• Pine Trees – Lord Howe Island …..

    The sand is between my toes, the ocean is  singing softly into the white sandy beach only metres away, the water I am looking at is clearer than a crystal, the wine is white and crisp and the salty breeze brings new meaning to the words ‘fresh air’. When I look around, there is no(…)

  • Inside Out Sushi Salad Recipe…

    This meal is a cheap, healthy, tasty and easy to make even for those cooking with two left feet. It is also versatile enough that you can sub different veggies and meat in depending on what is in your fridge. The veggies are fresh, the quinoa filling, the meat is tasty and the miso, sesame(…)

  • Best Bars in Bondi Beach

    Ranging from quaint wine bars, buzzing cocktail bars to rowdy sports bars and late night or early morning venues, here is a list of the best bars in Bondi Beach. BEST WINE BARS IN BONDI Porch and Parlour: This place is quintessential Bondi – rustic interiors, men with beards and girls in bikinis all enjoying(…)

  • The Best Mexican Food in Sydney ….

    If you follow me on Instagram or read my blog you would know I am a sucker of a good Mexican fiesta. As part of my job and an Enthusiastic Eater, I have happily done some in depth market research in finding the best Mexican restaurants in Sydney. So here is my list, which will(…)

  • Quinoa and Coconut Granola Recipe…

    Generally speaking, I am not a fan of cereal. If I wanted an unhealthy breakfast that offered little to no nutritional value, I would probably scoff a bowl of chips and gravy before my daily coffee. But because that is wrong (on many levels), I have decided to take cereal making into my own, trustworthy(…)

  • Interesting facts about Iceland …..

    I have had a fascination with Iceland for a while now, it all started when I was booking a trip last minute to visit two friends living in London and NYC. When trying to cut corners on flight costs I discovered that flying from one city to the other via Iceland was significantly cheaper than(…)

  • Best Dumplings in Sydney ….

    Dumpling bars seem to be a dime a dozen these days. If Sushi was the food fad of the 2000′s, dumplings have taken over this decade. But you won’t hear me complaining, to me dumplings are the best thing since sliced sushi and I can’t get enough of them. You know what they say, the(…)

Pine Trees – Lord Howe Island …..

Pine Trees – Lord Howe Island …..

The sand is between my toes, the ocean is  singing softly into the white sandy beach only metres away, the water I am looking at is clearer than a crystal, the wine is white and crisp and the salty breeze brings new meaning to the words ‘fresh air’. When I look around, there is no one as far as the eye can see, only a mountain that looks like it was formed purely to adorn the front of a post card….. am I in paradise? Yes. And it is closer to you than you might think….  It is at Pine Trees resort on Lord Howe Island, only 1.5 hours away from my home in Sydney.

This quaint resort is the heart and historic centre of Lord Howe Island (the most beautiful island I have ever visited) and was built on land that was acquired through an exchange for 2 tonnes of potatoes back in the 1800′s. Pine Trees is one of the oldest businesses in  Australia and is now run by the sixth generation of the same family that gave away those potatoes many years ago. And just by visiting this little island, you can feel part of the family too. The warmth and hospitality you’re welcomed with, you feel like you have your own home among the pine trees.

The resort itself is set away from the beach and is surrounded by prehistoric pine trees and lush gardens. The rooms are small, quaint and comfortable, but most importantly, they propel you into relaxation and holiday mode with a distinct lack of any modern day technology. Bliss. The only noise that can be heard is the ocean slapping against the sand and laughter from the main house and restaurant. Here, the food is served at breakfast and dinner, and guests are treated to world-class meals made from the freshest ingredients – think coconut asian broth with freshly caught king fish from the lagoon out the front and sticky date pudding with vanilla bean sauce. You’re encouraged to get out during the day and lunch can be provided in the morning for you to take on your day trips, or the hosts at Pine Trees will deliver all your BBQ ingredients and equipment at your destination of choice. If you’re social or a sole traveller, you won’t find it hard to make friends here at Pine Trees – it is almost a ritual for everyone to exchange stories and experiences with other quests, many of whom are loyal, repeat customers. I don’t blame them, I was ready to book my next trip before dinner had started.

Despite the hotel grounds, staff and food being exceptional, it is what you find across the road that will really turn you from a one time visitor to a repeat customer – The Boathouse. Perched on top of the foot hill june hugging the coral lagoon, the boathouse arguably has the best real estate on the whole island. The fridge is permanently stocked with cold beers and wine, supported only by the ‘honesty system’ box. Sitting at the Boat Shed, I guarantee you won’t wish you were anywhere else.

Pine Trees is one of the more affordable resorts on the island, and all meals are included. To book your next trip, contact them through their website here.

QUICK FACTS:

  • Location: Smack bam in the middle of the island on Lagoon Drive
  • How to get there: Qantas fly direct from Brisbane and Sydney daily
  • Highlight: Unbeatable location & friendly staff
  • Lowlight: Small rooms, not great in bad weather
  • Value for money: Decent
  • In a nutshell: Beach side, old school rustic charm
  • Perfect for: A friendly family getaway
  • Overall: 4 oinks out of 5

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig.

Inside Out Sushi Salad Recipe…

Sushi salad

This meal is a cheap, healthy, tasty and easy to make even for those cooking with two left feet. It is also versatile enough that you can sub different veggies and meat in depending on what is in your fridge. The veggies are fresh, the quinoa filling, the meat is tasty and the miso, sesame and soy dressing adds an asian twist to top it all off.

What you need:

Salad:
2 cups of quinoa or rice (follow standard cooking instructions on the packet)
1 large cucumber chopped into small chunks
1 large or 2 small avocados chopped into small chunks
1 cup of mung beans
1 cup of edemame beans (can be found in the freezer section)
1 cup of coriander chopped coarsely
2 table spoons of pickled ginger, chopped coarsely
2 large chicken breasts (this can be substituted with fresh raw or cooked salmon or tuna or tofu)
½ teaspoon of sesame or chia seeds

Optional – 2 birds eye chilli thinly sliced
Optional – 2 sheets of seaweed, either raw or blanched chopped into long slices

Dressing and marinade:
3 table spoons of miso paste
1 table spoon of sesame oil
2 tables spoons of soy sauce
½ cup of water
Small lump of wasabi

What you need to do:

•    Cook rice or quinoa following instructions on the packet and while that cooks chop chicken into small slices and coat it in some of the dressing and add to a grill or pan on high heat, continue to add dressing or water as required to keep it moist and remove when golden brown
•    While both are cooking, prepare all the vegetables. The edemame beans will need blanching and  the beans will need to be removed  from the pod
•    Once the rice or quinoa is cooked let it sit for a few minute before placing off vegetables and chicken on top
•    Sprinkle chai or sesame seeds, chilli and ginger on the top of the salad and drizzle dressing over the salad.

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig.

Best Bars in Bondi Beach

Bondi's Best Bars

Ranging from quaint wine bars, buzzing cocktail bars to rowdy sports bars and late night or early morning venues, here is a list of the best bars in Bondi Beach.

BEST WINE BARS IN BONDI

Porch and Parlour:
This place is quintessential Bondi – rustic interiors, men with beards and girls in bikinis all enjoying kale smoothies from dawn to dusk. They are predominately a wine bar despite being a popular breakfast haunt, and make one of the most generous cheese and meat boards I have ever feasted on, and best of all their delicious food and wine can be enjoyed looking at the ocean. The staff are knowledgeable about their wine, and will sit down and talk you through the options, and life if they are in the mood. So if you like your own space or don’t like talking to strangers… keep walking.
Porch and Parlour -  – 110 Ramsgate Ave, Bondi Beach, NSW 2026
Porch and Parlour on Urbanspoon

The Shop:
Not to dissimilar to Porch and Parlour, The Shop is a tiny little hole in the wall that is a long-time favourite among the Bondi socialites and is the perfect place to see and be seen. Their wine list is complimented by their evening menu which is short but sweet and consists of four of my favourite meals – a gourmet burger, grilled haloumi, meat balls and a killer antipasto plate.
The Shop Wine Bar – 78 Curlewis St, Bondi Beach, NSW 2026
Shop and Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

Chapter One Coffee and Wine Room
Right at the end of my street, it is hard to go past this place. With sun drenched seats outside looking at the ocean and cosy seats on the inside, Chapter One is a perfect meeting place year round. The menu and wine list are both short and simple, but well considered as the owners are clearly very passionate about both as all wine are handmade and ethically produced. A glass of red  accompanied by soft cheese with honey… you will never want to leave.
Chapter One Coffee and Wine Room on Urbanspoon
Chapter One -  – Shop 3, 34 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach, NSW

BEST COCKTAIL  BARS IN BONDI
The Corner House
The Corner House is made up of several different areas, you might be tempted to linger out the front in the beautiful  restaurant, but make your way upstairs as that is where the magic happens. Here you can get amazing gourmet pizzas, off-beat beers and creative cocktails. The veranda is perfect for any time of the year, heaters during winter and a nice breeze during summer. A little stroll from the beach, this is one of Bondi’s best kept secrets.
The Corner House on Urbanspoon
The Corner House – 281 Bondi Road, Bondi, NSW 2026

Icebergs
This iconic building is home to Icebergs Dining Room, but you don’t need to have the full fine dining experience to enjoy what they have to offer. The front bar is in prime positioning with a veranda overlooking the famed Bondi icebergs lap pool and serves some of the beach’s best cocktails which can be enjoyed with a side of sea breeze. If you’re hungry, the school prawns flash fried prawns with aioli are a must! Full review can be read here.
Icebergs Dining Room and Bar on Urbanspoon
Icebergs Dining Room and Bar - 1 Notts Ave Bondi Beach, NSW 2026

Bondi Hardware
Located on the thriving thoroughfare of Hall Street, hardware is always busy no matter what night of the week. Unassuming in from the outside, Hardware has indoor or outdoor dining or a bar on the side filled with hanging plants and an extensive cocktail menu. The highlight being the vanilla infused expresso martinis, which will be sure to keep you going all night. A full review of the venue and menu can we read here.
Bondi Hardware on Urbanspoon
Bondi Hardware  – 39 Hall St Bondi Beach, NSW 2026

Mr Moustache
New to the block, his little Mexican joint is fast becoming one of the most popular places in Bondi. Serving margaritas by the jug full and incredibly fun staff, it seems near impossible to have a bad time here. Don’t forget to try the drowned pulled pork roll – it is so spicy you will definitely need to down a few icy cocktails afterwards. A full review of the menu here.
Mr Moustache on Urbanspoon
Mr Moustache  – 69-71 Hall St, Bondi Beach, NSW 2026

BEST SPORTS BARS IN BONDI

North Bondi RSL
Bondi do RSL’s a little differently, they aren’t just where you get a bargain steak (although they do have those too), they are a great place to have an awesome afternoon and night out. The RSL, affectionately known as the “rissole” among locals has unrivalled beach views as it is perched on the north hill next to the beach. If you like live music, cheap drinks and meat trays, you will love it here. For any major sporting event, you can’t go past their big screen.
Blue Wave Bistro on Urbanspoon
North Bondi RSL – 120 Ramsgate Ave, North Bondi, NSW

Ravisis
Entering this place sets the tone, the foam entrance lets you know how howdy crowds can get and how bouncers literally need to be thrown out. Split between two levels you can get two totally different experiences at Ravisis. Down stairs is perfect for people watching, live music and sports while upstairs is the place you want to be for a view and a cocktail. Ravisis lacks charm that the smaller bars in Bondi have, but I am yet to have a bad time there. 118-120 Ramsgate Ave, North Bondi NSW 2026

The Stuffed Beaver
If you love North American sports and want heart-stopping deep fried food while you watch it, The Stuffed Beaver should be your first port of call. Resembling a typical north American dive bar, this is not a place you want to go to enjoy some drinks in the sunshine, but one of my favourite places to go if I want a cheerful crowd and live sport. Full review can be read here.
The Stuffed Beaver Dining Parlour on Urbanspoon
The Stuffed Beaver Dining Parlour - 271 Bondi Road, Bondi, NSW

LOUD AND PROUD
Hotel Bondi:
If these walls could talk, they would probably cry. Bondi Hotel’s main advantage is it is the only place in Bondi open past 4am. The drinks are as cheap as the interior, but when it is that time of night/morning, who really cares?
Hotel Bondi – 178 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach NSW 2026

Beach Road Hotel:
Notorious for being the place where many holiday flings have been conceived, there is always a crowd at the “beachie”. Downstairs has one of the only beer gardens in the area, perfect for sunny summer day and upstairs as a great line up or live music every week and a dance floor full of hipsters and backpackers competing for the attention of all the bronzed swedish babes.
Beach Road Hotel on Urbanspoon
Beach Road Hotel  - 71 Beach Rd, Sydney, NSW 2026

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig.

The Best Mexican Food in Sydney ….

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If you follow me on Instagram or read my blog you would know I am a sucker of a good Mexican fiesta. As part of my job and an Enthusiastic Eater, I have happily done some in depth market research in finding the best Mexican restaurants in Sydney. So here is my list, which will grow over time as my appetite and belly will also do, I am sure.

Mejico

Jamie’s Italian has a new neighbour in the city, and they are equally as in high demand. Mejico’s take on Mexican food is modern and the guacamole (prepared right in front of you) isn’t served with your typical tortilla, but a bowl of fried zucchini chips. The tacos are a delicious, you can mix and match, making it easy to try them all. My favourite would have to be the grilled chicken taco topped with chorizo, cucumber and cumin salsa. The highlight for me was suprisingly not the food but the cocktails. Magaritas are the cure all for any bad party or a long day, and Mexico are serving yo all different varieties like the chargrilled pineapple and sage margarita. If you want to enjoy some tequila and a feast, find a free Friday night in the diary and book ahead.

Méjico on Urbanspoon

Mr Moustache
I love this place for many reasons. Firstly, I date a Mr Moustache, so I am bias. Secondly, it is about 800m from my front door. Thirdly, the staff are ridiculously helpful, friendly and fun. Fourthly, they serve Mexican at breakfast time. And lastly and most importantly, the food is epic. Designed for sharing, there is plenty to choose from like the delicious pulled duck tostads, crisply fish tacos, ceviche of scallop and guacamole with house made beet room tortilla chips. If those reasons aren’t enough for you to want to go there, the ‘drowned pork’ sandwich will be. This phenomenal phenomenon is so spicy and juicy, they provide you with rubber gloves to eat it.

Mr Moustache on Urbanspoon

Barrio Chino
The clientelle here think they are as cool as the margaritas that are sold by the jug here. The front bar looking onto Bayswater Road is always packed and a place to be seen. You will usually find me down the back getting comfortable in one of the many booths, I recommend you do the same. The Barrio Chino menu will spoil you with choice, but it s essential to order the guacamole with bacon… no you’re not misreading this… there is such a thing and it is as good as it sounds. I advise going with a group so you can try the long list of tacos – if you can’t rustle up the crowds, just stick with the tuna sashimi tostadas and the BBQ corn cob which is topped with chipotle mayo, cheese and lime.

Barrio Chino on Urbanspoon

Oink oink,
Truffle Pig.

Quinoa and Coconut Granola Recipe…

Quinoa and Coconut Granola Recipe…

quinoa granola recipe

Generally speaking, I am not a fan of cereal. If I wanted an unhealthy breakfast that offered little to no nutritional value, I would probably scoff a bowl of chips and gravy before my daily coffee. But because that is wrong (on many levels), I have decided to take cereal making into my own, trustworthy hooves.

This recipe is not only tasty, but is cheap compared to other gourmet breakfast brands. Plus, it is full of ‘super foods’ and has no added sugar, preservatives, trans fat and other nasty stuff. So, say no to expensive, unhealthy, sugar-filled muesli and try this instead – your hips and bank balance will be thankful for it.

I have used almonds and coconut in this recipe, but you can substitute for any if your favourite nuts or fruit. Place the nuts in from the beginning and add the fruit at the end.

Serves: This portion will be enough for about a week or two of breakfasts, depending on how hungry you are.

What you need:

  • 2 cups of oats
  • 2 cups of quinoa
  • 1 cup of raw almonds
  • 1 cup of shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup of chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup of pitted dates, chopped roughly
  • 1 cup of almond flakes
  • 1 table spoon cinnamon
  • 2 table spoons of coconut oil
  • 2 table spoons of honey
  • 1/2 cup of water

What you need to do:

  • Preheat the oven at 140 degrees place water, oats, quinoa, almonds, cinnamon and coconut oil into a  into a baking tray make sure all ingredients are moist and add more water if needed, stir thoroughly. Place into oven for 30 mins.
  • Stir every 5 – 10 mins to ensure all the mixture is getting roasted evenly. Add the shredded almonds and chia seeds half way through cooking and stir.
  • Remove when the ingredients turn golden brown and mixed the dates and shredded coconut through the mixture. Eat and serve with whatever you please… my preference is natural yoghurt and mango.

Oink oink,

Truffle Pig.