Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mindil Beach Sunset Market, Darwin, Australia

So many people told me to put the Mindil Beach Market on the itinerary when they heard that I was going to Darwin, so, considering my love for markets, I made sure that we fit in a visit on the Thursday evening that we were there.  The market itself has a wonderful vibe - we arrived at about 5pm and it was already buzzing with activity.  There were heaps of food stalls and a huge amount of local arts, crafts, jewellery, clothes and much more.  It has a bit of an Asian night market feel, and it was lots of fun wondering around meeting the locals and checking out their creations.  I met some wonderful artists the night I was there and am hoping to have some wonderful art, created in Darwin, to upload to Robin Street Market soon. 

And the sunset...  Oh my goodness.  The amount of people that squeeze onto that beach to watch the sunset is amazing in itself, and the colours of that sky when the sun went down were incredible.   As you can see from my photos, I was so in awe of the sunset that I took far too many photos of the sunset and none of the market itself! You can check out the Mindil Beach Sunset Market website here for some photos of the market.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fried Baby Zucchini In Beer Batter

We have David's parents staying with us at the moment and we all headed along to the Noosa Farmers Market on Sunday morning to check out the fantastic fresh, local produce.  I spied some beautiful, fresh, baby zucchinis with flowers and asked my mother-in-law, Rosetta, to make some for us as they are delicious!  She didn't need to be asked twice, she loves her cooking and I am the luckiest daughter-in-law around as I am treated with a constant supply of home-made Italian food.

Here is her recipe, they were quick and easy to make and boy, did they taste good!!  I ate so many that I even dreamed about them that night.
  • Baby zucchini with flowers attached (see photo above)
  • 1 lemon
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup of plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • Beer
  • Lemon
Cut the woody little stalks off the bottom of the zucchini stem and cut the zucchini stem and flower in half (if you are using only the flower with no zucchini attached then there is no need to cut it in half).  Remove the little head from the middle of the flower.
Season with pepper and salt and let rest for half an hour or so.  To form the beer batter mix together 1 cup of flour, pepper and salt, one beaten egg and add some beer to taste.  Pat dry the zucchini and dip  into the batter and then into the deep fryer for 3-4 minutes until golden.  You don't have to use a deep fryer, we just used oil in a shallow frypan which worked just as well.  Then you just put them onto some paper towel (to absorb some of the oil) and eat!  We tried ours with a squeeze of lemon, delicous!  The other way you can cook them is to bbq them - if you are going to do them like this then there is no need to batter them, just season them, let them stand for half an hour and then bbq for a few minutes with some olive oil.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, Australia

After our visit to The Red Centre, my friend Nikki and I headed to Darwin for the next part of our holiday adventure.  After filling up on lovely coffee and brekkie at a popular Darwin cafe, we picked up our hire car and headed to Kakadu National Park.  The name "Kakadu" comes from an Aboriginal floodplain language called "Gagudju", and generations of Aboriginal people have lived on and cared for the land for tens of thousands of years.  Their spiritual connection with the land is globally recognised in Kakadu's World Heritage Listing. In fact, Kakadu is one of the few places listed for both its cultural and natural values. Covering nearly 20,000 square kilometres, there is so much to see here, and we only had a few days, so here are some of the highlights.

This Billabong was a short walk from our accomodation, and was a lovely place to go and watch the sun go down.

The Yellow Water cruise we did was really interesting and heaps of fun.  There is so much wildlife to see, lots and lots of different kinds of birds and of course the odd crocodile as well. I think this one is kind of pretty, but that could just be me.

And a trip out to Ubirr is a must.  There is a walk that takes you past some Aboriginal rock art sites and then a moderately steep climb up to the top of a rocky lookout which has the most amazing views over the Nadab floodplain.  The views are really quite incredible, I'm sure my photos don't even begin to do it justice.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Winter Warm Up Sale: Up to 50% Off Unique And Handmade Products

We are currently soaking in the sun in Queensland and are feeling a bit sorry for all of our friends and family who are braving the chilly Winter weather in Melbourne (not so sorry that we are coming home yet!), so we thought we would have a  Winter Warm Up Sale to cheer everyone up.

For the rest of July, you will be able to take advantage of some amazing savings on a selection of our unique and handmade products - we will be updating our Market Sale page every few days so make sure you come back and visit us regularly so you don't miss out.

Here are a some of the fantastic items that will be on sale:

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Red Centre, Northern Territory, Australia

These shoes (and the feet in them) worked very hard while visiting The Red Centre last week.  I went on a trip with my friend Nikki, and we walked, and walked and walked while we were there.  Which was a fantastic excuse to eat a lot, so I'm not complaining at all.

We stayed in Yulara which is the resort that provides good access to the local sights.  The resort contains most things you will need while you are there including accomodation (hotels, self contained apartments, campgrounds), a small supermarket, bars, restaurants, banks etc.  At the resort we stayed at the Outback Pioneer which we thought was overpriced and needs a bit of a facelift, and the staff seemed to have all gone a bit loopy (we nicknamed it Fawlty Towers), but the BBQ (where you choose your own meat and/or fish and cook it yourself) was lots of fun and there was live music and plenty of vibe.

First we visited Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) which are 36 steep sided domes (Kata Tjuta means "many heads").  We decided to take on the Valley of the Winds walk which is 7.6km (although felt a bit more like 10kms) and takes you past some fantastic lookouts.  The walk is quite challenging and steep in places and it takes you between the domes, through creek beds and lets you get up close and personal to the domes.  We felt like we were the only ones doing this walk at times, maybe because most people opt for the easier walks but I would definitely recommend the longer walk if you are reasonably fit and you have a couple of hours to spare.
The next day we drove out to Kings Canyon which is a 3 hour drive from Yulara.  It was definitely worth the trip - the canyon is 270 metres high and we did the walk around the rim which was great for taking in the views which really are spectacular.  It is a 2-3 hour walk (or of course you can spread it over a whole day if you have the time), with lots of stone steps at the start and it can be steep and rocky in places so if you decide to do the walk, make sure you wear decent shoes.
And what would a visit to the Red Centre be, without a visit to Uluru (Ayers Rock)?  I have visited Uluru before, but even so, I still couldn't help but be surprised at the sheer size of this amazing rock.  It really is magnificent, such gorgeous colours and so HUGE.

We decided to do the walk around the base of the rock, which is 9.4 km and takes you past many sacred sites.  It was a lovely way to see the rock and we even met some camels along the way.  By this time, our poor feet were crying out for a break, so we finished off our visit by stopping at the Cultural Centre and doing a dot painting workshop with some local aboriginal people.  It was an interesting and fun way to finish up our visit to this beautiful part of the world.

So, the feet and shoes got a well deserved rest the next day as we hopped on a plane to Darwin via Alice Springs.  We had a few hours to waste in Alice Springs and we had good intentions of having a look around but it was so cold when we arrived and pouring with rain, so we made the executive decision to see a movie instead.  Eclipse had been released the week before so I felt in need of an Edward and Jacob fix. 

I'll post on our trip Darwin later this week.  Have you visited the Red Centre before?  If so, let me know about your experiences by leaving a comment, I'd love to hear about them.