So I’ve posted about Paddington before, but I never get over how lovely it is.
So I’m often at my happiest when I’m pottering around. As a vego, no one ever expects me to do anything for Christmas lunch (which is good because I couldn’t do meat) and so, with my gift wrapping done and a fair whack of my friends caught up with, I have time between now and Christmas Day to relax.
So today I’ve:
This year, for the first time in over 6 years, I will be spending Christmas morning and evening with my parents. We will start the drive soon. Ben and I have traveled a lot over the Christmas breaks past- to New Caledonia, to Europe (how I miss Christmas in Berlin!) and twice to volunteer at Woodford Folk Festival- not to mention Christmases we spend with Ben’s family, so this is very special to me! We are still spending Christmas lunch with Ben’s family but the change to spend time with my mum and dad is precious.
I will be taking a blogging break between now and the New Year, although I can’t resist scheduling some posts with seasonal photos plus a delicious savoury baked brie I whipped up when friends came over for Christmas Eve’s Eve. Look out for them over the next couple of days. I have a couple of great restaurants to review and some recipes that sure, should have been posted before Christmas, but it doesn’t have to be Yule time to enjoy chocolate bark and other goodies. I also have some musings about the New Year and what that will have in store. Ben and I are also going away for three days to Hervey Bay with friends. This is the first time we’ve had a holiday since Europe, unless you count last NYE’s camping disaster, which we don’t. We really don’t.
I know that for many, Christmas is a stressful time, so I hope you grab any quiet moments that come by, breathe deeply and enjoy.
Ben and I don’t actually celebrate Christmas, so I will wish you a Merry Christmas, a Happy Holiday, a Super Solstice (summer, not winter down here!) and all the best.
See you in the New Year!
Bris Vegas Vego
So I’m on two week holidays.
And I celebrated with:
I also went to the Cotton Tree Sunday markets with Ben and a friend and had brekkie. The place was packed. It’s on King Street and even thought it’s a tiny market with lots of clothes, it’s worth a lap and near to lots of places to eat, the Maroochydore beach and the parks near the river. It’s increasingly busy, but with locals unless it’s the school holidays.
We found a table at Nude Deli Cafe. My first impression was that it was expensive. Lots of brekkies were $13-$16 plus, including an avo and tomato toast! I ordered Eggs Your Way and got poached. Ben ordered a soy latte in a mug (he doesn’t do big breakfasts) and my friend wasn’t eating. It was $15.30 for the eggs and coffee.
I’m not quite sure what makes this a “Deli”. Possibly nothing? Although it was busy, the service was fine and although not speedy, not a big wait. Ben’s coffee came out first and he thought it was ok. My eggs came a little later. I thought they were well poached but very small eggs and served on two slices of buttered thick white toast.
It was all fine, but not good enough value to tempt me away from Raw Energy (same street but closer to bowls club) or Envy (around the corner). We finished with a stroll around the markets and I discovered the bestest Frida Kahlo bag ever.
After returning to BrisVegas, I tottered off on a walk around the river with a good friend (completely destroying my feet in the process) and found that there was new art down by the river at Kangaroo Point. A bunch of these:
Covered in things like this:
Which to me looked like they were out of a botany book (I didn’t photograph the bugs!)
We were rewarded with this on our way home:
The sky is on fire.
So I found this quote and I love it:
“Walkers are ‘practitioners of the city,’ for the city is made to be walked. A city is a language, a repository of possibilities, and walking is the act of speaking that language, of selecting from those possibilities. Just as language limits what can be said, architecture limits where one can walk, but the walker invents other ways to go.”
― Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking
As I mentioned earlier in the week, it was our wedding anniversary on the weekend. We went on several walks, mostly because fancy dining and expensive activities were simply not an option for us. Here is what we saw walking Southbank, the inner south and cultural centre of Brisbane.
I know these aren’t great photos but they really capture a fragment of Southbank that I love…
and Subway graffiti. Te he. You do indeed YOLO, random vandal, you do indeed.
I love Brisbane.
With a blue sky and a camera, everything seems like an adventure.
So it doesn’t matter if you have less than $70 to last two people the next fortnight (after rent and that huge bloody bill, damn you car insurance), you can still have fun in Brisbane. I can still have fun in Brisbane. Or any city. For free.
Yesterday was gloomy weather so I got a lot of cooking and laundry done, but today dawned bright and early. I was supposed to do some research and writing, but after my computer died (really truly, I was given the blue screen of death) I decided it was too good a day to mope about lost time. Whether you have a Ben or not, there are lots of indoors and outdoors things you can do without spending a cent.
For more info on the Regional Flavours festival, click here.
I’ve blogged about how I make polenta. The chipotle mayo was cheater’s version: mayonnaise mixed with chipotle salsa. I have, however, made a scrumptious aioli that goes beautifully with polenta as well, which is in the same post as above. To make rosemary polenta, stir through a small handful of cleaned, de-stemmed rosemary leaves at the end of cooking. I also add a teaspoon or dried oregano for oomph.
Best Sunday morning, and the price was right!
Enjoy your Sunday! Share your frugal adventure ideas below.
So I had a lovely brekkie for a friend’s going away send-off at Spring Hill Deli and Produce. As you walk in, gourmet grocery goodies greet you, many of which feature in their café menu (hot chocolate spoon, anyone?). The atmosphere here is really lovely: homey, fresh, oozing quality. People were here for good food, and with home baked goodies and lots of locally sourced produce I think Spring Hill Deli and Produce delivered.
The street location was quiet on a Saturday, the comfortably full cafe mostly serving locals within walking distance from what I could learn from eave-dropping. My party had a table booked and we were shown to a semi-detached room where we had our own space but were still part of the café. Like many shops and cafes around Brisbane, this café had once been residential and the size and shape of many of the rooms, plus the central hallway helped to create the relaxed charm.
I was hungry as I walked to the café and ordered poached eggs that came on sourdough with relish. I was surprised at the price of the eggs (over $10) but pleasantly so when three eggs were served and I discovered that all of the breads are made on the premises (like many of the cakes and sweets). Ben stole an egg, as I would never have been able to eat all of them no matter how well they were cooked, and I had coffee- a soy iced latte, which unfortunately, like many of our table’s coffees, took a while to arrive.
Coffee descriptions differ from city to city and café to café, but most of the time, if you want a cold drink without the ice cream and cream, order an iced latte, not an iced coffee. Don’t you hate ordering an iced coffee on soy, only to get it with cream and iced cream? Such a pain (and really dumb on the part of the person who took your order and didn’t think to check). There were no issues like that, and everyone got their fancy, finicky and particular orders correctly made.
My friend ordered the fruit salad with Greek yoghurt and really enjoyed it. We whiled away lots of time and coffees reminiscing about her new start in a new place and our plans to go kayaking which we were planning on doing for 2+ years and never got around to doing! For someone on the other side of the river, it was definitely worth the walk over the bridge and up that bloody steep hill behind Roma Street to get there, and would be a great exercise/coffee combo on a Saturday morning.
I can’t wait to go back and work through the brekkie and lunch menus. You can check out their facebook page and pictures of their creations here.
So why weren’t more people out with their kids at parks these schools holidays? It upsets me sometimes that kids are seen as too complicated, too demanding and only interested in trends and technology, when perhaps parents aren’t doing to groundwork needed to make their child well-balanced. But I get ahead of myself.
On Tuesday, Ben, a friend and I wanted to go on a picnic and a small bushwalk. By far the two easiest bushwalks to access from Brisbane are Mt. Coot-tha and Walkabout Creek, because both have bus access. Ben and I like to do Mt Coot-tha really quickly. Really quickly, powering up the hill and then sweatily enjoying the view at the top before strolling back down and this isn’t the best way to approach a bushwalk with a friend. Walkabout Creek, on Waterworks Road/Mt Nebo Road has been done to death, as we used to live near it and would go jogging along the track and even considered getting married at the function centre there at one time (it was too expensive for us). If you continue down Mt Nebo road, you pass several walking opportunities, picnic spots and lookouts. The first one past Walkabout Creek is Bellbird Grove, about 5-10 minutes more down the road (depending if you actually want to do the 80kms/hour on windy roads as suggested by the speed limit signs). You can find out more about the area here, including great PDF maps.
We decided that no picnic should be simply sandwiches and soft drink, so we went by the one and only Green Edge on our way to get supplies. As my friend is vegan, this is perfect. The Green Edge is the only 100% vegan supermarkei in Brisbane and is just around the corner from where we began in Enogerra. They have everything from staples such as grains, legumes and soy milk to fancy-pants soy whipped cream, marshmallows, ready meals and so much more. I discover something I want each time we go. They also have a cafe that serves amazing smoothies, juices, ice cream sundaes, pies and burgers. Oh, and I forgot to mention the cakes, many of which are made by local Brisbane business Delicious, Regardless. We ummed and ahhed our way around the shop and thought we wouldn’t go mock meaty or soy goodness, as Ben wasn’t feeling the best and it can make his stomach hurt (poor, poor man). We finally decided upon refried beans, cous cous, popcorn, almond milk, brownies ($3) and triple layer Belgium chocolate cheesecake ($5), or cheezecake, as vegans sometimes spell it. We popped back to my friends house for cutlery and to heat up our beans and cous cous. They would still be warm when we got to the park. We also made a quick salsa cruda with diced tomato and spring onion. Rocket, coriander, avocado and chilli were added to the picnic basket (aka, shopping bag) and we were ready to go.
The meal was great- healthy and fresh and Mexican-inspired. My friend’s idea to make the cous cous at home, which would then absorb the hot water while we drove was genius and one I will do again on picnics soon! The vanilla almond milk was new for me, and I liked it. It’s apparently easy to make and has been on my to do list these holidays, so I’ll have to pull my finger out and actually try it. Ben wasn’t a fan, but our friend enjoyed it as well. I think a homemade one would be amazing in a banana smoothie- you could have a raw dairy-styled smoothie that way.
I was especially impressed by how utterly awesome the brownie was- chewy and maybe (just maybe, my brain makes these things up) a hint of ginger. The cheesecake was amazing but unsurprising- vegan cheesecakes routinely rock (especially Green Edge ones) and don’t leave that bloated, slightly oily feeling one occassionally gets after eating cheesecake. All food tastes so much better in the fresh air who no city sounds around.
While we ate, we were seranaded (and I use that term loosely) by gallahs (or Rose Breasted Cockatoos if you must have the correct term), sulpher-crested cockatoos, one lorikeet, one drongo (or so my friend identified) several hilarious and curious bush turkeys who flirted with us by fanning their feathers and coming in close and a couple of very relaxed kookaburras. Here’s one:
We went along the two short walking tracks, both of which are less than 2kms and one has a signed walk that tells you about the gold mining in the area. You can peer into (safely covered) mine shafts and read about gold. Which brings my back to my rant.
This park is free. It’s pretty. It’s educational. You get some exercise. It’s very close to Brisbane. It’s well maintained and has parking, toilets, mobile reception, tables and free BBQs. Why did we only see one father and his two children in the two+ hours we were there on the school holidays? It makes me sad. I understand you’re probably not going to get your teenage children suddenly interested in going to the National Park, but it’s such an easy way to spend a morning. One of my favourite memories as a small child was mum and dad (my very un-outdoorsy mum and dad) packing us into the car early on weekend mornings and driving up to the Dandenong Ranges to hunt for bowerbirds. We never saw any, and we had a picnic of scones that were still hot from being wrapped in a tea towel. Neat. Still love a good scone. I guess the experience upset me (you know, after. I was having fun at the time) because we are so quick to blame kids for their values, but they simply reflect what they have and have not been exposed to. I would never say “kids these days” seriously, I would say “parents these days”. I know not all parents are like this, but I see so many parents allowing shopping centres to take the place of natural areas and it makes me sad. In conclusion, picnics are awesome and no wrong can ever happen from them. Ever. No, I haven’t seen Picnic at Hanging Rock, why do you ask?
And to the father with the two kids that ran around the grassed area with them and actually showed and discussed the natural world with your kids: I take my figurative hat off to you, Sir.