Tag Archive: australia

Back to reality

So we are finally back from the holiday of a lifetime.. our dearest apologies for the blog drought!

Here is what we have been up to since you last heard from us:

We tramped from Sydney to Hervey Bay for a family Christmas where my family scoffed down prawns the size of bananas and I shielded myself from the seafood spray with various lettuce leaves. We flew to Cairns and then drove to Port Douglas where we met with friends from all over the country to have a holiday before our rainforest wedding. Vegetarian food choices in Port Douglas ranged from surprisingly fabulous (Java Blue Cafe) to disappointing (Nautilus Restaurant) to downright disgusting (Sakinayah House Restaurant) but we were having so much fun lounging by the pool and scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef that it didn’t really matter anyway.

View from the plane

Gang in the pool

hanging out at the hotel

The wedding itself was held at Silky Oaks Lodge in the Daintree Rainforest, bare chested chef was suitably clothed and I – in usual bride fashion – wore a white dress. It wasn’t quite your typical wedding (I wore sneakers under my dress and the groom took my surname instead of the other way round) but the day was wonderful and the food was fabulous – naturally!







After all the fabulousness of a rainforest wedding, we flew to Fiji to start our honeymoon (hubba hubba!). We stayed on Mololo Island at Likuliku resort where the head chef at the restaurant created 2 special vegetarian menus just for me each day – I was in heaven! At Lunch and Dinner each day I was brought over a new menu, 3 courses at lunch and 4 at dinner, with 2 or 3 choices for each course as well. It was incredible! I was in vegetarian foodie heaven! Unfortunately on day five – after foolishly drinking ‘filtered’ water instead of bottled water – I was struck down with food poisoning and remained in bed for two and a half days unable to eat or move. All that delicious vegetarian food was waiting for me at the restaurant and I just couldn’t eat it!





While I was bedridden the storms started, it rained for two days straight and on the third day the manager of the hotel came to our door and advised us that we were about to get hit with a cyclone and we had to be evacuated from the island. We had 20 minutes to pack all our stuff and make our way to the helipad where a boat would come get us (you think I am making this up don’t you??? I wish I could say I was!).

I was pretty weak by now, and still very sick so bare-chested chef did all the hard work, we packed all our belongings and off we went to the boat in the pouring rain (me still very pale and shaky – having trouble even holding up the umbrella in the wind). We climbed aboard the tiny ten man boat and they took us out into open water to wait for a larger boat to come and get us. We waited for over an hour and a half for that boat and I can tell you, it was a very scary time! The storm was raging, the sky was black, we were drenched from head to toe and I was having a very rough time keeping myself from being sick, in fact it was probably only the fact that I hadn’t eaten in over two days that kept me from feeding the fishes.



Finally the ferry came by and picked us up and took us over to the mainland. It wasn’t much better, that ride, but at least we weren’t getting rained on anymore. A bunch of tourists were being evacuated from the islands so the boat was packed to the rafters with worried looking people and we had to sit on the soggy floor by the wall of suitcases and backpacks. When we finally made it to the mainland we thought we were free and clear, until the owner of the ferry stood up on some boxes and told us that Fiji was having the worst floods they had had in 20 years and the roads were closed so no-one could get out! For three days we were stranded at a hotel in Denarau, me still recovering from food poisoning, waiting for the flood waters to recede. Food services were restricted because no fresh supplies were getting through so they just had a buffet twice daily – a frightening experience for a food poisoned vegetarian foodie far away from home! I managed to live on roast potatoes and bread rolls until finally we were free to make our way to the airport and escape. What an adventure!



From Fiji we headed to New Zealand. Within 12 hours of landing Auckland experienced the most spectacular lightening storm they had ever seen and I was beginning to think our marriage was cursed but our bad weather ended there – thank goodness for that! We celebrated being back in unflooded civilisation with a vegetarian degustation menu at The Grove in Auckland which was delicious and incredibly filling. While on the North Island we also recommend: lunch in the vineyards on Waiheke island (hire a car and make a day of it!), Bistro 1284 in Rotorua – try the vegetarian Gyoza – delicious!, the ‘vegetarian restaurant’ on high street in Auckland (green sign) oh so cheap, and oh so scruptuous!


After a week in Auckland we flew down to Queenstown. What an incredibly beautiful place! We absolutely fell in love, and can’t wait to go back, in fact we spent the entire time there trying to figure out a way not to leave, in the end though common sense prevailed, and so here we are, back working like chumps! But I digress! While enjoying the sights in Queenstown make sure you check out

Licks Icecream Bar (next to Beefeater Restaurant on Shotover St) for delicious icecream – so nice we went back twice!

Kinloch lodge in Kinloch had the most incredible ginger and carrot soup! Definitely worth the trip – although if you aren’t a fan of carrot and ginger soup the lake is well worth seeing on its own.

The Skyline Restaurant had the best buffet I have ever had with excellent vegetarian options and loads of variety and even though the trip up there was a bit hair-raising for poor chef who is terrified of heights, the views are absolutely breathtaking! Get there super early to register to get a table by the window and watch the sun set over the remarkables – you won’t regret it!



Sombreros Mexican Restaurant looks like your regular tacky mexican place but the vegetarian fajitas are fabulous.

Hell’s Pizza, sounds ridiculous and looks it too, but they have excellent vegetarian options, (‘pride’ was my personal favourite), and are perfect for a quick bite to eat on your way home from white water rafting or flinging yourself out of a plane.

On an unrelated note – unrelated to food that is – if you are in Queenstown you absolutely have to do the Queenstown to Glenorchy drive, just the most incredibe scenery you can imagine. I would also recommend checking out the Fiordland National Park & Milford Sound. For something required a little less effort contact Kevin for a Segway on Q tour, loads of fun!






Anyway, enough of that – I’m beginning to sound like a lonely planet guide. The point of this post is really just to say “We are back!” and will be back cooking soon enough!

Stay Tuned!

NB: Photos from the wedding day were taken by Shaun Guest at Port Douglas Photography.


Green Gourmet : Vegan Yum Cha

Okay Okay, so it’s been a while since we have updated this modest little blog. Life just seems to have gotten a little out of control with wedding plans and working and Christmas preparations. Seems like there has been barely time to speak to one another let alone cook delicious vegan meals or blog about them. We leave tomorrow for 6 weeks of sun and fun (and a wedding too) so there won’t be much cooking going on for the next little while. I will do my best to keep up with some restaurant reviews while we are gone though, and in that spirit:

Green Gourmet – Newtown

We are big fans of the Green Gourmet weekend yum cha. There was a stage a while ago where we visited this lovely little place in Newtown every weekend. This was our first visit in a while and it was just as good as I remember. Unfortunately I didn’t remember my camera so I didn’t get any photos but when we come back from our honeymoon we will be sure to go again so that I can get some nice pics.

This place is really lovely, the decor is basic and nothing to write home about but the service is fast and there are always a bunch of people here. Yum cha is served from 12 – 3 on weekends and it’s our preferred way to enjoy the Green Gourmet, we are yet to try something we haven’t liked but our favourites are: Mushroom Steak – meaty enough to fool even the most devoted meat fan, Not Pork Buns – better than the real thing and Seafood Rolls wrapped in bean curd. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

They serve tea all through the meal – you just pay once, refills are free – but if you’re not a tea fan they have a variety of organic soft drinks available in the fridge as well. Meals are bought out as fast as you can eat them and you can either load up the table for a vegan feast (as we tend to do) or just try a dish or two for a budget lunch.

We have taken many omnivorous friends here over our time, all of them entering with trepidation, and all of them loving it. We struggle to spend more than $25 per person, even after we eat so much we are practically rolling out the door.

Best of all, they even have the vegan choice grocery next door so you take home your favourite dishes and put them in the freezer.

We love this place (did I mention that?)

This morning darling chef and I headed out to try a newly discovered vegan cafe in Newtown. I heard about it on the Happy Cow website (link to the right) which is where I get most of my vegetarian/vegan restaurant suggestions from. Anyway, we are pretty familiar with the Newtown area so we didn’t have a problem finding the place, although the signage left a little to be desired. The biggest sign out front was for ‘Basil’ which is a pizza place. From what I can tell, the cafe is a coffee place combined with a vegan breakfast cafe in the mornings and early afternoons and then a pizza place at night. Seeing the meat-lovers pizza advertised in the same shop where we were eating from an all vegan menu was a little odd but I guess it works for them!


Vegan Signage

It’s only a small place and there was only 1 other table taken in the place, but it was almost at the 1pm cutoff for breakfast so that could explain the lull. We were seated and given a paper menu with 6 vegan dishes listed, including a ‘morning after fry up’ with vegan sausages and bacon & ‘organic pancakes’ – buckwheat pancakes with fruit and maple syrup. The waitress came by and asked what we would like to drink, Chef ordered a latte – no problem – and I ordered a peppermint tea. It wasn’t on the menu (I didn’t think to look) but instead of asking me to choose something else, the waitress told me she would organise it before running out the front door of the cafe and going upstairs to her flat where she raided her own personal stash of organic peppermint tea! How about that for fabulous service!

Meals ranged from $7 – $16. We both ordered the “Big Aussie Vegan Feast” which came with fried, smoked tofu, hash browns, tomato, organic baked beans, mushrooms, spinach and organic sourdough toast. The meal came out quickly and everything was fabulous, a pet hate of mine is soggy hash browns but these were lovely and crispy! The sourdough was fabulous and seedy – and served with nuttlex – the beans were delicious and the tofu was wonderfully smoky. We will definitely be back to this great little place! Next time I’ll be ordering the scrambled tofu!

Aussie Vegan Feast

And, best of all it is even right across the road from the Vegan’s Choice grocery so we were able to dash in on our way home and stock up on vegan chocolate for our baking day tomorrow!