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.

#tempuraoysters make it to #brunyisland

A friend and loyal follower of freespiritfood.net sent me these great photos of making the Tempura Oysters with Wasabi Mayonaise recipe on her current sailing trip around Tasmania, our beautiful Island State off the coast of mainland Australia.

Freshly shucked Bruny Island oyster!

Seems that my recent post of the recipe neatly coincided with their fresh haul of famed Bruny Island oysters so they made do with just cold water, no ice in the batter and they still turned out well. Apparently the hosts have added the recipe to the boat’s standing menu now. Yay!

Tempura Oysters #brunyisland
A haul of fresh Bruny Island oysters

Thanks so much for sending through the photos! Made my day and wish I was there in such a beautiful part of the world with you too!

Thank you! Happy New Year.

Thank you for all your support through 2020! Whilst we might not be able to be as free spirited in 2021, as we have been in the past, I do hope we can continue to connect through our shared foodie experiences. Thank you all for following and supporting my blog, Happy new year wherever you are. Stay safe And take care. Here are some images from #sydney.

#themoonstoletheshow #abc #joeobrien
#nobushfires #clearnight #sydneynye2021
#sydneyoperahouse #nopeople #nye2021

Beautiful (And Delicious) Christmas Recipes

From http://www.gastrozone.com ….thank you. Some wonderful Christmas ideas…maybe one or two might make our menu over coming days.

So beautiful, they might steal the stage from the decor and centerpieces! These are the dishes you’ll want to make to impress friends and family. For…

Beautiful (And Delicious) Christmas Recipes

#Seekh #Kebabs from Sinfullyspicy.com

This looks like a delicious recipe with excellent instructions from sinfully spicy.com…thank you! Yet to try but will be putting on my list.

The description of Old Delhi also brings back evocative memories of the spice laden air, colourful ancient streets and crowded markets.

Seekh Kabab

Seekh kabab could easily be one the most popular street foods across South Asia.A street food that instantly transports me to colorful streets of Old…

Seekh Kabab