Last year, we watched MasterChef: The Professionals, for the first time in several years. With a number of Birmingham based chefs featured it was more enjoyable than previous series. In the final few episodes the thing that really drew is in was the episode where the contestants took a trip to France and we caught our first glimpse of Mirazur. After a quick bit of googling we realised it was easy to get to and a well-priced meal so we ended up booking a bank holiday trip.
A rainy start for day 2 but we got going with good coffee and breakfast from a local cafe before heading off to explore, flowing the advice of our friends from the night before we headed to Manly island. The ferry trip provided the perfect opportunity to get some shots of the harbour and the weather perked up just in time. We came across 4 Pines brewery and had a few samples-life would certainly be easier for me if I liked beer or ale but there was a pretty tasty ginger option that was good!
Wandering around the area we spotted a number of cool, independant shops and settled on somewhere for lunch based on positive Trip Advisor reviews. One of the things on our holiday ‘to-do list’ was to try some of the Australian seafood that we had heard about and can’t get at home so this gave us an ideal opportunity. We shared a plate of Morton Bay bugs which were a real treat, similar to lobster but smaller and a little sweeter and tried some orange roughy which came served with an incredible beetroot,fig and walnut salad with blue cheese dressing.
After doing a bit of research whilst watching some very noisy Cockatoos flying past we opted to walk to Northern Point, a spot with a lot of heritage and natural beauty spots. Our route took us down to the water and close to some protected areas that are known breeding spots for the local penguins-despite our best efforts we didn’t manage to spot any and as we continued our walk around the coastline our journey was cut short by a torrential downpour that saw us walking without any cover up a steep hill in shorts and t-shirts. Thankfully the temperature didn’t drop but we abandoned our plans in favour of drying off and headed back to the ferry via a scenic route.
That evening we headed out again in the rain for our ‘highlight’ dinner for Sydney- Quay. We have seen Peter Gilmore on MasterChef Australia and his food has always been intriguing- we also had to have a taste of his famous Snow Egg dessert. We had the full tasting menu which I will review at a later date (when we get home!)
Quay was good but not as exceptional as we had hoped, that said it does offer fantastic views of the harbour and we were lucky enough to have been there during a fireworks display which was certainly an added bonus.
Sydney is certainly worth another visit I think
Review to follow
One of the things that is often commented on when we have guests is the array of gadgets we have in the kitchen (along with the multitude of tableware to go with it) Ultimately this stems from years of cooking and collecting mixed in with a multitude of gifts from people who have worked out how much we like food! Jordan sometimes tells a story about being given a mincer as a birthday gift at the pub and getting a few funny looks in the process.
We were lucky enough to be given some great things this year so I thought I’d do a quick run through of them
A brief run down of Xmas Day minus 1.
Eating : As is a tradition that I am determined to embed, we went out for a curry tonight with friends. After a couple of glasses of Mulled Cider at home we wandered down to Purnima in Bearwood which is the best Indian restaurant in the area. We started with complimentary shots of Bucks Fizz before moving on to our menu selections. We had planned on having a cheese board on our return home but were defeated by dinner.
Presents have been distributed and exchanged. Cards are written and I’m excited to see what people think of their gifts.
It’s nearly time…
Today has been a lazy day but a good start to the Christmas break
Today was about doing the food shop. We are 90% there after picking up some vegetables from the Real Junk Food project, nothing fancy really just a run around Tesco for priority items such as pickled onions, beetroot and avocado. Lunch was leftover sushi, dinner some sausages we picked up from the good food show and I made mulled cider for the evening.
Finally the presents are all wrapped, tags written and hopefully all attached to the right gifts.
Tommorow will be Christmas jumpers and baking 🙂
Festive feelings on a Friday
Tonight we had dinner at Sushi Passion in the Great Western Arcade. Havinv never visited before we were impressedwith the decor and the massive menu. Needless to say the leftovers are in the fridge as we misjudged how much we could eat. Verdict=yum.
Travel: traffic, more traffic and crowded buses. Not the most fun.
I went into the city centre to pick up a few things today and was delighted to hear buskers, Carol singers and Big Issue sellers singing at full volume. Christmas jumpers, glasses clinking at the German market and endless snippets of Christmas songs are typically the things that annoy people when shopping but I loved it. I’m really pleased with the gifts ive got for people and ultimately looking forward to some time off to spend at home.
It’s nearly here!
As is often the way when things get busy, all of my plans have gone out of the window today.
No breakfast, no dinner but lunch was a giant pretzel covered in cheese from M&S and a pasta salad- not quite as festive as I had hoped. I was searching for a few nice things to add as small gifts or accompaniments for us and found some tasty looking crackers. We had another cheese delivery arrive this week from George Mews so we really need to start eating it! Our Loch Fyne order arrived (early) so the fridge is now crammed full with smoked salmon and live oysters-Ok hoping they last long enough and we don’t have to eat them early.
Also on the food front I visited The Real Junk Food Project- Central and picked up a box of veg and snacks. I need to write a little more about it as its an excellent concept and they are wkrking to reduce food waste across Bir.ingham whilst also feeding those who need some extra support. They work on a ‘pay as you feel’ / ‘pay as you can’ basis. This is what I picked up today.
Travel: one more day of work left, I’m not going to see my family ON Christmas Day this year which is really weird so I need to make plans to go and visit instead.
The town centres are rammed and there are still a few tricky people I need to buy for, I’ve made a bit more effort with my wrapping and decorations this year and have enjoyed making things look pretty. I’ve been trying to find things that are a bit unusual but regret not preparing enough in advance so that I could seek out more independant sources for my gifting.