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Favourite Food

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Travel quotes

 

Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul.- Dorothy Day

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Never go on trips with anyone you do not love. - Ernest Hemingway

 


National Day of ...

 

Liberia 26 July (Proclamation of the Republic: independence from the United States 1847)

Liberia's food.....

Trivia: The Liberian flag is designed after the American flag. The eleven white and red stripes that it sports stand for the eleven people who signed the country’s Independence declaration.

 

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Peru 28 July (Declaration of independence from Spain in 1821)

Peruvian fare....

Trivia: The staple meat raised in many households of the Andes is cuy, or  guinea pig. Read more....

 

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Faroe Islands (Denmark) 29 July (Ólavsøka (Saint Olaf's death at the Battle of Stiklestad in 1030): opening of the Løgting (parliament) session)

 
 
Trivia: The Faroe Islands, formed by volcanic activity 30 million years ago, are now a cultural melting pot with 77 nationalities among its population of only 48,000. More....

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Vanuatu 30 July (Independence Day, from the United Kingdom and France 1980)

Vanuatan food....

Trivia: The name Vanuatu comes from a combination of the words Vanua, meaning “Home or Land” and Tu, meaning “Stand”, together representing the independence of Vanuatu.

 

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See all National Days for JULY.

 

 

 


 

Food related events....

JULY 2015, food-related events.

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Food related events on this date in history!

 


 

Want even more food history?

oldfoodie

...visit The Old Foodie.

 



See where we have been...

24 percent of the world's countries!

 


 

Australian Travellers - do you need a visa?

Check the visa requirements by country...

Read more....

 

 
 

 

 

traveltipstop

What do you do when you lose something while travelling (apart from scream and cry!)?

This gadget is the answer.....

 

 

 


food_of_week_02

Ancient grains are making a comeback - like barley.

What do you know about barley?...

 


triviatop

ciaos

 

The rind of the mangosteen, a tropical fruit, has a high tannin content and is used to cure leather in Asia. It is also used to fix the color black in textile dyeing.

Find out other strange food facts.....

 

 

 

Luxury meets style and convenience. Seems to be the right mix for Australians cruising the Mediterranean.

Find out more...


 

 

books

.............and Apps and DVDs



 

Have you ever wondered what top chefs eat at home - when they are not at work?

Now you can find out and cook the same tasty things yourself....

 


 

Food is art - and here, a master chef  marries Italian cuisine and painting.

Find out more about a truly beautiful book ...

 


For those who love the world and its beauty and want a REAL life.....

.....this is the book for you.

 


 

Fancy some fishing - with a chef and TV celebrity and two other seafood experts?

Go fishing (and cooking) with these there....

 


 

Healthy, beautiful and well-fed?

Now you can be....

 


 

Ever wished you could escape to Spain?

Here's the latest book from one author who did.....

 


 

Heading for Hong Kong? Take this book (and an appetite) with you!

Read all about it.....

 


Explore 19 areas and discover Tokyo's best food and shopping.

Read more....

 


 

Find your way around a new country - greet the locals, eat the food...

Explore with Marco Polo!

 


 

Everyone's favourite grandmother and cook, as known by her grand-daughter, Kate Gibbs....

....sharing her recipes for life , and for the kitchen

 


 

Now you can create your own home patisserie.

A top French patissier shows how....

 


 

Does Australia have the world's best beaches?

Find out where Australia's best ones are....


 

Join five women for a weekly meal in Umbria, Italy - simple, but so much more.

Find out about this beautiful book... 

 


 

Adriano Zumbo is king of the A-Z of sweets, desserts and pastries.

Now you can learn his secrets...

 


If chocolate is your weakness, this new book will feed your need.

Read about it...

 


 

If Thai cookery has always been too difficult...

This is the book for you....

 


 

Learn the tricks of barbecuing from an expert with an endless supply of ideas and tips.

Get fired up about it....

 


Is Copenhagen big enough to conceal many secrets?

The authors of this book thought so....

 

 


You probably know of Rick Stein from his TV and cookbook fame, as well as his restaurants...

..but now you can get to know him from his memoir

 


Put the Taste of Australia into your meals with Lyndey Milan's latest book.

Read more....

 


 

Fresh from the West - chef Sophie Zalokar's delicious recipes using local south-west Western Australian produce.

 

Read more....


 

Visit Spain - from your own home!

Learn how to cook the food with an expert!

 


Lovers of Venetian food will be thrilled with this insiders' guide to the city and its food.

Read more.....

 


Whether you are a wine expert or just want to be, this book is for you.

Find more here...

 


 

If you can't get to Scandinavia - you can at least bake its cakes and breads.

Here's how....

 


If you are a reader of food blogs, this behind the scenes peep at the real story, will captivate.

Read more.....

 


 

Yes, the City of Light has still more secrets to disclose!

Discover them here....

 


 

Thai Royal Cuisine is now within your reach with these authentic recipes, edited by a descendant of Prince Chakrabongse.

....enjoy preparing them yourself.

 


America-bound travellers, take note! 

The fully revised edition is now  available....

 


If you'd like a food-loving guide to show you around Paris, Jane is the person to do this.

Read her book....

 


Want to eat the world? Here 39 cuisines have been explored and explained.

Find out more....

 


Love cooking, like trivia?

This book is for you!

 

 


Now you can bake like Phillippa!

Get ready for the compliments!


Got friends coming for a party - this is the book for you!

Find some new recipes....

 


The world's greatest maritime explorer - and real person.

An engaging read...

 


Burma is a mystery to many people. Its food is even more obscure.

Read this and be delighted...

 


The biggest and most beautiful book of Italian food.

Read about it here....

 

 

 

 

Window on the Batavia Coast

Who would think that just kilometres beyond this peaceful stretch of ocean a string of disasters, deaths and brutality have occurred in the past four centuries.

On a clear day like this, in Port Denison on Western Australia's coastline several hundred kilometres north of Perth, storms and shipwrecks seem almost out of the question. Yet when we climb to the Fishermans Memorial and Lookout at the southern end of the beach we find a different story. 

Here the information board clearly points out the spot where, in 1853 the 173-ton Leander hit a reef sixteen kilometres offshore.

Of the Leander's  twenty-two Malay crew, eleven died, the remainder were abandoned with no wages or passage home. This was before there was even a settlement here. The wreck has never been located.

To commemorate the many ships lost, a stretch of the beachfront has been designated as Shipwreck Walk. Although Port Irwin was considered a safe harbour, 22  ships went down in the area in the next century. In the 19th century there were so many mishaps that shipping companies refused to insure the vessels plying their trade in the vicinity. 

This western coastline of Australia is littered with wrecks, it seems. Some of them were momentous, with historical impact, as we are about to discover in the next few days that we spend exploring the region. During that time, we uncover tales of immense wealth, intrigue, unbelievable cruelty, but also selfless bravery.

 

 

But first we visit Dongara, Port Denison's twin town six kilometres away. It's a sleepy coastal community, with a pub, a fish and chip shop, cafes, and some grand old buildings in the town centre, dating from the 1860s. Most eyecatching are the many huge Moreton Bay fig trees, planted to flank the main street in 1906. Over a hundred years on, their gnarled and twisted trunks are like natural sculptures, and their dense shade is more than welcome on the town's hotter days.

We were interested to see this rotunda in the Town Park. While it may seem ordinary, the paved base is approximately the site and size of the local school's first vegetable garden. While these are becoming important again to modern schools, the teacher here in the late 19th-century was well ahead of his time. Produce was sent to Perth for exhibition and competition in the Royal Show. At harvest time, he taught maths to the children - many of whom were farmer's kids – by getting them to calculate the yields and 'bags to the acre' of the various grains and vegetables they had grown.

Wheat was an important crop in the early days and this flour mill was built in 1894 and powered by huge steam engines. In its time, the mill could process six tons of flour a day which was shipped from the port. It has had a varied life, but now it is a gracious private home.

The Indian Ocean has always been important to this area, but now crayfishing, catching rock lobsters (more correctly western rock lobsters) as they are called here, has become a highly lucrative fishing activity. 

The main processing plant is in Geraldton, 66 kilometres north, but Port Denison has a very busy centre which packs the lobsters for transport to the plant.

Lobsters crop up everywhere, from this street sign to holiday units in Port Denison....

....to this massive creature at the entrance to Dongara.

One morning we pass this sign at the entrance to the Port Denison marina, and follow the locals to see what it is all about.

We find the freshest fish, caught overnight, now being weighed and sold to the first savvy locals to arrive.

These large fish come from kilometres offshore where they were hauled in and packed in ice for the trip back to port.

Just across the main road from the beach, there is something else to taste. Winner of WA's Best Steak Sandwich award for several years, Southerlys hotel-restaurant has something everyone should try at least once during a visit to the area.

While the menu is large, we felt we had to try the tender wagyu steak accompanied by aioli and chips and pronounced the sandwich more than worthy of its title of champion.

However, tiny Dongara also has a winner, and you'll find it at the blink-and-you'd-miss-it Caltex service station on the highway just south of town.

The Highway Cafe's awards are impressive....

...and when my pie arrives, cracklingly fresh from the oven ('they're nearly ready to come out,' they told us. 'Can you wait?'). Of course we could and it was well worth it.

My beef and mushroom pie was richly stuffed with meltingly tender meat, the buttery crust flaky and crisped perfectly on the bottom too.

Yet, apart from these quite hearty options, there is a bit or a cafe scene happening in this small country town. Near Town Beach, on the Dongara side of the Irwin River, the Sea Spray Cafe served up this delicious shareable treat: smashed avocado on toast with cherry tomatoes, baby spinach, crumbled fetta and poached eggs. Eat you heart our inner-city cafes!

The Irwin river creates a boundary between Dongara and Port Denison and makes an L-shaped turn before it finally reaches the Indian Ocean. The waters fan out at there and this area has been beautifully preserved as a wetland and bird sanctuary. 

With boardwalks extending along the waterfront and into the  lagoon, it is a tranquil beautiful place to walk or cycle, or simply exercise, then stand and watch the many species of waterfowl which come here.

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In Western Australia, the initials of the town or shire are often used on the local numberplates. It's a fun thing to know as you can be anywhere in the state and see one that begins BU or BSN or KO (and many more) and you instantly know where the drivers have come from. (See below for the answers!)

In the case of the one above, IR stands for Irwin, as you can see it is the Shire of Irwin. Interestingly this one also proudly announces that Dongara is Gateway to the Batavia Coast.

So who or what was Batavia? We decide to find out, and one day hop into a small plane that overflies Geraldton then tracks for an extended scenic overfly of the three main groups of the Pelseart, Easter and Wallabi group of the Abrolhos Islands (or more correctly Houtman Abrolhos) an archipelago of 122 islands, and associated coral reefs about eighty kilometres off the coast.

It's a relatively short flight - about twenty minutes - and apart from sightseers like us, the air link is vital to the life of these islands now. The home of crayfishermen who live and work from these tiny coral cays catching the huge rock lobsters which have brought such wealth to the area.

My biggest surprise was the colour and beauty of these islands which I had somehow imagined as being grey and muddy. Despite being sub-tropical, the colours rival those you would see in many places further north in Australia.

They are also mysterious and have a malevolent past. It goes like this: almost four centuries ago, in 1629 the Dutch trading ship Batavia, so-named because it was part of the Dutch East India Company fleet that travelled to Java (via the Cape of Good Hope) for frequent cargoes of rare and expensive spices, struck a reef and foundered near these islands.

What happened next was a period of mayhem and mutiny, murder and marooning on these barren and inhospitable islands. To get a little idea of it, imagine a place with no fresh water, little food, searing sun and biting winds, and no shade or shelter.  As if this was not enough it was complicated by villainous men intent on destruction.

To read more about this see Peter Fitzsimon's epic book Batavia. Not for the faint-hearted, it is a no-holds-barred depiction of Australia's most villainous massacre in which almost 300 people died.

We land on a dirt airstrip on East Wallabi island which today is benign and tranquil with no hint of the bloodshed in its past. WE take a short walk to Turtle Bay where the sand is the crystalline white of crushed coral and we prowl along the shore discovering shells of every colour, cuttlefish and seaworm casts.

Part of the half-day tour we have booked includes morning tea and cake at this eco-shelter and then lunch later on - bread rolls and cold meats, cheese and salad. Perfect and simple for this stretch of coast.

Despite its apparent bareness, this island is home to small Tammar wallabies, and we saw one or two huddled under bushes as we walked. For a while there were cats and rats, which had been introduced here, but these have beens eradicated.

There were also small spiny lizards, like a gecko, and skinks too. Circling high above were ospreys, white breasted sea eagles and petrels. This now-abandoned osprey nest looks tidy enough, but off-camera at its base was the bird's treasure collection of blue plastic pieces, bits and pieces of other things, including a rubber flip-flop! 

As you can see the terrain is rough and the only growing things are saltbush and succulents and those dead thorny plants make walking both hazardous and painful, and impede your progress as they catch at your legs and clothes.

Lashed by an eternity of waves and winds, the edges of the rocky cliffs are terrifyingly undercut and could crumble without warning, so you need approach with care - as we did!

Despite their history and the still-harsh conditions, there is an awesome beauty to the Houtman Abrolhos. En-route our pilot points out the pearl farms, the historic church on Basile Island, the brightly coloured fishermen's camps, marine life including sharks, manta rays, dolphins and migratory whales and Webbie Hayes' Fort, the oldest European building in Australia.

Remote and for a while abandoned, this area is finally coming alive again, welcoming day-trippers, divers and - who knows? - maybe, finally the answer to the riddle of exactly where the wreck of the Batavia now lies, and what treasures and secrets it still holds.

Our trip over, we took time to browse in Geraldton's museum on the waterfront, piecing together more of the story from evocative displays of the region's Big Three of shipwrecks - BataviaZeewyjk and HMAS Sydney II

The waterfront itself is worth exploring too, with its cafes and restaurants and tourist information centre as well as the museum. There are markets on Saturdays and, if you are here on Sunday, there are tours of the harbour on a Batavia longboat replica.

And here is that name yet again, this time on the southern approach to Geraldton where the tiny historic settlement of Greenough has a particularly quirky drawcard.

If you think this is a one-off, you are wrong. While this may be the most sensational leaning tree in these parts, there are many others nearby, each bowing to the heavy westerly winds that sweep across the paddocks in coastal areas locally.

Nearby the historic National Trust village of Greenough has 11 stone buildings built by the district's 19th-century pioneers, which are open to the public for self-guided tours.

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In present day terms, the most poignant memorial in Geraldton, to commemorate the sinking of HMAS Sydney II and immense loss of life in 1941, was only relatively recently erected, in 2001. There are guided tours, daily, or you may quietly experience this the very moving place, set on a hill overlooking the city.

The stunning sculptured  Dome of Souls has been created from 645 steel seagulls, one for every sailor who perished on HMAS Sydney II...

... making lacy shadows on the inlaid marble below.

The Waiting Woman, a bronze statue of a woman stands searching the waters for those who will never return. It is especially apt because at the time the statue was erected the site of the HMAS Sydney II's final resting place in the ocean was not known. When it was finally discovered in 2008 the amazing result was that this woman is facing the exact point where the wreck lies!

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Yet life goes on, as it must, and today's Geraldton is thriving with a population of around 36,000, city-status since 1988, and a bustling port that welcomes cruise liners as well as the endless fishing trawlers bringing in fish and crayfish for processing and packing - a modern-day treasure still being brought from the sea.

The Batavia Coast has seen tragedy and triumph, but today's visitors today discover beauty where they least expect it and a genuine welcome from the locals. 

More information.........

 

{Answers to the numberplate quiz: BU - Bunbury, BSN - Busselton, KO - Kojonup}

 
 
 
Sally & Gordon Hammond drove a car from Driveaway Holidays for their self-drive trip on Australia's Coral Coast.

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Text & Photograph: ©Sally Hammond

Video: ©Gordon Hammond

 

 

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Leura is one of the loveliest......

 


 

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Take the Grand Tour of Switzerland.

It comes with extras...

 


 

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Stay in a monastery...

 


 

Get some help with cooking from a robot!

Has your kitchen got room for one of these?

 


 

Sri Lanka's latest luxury accommodation.

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See this amazing 'stick-art' and how it is created.

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Check your answers....

 


 

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Sensational Singapore...

...as the sign says 'You should be here'!

 


 

Discover Ireland's sensational Atlantic coastline.

Now you can walk along it!

 


 

Pack your Big Yellow Suitcase ...

... find out where you can take it!

 

 



 

 

tastethis

 


DON'T MISS THESE:

2015

AUSTRALIAN FOOD EVENTS

The Truffle Festival, June-August, Canberra region, ACT

The Rocks Aroma Festival, Sydney, July 26, 2015

Barossa Gourmet Weekend, SA, 14-16 August, 2015

The Coffee Experience, Sydney, September 3-5

Sample Food Festival, Bangalow, northern NSW, September 4

Fine Food Australia, Sydney, September 20-23, 2015

Cake Bake & Sweets Show, 23-25 October 2015, Melbourne

 


MUST SEE!


Lyndey Milan and Ian 'Herbie' Hemphill take viewers on an eight-episode Moveable Feast of Australia, beginning on 7TWO on Feb 7.

Don't miss out.... 

 


 

RECIPE TIME

Make your own bagels....

...they're not as difficult as you might think

 


 

 MUST TASTE THIS

Chocolate is delicious - but wouldn't you like to eat it with a clear conscience?

Now you can....

 


scc

Need a coffee????

Taste_03

330 of Sydney's BEST cafes in this HUGELY POPULAR iPhone and iPad app!

... read more

NOW ALSO available on Android

 visit the blog and hear the good news! 

Hear a podcast

 
 

 

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TAKE A BREAK

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JULY 2015 food-related events worldwide.

 


 

So you want to explore SYDNEY?

This new app is just what you need.....

 


 

A year of fabulous food festivals is ahead in 2015 for Britain!

Find out when and where....

 


 

Festivals throughout Australia too in 2015.

Check these out...

 


 

Scotland's Year of Food and Drink 2015....

...what's on?

 


Festivals in Korea, 2015

Here they are....

 


 

2015 Malaysia's Year of Festivals....

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What's happening in Rome this month....

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Ever dreamed of having your own place in France.

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SPOIL YOURSELF -    TOTAL LUXURY

Tour the world in a luxury private jet .....

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Where better to take a French cookery course.....


...than in Paris?


 

Taste Miami with someone who knows.

See how to do it...

 


 

Shopping in Paris is great fun - but you might need some help...

...and not just with carrying your purchases!

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food and wine tour in one of France's most beautiful regions.

Learn more about it...

 


 

Now you can travel and pick up some artistic skills - and enjoy Italian cuisine.

...find out where

 


Here is the answer for food and wine lovers travelling around Australia.

Read more....

 


 

SYDNEY'S LIVING HISTORY

Find out about the (sometimes colourful) past of  Australia's first city:

slhlogoiPhone and iPad App packed with information and pics.

....discover what has made Sydney the great city it is.

BUY IT NOW on iTunes here

or for Android  here!

 

 

 


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Sally, and Gordon Hammond also operate the Australian Regional Food Guide Web site. This comprehensive directory is a great resource for everything that is happening in the regional food scene in Australia. Make sure you visit and bookmark this site. Please Follow on Twitter or Like on Facebook.