Uluṟu

Uluru

I recently was fortunate enough to visit Uluṟu. I was even more fortunate to visit in summer and have rain! And Sydney-like temperatures!

When planning this trip, I wanted an experience as authentic and local as I could get. When researching, I was surprised at the lack of information about visiting the area. There is very little useful tourist information about Uluṟu. Every site seems to be pushing tours and all the same hotels and restaurants. Once you visit, you understand why. It is all owned by the same company, with exception of some of the tour companies, which are reliant on guests of the hotels.

I can highly recommend Voyages Desert Awakenings Tour ($163 per person plus Park Entry Ticket). The guide is really knowledgeable and the group is small, never more than 15 people. Learning about the rich history, sacred spots and natural beauty made Uluṟu come alive through context, stories and personal impressions. I really loved seeing the art on the walls of Uluṟu and the waterfalls and full watering hole, which are not normal in summer.

art at Uluṟu

I also went to the Voyages Sounds of Silence dinner ($185 per person) and can not highly recommend this experience. It is a massive group of people, the food is a mediocre buffet and we had no stars and a little rain, not Voyages’ fault. We were unable to cancel our reservation without losing the $185 per person we had paid, totally in Voyages control. If you are interested in this dinner, be aware that they have 4 very large sites and the capacity to serve 600 people each night. Unless this is your dream experience, I would advise booking when you arrive when you can make an informed booking and not be out $185 should the weather not be perfect for alfresco dining.

In the town center, there are several restaurants with something for everyone. Additionally, each hotel has a restaurant or two and are open to the public. There is also a small grocery store which has all the staples as well as some gourmet treats. We expected the prices to be inflated as we are in the middle of nowhere, but the prices were similar to or less than prices in Sydney.

Dingo Footprint

My best tip for visiting Uluṟu is to rent a car and do it yourself. You can rent a car at the airport and create your own tours. Stop in at the grocery store & pack a picnic to take to the sunset viewing area within the national park. Pick up some muffins and create your own sunrise tour. The resort is close to the national park and it is easy to get around, allowing you to create the experience just right for you!

My biggest piece of advice for visiting Uluṟu is to respect the Traditional Landowners, their culture, requests and sacred spaces. Every day people disregard the sanctity of Uluṟu and climb up the rock face and take photos of sacred places around Uluṟu. Please have respect. Enjoy Uluṟu, feel the magic of the area, see the beauty in the surrounds and experience what is right before you.

Uluṟu

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Fika Swedish Kitchen – Manly

Fika Swedish Kitchen in Manly is a breath of fresh air for the Sydney food scene, which is currently overrun with locals take on American burgers, BBQ  and Mexican. Fisk is hedging it’s bets on authentic Swedish food, and my money is on them too! Clean flavors, fresh ingredients and a little laneway, beachside location has all the makings for a great cafe! They do breakfast & lunch daily, and dinner Wednesday to Saturday. Add in a name of the day & it’s all fun and games! Today’s Nameday: Kyndelsmässodagen (what are the odds?)

Fika Swedish Kitchen in Manly

Fika

Tina at Fika

daisies and cutlery

Lunch for TwoBeetroot & Potato Hash Skagen --Shrimp SandwichGingerbread Cookies

Fisk Swedish Kitchen
5b Market Lane, Manly

To My Little Sister on Her 30th Birthday

Great moments in our lives. They can be anything, take any shape and be celebrated in a zillion different ways. My little sister is turning 30 today, and I am celebrating her. She is an absolute gem, full of life, love, creativity, brains, beauty and sass. But being her older, perhaps wiser, sister, who is so far away from her on this special day, I am offering some sage words of wisdom as she enters the next decade.

1. See the world! Keep it local, jump on a plane, hike up a mountain or dive down deep–however you travel, wherever you go, know that the world hold all the adventure and answers you are looking for, you just need to be open to seeing them!

2. Say YES!

3. Dance in the aisles! Laugh out loud! Sing in the shower! Life is full of amazing moments! Make them happen!

4. Love. Love. Love.

5. Call your sister. Any of them! Especially me!

6.  Embrace you! You are you and you are AMAZING! Share all you are with everyone. They will love you…and if they don’t, give them a bit of your glowing smile. That is probably just what they need!

Happy 30th Birthday! You are an absolute rockstar at life. I love you! Thanks for being a bright light in my life!

Happy Birthday Mei!

& …

There is always an and. From the mundane to the exciting, & means so, so much. To me it meant, 30 years ago, another sister. As a young kid, I thought it was more of a burden and less for me. But as I grew, both in age and perspective, I know & means so, so much more. An amazing woman, an incredible sister and a wonderful friend. & means something different to everyone, it is all a matter of how you interpret it. Here are a few ways I am thinking of &…

& this one if for you.
& another family member.
& more to enjoy!
& here’s to all life has to offer.
& would you like fries with that?
& another run?
& what do you think?
& when will I get to see you again?
& how about another?
& one for the road.
& many more!

Here’s to many, many more MFS!

Grandvewe Cheeses – Hobart

birchs bay blonde 2

I really cannot imagine my life without cheese. From a well-aged cheddar to an oozing triple creme, I love them all. Even the stinky ones. And especially the ones made with love and care, from paddock to cheese plate. Grandvewe Cheeses is one such producer, taking the time to nurture the animals who produce the milk, and making it a family affair. Locally produced and loved across Australia, their award winning cheeses are utterly delicious and ewenique. Ryan Hartshorn shares all things cheese in this interview.

Can you tell us a bit about Grandvewe Cheeses? Who you are, what makes your products unique etc?

We are Australia’s only organic sheep milk cheesery. We have won the highest awards for any sheep cheesery in Australia. In 2012 our Blue cheese won Champion cheese against 360 cheeses of Australia at the Sydney Royal Show. We were then ranked in the top six fine food producers of Australia.

blue

We have our farm cheesery located 40 minutes south of Hobart in a place called Woodbridge. We are open to the public 7 days a week all year round. At our cheesery you can meet The Girls, as the sheep are fondly known, taste up to 15 different cheeses and enjoy our wines while viewing the whole process of cheese making from paddock to palate. We also have a café to enjoy various seasonal dishes and platters on our deck overlooking the spectacular D’Entrecasteaux Channel with a menu that incorporates our famous cheeses and farm grown smallgoods.

Our products are ewenique because we control the entire process from the grass grown for the sheep to eat, milking, manufacturing, packaging, distributing and selling. Having this total control of the entire process we can ensure quality the best quality of product is achieved consistently. We also try to constantly critique our cheeses as well as experimenting with new ones. This mix keeps our range interesting and always changing while still maintaining quality.

Cheese making seems like so much fun! What got you interested in making cheese?

We used to live in Brisbane and about 11 years ago our mother, Diane, travelled to Tasmania for a holiday and fell in love with the place. The land value in Tasmania at the time was also very cheap in comparison to Brisbane and mum was ready for a midlife crisis. So she first thought of planting a vineyard and got thinking about what animal could graze between the vines. Ducks were the first thought, then goats; however they were not appropriate as they would destroy the vines. The last thought was sheep with the hope they would be less likely to eat the vines. Then she had the hard task of convincing her children to move from their city lives in Brisbane to a quiet country town in Tasmania. With a lot of promises and persuasion, my sister Nicole and I made the move.

Mum had always enjoyed making cheese in her kitchen before the move to Tasmania, so this was a small passion of hers, though she had no professional cheese making skills. She then embarked on a cheese making journey around the world and learnt from more than 17 different cheese makers throughout Europe, Jordan, America and Canada. This experience further increased her interest in cheese making.

ewebauty

Why sheep’s milk cheese?

Sheep milk cheese is the highest quality milk and is the healthiest of all milks. This is a scientific fact that sheep milk has the highest milk solids so it makes a very creamy product. The flavour of the milk is also very sweet so this helps our products appeal to most palates. The health benefits include low allergens, meaning 98% of people with cow milk allergies will not react to sheep milk. The milk contains monounsaturated fats, reduces cholesterol and has triple the calcium of cows milk. All these qualities and health benefits made it the obvious milk choice for us.

Grandvewe has lots of delicious cheeses and specialty items. What are some of your most popular ones? Which is your favourite?

My favourite is the cheese I have eaten the least of at the time. Normally it’s the cheese we have not had for a while, however I always enjoy our popular White Pearl and Sapphire Blue. I like the White Pearl because it is so versatile – a great cheese to simply dip bread into on a platter or spread on bread with some smoke salmon on top. If you want it in a meal then just mix it through a good fresh pasta.

Some really great Australian restaurants are using your cheese. What is a popular way to serve your cheese?

Some of Australia’s top chefs, such as Peter Gilmore of Quay Restaurant, are using our milk to make their own sheep milk gelato on their dessert menu. Others enjoy our Friesland Fresh in dollops through a nice summer salad.

Anything else you’d like to share with readers?

Thanks to everyone who has supported us! We are a small family business who pride ourselves on making honest good quality cheeses without pretention. If you would like to try some of our cheeses please order from our website and we will express post it to your home anywhere in Australia.

Find Grandvewe Cheeses at 59 Devlyns Road, Birchs Bay, Tasmania or on Twitter@GrandveweCheeses

*Originally posted on Neat Eats*

Meal of 2013 – Restaurant Atelier

The meal of 2013 at Restaurant Atelier was filled with masterfully prepared, and lovingly delivered, dishes, lively conversation with great people and some absolutely stellar, and very special wines. Darren Templeman and Ed Lee  delivered an evening full of dishes to compliment quite an array of vintages, which really brought out the best in each other. Restaurant Atelier had it’s last service on December 31, but I am sure Darren has something great in the works! A very big, big thank you to Dale for such a delectable night!

eggfoie grastomatofishcurdvenisonoctopusjowljumbuckplatter of jumbuckbeefcheesemangosoufflewine