Sunday, July 24, 2011

Big News Week

This weekend has been remarkable for the announcement of some BIG NEWS for our family. I'll never forget Ella, so excited, as she broke the news to us, with that look of absolute joy on her face, and that 3,000 watt smile. So many things to look forward to and plan for. Aren't we lucky!!!

We celebrated over a long lunch together and then afterwards by buying me a new lens (or two) for my camera, and a tripod, an early big birthday present. I dropped my beautiful camera on my first day in London in early April. Luckily, it kept working OK for a few weeks but since New York it has become more and more troublesome. I'd obviously upset some of the lens calibrations in the big fall!

In the late afternoon winter light it was fun to use my camera with the full range of available exposures again. I admired the tracery of the bare trees in Garema Place as, beneath them, people were enjoying the crowded novelty of the especially set up ice rink bringing some winter cheer to this previously dull area of the city.

King's Avenue Bridge was looking spectacular with its sunset lit backlighting.

And Mt Ainslie, the Carillion and the emerging new ASIO building on Parkes Way were all looking postcard perfect.

I had to try out my new Manfrotto tripod too...with some real estate type shots of our living areas at home, failing any other inspired ideas.

No, we're not interested in selling up yet. With the BIG NEWS it will be better to delay any thoughts of downsizing for a few years yet, I think!

It was a very late night for many Australians last night. We had to help Cadel Evans through the last stages of the Tour de France. Go Cadel!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Travelling North-West Ending

In Brisbane the vibrant cafe scene is centred on Boundary Street in West End, well known in Brisbane for its relaxed urban, grungy style and innovative food and bar start ups. It seemed very buzzy this week, as we've been catching up with Joel and Imogen (last night) at Jamjar and Rob's nephew and nieces (today) at the Gunshop Cafe.

We had a lot of catching up to do with J & I since our last dinner together at Islington's Ottolenghi in April. There were Moroccan, Croatian, Bosnian and Slovenian stories and lots of recaps of our favourite times in NY and London. Then there were future travel plans, all the family stuff and media stories (and camera stuff).........we talked and talked.

But along with the great conversation we appreciated the wonderful food at Jamjar. Dessert was the stand out for me: chocolate whiskey mousse, honeycomb, and apple sorbet, all served hearty London style on wooden boards.

Today we had the opportunity to catch up with two of Rob's nieces (and a partner) and nephew M. at the Gunshop Cafe in Mollison Street, just near the corner at Boundary Street. It was a great opportunity to catch up on a year's worth of news, hear first hand what it was like in West End the day Brisbane flooded and marvel at the two nieces' determination to take on half marathons and other significant ambitions. I couldn't resist another luscious dessert either!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Travelling North-Peregian

Today we went looking for the endless beaches of my childhood (or should that be the beaches of my endless childhood): Sunshine Beach, Peregian and Coolum.

Disappointingly, Coolum's perfect beach has not been matched by the beachfront development-there's Coolum Caprice, Maccas, Gloria Jean's, a Subway and huge Keno signage on the surf lifesaving club....and there are now only 3 sad looking Norfolk Island pines left lining the beach...very sad!

It was hard to locate myself in Peregian: a favourite fishing haunt and the perfect beach for pippy hunting and beach games, 45 years ago. It's a very stylish beach side village now: contemporary low rise development, with plenty of cafes and restaurants and homewear shops. We had a wonderful lunch at the Baked Poetry Cafe on Peregian's equivalent of Hastings Street.

But I only had to walk over the sandy dune path to Peregian's main beach for all the childhood holiday memories to come flooding back.

This is looking North up to the Noosa headland.........

and South back to Coolum Beach with the "distinctive" Coolum Caprice a prominent landmark in the distance as the only high rise on this part of the Sunshine Coast.

The only mark scored against Peregian was that there were only Murdoch papers for sale at the newsagent!!!

We ended off our day of reminiscing at The Spit, where Noosa River runs into Laguna Bay. Across the water those sand flats are part of Munna Point, a favourite haunt where our Dad used to spend many hours indulging our obsession with fishing for undersized flathead (which we always threw back of course) in crystal clear, knee deep, sandy bottomed water.

And we checked out the house at 32 Mitti Street Noosa for the big September P family reunion. It looks great guys - right next door to the gorgeous beach at Little Cove and the entrance to the national park. You might even see some koalas from here. Love Noosa!

Travelling North-Noosa

We're off to Noosa for three days, a chance for us to go back to our favourite Queensland destination while giving Rob's Mum a little break away with us too. It's an easy drive from Brisbane if you stay on the main highway but much more picturesque if you take the detour around the Blackall Range road through Maleny, Montville and Mapleton.

We stopped for lunch at the Poet's Cafe in Montville, enjoying the stunning views out to the Sunshine Coast beaches while we feasted on a platter of local Maleny and Kenilworth cheeses.

We've stayed at the Lookout Resort at Noosa Heads before (eleven years ago) but it's still exciting to open the door of our newly renovated apartment 10 and gasp at the view!

Main Beach at Noosa faces North (ish) and further round the Bay it becomes the mouth of the Noosa River. The view from our apartment is spectacular at all times of the day but especially at dawn and sunset!

We visited the Eumundi Markets on Wednesday. There's acres of cheap hippie-ish stalls full of imports from Asia, not many locally crafted goods like I remember 11 years ago. The mounds of fresh, fragrant Montville strawberries were a drawcard as was the stall of beautiful bromeliad plants, especially because I know Ros has definite plans to become obsessed by them. Rob assures me the Kransky stall was of a very high standard too.

We love the beautiful Noosa National Park, the way the walks curve around the exquisite headland beaches allowing pandanus framed views of the sparkling turquoise ocean and clean white sandy beaches of Little Cove, Tea Tree Bay and Dolphin Point.

But come late afternoon we're drawn to Main Beach for the amazing sunset light show, best enjoyed with a bottle of wine.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Travelling North-Coffs Coast

With Canberra in the midst of really cold weather (it's even been snowing in Corin Forest!) travelling North to warmer weather has proven to be a really good idea. We went as far as Sandy Beach on the Coff's Coast on Saturday to a very warm welcome from the weather and from Ros and Pete.

We loved our short break with them catching up on family news, enjoying the beautiful environment they have created at Sandy Beach, cooking and eating wonderful seafood and fresh fruit (even bananas can be found for under $10.00a kilo here) and walking it all off on Ros's gruelling morning workouts along the beach and headland.

We visited the small (but very sweet) Jetty Markets at Coff's Harbour on Sunday morning.

....and enjoyed a beautifully prepared seafood lunch at Latitude 30 on the harbour front. We lined up like to this to enjoy the water views and intense sunshine - gorgeous!

We love our nights at home with Ros and Pete too..drinking wine, talking, laughing and enjoying more fabulous local food together.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


This blog started out as a vehicle for sharing photos and family milestones with members of the family (and interested friends) who live interstate and OS. Despite this there have been an awful lot of purplefig posts devoted to food we have eaten. The food obsession obviously runs in the family with young Joel's Ottolenghi inspired cheesecake creating a Facebook sensation in the last day or so too.

Anyway we made our way out of wintry Canberra today, to the wintry village of Gundaroo, for a fireside lunch at Grazing, in the historic old (1865) Royal Hotel building.

We were lucky enough to be seated in our own dining room, with our own fire to tend.

Today's lunch was one of the regular get togethers we four "Education ladies" arrange for us and our partners to celebrate our work and family successes, travel adventures and shared enjoyment of conversation, food and wine.

Grazing's food was very memorable...largely sourced from around the region and all the wines from Canberra District wineries, which are becoming increasingly well regarded around the country. I ordered the char grilled kangaroo loin with parsnip mash and Tuscan black kale and savoury rhubarb and rosemary compote. It was a beautiful dish and perfectly cooked.

My friend Jeni took this picture of us so we could be reminded of my dessert of baked orange and pomegranate molasses cake with vanilla custard, honey flavoured pear and black cumin ice cream. It was truly as wonderful as it sounds.

It was around a 40km drive home from Gundaroo. On the way we were rewarded with some brief glimpses of sunlight lighting the pale blue winter sky just visible above the layers of grey swathed clouds. In this light the paddocks were all monotone shades of frost bitten ash, olive and grey. It really looks like winter on the Limestone Plains.