Tasting Tasmania

I love travelling overseas, but living in Australia, it can be a very timely and costly exercise. Sometimes, when all you’ve got is a few days and you’re just desperate for an escape, it’s better just to go interstate.

With lovely summer days gone and winter setting in, I was heading for a little bit of a lull and wanted to mix things up. As one of my friends recently made Hobart her home for the next 12 months, I thought the time was right for a trip down down under.  I got a group together and we went adventuring and boy did we find some tasty Tasmanian treats!

Below are a few photos of some of the best our largest island has to offer. Chocolate, cheese and salmon galore!!

Smoked trout pate – Wicked Cheese Company


Toasted cheese from Bruny island cheese company


Bruny Island oysters


Salmon dish from Mexican restaurant Pancho Villa


Tasmanian apples


Grilled fish salad at Battery Point

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Tagines, Pastillas & Bread oh my!

This past Christmas/ New Years break, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel overseas. I love spending my annual leave exploring new places – preferably in regions I’ve never been to before. This time I decided to hit the continent of Africa, visiting the beautiful country of Morocco.

In addition to being the most spectacularly scenic country, the food is delicious!!! What they lack in range of local cuisine, they make up for in flavour, portion size, freshness and healthiness. Excluding breakfast which is a carb-palooza of bread, pastry, crepes and, well, more bread (say hello to the French influence), the Moroccans have quite a balanced diet. They eat lots of fruit and vegetables, good cuts of red and white meat – slow cooked to keep flavour, and  healthy plant based fats. Just don’t drink the tea – that stuff is pure sugar!!

Here is a smorgasbord of some of my favourite meals:

Almond pastries from Tangier

Breakfast buffet – carb central!

Moroccan Salad

Lemon Chicken Tagine – incredible form of cooking!

Dried fruit and nuts sold by weight

Meat options at a local BBQ house

Pasilla- chicken or fish ‘pie’ coated with sugar and almond meal (chicken) or cheese (fish)

Berber Omelette- aka Egg Tagine

Hearty Beef and Vegetable Tagine

Kefta Beef Tagine

Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Prunes

Shrimp Tagine

Kangaroo Island, South Australia

Usually during the festive period I tend to overindulge. Like most people who love food, I lack any form of self control and home cooked smorgasbords along with with endless cocktail party canapés are my undoing. Add into that a holiday or overseas trip and my gastronomical consumption is astronomical. 

I therefore usually begin the new year in glutton withdrawal, a state of being characterized by sugar induced mood swings, excessive guilt and a new and brutal exercise regime.

This year I took a different approach. Rather than plan an overseas adventure filled with alcohol, fatty foods and sleep deprivation (wonderful as those are), I organised a relaxing week long trip to kangaroo island. It combined all my favorite things: beaches, hikes and tonnes of local produce for exceptional foodie experiences. 

Although there were some sweets and treats such as honeycomb lattes, lavender lollies and home made scones with apricot jam (I’m only human!), the fresh oysters, marron, sheep’s cheeses, kangaroo fillets and salt water whiting ensured that not only were my tastebuds happy, but that my waistline was too. 

Check out some of my favorite food pics below for some of the most memorable meals. What holiday destinations have you travelled to that are lifestyle conducive or do you have a plan to manger your holiday indulgence? 

 

Seafood platter with homemade bread, dips and all the fruits of the sea

  

Marron – relative of the yabbie – boiled and peeled

  

Freshly baked scones – like pillows

  

Whiting with greek salad- light, fresh, delicious

 

Eucumbene Trout Farm, ACT

You know the saying ‘like shooting fish in a barrel’? That phrase does not apply to me and the sport of fishing. For me to catch a fish, it literally has to be swimming in a barrel. 

My family are not fisher persons. That doesn’t stop us booking a fishing trip every time we are somewhere known for their sea chicken – The Bay of Islands in New Zealand, the Northern Territory, even Kalbarri in WA. We always come home, tired, salty and carrying someone else’s hard caught fish. 

  
The problem is, we are a seafood loving family so we keep on trying inspite of our failures. This time, on a weekend away to Canberra, we decided to visit the Eucumbene Trout Farm and we were finally onto a winner. There is a $5 entry charge and a two fish per person maximum but with three 3 by 4 meter fish ponds and their specially designed sparkly fish bait, you are guaranteed to catch. Winner winner chicken fish dinner! 

  
It’s a bit of a drive – 2 hours south of Canberra – but they supply you with everything that you need to catch the perfect meal. They even kill, clean, season and wrap your fish in foil, all ready to be cooked on their super hot bbqs and eaten at their outdoor picnic tables – Accompanied by a large order of green salad and crunchy chips. 

The grounds are also absolutely magnificent and you can go and wander around the large lake that houses the larger trout for people looking for a more challenging and competitive experience (we weren’t). 

  
Once you added the costs of the entry fee, the fish (charged by weight) and the sides, it all came to around $40 – a price I found very reasonable for one of the freshest, most delicious meals I’ve had in forever!

I’m so happy my luck has changed – it might be time to try the open ocean once again ….. Then again … It might not. 

My food Diary

I’ve been lazy. Lazy, cold and tired. So even though I’ve been eating out quite a bit lately in an effort to warm myself from the stomach out, I haven’t managed to write anything about the delicious dishes I’ve been consuming. And there have been some goodies. In an effort to repent, I provide you with some Visual foodie inspiration of some of the great meals I’ve had both here and overseas. Bon appetite 🙂

The Haloumi and Spinach Fritter at Le Monde Cafe in Surry Hills


The Green Eggs at Bootleg Cafe in Darlinghurst


The amazing breakfast Buffet at the Mercure Hotel in Tel Aviv


Shakshuka on Tel Aviv Beach

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Scotch egg in Soho, London

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Baklava, Borough Markets, London

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Gelato in Neve Tzedek Tel Aviv

Safari Club, Tamworth

Want to get a little bit wild? In the  Beautiful regional town of Tamworth, that’s definitely possible. With a respectable number of pubs, cafés and restaurants, Tamworth plays host to a sizable food scene that is belied by it’s relatively small population.

On a Friday night, surrounded by farmland, I was in the mood to get wild. So, that night, I tamed my hunger at Safari Club

Ladies steak with a glass of prosecco

Ladies steak with a glass of prosecco

Owned and run by Elliot Danube who originally hails from Johannesburg, the Safari Club is a larger than life, family friendly restaurant with character that just oozes from floor to ceiling. They also run a takeaway business that is very very popular if the amount of foot traffic we saw was any indication.

While authentic it is not, With the animal heads adorning the walls watching you it, it’s very out there. Furthermore, it’s the first time I’ve seen leopard print covered stools used to enhance decor rather than detract.

The boervors plate. A never ending coil of sausage

The boervors plate. A never ending coil of sausage

The only negative, the speed of the service. Waiting over an hour from ordering for our mains to arrive was just far far to long. We were ravenous by the time they hit the table so it’s a good thing our meals were absolutely mammoth.

The waitress thought I was crazy only ordering an entree and side. Turns out I was the smart one. My fellow dinners braved ingestion to finish theirs. You certainly pay a lot but it’s value for money. In terms of price and portion size, it reminds me of Criniti’s here in Sydney. The entrees cost anywhere from $15-25 and the mains from about $25-45. Cheap it isn’t. Worth it, it is.

Crocodile skewers with steamed veggies

Crocodile skewers with steamed veggies

The food was amazing. I ordered crocodile skewers with a side of steamed vegetables. The skewers were massive and had an abundance of crocodile on them (a meat that tastes like chicken-y steak) and the veggies crispy and plentiful but covered in melted butter which though tasty, was unhealthy.

The others ordered the boervors  plate with onion rings and a salad, the steak and boervors plate with chips and the ladies steak- a 250g fillet cooked medium to well done. The South African sausage was juicy and delicious, the steak full of flavour and the onion rings were nothing like the beer battered calamari you get in a cheap pub. Thin and crispy, they were rings of pure awesome.

The boervors and steak plate. Only thing better than one kind of meat is two!

The boervors and steak plate. Only thing better than one kind of meat is two!

As we waddled out the door, all I could think was how awesome the night has been. With our hunger successfully tamed, we were ready for our next adventure – bed!

Rating: 9/10

Where: Tamworth
Why: A delicious foray into South African cuisine.
Cost:  $15-$45
When:  dinner, 7 days

Good for kids: yes
Take away: yes

Canada ohhhh Canada

I love travelling. That’s because one of the biggest parts of exploring a new country, along with seeing all the major sites of course, is experiencing (and hopefully enjoying) the local food. I’m a big believer in eating the dishes that a country is known for. I treat every meal as an opportunity to try something new and different – it’s so much more exciting. Why would you bother travelling half way around the world to eat the same things as you can eat at home?

Reuben sandwich a delicious tower of meat, cheese and bread

Reuben sandwich a delicious tower of meat, cheese and bread

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you have to break from this mentality. A notable exception in my recent travel history is when I went to India. Eating curries morning, noon and night was doing nothing for my digestive system. After a week and a half of lentils and lassis, which was resulting in an increased frequency of bathroom activity (I’ll say no more), I was craving something less spicy and I have to say, the most mediocre burger I’ve ever eaten- at that point in time- tasted like heaven!! As a general rule though, I like to eat local – firstly it’s delicious, secondly I usually can’t get it at home, and generally it’s safer. I will never forget on a trip to Spain when some of my travel buddies chose to visit Maccas for lunch instead of enjoying Granada’s ‘free tapas with drink’ offering. As they lifted their world standardised synthetic burgers to their mouths, they witnessed a spectacular episode of projectile vomiting that completely put them off their food.

Fresh fruit galore!

Fresh fruit galore!

I recently went on a fun filled holiday to Canada. I was so excited. Before I left I did my research (as any other ‘normal’ food obsessed person would do) and figured out exactly what I should be eating. Canada is one of the few countries other than Australia who have a beautifully balanced diet filled with lots of fresh produce and tasty treats. Most times I find a certain food group missing (in Israel its red meat, in France it’s veggies) but this time I was completely content.

Some of my favourites were:

Lays ketchup flavoured chips – event my dad who hates fast food and Americanised foods like ketchup liked these because of the quite strong tomato-ey flavour.

Lays Ketchup chips

Lays Ketchup chips

Salmon – let me just say Oh my G-d!! The salmon of British Colombia is just epic. Unlike the one type we get here, Canadians get to enjoy 5 different types, the most prevalent being sockeye. It’s darker and a richer flavour than our Atlantic and beautiful just roasted. In addition to the basic baked version, Salmon also comes in a multitude of other forms so that you can get sufficiently salmoned out. Smoked cold fillets for sandwiches and breakfast, salmon on a stick, dried salmon, cured in brown sugar jerky style, cured in spices, semi cured so it is a delicious chew candy like snack. There is no shortage of options! I now understand why the people from this part of the world call our smoked salmon lox. We only experience part of the great and glorious world that is salmon!

Glorious Salmon

Glorious Salmon

Alberta AAA beef – one of the nicest and juiciest steaks I’ve ever eaten! It is the top grade of Canadian beef and comparative to Australian meat prices, cheap!

AAA grade beef

AAA grade beef

Oysters – I got to have these in a delicious hot pot, fresh with just a little lemon juice and chipotle mayonnaise as well as crumbed as fried. Now that was different and delicious. Who could have imagined that something that is so expensive here could end up as a cheap bar snack somewhere else.

Crumbed oysters

Crumbed oysters

And there were many many others! I have to say I can’t wait to go back. If the food was anything to go by, Canada is definitely somewhere another country that I could call home.