A busy weekend in Brisbane and Yatala Pies


I’ve just got home (Canberra) after a busy weekend in Brisbane to see my daughters. May is a big month for us, my father’s birthday is in May, my eldest two daughters both share a birthday in May (two years apart), it’s mothers day in May and my birthday is in May.

I arrived late Friday night and the girls were already in ‘bed’ ready to sleep. They had a big Saturday ahead of them.

On Saturday we got out of bed at 5 am and ate a quick breakfast. I had peanut paste on toast (I didn’t have time for a low carbohydrate meal) while the two youngest ones had Mum’s lemon curd on toast. We had to be on the road by 6.30 am and on our way to Yatala for the QGSSSA Cross Country championships. Athletics is not the favourite sport for Miss13 and Miss17 however, as all rounders they compete in as many sports as possible. The meet is held at Rivermount College which isn’t part of the QGSSSA. The college is at Yatala near the Gold Coast.

Just thinking back a bit, when I arrived Friday night I discovered that a tube of moisturiser (yes I have Ichthyosis) had ‘exploded’ in my bag and the shirt I was going to wear had been ruined. Mum said I should wear one of Dad’s shirts. She also said it would be warm so short sleeves wouldn’t be a problem. I always listen to my mother.

So we arrive at Yatala and it’s cloudy and cold. I’m shivering. Thanks Mum 🙂

[To get more detail out of the images, click on them, they should open in a new window with a higher resolution. I’m happy to receive comments on the photography. Some images were captured with a Canon PowerShot G16 and the others with a Nikon D7100. I shoot in manual and capture RAW files to allow some post processing in Adobe Lightroom. ]

Rivermount College GPS coordinates

Rivermount College GPS coordinates

Rivermount College GPS coordinates

Rivermount College GPS coordinates

The girls run well and enjoy themselves. The next stop is the Sleeman Sports Complex in Chandler. We have to get Miss17 there for gymnastics training. Even though she didn’t make the Queensland team this year she’s allowed to compete at the national championships this week in Melbourne. She has to train at Gymnastics Queensland headquarters in Chandler. Before we get there though, Miss17 suggests a spot of morning tea at Yatala Pies.

Yatala Pies is a bit of an institution in South East Queensland. Their pies are known far and wide. Funnily enough I’ve never eaten in the Yatala Pies shop. This was a first.

The Famous Yatala Pies shop at Yatala near Queensland’s Gold Coast http://yatalapies.m2media.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/feature1.jpg

Yatala Pies on Urbanspoon

https://goo.gl/maps/e4YGs

Miss17 had a curry chicken and vegetable pie, Miss13 had a sausage roll and I elected to have a pasty. It’s been ages since I’ve had a good pasty. This one didn’t disappoint. I loved it.

 

Yatala pies pasty

Yatala pies pasty

Yatala pies takeaway box.

Yatala pies takeaway box. You can see Miss13’s sausage roll in the background.

Now regulars readers know me so it shouldn’t be any surprise that when I saw Vanilla slice I had to have one. Yatala Pies sells French Vanilla slices with a whopping big layer of French vanilla cream. It was gorgeous.

Yatala Pies French vanilla slice

Yatala Pies French vanilla slice

After a lot of driving back and forth between Chandler and Chermside it was a long tiring day. After getting the kids back to my parents’ place it was time to cook our special May dinner to celebrate so many birthdays and mothers day.

I said to Mum that I wanted to cook salmon and would be wonderful is Miss17 could make a salad. I also made a pumpkin cauliflower mash which I used to smear the plate and perch the salmon on.

Salmon

Salmon

#Dinner is salmon on a smear of pumpkin cauliflower mash with a green salad

#Dinner is salmon on a smear of pumpkin cauliflower mash with a green salad

For dessert, Miss17 had made an ice cream cake. The base was made with Ferrero Rocher, Chocolate Mint and Queensland nut (Macadamia) ice creams. The top had a combination of mixers added to make it a cake to remember.

Miss17 made me a Ferrero rocher, chocolate mint and Queensland nut ice cream cake with heaps of mixers

Miss17 made me a Ferrero rocher, chocolate mint and Queensland nut ice cream cake with heaps of mixers

After dinner we watched The Hunger Games on DVD. I’d never seen it before. It was good.

After a good night’s sleep Miss19 joined us after a busy weekend of working and studying. We had planned a special breakfast together. My daughters and me 🙂 We decided to head to Groove Train at Chermside because it was close and the last time we were there we enjoyed the food.

The Groove Train on Urbanspoon

https://goo.gl/maps/aebPU

I asked for poached eggs with bacon, hollandaise sauce, avocado and mushrooms. It was pretty good.

Poached eggs with bacon, hollandaise sauce, avocado and mushroom on sourdough toast

Poached eggs with bacon, hollandaise sauce, avocado and mushroom on sourdough toast

Miss13 asked for pancakes

Pancake stack with berries and maple syrup

Pancake stack with berries and maple syrup

After breakfast I had to take Miss17 back to Chandler for more training. I said my goodbyes and then caught a flight back to Canberra.

Dinner while watching Master Chef Australia was a nude burger with tomato, bacon and Coon cheese.

Nude Wagyu burger with bacon, tomato and Coon cheese

Nude Wagyu burger with bacon, tomato and Coon cheese

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Hope you had a great weekend and ate YUMMY

A fabulous weekend in Brisbane with lots of eating out


I spent this weekend in Brisbane visiting my daughters and parents. I’ve been looking forward to this time away for quite a few weeks. It would give me a chance to celebrate Miss13’s birthday and it would be great to enjoy some warm weather in Brisbane.

One of the highlights of last week was being featured in the good food and wine guide in The Canberra Times  Continue reading

A depressing realisation as 2014 dawns


Happy new year everyone. I hope you had an enjoyable new year’s eve and a great start to 2014.

I went to the beach with Miss12 and Miss16. Overall it was a great day. We spent it at Kings Beach at Caloundra on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. It brought back many memories from my high school years when we would spend every holiday there. My friends and I would swim and surf as much as we could interspersed with eating hamburgers and pizzas. My skin went black and the soles of my feet grew thick enough to walk on searing bitumen.

The best part was body surfing and swimming. I was a reasonably good swimmer at school. I also did still water life saving and water polo. For me to compete in sport required water.

The depressing realisation today came as I tried to dive under a wave and swim out the back. For about the last six months I’ve been seeing a physiotherapist for supraspinatus impingement syndrome. I have it bilaterally but much worse on the right side. I CAN’T SWIM. I can’t even dog paddle without pain.

I will double my efforts with the exercises the physiotherapist has assigned to me. I cannot bear the thought that I’ll never swim again.

I enjoyed some time on the beach

I enjoyed some time on the beach

I should have covered my legs

I should have covered my legs

I love the beach

I love the beach

We enjoyed fish, calamari, prawn cutlets, potato scallops and beer batter chips

We enjoyed fish, calamari, prawn cutlets, potato scallops and beer batter chips

After lunch we had gelato. I had a salted caramel and mint waffle cone

After lunch we had gelato. I had a salted caramel and mint waffle cone

Shout out to Queensland Health | A weekend in Brisbane


This last weekend I spent in sunny warm and slightly humid Brisbane. My home town. I was visiting my daughters.

On arriving on Friday evening at my parents’ place I was greeted by Miss16 who entered on a pair of crutches and her right ankle heavily strapped. She’d rolled it towards the end of training that night while attempting a new routine. Injury is not unknown to Miss16. She’s suffered her share and in some ways more than her share. I’ve never seen a kid with such a high tolerance for pain. She regularly competes with niggling injuries and pain. One of the amazing qualities Miss16 possesses is an extraordinary mental toughness. Her coach suggested we see a doctor to arrange a referral to a radiologist just in case there was a fracture. She couldn’t bear her own weight to walk so we decided to continue with the ice and elevation overnight. My hope was we could get in to see a GP early Saturday morning and then get her ankle exposed to X rays as soon as possible. My memories of working in emergency departments on Saturday mornings were filled with long waiting times, screaming patients and a line of hung over medical specialty trainees from a big night out. I wanted to avoid the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital Emergency Department if I could.

After a good night’s sleep Miss16 reported increased pain and swelling. We would definitely need to see a medical practitioner. There is a local medical centre close to where my parents live. Miss16 and I got there at 8.30 am as they opened and were told the radiology practice they refer patients to doesn’t open on weekends and we’d be better off presenting to the hospital emergency department. I looked at Miss16 and said we needed to be prepared for a long wait and that Miss12 may miss training.

Once in the rental car (that’s another story for this blog) we crawled through the Saturday morning traffic. As we got close to the RBWH I started feeling a little anxious. Parking around here had never been good and I’d have to drop Miss16 off at the entrance given she was on crutches. As I turned into Butterfield Street I noticed everything looked different compared to my old memories of working here. There was a parking station. The ED didn’t look decrepit. Things were looking up.

After finding a park (which was easy but expensive) we got to the triage desk which was vacant. Within a few minutes an RN appeared and he asked us to sit down and took Miss16’s history. There was an old fellow in a cubicle shouting out delirious and drunk, abusing staff and using foul language. Memories came rushing back. This was one of many reasons to specialise in pathology. I recall as a junior house officer having to do twelve months of emergency medicine before I could start the terms I wanted to prepare for pathology training. The triage RN gently examined Miss16’s ankled and concluded a doctor would need to see her. Within five minutes an ED registrar was taking a history and examining MIss16’s ankle. Within ten minutes a radiology referral was written and Miss16 was having her ankle exposed to X rays. Within 30 minutes of our presentation we spoke with the ED registrar. I got to see the X ray. There was no obvious fracture but the medial aspect of the distal end of Miss16’s right fibula looked a little dark. Probably the result of many older injuries but possibly a fracture in evolution. We were given a choice, cast and review in fracture clinic or conservative management with GP review in a week and another exposure to X rays. Miss16 made it clear she didn’t want a cast. We agreed on conservative management.

In the end we were in and out in under an hour. That still cost us $10 for parking but a small price given the excellent service we experienced. If we’d been to see a GP and private radiologist the out of pocket (gap) expenses would be significant under our universal public health insurance, i.e., Medicare despite our additional private health insurance. Queensland for as long as I can remember has had a free public hospital system, well before the other states went to a free system. This is not something most people younger than me know, but for older Australians, they’ll remember Queensland lead the way. This along with the abolition of death taxes was a reason why so many Victorians in their senior years would come to Queensland to retire. There has been a lot of criticism of Queensland Health but it looks like the Queensland Government is doing a great job with the RBWH and its ED. Thumbs up. I’d happily recommend the RBWH ED to anyone.

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Ankle wrapped with ice

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Ankle displaying a little swelling

Disclosure. I worked in Queensland Health including the then RBH from 1990 to 1995. I’m currently working for the Australian Government Department of Health and for the ACT Government Health Department. I make the above comments not as a public servant working in health bureaucracy and in a hospital, but as a father with a daughter in need of medical care.

Getting back to the beginning. Friday afternoon. I had a good day in ACT Pathology and managed to get away on time to make my flight to Brisbane.

In the lounge I had a little cheese and then someone came around with a spinach and mushroom pie. I wasn’t about to say no.

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Blue cheese, quince paste and lavosh bread

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A little spinach and mushroom pie

On board QF960 I arranged an upgrade so I could have a better dinner. The fish pie was okay and made better with the mushy peas.

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Fish pie with mushy peas

When I arrived in Brisbane I walked to the Hertz counter to pick up the rental car. I normally rent a compact with manual transmission. Usually a Toyota Yaris. The cheapest I can possibly get. When I got to the counter I was asked if I would mind accepting a complimentary upgrade to a Nissan Tiida. I’ve never been a fan of Nissan vehicles but had never driven a Tiida. So I said yes hoping for a good experience. When I got into the car I tried setting up my iPhone to discover that the bluetooth set up was for the telephone only and wouldn’t allow me to play my tunes or podcasts through the sound system. It’s a good thing I brought my auxillary patch cord. The car drove well enough but it was full of rattles and noises. It had done about 40,000 km and didn’t look dinged up. It was also thirsty on petrol. If asked again, I’ll say no and stick with the Toyota Yaris. The sound system is better and will connect wirelessly to my iPhone so I can listen to my tunes and podcasts. After all I have all these Trek.fm Star Trek podcasts to listen to.

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Look at the podcasts I like to listen too

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The Nissan Tiida I rented

For breakfast we all had a slice of toast with Mum’s lemon butter.

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Lemon butter on toast

After getting Miss16 seen and Miss12 to gymnastics training I took Miss18 and Miss16 to lunch at the local Westfield and we enjoyed some noodles and other food at FantAsia.

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Hong Kong Dumplings with BBQ Pork

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Tokyo Beef with low GI rice

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Dim sims

After lunch we walked around Westfield and the girls introduced me to Daiso Japan. This is a new place to Westfield Chermside. The basic rule is everything costs $2.80 which equates to about ¥100. It’s like a one dollar shop only better and fancier. We saw some strange things there like horse fat hand cream.

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Horse fat hand cream

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Everything is $2.80

One thing I really like about Spring in Brisbane is the Jacaranda trees. I’ve been told they were originally from Southern Africa. Mum told me as a girl growing up in Brisbane she didn’t like them because when they bloomed it meant examinations were coming close. Fortunately when I was at high school the Radfield system was in place with continuous assessment throughout the year. A demonstration of how far ahead Queensland was in secondary education. This meant a student could afford to have an off day and all his or her eggs weren’t in an end of year basket.

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Jacaranda tree in Clayfield near Delta Gymnastics

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Afternoon tea with doughnuts

Miss18 had to work Saturday evening. She has a job at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre. I took my parents, Miss16 and Miss12 to the Kedron-Wavel RSL for dinner. It was a good evening although my parents’ weren’t that keen on their Wagyu beef and bacon pies. The pies were overcooked a little dry inside. On the other hand Miss12 loved her chicken nuggets and Miss16 raved about her combination laksa. I had nachos.

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Miss16’s lime milkshake

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My caramel milkshake

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Mum and Dad had a Wagyu beef and bacon pie each

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Miss16 had a combination laksa

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I had nachos

After dinner we had a good evening watching TV and chatting about stuff.

I went to pick up Miss18 at around midnight and then managed a decent sleep.

For breakfast we enjoyed bacon, sausage and egg.

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Bacon, sausage and egg with a strawberry 🙂

It was a pretty good weekend. The weather in Brisbane was glorious.

I hope you had a good weekend. Eat yummy and enjoy life.

Saying good bye with Canberra Airport public art

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Just a reminder I’ve changed my Facebook page to YummyLummy. Please check it out and ‘Like’ it. Thanks.

If you use Instagram, please follow me at http://instagram.com/garydlum

Food lovers’ weekend in Bowral and Tulips too


On Friday night Bron and I drove to Bowral to enjoy a food lovers’ weekend. We had a special deal with Peppers Craigieburn.

I’m glad for lunch I had chips and gravy because the welcoming tasting tray was a little light on.

Chips and gravy

What it lacked in quantity it made up for in quality of flavours.

Tasting Plate Peppers

Tasting Plate Peppers

For breakfast the next morning I started with a granola parfait and a biggish breakfast.

Big breakfast Peppers

Granola parfait

Granola parfait

Big breakfast

Big breakfast

After breakfast we had a short stroll around the golf course.

For morning tea we went into Bowral and visited the Gumnut patisserie in the Grand Arcade on Bong Bong Street in Bowral

You can find it at Google maps http://goo.gl/maps/Cta14


Bron persuaded me to try a vanilla slice. Well you know how much I love a good vanilla slice (see a search result here).

Vanilla Slice

Vanilla Slice

This was one of the nicest vanilla slices I’ve enjoyed. The custard was light but held together well without being too gelatinous. It was also not too sweet and the vanilla taste was perfect. The pastry was thin and flaky but not too thick and flaky. The icing was a little too thick and stiffened the top surface. I long for a good old fashioned pink icing with a little passion fruit. Otherwise this one was pretty good and I can see why the Gumnut patisserie is an award winner.

Gumnut Patisserie on Urbanspoon

After morning tea we went to The Cheese Store in Bowral for the components for a picnic lunch. We planned to buy the bread from the Gumnut patisserie.

The Google map is at http://goo.gl/maps/DihEb

After getting some blue cheese, double cream brie, a fruity cheddar, a pork and pistachio terrine and duck and orange pâté we went looking for a place to eat.

We found the Jellore Lookout at http://goo.gl/maps/6FePf but it was too windy

It was so windy up there.

We kept driving and found Mount Alexandra. We set up for the picnic and enjoyed some of the best food you can have outdoors.

Mt Alexandra picnic

The pork and pistachio terrine was amazing and went well with the double cream brie on fresh bread

Picnic setting

Picnic setting

Google maps http://goo.gl/maps/virXi

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After lunch we drove to the Centennial Vineyards so Bron could buy some wine.

You can find it at Google map http://goo.gl/maps/isfIa

The local mass produced wine is from the Bong Bong label. I love the name. It’s hilarious.

Bong Bong wine

Bong Bong wine

In the afternoon we watched the AFL grand final.

The only thing on my mind was the joy of knowing Manly defeated South Sydney and the hope the Knights would defeat Easts Roosters.

We had dinner at Montfort’s Restaurant.

The dinner was quite nice. I’d rate it as worthwhile and would recommend it to anyone visiting Bowral.

I’m now the Foursquare mayor of Montfort’s 🙂

Montfort's Dining Room on Urbanspoon

Another filling breakfast was needed on Sunday morning.

Granola parfait Pepper

Granola parfait Pepper

Big breakfast Peppers

Big breakfast Peppers

After breakfast we went for a stroll around the grounds.

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There were some great trees. The Marge Simpson tree and a fallen poplar tree.

Marge Simpson tree

Marge Simpson tree

Fallen Poplar after a windy day

Fallen Poplar after a windy day

A dirty big wombat hole

A dirty big wombat hole

After we checked out we hit Bowral again for a look around and found a busker singing some tunes. We had a coffee and treat while listening.

Apple turnover

Apple turnover

This was the best apple turnover I’ve ever eaten and I’ve eaten quite a few in my time. The cream was fresh and the apple perfectly cooked. It was amazing.

After morning tea we drove back to Canberra and stopped at Tulip Top Gardens.

Check them out at Google map http://goo.gl/maps/d7u7i

The Tulip Top Gardens charge a $13 entry and for that you also get a sausage in a piece of bread.

When we arrived the line was too long and stayed that way for the next couple of hours.

We had some left over cheese and meat from the day before.

Tulip Top Gardens picnic lunch of blue cheese, double cream brie, fruity cheddar, pork and pistachio terrine and duck and orange pâté with fresh bread

Tulip Top Gardens picnic lunch of blue cheese, double cream brie, fruity cheddar, pork and pistachio terrine and duck and orange pâté with fresh bread

Then we walked around the gardens. take a look through the slideshow of images.

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After a fabulous weekend of fabulous food I made myself a bacon and cheese omelet.

Bacon an cheese omelet

Bacon an cheese omelet

It’s been a great weekend. Peppers Craigieburn is very worthwhile in terms of a weekend away. The food lovers’ package is pretty good. The weather was fantastic and the food better. The best part of the weekend was of course Bron’s company on a fabulous little break.

Google maps http://goo.gl/maps/GqJfZ

Final comments on Montfort’s Dining Room

The meals were all of a high standard and very enjoyable. The breakfast was an enhanced buffet experience but much nicer than most metropolitan hotel experiences.

The tasting plate was a very nice show case of the delicate cuisine Montfort’s can deliver.

The four course meal was superb, well at least the first three courses of mushrooms, barramundi and chicken. The cheese platter was a little ordinary with a hard blue cheese and two other hard cheeses. I’d prefer at least one soft cheese plus a blue and a hard. The pear slices and strawberries were nice but some fruit paste would have been good too. My other comment would be the poached egg with the mushrooms. Served in its own container in a little water meant the yolk became watery when the white was broken. The yolk was a little undercooked.

Otherwise, this is a very worthwhile restaurant to visit and enjoy.

My week in Instagram | #TheEkka | A new blog | Shoutout @CowboysXBones | Battered sav time


Wow since last Saturday so much has happened. It’s been a huge week and with all the food I’ve enjoyed I’m feeling huge. I really need to do something but I’m in a frame of mind at the moment that’s making it hard to resist eating.

Let’s start with Sunday morning. I went for a walk and said g’day to Mr Owl.

Did you see the sliver of moon?

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Bron invited me over for a fabulous breakfast. She’d been to the fresh food markets on Sunday and got some truffles that had been grown locally. For readers not based in Canberra, the ACT has a thriving truffle community. Truffles with butter and in eggs is amazing and Bron makes the best breakfasts.

Must always start breakfast with coffee

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There's a light in my #coffee 😃☕

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I love the reflection of the light in this image

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Bron made scrambled eggs with truffled butter she made on Saturday

These were fantastic.

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Because I’m doing a clinical day now I find I have to go into work on some Sundays to catch up. The office coffee isn’t as nice as Bron’s.

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I didn’t spend all day at work and for lunch made myself a light noodle meal

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I prefer cooking with gas 😃 #lunch rice noodles

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I prefer cooking with gas

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For dinner Bron invited me over for one of the best meals I’ve eaten. Roasted pork hock with marinaded cabbage, cauliflower cheese, roasted potatoes and potato dumplings. This was THE BEST.

The pork hock was perfectly cooked

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For dessert Bron went one step better if you can believe that. Bakewell tart. I kept on calling it a pie, but it’s a tart.

Bron is the BEST cook I know

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Shortly after, Miss16 sent me an image of a cake she had just made. A baklava torte.

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Mr Owl at 4.30 am

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Good morning Mr Owl

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#breakfast smoothie 😃

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A smoothie to try not to eat too much

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With the slow cooker roasted beef from Saturday I had sandwich meat for lunches. A money saver and a tool to try to stop myself from buying pies and sausage rolls.

This also had tomatoes and mustard

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My big weight loss problem is the amount of charity chocolate I am tempted by and give in to. I’m good at giving to charity.

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More giving to charity #chocolatebars

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Monday night I made salmon and noodles

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Followed with some evening reading and a peppermint tea

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Tea time and reading about e-health

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Tuesday morning Mr Owl image

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Good morning Mr Owl hoot hoot

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Tuesday evening dinner. Chicken and what Aldi calls Jewels rather than potato gems.

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Wednesday morning Mr Owl from behind

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The Belconnen Arts Centre looks peaceful at 5 am

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Lights #canberra #publicart

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I did a naughty thing for Wednesday lunch. I added chips to my beef sandwich.

But they were so good

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We have these letters left over from Christmas decorations at work and we make words with them when we feel the urge. The word for Wednesday was mole. I mentioned the Mexican sauce as my inspiration while others thought of blind mammals. I also described various skin lesions and then someone mentioned that mole is used as a derogatory term too so we stopped. But not until someone told us about the children’s story of the mole who was defecated on. This is the YouTube video of the story book.

It is worth the few minutes.

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For Wednesday and Thursday night check out the separate post on the two restaurants we dined at. http://yummylummy.com/2013/08/10/two-ss-this-week-for-dinner-sanurs-balinese-sage-dining-rooms/

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Thursday morning I enjoyed a poached egg and lemon butter on toast. It was like a sweet lemony hollandaise.

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A tip for people who love a toasted sandwich and need to use a shared toaster. I wrap my sandwiches in baking powder before packing it into my lunch box.

It means you keep the toaster clean and no one else’s crud contaminates your sandwich.

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Friday started with a coffee at the hospital

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Good morning. Hospital #coffee Gee it's cold outside.

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Did you see the apparent temperature!!!

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Now to introduce my new blog. I had a spare domain name after I changed from http://garydavidlum.com to http://yummylummy.com What to do I thought. Please check out http://garydavidlum.com and see what I’ve done.

This image can be found at http://garydavidlum.com/2013/08/10/escherichia-coli-on-macconkey-agar/

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Lunch at the hospital was risotto

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#lunch Chicken and pumpkin risotto with iced coffee

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Followed by a little blutac dog 🙂

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Someone made a blue tac doggy

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Guess where I went on Friday afternoon?

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The obligatory boarding pass image

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A #snack before QF962 CBR to BNE

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With soup

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That’s QF962. Gee I have a big head.

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QF962 CBR to BNE

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Dinner on QF962 was chicken and leek with Bundaberg ginger beer

The comments weren’t complimentary

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Saturday morning I woke up and Miss16 made me breakfast. Toast with Mum’s lemon butter smeared on. Miss16 has not inherited my technique of applying spreads. I like the troweling method.

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THIS IS WHAT I CALL WINTER PEOPLE

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My type of winter 😃😃😃😃😃

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It was awfully dry though and my skin felt really bad. I was in discomfort all day.

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While Miss12 and Miss16 were at training I took my parents and Miss18 to FantAsia for lunch. I had the Kuta beef rendang

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Kuta beef rendang from FantAsia Lots of coconut

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It was pretty good

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Saturday afternoon and evening were dedicated to The Ekka, The Royal National Association Exhibition or the Show. The best Show in Australia. Far better than the Sydney Easter Show. More fun, more entertaining and a much better atmosphere. I also like small town shows, like the Royal Darwin Show too. http://ekka.com.au/

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We're here #TheEkka 😃😃😃

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The first thing we did was head to the Woolworths Fresh Food pavilion because Miss12 and Miss16 needed lunch. We looked around at all the stalls and they said the wanted dumplings.

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Char siu bao

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Char siu bao

Pork and prawn dumplings

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The kids contributed to the graffiti wall

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Graffiti wall 😃 at #theekka

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I love the exhibits from the government agencies

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#Queensland lung fish #theekka I love zoölogy

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As a kid I loved zoölogy so much and reading all about the Queensland lung fish. If you perform a search you’ll learn what a remarkable fish this is.

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Next were the cake decorations

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Amazing colours #theekka cake decorating

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Amazing technique but ugly #theekka cake decorating

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I was saddened when I watched a family come over, the kids were keen but the father told them this was not interesting enough. The kids clearly wanted to look at the exhibit.

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No we didn’t do this but we spent a good amount of time in Sideshow alley

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We're in sideshow alley #theekka

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I saw this and started salivating

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Want 😃 pork and gravy roll #theekka

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Next on the list were the animal exhibits. Everyone shoots the whole beast to get a feeling for size. I did something a little more abstract.

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Big testes We're looking at animals now #theekka

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We saw lambs being born

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One of the rituals of The Ekka is the Strawberry Sundae. These have been a mainstay of The Ekka for as long as I can remember. I think the previous ice cream manufacturer was Pauls. It’s now Lick Ice Cream http://lickicecream.com.au

There would be many Ekka aficionados who would object to a new ice cream source but I suppose we have to move with the times and I guess a business decision was necessary. That said, I like the new ice cream. It’s creamy deliciousness.

I can’t remember a time with Ekka Strawberry Sundaes didn’t exist. In 1995 in my final year of specialist training I was based at what was then the Royal Brisbane Hospital (now the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital). During the RNA week we had a system in place where we sent a volunteer down from the hospital to cross the road to the show ground with a stainless steel tray (designed for something else but perfect for ice cream cones). We had a ‘contact’ on the inside and we were able to buy enough ice cream for anyone who wanted one. I’ve always said the Princess Alexandra Hospital was the best in terms of my professional training, but for 10 days in 1995, the RBH was magical.

This year the organisers had made some changes and there were about four or five Ekka Strawberry Sundae stalls set up each staffed with volunteers because all the proceeds go to the Prince Charles Hospital in Chermside (formerly the Chermside Chest Hospital). At $4.80 per cone I hope they make a gazillion dollars for TPCH.

The queues were huge but we were happy to wait. I had Miss16 keeping me company.

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We're in a queue for Ekka strawberry sundaes #theekka

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This is how a Ekka Strawberry Sunday is put together. There’s a lot of Brisbane and Queensland goodness in this. An Instagram friend did point out the cone was probably made in China. As an Brisbane born Queenslander of Chinese heritage, it seems perfect to me.

Throughout the afternoon and evening we did see a problem with the sundaes especially with patrons carrying them on trays. The top strawberry kept slipping off. The cream interface between the strawberry and the strawberry ice cream needed to be firmer and possibly less creamy. The taste was amazing but for practical purposes they may need to look at this.

This is me and my Ekka Strawberry Sundae. This image is what should be interpreted as HAPPINESS.

After another session in sideshow alley which involved Miss18 buying a firefighters’ calendar and getting firemen to sign it for her we went to the main show arena to watch some wood chop. I love the wood chop. This is a sport invented by Australians and competitions occur at all the major shows in Australia. Tonight we watched two relay teams (red and blue). The lead underhand axeman for the red team who were were supporting only had one arm. He was AWESOME. Can you imagine swinging an axe with one arm? Can you imagine doing an underhand wood chop with one arm? In the end the red team won.

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Love the woodchop. An Australian invented sport #theekka

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Click on the PLAY icon to show the video

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Nothing like feeding clowns ping ping balls #theekka

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Time in side show alley

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Miss16 is all power #theekka

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Miss16 is all about power

The main arena was full. We couldn’t get a seat at first. In the end we found a plank we could sit on way up the back in one of the stands. The evening’s entertainment involved a monster truck, viz., devil’s taxi, trails motorcycles, a stockman mustering show, and a singer named Ricki-Lee Coulter. The best part of the evening was thirty minutes of fireworks which featured Ironman and a bloke flying a jetpack. It was one of the best fireworks shows I’ve ever seen. The Ekka has outdone itself. If I lived in Brisbane I’d go again. Alas, I won’t be doing this again for some time.

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Some of the light show at #theekka Thank you @theekka

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Lights and a jetpack Click on the PLAY icon to show the video

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A great use of quad bikes at #theekka

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A great use for quad bikes Click on the PLAY icon to show the video

The fireworks finished at around 8.15 pm and rather than get caught up in the crowd crush for the train we decided to go to sideshow alley once more and find something to eat. Miss18 wasn’t hungry, Miss16 wanted a hamburger, Miss12 wanted hot chips and me, well I wanted a Dagwood dog. This is were I do a shout out to a blogger friend Cowboys and Crossbones from the US who recently attended the Iowa State Fair and shared an image of herself chowing down on a Corn dog.

In Australia, the corn dog is known as a Dagwood dog or Pluto pup or a battered sav on a stick. Ever since the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games though and work of Roy and HG Nelson a battered sav will take on a different meaning.

Roy and HG on the battered sav, crazy date and spinning flute

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To be honest, there’s nothing nutritious about a Dagwood dog. Unless it’s hot they can be quite oily and unpleasant. They’re best eaten when hungry and when they’re hot. Fortunately for me after walking about 20000 steps and with sore feet I was hungry and this battered sav on a stick must have just been cooked because the tomato sauce was dripping off it from the heat.

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I did a good number of steps today at #theekka

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My feet hurt

After some more sideshow alley fun we caught the train home. We got in at about 10 pm and settled in for a couple of MasterChefAU encore episodes on 11.

For breakfast this morning Mum wanted to surprise me with something she hasn’t made for >30 years. When we were in high school the mother of a friend shared with Mum a breakfast idea for toast and toasted sandwiches. It consisted of Dutch roast pork, bacon, chopped tomatoes, Coon cheese, Parmesan cheese, raw egg, tomato sauce and Worcestershire sauce. This is spread on par toasted slices of bread and then finished off in a hot oven.

Miss18 has had her learner’s permit since she turned 17. Her log book is nearly complete and she wants to sit her examination soon. We spent some time in my parent’s car with Miss18 driving. She’s pretty good. Confident but not cocksure. For morning tea we stopped at McDonalds and enjoyed a shake. We also saw a great sticker on a ute being critical of those stick figure family stickers. I don’t mind the family stickers. I’d never put them on my car but I don’t mind them.

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No one cares about your stick figure family lol 😃

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and Miss18 bought macarons for us to eat

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Raspberry macaron

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Raspberry macaron

The weekend is coming to an end. I’ve enjoyed this trip to Brisbane a little more than normal. I had my kids with me. We went to The Ekka together. We had fun. I always enjoy seeing my kids. This trip though had the bonus of six hours of entertainment and junk food coupled with lots of walking.

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Flying home QF957 BNE to CBR

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Waiting for the flight home

The snack on QF957

Dinner of noodles and beef

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Tim Tam Slam time

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Dessert is a Tim Tam Slam

Natalie Imbruglia shows Graham Norton how to do a tim tam slam.

A lovely weekend in Brisbane | Bacon equals happiness


Coon Cheese logo

Coon Cheese logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I spent this weekend in Brisbane with my daughters and parents. Brisbane was lovely and warm compared with Canberra. It was a tad dry though, but still, it was warm.

The last week in Canberra has been about average in terms of forecast weather, although for this winter it was a colder week. This has been a pretty mild Canberra winter and for that I’m grateful. I’d like to see the temperature in Canberra a lot warmer.

Not too cold although walking from the car park to the laboratory was chilly

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Friday breakfast was a simple and light fried egg with melted Coon cheese on toast

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Fried egg and Coon cheese on toast for #breakfast

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Coon is traditionally used on toasted sandwiches but a friend on Instagram commented on better options like Colby. I’m already looking forward to my next visit to Brisbane. I’m taking Miss12 and Miss16 to The Ekka. Undoubtedly there will be a Coon cheese stall selling toasted sandwiches.

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I love my hospital Fridays

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Happiness 😃😃😃

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I spent the morning looking through the genital plates

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Lunch was also pretty filling

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#lunch Chips, vanilla slice and iced #coffee #yummy

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I had a small bowl of chips, a Vanilla slice and an iced coffee. The Vanilla slice was light and flaky. The icing sugar filled the air as I bit into the lovely pastry. My glasses, iPhone and face become covered in white powdery sweetness.

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Regular readers know of my love for Vanilla slices

A YummyLummy search will show all the Vanilla slices I’ve posted

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After work I went to the airport

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#publicart #canberra

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A piece of public art at the Canberra Airport (CBR)

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A refreshing glass of water in the airport lounge

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Off to see the kids QF962 CBR to BNE

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Obligatory boarding pass photo

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QF962 was one of the newer Boeing 737 airframes that QANTAS has refurbished with better audio visual equipment

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Yay new airframe QF962 CBR to BNE

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I like having a personal display. I watched reruns of one of my all time favourite American situation comedies, viz., Last Man Standing with Tim Allen. I loved Tim Allen in Home Improvement and in LMS he’s even better. I can identify a little better as a father of three daughters.

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Dinner was a beef stew (I think) with noodles

The best part was the little Cadbury chocolate bar

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And of course the Bundaberg ginger beer was pretty good too

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Ginger beer with #dinner on QF962 CBR to BNE

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It was great arriving at my parents’ place and seeing my daughters and catching up since my last visit. Miss18 and Miss16 now have part time jobs to help them to buy the things they want and need. Miss16 showed me her new smartphone which I helped her with for her birthday. Miss18 is also busily saving for a new smartphone. I love that they’re connected and that as a result we communicate every day by WhatsApp or by other forms of digital comms. Miss12 has an old fashioned handset which she likes and we can send SMS text messages to one another.

The warmth on arriving in Brisbane was a welcome change to that last week in Canberra. It was nice being out and not shivering.

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On Saturday morning after a fantastic sleep I had some of Mum’s lemon butter/curd on toast

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Mum's lemon butter on #toast for #breakfast #yummy

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Check this out 🙂

I woke up to this except it wasn’t cloudy at all

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My view #Brisbane #Chermside

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This was a clear blue sky to almost rival Canberra’s

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Prior to taking Miss12 and Miss16 to training Miss16 needed a little back therapy from Miss12. Poor Miss16 has a bad back and ankles and knees and right elbow.

This is an Instagram video which should play if you click on it or if you view in Instagram (top right hand corner)

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After some retail therapy with Miss18 at Westfield Chermside, Miss18 and I went to FantAsia in the Westfield food court for lunch. I’d never eaten here before. Both Miss18 and I didn’t want anything too heavy so we opted for dumplings, barbecue pork and noodles. Oh there were so many noodles that I couldn’t finish my bowl. Check out the website and their menu.

This was pretty good for food court food. I had at least six dumplings and the serve of barbecue pork was also pretty good. The soup wasn’t overly salty which I’m guessing means it wasn’t saturated in MSG. I’d happily eat there again. When I described it to Mum and Dad they were pretty keen to try it out.

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FantAsia on Urbanspoon

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After picking up Miss12 and Miss16 we went to Cold Rock where Miss16 has a part time job and she made us an afternoon tea snack

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Watching Miss16 at work

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This is another Instagram video

I had a large Queensland nut (Macadamia species) ice cream with soft caramel fudge and freckles

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The end of a lovely day in Brisbane

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and the sun sets in Chermside 😃

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For dinner we went to the HQ Cafe in the Kedron-Wavell Services Club. As far as RSLs go this is a big club and the dining options are all pretty fair. We like it because it’s local and doesn’t require a lot of bother. It’s also very friendly. There are at least four restaurants in the club each with a different cuisine and dining experience.

Cafe HQ on Urbanspoon

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For a main I asked for a T-bone steak cooked rare with pepper sauce and chips

The steak was not too bad. It hadn’t been rested long enough and it was a little tough. The pepper sauce was pretty good. I also had a Vanilla thick shake which was served in an old fashioned aluminium mixing container (no image sorry).

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Dessert was a slice of passion fruit cheese cake YUMMY

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Passionfruit cheesecake for #dessert #yummy

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After dinner we watched The Blind Side on TV. I’d never seen this movie before but I’d thoroughly recommend it as a great movie.

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I slept pretty well last night. It must have been the walk, the food, the warmth and having fun with my daughters.

This morning was overcast and a little gloomy looking.

Mum recently had an operation on her hand and had asked if I’d cook breakfast. I was happy to. I’d already gone out and bought some middle rasher bacon and free range eggs.

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Vegetarians avert your eyes from this #bacon

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Lots of bacon. Dad cut the fat of some pieces for Miss16 who isn’t a fan of anything with fat attached.

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It’s easier to fry the eggs easy over when I stay with Mum and Dad (they don’t have egg rings).

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Old school fried eggs. Easy over #yummy #breakfast

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Here’s a short video defining happiness

I also uploaded to YouTube in case the Instagram version doesn’t work

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I know I shouldn’t but I had all the bacon fat in the fry pan. I didn’t want to waste it.

Fried bread in bacon fat. Is there anything better?

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The yolk was nice and soft and runny and mixed nicely with the barbecue sauce

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I can’t but post the naughty compilation 🙂

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All the #breakfast goodness in one shot 😃

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After a morning of homework and relaxation I went to the airport to catch my flight home

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Nearly time to board QF957 BNE to CBR

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Obligatory boarding pass image

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On board I had a snack of chic chip and orange biscuits plus a Bundaberg ginger beer

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On getting back I needed to do some grocery shopping but it’s difficult without trolleys

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Where are the trolleys?

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Tonight I threw together a chicken thigh, some pumpkin, some feta, some Coon cheese, along with some rice noodles topped with a yoghurt spiced up with garlic, ginger, lemon zest, lemon juice, coriander and mint.

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I needed a snack though 🙂

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After #dinner sweet treat

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It’s been a great weekend in Brisbane with my daughters. Now I’m back and it’s oddly warm in Canberra due to a northerly front across Australia. It’s good.

I look forward to more time with Bron this week. It will be good.

Okay, time to post this. Be good. Enjoy life and eat yummy.

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Kedron-Wavell Services Club http://www.kedron-wavell.com.au/

Google maps http://goo.gl/maps/BFLGR

The Ekka http://www.ekka.com.au/

Google maps http://goo.gl/maps/TKCU0

Last Man Standing http://abc.go.com/shows/last-man-standing
Wikipedia
IMDB

The #Vietnam #Holiday summary post


Two weeks in Vietnam with Bron went too quickly. It was such a great holiday. My only connection with work was deleting e-mail to reduce the burden on my return and sending work mates images of interesting food like locusts, frog legs, pig trotters and cakes 🙂

This is the final post in the holiday series. Previous posts include:

Taking a break for a couple of weeks
Our holiday adventure to Vietnam | Happy #Birthday Bron 🙂
Our stay in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay
Happy Hue 🙂 #Vietnam #Holiday
Healthy Hoi An #Vietnam #Holiday Cooking class | Snorkelling | Clothes
Hustling hot humid hectic Ho Chi Minh City

In the last post I mentioned I’d comment on things like driving in Vietnam, 3G access, traveller’s diarrhoea, toilets, my food thoughts and the weather, seat booking and clothes.

Crossing roads, traffic, scooters, cars and the people

In “preparation” for our trip we’d seen some “documentaries”, viz., the Top Gear Vietnam special and Anh Do’s “Anh does Vietnam”. Both demonstrated the “fun” you could have on the roads in Vietnam. Our first experience was in the Old Quarter in Ha Noi. The roads are narrow and the footpaths occupied with street stalls, vendors and scooters. Oh there were so many scooters. Not only on the road but parked on the footpaths all over the place. Crossing the road is something you just have to do. If you’re a nervous type or hesitant either get over it or don’t go. The basic rules are keep moving forward, don’t stop, don’t hesitate and don’t go backwards. Know that scooter riders will do their best to avoid you. They’ll slow down, they’ll swerve and they’ll avoid you. Car drivers though are different. They’ll just keep going, it’s your job not to step in front of a car. Trucks are to be avoided.

You can watch the Top Gear Vietnam Special on BLIP Unfortunately the embed function doesn’t work in WordPress.

No one drives at or above the speed limit. The traffic police are very good at keeping order. Even between cities on the open road where the speed limit is eighty kilometres per hour, most of the time we moved between forty and sixty kilometres per hour. In Vietnam, cars and scooters drive on the right side of the road. That said, we often found ourselves on the left side when overtaking. Overtaking is easy. You just move to your left and go a little faster. On coming cars and scooters will move to their right and the car/scooter your passing may or may not veer right. There were some really close calls, especially on the road to and from Ha Long Bay with Mr Loi. The remarkable thing is the Vietnamese are just so friendly and accommodating, the traffic merges. Everyone gets along. The horns are blowing all the time, but it’s drivers and riders letting everyone know they’re there and to be aware of their presence. Sometimes they’ll blow their horn to get someone to move faster or move aside but it’s not done in an aggressive or mean manner. Everyone seems to just get along. In the two weeks we were there we only witnessed contact between any vehicles once. We were in a taxi in Hoi An crossing a narrow bridge and an oncoming scooter made contact with the driver’s side wing mirror. The taxi driver undertook an immediate seven point turn which nearly saw us take out scooters and bicycles in front and behind us. He went in search of the scooter rider. To this day we’re not sure if the chase was in order to have a go or to find out if the scooter rider was okay.

My Ha Long Bay TripAdvisor review http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g293923-d1968469-Reviews-Halong_Bay-Halong_Bay_Quang_Ninh_Province.html

I wrote a few reviews and they can be found here http://www.tripadvisor.com/members-reviews/garydlum

Check out a little scooter traffic in Hue

A very short video from Ho Chi Minh City. We saw a lot worse than this

This is the only time when the streets were quiet and the footpaths weren’t covered in scooters.

6 am in the Old Quarter of Ha Noi.

There were times when I just longed to buy a scooter and a helmet. It just seemed like the thing to do and in Canberra in theory it should make sense. The reality is that Australian drivers are too aggressive and Canberra drivers are the worst in Australia. No one seems to know how to merge. Everyone wants to get ahead of the other person and the speed limit seems to be a guide only. I felt safer driving in Darwin and the smaller towns of the Northern Territory of Australia. I feel like I should warn Vietnamese people who come to Australia and who want to drive. Don’t. You’ll be killed.

3G access and wi-fi in Vietnam

Those who know me know that I don’t like being without my iPhone and I don’t like not having access to the internet. A few months prior to beginning our journey I did a quick internet search for pre-paid sim cards and didn’t come up with anything obvious. To be honest it wasn’t a fully committed search and I just forgot about it. A week out from our departure I looked again. This time I came across HolidayPhone. I ended up with a vinaphone sim card which would fit into my iPhone 5. The instructions and support (by e-mail) were all good. Questions were answered promptly. On arrival in Ha Noi it worked well and it also had the added feature that if you called my iPhone it would call forward to my Vietnamese number. The data costs were very reasonable. If you’re going to Vietnam from Australia and want a good pre-paid sim card I’d happily recommend using the HolidayPhone service.

Vietnam is replete with wi-fi. Every hotel we stayed in had high speed wi-fi. All the coffee shops and cafes were went into had free wi-fi. All the airports had free wi-fi. It wasn’t like free wi-fi in Australia that can become easily congested or is just low speed rather than high speed broadband. Every where we went the wi-fi was high speed and broad band. The Vietnamese really cater for those of us who want to stay connected, especially by social media.

On the subject of social media, we’d read in the Lonely Planet guide that the Vietnamese Government regularly blocks Facebook. We only had one experience of this. It was in Ha Noi airport (HAN) and using their wi-fi meant we couldn’t access Facebook. When I turned the wi-fi off and relied on 3G Facebook access was fine. Twitter, Instagram and WordPress all worked fine. Best of all, capturing data rich images (that is including GPS coordinates) was easy with my iPhone 5 and Panasonic DMC-Tz10. I also had a Nikon GP-1 for my Nikon D90. This really only worked in Ha Long Bay. Everywhere else the Nikon GP-1 didn’t seem to work. I’m not sure why. I captured nearly 400 images. A lot aren’t very good on analysis, some are okay. Most are food images. It’s a pity the lighting isn’t better for food bloggers and IGers in restaurants.

Travellers’ diarrhoea and toilets

Regular readers know I have IBS and being caught short when the urge to purge hits is a constant concern. I travel with Metamucil and make sure I allow myself time each morning to ensure my bowels are happy. There were a couple of days when I felt not just a little delicate but outright unwell. I think the change in diet rather than anything toxic was the cause. I’m glad I brought with me some loperamide. In 1995 as part of my specialist training I did a travel medicine clinic one afternoon every week. Out of interest, that year I also did a sexual health clinic one afternoon every week. I recall when I was seeing patients in the clinic that I’d always warn about using agents like loperamide. They basically inhibit peristalsis and for an infection could potentially make the problem worse. Importantly, so long as I was hydrated and wasn’t passing blood or having a fever, loperamide was going to be okay. We certainly had no problem with water. Bottled water is readily available. I didn’t have blood in my stools and while we were warm I wasn’t febrile. I’d also taken the precaution of packing some oral rehydration sachets just in case. My strong recommendation to any traveller is to always consult your doctor before a trip to discuss the precautions you may need to take including immunisations, anti-malarials, a travellers’ diarrhoea pack and a travel first aid kit. If your local GP isn’t confident with travel medicine there are many travel medicine clinics in Australia who will help you.

Australia has a great network of public toilets. The department I work for even has a map available of public toilets. I once worked with the bloke who was largely responsible for that map. Check out http://www.toiletmap.gov.au/ In Vietnam the toilets are a little different. They’re labelled WC and some are pedestal while others are drop toilets.

Many of the public toilets in Vietnam are like this. You have to pay to use them and pay for paper.

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Yes I tried a public toilet. #IBS #vietnam #holiday

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Given my imperfect bowel health a roll of dunny fax paper was my constant companion

As a devotee of Star Trek it’s always important to remove the Klingons from around Uranus.

In terms of pedestals there were a combination of toilets. Mostly the rapid flushers like we have in Australia and the floaters like they have in North America.

My thoughts on the food

I was so impressed with the food. Not only was there the exotic like the locusts, frog legs and snails but there was the sophisticated splendour of regional cuisine. I had some of the best meals I’ve ever eaten in Vietnam. The best fresh spring rolls I’ve ever eaten. The crispy savoury pancakes were an eye opener. I fell in love with Bánh mì and Pho. I’m not going to post all the images again in this post, I invite you to look over my travel posts from the time. You’ll get a good idea of what I mean about the food.

Bron and I are so impressed with our new knowledge we want to eat at more Vietnamese restaurants now that we understand better the cuisine. Bron is now cooking Vietnamese food.

I will just post a few images of the exotics meals I really enjoyed

Steamed pig trotters

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#dinner steamed pigs trotters #yummy #vietnam #holidays

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Steamed sea snails

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#dinner simmering snails #yummy #vietnam #holidays

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Butter fried frogs’ legs

Locusts roasted in pig fat with lemon leaves

The weather

We travelled to Vietnam in the cold dead lifelessness that is Canberra’s winter. We arrived in Vietnam’s gloriously warm and moist summer. On arriving in Vietnam I felt alive. I felt good. I was happy. My skin (Ichthyosis vulgaris sufferer speaking) drank in the humidity. My skin lesions healed. A skin tag around my eye fell off. The cracks on my fingers, toes and heels went away. What can I say, the weather was glorious. I readily acknowledge that for some people, such weather can be uncomfortable but that’s why air conditioning was invented. When it’s too hot you can enter a building that is cool. Some days the humidity was basically draining especially after walking in excess of twelve kilometres in a stretch. The answer…rest, drink water and find some air conditioning.

I could live in Vietnam. The weather is so good.

Booking tickets

Bron mentioned this one for me to write about. For some reason on the flight from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Sydney (SYD) Bron and I didn’t sit together. We don’t understand why. We sat next to each other on the way over and on all our other flights we were together. The flight from KUL to SYD was full and despite asking a couple of times, we couldn’t get seats together. It’s important when booking tickets to also ensure you choose your seats and link your flights.

Clothes

We had some clothes made in Hoi An. If you watch television shows like Top Gear or if you read some reviews on-line there is a sense you can have everything made in twenty-four hours. I’d give yourselves about seventy-two hours. You need to be measured, you need to have a fitting and then you need a final fitting before payment. If you’re having a lot of shirts and trousers made, it pays to take your time.

Would I do it again?

Yes, I really enjoyed Vietnam. The holiday with Bron worked really well. I have an inability to read a map and I have no sense of direction. It helps to travel with someone who does. Some take home messages include, where it’s feasible and affordable get a car and driver rather than a bus. The trains aren’t that good. Cars are better. If you get anxious about traffic, close your eyes. If you have trouble with crossing roads holiday elsewhere.

It was a great two weeks. Thanks Bron for a great holiday.

My final word of warning. If you see this sign just know you’re going to be served dog and/or cat.

Unless of course that’s what you really want…