As the New Year approaches us with hopes anew, here is to wishing you and your family a wonderful year ahead. Happy New Year!
Month: December 2015
Quote for the day Friday 1 January 2016 …
This is Bear talking!
Four Goo To Mullaloo
On a voyage of discovery, last Tuesday, we headed up North looking for somewhere to have lunch. Somewhere, that none of us had visited before. And so we found ourselves at Mullaloo, a northern coastal suburb of Perth. Apparently, Mullaloo is named after an Aboriginal word, believed to mean “place of the rat kangaroo”. Sounds attractive don’t you think.
After a quick recce we decided to check out the Mullaloo Beach Hotel for lunch. Unfortunately, we were not able to get into the restaurant. We elected to go eat in the bar area on the basis that the menus, according to the waitress, were the same for both areas.
Having found a table, obtained drinks and ordered our food we sat back to chat and enjoy the views outside. We were thinking that this was quite a nice place to sit and chill.
The first thing to disabuse us of that feeling and to mar the pleasant ambience was that they decided to crank up the music volume. The music had been playing before but at a level which allowed for conversation to continue. Presumably too many people were kicking back and actually talking to each other. I can only think tat getting folks to shout at each other causes more drink to be bought.
The next issue was when the food was delivered. The entrees were delivered with the mains !! When this was raised with the waiter the response was “Did you ask for the dishes to be delivered separately?” Obviously, our mistake.
Not that of the staff who, had we been sat in the restaurant, would not have needed to be told our requirements. Checking the hotel menus since returning home I have discovered that they are not the same, as we had been told. Restaurant “starters” are called “light bites”in the bar.
Obviously our mistake again, we didn’t realise that normal eater protocols had been thrown out the window.
The starter, entrees, light bites, what ever they were, were OK. Nothing to write home about. Denise had the bruschetta which looked good and was, I understand, tasty. Steve had the salmon, bangus and prawn fish cakes although presented nicely were bland. Gerry and I shared the squid which, garnished with onion and chilli, is their signature dish !! It was not the best squid we have had since arriving in Oz. I think that accolade currently goes to the Boat at Mindari.
After what seemed like a long wait we were served with our mains. We did discuss that the long wait might be punishment for complaining earlier. Who can say. The mains were also just OK. I think the only truly positive comment came from Steve, who said that the fish was really nice. He had the tempura fish & chips with chef’s tartare sauce. He also reckoned that it was the smallest fillet he’s had in Australia. He’s been here a few years.
Denise had the “homemade” black Angus beef burger which elicited a fairly neutral response i.e. it’s nothing special. Gerry and I both had the black Angus fillet steak sandwich. The steak was nice but the aioli and the tomato jam made it a bit soggy inside. The turkish bread used for the sandwich was also nice.
So, over all a fairly neutral food experience. Not bad, but not good either. Once can only hope that the folks that managed to get into the restaurant had a better experience than we did. Hopefully they weren’t hit with sound levels designed to quell conversation. We left feeling that we would probably have had a better meal at the Dome next door.
I should also point out that make a big deal, via their multiple video screens, that their cuisine is courtesy of chef Pradeep who apparently worked with or served under Gordon Ramsey and has also worked at the Burj Al Arab. All I can say is that there was no sign of that standard of cuisine when we visited. The food did not look like the pictures shown on those same screens. …. Just sayin …..
After eating we felt we should take a stroll along the seafront. Here are a couple of shots from Mullaloo Beach.
The sound of a sun lotion sizzle was quite over powering.
Like a lot of areas in WA, the dunes along this part of the coast are being stabilised using natural means wherever possible..
At various points along the dunes, official, access points are provided.
One of the mysteries for the day was the significantly lower temperatures we experienced at Mullaloo and on the journey up. When we left home the temperature was in the low to mid thirties. By the time we reached Mullaloo the temperature had dropped to the low to mid twenties. And there I was thinking that in the southern hemisphere, when you travelled north, the temperatures increased.
So there you have it, lunch at Mullaloo.
We made a short visit to the viewing area at Perth Airport, on our way back home, after travelling up the coast for lunch. The viewing area is ideally placed for capturing photos of planes as they take off. Unfortunately that placement isn’t so good for incoming flights as they slow down and taxi away before coming anywhere near the end of the runway. But I guess you can’t have everything.
Some incoming flights do become visible towards the end of the runway, especially if they are big. An Airbus 380 is big, and it uses more of the runway than most other planes.
The A380 visits Perth on a, once, daily basis.
It’s a shame most other airports don’t embrace the publics enjoyment for aircraft observation in the same way as Perth has done. As a boy I had visited Gatwick to watch the planes. Had a fabulous time watching noisy Vickers VC10s, Hawker Siddley Tridents, BAC One-Elevens and even a Lockheed Constellation.
That last just goes to show how old I am. The point is back then we were encouraged to go and watch. Now, at most airports you can only see aircraft if you are departure side of security and if you are stopped anywhere around an airport perimeter or on top of a multi-story car park you are likely to be moved on rapidly.
So, that just leaves air shows and, with this years disaster at Shoreham, even they are under threat.
I’d just like to point out that not every member of the public is a ground-to-air rocket wielding lunatic.
Waving To Tim
Did you see it ? The ISS (International Space Station) that is.
If you were in the Perth, WA vicinity it would have been visible this evening from around 8:43 PM, for around 6 minutes. According to NASA the ISS would track across the sky, appearing 10° above NW. Reaching a maximum height of 84° before disappearing 11° above SE.
Of course, all of the above assumed a clear sky.
Had you been in the Perth area today you would be aware that today has been a scorcher, with clear blue skies, all day.
So all looked set fair for a great evening for celestial viewing.
Imagine my thoughts when I stepped outside at 20:30 to see the skies obscured by broken clouds.This is typical of my luck regarding all celestial events. Blood moon scheduled to make an appearance, I go to the top of Portsdown Hill but its cloudy. The Perseids meteor shower makes an appearance. Not in any sky that I have access to.
Still, ever hopeful, I settled in to see if my luck had improved. Gerry, Steve and Denise all came out to join me and after a couple of false sightings, the ISS appeared in the sky. Tracking from the far corner of the garden, as expected, and passing almost directly overhead. The bright “star” passed rapidly across the sky, disappearing from time to time behind the clouds. It couldn’t be mistaken for anything else, traversing as it did in an apparent straight line.
We all waved to Tim Peake, the British astronaut, wishing him Merry Christmas. Did you see us Tim ?We commented on what a special achievement the ISS is and that Tim has joined a very unique group of people. It s a very small group that have actually travelled to outer space and Tim has also joined an even more select group, those that have spent Christmas in space.
So we wish the folks up on the ISS all the very best, good luck with their missions and of course wish them safe return.
Boxing Day – Seafood Bonanza
As has been posted elsewhere on the interweb and by fellow bloggers Boxing Day is typically a day when the leftovers from Christmas dinner get consumed.
Steve suggested, that we avoid the leftover trap, and make Boxing Day a seafood day. This idea was grasped wholeheartedly by all. So, on Christmas Eve Eve we headed down to Curullis Seafood Market to see what they had on offer.
With quite a large selection of fresh and cooked seafoods we were spoilt for choice. However, twenty or thirty minutes later we were away with our bags of treasure. Half a kilo of scallops, half a kilo of green prawns, six large salmon fillets and two trays of oysters.
We deposited the seafood into the car and made a commando raid on the nearby bottle shop . Where we picked up a few supplies to see us through the next few days. A couple of cartons of Millers Chill
for the girls. Some One Fifty Lashes
for the boys. A couple of bottles of Shiraz and some sparkling wine for general consumption.
On Boxing Day the plan was to not have one big blow out but to just have a several snack like meals.
First up was the salmon, or rather I should say “Herb & Lemon Roasted Salmon on a Bed of Roasted Potatoes” This was lunch and our only formal meal of the day. Basically this dish comprises salmon fillets that have been infused with a lemon/herb marinade. Scalloped potatoes, that are pre roasted, to which the marinated salmon is added. The salmon is then roasted. The spinach and pine nuts are then sauteed. The cooked ingredients are then layered on plates, spinach first then the roast potatoes, and topped off with the salmon.
After a suitable period, to allow our food to digest, we retired to the pool as the air temperature was rising.
A couple of hours later and suitably refreshed, it was time for a light snack. Step forward the oysters, which were magically transformed into Oysters Kilpatrick
If the idea of raw oysters, or nude as I saw them described recently, do not appeal to you, then perhaps this is the recipe that may entice you to try. Very simple to prepare, the oysters are arranged on a bed of sea salt, cubed bacon and Worcester Sauce are added and the oysters grilled for five minutes or so until the bacon is crisped. Very tasty and the Worcester Sauce infused liquor certainly has a bite. These were accompanied by well chilled beers although, perhaps, we should have washed oysters down with a sparkling wine. I should point out that there are many different variations on this recipe and we ourselves were discussing the possible alternatives. Including chilli, horseradish, paprika, cheese, the options are endless.
As the afternoon ran into the evening our thoughts turned back to food and the prawns.And, no, they didn’t get thrown on the Barbie.
Another simple dish, Barbecued Prawns with Honey & Ginger Mayonnaise.
OK, I know it says barbecue but the prawns were sautéed. It seemed a waste to fire up the barbecue when the prawns were only going to take a couple of minutes to cook.
A marinade is made with olive oil, lime juice, lime leaves, lemon grass and fish sauce. This is added to the prawns and they are left to infuse.
The mayonnaise is created using fresh root ginger, coriander and honey all added to whole egg mayonnaise.
Once the prawns are marinated they are sauteed (barbecued) until cooked. Served in a bowl close to the mayonnaise. This dish was enjoyed so much, especially the mayo, of which there was quite a bit remaining after the prawns had disappeared, that I was dispatched to go and saute the scallops.
I can’t remember what we had planned for the scallops. I guess that recipe will have to wait for another day.
So, no prawns on the barbie, which will no doubt disappoint those of our UK friends and family who think that Ozzie cuisine comprises nothing more than tossing prawns and snaggers onto a red-hot barbecue.
I’d like to think that our Boxing Day seafood fest was the healthy option. I suspect, however, that the oils used to roast, saute and marinade have pretty much negated the healthier aspects of seafood.
Do I care ? Am I bothered ?
I do, however, hope you all enjoyed your Boxing Day.
Up The Swanny
Out of the blue, a phone call from our grandson, and an offer of an evening trip up the Swan River, on Christmas Eve. Being our wedding anniversary, what better way to round off the day. Few details were provided other than that we needed to be present at the East Street Jetty for around 19:00.
The trip was being provided by my grandsons partner who runs a charter business.
Arriving at the jetty, we soon found other folks, similarly awaiting the arrival of a boat.
While we waited Steve and I started to scout out the area as a possible fishing venue, having already noted the presence of several anglers. After chatting with one guy, who was packing up, we have added the jetty to our list . Easy access with parking very close by and straight into deep water.
It wasn’t long before our transport appeared upstream and was tied alongside ready for boarding.
MV Cygnus is a fully licensed 53′ Catamaran and is apparently capable of catering for up to 60 people. I think that might be a tight squeeze, however we weren’t that many so had room to meander.
Shortly after boarding it was time for a little something to moisten dry throats. Make the most of the next photo. It features yours truly which is a rare occurrence as it’s not often that I step in front of a lens.
By 19:15 we were underway, heading up river and it was time to point the lens outside of the boat. Having made a similar daytime trip, several years ago, we knew we would see some very nice properties along the river banks. At least while the sun was still up. However, an evening trip was going to be somewhat different.
These cranes, silhouetted by the setting sun, look somewhat like prehistoric creatures heading to the river to drink.
My grandson is a member of the Water Police. This picture shows some of their toys. Am I jealous ? , go on, ask me.
Down here in Oz it gets dark very quickly so photography on a moving platform becomes something of a challenge. Here are some “snaps” taken once darkness had arrived.
At some point we tied up to a buoy, so that the hot food could be cooked on the huge BBQ at the stern. We sat swinging at the whims of the river currents and the wind, just offshore from Mosmans Restaurant.
The crew laid out quite a spread, with steaks, chicken drummies and prawns cooked on the BBQ, supplemented with a variety of salads and roast vegetables followed by fresh fruits and cheeses.
Food consumed, we were then of further up river until the city came into view. Time for some more snaps but, several beers in, I wasn’t really up for the challenge.
Yes, that’s twice I’ve been in front of the lens on one single occasion.
Here is the best of a bad lot …..
It would have been nice to have cruised right up into the city, but that was as close as we got. Still looks good though.
There was a disco on board and we did get up to dance, a bit. Well that’s perhaps a very loose description of the gyrations I was making. I am pleased to say that there are no photos of that brief interlude.
All too soon we were heading back to the East Street Jetty. Just a short distance, from the jetty, is the Left Bank, bar and restaurant.
This place, The Left Bank, was having a Xmas Eve party. It started at Noon and was going on till 2 am . From the jetty we could see that they had swarms of hi-viz jacketed security outside. We could hear it from the river as we cruised by. Call me an old fart, but any pub that requires that level of security is not a place I would want to frequent. Having said that we did have a nice early evening meal there a few years back.
So there you have it, our trip up the swanny.
There are many interpretations of the phrase “up the swanny”, including ballsed up, stuck in the mud, tits up, up shit creek, up the creek without a paddle and so forth.
None of these are applicable. We had a great time and our thanks go to Kate and her crew for a super evening.
Merry Christmas to each and everyone.
I hope Santa has brought you just what you need, even if it isn’t what you want.
I also hope you don’t overdo the turkey and manage to keep the hangover to a minimum.
However you spend the day, have a fabulous time <:o) 😀 <:o)
Is This The Best Commercially Made Fruit Cake?
Note, I did say commercially made.
This is only my opinion, but, The BEST, THE VERY BEST, fruit cakes ever were made by my mum and dad. Of course I may be a little biased. My dad’s boozy Christmas cakes were second to none. What with the fruit being marinated in spirits prior to mixing and baking. Then the cake being fed alcohol regularly prior to being iced and decorated.
Finally, served up with home made brandy butter.
Of course, if anyone would like to try and change my perception, I am willing to sample any challengers. Just send your contender to …. No, I am just kidding.
This Australian Celebration Cake is not in the same league as Mum and Dads yummy cakes and it really should not be compared with other typical Christmas fruit cakes.
But, it is so good. Packed as it is with fruit and nuts. Just look at the ingredients list…. glacé fruit, sultanas, pineapples, apricots, dates, cherries, pears all steeped in brandy and mixed with cashew, brazil and almonds.
There is barely enough room left for the traditional cake mix i.e. the mortar required to bind all that goodness together.
Rest assured it is there but it is just that, mortar.
A lot of commercially made cakes are all cake and little fruit.
I have only been down here in Oz for just over a month but we are half way through our third cake.
From their website, the Yummy Kitchen folks claim that this cake is available pretty much worldwide and, via Tesco in the UK.
My recommendation is, give it a try. Even if you don’t like traditional fruit cakes, this may be the one for you.
Its Too Damn Bloody Hot
37° C here in Thornlie
It’s too damn bloody hot….. I currently have some sympathy with this lady…..