Freedom Day has diverted me from my blogging a little. I’ll try and get back on track this week with another post about the beautiful town of Stanley.
Stanley is a really cute historical town. Being founded back in the 1820s, it has a lovely selection of old buildings.
Its first industry back in the 1830s was whaling, and since then, successive generations have made their living from the sea or from agriculture.
Its seafood is top-notch, as you can see from this fine example of ‘pub-grub’.
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.
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!
Main course was even more sumptuous. I had fish (a bass grouper) with oysters, samphire and pickled turnips. It was an interesting study in umami and saltiness.
Hubby had lamb from the Moran’s family farm, which was succulent and sweet.
The side of green vegetables were an imaginative mix of braised broccolini, snow peas and kale.
And the desserts were absolutely wonderful. Hubby had a study in Valrhona chocolate, hazelnuts, honeycomb and sherbet.
And I really did enjoy my berry tartlet. The pastry was wafer then and the sorbet inside was wonderful. Oh, and the staff even remembered my birthday. That’s service for you.
It was my birthday last week, and Hubby and I celebrated with dinner and a concert. We dined at Aria, which I’ve never been before. The restaurant was in a surprisingly inconspicuous spot, in what was the busiest tourist corner in the country.
Soon after we sat down we were served these tartlets of gorgonzola cheese and toasted nuts.
We favoured seafood for our entrees. I had a marvelous spanner crab mayonnaise, but the scallops that Hubby had was the winner.
What a way to catch up with friends than to enjoy a leisurely 3 course lunch! I met up with N and F pre-Christmas at the Devonshire Restaurant in Surry Hills, where their Prix Fixe Friday lunch was too good to be missed. The menu changed weekly, but we weren’t too pertubed about what we got as we knew it was all going to be very good indeed. We weren’t wrong.
For entree was roasted pork belly croustillant, spiced apple relish, shaved fennel and radish. It was a spring roll that had been well and truly pimped, but with the salad and relish was still light and fresh.
The main was the magnificent seared Ora king salmon, fried calamari, squid ink, orange and chive dressing. With a crispy skin, more-ish sauce and dressing, all refreshed by the oranges (a citrus that you don’t often think of when accompanying fish), it tasted as good as it looked.
The sides of broccolini and twice-cooked potatoes were also amazing. How did they get the potatoes so crispy, I wonder?
We really didn’t have any room left after that effort, but still we managed to fit in a delectable sticky pear pudding, toasted coconut milk sorbet and toffee sauce. The pudding was surprisingly light, and the sorbet creamy without being too rich. A perfect end to the meal.
The Finns, like the Danes and Swedes, also have a thing for open sandwiches. When we had lunch at a cafe in what was the Helsinki equivalent of Dymocks, we had a good selection to choose from. I chose the smoked ocean trout with salad, egg, dill and sour cream, and rye bread of course underpinning it all. It was delicious.
Our lunch was so delicious that we came back a few days later to sample more. This time I was more adventurous, and tried the Baltic/North Sea special of pickled herring. All the countries around the Baltic and North Sea seem to like this preserved fish. It’s not only available at lunch, but also at breakfast, and even as a snack! It’s certainly very strong flavoured, and so goes well with boiled eggs, onions and leeks, and strong, dark rye bread.
Our food adventures in Stockholm consisted firstly of an Irish pub.
Hubby had a craving for fish and chips, you see. What was served had the correct trimmings, but seemed to have been a bit long in the fryer.
But this being Stockholm, you simply can’t get away from those Swedish meatballs, even in an Irish pub. Mind you, it tasted good with a pint of stout.
The next day we had another encounter with those meatballs, but in a dungeon.
Apparently this used to hold back in the day the most notorious prisoners in the country, including one who assasinated the king.
Hubby had his encounter with meatballs.
While I had an encounter with some very nice goulash, despite the simplicity of the accompaniment – the cafe I suspect was run by Eastern Europeans.
In the past, my experience of Scandinavian food consisted of the offerings of Ikea and eating Danish pastries, so finding out the reality of all was fascinating. What was obvious was that no matter the country, Scandinavians loved their fish. They would eat it three times a day! On offer at our Copenhagen hotel breakfast buffet, along with dark rye breads, was cold meats, boiled eggs, cheese, and pickled herring! Oh, and those Danishes too.
At lunchtime, we also had fish and bread, this time as an open sandwich. Below, I tried out the smoked eel with scrambled egg, while Hubby tries a version of a crab salad. The bread came with two different spreads – the ubiquitous Lurpak butter, and lard with bacon bits. The latter was surprisingly tasty.
At dinner time, there was also plenty of fish, prepared and accompanied simply. Hubby tried the pan-fried plaice.
I tried the pan-fried salmon – also very tasty. Much of the salmon eaten in the region came from farms in Norway, where the water is cold and clean.
I’ll be reporting back on Scandi food as I post my way through them.