Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Beach Shack - Macham Manor

Went down to Bramston Beach last Saturday for lunch with Hana at her friends' beach shack (friends live in Switzerland). Hana was down there doing some maintenance, including tiling a bathroom, she is a pretty handy lady to have around.
Bramston Beach is only an hour south of Cairns and another world away. Mobile phones (including Telstra) don't even work there.
It was a picture perfect day with loads of Birdwing and Ulysses butterflies showing off. An ideal day for a lazy lunch on the verandah.
MB was so enthused she made a website for the Holiday Shack as the owners are keen to get more holiday rentals, check it out at

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Harp Recital

Cairns was very lucky to enjoy French-Australian harpist, Sebastien Lipman and his Japanese wife, Sayo (pictured above at right), also a harpist on April 20.
MB's good friends from Tokyo, Hiroko & Keiko, were in town, so she purchased 4 front row tickets to attend the recital. MDR however wasn't keen to go so another great friend, Jan, stepped into the breach.
The modern harp is an amazing instrument, it actually has 7 pedals so a huge multitude of notes and tones can be produced.
The harp music was divine and the duo were very entertaining, going to a lot of trouble to explain each music selection and the mechanics of the harp.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

April Harvest

MB got back home during the week and found to her delight that the monsoon has moved on, the southerlies are blowing, humidity has dropped dramatically and nights are cooling. 
Cairns is emerald green, has water galore and the MB family garden is showing off it's bounty.  The lemonade tree, a lemon & orange cross, is bursting with fruit, the first year it has produced anything of significance.
MB's Panama Red passionfruit which wasn't even flowering in March is now laden with fruit and the sweet potatoes are growing like trifids and continually need cutting back.
Yes that's yet another snake skin, noticed this skin today just lying on the grass under the lemonade tree.
The juice from the lemonade fruit is superb and does really taste just like it's name!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Out 'n About

MB's visit to the desert city is drawing to a close so a night out was in order. After much research and discussion, it was decided to try out the Queen's Head in North Adelaide. All agreed their menu looked great and as it was a Sunday no live band would be playing.
On the way to the pub the trio noticed lots of people in the city dressed up in costumes, a roman centurion and samoan girls in traditional dress (luckily it was very warm), it then dawned on them that these were supporters leaving the Rugby Sevens and the nice little quiet pub was actually full of very merry supporters and a really loud band, making a dreadful cacophany that could not possibly be called music. Anyway the restaurant was down the back, a little way from the noise.
Dinner was excellent, Mami & MB had wagyu rump which was delectable and PTA had a pork dish, the name of which escapes MB now. MB had a funny time of it, nearly getting knocked out of her chair by a drunken rugby supporter who was trying to find the toilets.
On the way out of the restaurant PTA asked a rugby supporter in an Aussie guernsey who won the Sevens, the guy told him he left after Australia got knocked out so PTA was none the wiser until the following morning.
Mami suggested dessert at Spats in Hyde Park (on the way home), PTA described it as very olde worlde with lots of kitsche and would you believe it an olden days cash register - Ka Ching - that was still in use. This is a really charming spot with little booths and comfy sofas for each dining party, the sort of place you'd love to go to on a really cold night for a hot chocolate. Pictured is Mami's banana waffle, Mami is very lucky to have a galloping metabolism, never puts on weight! Spats has a prodigious selection of desserts, coffees, teas and loads of other beverages. MB is very much looking forward to going back there next trip.

Saltbush Chevon

Sunday dawned clear with a forecast top temp of 20 something and MB got to the Adelaide Showgrounds Farmers Market just in time for opening at 09:00am. Lots of other like minded foragers waiting at the gates, which were opened on the dot at 9am, causing quite a stampede. This really is a superb market with a great selection of produce being sold directly by the growers. Some stalls such as an organic orchard's apple & pear stand had very long queues snaking away from it. The highlight for MB was the Willabrand Figs, the last week of the season with two luscious varieties on sale, a very red one that tasted like sherbet and a light green one that tasted like warm honey, absolutely divine.
The oh so cute kid pictured is from Rugosa Paddocks which markets saltbush chevon (goat fed on saltbush). MB bought some shanks and later that day made some oven roasted shanks with chermoula, a huge hit with the human kids.
Many stallholders have generous samples which MB prepared for by not breaking her fast that morning.
PTA & Mami are so lucky to have such easy access to this market, which is less than 2 klms from their apartment.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Adelaide City

Adelaide is bristling with beautiful stone buildings, large squares, wide roads and plenty of pedestrian space.

Foodie Heaven

The mecca for Adelaide foodies is the Adelaide Central Market, just near Chinatown on Gouger Street in the city. The market is very accessible, only about 150m from the tram stop and it also has plenty of car parking. The location is great, the rest of the street is humming with restaurants, cafes and cookware shops. MB, PTA & Mami walked through yesterday and MB couldn't help but stop here and there to exclaim over the beautiful produce, but PTA kept getting impatient and dragging his Mum away. Mami however did manage to buy some Kaki (Japanese for persimmon), one of her favourite fruits which has just come into season.
MB went back today, by herself, so she could have a good look around and picked up some fresh supplies for tonight's dinner, a beef stir-fry. Figs are just coming in so a few of these delectable treats were also picked up. MB also had a very good piroshki for lunch, made by two Kazhakstan ladies who make and cook fresh piroshki at their stand, genuine food heroes these two.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Auction Fever

MB spied in last Saturday's (29 March 08) Adelaide Advertiser an article noting that a collection of memorabilia belonging to the Australian artist Pro Hart was going to auction in Adelaide. Further investigation revealed that Pro Hart was quite an avid and eclectic collector, especially of matchbox cars, glass paperweights and antique furniture. On perusing the catalogue MB spied an interesting Huon Pine chest of drawers, MB being a fan of huon pine furniture decided to inspect the piece and subsequently attended the auction (her first auction ever) on Sunday 30 March 08.
After a browse through the auction room with PTA, MB took a seat to await the auction which began at 12 noon, she then realised that with over 700 lots she was going to get hungry as she hadn't had any lunch. PTA kindly ducked over the road and picked up a bag of nuts to keep the old girl sustained.
Seated next to MB was a Chinese lady who pointed out two lots in the catalogue that she was interested in, her English was practically non-existent and she eventually communicated to MB that MB was to tell her when these lots came up for bidding. MB obliged and ended up writing down the bid amounts on paper as Mrs Chinoise didn't understand when the numbers were pronounced in English! She successfully bid on a large oak dining table and seemed very happy with her purchase.
MB had set a limit on her bids for the chest of drawers and is happy to report that she succeeded in the bidding which came in just under budget. Some of the collectibles seemed to sell for very reasonable prices and there was some spirited bidding for many items. The most notable item probably was one 1930 penny. MB asked the auctioneer the next day how much it went for and was told "18 plus 20% buyer's premium", MB asked if that meant 18 hundred dollars, wrong, it was $18,000.00. By the way the auction house was also the British Consulate office for Adelaide.
MB rather enjoyed the auction and would like to do this sort of thing more often.

Zen Garden, Adelaide

Adelaide is home to a most delightful Japanese garden near South Terrace on the edge of the CBD. This is the Himeji garden celebrating Adelaide's sister city ties with the city of Himeji in Japan. Mami (Paul's girlfriend) is from Himeji which is near Osaka.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Adelaide Rugby Sevens

Hard to believe in this one-eyed city of Aussie Rules supporters that an international rugby sevens tournament is being hosted here this weekend. The local paper mentioned a laser light show being staged tonight from Montefiore Hill in North Adelaide so the trio of MB and son with girlfriend went along for the show. St Peter's cathedral is just near the hill and the trio were delighted to hear the bells pealing as they passed by the brightly lit twin spired cathedral.
The actual light show was located at a statue of the aptly named Colonel Light, spotlights were placed behind the colonel so that the beams of light would appear to be coming from his raised arm which is pointing directly at Adelaide oval. The light show also turned out to be a small VIP event with local dignitaries quaffing drinks and nibbling on canapes. After a dull speech by the sponsor, the SA premier, Mike Rann, stepped up and patted himself and colleagues on the back for pipping Singapore to host this event. Mike Rann also revealed he was born in UK, grew up in NZ and is now an Australian citizen. This goes a long to way to explain how a Rugby event could be staged in Adelaide!
The light show consisited of a handful of fireworks over Adelaide oval, then the spotlights behind Colonel Light were switched on. A chap adjacent to the trio summed it up with "is that all?"
The chap pictured was posing for the press with what appears to be the tournament trophy, he looks like a male model, not sure if he is a player or not?