Remembering #nye #bali #mozaic #ubud

As another New Year’s Eve and another year impacted by COVID looms, it has made me remember some of the most special experiences we have had over the years.

One of our most memorable new year’s Eve celebrations was at the wonderful Mozaic restaurant in Ubud, Bali in #2016.

Here’s the review from that night….that I posted at the time:

NYE Foodie Nirvana

On that same trip I did the Mozaic Cooking Class and had a go at replicating some of their famous dishes.

It seems like another lifetime ago now.

We have been back to Mozaic over the years many times and we’re never disappointed. Always a great atmosphere, excellent service and delicious food and drinks.

The cooking class I did there was also a wonderful insight into Balinese herbs and spices that inspire the fusion cuisine of Founder and Chef Chris Salans.

Mozaic Cooking Class
Mozaic Lounge

So great to see that Mozaic and Chris Salans are still going strong and promoting their NYE 2022 experience…

NYE 2022

Just wish we could be there!!

A trip down memory lane #Barcelona #Tapas #barcanete

Saw this mouthwatering photo of the classic Catalan tapas dish chickpeas, spinach and raisins and the story on the famous tapas bar El Xampanyet in Barcelona in Gimme Some Oven Brought back great memories.

My version of the recipe is here Catalan Chickpeas with Spinach and Raisins …so quick to make if you use tinned chickpeas and delicious as a side dish!

In particular the photo and story transported me back to the wonderful tapas dinner we had at Bar Canete on our last trip to Barcelona in September 2019, Pre-Covid 19.

A bustling, hectic Tapas bar in El Raval area, Bar Canete is a Barcelona classic. We were lucky to get a table in the back room with a view of the kitchen and able to watch the chefs through a very busy dinner. despite being so packed and busy, the atmosphere was relaxed, fun and friendly with all of us joining in to sing happy birthday to a guest at another table and lots of laughs with the waiters.

Busy Bar Canete Barcelona
Iberico Hams hanging in window in Bar Canete, Barcelona

We had saved our appetites to ensure we could try lots of different dishes. Here’s a copy of the Menu which we perused while enjoying a traditional Spanish aperitif Vermouth and then a bottle of beautiful Spanish red wine.

We tried the following dishes: anchovies in sherry vinegar, squid sandwich, Iberico pork with mash, Galician scallops and tripe with chickpeas. It was all delicious and accompanied by super friendly and efficient service confirming all the rave reviews we had read. A must try when you are next in Barcelona.

Fabulous Japanese fusion #Kisume #Melbourne

Fine dining Japanese at its best. Wagyu Truffle Balls, Tuna Tataki, tempura kingfish, glazed tooth fish, deep fried Moreton bay bug in rice paper wrapped roll….imaginative and delicious Japanese fusion meal at Kisume in Flinders Lane in Melbourne this week. Highly recommended.

Counting ourselves lucky: lunch at #Abacus #Prahan #melbourne

First plane trip in more than 12 months today, travelling from Sydney to Melbourne. Masked up all the way but that was a minor inconvenience considering how lucky we are to be able to travel to (most places) within Australia (at the moment).

Got a warm welcome at the Como MGallery Hotel #comomgallery before heading down Chapel St until we spotted Abacus and headed in for lunch. Had read about the all day dining in #broadsheet and the food certainly rates a mention. Here’s a link to their lengthier review https://www.broadsheet.com.au/melbourne/south-yarra/cafes/abacus

The Ballarat breakfast featuring Toulouse sausage and pig cheeks from a special butcher in Ballarat was accompanied by a beautifully poached egg.

All day brunch, as well as a short but good main section featuring octopus, fish of the day and steak. Exactly the type of good cafe lunch we were seeking.

Steak with chimchurri
Prahan mural cnr Chapel amd Elizabeth St’s

With cool vibes, lots of indoor greenery and large windows opening out onto the Chapel st sights and sounds(bit more subdued than normal but still buzzy) Abacus is a great stop during Prahan shopping or as a destination cafe!

Abacus
Abacus greenery

Portugal 2019

Another reflection on a trip that inspires some of my recipes like Portuguese Pork and Clams

Our trip to Portugal in 2019 was short but sweet. We arrived in Lisbon staying in an air bnb apartment in the buzzy neighbourhood of Bairro Alto, soaking up the local vibe.

On our first night we has dinner at Belcanto …a two Michelin star restaurant by famous Portuguese chef Jose Avillez. It was definitely one of the best dinners we ever enjoyed….the friendly and funny staff, the atmosphere and brilliant food. Truly a night to remember. Here’s the link to my review of the full experience. Belcanto Lisbon Review

Belcanto, Lisbon

Lisbon is a foodie paradise with so many unique taste sensations to explore and the Time Out Markets are a great place to nibble your way through local delicacies and to try out menus from top restaurants in a more casual way. We went to the markets on a few occasions buying a few goodies to take home and also trying out a few of the restaurants. One of these was Chef Kiko Martin’s restaurants O’Surf and Turf…..quite experimental and very interesting seafood and meat combinations.here’s the link to my original story Time Out Markets Lisbon We also had a delicious breakfast and coffee at Fabrica Cafe

Time Out Markets and Fabrica, Lisbon

Of course any trip to LIsbon would not be complete without visiting the home of Portuguese tarts down at Belem. We caught the tram from just near the Time Out Markets enjoying the trip through the suburbs of Lisbon down to the old fort town. We were amazed by the queue for the tarts and opted for exploring the town and fort in the morning, returning to Pasteis de Belem, the historic cafe started by the nearby monks to sell their famed tarts. They certainly lived up to their reputation and after our very hot walk, we enjoyed them with an icy cold Sagres!

Pasteis de Belem, home of Portuguese tarts

Our other days in Lisbon were spent exploring Castel San Jorge, churches, parks, the harbour and experiencing the glamour of bars in Palazzos, Fado and the food of traditional tabernas. As we were staying at the top of the hill in Bairro Alto trips on the finicular and trams were a practical form of getting around. One of the excellent late dinners we had was at Taberna Da Rua Flores amd we enjoyed a very different lunch of Mozambican food at Roda Vida in the colourful Alfama district.

Lisbon sights and taste sensations
Evenings in Lisbon 2019
Fado in Lisbon

From Lisbon we headed to Cascais on the coast for a ver special stay at the Hotel Albatroz. Our visit to Cascais which is only about a 40 minute drive from Lisbon was so relaxing and revitalising but also gave us an insight into the coastal lifestyle and vibe. I wrote about our time there in this post Cascais Being there at the end of the summer season meant it was busy but not overcrowded and we got to enjoy a wonderful free outdoor pop concert featuring Fernando Daniel,the winner of The Voice Portugal! Dancing with the crowd of mainly locals going crazy was so much fun!

Fernando Daniel concert!
Coastal cuisine and colour

In Cascais we tried and loved Azeitao cheese, a sublimely soft and gooey sheep’s milk cheese that I have yet to find in Australia…but writing this has reminded me to find it for our next cheese adventure!

Here’s a link to the story behind the cheese Azeitao Cheese

We also enjoyed lots of relaxed lunches and dinners at places like Cantinho de Avillez, a local Taberna and at the Hotel Albatroz restaurant.

Cascais was a real highlight and a relaxing, fun wind-down spot on our 5 week trip before we went on to Morocco. Would love to go back someday.

Secret Garden brunch at Daisy Green #daisygreen #london

Reliving memories of my recent trip to London as the city rolled towards the COVID-19 shutdown last month…it was a slightly surreal visit to one of my favourite cities but filled with nice memories that will stay with me,

I found this delightful cafe called Daisy Green in Portman Village, on the corner of Seymour st and New Quebec St, just behind Oxford st.

Turns out it’s part of a group called the Daisy Green collection described on their website as:

“The Daisy Green Collection brings relaxed and buzzing Australian food and coffee culture to London. Through individually designed cafes and restaurants, the Collection creates iconic spaces which quickly become local destinations and meeting points for surrounding residents and visitors.”

Downstairs at Daisy Green Portman Village

The Portman Village cafe has been designed by UK street artist, Shuby, into an Alice in Wonderland esq outdoor/indoor garden.

I managed to quench my craving for a real Australian coffee or two and enjoyed delicious avocado on toast, with a sprinkling of paprika, chives and a squeeze of lemon, and a side of real bacon!

I would have been one of the last customers prior to the shutdown, but I sincerely hope the cafe and Daisy Green collection come through the other side of the pandemic to flourish once more.