Our big decision

Melbourne weather is very erratic and some say it has four season in one day but today was not the case, we found ourselves walking along the Yarra river in the intense heat. The day was beautiful and the sun was highlighting all of Melbourne’s amazing architecture, there is a real European vibe with the buildings and the vegetation as well as the people walking around and I think that’s why a lot of travellers love it as its a bit of home far away.

Along the river were some great views and as we reached south bank there was a tall ship and historical notes about what the area used to be. We succumbed to the heat and took a seat at a place called ‘Padlocks Ships’, we grabbed a couple of drinks and enjoyed the scenery of people gasping walking past us, wanting our tasty beverages. We sat talking for a while and it was here that we decided however much we love Melbourne we need to leave for Sydney as job opportunities here were not great and we needed work if we were going to stay in Australia till May.

We had decided that the weekend would be the best time, which may sound like a fast decision but if we were going to job hunt in Sydney we needed to be there now. So with that decision made we headed away from the cool shade and back in the heat.

We stopped off later for lunch and wisecracking our brains over what we fancied, every where we looked it was too factor too expensive but then it hit me….I want PANCAKES!!!!!! Sean agreed. We went to Pancake Parlour and the menu made my mouth water. They had basic buttermilk pancakes to double chocolate pancakes with cheer us and ice cream (drool). Once we had ordered we sat back and stuffed ourselves full until we couldn’t move again, this would be our last supper in Melbourne.

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[Travellers tip: if you haven’t found work move on elsewhere, time is a big factor with working holiday visas so contact the company find out if they received your resume and if you have a chance…be honest about your visa situation too]

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Food Recipes – Mince Meat Ragu, Sausarole, Seafood Risotto

SInce coming to Australia me and Ash have started to enjoy cooking together although at times we (mainly me) tend to get in each others way. This has been a new experience in itself as back home we live with our parents who tend to do most of the cooking. Thanks Moms!

So here are a few recipes that we’ve started making on a regular basis. All quite tasty, affordable and pretty simple to cook even for any fellow backpackers living in a hostel. Most of the recipes have been found on the following useful websites:

http://www.jamieoliver.com
http://www.nigella.com
http://www.bbcgoodfood.com

We have tweaked them to suit our needs either by reducing the cost or adding taste. I’ve also included the approximate cost of each meal in Australian Dollars based on purchasing ingredients from Coles supermarket.Ragu

Mince Meat Ragu
Serves 4 – Total cost $6 = $1.50 per serving
Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking: 1.5 hours

Ingredients: Olive oil, 1 onion diced, 1 garlic clove diced, 2 carrots diced, 2x 400g can diced tomato, 500g mince meat (beef), seasoning.
Optional: red wine, bacon, mixed beans, chilli, rosemary.

  • Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add all vegetables and cook for 15mins.
  • Add mince meat to pan and cook for further 10mins or until meat sealed.
  • Increase heat (add wine?) tomatoes and season to taste. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.
  • Serve with mash, pasta or rice.

The ragu is a very versatile dish that you can get creative with. Freeze or refrigerate the left overs.

Sausarole ( Sausage & Bean casserole)Sausarole
Serves 4 – Total cost $5 = $1.25 per serving
Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking: 20 minutes

 

Ingredients: Olive oil, 8 sausages or 1kg, 1 onion sliced, 2 crushed garlic cloves, 2tbsp instant gravy powder, 2 cups water, 400g can diced tomatoes, 400g can cannellini or mixed beans, seasoning.
Optional: red wine, rosemary

  • Heat oil in large deep saucepan over medium heat. Cook sausages until golden brown then transfer onto a plate.
  • Cook onion in same pan until softened. Add garlic (and red wine) on high for 1 minute.
  • Add sausages back into saucepan and stir in gravy powder. Add water, tomato (and rosemary), bring to the boil then reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Stir in beans few minutes from end until soften and season to taste.
  • Serve with crusty bread, potato mash or rice.

Prawn/Mix Seafood Risotto (Paella)
Serves 4 – Total cost $10.50 = $2.60 per serving
Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking: 20 minutes

Ingredients: Olive oil, 1 onion diced, 1 garlic clove diced, 300g risotto rice, 400g can diced tomato, 3tbsp white wine, 900ml chicken stock, 400g frozen prawns/seafood mix, paprika, 1 lemon.

  • Heat oil in large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes or until golden.
  • Stir in paprika and add rice. Cook for 1 minute whilst stirring then add wine and cook for a further minute or until absorbed.
  • Add tomato, garlic, chicken stock and season. Cook for 15 minutes whilst stirring making sure rice does not stick to bottom.
  • Rinse frozen prawns/seafood under cold water then add to rice. Cover with a lid and simmer for 5 minutes until seafood cooked through.
  • Squeeze in juice of half a lemon then serve with parsley and a slice of lemon.

Why not try them out for yourself. Remember to subscribe to our blog to stay updated and more recipes will be posted on here soon. Feel free to drop us a comment about any recipes you would like to recommend.

Thrifting, Cakes and the Big Bad Wolf!

Our house mates have had a mega busy few weeks preparing for their friends wedding and the big day had arrived so while they were busy crying, dancing, eating loads of cake and popping the champers, me and Sean had decided we must use this free time and not waste it like we do all the time back in the UK.

Saturday 18th at The Showgrounds in Perth, The Polka Dot Vintage fair.

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We arrived off the train and couldn’t see a person in sight, not a good sign. As soon as we got to the front entrance however we soon started to see other people queuing, all is not lost.
Entrance fee was $6. There was a lot of stalls so plenty for us to check out but as soon as we started looking around we realised it was gonna take us some time to get around it all and by the looks of some of the stuff for sale it wasn’t gonna be all that good. Sad face.

The Vintage stalls weren’t very vintage, I always find it hard sorting through all the “charity” style rejects trying to find that one cute number. I love the accessories though, more my cup of tea. The homemade pieces, food and crafts were brilliant though, had numerous amounts of tasters from chocolate covered fruit to delicious mouth watering fudge, we couldn’t resist but purchase some. There was only one girl there that made a real effort or maybe she had just come in her usual attire, her dress had layers and layers of tulle underneath (she could just about fit in the stalls). Her hair Bettie Page style I loved it. Was so disappointed there wasn’t many mods/rockabilly/old school style peeps though. Again sad face.

We checked out the antique area but it was just the same stuff on every stand – China, vases and “antique” tat I’m sure the previous owners chucked out only for someone to raid the trash to go and sell at ridiculous prices at this fair. It was time for us to leave and after nearly breaking a $120 Peter rabbit figurine we made a run for it and headed to Subiaco.

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We grabbed some lunch from this quaint Parisian cafe and soon found there was a crowd developing around the cafe front, curious we went to check out what everyone seemed to be buying boxes of – it was these little French delicacies the chef had made fresh.

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Oh my days they were beautiful, too beautiful to even eat and when asked if we wanted to sample some we couldn’t resist being cheeky! We sampled most of the flavours – strawberry cheesecake, passionfruit, raspberry, chocolate and more (well you got to haven’t ya). Didn’t have room for dinner haha. They even had a rainbow of macaroons, so pretty.

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Wolf Lane

On the way out of Subi we stopped off for a quick drink at a bar called Wolf Lane. Hidden down the side street off Murray st it is the perfect little hideaway for anyone just wanted to get away from the crowds. Outerwalls had awesome graffiti art and inside was even better, there was a fairy tale theme; with red riding hood, a gentry wolf and m&ms in a small medicine bottle labelled ‘drink me’ I was in awe!

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I’m pleased to say that the drinks were awesome too, Sean having a nice bottle of Citro bitter beer $8 and myself having a bloody wolf (Mary) cocktail $17 which even for the price, I have to admit is the best bloody Mary I have had (I think it was the spiced mix the bar tender added – delicious). This time happy face.
 

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I would recommend this place if you’re looking for a unique and fun place to hang out with friends. Fancy trying some of the other cocktails on offer and coming on a night maybe. After our nice relaxing evening it was time to head home and get my beauty sleep for my birthday, still can not believe it’s my 28th this year geez best start buying the day and night creams!!!

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Claremont and Fremantle

There has been a lot of rain hanging around Perth the last two weeks. Just our luck that back home they have had one of the warmest summers for a while and we are getting rain! When a promising dry day arrived we popped out to Claremont. As soon as we stepped off the train the rain came down quick and plentiful. We ran to the nearest shelter which happened to be Claremont Hotel, so we decided to stop for lunch. Pizza $9 and a bottled beer $7 wasn’t bad at all and certainly filled a hole. The rain stopped just in time which allowed us to explore the great outdoors of Claremont. We found a couple of cool shops one of which was called Brownies. They had some pretty cool stuff similar to Pigeon Hole in Perth. I bought a cap for $25. We also checked out Claremont Quarter an indoor shopping mall. There didn’t seem much in the means of entertainment in Claremont but it would be a great place to go shopping away from the busyness of Perth’s city centre. Before we went home we spotted some cool graffiti which a few friends have said resembles me. I’ll let you be the judge of that.

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The previous week we had missed out on going to a family party so had arranged to meet for lunch to make up for it. We met Marie and Drew in The Attic in Fremantle, which turned out to be a great find. It was a rustic and laid back breakfast cafe yet with quirkyness due to the use of large timber tables and armchairs you could sink into. I had an amazing Turkish poached egg with reduced tomato sauce and chorizo $16 (Just thinking about it, makes my stomach growl). After a nice little catch up we hit the Freo markets followed by our first drink at the popular Norfolk Hotel. Billabong ginger beer $11 pint. Before we left for home Ash bought a sketch book from The Butcher Shop and we detoured via the beach to take in some sea air.

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Maritime Museum & Little Creatures

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We decided to pay Fremantle another visit as it’s one of our favourite places near Perth. The tall ships were in the dock for the weekend for people to board, take photos and even purchase a round the world trip on….if only we could afford it.

We arrived on the harbour a bit disappointed as we thought they would be a bit bigger but they were still pretty impressive and in good condition. The Bark Europea was beautiful and the masts were the biggest of them all. Check them out on Facebook  Bark Europa We took a few photos and managed to have a peek of each ship but sadly couldn’t get on them as the queues were enormous! To see the other ships included or if your interested in seeing them yourself check out the tall ships festival website Tall Ships Festival.

 

Rather than waste the day standing around for hours we went to ‘Little Creatures’, a local brewery here in Freo, we couldn’t resist giving it a try. It was busy and a small queue had started to form outside. Luckily it wasn’t as long as the ones for the tall ships and we got in within 5 minutes. Ash got asked for ID (haha so typical) they were a bit hesitant accepting her British driving licence. They let us in but advised her to next time bring a passport or an international ID card. Once inside we went straight to the bar whilst we waited for our little pager to sing and dance to let us know our table was free. I had a  Little Creatures  Pale Ale and Ash had a Little Creatures Pilsner (beer) both $10 each for a pint. Once the pager started to beep, we were ready to be seated. The service was a little slow but the place was very busy. We had a big bowl of mussels, flat bread and chips to share (total $40). It was very nice and filled a hole although we did rush it so we could squeeze in another event before we had to go back. We would both recommend the place and we will no doubt go again. They also do a tour of the brewery which we will try and checkout next time. To find out more yourselves check out their website which is really nicely designed Little Creatures.

Next stop Fremantle Maritime museum. We paid for admission to the museum and a tour onboard a submarine. The tour was really interesting, the guy that took us around was from the UK so I feel we were picked on a bit, but he was very good at his job and kept us entertained. Its amazing to see how people live onboard a submarine, very small tight spaces. Me and Ash were trying not to open our mouths for the hour long tour as confined spaces and garlic breath is not the best mix. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to take many pictures inside the sub due to the lack of space and most of the time being in a conga type line moving from one section to another. The museum itself wasn’t all that great. I much preferred the shipwreck museum which is also in Freo and free admission.

 

Rollin with the homies + Sean gets the snip

So our first week with the Aussie’s!!! They are so annoying and fluffy lol (Jokes….We love you guys already and guess what, we’re staying mwhahaha ).

We had a jam packed weekend with Kylee & Ian going to La Devilles Pad
[read post ‘we went to he’ll and back]
we took our second trip to the cinema this time in Belmont. We went to watch ‘The is the End’ with Seth Rogen, James Franco and pretty much the rest of the cast from ‘Knocked Up’. It was hilarious and full of boy humour but nothing a girl couldn’t appreciate. Funny one liners and the ending… well let’s say you wouldn’t guess if you tried.

After the movies we went for late night hot chocolate at San Churros (can u believe this coffee shop is open till 1-2am!! We need this in Birmingham) me and sean shared churros with mini chocolates, melted chocolate and strawberries at $20 it was totes worth it.

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Also this week:
Me and sean got our hair cut! I needed one badly, being away from my products and straighteners is finally effecting me and I hardly use them back in the UK so if your a grooming goddess and think you’d be ok backpacking without them, think again. My blonde ends went dry and my roots well greasy and flat…time for the chop. Sean needed a spruce up and he had never been to the hairdressers so he wasn’t sure what to ask for awww.

I had looked at other salons in Perth but the prices were bit much and all the salons charge separately so you pay for wash, cut and a blow dry and costs from $50-120 but I found a cheap salon called Salon Express, which is similar to Supercuts in the UK.

It cost me $40 (for the amount I had cut off) for my long hair to be taken to a short Bob with layers and a fringe and Sean had a short back and sides which looked good and cost $20 but I think my hairdresser went a bit crazy with the layers and when I asked for a blunt fringe she went choppy crazy. It was ok in terms of quickness and price though and you don’t need to book.

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We went to hell and back!

Well as the name suggests we did go to hell and we liked it. Invited out by our new housemates, we left the hostel and after a little trek we found the place….The Devilles Pad. We saw the outside and were like ‘where have they brought us?’ Haha. Walked through the doors to be welcomed by a $10 entrance fee (think we arrived just after free entry). We opened the doors to come face to face with some freaky animatronic gargoyles…pretty cool. Then as we entered the bar floor it was like we had just walked on the set of ‘from dusk til dawn’, all I needed was sexy George Clooney to step out (dreamy).

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Try and picture the decor, private booths looked like caves with dramatic flames everywhere and demon lady statues surrounding the dance floor with a volcano, where some crazy hippy chick straight from Scooby doo was bopping. The music that night was really good, playing songs that would no doubt be found in most of Quentin Tarantinos movies. The cocktails were holla expensive from $12 – $20 ouch! But they were tasty and came with a few surprises in them ( I can only imagine our friend Jess would have loved it there). They had a Las Vegas style dance troop called ‘The Sinnerettes’ and a burlesque act from the UK who wasn’t all that great and go go dancers in cages, who I swear must have red bull in their vain’s due to the fact they were dancing non stop for about 5 hours – you go-go girls!

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I would really like to go back if my wallet allows, especially if they have a fancy dress night so I can show you guys some awesome photos!!!