A Food & Travel Blog

Fennel, Orange & Salmon Bake

06/06/2014 | By

I know one shouldn’t do this, but I frequently experiment with my new recipes on unsuspecting dinner guests. This may or may not put you off if I invite you for a meal but, in my defense, I’ve never had to throw the dinner out and order pizza. Neither have I had any gastric disasters that I’m aware of, although my friends may just be too polite to say.

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The KitchenAid Gourmet Summit Cookoff

16/05/2014 | By

As I mentioned in my first post about my time at the KitchenAid Gourmet Summit, we spent a lot of time learning new cooking skills from the chefs at Enderun College. We honed those skills through three separate hands-on workshops, discovering some of the wonderful shortcuts the range of KitchenAid products offers, with a view to competing on the final day in a cook-off. And what a cook-off it was!

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Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula – How Did I Miss This?

25/11/2013 | By

Sunny Ridge Farm, Mornington Peninsula

I’m a frequent visitor to Melbourne. I used to live there and enjoy catching up with old friends when I can, all of whom live north of the river, so my trips south of the Yarra are infrequent. All that changed a few weeks back when I spent a few days on the Mornington Peninsula – leaving me wondering why I didn’t know about this glorious food basket. While the food scene in Melbourne is wonderful, it is well worth the short drive down the expressway to the lush, rolling paddocks and orchards and breathtaking coastline of this region. They have a wealth of goodies there to tempt you.

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A Canadian Lobster-palooza!

21/10/2013 | By

Kris Krug atop giant lobster

You can’t visit the Atlantic Provinces of Canada without trying their amazing lobster – you just can’t!  Lobster is Canada’s most valuable seafood export and, while the vast majority of these go to the US, there was absolutely no shortage of this delicious crustacean for me to try while in Canada earlier this year. There are 45 lobster fisheries throughout the Atlantic Provinces, all of them using carefully managed and tailored conservation measures to ensure the sustainability of the catch.The American Lobster differs significantly from the Australian Rock Lobster and is distinguished by their enormous pair of edible, fat claws and their smooth shell – as opposed to the smaller claws and very spiny shell of our own tasty shellfish (who are not true lobsters at all, according to my somewhat limited research). The American Lobsters can live for decades and can grow to over 60cm with the largest weighing in at over 18 kilograms – and they taste wonderful.

Anna-Marie Weir and a little lobster mate.

American Lobsters

Lobsters

I like to mind my manners when travelling, so was most careful to never refuse such a noteworthy food when it was on offer – one does not wish to seem ungrateful, after all! ;-) I discovered it is possible to eat lobster for every meal of the day while I was in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and I was happy to go with the flow. We were presented with lobster dishes in just about every  form you can imagine – all of them splendid.

Lobster Benedict

Lobster rolls

The lobster roll is practically a staple in this region in the summer months and is traditionally made with a soft bun similar to a hot dog roll, mayonnaise and chopped celery and/or spring onions. They are available everywhere, are affordable, simple and a fresh, delicious way for everyone to enjoy a proud local food product.

Lobster & fries

 Lobster Thermidor

I think our lobster feasting peaked on the day we went out with Anna-Marie Weir of Roads To Sea Tours. Picking us up early in the morning (and I mean really early, 0600 hrs) she loaded us on to her bus and we headed to Hopewell Rocks in the Bay of Fundy, to see the worlds highest tide, firstly at low tide and then later in the day at high tide. Here, it is possible to walk on the sea floor at low tide and come back later in the day when the tide has risen. The tides vary in height from day to day, but they can be as high as 16 metres!

Sea floor, Hopewell Rocks

High tide Hopewell rocks, Bay of fundy

Hopewell rocks

In between tides we stopped off for lunch at the Bay Of Fundy fishing village of Alma. This town is famous for it’s seafood and most particularly noted for it’s seafood chowder and – yes, you guessed it – lobster. We were able to meet up with one of the local fishermen who was lunching before going out to get the day’s catch and then to embark of something of a lobster feeding frenzy of our own.

Alma fisherman

feeding frenzy

I’m just glad I didn’t have to clean up after all of us.

Lambs’ Ears and Honey was a guest of the Canadian Tourism Commission.

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Kangaroo Island Shellfish – Get Them On Your Plate!

05/07/2013 | By

Kangaroo Island shellfish - oysters

One of the joys of travel and visiting new places – whether that is in one’s own country or overseas – is discovering the local culinary treats and indulging in them. I have no compunction in planning my holiday destinations around culinary reputations and local foods are always my first point of call in any new place I visit – as I’ve said before, I think the best insight into a community is through their food. One of my biggest travel irritations is when I visit a spot that has an amazing reputation for a particular food and then find that I can’t actually eat it there. Lots of famous food destinations fail in this. They need to understand that they can’t just trade on the reputation of the food specialities that they export to the rest of the world – they really need to offer them to visitors to their region too. Happily, Kangaroo Island gets this in a big way and there is a magnificent food trail to follow there, where you can spend the whole time eating and drinking some splendid local delicacies. And when it comes to fresh seafood from pristine waters, they’ve got it all sewn up as far as I’m concerned.

Kangaroo Island oysters, shellfish

I’ll be completely up-front here and state that Kangaroo Island Oyster Farm in American River is solely responsible for reigniting my love for fresh oysters.  I had an unfortunate brush with oysters many years ago that left me unable to face them again in any meaningful way. When I visited the oyster farm and farm shop back in May I knew I’d have to get my big-girl pants back on to down a couple and I was utterly overjoyed that I did.  A truly fresh oyster should be plump, glistening and taste completely of the sea – a set of criteria which these delicious mouthfuls met to perfection.  Rather than just having one or two in order to look polite, I found myself greedily looking for more.

Kangaroo Island shellfish

Kangaroo Island shellfish lunch

Don’t be deceived by this charmingly modest shop front (which I hope they never change) – the store behind  it holds a wealth of the freshest oysters and other shellfish that you are ever likely to find. Situated directly across the road from the oyster bed – you can’t get any fresher than that – the shop sells oysters, abalone, marron and fresh fish.  You can get it prepared and cooked to eat on the spot, packaged for travel or ready to take away for an amazing picnic.  Amanda and her husband Ken are also smoking their own oysters. Forget the nasty little rubbery things out of cans, these taste unbelievable – and stand by for more smoked treats as they really get into the swing of it.

Fergusons Kangaroo Island shellfish lobster

Kangaroo Island shellfish - King Crab

Once you’ve had your oyster entree, throw your budget to the wind,  jump back in the car and head on into Kingscote and the wonderful Ferguson Australia factory outlet.  The Ferguson family have been supplying South Australia and the world with the finest seafood for three generations and, once again, you can buy their products on site, all packaged and ready to take home or you can enjoy them almost on the spot. Ferguson’s harvest the magnificent Southern Rock Lobster from South Australia’s clean coastal waters and pride themselves on the highly regulated and sustainable fishing practices they have employed for years.  A great deal of their finest catch of lobster and crab is exported, but there is still plenty to choose from at the factory outlet in Kingscote.  They’ll even make up a stunning seafood platter for you to take away – a brilliant picnic to enjoy on the Kingscote foreshore, just minutes away from the store.

Ferguson's shellfish platter

If fresh-water shellfish is more your thing Kangaroo Island can offer you a treat that is only found in one other place in the world.  Marron is a much-prized freshwater shellfish which is only grown in Australia – on Kangaroo Island and Western Australia.  They have a sweet, nutty flesh that chefs just love and are considered quite a luxury product.  Andermel Marron Farm has been producing these sensitive, cold-water crayfish since the late 1990’s, supplying them to some of the finest restaurants on the mainland but, once again, you won’t have to go that far.  They have a store and a fully licensed cafe on site where you can treat yourself to what is  said to be one of the best meals in the island. The cafe is right next to the marron sheds so you can see where your gourmet meal is coming from, or you can take them home with you to prepare later.

Andermel marron shellfish

Freshwater shellfish Australian marron

Now, I expect you’re wondering whether or not you’ll be able to get a drink or two to wash down all of this fine food.  Don’t worry – Kangaroo Island has that covered too. Stay tuned for even more reasons to spend some time getting to know Kangaroo Island’s fantastic food culture very soon.

During her time on Kangaroo Island, Lambs’ Ears and Honey was a guest of South Australian Tourism Commission and Good Food Kangaroo Island.

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Postcards from Victoria, Vancouver Island

02/06/2013 | By

Victoria, Vancouver Island

Dear readers, you are always so tolerant of my sometimes wordy ramblings that I decided to give you all a bit of a break.  I had a great many pictures of this lovely region that I couldn’t fit in to my previous post on the city of Victoria, Vancouver Island, so I’ve decided to try to hold off on the blathering and just share some of these images with you.  I’m hopeless at sending postcards, so I’m happy for my family and friends to feel free to think of these images as a substitute.  Sadly, the weather was a little more overcast than I would have liked, but I think you will still get an idea of some of my highlights in this engaging city.

Victoria, Vancouver Island

This was part of my lovely view – the stunning Japanese Garden at the Inn at Laurel Point.

Victoria, Vancouver IslandAnd beyond that, the view of Fisherman’s Wharf.

Houseboat, Victoria, Vancouver IslandThis quirky houseboat caught my eye – because of it’s name and the modest efforts at urban agriculture in the flower boxes.

Houseboats, Victoria, Vancouver IslandThis colourful yellow houseboat comes with it’s own streamlined transport.

Victoria, Vancouver IslandI simply cannot begin to imagine what these dashing young things were doing on the lawns in front of the Legislative buildings – or indeed why they had a harp with them.

Seals, Victoria, Vancouver IslandThese two chaps were very interested in what we were up to – although the one on the left spent his entire time upside down!

Seals, Victoria, Vancouver IslandThis sweet thing was a little coy & stayed under water.

Crabs, Victoria, Vancouver IslandThis is what they were really after!

Crabs, Victoria, Vancouver IslandBut those crabs were turned into our lunch pretty smartly.

Sunset, Victoria, Vancouver IslandMore views from my room – a striking, big Canada sky sunset ….

Sunset, Victoria, Vancouver Island….that seemed reluctant to fade away.

Lambs’ Ears and Honey was a guest of the Canadian Tourism Commission.

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