Tasmania: Hobart (day 1-2)

Hi all, a bit over a month ago I went on holiday to Tasmania with my little family. This was the first time any of us had been to the tiny island state of Australia. We did an 8-day road trip to celebrate my Babymoon and O’s new start to the school year.

For this trip, I designed a road trip, which began and ended in Hobart. This took us to Queenstown, Cradle Mountain, Devonport, Launceston, Campbell Town, Oatlands, Richmond and Port Arthur. We stayed in different accommodations every night and saw a variety of different landscapes. Although this is only a snapshot of what Tasmania has to offer, this itinerary gave us a pretty good overview in a short time with a child in tow.

I really didn’t know much about Tasmania before planning this trip. I didn’t know what the landscape would look like or what the climate would feel like. We were travelling in January during the hottest time of the year in Australia. But I had heard from others that it can get pretty cold here. So we just packed everything.

Our first stop was Hobart, which is the capital city and the most populous place in Tasmania. It was founded in 1804 as a British Penal colony and is the second oldest capital city in Australia. We arrive at the tiny Hobart airport just after midday. After picking up our rental car and we made our way into Hobart. This was our first impression of Tasmania. It looked quite rural and relatively flat. The climate was quite a bit cooler than where we came from and very windy.

It took about 20 minutes to get to our accommodation, located in the suburb of Lindisfarne on Hobart’s Eastern Shore. It’s only about 6 km from the centre of the city, but you do need a car to travel across the water. This suburb didn’t seem very affluent, as the homes were quite small but they did have amazing views of the River Derwent.

We stayed in the Honeymoon Suite at the Possums Spa Apartments. It was quite private and relatively clean. For the price and it was quite reasonable, but it was a little dated. The bed was extremely comfortable, so I can’t complain too much.

We were eager to drive across to the centre of Hobart to see as much as we could before everything closed. We parked on Franklin Wharf car park, just adjacent to Elizabeth Street Pier. There are quite a few dining options here. We had a little look but then decided to keep walking towards the Salamanca Markets. We did duck into the Brooke Street Pier building. Inside there are a few small stalls selling Tasmanian produce and tourism operators. If you are wanting to go to MONA Art Gallery on the Berriedale peninsula, you can buy your tickets for the ferry from here. The ferry itself is highly recommended on Trip Adviser. However, the tickets for the ferry and the museum weren’t cheap, so we decided to give it a miss on this trip.

On our way to the markets, we crossed through the Parliament House Gardens. It overlooks the Parliament House of Tasmania, which is still used today and offers public tours on non-sitting days. The park itself is quite plush green space. Unfortunately, it didn’t have a playground, which would have been ideal for us. Between the gardens and the Salamanca Place, you can find the Tasman Memorial and Fountain (1988). It was designed by local sculpture, Stephen Walker and features a plinth of white rock with the Southern Cross overlooking a white concrete fountain with three bronze ships and a bronze sculpture of Abel Janszoon Tasman (1603 – 1659). Tasman was a Dutch seafarer, explorer, merchant and first known European explorer to reach Tasmania and New Zealand.

The Salamanca Market is located at Salamanca Place and operates on Saturdays between 8:30 am-3 pm. It is Tasmania’s most visited tourist attractions and features over 300 stalls of local Tasmanian fresh food and produce, handmade arts and crafts, clothing, antiques, beauty products, souvenirs and more. We didn’t have much time until closing, so we had a quite look around for some lunch. If you’re after something in particular you can see the Market map. We didn’t end up eating here today, but we did return for our lunch on our last day, which you will see in a few more posts.

Salamanca Place a precinct of Hobart and features a row of picturesque three and four-storey sandstone buildings and a square. These buildings were previously warehouses for the port of Hobart, but today it is home to a variety of restaurants, bars, shops, the Spacebar Gallery, Salamanca Arts Centre and the Peacock Theatre.

For lunch, I had planned to visit Daci & Daci Bakers, which is where we headed next. It is only a few minutes walk from Salamanca market. They have an amazing array of sweet and savoury pastries, cakes, bread, etc. Most of the menu is on display in the glass cabinets, including the breakfast and lunch dishes. Since I was pregnant I wasn’t about to order any of those. So instead I order the Seasonal soup, which was Black bean and vegetable soup and it came with house bread and farmhouse butter. Marco and Octavia shared a Croque Monsieur. After a bit of a wait due to some mix up, we finally got our meals. They were both pretty nice. My soup was exactly what my body needed and a good healthy start to this holiday.

Next, we wanted to visit Hobart’s inner-city laneways, which have been transformed into works of art. They were an initiative by the city council, called Love our Laneways. Many of these laneways are short cuts, which allow people a more scenic route, as they cut across town.

The first laneway we found was Harrington Lane. When we first arrived we didn’t see anything there, but once we walked around the corner a bit we came to this amazing Batman mural. Besides that there was a brightly coloured bird-inspired piece. These artworks were done by Tasmanian street artist and UTAS alum Jamin. He has produced murals across Tasmania, Australia and Internationally and won countless awards.

On our journey, we came across the little cafe Pilgrim Pies. This little slice of heaven offers pies, doughnuts and coffee 24-hour a day. We weren’t too hungry so Marco and I shared an Apple pie and O got a Strawberry glazed doughnut. Since the cafe was full, we went around the back to sit In the Hanging Garden. This area amazing little block is a beer garden with outdoor dining, bar and live music. There are two little restaurants offering Malaysian and Basque-inspired food.

Next, we visited one of the most impressive laneways, Bidencopes Lane. It was previously a favourite place for street taggers but was transformed during the 2018 Vibrance Festival by over 20 different artists. Here you can find work by artists Jamin, Tom O’Hern, and Brain Foetus aka Laura McMahon, Tom Gerrard, Lukan Smith, Jonny Scholes, Seven, Sam Dobransky, Ling, Mimi, and Stormie Mills. This is probably the longest laneway I came across with the most work, so definitely one you should visit. I realized the following day that I hadn’t seen the entire lane when I came across the other end on Liverpool street. You can see the rest at the end of this post.

Finally, we found the city, but unfortunately, everything was just about to close. We did visit the Cat & Fiddle Arcade, which had a clock that plays an English melody when the clock strikes the hour. To be honest the city centre weren’t that interesting. The store fronts were quite dated and there wasn’t many interesting things to see. It did feel a bit like I had falling back in time when I consider how far Brisbane Queen Street Mall has come. We continued to walk as far as Franklin Square, but that was about it. I may have had a better experience if my daughter hadn’t been complaining the whole time that she wanted a Tasmanian devil, like the one she saw at the Salamanca markets. She was relentless and besides a cheap one I found in a tourist store on the mall, we didn’t come across another one. She would eventually get one a couple of days later after exhausting us.

Along Murray Street, we came across some mural in a between Micheal Hill Jewellers and Routley’s. The right side was commissioned to the local artists TOPSK by the Antarctic and South Ocean Coalition. It illustrates the marine animals of the Antarctic ocean ecosystem. TOPSK also painted the left side which, depicting the bees, wombat and Tasmanian devil. He is known as one of the godfathers of Hobart’s street art and has had his work regularly exhibited. Unfortunately, someone had taken a leak in here, so I couldn’t admire the works for too long.

Not far from Murray Street is another laneway, Mathers Lane. This laneway on a pocket park, which is also known as Mathers place. This work was also done by Hobart street artist and UTAS alum Tom O’Hern called Terraform. It was originally a black and white mural, but he later added colour.

After our big walk, we headed back to our accommodation to freshen up for dinner. I took these photos from Lindisfarne of Hobart’s Eastern Shore. It was so picturesque and much more beautiful in this light.

Our last stop for the night was dinner at Urban Greek. I did a bit of research before choosing this place and found that it was said to be one of the best if not the best restaurant in Hobart. We absolutely loved this place and would come back to Hobart just to eat here again. It was definitely the best meal we had on this trip.

We don’t normally order banquets at restaurants, but tonight Marco and I were eager to try everything. The waitress was very accommodating and made sure that all the dishes were pregnancy-friendly.

So we started off with Pita with Pantzari (beetroot & yogurt dip), Cretan Hommus and Fava (yellow split peas dip). Next, we had the Meze Plate of Dolmades and dill yogurt, Tirokroketes (cheese croquettes), and Kolokithokeftedes (zucchini croquettes). We already ate half this platter before I photographed it and all of the 3rd course which was the Saganaki Cheese served with homemade jam. After that, we were had the Soutzoukakia (Greek Meat Balls) and Cretan Village Salad, followed by the Cretan style Lamb & Chicken with Lemon Roast Potatoes. While we consumed all this delicious food, Octavia enjoyed her child meal of Cretan style Chicken lemon potatoes, pita and yogurt, as well as a few bits and pieces of our meal.

For dessert, our banquet came with Galaktoboureko (Greek Custard pie) and Octavia had some complimentary ice cream. The cake was amazing and a nice sweet end to the night.

The next day we woke up bright and early and ready for breakfast. There are so many amazing brunch spots in Hobart. A place that is known as one of the best brunches in Hobart is Criterion Street Cafe. It was also one of the most reasonably priced. They offer a variety of breakfast and lunch options, including eggs, waffles, salads and sandwiches. Although they didn’t have a kids menu, they did offer half-size portions for little people or smaller appetites.

I ordered Aunt Mabel’s Porridge, which had rhubarb compote and apple crumble and Orange juice; Marco had the French Toast (three cheese, dijon mustard, caramelized onion, pancetta, roasted tomato and rocket and a cappuccino; and O had eggs on toast. My porridge was amazing! It was so creamy and decadent. Marco’s french toast was also out of this world, well the tiny bit he let me try. Octavia was the only unsatisfied one. She was a bit upset that there was pepper on her egg and was just in a general mood about not having a Tasmanian devil.

On our way back to the car I spotted some more street art just off 162 Liverpool Street. This actually linked to Bidencopes Lane, which we had seen yesterday. At the beginning, it features the Trapdoor by Jade Pollard, which was inspired by the 1990s TV show. There is also murals by Ling, Mimi, Sam Dobransky, Pichu, Rebak mail, Kreamart, Kannina Langford and more.

It was now time to leaving Hobart. We had to travel to our next destination of Queenstown, which is where I will take you on my next post. Hope you enjoyed getting a snapshot of Hobart!

Broccoli Cheese Tater Tots

Hi all, I trialled a new recipe this past week for my daughter and I am happy to say it was a success. She loves broccoli, but you still never if she’s going to eat it if I’m not there. I tried them for afternoon tea and then again for her school lunch and she ate them no problem both times. Her dad also loved it, so I thought I better share this recipe.

I adapted this recipe from Baked Cheddar Broccoli Tots by Sabrina of Dinner then Dessert. I never intended on altering the recipe but made a few minor changes to suit my family and my style of cooking. Firstly, I blanched the vegetables instead of microwaving them. I don’t have a microwave in my kitchen. I don’t like using them at all. We do actually have one, but my partner has to go into the garage to use it on occasion. I prefer to use my stove or a small oven. I also added fresh grated carrot, red onion and Nutritional yeast. My family are more accustom to these ingredients and the Nutritional yeast gives a nice cheesy taste with extra health benefits. I also preferred to use my homemade breadcrumbs, since the panko crumbs and other breadcrumbs in general from the supermarket, are full of nasty ingredients. My homemade breadcrumbs are so quick and easy to make and they really do makes a difference the flavour of anything I add them too. They are also not so dry, so I don’t need to add spray oil to whatever I coat them in. Lastly, I had to add a little olive oil, as my batch of tots were way too crumbly. The oil made them lovely and moist and probably helped brown better when baking.

These tater tots are delicious on their own, but they also pair well with a good quality tomato sauce. They are perfect for lunchboxes, kids meal, appetiser or as party food. They also freeze well. If serving them re-warmed, I recommend placing them in the oven or air-fryer for a few minutes. This will keep them crisp, opposed to the microwave, which seems to make things soggy.

Broccoli Cheese Tater Tots

(nut free, gluten free option)

Ingredients:

2 cups of broccoli florets, don’t include hard stems

1/4 cup finely grated carrots

sea salt

1/4 cup red onion, diced

1 cup good quality store-bought or homemade bread crumbs (sourdough, garlic, lemon zest, sea salt), or use gluten free breadcrumbs if you prefer.

1/2 cup organic shredded cheddar cheese or other shredded/grated cheese

2 organic free-range eggs, lightly beaten.

1-2 tbsp Nutritional Yeast

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and prepare a baking tray with parchment paper
  2. Place broccoli in a small pan with a tiny bit of water. Cook for 2 minutes, add a pinch of sea salt and add carrot and cook for 2 more minutes. The broccoli should be tender and bright green in colour.
  3. Strain the broccoli and carrot in a fine mesh strainer and press lightly to remove any excess water and allow to cool a little.
  4. Place the broccoli and carrot mixture on a chopping board and mince, so that the broccoli is in smaller pieces. Then add to a large mixing bowl.
  5. Add red onion, bread crumbs, cheese, eggs, nutritional yeast and olive oil. Mix until combined
  6. Take about 1 tbsp size of the mixture into your hand and squeeze into a tater tot shaped ball and place the baking tray.
  7. Bake for 7 minutes. Remove from the oven, turn the tater tots. Return to the oven and bake for a further 7 minutes.

*Makes about 26 tater tots

*If freezing, wrap in small batches in an airtight bag or container and defrost overnight. If you want to serve them hot, reheat in an air-fryer or small oven. Serve immediately or place in a thermos.

One-pot baked beans stew

Hi all, I hope you’ve had a good start to the week. Today I have a recipe inspired by another that I really wanted to cook, but lacked the main ingredients. This happens to me all the time because I’m not great at planning when I’m food shopping. I have a standing order for fresh fruit and veg that is delivered weekly. So when I go to the supermarket I don’t think about recipes to try or create. I just want to get in and out of there.

More recently, my favourite book is Dinner: Changing the Game by New York Times food editor, Melissa Clark. This book is fantastic to elevate your usually diner fare. Most recipes don’t require too many ingredients and more often then not, I have the same or similar ingredients on-hand. So the recipe I was inspired by was Tomato-braised White beans with Chorizo. Since I had no white beans, chorizo, fresh herbs or canned tomatoes, I tried to elevate a couple of cans of baked beans. I love baked beans, but the healthier, BPA free ones are often really flavourless. I end up having to add more salt, sugar or maple syrup when I cook them for breakfast or I get complains that they don’t taste like Heinz. I have been curious for a while what I could add to my baked beans to make them a more complete meal. So what eventuated tonight was a delicious stewed, with a few more simple ingredients and a lot of flavour. It went perfectly with the Skillet Brown-Butter Cornbread, also from the same book. Luckily I had everything ready to go for that recipe.

For this recipe, you can alter the vegetables for what you have on hand. You can also make it vegetarian by omitting the ham for a vegan ham or just leave it out completely. You can also add more sweet smoked paprika if you like that smokey flavour. Cornbread goes really well with this, but keep it more savoury because this stew is quite sweet. Alternatively, you could have it with crusty bread or mash potatoes. My partner loved this recipe for the sweet and savoury flavour of the stew and the buttery cornbread. My daughter wasn’t so sold, because she likes her dinner completely savoury and her ‘cake’ sweet. My child does not like sweet potatoes, peas, carrots or any other sweet vegetable or sauce. I think her biggest gripe was that the cornbread was not a sweet cake and contained corn. However, I know three other young cousins who love sweet vegetables and cornbread. So this may be a better dish to make for them when they visit.

One-pot baked bean stew

(gluten free, nut free, vegan option)

Ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil

150 g organic/free range leg ham (nitrate & gluten free) or vegan ham substitute (optional)

1 onion, diced

1 large carrot, diced

2 stalks of celery, diced

1 small red capsicum, diced

2 cloves of garlic diced

1 tbsp tomato paste

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground smoked sweet paprika

2 cans organic baked beans (BPA and gluten free, no added salt – I used Absolute Organic)

1 can-full of filtered water

1/2 tsp sea salt or more to taste

1 tbsp pure maple syrup

1-2 handfuls of baby spinach

Method:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot and place on medium heat. Then add ham and cook for a few minutes until it starts to brown. Removed the ham from the pot and place in a bowl to the side.
  2. Then add tomato paste, cumin, and smoked sweet paprika to the pot. Cook for a few minutes until it becomes fragrant and be careful not to burn it.
  3. Immediately add onion, carrots, celery, red capsicum and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables start to soften.
  4. Then add baked beans, a can full of water and salt. Bring the pot to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and add the ham and maple syrup. Cook for 25-30 minutes, to allow the stew to thicken.
  5. Take off the heat and stir through the baby spinach. Once it has wilted you may serve.

*Serves 4-6

Lunchbox Ham, Cheese and Veggie Quiche

Hi all, hope you had a wonderful summer holiday. Since my last post, we did our road trip in Tasmania and got through our first week of Prep. I have been so pumped up, getting up around 4-5 am. I’ve never been an early riser, but these pregnancy hormones are making me a bit of a Stepford wife. I don’t think I’ve ever been so productive in the home, but I have been getting a little burned out by the afternoon. So I’ve been a bit slow to get back to blogging and colouring. On the bright side, my fridge and freezer are loaded with healthy meal prep for everyone.

I spent most of last week preparing healthy homemade goods for my daughter and partners lunches. I’ve made chicken and veggie sausage rolls, baked chicken nuggets, spinach and feta scrolls, chicken and veggie meatballs and mini banana blueberry cupcakes. My little family really loved all of these homemade baked goods, but I didn’t think to photograph and take notes of my creations. However, I just prepare a healthy kid-friendly quiche that was also a hit with the family, so I took a few pictures before it was all gone, so I could share it with you all.

This quiche is really quick to prepare. It only took me about 10 minutes to put together before baking. It is perfect for a lunchbox, quick dinner or meal prepped breakfast. You can alter the vegetables depending on what you have on hand. I used broccoli and zucchini because they are my daughter’s favourite vegetables and they go well with eggs. However, steamed sliced potato or roasted pumpkin would also go really nicely. Ham is of course optional. I normally stay clear of deli meats, but my local organic butcher makes their leg ham. It is a good alternative treat for my ham-and-cheese loving child, as it doesn’t contain nitrate or preservatives. Since I try to keep dairy consumption low in my home I try to use alternatives that are more easy to digest. So I prefer to use natural sheep’s yogurt (Meredith Dairy), which will give the quiche a more creamy texture. As for cheese, you can go with what ever you like. I normally would go for freshly grated Pecorino Romano, which is made of sheep’s milk. But I found Barambah Organics Cheddar Cheese Shredded from the health food store, without preservatives and anti-caking. Although this quiche looks small, it is quite dense. It can cut into 4 serves or be halved again, as a protein snack. It is also unnecessary and not recommend reheating this quiche, simply because it’s not the healthy to reheat eggs. If you’re wondering why, see this article: 8 Foods You Shouldn’t Reheat (Because They Could Poison You).

Lunchbox Ham, Cheese and Veggie Quiche

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil

4 slices of free range nitrate free leg ham, chopped

1/2 cup finely chopped broccoli florets

1/2 medium zucchini grated

5-6 organic free range eggs

2 tbsp organic natural sheep/cow yogurt

pinch of sea salt

1/4 cup organic shredded or grated cheedar/mozzarella/pecorino cheese

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  2. Heat olive oil in a small pan, then add the ham. Saute for a few minutes until it’s cooked through.
  3. Add broccoli and zucchini and cook for a couple more minutes, until the broccoli is bright green and tender.
  4. Evenly spread out the ham and veggies into a prepared baking dish. I used 20cm x 24cm ceramic baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  5. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and yogurt and add a pinch of sea salt.
  6. Sprinkle half the cheese on top of the ham and veggies, then spread evenly with egg mixture and lastly top with leftover cheese.
  7. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through.
  8. Remove from the baking tray and once cool enough, slice to serve or store.

9# Throwback Travel- New York: The MET

Probably one of my biggest highlights in New York was visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the MET) on Fifth Avenue. This is the largest and third most visited museum in the world. So no trip to New York would be complete without a visit.

The MET has a collection that boasts two million works, which are split between 17 curatorial departments. The permanent collection includes art and sculpture from Greek and Roman antiquity, ancient Egypt, Middle age to Renaissance European masters, American and modern art, as well as African, Asian, Oceania, Byzantine and Islamic art. There are also various temporary exhibitions that change throughout the year. On my visit, I was only able to cover three quarters the permanent collection on level 1 and the temporary exhibition Manus x Machina. This took me about two hours. So if you plan on seeing it all I would allow for 4-5 hours. To see the extensive size of the museum, see the map.

General admission for the MET is quite reasonable and valid for three consecutive days for all three MET locations. However, depending on if you purchased a New York pass, you may have your entry included. Audio guides are also available in a variety of languages for an additional rate. There are also free guided tours available in a variety of languages throughout the day. You can also find several restaurants and cafes in the museum.

Greek and Roman Art

I started my tour from the left of the Great hall, which began in the Greek and Roman Art galleries. These galleries are bright and airy with plenty of natural light and an extensive collection throughout the age of antiquity. This was probably one of my favourite wings and luckily many people passed through it quickly, allowing me to marvel at these ancient treasures.

Prehistoric and Early Greek Art

Greek Art: Sixth–Fourth Century B.C.

Mid 2nd-1st century, 3rd–1st Century B.C.

Roman Sculpture Court

Later Roman Empire: Third Century A.D

Egyptian Art

The Egyptian art is found in a gallery from the left of the Great hall and continues into The Sackler wing. The main gallery is quite dark, but the various pieces are quite well lite. I was quite impressed by this collection, as it was quite different other travelling Egyptian collections. I particularly liked the paintings and decorative sarcophagus.

The Temple of Dendur in The Sackler Wing

American Wing

The American Wing covers art from the 18th to early 20th century. Within this wing, there is a bright and spacious courtyard which has various sculptures, stain glass and mosaic art. This was another one of my favourite place in the museum. I also enjoyed the various galleries of furnished room and painting artworks. This was my first time seeing American art, so I was quite blown away by the bright use of colour.

The Charles Engelhard Court

American Wing

Medieval Art

The Medieval collection runs through the centre of the first floor. It includes art from the 4th to the early 16th century from Byzantine and Europe. I love Medieval art religious art, so I really enjoyed this area. My favourites are the oddly shaped busts.