Lastly, we took a short drive to explore the surrounds of Nelson. Just a short drive from the ‘burbs is Matai Valley, the weekend playground for Nelsonites.
Can you believe that all this is a mere 15 minute drive from the centre of Nelson?
Hubby wanted to visit here because of some obscure geological significance.
The peaks and distances freaked me out though, and we hardly made it out of the car park.
Instead, I contemplated the view of the dam.
We did a short walk near the dam, which warranted a nice meal back in town.
Havelock’s claim to fame are its mussels, of the molluscular kind.
So we ventured to its most famed eatery, the Mussel Pot.
And partook in some molluscular gastronomy. And lovely mussels they were too – so fresh and succulent.
Kaikoura was a town that was clearly still recovering from its recent disaster. But Kiwis do have lots of experience with natural disasters, so they seem to just get on with it so that things can get back to ‘normal’.
This area has been cleaned up and demountables and other quick building solutions were brought in to act as shops.
We certainly found good fish and chips there for lunch.
Week 3 saw us delving into the world of portraits. I must admit it’s not a genre that I’m very comfortable working with – it’s quite confronting to work with people! But I gave it a try anyway.
As always, I started close to home – Gary is our local butcher. We’ve been his customers for many years, and he in turn has been working in the same shop for 53 years! Even chronic arthritis won’t slow him down.
He is an old-fashioned butcher who makes most of his products himself. You’ll find him at his shop early in the morning, every morning. His products are so good that he frequently caters for the surrounding cafes, clubs and schools. Sausages, anyone?
My friend F’s winter birthday was celebrated with high tea at the Queen Victoria Building Tea Room.
It was definitely tea with all the trimmings, but with a difference – the Tea Room also catered for various food intolerances and vegans!
All those items on the tea stand was for one person, so be prepared. But where were the scones, I hear you say?
Of course, there were scones – enormous ones, served with the prerequisite jam and cream. Satisfied?
And we were off on our north-south crossing of the continent! One thing I was looking forward to was to be able to watch the landscape change from my cabin window. Out of Darwin, it was a Savannah landscape common to a lot of Northern Australia, from Broome to Townsville.
It wasn’t long before we made our first trip to the restaurant, about 3 carriages away.
Lunch was in several sittings – we had an early sitting and the dining room was still quiet. It filled up pretty soon though.
The food in general was of a very high standard. A sample of some of the dishes we had…
Salmon mousse sushi for entree.
Chicken galantine as a main.
There was some emphasis on native Australian ingredients, so we had our share of crocodile, buffalo and kangaroo along with some native herbs, spices and fruits.
A sample of our breakfast menu shows that we never went hungry!
Back in November (yes, I am very behind on my posts), I met up with friends N and F – it was N’s birthday! It was a warm (but not too hot) day, and our venue was Hugo’s at Manly Wharf. It was a lovely venue, overlooking the water. The food was pretty good, too.
How about some risotto?
Or pan-friend salmon?
And sticky date pudding and ice cream for dessert?
Now, I know that there’s no such thing as a typically ‘Aussie’ meal, but if a non-Australian asks me to give an example, I think this selection would fit the bill – Italian and Anglo influenced dishes, with some seafood thrown in!
At Cape St Francis, there is a small port with a fleet of trawlers. These boats fish for squid, which this stretch of coast is famous for, and other lovely eating fish that lives in the Southern Indian Ocean.
Predictably, we had to sample their catch, so at lunch time, we headed for the local restaurant at Jeffreys Bay, which was packed at Sunday lunch.
Their fish (a local variety of snapper) was succulent and very fresh. And like most things in South Africa, prices were very reasonable. This was about AUD $10!
Modern Port Elizabeth is still a port city, though the old port below is being moved to a more modern, spacious location.
Further up along the shore, the seaside suburbs have taken advantage of their location and are now catering for summer tourists from the inland cities like Johannesburg.
They even have a shopping/entertainment/casino complex.
We tried a seaside burger joint, which served quite generous (and tasty) portions.
One of the most colourful neighbourhoods in Cape Town is Bo-Kaap. It has traditionally been the home of the Cape Malays – descendants of slaves and traders originating from the East Indies (now Indonesia). The oldest house in the area was built in 1760s but the community has its origins all the way back in the mid 17th Century.
Most were (and still are) Muslim, hence the high concentration of mosques on the block. Despite this, there did not seem to be much tension based on religion. Talking to locals and going by the nightly news, South Africans are much more concerned about the state of their government than differences in religion.
The Cape Malays brought with them their culture and food – so much so in Cape Town that today many South African national dishes are quite heavily spiced, and popular with all South Africans, regardless of race. I sampled some of the food while in town, and generally liked what I ate, I must say that they are very different to any Indonesian/Malaysian/Indian or Malaysian dishes that I know. And yes, the samosas (or samoosas as the South Africans call them) are good.
Nowadays, South Africa is a country of immigrants, especially from other parts of Africa. One community represented are the Ethiopians.
We had a taste of Ethiopian food one night. It’s certainly a different way of eating!
The spicing is rather unique, I thought – they seem to use quite a bit of cardamon in their savoury food. Their way of taking coffee was also unique. I’ve never heard of popcorn as an accompaniment!