A Flâneur’s Guide to Kyoto

In Kyoto,
hearing the cuckoo,
I long for Kyoto.

– Bashō

I call this Kyoto Guide for lack of a better word. This isn’t a ‘guide’, not really. Rather, it is a motley collection of ramblings, and some suggestions of things to do/visit/eat/drink, from amongst those I enjoyed most during our two-week stay in Kyoto in May. To decide if this ‘guide’ is for you, let me say a few words about the kind of travellers that we are.  Continue reading “A Flâneur’s Guide to Kyoto”

Stradbroke Island

stradbroke-island-blood-orange

paradise means
secret garden
but in my happiness
this morning, this noon, this afternoon
you’re the best beach
on the peninsula

– from ‘Paradise Beach’ by Dorothy Porter

Stradbroke Island – Straddie, to locals – is less than two hours from Brisbane city. To get there you have to board a ferry and leave the mainland. The crossing of water increases the sense of distance; lone sea birds fly alongside. Straddie itself is relatively small. From delightfully pristine beaches with water as clear blue-green as cut glass the land slopes up, faded Queenslanders and luxurious holiday houses sitting side by side to catch the sea breezes. If you’re into casinos and crowds head to the Gold Coast, but if you’re into rugged coastlines and sleepy towns, head to Straddie. Continue reading “Stradbroke Island”

Heidi Swanson’s Vaghareli Makai + Makhaniya Lassi

near-far-closeup

In these days of food blogs and online savvy, I’m relatively picky when it comes to buying cookbooks. I have a few on the shelf that I refer to time and again and though I’m always flipping through the glossy pages of cookbooks at the book shop it’s only rarely that I’ll purchase a new one. However Heidi Swanson’s new book, Near & Far: Recipes Inspired by Home and Travel, was a no-brainer.

You’re probably familiar with Heidi Swanson through her blog 101 Cookbooks. In fact, you’re probably already a fan. It’s hard not to be. Heidi’s signature style is unmissable. Her muted photography, easy storytelling, and wholesome recipes are among the gold standard of food blogging. And the same applies to her books. Near & Far is a work of art. It feels good in the hand; textured cover and thick matte paper. Part travel journal, the images weave a story from a door frame in Morocco to the streetscape of San Francisco, complimenting the recipes and the words and combining to create a strong sense of wanderlust. From India to Japan, Heidi evokes a strong sense of place, of looking from within rather than from without. Continue reading “Heidi Swanson’s Vaghareli Makai + Makhaniya Lassi”

Ubud, Bali

bali-ducks

In the 8th century a Javanese Hindu priest by the name of Rsi Markendya came to Bali. At the place were two rivers met, campuhan, he sat and meditated. Soon a temple was built to mark the holy site, and so the beginnings of what is now known as Ubud. The name of the town comes from the ancient Balinese word ubad, which means medicine, and was once a place renowned for its medicinal herbs and plants.

These days Ubud is all bright green rice paddies and heavy scooter traffic; raw food cafes and roast suckling pig; masses of tourists bussed in for the day from their beachside resorts and hippie travellers staying awhile; yoga studios and wooden penis bottle openers; hindu temples and high-end fashion shops; a family of five piled on a scooter and an old man with a machete hard at work in the fields. Continue reading “Ubud, Bali”

Weekend in Sydney

sydney-bread

Last weekend we spent two nights in Sydney. It was a very belated birthday trip for S, and a much needed break for all of us in a busy few months. We stayed in the heart of Surry Hills, which is one of my favourite suburbs of Sydney. An old working class neighbourhood, these days Surry Hills is all beautiful tree-lined streets, double-storied terraces and converted warehouses, pocket-sized parks and corner bakeries, trendy pubs and bookstore-cafes.

But of course this being a food blog, let me tell you about some of what we ate! We started out with lunch at Kepos Street Kitchen. I had falafel with hummus and minty tabbouleh, S had a chicken sandwich, W gorged on chips – it was all quite delicious. Breakfast both mornings was coffee and croissants from the tiny corner Bourke Street Bakery, and Saturday night dinner was a selection of cheeses – cave-aged goats cheese and a lovely manchego – from the Formaggi Ocello. Continue reading “Weekend in Sydney”