required were left unpainted and undecorated as you can see from some of the photos below.
The house sits on top of a hill opposite The Nut so you get a perfect view. When we arrived the weather was nice but we could see a storm approaching. Soon after, when we were in the chapel, the storm hit and hit very hard. Every time we wanted to go back outside it would get heavier. We only had a limited time there so, in the end, I decided to brave the elements with the help of an umbrella. It wasn’t much help though because the wind had picked up. Unfortunately my camera lens got a bit wet so there are some shadows and water marks on some of the photos.
The photos below are of the interior of the house. These parts were not renovated as you can see by the walls. The house hosts these tours so they can raise money to complete the renovations.
After a great sleep on our first night, we awoke to find the ship docking in Burnie. Burnie is situated on the north-west coast of Tasmania. It’s a very blue-collar town with a population of about 20,000. They have a lot of farming, forestry and heavy manufacturing in and around the town. I believe there is also a high rate of unemployment so a lot of the town is looking at ways to develop tourism as a source of income and jobs. It is the only destination we were asked to do a survey about our experience. Having the facilities to allow cruise ships to dock in port towns can provide a huge benefit to their economies so they are keen to develop this side of their tourism industry.
The ship moves quietly towards the dock and before we knew it we were there, docked and ready to disembark for whatever activities had been organised for that day. We were going to do a bus tour to Stanley so had to wait until our time to leave. We went to the Horizon Court Buffet for breakfast. It was like organised chaos in there. Due to a health scare on board about a month before our cruise, hygiene was more of a priority as usual. There are hygiene stations all around the ship and at the entrance to all eating areas. Everyone is expected to use liquid sanitisers before entering restaurants. They were very strict for the first few days, even spraying our hands themselves. After the first few days we were able to use the dispensers ourselves.
We arrived on a cold, drizzly morning. You wouldn’t know it was just past the middle of summer.
We ate dinner in the Florentine Room each night. We chose a table of eight because we thought it would be a good way to meet people. On our first night there were 10 people at the table but two ladies said they would be moving after that night because they were part of a larger group that were split. They had made arrangements to sit closer to them. I was glad we would have a bit more room because it was quite squishy.
Entree – Spring rolls with plum sauce
Entree – the strangest entree we had was this salad which was just a quarter of an iceberg lettuce, shredded carrot and parsley. The combination didn’t work for me. I at least expected the lettuce to be shredded.
Main meal – Prawn parcel with lobster sauce. I loved this. There was so much flavour in the sauce especially.
Dessert – Flourless chocolate cake with cream and raspberry sauce. Very light and tasty.
Sunset through the (dirty) window. Still spectacular to watch. After I took this photo I noticed a few others taking the same photo.
I had done a lot of research on cruise cabins so knew most of them are small (unless you can afford a suite or mini-suite). Ours was slightly larger than most and also had the balcony which is like having another room. The bathroom however was absolutely tiny. It’s very hard to move around. We were really disappointed with the shower. It was the worst shower I’ve ever used. It was only on the last night that we mentioned how bad the shower was and one of the other passengers at our dinner table explained there was an adjustment we could make on the nozzle. I wish I’d brought it up earlier. I love my showers and would have liked at least one warm shower.
The room itself was always clean and comfortable. There was only one chair inside so we sat on our beds most of the time. They were very comfortable to sleep on. I took my own pillow because I often have trouble with other pillows. Our balcony had a small table and two chairs and was really nice to sit on and watch the world sail by.
That small room in the corner is the bathroom.
Corridors on the bigger ships are always long. Our stateroom was roughly midpoint. I counted the number of steps from one of the elevators one day for a bit of fun. I think I had to take about 120 steps to get to our cabin. It sometimes felt like more if I was tired at the end of an excursion. On one of the days I turned around to see how far I’d walked when I realised how long the corridor actually was. I decided to take a photo in each direction just to show it.
Earlier this year I went on my first cruise. I have been toying with the idea of going on a cruise 13 night around New Zealand. My Mum suggested going on a smaller cruise to see if I liked it. So we decided to do a cruise on Dawn Princess from Melbourne to Hobart to Melbourne.
We left on January 24th at 4pm. It was a beautiful summers day although looking at the photos now it was also a little cloudy.
The Seabourn Odyssey and Spirit of Tasmania were also docked at Station Pier.
Mum has been on cruises before and wanted a balcony stateroom which turned out to be one of my favourite things about the cruise. Just being able to open the sliding door when we wanted some fresh air or to see what we were sailing past without having to go up to one of the open decks was priceless. We were able to sit on our balcony waiting for the ship to move away from the dock. It is such a smooth process that I didn’t realise straight away that it was moving. It took a few hours to sail through Port Phillip Bay. We were able to unpack and have a look around some of the ship before settling upstairs in the Horizon Court Buffet while waiting to approach Port Phillip Heads. We were able to sit at a table at the front of the door and near the door so we could go outside to the front of the ship when we were approaching the Heads. It turns out we approached the Heads during the equivalent of peak hour. There were several ships entering the Heads so we had to patiently (well maybe not THAT patiently) wait our turn. It was fascinating watching the ships entering and how we had to manoeuvre to stay out of their way.
When it was our turn to sail through the Heads the sun was beginning to set. I have always wanted to sail through the Heads. I have done it once before coming back on the ferry from Tasmania but that was before dawn so I didn’t get to see it. I have been as close to the Heads on land on both sides as is possible so the last thing was to actually sail through them. It was magical and well worth waiting for.
Watching Melbourne disappear as we began our cruise
One of the recent photo challenges from WordPress was Fresh. I love fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers. I find myself wanting to cook from scratch rather than buying processed foods such as dips and marinades. I always have some fresh basil on hand to add to my cooking.
Today was yum cha day again, our first for the year. This time we visited a Chinese restaurant in the south east suburbs, Fountain Gate. We have been here before but a long time ago so thought we would revisit it. They seem to have a big emphasis on pork dishes here. We have noticed over the years that yum cha restaurants tend to have a main meat or seafood ingredient. Service was pretty good although after a few times of not taking anything from the trolleys, one lady just walked straight past us without offering us a dish. They offered us a lot at the start so needed a break to get through what we had chosen. All the dishes were really nice although the spring rolls had a lot of mushrooms so I didn’t eat those.
The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge for March 13th was Wall. This photo is of Melbourne Town Hall’s Christmas projection. Each loop rang for eight minutes. It was very spectacular.
Melbourne is well-known for it’s street art. Although it is still shunned in many areas, in Hosier Lane it is embraced. It’s the sort of place you need to visit regularly because it changes every few weeks.
My friend saw these Malteser Bunny Chocolate Cupcakes on Facebook and shared it. I wanted to make them for some friends that love these little Malteser bunnies that are only available at Easter (or should I say the three months leading up to Easter). I should say I was inspired by them because I didn’t follow the recipe. I have a delicious plain cupcake recipe that I love so I made that then made a basic buttercream icing with cocoa for the tops. I then put the bunnies on the cupcakes when I was ready to serve them. They were a real treat.