JUstDreamInparadise.......JUDI living in Paradise

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Seminyak Day 2

 Michelle had mentioned over dinner last night that she had taken her mother to Finns Beach Club at Kuta on their last visit to Bali and her mum had loved it so we decided that we would go there today and check it out.
We finally hailed a taxi on this busy Sunday morning and it wasn't our taxi of choice.  The best taxi to hail in Bali is the Blue Bird Taxi as they are metered whereas the others just charge what they want!
It cost us approximately $20AU to get to Finns which was a bit expensive for the 6km journey but the traffic is so congested that it took us almost half an hour to get there!
Finns Beach Club is very upmarket and quite a nice place to relax.  We chose the four person day bed on the oceans edge and with its large umbrella it gave shade to those of us who needed it.  We really just chilled out sipping cocktails (for the ladies) and Bintang Beer (for the boys).  When we became too hot we took a dip in the large wet edge pool, and for Philip it was straight into the ocean.  When we became hungry we called the waiter to our bed and ordered hamburgers, pizza and San Chow Bau. No complaints about the meals as they were all delicious.

Looking towards Denpassar

We left the beach club when the sun became very hot at about 2.00pm and were pleased to return to our air-conditioned villas for a nap.
When we returned to our villas we were told that they were fumigating for mosquitoes at 4.00 pm so we made the choice to meet at 4pm  and find somewhere to enjoy cocktails before dinner.  There are so many restaurants and bars along the main street of Seminyak, each one as good as the next.  We decided on the restaurant the our friends had eaten at on their first night and it was a good choice.  The restaurant was beautifully styled with lots of lovely chandeliers and the jazz music playing softly in the background added to the ambience.
Looking down from our balcony table
I ordered a salad for starters and confit duck for second course.  Both courses were excellent and the duck was extraordinarily tender.  Some of our chefs in Australia need to take heed at cooking duck!
Salad for starters
Ginger infused cocktail that was sooooo delicious!

We were back in our room by 10pm and I think I was asleep by 10.01pm.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Seminyak Day 1

Our red eye flight with Jetstar from Cairns arriving into Denpassar at about 2am was not the idyllic way to start our holiday in Bali but our arrival greeting at Umna Sapna Villas was warm and wonderful, so the flight was soon forgotten.  Waiting for us in our Villa was a delicious green ginger tea and fruit platter that hit the right spot after our 4½ hour flight.
Here are some photos inside our private Villa called "Bunaken".

We had said to our friends who are also staying at Umna Sapna, to not expect us at breakfast on our first day.  We thought we would need to catch up on sleep but alas, sleep eluded us. We wandered over to Kilo Kitchen Restaurant when we woke and it was a lovely surprise see our friends sitting there enjoying breakfast.  
Over breakfast we decided that we would walk around Seminyak to get our bearings and stop for lunch when we found somewhere nice.  After about an hour walking we heard music playing down an alleyway so we followed the sound and found ourselves in a grassy area where we ordered local Bintang Beer and listened to the music.  After awhile the musicians left so we made our way back along the main street in Seminyak to find somewhere to eat lunch.  

The streets of Seminyak are very narrow and crowded with motorbikes and vehicles.  There doesn't appear to be any street rules and I think the main idea is to bully your way and ride/drive with courage! The sidewalks are extremely narrow and you can only walk single file.  If you stumble you are right in the path of traffic so extreme care must be taken when negotiating the sidewalks.  
We eventually found a lovely place to eat lunch and I can always tell if the food is going to be good by the standard of the rest rooms.  These were exceptionally clean and oh so pretty! 
I chose a "sampler" dish for my meal and it was definitely the right choice.  Amongst many things on the platter were chicken satay, beef rendang,  chicken green curry, eggplant relish and a large banana "cone" of rice. 

After lunch we went back to our respective villas for a nanny nap so that we could enjoy a beach sunset and dinner latter in the evening. 

We were all to meet at reception at 5pm and what a wonderful surprise we had to have two of Kurt's old school friends greet us! There were also in Bali for a bit of RnR.  Michelle was Kurt's girlfriend for many years and Trina is our friends eldest daughter.  I shed tears of joy at seeing them and even more tears were spilled when I was presented with a birthday dessert "platter" and the whole restaurant sang "Happy Birthday"!

The restaurant that Trina and Michelle had booked us into was five star all the way.  The food was some of the best I have ever eaten.  Philip and I shared a BBQ'd seafood platter that was loaded with Prawns, Lobster, Scallops, Calamari, Soft Shell Crab and a ceviche salad all for the princely sum of $45 AU.  Food is very cheap in Bali.
Everyone came back to our Villa for night-caps that ended up going on until midnight, but it was oh so enjoyable to be with great friends and company.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Has Spring Sprung Early?

It is a glorious morning here today with a feeling of Spring in the air.  The garden doesn't quite know what to make of this weather and I have plants flowering earlier than normal.
The passionfruit vine has had fruit for many months and is still flowering.
The navel orange really doesn't know what to do with itself and has new fruit and more flowers!
The mango tree looks hopeful, with many blossoms, but a drenching of unseasonal rain will see the end to them, as it did last year.
The Star Apple Tree that we planted from seed about seven years ago is laden with it's very delicious fruit.  It must have known that it was heading for the mulch pile if it didn't fruit this year.

And can we talk about the Jade Vine!  It is not even twelve months old and the beautiful metre long flowers are putting on a beautiful display.

In the paddock, our calving is two thirds of the way through and I love watching the calves play.  What a wonderful life they have here at Julatten!

Monday, 21 August 2017

Birthday Week

My birthday week has officially started with one of the loveliest surprises......ever!  Would you look at this cake!

My gorgeous and very talented friend made it for me.  It is a "Tree of Life" cake and it is truly one of the loveliest cakes I have ever seen let alone been presented with! I told Kate afterwards that I don't remember the last time I had a birthday cake because, as everyone knows, I don't "do" birthdays. I really dislike being the centre of attention.
We went to Kate's place for a bbq lunch to celebrate Kate's birthday with her lovely family and not for a moment did I expect to also be part of the celebration.  I was very overwhelmed by the whole thing.  
If I didn't say it to you Kate, thank you very much for being such a kind, thoughtful and generous friend.  I love you heaps. xx

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Taste Port Douglas 2017

Taste Port Douglas is a celebration of food and the idea is to bring some of Australia's top chefs to the north to prepare and cook five star meals in various venues in the Port Douglas/Cairns region.  This year those restaurants included Salsa, Bistro H, Harrisons, Tamarind and Nu Nu.
As I looked over the programme for the weekend, some months ago, I decided that "Porkstar", to be held on the beautiful and iconic Sugar Wharf in Port Douglas, might be the dinner of choice.  After all, who could go wrong with chefs Colin Fassnidge, Paul Baker, Spencer Patrick and Mitch Edwards, and who doesn't like a feed of pork.
We (five in our party) arrived nice and early to watch the sunset over Dickson Inlet and also to have a photo shoot with Colin Fassnidge who was taking care of his contribution to the nights dinner - main course.
As we entered the lovely venue with all the gorgeous chinese lanterns, we were handed a glass of champagne and we made our way to the end of the wharf and selected our seats.  It wasn't long before the starters were brought around by some very cheery wait staff.  The first starter we tasted was a pork and black pudding nugget that had been breaded and deep fried.  It was delicious.  The next starter was finely diced pigs ear and it was also very tasty although there were only three morsels left on the plate for five of us to share so two of us missed out on the tasting.
Eventually we were all asked to take our seats for the first course.  This was quite a delicious serving of pork filled wonton served in a broth.  The broth was poured over the wonton separately and I can only think that this was to keep it warm.  It was an interesting starter.
Next came the main meal.  Now, at $180/head I would have expected to have a plated meal placed in front of us but what happened next is beyond belief.  Out came platters of food that were placed along the centre of the table.  One platter contained sliced pork and boiled kipfler potatoes - not even a garnish or heaven forbid a sauce to go with the pork.  Another platter held a whole baked stuffed pumpkin.  Next came a large bowl of almost raw red cabbage and alongside this was giant chunks of cauliflower.  Lastly a bowl of couscous was added to the already unappealing table.  There was absolutely no love in any of the food in this course and I know that I, and probably everybody else seated at the table, could have prepared better at home.
After this disastrous course we all looked forward to the dessert.  As anybody knows this can make or break a meal.  What was placed in front of us certainly looked appealing.  There was a large scoop of ice-cream sitting alongside what looked like a chocolate popsicle.  I tasted the ice-cream first and wow - SALTY!  I mean really, really salty.  So then I tasted the popsicle.  It was an interesting combination of frozen chocolate mouse coated with finely chopped pork crackle, but once again, SALTY!  I thought maybe if I placed a morsel of each on my spoon that it may miraculously work.  Uh, uh.....it just tasted like a mouthful of SALT!
All up I would give the night two stars.  The setting was lovely and two of the four courses weren't too bad, but at $180/head it was the most expensive dinner on offer and I'm certain we would have received better value at one of the other venues that only charged $150/head.  As the saying goes, you live and learn.
Colin and I.  Shame about the closed eyes.....

Colin and Kate

Preparing the Pork and Roasted Whole Pumpkin

Awaiting our awesome meal.....not.

The Venue

Saturday, 5 August 2017

It's been awhile.....

Sorry folks, it's been awhile since my last post.  Has it really been a month?  I thought that once we were retired that I would have more time to update my blog.  It was my goal to write a least once a week but sadly that has not happened, but I do intend trying a bit harder.
July was "Dry July" for me and I did not ask for donations from friends and family - god knows everyone is doing it tough, so what I did was donate what I thought I had saved by not having any alcoholic beverages for the month.  The dry July campaign raised over $4 million for cancer so I'm very happy to be part of that.
Dry July was relatively easy, apart from the State of Origin finals when I really felt like a glass of champers to celebrate the series win.  Wasn't that a great game!  We get together with a few friends from Julatten to watch the finals.  We all bring a plate of food to eat at the communal table.  I took along a plateful of Spanakopita and Meatballs.

For three months (July, August and September) our cows give birth to their calves.  I love this time of the year and enjoy going out with Philip as much as I can to help him tag the calves.  Two of our maiden heifers have had to have their calves "pulled" this year.  It is not a nice job but it's either that or have the cow die while calving.

Our breeder mob
The winter garden is looking quite splendid with the colourful array of flowers that Trudi has planted, although it's taking quite a bit of water to keep the garden going.  Winter is typically our dry period.

A walk down the garden path where the bromeliads are starting to flower

I managed to get in a walk along Four Mile Beach last weekend.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and it's good to have a change from my normal walk through our property.  There are so many  tourists visiting Port Douglas this year and I'm sure that each and every one of them decided to walk along the beach this particular morning, however, it is a very long and wide beach so plenty of room for everybody.  The day was gloomy and as I walked past a group practicing yoga on the beach, I silently congratulated them for holding their poses in the very strong wind.  
Namaste. 🙏 

That's a wrap for this post.  I promise to not leave too big a gap until the next one! 🙂