Ducks Nuts

Eating Out : Ducks Nuts Bar & Grill

If the breakfast at Ducks Nuts was anything like the name, it could potentially be our regular breakfast spot so we had to give it a go. When we arrived, it was so busy on the outdoor veranda that we were seated at a table deep inside and the blue-eyed waiter took our order for coffee.

 

Dave’s macchiato didn’t last long while Juz savoured her soy latte. Even though it had a thin head of foam, it was creamy and smooth with just the right amount of nuttiness and caramel flavours. One of the best coffees in Darwin.

 

Ducks Nuts

 

We ordered our food soon after and waited for it to arrive. We watched as the plethora of waiters and waitresses bustled about, collecting plates and delivering coffees, but we didn’t see many meals coming out. We ended up waiting about 20 minutes before a plate of food came out, and it was another 15 minutes before our breakfast arrived.

 

Dave’s Big Breakfast looked fairly standard. Two poached eggs with grilled tomato, sautéed mushrooms, hash browns and beans with some bacon and two slices of sourdough toast. While everything was fairly satisfactory, the beans tasted like they were fresh out of a can.

 

Ducks Nuts

 

Juz got the Eggs Benedict on a slice of sourdough toast instead of the typical muffin. It sat quite pretty on the plate with a decorative zig-zag of balsamic glaze to fill up the rest of the plate. The tangy hollandaise sauce and gooey poached eggs sat on bacon instead of ham and added even more richness to the plate. The balsamic glaze was a nice touch aesthetically and was also great to mop up with the bread.

 

Ducks Nuts

 

While the experience overall was good, the beans and long wait were quite disappointing. It would have also been nice to sit outside and people-watch instead of sitting inside next to the bar with the rows of spirits and liquors visible. There are some things you shouldn’t be exposed to at breakfast time. We’ll definitely be back for more coffee though!

 

Ducks Nuts Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon

 

 

Fiddler's Green - the big breakfast!

Eating Out : Fiddler’s Green, Darwin NT

Juz had covertly planned a big weekend to celebrate five years together.  It included accommodation in the city, drinking craft beer and dinner at Fiddler’s Green.

 

When we arrived at the Waterfront, it was clear to see that the Irish pub was super busy.  Most of the tables inside and out were occupied but the hospitable host showed us to a table inside at the back.  As we considered the menu, Juz went to the bar for the first round of drinks.

 

She chose the Coopers Sparkling Ale for Dave because she remembered that he liked it a lot when we were at the brewery in Adelaide, while Juz settled for a bottle of mango beer from the Matso’s Brewery in Broome.  These went down a treat while we picked what we wanted.  Dave went with the scotch fillet cooked medium and topped with béarnaise while Juz got the chicken schnitzel special.

 

 

By the time our meals came out, it was time for another round.  Dave went up this time and got Juz a glass of refreshing pinot gris while he got a 500ml stubbie of Hobgoblin from the Wychwood Brewery in England.  This full-bodied ruby ale is rich with toffee and chocolate flavours with some mild bitterness and a gentle fizz.

 

Dave’s scotch fillet looked incredible, especially with the generous serving of béarnaise over the top.  He had asked for a medium steak and got a medium steak, which was immediately impressive.  It had a smoky, flame-grilled flavour, and the delicate béarnaise provided additional moisture and a little tang.  The chips were crisp but needed seasoning, and the salad was fresh and flavoursome with a creamy balsamic dressing.

 

Juz’s chicken schnitzel special was topped with tomato chipotle sauce, mushroom, bacon and cheese, served with a side of chips and salad.  While the tomato sauce tasted a little like BBQ sauce, everything else was thoroughly tasty.  The chicken schnitzel was a good size, cooked fresh, and the mushroom, bacon and cheese went really well together.

 

We were really impressed with the friendly, jolly atmosphere and the casual but proud staff.  When Juz asked the manager about the quality of the steaks, she received a response that was quite a surprise – that he trusted his cooks and the quality of the meat they used.  Dave’s steak proved this to be true.  We were convinced that this place had more to offer than average food and drink.

 

Two days later, we went back for breakfast.  Once again, a friendly host showed us to a table and we quickly chose to share an Irish Breakfast and an Eggs O’Benedict.  In the time it took for Juz to go to the bar for a bottle of water, our breakfast was on the table.

 

The Eggs O’Benedict was the typical muffin slices topped with poached egg, cooked ham and hollandaise sauce.  They nailed everything – freshly toasted muffin with gooey egg, savoury ham and subtly tangy hollandaise – and the microgreen garnish provided the perfect touch of alkalinity to break through everything.

 

 

The Irish Breakfast included bacon, fried egg, Texan toast, baked beans, black pudding, potato pancakes and a cooked tomato.  It looked like a typical big breakfast, except for the black pudding – which just looked like really dark sausage slices.  It tasted good, considering it’s made from blood, and the potato pancakes were just little hash browns flavoured with chives.

 

Despite all the good things about Fiddlers Green, the only disappointment was our coffee – Juz’s soy latte was weak and the milk was badly frothed, and Dave’s macchiato was watery and weak.  Other than that, the service, the décor and the food were all fantastic.

 

 

Fiddler's Green on Urbanspoon

 

 

 

Egg, bacon & zucchini

Cooking : Stuff you can cook on a free BBQ

One of the things that have been consistently useful while we’ve been travelling around Australia are the free electric or gas BBQ facilities at various parks.  You will find one in nearly every town that you pass through, and it’s a quick and easy way to prepare breakfast, lunch or dinner, fish, poultry, steak, vegetables, and even dessert!

 

Because public facilities have a tendency to be a bit scummy, it’s a good idea to have some foil and spray oil with you.  Start off by spraying the BBQ plate before laying a sheet of foil down that spans the whole width of the plate.  Spray more oil on the foil and press the BBQ button to start the heating process.  This ‘Foil and Oil’ method will protect your food from dirty BBQs and it makes cleaning up heaps easier at the end.

 

Foil & Oil

 

If you’re sick of cold sandwiches or expensive takeaway, here are a few ideas that you can whip up in no time!

 

 

Breakfast Extravaganza

If you’re craving for a big breakfast, turn to your trusty electric BBQ.

 

Bacon rashers work really well, as do sliced mushroom with oil, S&P and herbs, sliced tomatoes with a splash of balsamic vinegar, haloumi with lemon juice, chipolatas and sausage.

 

Eggs can be prepared either scrambled or fried.  For scrambled eggs that are a bit specky, whisk your eggs with some thickened cream, thyme and goat cheese or fetta.  Pour your eggs on the hot plate over caramelise onions and you’ll be in flavour country within minutes.

 

If you have foil and spray oil, craft an ‘egg tray’ with a flap that you can fold over to make a lid. Spray the tray with oil before cracking your eggs into it and about halfway through, fold the lid over the eggs to contain the heat so that the top can cook.  Once the eggs are done, flip the egg tray onto your plate, or make a yummy sandwich or wrap with some Caesar dressing, cos lettuce and shards of parmesan cheese and cooked bacon.

 

MEAT

Red meat can be expensive at times, but if you visit the supermarkets in the morning, chances are good that you’ll find a super awesome special or reduced item.  We’ve struck gold with $5 kangaroo steaks, $3.50 pork steaks and the occasional $4 lamb chop.

 

Heat up the BBQ, season the meat with a bit of salt, pepper and your favourite seasoning, and cook until you’re satisfied.

 

 

Fish

Basa fillets are only $8 a kilo and have a beautiful texture and mild flavour.  Popcorn salt is great to season the fillets while cooking, and you can even wrap them in foil for a more steamed effect.

 

Meat Biscuits

Economical, convenient and delicious – a marvellous trifecta that makes meat biscuits so great.  Check out Juz’s post on how to make a batch of meat biscuits.

 

Vegetables

Caramelising onions requires salt, pepper, oil, butter, vinegar, sugar (optional) and patience.  You need to cook them nice and slowly for between 20-40 minutes to achieve the best results.  The aim of the game is to get the natural sugars to caramelise, giving them a rich sweet flavour – balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of sugar assist with the caramelisation process and give the onions a little boost in flavour.   Use in sandwiches, atop steak or stir through scrambled eggs.

 

Vegetable medallions are a great way to get some veggies in your day.  Slice up discs of sweet potato, zucchini, pumpkin or parsnip and flap onto the hot plate with some S&P, herbs and spices.  For a kooky twist, try a sprinkle of cinnamon on your parsnip or sweet potato.

 

Asparagus, capsicum and eggplant also work well on the hotplate, or you can even make up a few veggie kebabs – YUM!

 

 

 

Fruit

Crazy talk!  Slice up your apple, nectarine, pear or pineapple and sear it on the hotplate before topping with a drizzle of honey and a dollop of yoghurt.  Figs, bananas and peaches also make for a delicious treat, or you can go tutti fruity and make a colourful kebab.

 

Pancakes

You can either make your own batter with some milk, flour, bi-carb and egg, or get some ‘just add water and shake’ stuff from the supermarket.  Pancakes are great with hazelnut spread and cream cheese, fruit and honey, peanut butter or your favourite jam.

 

If you want to get crazy, pour the pancake batter over bacon as it’s frying and you can have ‘panbaconcakes’, which are awesome on their own, drizzled with maple syrup, or topped with scrambled eggs.

 

Panbaconcakes

 

Do you take advantage of free BBQs while travelling?  What’s your favourite thing to cook on a BBQ?

 

 

Panbaconcakes

Recipe : Pan’bacon’cakes

Hello – Juz here…  Allow me to blow your mind.

 

A few years ago, I went on a cooking adventure and made a turbaconducken.  Cooking the turbaconducken was so much fun and it was so delicious, it inspired me to create panbaconcakes.

 

Panbaconcakes

 

Panbaconcakes are an absolute treat and making them is super easy. They are simply pancakes embedded with bacon.

 

Method

  1. Cut up bacon into small pieces and cook on BBQ or frypan to your desired crispiness.
  2. Prepare pancake batter (whether you want to make your own from scratch or purchase some shake’n’bake batter – up to you).  We used a maple syrup flavoured pancake mix and put in enough water in so that it was runny but still thick and gooey.
  3. Pour pancake batter onto hot plate/pan and sprinkle with bacon pieces.
  4. Once one side is cooked, flip and cook the other side.
  5. Serve on its own or with a fried egg, maple syrup, slices of cheese or chocolate spread.

 

 

Enjoy…

 

 

HMAS Sydney II Memorial

City Profile : Geraldton

Geraldton is one of those beautiful regional cities where everyone seems to know each other and all the residents have everything at their fingertips – supermarkets and shopping centres, theatres and sporting facilities, beaches and boating, fishing and swimming – everything!  The city is alive and dynamic with all sorts of activities like outdoor cinema, kite surfing, yachting, water sports, kids playing on the foreshore, little athletics and plenty of health conscious people going for runs along the coast in the cool of the morning.

 

 

Also known as the Sunshine City, the Windy City or the Sun City, Geraldton sits on Champion Bay, which was first explored by ship in 1840.  George Grey was the first European to explore the area by foot in 1839 and returned to Fremantle with reports of fertile soil.  It wasn’t until 1849 that Augustus Gregory was employed to survey a town site and a year later, Geraldton was born. There was a significant need for a port town north of Perth for mining and farming purposes and the town really bloomed during the Murchison gold rush in 1892.  These days, the population is around 26,500 people and Geraldton is still a busy hub for wheat storage and transportation, as well as mining, rock lobster fishing, and tourism.

 

We stayed in Geraldton for two weeks under the roof of our Helpx hosts – a family of four with a tremendous schedule that included a brief stint in Perth for educational purposes. They put word out for some assistance over the school holidays and we answered their call.  This was a great opportunity to explore the city and surrounding area.  We went up to Kalbarri for a few days and got to know sunny Geraldton very well.  We even smashed out a pub crawl!

 

A Geraldton sunset

 

P.S. Geraldton loves sundials and bougainvilleas!

 

Points of Interest

Geraldton Foreshore

If you have kids, then this is the place to go.  There are three colourful playgrounds, including a water funpark and shaded toddler area, and a great walking path along the beach with a great view of the bay.

 

The foreshore was also where the Oxfam Walk Against Want Fun Run kicked off.  Check out how Juz went here.  If you go to the far end of the foreshore, near the marina, you can also take a leak in the Rubik’s Cubicles – very cool!

 

 

WA Museum

This is the Geraldton branch of the WA Museum and we thought this would be a great place to take the Helpx kids.  We spent the morning learning about local animals and history, expeditions to Antarctica, and the HMAS Sydney which was sunk during battle in WW2.  We also checked out a bounty of shipwreck loot and watched colourful fish swim around in a fish tank.

 

 

Batavia Coast Marina

The home of some modern apartment blocks and very spiffy boats, the stylish Batavia Marina was opened in 1995 and is also an outdoor exhibit for the Batavia Longboat Replica, which is anchored just outside of the WA Museum.

 

Go for a stroll along the boardwalk or try your luck at fishing.  We dropped a line here and even though we gave the bait fish an excellent lunch, we ended up catching a nice sized bream just as we were packing up.

 

Point Moore Lighthouse

This 34m tall structure started its days in 1877 when its pieces were brought over from England aboard the ‘Lady Louisa’.  It was bolted together in Geraldton and started operating in 1878.  The kerosene wick lamp was replaced by an incandescent lamp in 1911 but it’s had a few lighting upgrades since then, with the beam now visible up to 26km out at sea.  The red and white stripes were painted on 1969 and it is the oldest surviving Commonwealth lighthouse in WA under Federal control.

 

 

Francis Xavier Catholic Cathedral

The most noticeable building in Geraldton, this Byzantine style cathedral was designed by Monsignor Hawes, a famous Christian architect who worked on many chapels and churches all over the world.  While the foundation stone for Francis Xavier Catholic Cathedral was first laid in 1916, the building wasn’t completed until 1938 and is considered to be one of Monsignor Hawes’ best works.

 

Guided tours are available through the cathedral, but you can walk in any time you like and have a look around.  We loved the stained glass windows but thought the paint job inside was a little strange.  ‘Really? … Stripes…?’

 

Hmas Sydney II Memorial

Right on the top of Mount Scott, the HMAS Sydney II Memorial was built in 2001 to honour the 645 Australian sailors that lost their lives in a battle off the coast of Western Australia.  The HMAS Sydney intercepted a German raider, the HSK Kormoran near Shark Bay in 1941 and after a battle, both ships went down.  They were lost for 66 years until the ships were finally found.

 

The memorial consists of a replicated portion of the ship’s prow, a granite wall that lists all the sailors lost, a bronze statue of a woman looking longingly out to sea, and a great dome made of 645 steel seagulls that are suspended over a massive propeller.  It really is a beautiful memorial and in 2009, the Australian government recognised the site as one of national significance.

 

 

Queens Park Theatre

Owned and operated by the City of Geraldton, the Queens Park Theatre is an entertainment landmark and venue.  It hosts a variety of attractions like comedy shows, community art programs, dance and performance, as well as music and movie nights.

 

We were lucky enough to catch the final screening of their Summer Outdoor Cinema session and watched Not Suitable for Children in the amphitheatre with the cool night breeze and starry sky overhead.

 

Separation Point Lookout

We went for a cruise around town and noticed some massive kites in the sky.  We followed them to Separation Point Lookout and watched the kite surfers cut through the blue water.  The Point Moore Lighthouse is visible in the distance and this would be an excellent spot to watch the sunset.

 

 

Greenough

As you drive north towards Geraldton, you will pass through Greenough – a small country town that runs at a fairly slow pace.  The most definitive and weirdest feature of Greenough is the trees that line the highway.  They lean, and some are growing at 90 degree angles along the ground, all because of the strong southerly winds.

 

Another great attraction of Greenough is the Wildlife and Bird Park on Company Road.  Check out our post on this fantastic sanctuary that works to rescue and rehabilitate injured wildlife and educate the public on how important it is to take care of our native fauna.

 

Food & Drink

We went to most of the pubs in Geraldton and found the Provincial Bar and Café to be the best in terms of atmosphere.  They also do a happy hour between 4:30pm and 5:30pm when you can get a pint of White Rabbit for $7.  The other pubs were good in their own right too – check out our pub crawl post for more details.

 

Salt Dish Café

We ventured into town on a Thursday morning for a breakfast and knew that the best café in town was Salt Dish.  You could tell that it was a local favourite because it was packed.  The friendly lass behind the counter showed us to a table and took our coffee orders as we admired the silver ceiling.

 

 

Dave ordered the #35 with bacon, eggs and tomato while Juz went with the Poached eggs, spinach, prosciutto and hollandaise sauce.  The wait was about 30 minutes and if the food was terrible, we would have cracked the shits but they nailed everything!  The coffee was delicious, the eggs were gooey and everything tasted brilliant.  The only criticism was that the ‘toast’ was more like ‘warm bread’, but the bread was great so no harm done.

 

Kebabs Plus

We couldn’t leave town without a kebab so before heading towards Shark Bay, we stopped off at Kebabs Plus for a quick lunch.  Dave got doner meat, which was a mixture of beef and lamb while Juz got chicken.  They were both prepared really quickly and we ate them just as quickly.  They were really tasty (but not as tasty as the ones you can get in Melbourne), and Dave’s doner meat was about a centimetre thick!

 

 

Information & Accommodation

The Geraldton Visitor Centre is located at the Bill Sewell Complex on the corner of Chapman Rd and Bayly St – 08 9921 3999

 

Big4 Sunset Beach Holiday Park Geraldton – 4 Bosley Street, Geraldton – 08 9938 1655

 

The Breakfast Plate

Eating Out : Louis Baxters, Subiaco WA

We had a morning appointment just north of Perth so we decided to stop into Subiaco for some coffee that was highly recommended via Twitter by the locals. Louis Baxters is a funky little café at Subiaco Station and was opened in 2011 by Eamon and Laki – mates who met on the set of Celebrity Masterchef.  Eamon was the contestant that eventually won the competition while Laki was a senior producer.  They both love great coffee and food and after a lot of planning, they opened up the café and named it after their pets, two French bulldogs called Louis Pierre Baker and Baxter Sullivan.

 

As soon as we arrived, we fell in love with the place.  A great, artistic atmosphere demonstrated by a great street art style mural on the wall, surrounded by warm wood and textured black and white walls.  Not sure what it is but you can always tell if a place makes good coffee – there’s something about the people behind the counter and the décor. We had a feeling that we were in for a treat.

 

 

We ordered our coffee and sat down with a menu.  Our intention was to just come in for coffee but the lure of food was too great.  Our coffee arrived shortly afterwards.  Dave’s macchiato came with a little glass bottle of heated milk, and it was satisfactorily strong with a great, robust flavour.  Juz’s soy latte was super silky and didn’t require any sugar.  The microfoam was smooth and creamy, while the coffee was full of nutty flavours like walnuts and hazelnuts.  Louis Baxters use Campos Coffee, an Australian specialty coffee roasting company from the eastern states.

 

We decided to share a breakfast plate and get an additional egg for protein’s sake.  It came out on a wooden chopping board with two thick pieces of toasted and buttered ciabatta bread, two hard boiled eggs halved, two slices of thick ham, a dollop of avocado feta mash and freshly sliced tomato.  We found this breakfast to be the perfect summertime feed because it was cool and refreshing while still being filling, and it wasn’t laden with fatty cheese or sauces.  Simplicity at its best.

 

 

After our breakfast, we got a cup of cold brew coffee – a coarse grind from Kenya that was cold stone filtered for 12 hours.  It smelt sweet, like coffee liqueur and had a full bodied flavour that strongly resembled raw cacao beans.  It was strong with a bitterness that moved up into the nose – like the bitterness of a very dark chocolate.  We loved it!

 

Louis Baxters is a great place to swing past for your morning coffee or to sit down for breakfast and the weekend paper.  It has a great combination of atmosphere, food, service and passion – something that is not found very often, and the coffee made here is on par with the standards in Melbourne.

 
Louis Baxters Espresso Bar on Urbanspoon

Seven Seeds Cafe

Melbourne : Great places for Breakfast and Coffee

Melbourne is gaga for cafés and has the best coffee culture in Australia.  You can walk through the city streets and laneways and find the kookiest, cosiest cafés that take pride in making the best coffee and eggs on toast within a 50m radius.

 

In no particular order, here are our favourite places for breakfast and coffee in Melbourne.

 

Annoying Brother Espresso + Kitchen

650 Nicholson Street, North Fitzroy

 

A quiet little café with lots of fresh air and natural light. If you can’t decide what to get, order the Silly Eggs in a napoli and chorizo sauce with feta and sourdough toast.

 

 

Atomica Caffé

268 Brunswick St, Fitzroy – http://www.atomicacoffee.com.au/

 

Atomica was the first café in the area to roast their coffee beans onsite and after 15 years of business, their delicious coffee is in high demand. For breakfast, we recommend the El Gringo Eggs – two poached eggs, ham and spicy chipotle hollandaise sauce on top of a block of smoky potato hash – amazeballs.

 

 

Jackson Dodd

611 Gilbert Rd, Preston

 

A lively café in the northern suburbs that produces a smooth and creamy coffee, and the Jack’s breakfast is the most colourful meal you’ll ever eat!

 

 

Lady Bower Kitchen

1a Marchant Ave, Reservoir – http://ladybower.com.au/

 

Located 13km north of the city, this quaint and charming café brews a mighty fine coffee and their smashed avocado breakfast is to die for!

 

 

Las Chicas

203 Carlisle St, St Kilda – http://www.laschicas.com.au/

 

Right next door to Balaclava Train Station, this busy café is open most days of the year and often has a waiting line for a table. Their breakfast menu is available all day and includes the SLAB with salsa, lettuce, aioli and bacon on a Turkish roll, the BBB (Bikini Blowout Benedict) with avocado, bacon and poached eggs on a bagel with hollandaise sauce, and the Brekky Burrito – scrambled eggs, bacon and aioli wrapped in a tortilla and topped with avocado and salsa. YUM!

 

 

Old Barber Shop Café

251 Church St, Richmond – http://oldbarbershop.com.au/

 

A beautiful little café in the heart of busy Richmond that makes fabulous coffee and a scrumptious Croque-Madame filled with béchamel and ham and topped with a fried egg.

 

 

Tin Pot Cafe

248 St Georges Rd, Fitzroy North

 

Located on the corner of St Georges Road and Scotchmer Street, this eclectic café is filled with mismatch furniture that you’d expect to find at your old nan’s house. They make yummy breakfast and their coffee hits the spot.

 

 

Crunch

669 High Street, Thornbury

 

Perfect for both vegans and vegetarians, this café is fresh and friendly with Atomica brand coffee on tap.

 

 

Cheshire

583 Gilbert Road, West Preston

This inconspicuous café makes great coffee and you just have to try the caramelised onion scrambled eggs.  It’s so good, you’ll want to park your camper out the front and never leave, just so you can eat it every day for breakfast.