news and tidbits
Hopefully you’re aware that Canberra is hosting its first BBQ festival this weekend 5/6 December, thanks to Alicia and her awesome friends at the Australian American Association!
This is an officially sanctioned BBQ competition (via the Australasian BBQ Alliance).
Tickets are available here at reasonable prices and there will be many local and international food stalls selling their delicious barbecued creations.
To help you find purpose and direction at the BBQ festival I’ve designed a little bingo sheet and thanks to Smoque Canberra my friend Alicia from the Australian American Association has arranged a $100 first prize for the best (most complete and entertaining) entry. All you need to do to win $100 of delicious feed from Smoque Canberra is print out the bingo sheet and follow the instructions on the sheet, whilst sharing online via twitter and instagram and facebook as much evidence as possible of your adventures.
Please use the hashtags #Canberra #AAABBQ and @AAABBQ_Fest on Twitter and thebigsmoque & #visitCanberra on Instagram and check into the event “The Big Smoque – AAA BBQ Festival Canberra” on Facebook (and also helps to like the page The Big Smoque AAA BBQ Festival Canberra 5-6 December).
So what are you waiting for? Download the bingo sheet (make copies for your friends) and come on down for an awesome weekend of heat and meat!
In BBQ we trust!
Absolutely Jas @absolutelyjas
A Kitchen Cat Natasha (aka A Kitchen Cat) was a contestant on the 2014 Master Chef TV series! here’s a link to the story in the Canberra Times including the cheeky tweet from Rachi Perera which revealed the news 🙂
Bake Bike Blog @bakebikeblog
You Berra believe it @LindaSoo
Bizzy Lizzy’s Good Things @bizzylizzycooks
Blithe Moments @LisaRobey
Café Cat @the_cafeCat
Canberra Gastronome @CanGastronome
Canberra Times Food and Wine (Choose your “location=Canberra”) Current and previous Editors: @NatashaRudraCT and @kirstenlawsonCT
Capital Food Journal @capfoodjournal
Capital Gourmand (Tom moved to London last year but his blog is still excellent) @FreeHugsTommy
Cara Phillips @_caraphillips_
Charinya’s Kitchen @CharinyaR
Dreaming of Almonds (and a nicer world) @Almond_Dreams
Emiko Davies @emikodavies
Food Wine Travel @ChristineSalins
Freak Biscuit “gluten-free vegequarian”
Good Food Week @GoodFoodWeek
Green Foodie @greenfoodie
Her Canberra @HerCanberra
In The Taratory @InTheTaratory
The Intolerant Chef (not active on Twitter)
Kate Freeman Nutrition @KFNutrition
Kiriels Kitchen Medieval and Renaissance cooking
Le Bon Vivant @Rachiperera
Love at Every Bite @loveateverybite
Makeitbakeitsnapit @kirsty__young (previously known as ‘In the Kitchen with Kirsty’)
Miss K Licious As Anna (@Eatnik) explained, MissKlicious is Sydney-based but reviews many CBR restaurants and deserves an honourable mention 🙂 she’s on twitter too @missklicious
mnfdblog – maybe about food, maybe not @neildoody
Mouthless Mutters @ezzbez
My Canberra Table @girl_who_cooks
My Nutritious Journey @KaseyBateup
Nutrition In Action @Eucale_Stanes
One Hungry Hen Heidi lives in Cooma, just south of Canberra but spends a lot of time here and blogs and tweets regularly about Canberra food and happenings @onehungryhen
The Canberran @TheCanberran
The Food Avenue @thefoodavenue
The Girl Has Sparke @girlhassparke
The Macadames @themacadames
The Martini Whisperer @martiniwhisper1
The Merrymaker sisters @fithealthymade
Woodkitchen by Lucy firstname.lastname@example.org
Yummy Lummy @garydlum
The National Multicultural Festival is the BIGGEST annual celebration in Canberra. Foodies, families and visitors all love it (except perhaps when there’s a pram jam in the middle of Garema Place on the Saturday afternoon – you have been warned!)
The more you try at NMF the more you will enjoy it and remember what an amazing festival it is. You can travel the world’s cuisines in the comfort of your own home town, not to mention the unrivalled variety of beers and other drinks from around the world.
OK – you want to download the bingo card? here it is:
Print, share and use the #NMF2015 bingo card to enjoy this unique festival even more. Play against your friends or play against the rest of Canberra. Thanks to the generosity of Patrick Pentony and his team at Choku Bai Jo – we’re able to offer the amazing first prize of $100 worth of fruit/vegetables/groceries from the Choku Bai Jo stores in Nth Lyneham or Curtin.
Some of you may be aware I was lucky enough to have been recently chosen amongst 101 Canberra bloggers and social media geeks to participate in the #Humanbrochure campaign run by the #VisitCanberra crew at Tourism ACT.
Here’s a recent picture of some of the “Human” gang during a wander around New Acton with various mobile recording devices.
In 2014 #Humanbrochure evolved from the award-winning 2013 exercise to focus more on locals sharing their experiences and knowledge of Canberra region with their friends, colleagues and other personal networks. The various activities culminated in a weekend in which each local “human” (i.e. moi) hosted a guest family from out of town at a local place or institution. There was a kind of lottery for the final places with each host and guest offered an experience based on their family/kids/ages etc. We ended up with a personal tour of the National Dinosaur Museum on a Friday night, when it was not normally open to the public.
This was a great option for us (my guest was my sister Dominique from Sydney and two of her children) as we’re long-time family members and our kids are all aspiring palaeontologists. I like dinosaurs too 🙂
I’m a firm believer in “a picture tells a thousand words”. Most of the photos below were taken by my nine year old daughter using a digital SLR and my iPhone as well as some taken by my sister.
If you haven’t been to the National Dinosaur Museum before you will be very impressed by their out-door display, which includes a couple of examples that you can get up close and personal with!
Inside the museum there are plenty of exhibits and attractions for kids and adults alike. You won’t have to try too hard to take some memorable photos of your kids or friends.
Before you worry about the expense of visiting this awesome institution I’ll let you in on a little secret that keeps us and our five kids very happy. Families can join “Friends of the Dinosaurs” for only $70 per year, which includes two adults and all their school-aged children. If you have a houseful of aspiring palaeontologists like we do that is great value. You’ll be able to visit THE BEST collection of dinosaur exhibits in Australia as many times as you like. You’ll also get great discounts for your friends and for kids parties and visits to sister institutions around Australia. We’ve been members for several years now and sometimes go more than once a month and always at least four times a year (which for a family of seven visiting four times a year works out at $2.50 per visit… hard to beat for any dinosaur museum or park anywhere in the world past or present). So here’s the form so you can join and encourage your kids to learn about science!
“Hang on – where is this awesome place?!” I hear you ask… you can find a map, google links, opening hours, prices and links to book and pay online here.
They are also on Facebook and it’s worth liking and following their page if you’re interested in occasional specials and auctions of second-hand exhibits and other dinosaur paraphernalia.
Palaeontologist Jess (who was an awesome tour guide btw) : “So who can tell me what sort of animal this is?”
Ms 5: “A crocodile!” Jess: “no”
Ms 6: “A lizard!” Jess: “no, not a lizard”
Ms 7: “Alligator?” Jess: “no, not an alligator”
Ms 9: “Its a giant frog!” Jess: “Correct!
Wow, I was impressed by this giant frog as well as the fact my nine year old daughter knew more about it than I did! Took a photo, but it didn’t turn out as good as Dom’s 🙂
Throughout this short visit I quickly learnt how much kids love this stuff and how much I wish I had paid attention during my previous visits with them. When Jess asked “Can anyone tell me when the dinosaurs lived?” My nine year old daughter casually put her hand up and answered “during the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods”!!! I actually quickly worked out I had no hope of keeping up so just tried to tag along, enjoy the opportunity to take a few photos … and hoped none of the kids asked me any hard questions.
But the penny eventually dropped and I realised my sister was taking too many photos of me. I guessed she was hoping to get one of me picking my nose for Facebook. There was only one thing I could do to let her know two could play at this game.
One of the activities that kids never seem to tire of at this place is the puzzles they can put together in a room designed for kids activities. It’s pretty cool and we had to drag them away after a while.
In fact I think it’s fair to say there’s too much to see and do in a single trip to the National Dinosaur Museum. You have to make a few trips to really appreciate it. I’ve been a regular for a few years now and am yet to find it repetitive or uninteresting.
Oldest rock in the world (above) and the oldest poo in the world (below).
Megalodon never fails to impress. There is a life-size Megalodon jaw with a hand-painted backdrop behind it to give it a life-like appearance. We had the good fortune to meet the incredibly talented artist painting this and many other murals around the museum at a previous visit.
In case you’re not sure how much bigger Megalodon is compared to carcharodon carcharias (a Great White Shark). Here’s a picture I swiped from the interwebs.
And in case you don’t find that scary, here’s a picture of one of the many awesomely scary “humans” (the irrepressible Jemma Scarr) I had the pleasure of meeting during a recent #Humanbrochure “experience” at the National Dinosaur Museum. Notice the Megalodon jaw display still hadn’t been given the big colour backdrop when this photo was taken!
My kids were awes-struck at some of the newer displays they haven’t seen before and which have only recently been added.
Nothing to be afraid of though. She’s got this well under control.
The hands-on nature of the tour gave the kids a real appreciation of what they were learning and an insight into how dinosaurs lived.
Unsurprisingly, many dinosaurs were small and feathered… and probably tasted like chicken.
Poor old number six has seen better days!
Tiny the Mastodon
Our awesome hosts also served up some pizza and drinks for the kids during a meal break. This is definitely not part of the normal tour but it’s nice to be treated like a special guest occasionally! If you do visit and get hungry the local area has some terrific options for food and drinks, two of our regular favourites are Café Injoy and the George Harcourt Inn.
There’s a lot more to see and do if you make the trip. There’s a little bit more about the history of the museum here.
Last but not least, thanks to the Burbury Hotel in Barton for making my sister and her kids very welcome. They were shocked and pleasantly surprised to discover the hotel had borrowed two small plastic dinosaurs to decorate the hotel room and prepare them for their visit to the National Dinosaur Museum.
My sister really enjoyed the hotel room and hospitality. If you’re lucky enough to get a 6th floor room the views are quite impressive too!
My sister was also impressed with the pack of goodies I brought for her and her kids from Canberra Handmade (in a Canberra Handmade bag of course).
Finally thanks to the #Humanbrochure crew at #VisitCanberra who made this amazing experience possible for us as well as all the other #humans and guests!
So come and visit! we’re only a short drive down the Hume Highway from Sydney. You’ll know you’re close when you pass this amazing and beautiful sight (a collection of windmills collecting clean energy near Lake George).
The kids will love you for the fun and learning experience.
Where: National Dinosaur Museum
When: 10am – 5pm EVERY DAY except Christmas Day!
Why: a great educational experience for young and old.
How to get there: via google.
I was delighted to hear last week that Helena and Vikki, who competed in the 2014 series of the 7 Networks, My Kitchen Rules, will be honorary Canberrans for a day later this month when they host a dinner/masterclass at the Hellenic club in Woden.
The cooking sensations will talk about their Greek heritage, their inspirations and their reality TV journey. The popular TV personalities will demonstrate how to prepare and cook some of their favourite meals just for you. You may also hear about their brand new cookbook project and share a few laughs while you enjoy your three course feast.
Thanks to the geniuses marketing this special event I’m honoured to have been offered the chance to blog about it and interview these two lovely women. Like all Canberrans I was very disappointed to watch our two local representatives Andrew Hinge & Emelia Vimalasiri bundled out in the first elimination. I’ve since had the opportunity to meet Emelia through the HumanBrochure program and she is a lovely person and great cook. But the two young Greek-Australians from Melbourne stole the show as far as I was concerned. I loved their honest Mediterranean banter as well as their cuisine. There’s a lot of similarities between Greek and Lebanese cuisine, so maybe that explains part of it. I also have a habit of always barracking for the new-Australians on reality television, probably still scarred from growing up in Australian suburbia in the 70s & 80s 🙂
I’m looking forward to asking Helena and Vicki some tough questions about their cooking, the frenemies on the TV reality show, as well as their views on Canberra and it’s growing sophistication as a cultural and foodie destination. In the meantime, I have to brush up on some facts and figures about My Kitchen Rules.
When: Saturday 30 August 2014
Where: Hellenic Club, Matilda Street, Woden ACT
Cost: This is a ticketed event for the public. Tickets are $100 and include a 3 course meal and wine match, and a masterclass by Helena and Vikki.
Full menu a info: http://www.hellenicclub.com.au/events/enjoy-dinner-helena-vikki/
Enemies or Frenemies? 🙂 so where My Kitchen Rules ‘rivals’ Chloe and Kelly and Helena and Vikki frenemies or clever TV mates? You might have to come along to the dinner to find out.
Some background on Helena and Vicki:
Helena and Vikki, the “sassy twins” as they call themselves, ooze confidence. Multi-talented; Helena with a background in radio was a host with Adelaide’s FRESH FM, and Vikki employed her sharp eye for aesthetics to study graphic design. These identical twins not only look alike, but think alike – one, an extension of the other – and nothing quite represents that like their love of food. They thrive on elevating fresh, clean flavours into next level cuisine. Their passion for cooking – in particular authentic Greek food – has been an inspiring journey that has been passed down from their Mother and Grandmother.
Family means the world Helena and Vikki, having lost their father when they were just 12, the ambitious twins matured quickly and possess and strong pull to connect with relatives in Greece as often as possible and forever strive to make their mother proud. The twins made more than just their mother proud with their recent stint on Channel Seven’s ‘My Kitchen Rules’, the audience darlings not only brought incredible food to Australian screens, but a sense of humour, fun and enviable style.
Greek culture and the sharing of food through generations play an important role in their cooking style today. “I love food, as it has been a huge part of my life since I can remember. Growing up in Adelaide; South Australia as a Greek girl I have learnt that food is your home” says Vikki. Helena shares the same sentiment “My Koula took me under her wing and taught me the essentials of Greek food, which I will carry on through generations. The best memories I have are of food bringing the family together as one”. Currently working on their debut cook book with Hachette Australia Books, the journey is far from over for Helena and Vikki; in fact this is simply the beginning of their careers in food.
Here’s a post from facebook about the event as well Elias Hallaj Facebook
I’ve been invited by Dr Gary Lum from yummylummy.com to join in a writer’s blog hop, along with another Canberra food blogger Michele Walton from Fineeating. The blog hop is a chance to gain a little insight into the motivations of bloggers and an opportunity for the blogger to reflect when answering the questions.
What I am working on?
Probably too much. Between work and family commitments I don’t get a lot of blogging time and I do wish I had more time for blogging! As well as the food blog CBRfoodie which I started earlier this year, I am in the early stages of putting together a blog about political campaigning, which is closer to what I actually do for a living. Down the track I hope to be able to do a bit of both without upsetting my partner or children!
How does my writing differ from others in its genre?
Probably not by much, although every blogger I have met recently has a different approach. I think good writing is essential in any form of communication, but food blogging also relies on a sense of aesthetics as well. The good bloggers (or those that take it a bit more seriously or have been doing it for longer) seem to have a more elaborate approach. Their equipment is usually a bit more serious (DSLR, WordPress, Instagram and tricky apps for quickly manipulating and posting images). I like to take a positive approach to the writing as well. I usually don’t post negative comments and devised a rating system whereby even the lowest rating was still basically a recommendation to try the restaurant, but I use “Canberra Beanies” instead of Chef’s hats or Michelin stars.
Why do I write?
I write primarily for the creative outlet it provides. I also enjoy searching for and eating affordable food. Last year I decided to resuscitate an abandoned research/writing project on political campaigning via a blog, however it quickly became apparent that blogging is not as straight-forward as it might initially seem. I realised I would need to teach myself some basic WordPress skills and that it would take some time before I felt my technical inability would not hamper the writing and blogging process. Having worked in the city for a few years I was aware that there was a lack of information about affordable food and thought a “cheap eats” style list for Canberra would be an achievable blogging project to develop the skills for a more elaborate blog. That said, the food blog has been more fun than I expected and has developed into a hobby all of its own. If you’d like to read a more intelligent and considered explanation about the motivations and challenges of food blogging, here is an awesome article from Zoe at Progressive Dinner Party. It has some very interesting and helpful links for new bloggers.
How does my writing process work?
Realising I needed a critical mass of content before I started the WordPress blog, I made an effort to start Tweeting and posting on Facebook to build a supply of content a couple of months earlier in November 2013. My initial approach to the micro-blogging was very simple: I’d get hungry. I’d look inside my wallet, to find a few notes and coins. I’d buy food and usually take a couple of iPhone shots with the camera. I eat and pay for my meal. If I have a few minutes to spare I often tweet something that day and if I remember post it on Facebook that night or next day. Once or twice a week I blog about the lunch and try and promote the blog again through twitter. As I progressed however I remained more comfortable with Twitter, which is where I still share most of my tips and conversations. I’ve developed a comprehensive twitter-based list of Canberra foodies. I’ve also developed a couple of aspects to the blog which I hadn’t anticipated: a comprehensive list of Canberra food blogs and a series of interviews with other foodies. The list of blogs has been a great source of ideas and conversations, particularly with visitors to Canberra who want to know about food experiences from local foodies. I think the interviews have been popular because they represent a very human aspect of the blogging and foodie experience and have been a great way to meet more experienced food bloggers and learn from them.
Now I get to pass on the blog hop baton to two other bloggers who I will briefly introduce:
Tara Cheyne is one of the proudest advocates for Canberra I have met in recent years. Her well-regarded blog ”In the Taratory” started as a creative record of her adventures discovering Canberra’s hidden tourist gems but has evolved over a few short years into a reliable source of information for locals and tourists alike. Tara is also a community activist and is Secretary of the Belconnen Community Council and also on the Board of the Belconnen Arts Centre. If you want to know ANYTHING about Belconnen she’s one of the best sources you can find! Make sure you follow her on Twitter! I love this photo of Tara stomping on grapes at one of Canberra’s many regional wineries.
James Tew moved to Canberra late last year through his work in the Navy. In his spare time (or what little he has) he blogs at “ three daughters” and also runs @TweetCanberra which he has turned into a fantastic news source and blog about events and people across our city. James also ran the highly successful SMR2014 (Social Media Revolution) Seminar a few months ago and has single-handedly raised the bar for social media networking in Canberra, bringing together professionals, amateurs and aspiring newcomers into the exciting and evolving world of social media in the most well-connected city in Australia. The photo below was taken by me when James and I decided to treat our daughters to a day of toffee apples and cider (non-alcoholic of course!) at an apple-festival near Canberra!
Thanks to Gary for inviting me to be part of the blog hop and thanks to Tara and James for agreeing to participate and accept the batons!
Someone asked me if I could collate all the amazing #Canberra Foodie interviews I have done into a single list so that they can easily share them. Here’s the list so far. Enjoy! I’ll come back sometime soon and add some profile pictures and short bios.