Showing posts from October, 2012

Max Brenner Chocolate Cafe - Shellharbour NSW

Although Max Brenner has been around since 1995 in Australia, I had mostly in the past stuck to its chocolate, mocha or coffee drinks - and not much else.  I recall the long queues - of mostly under 25s - waiting patiently to make their orders.  Staff working at Brenner's are always busy. I usually drop by in the late evenings when I do get there.  The decor has to be dark and brown, and when the cafe is full, there may seem to be a kind of disorder, with yet a semblance of order.

The new outlet at the revamped Shellharbour Stockland Shopping Centre looks attractive.  This cafe is sited near a high traffic area for those entering the shopping precinct, within a stone's throw of a small playground facility, a gig space and with Aldi Supermarket and a KFC joint in sight.  This time around, the Campbells were with me, and I had opportunity to try two interesting choices. First up was the choc pizza, laden with breakfast cereal, marshmallows and nutty bites (photo above).   It lo…

The Anchorage Restaurant - Wollongong Harbour, NSW

I was literally in a room with a view.  And what a view, with the full sun turned on, with blue skies and everything nice. The occasion was made even more special being able to sit down for a meal with six  long time mates. And what a meal too, with a quick turnaround in delivery after making up our mind on the choices.  For me , it was even easier to make the mains selection - duck, with all its texture, richness and accompanying sauce and fresh greens. (photo below)  The decor and room setting may be retro but to me , that adds to the variety and specialness of the place.  The Anchorage epitomises what Wollongong can be all about - a unique lifestyle, a throwback to the Australia many may miss in these times of quick change and an oasis of serenity and reliability.

The carrot and pumpkin soup (above) was delicate, full of flavour and uplifting.  It was appropriate for the onset of the warm season for the south coast of NSW.  The light garnishing and the crispy bread got the appetit…

Balgownie Hot Bake Bakery, NSW

Just a five minute walk from my home lies a hitherto undiscovered and under appreciated delight.  Marianne and Greg recommended me to try the apple pie at this bakery, Hot Bake.  At my next opportunity, I woke up one lazy Saturday morning and headed up to Balgownie Village with expectations.  Hot Bake has a simple and unassuming retail front, typical of such retail outlets in any corner of Australia and New Zealand, where you can see baked stuff on warehouse-styled shelves, the ubiquitous refrigerated drinks machine and the all important lit up glass display of freshly baked items at the counter.  A middle aged lady of Vietnamese origin was attending to customers whilst her efficient side kick was busy, service-prompt and hard working behind the scenes.

Obviously my eyes and heart were aiming for the apple pies lying as pretty as spring blooms outside. I also spotted a rather attractive set of coconut flavoured snacks popular in Asia and croissants that would be at home in any Parisi…

Wollongong NSW - Vignettes

"There are places I remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain"  (1)

"I'm already there 
Take a look around 
I'm the sunshine in your hair 
I'm the shadow on the ground 
I'm the whisper in the wind 
I'm your imaginary friend 
And I know I'm in your prayers 
Oh I'm already there " (2)

"Keys that jingle in your pocket
Words that jangle in your head
Why did summer go so quickly?
Was it something that I said?
Lovers walk along a shore
And leave their footprints in the sand
Was the sound of distant drumming
Just the fingers of your hand?
Pictures hanging in a hallway
Or the fragment of a song
Half-remembered names and faces
But to whom do they belong?
When you knew that it was over
Were you suddenly aware
That the autumn leaves were turning
To the color of her hair?"  (3)

"And storefronts rarely changed
At least I'm on my own again
Instead of anywhere with you
But, to me, it's all the sam…

Gunners Barracks, Tea Rooms - George's Heights, Sydney

This unique vantage point, the original home of the Borogegal people, was early sourced by the British colonists in the 19th century  for defence of Sydney Harbour.   Located below Middle Head, Georges Heights, part of Headland Park,  today offers spectacular views, a pastoral setting, sandstone buildings and reminiscences of a privileged lifestyle. During World War 1, the third largest military hospital in Australia was constructed here.  Way back, after the arrival of Governor Macquarie, he commenced a farm here under the charge of Bungaree, the indigenous Australian well known in history to have accompanied Matthew Flinders in the latter's circumnavigation of the island continent in 1802 and 1803.  During a recent long weekend, I had occasion to attend a significant wedding anniversary celebration at the Tea Rooms of the Gunners Barracks.

During the cocktails on the out deck, we could see Cockatoo Island, sitting like a jewel in the crown of a splendid panoramic view.  A cousi…

Rites of Spring

Balgownie Home Garden, October 2012

Lunch from Brad and Vaughn, Ka-Fe, North Wollongong, September 2012

Readying the Brazilian barbecue, Darling Quarter, Darling Harbour, Sydney CBD.

Puff pancakes, Chat Thai, Campbell Street, Chinatown Sydney.

Italian Film Festival, Paddington, in Sydney city's east.

Lavender harvest, Balgownie home, September 2012.

Home comfort, Balgownie, October 2012.

Rock pool at Kiama, south coast NSW, Labour Day long weekend Saturday, 2012.

A rose by any other name, Balgownie home garden.

Breakky in southern Wollongong CBD.

A pause in Berry Village, south coast NSW,  September 2012 (photo credit - Kim Chia)

Nasi Kunyit - Marisa Chuah 's First Month

First month for a new infant, Marisa - and  customary practice for the Chinese community, with strong backgrounds in Malaysia and Singapore, is to mark the happy and significant occasion with the distribution to family and friends by the parents of a set that consists of chicken curry;  a pair or red coloured hard boiled eggs, still on the shell; a traditional cake referred to as the ang koo (literally, the red tortoise in the Fujian or Hokkien dialect)  and a turmeric  coloured and flavoured coconut milk steamed glutinous rice (the nasi kunyit in the Malay language).   In one swoop, this food set reflects and celebrates the multi-cultural influences of south-east Asia, incorporating the best elements in cuisine drawn from Indian, Southern Chinese, Thai and Indonesian influences.

The ang koo encompasses two essential Chinese iconic symbols - the colour red for auspicious joy and the tortoise which signifies longevity.  This cake can be accompanied by two peaches for a girl infant, or…

Wollongong Botanical Gardens, NSW