Oot and Aboot in Canada Eh! – Day Three

After a late night of drinking and chatting, it was especially hard to get up this morning.
The fact that we got up to listen to the Showdown at 4am probably didn’t help (Go Crows!!!) The game was over about 7am our time, so hubby and I went back to sleep and didn’t get back up until 9.30. So unusual for me.


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We took a little walk to wake our bodies up and I noticed these post boxes.

Apparently they can be up to three blocks away from your home! Very efficient for the postal company but not so convenient if you have to travel to get your mail.

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We saw a few geese by the lake and I tried to forget all the aggressive Canadian geese stories I’ve heard.

Not sure if the aggression is a seasonal thing but we were fine.

We spent a loooooong a bit of time going through the childhood haunts again this morning and then went shopping to get a few more things for the family get together tonight.

I’ll show you how we made the spanokopita later on in this entry. (I hope I’m going to remember it right!)

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I still get excited to see little squirrels even if they are considered rats here.

They just look so cute don’t they?

We went into a liquor mart and I found the Australian wine section. Not sure if you can see the prices but it’s fairly comparable to what we pay in Australia and I always thought our alcohol was more expensive than anywhere else in the world.

When we got back we started making the Spanokopita. Please don’t ask me for measurements. It’s just this much of this and that much of that. Ok?

So you saute baby spinach and cut up some spring onions. The spring onions get sauteed after the spinach.

In a separate bowl you crack some eggs, then add salt, pepper, garlic and I guess what ever other herb or spice you think would be ok to add. You also crumble in some feta and a bit of milk.

Beat the egg mixture together and once your spinach and onion is done, add the egg/cheese mixture to the egg combination and mix it all together.

Ok, now you get filo pastry and put down 2-3 sheets for your bottom layer. Put a bit of the mixture between two layers of filo and continue until you get to the height you want, or your filo runs out!


You can put a little bit more on the top layer, then a brushing of butter on top of that.

All that’s left is to set it in the oven and imagine how good it’s going to taste when it comes out!
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We had plenty of wine and home made margaritas and had so much fun.

The food was incredible and the company was fantastic.

So sad that we live so far away.

Look at some of the food we had to enjoy!!


And as it got towards the end of the day, I got a beautiful phone call from my family in Australia who are celebrating Mothers Day together. Hard to be away from them at this time of the year but how great is it that we can video chat and communicate in general so easily when we’re so far away.

Another full day here today. The weather has been beautiful!

Good night and Bonne nuit.

Greece is the Word – Day Eight

The “sleeping in” plan didn’t work. How can you sleep in when you are in a country that’s just waiting for you!

Before I get into today, I just want to comment on the bathroom situation. Skip this paragraph if you’re afraid of TMI.

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That picture above is typical of what you’ll see in a lot of public restrooms, including air Bnb’s. I’m not sure exactly why, something to do with the sewer system, but they don’t want you throwing used toilet paper in the toilet bowl. Of course, if you dirty the paper, then yes, it needs to go in, but if you are just doing what affectionately known as number ones, then that goes into a trashcan/bin that will be beside the toilet.
Sorry for grossing you out, but yes, that is what happens here.

Today was a slower day after what we did yesterday. Hubby and I walked back down to Glyfada around lunch time.

We went into the Police Station to report his wallet being stolen the other day and not only did they not seem interested, they were encouraging him to go do it somewhere else. Finally he got to speak to someone who jotted down some details on a throw away piece of paper, made sure that the credit cards were cancelled and said he’d let us know if anything came up.
As we walked out of his office I said to hubby “he’s scrunching up that piece of paper right now”

Oh well. Like we said, it could have been worse. The cards weren’t used

We stopped to get some lunch at a bakery that was in Glyfada. Look at this!

 

They look amazing and they tasted even better! I just find the produce seems sweeter and more full of flavour here.
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We grabbed some water to bring to our table and I noticed the bottle had the names of cities around the world.

It didn’t take long to notice the error….

And the winner is …. Not Sydney.

IMG_6874When you’re with a group of ten it’s hard to synchronise it so you’re all ready to do the same thing at the same time. Up until now we’ve managed quite well considering, but I have to say that most of the afternoon was spent waiting around.
That’s why this entry is not really picture heavy. It was just a more relaxed kind of day. I felt like I spent a lot of it just sitting, waiting in the car.

We drove down to Piraeus to pick up our tickets for the ferry trip tomorrow. We’re going to Naxos and taking our cars.
It was a busy little hub down there. I would have taken photos but in all honesty, I was a bit anxious about taking out my phone.
I tried to get a picture of the ferry from the ferry ticket office.

 

 

We were rushing to get back from there because we were supposed to be meeting up with family at 6.30.
We didn’t get there until almost 8pm but had such a lovely time. Hubby and I met old and new relatives and the time just flew!
They provided us a wonderful dinner!!! It was really too dark for photos but I tried to snap a picture of one of the meat trays.

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We had such a late night last night and tonight was no different. Normally that would be fine but tomorrow we’re up early!! We need to be at the ferry at 5.45am.

Very excited about going to Naxos!! See you on the island!

 

Greece is the Word – Day Seven

Every evening I tell myself “I’m going to sleep in tomorrow” yet every morning I’m up as soon as the sun starts to come up. I can’t help it. I can hear movement outside, I knew the day is fresh and new and I just want to be a part of it.

It is no different here in Nafpaktos. We’re so close to the water we can smell that salty air and it’s so enticing.

We walked straight to the waters edge and continued along the coast to the area where the restaurants face the water. Even though it was early there were still people in the water or enjoying a cup of coffee at the tables.

I took a photo of the pebbles we were walking on. It looks so pretty and is so different to anything we have in Australia.

IMG_6751As part of our walk, we discovered this cute little bakery that made the BEST spanokopita.

That spinach filling was just so full of flavour and cheesy creamy. It was just delicious. We tried to go back for me to take on our journey today but she’d sold out. I almost cried real tears.

We took our spanokopita back to the beach area and found a bench to sit on while we waited for the rest of our group. As we sat there, a couple of cats started to gather round. Normally, when you’re at the beach with food it’s seagulls that start to circle you! Here it’s cats.

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And if you’re wondering, yes we did share with them. When they meow so tragically you IMG_6759really have no choice!

After a Greek Coffee or two, we did a bit of last minute Nafpaktos Tourist shopping before heading up to the castle once again. This time it was open!

It’s such an interesting place.
There’s tons of information on the internet if you’re interested but for us it was just something to think about the people who had walked the same steps we had walked in history. Thinking about when this was a working castle and the jobs people were doing.
There are also amazing views of the coast from up there and yes, it does seem as high up as it looks!


We left Nafpaktos and headed for a village where there was more family waiting to see us. The drive was going to take us through windy hilly roads again. I’m not a fan.

It’s gorgeous scenery though and the hills and mountains are dotted with wind turbines.
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It’s also not uncommon to be stopped by cattle… This happened to us more than once on our journey today!


We didn’t get to the mountain village until well after 4pm. Hubby hadn’t met his relatives before and it was all very special and emotional. We don’t speak Greek and only one of their party spoke English so the translating took a little while but it didn’t matter. It was lovely to spend the time together.
I took some photos from their balcony as the views they have are just breath taking.


They wanted us to share a meal with them so we stayed and talked about old times while eating what they had prepared. Most of what we were having had been grown on their land/property. Even the goat (I’m almost sad to say? Just quietly, it was soooo tasty!)

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This is by no means everything but there was Greek salad with home produce (the tomatoes were just so sweet!) potatoes, zucchini and feta cheese made from the milk of their own goats.

Everything was just too delicious! I ate way more than I should have just because I needed to taste more!

You may also notice the wine on the table, that was made by them as well.

Time was really moving on now and we were conscious of the long drive back to Athens, but they asked us if we wanted to see their farm. They had to go there to feed the animals.
How could we say no?

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We drove down a treacherous dirt path to get to it. I don’t know how these people use these roads every day…

Everything we saw at the farm was interesting and new.
From the goats to the cows with their baby calf.

We watched the cows feeding. I tried to take some photos but they moved back as we got close.

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Unfortunately hubby is allergic so we had to go and wait in the car but the kids in our group were able to watch the goats being milked and had a go at doing it themselves too! Now that’s an experience they wouldn’t get at school.

Again, the views from the farm are just breathtaking. I seem to be saying that a lot!


Everything took much longer than anticipated and we didn’t get back to their house until well after 10.30pm. They begged for us to stay rather than drive back down that awful road with minimum light but we just wanted our own beds and clean clothes so we left.

We didn’t get back to Athens until after 2.30am.

For the record, I have had my life time share of treacherous road driving.

And now, it’s definitely time for bed.
Kalinychta until tomorrow when hopefully, I will be sleeping in…

The Rezz Hotel

Today on the Dining Diaries…

The definition of “large” needs a redefinition,
I’m presented with Beef Cheeks to die for and
Lovely staff but they clearly have one eye fixed on the clock.

FullSizeRenderDiners today we found ourselves at The Rezz Hotel in Newton.

I can’t tell you how many times this place has been recommended to us and it was well worth the visit!

It’s situated near the pretty Thorndon Park Reserve that I used to run through quite regularly when I lived in the area.

I’m not sure if it’s been refurbished lately but it looked quite modern, new and clean as we walked in. There’s a cafe and a Bistro area and hubby and I turned to go to the Bistro.

There seemed to be a lot of (older) people in there including a couple of big groups. I liked the big open windows onto to greenery outside. It just gives you a nice feeling.
Hubby and I were hoping for one of the booths but although the booth tables were free, they weren’t made up so we just sat at the table we were brought to.

I had already looked through the menu online so I had an idea of what I wanted but hubby still needed some time. I had called ahead, and asked what time they serve lunch to and was told 2pm. I’m sure the website said 2.30pm. In any case, It was 1.45pm when we arrived and at 1.52pm, the waitress had been to our table twice and was tapping her pen on her pad. I understand there are times for a reason but we were told we had until 2pm to give an order and felt like we were a little under pressure to choose!

In the end, I ordered some Beef Cheeks and hubby went for a Greek Salad and some Pork Medallions.
We listened to the easy listening music while we waited and watched as the server diffused a situation at one of the group tables. I thought given the amount of people in the room she did really well.

We probably waited a little longer than I would have liked but my food did NOT disappoint!

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Beef Cheeks – Slow cooked in Marsala, served with herb mash, broccolini and baby carrots.
Well every little morsel of this was just divine. I even gave some to hubby because I could not believe how good it tasted and wanted him to try some.
You can’t see it in my picture but it was actually a really decent size piece of meat. The last time I ordered beef cheeks, most of it was fat. It was really disappointing but this one was just one delicious mouthful of meat after another. So tender, just melting effortlessly in my mouth. I tried not to show it too much as I know hubby was a little disappointed in the size of his dish. The vegetables were fresh and slightly firm and the herb mash along with that sauce was just so beautiful. I could eat that every day!! Superb.

We were going to share the Greek Salad but as I felt hubby needed it more, I only took a bit to taste.

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It certainly looks very colourful but the menu specifically states that there’s a vinaigrette but neither hubby or I could taste any dressing. The elements look kind of shiny, like there’s some dressing on them, but there really wasn’t. However, having said that, the elements in the dish were very fresh and tasty on their own so it wasn’t awful, it was just lacking.

And now to hubby’s Pork Medallion….
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I should have mentioned earlier, that when we were looking for a starter, or something to have with our mains, the server said “oh they’re really big serves, you probably won’t need anything else
If you enjoy food, you know you can never trust anyone who says that and that’s why hubby was really disappointed when he saw his dish.
The menu description read – Pork Medallions – Cooked with mushroom, brandy and green peppercorns and cream sauce, served with crushed rosemary, kipler potatoes and spinach.
As to what was on his plate, hubby said everything was perfect, even the spinach. He thought the sauce was really nice and a great accompaniment to the meat and loved the thin slivers of mushroom.
Unfortunately it just didn’t seem to fill him and if we hadn’t been specifically told “they’re big serves” he maybe wouldn’t have been so disappointed. I’m sure a few extra potatoes on the plate or if we’d ordered a side of wedges, it would have made all the difference but he felt like he hadn’t really eaten.

Still, even after all that, everything we ate, apart from the missing dressing on the salad, was just perfection and I’m really looking forward to coming here again and trying their  Moroccan Lamb dish! Yum.

Have you been to the Rezz Hotel?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!

Till next we chow…

Taste of the Himalayas

Today on the Dining Diaries…

I have barramundi like I’ve never had it before,
One of my fellow diners invites our server to eat with us and
Authentic tastes amaze us. Where did these flavours come from???

FullSizeRender[10].jpgDiners today we were at Taste of the Himalayas and wow, did we get blown away!

I’ve driven past this sweet gem of a place so many times and just thought it wouldn’t be a place I’d like.

I was so wrong!

I was dining with a couple of girlfriends tonight and as usual, went to check out the restaurant’s website to get an idea of what the menu would be like.
I have to say I was quite impressed with the way the website was set out, giving a lot of information about what the food is and how it is cooked. They are obviously very passionate and I just love that! It made me more excited to taste the food.

We were greeted by a lovely waitress when we walked in. One of our party was still yet to come and when she did arrive, she greeted not only us with a hug and kiss, but also the waitress.
The lovely waitress just went with the flow and gave us some menu’s and explained a few things we might need to know about the food. She was so lovely my friend invited her to sit and have dinner with us but I don’t think her manager would have approved…


I love the classy and elegant design of this dining room. It has a distinct Nepalese theme but is not over the top or gaudy. What I assume was Nepalese music played softly in the background, giving us a beautiful calming feeling.

Looking through the menu I noticed that some of the items had explanations next to them. There were also little bits of information about the culture, such as the meaning of Namaste and beautiful pictures throughout.

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We ordered our rainbow drinks and took to the hard task of deciding what we were going to eat tonight.

Everything sounded so good.

We ended up starting with a tasting plate to sample a few different dishes…


The sharing plate contained a combination of Sekuwa, Samosa, Phulaura and Momo.
The menu says “Our traditional Nepalese dishes are served with a spiced tomato and sesame seed achar & a mint and yoghurt dip”
I could go and tell you about each individually but they were all divine!! Maybe I’m not used to eating this type of food but the combination of flavours were just amazing. I wish I knew what spices they had used! I tasted things I’d never tasted before.
My only complaint was that I could have done with a little more salt with the samosa but this is just a personal preference.
The mint and yoghurt dip was soooo refreshing! I was putting it on everything just so I could taste it.

Now we were all quite excited for the mains!

One of our party chose Daal Bhaat Massu – Typical Nepalese platter with a choice of chicken, lamb or goat. This platter is served with mustard green spinach, traditional black lentils, tomato achar pickle and rice

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 She had hers with chicken. There were no complaints about this dish. As you can see, it’s a fairly sizable portion and the flavours were just amazing.

Another chose from the sizzling section of the menu. Pole Ko Jhingey – King prawns marinated in a fresh selection of herbs and aromatic spices and delicately roasted in the clay oven

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It was sizzling and steaming as it came to the table!!! Those prawns were delightfully juicy and the onions added a beautiful sweetness to each mouthful. I would never have thought to put onions with prawns but it worked so well.

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She also got the Himalayan Guliyo Roti – Stuffed with coconut, sultanas and cream paste

Now this turned out to be a wonderful surprise!

I’ve never had roti like this before. It was like a delicious dessert.

The cream paste and coconut, along with the sultanas… mmm mmm mmmm!
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I went for a fish dish. Maccha Ko Takari – Barramundi slowly cooked in traditional Nepali spices with subtle hints of ginger, garlic, curry leaves and coriander, all blended to create a home-style Himalayan fish curry

I know I haven’t done this justice with my photo, but this plate was unbelievable.

That fish was just so tender yet so full of flavour. Like a big pillow of barramundi coming to rest in my mouth.
The sauces were gorgeous too and soaked into the rice I’d ordered as a side. If I could have changed anything, I would have added more coriander as I couldn’t really taste it even though it was meant to be in this dish.

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Taste of the Himalayas also have a takeaway menu so I ordered a couple of things to take home to hubby. I hope they don’t get eaten before he gets a chance to taste it…..
On Sunday they do a buffet. What a great way to get to sample all the lovely food they provide!!

The food was amazing, the staff were so lovely and even Chef Dharma came out to speak with us during the evening. I would have no hesitation in recommending this place.

Have you been to Taste of the Himalayas?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!!

Till next we chow…
Namaste