BBQ @ Healsville Sanctuary – Eating With The Animals

A wonderful day for a day trip and a perfect day for a BBQ.  No this wasn’t on Australia Day, I just haven’t had the time to post this up. It was actually between Christmas and New Years 2010.
We got there pretty late (11am) and the line was massive. But we were greeted by Mr Toilet Man, a grassy camp insect and a friendly lizard who entertained us while we lined up.

Before exploring the place we had to find a BBQ area. There were 2 areas with a BBQ, one near the dingos and the other near the kangaroos (I think). There were 4 BBQs near the dingos section which are free to use and they were in pretty good condition.
Without wasting any time we chucked some chicken skewers, sausages, hamburgers & corn onto the BBQ. Prepared the table with some salads, bread, rolls and other tasty treats. We were so prepared and brought everything you would need for a BBQ except some cooking OIL. Luckily we asked the restaurant/cafe and they were kind enough to give us some oil.

Cooking was finally done, btw they had tables available or you could go for the picnic rug option. Twas a feast but was looking forward to walking it off!

After lunch we were just in time for the “Birds Of Prey” show which was probably my highlight but you need to get there early so you can grab yourself a nice seat or a seat under some shade (was a hot day). Otherwise if you’re not fussed the crowd ends up overflowing to the grass area.
At times like these, I wish I had an awesome zoom lense for my SLR, hence no good pictures of the birds except for this wild wedge-tailed eagle who decided to join in on the party or to show off in front of the Sanctuary’s own wedge-tailed eagle.

I could post all the pictures of the animals we saw but here’s a few of my favourites. Unfortunately the kangaroos were having their siesta time and didn’t want to be fed so I decided not to include them in my photos (serves you right! lazy kangaroos!) anyways…Enjoy!







Things to know if you plan to go to Healsville Snactuary:-Arrive early, it gets busy
-Pack light, don’t want to be carrying eskies around the place, plus if you’re lucky and you came early, you would of got premium parking space to return items to your car

-Make sure you bring cooking oil if you’re going to have a BBQ

-Good walking shoes

-Plan what you want to see before arriving such as shows, feeding time, etc

-Leave time for after Healsville Sanctuary and visit the Blueberry Farm Cafe which is 2 minutes away (we got there at 4:45pm and they closed their kitchen….boooo them, there were 8 unsatisfied potential customers)

Location: Badger Creek Rd, Healesville VIC 3777
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Next Door to Movida is Movida Next Door

Obviously Next Door to Movida (The Original). A small bar serving an awesome lineup of tappas and located on the corner of Flinders St and a funky laneway called Hosier Ln where graffiti, camera enthusiasts and wedding shoots are a regular occurrence.

We went on a Saturday afternoon for a late lunch so it wasn’t too busy, as we entered we were quickly greeted by one of the waiters and escorted to a seat on the bar. Probably the best place to sit so you can easily order and speak to the waiter while you eat and drink, that’s if you’re not there to stare into each others eyes while you hold hands.

Nothing fancy about the look of the menu but the lineup of tappas on order looked tantalising and looking at a few other dishes of people around us, made our mouths water. Plus as it was 2pm, our stomachs were growling, loudly.

To help cool us down from the 36C heat we quickly ordered some sparkling mineral water and allowed our eyes to wander around its decor.

Complimentary bread rolls! My philosophy is if a restaurant serves you complimentary bread rolls and they taste good, then their food must be good! haha. Movida’s bread rolls were fried and crunchy but soft to eat and seasoned nicely. I was hooked on them and would of been satisfied eating them all day long.

I don’t know why, but I seem to always want to order oysters just like when I go to a Japanese restaurant I almost always order sashimi or raw beef tataki. It’s either habit or just a personal favourite to start off a lovely meal.
Oysters weren’t anything special although they were shucked on the spot and were presented nicely.

Next we had some Fried Croquettes with Wild Mushrooms. They were tiny little things but what waited inside was something special. The creamy light mushroom filling and thin layer of bread crumb batter was two contrasting textures that had great flavour.

I wasn’t convinced with the next tappas dish so we only ordered one. But boy was I wrong on this hot day. We ordered a serving of the Ajo Blanco Chilled Almond soup with Grape Granita. It was refreshingly delicious. You could really taste the almond flavour from the cold soup and the grape granita was soft but had a little crunch to it. If you mixed it up a bit and let it sit, the two flavours combined nicely. I loved it so much, I ordered another one.

The last dish we tried which was the highlight. Knowing how fresh the seafood was gave us more reason to try it. Yabbies were live and crawling freely in the window with the other seafood items.

Now that they’ve been ordered, that’s right yabbies, you’re our lunch!!! We saw the chef prepare the yabbies and we were excited. One minute they’re happily crawling around then the next minute they’ve been ordered and ready to be chopped in half and served for lunch or dinner.

The Yabbies were served in the pan they were cooked in, probably around 4 yabbies split in half and cooked in a good mixture of garlic, butter, parsley (I think), a few other ingredients and the juices from the yabbies itself. Scrumptous things they were!

The waiter told us a funny comment a customer made earlier where they wanted to have the yabbie dish but not the live ones in the window. LOL…what yabbies did they want? The live ones in the back?

Anyway what I loved most was the bread rolls that came with them so we could dip them into the yabbie sauce. Like I said before, the bread rolls were awesome, so we asked for more as we quickly gobbled the first batch down.

Overall I had a very pleasant experience at Movida Next Door where the service was great, the food was more than great and the bread rolls were awesome! LOL!

I believe the dishes were fairly priced for the great selection of tappas. I haven’t tried the Original Movida but I’m pretty sure Movida Next Door does it proud. Location is great and when it’s not busy you have time to speak with the waiters and enjoy the food without having people bump into you or shout to have a conversation.

Location: 1 Hosier Ln, Melbourne, 3000
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Slightly Overcooked Bistro Cheesecake Recipe – But Still Edible

As you can see, I slightly overcooked my first cheesecake 🙁
Well that’s what you get for not watching it while it baked…oooops~!!!

I never knew there were so many cheesecake recipes, I went the easy path and looked up some Cream Cheese Philadelphia Recipes which you can find here

Anyways here’s the recipe and method I used to cook my very first Cheesecake.

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups (185g) sweet biscuit crumbs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
90g butter, melted

Filling
3 x 250g PHILADELPHIA Block Cream Cheese, softened
1 1/3 cups caster sugar
1 cup sour cream
3 eggs, lightly beaten

Tips
The best tips for making cheesecake can be found below (highly recommend watching before baking):

How To: Cheesecake Base
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hftjwieCzWY&feature=player_embedded

How To: Perfect Cheesecake
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUoLfMy-k2c&feature=player_embedded

Method

1. COMBINE the biscuit crumbs, cinnamon and butter in a small bowl.  

I used some Arnotts Marie biscuits and crushed them in a food processor then mixed it together with the cinnamon and butter and added some crushed walnuts too for added flavour and texture.

2. Press the crumb mixture into base of a fully greased and lined 24cm springform pan, chill.


3. BEAT the PHILLY and sugar with an electric mixer until just combined. Add the sour cream and beat until smooth. Gradually add the eggs and beat until just combined.

4. POUR the filling into the prepared base.  5.  Bake in a moderately slow oven 160ºC for 40-45 minutes or until cheesecake is just set. Allow to cool in the oven with the door ajar. Refrigerate overnight.

I recommend lowering the temperature to 150ºC and bake for around 30-40 minutes and most definitely keep watching it!

Here’s my finished product, as mentioned in the title, slightly overcooked but definitely didn’t hinder the taste. Dress it up with some strawberries and blueberries to hide the cracks that may have formed…hehehe…don’t laugh, I’m learning and you may have yourself a pretty nice looking cheesecake if you didn’t manage to burn it (slightly), like me 🙁

Lessons I’ve learnt:

  • Keep an eye on your cake while baking!!!
  • Lower the oven tray closer to the bottom to prevent burning the top and sides
  • Lower my oven temperature because it’s a bit stronger than I think
  • Having a bowl of water at the bottom of the oven while baking creates a moist cooking environment
  • Keep an eye on your cake while baking!!!