Get shit done; March 2016

March is long gone! I am so on the ball with this. I think I got Oliver a surprise Autumn gift, a Nigel Slater Kitchen Diaries cookbook. I definitely already posted this. Maybe that was February? We cooked up some later summer, early autumn dishes like lamb chops with avocado and coriander and, further below, a bucket of veg for baked eggs and tomatoes. Below that, what must be the best bread in this city, a sourdough from Faraday’s Cage. It’s my favourite bread ever. I’ll just say it. And butter and black coffee and a cookbook for a weekend breakfast. That’s a joyful combo.

This month seems to be less groundbreaking than January and February… I took some city walks?

Ah okay, here’s the good stuff. Oliver and I visited the Dandenong Ranges and walked the 1000 steps on Saturday morning. It’s a tough but short set of steps, completed in about 12 minutes or so, but it certainly gets your heart racing. We took an hour long train out, walked for a good few hours, racked up 21km and took the train back, exhausted. I remember we picked up some fancy drawers from a neighbour who was shifting them. Then perhaps we had a glass wine and some hearty dinner. A good day.

Then we visited Sydney, on the same trip where we walked from Coogee to Bondi, to see our friends and enjoy Sydney in the autumn. Our friends have an incredible rooftoop terrace with this beautiful view of the city. We watched the sun go down and caught up on gossip. Then we walked, and we ate. We ate and ate and ate, played some board games, laughed.

Coogee Beach to Bondi Beach walk

I say this often, but it doesn’t diminish the fact, that every time I step away from the city and into a piece of Australia’s countryside, a forest or a beach or a quiet town, I am blown away. There is so much to be seen outside of Melbourne and Sydney and so easily. An hour on a train or a morning car ride will land you in picture perfect places.

When we visited Sydney this Easter weekend our friends Jill, Liam and Hotch took us on a beautiful 6km walk from Coogee Beach to Bondi Beach. We’ve spent the day on Bondi Beach before but I didn’t realise there was beach after beach along the coastline, each as beautiful as the next. It’s a busy route filled with the classic Sydney active wear crowd, making us all feel bad about ourselves, and tourists and families and photographers. We spent the day enjoying the sunshine, having the odd swim and taking in the scenery.


  
  
  
  

 

This building is flirting with me.

In the often architectural wasteland of Australia’s major cities (that’s a largely unjustified statement that I may come to regret) it was very pleasing to be up close with the structural equivalent of the cool, interesting man in the room. The room being Sydney. This building caught my eye on my two previous visits to Sydney and this time, thanks to my good friend Jill who knows me well, we got to go inside!

It was Easter Sunday and most of the units were closed so we wandered up inside and out and bought some doughnuts. Green meets dream, below.
  

stuff we ate (and drank): coffee (Australia)

Delicious coffee. We’ve been told that coffee in Australia is the best. And it is. I can’t deny that I’ve become accustomed to a flawless soy flat white.

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We made Glider Coffee in Kings Cross, Sydney our first stop most days. We had a few unexpectedly delicious cups today at Amelia in Launceston, Tasmania. And I look forward to my next! d

the perfect excuse to just hang around and drink coffee in Sydney. pretty much all day.

We arrived in Sydney on Saturday, almost a week ago, and have been doing all the boring stuff you have to do when turning up with a working visa. Get a Australian bank account and debit card, get a tax number, apply for free healthcare and so on. We have to hang around until things arrive in the post, and then we plan to hot foot it to some Australian countryside for clichéd fruit picking.

I’m looking forward to working (I know) and working hard, having a routine, some space and purpose and, mostly, earning some money. Before that, as we wait for things to arrive, we’ve been wandering around Sydney in the sunshine and eating and drinking some of the really good food in this city.

Every cup of coffee in Sydney is infinitely better than every cup of coffee I’ve had in the last four months, and probably the 4 months before that. (Aside from the delicious coffee from Coffee Lab, São Paulo!) There is cheap Asian food everywhere. And ‘Asian’ is a cop out of a description because it’s not Tampopo; there’s ramen and sushi and Korean and pho and Chinese on most streets.

More of that later. For now, pictures from today just sitting about in the botanical gardens, sniffing everything in the herb garden and enjoying the view.

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The birds here are huge and brave and loud.

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We saw a wedding in the botanical gardens! Their wedding song was by Michael Buble. I’m feeling a little hormonal and I nearly cried. That’s just who I am.

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Oliver just squeezing some lemons.

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We had a little snack at Harry’s Cafe de Wheels, which is either a Sydney institution or trying hard to be. I’ll go for the first because I quite enjoyed it and there were lots of pictures of celebs eating pies in the same spot. Pamela Anderson and Jason Biggs are the only ones I can remember but I promise there were some A-listers!

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While we’re sitting around doing bugger all, eating ramen, drinking coffee, burning through money, let me know if there’s anything you’d recommend for us to see/do/eat in Sydney or the rest of Australia!

En route to Sydney, Australia!

We arrived in Manila Airport at 4am local time to these bright neon signed hotels outside and the warm air…

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Our flight isn’t until 9.20pm local time, which is completely awful and I’ll have to consider that when I book the cheapest flight next time. There are a dozen stands selling food with handwritten “cash only” signs on them, so I needed an escort to find an ATM and get us some Filipino Pisos. If you want perfume or whiskey or cigars, you can pay with a card, don’t even worry about it, people are tripping over to sell you some giant toblerone. A bottle of water is not in that category.

We sorted it and got some delicious steamed buns, a bowl of broth and wontons and some life changing spicy soy dip…

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Now it’s just a waiting game. I’ve got a book I don’t want to read, a dying iPad and 8 further hours to kill.

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Hopefully we’ll arrive in Sydney with no problems and be straight through immigration! Oh, didn’t I tell you the story of my trip through US immigration last week? Another time, another time…