The Owl and the Pussycat is a great bar in Byron, they have big windows all around so you can shelter from the sun but still be outside, they do lots of food but we went for tapas and wine one evening.

I can’t lie, I mostly wanted to go here because of the neon signs.

These chilli and cumin spiced almonds were great.

My favourite bites were the herb and feta arancini, I really want to try to make some of these. I know I say this a lot.

These are little goats cheese and heirloom tomato tarts. Teeny tiny food makes me happy.

More seafood popcorn, they love it over there I had it so many times, this was served with lemon and pepper aioli.

We also ate whitebait, zucchini (courgette) and mint fritters and they were served with cucumber relish and black olive salsa.

Another recommendation for you… The Owl and The Pussycat – Byron Bay

Another day, another Byron Bay gem.

This is the way we walked to the treehouse…

It’s actually quicker than walking through town a whole lot prettier.

The restaurant looks quite big but the actual inside isn’t huge they just have lots of beautiful outside space under the shade of parasols and trees.

The treehouse is famous for pizza, and even thought that’s what we went for and my Husband is obsessed we didn’t manage one. The breakfasts are also supposed to be great.

Like I have already mentioned we ate very well in Australia, so this we really wanted a light dinner. We ordered some dips to snack on, but the sourdough bread was so delicious we ended up eating quite a lot of it.

We also shared this amazing goats cheese salad with butternut squash and lots of pine nuts, very much like one I eat a lot at home. And then we were done!

But do go to Treehouse if you visit the Bay… and have a pizza for me. And definitely walk along the beach.

***Have just been informed that at the moment it is closed due to a fire, bad news! Hopefully by the time you visit they’ll be open again, I wish them luck***

St Elmo – Byron Bay

May 28, 2012

After leaving Brisbane we took a bus down to Byron Bay, after a quick 2 hour pain-free journey we arrived in the cutest town. I had never been here before but my husband has and I gather it has changed from a sleepy hippy backpackers beach spot into what it is today, a town that has that undercurrent but is full of swish bars, restaurants and chi chi boutiques.

Needless to say I loved it.

We arrived late in the afternoon starving and walked out to find dinner, stumbling across St Elmo I wish we had saved it for a night when we weren’t exhausted because we literally ate one course and left.

It’s a really cute open place, serving tapas as well as their a la carte and had a great wine list and a lot of glamorous girls were drinking delicious looking cocktails.

I had an amazing lamb dish, it was served so pink I had to send it back but the waiter dealt with this so well, and was so great at recommending a delicious glass of Australian wine.

My husbands steak was served with these amazing French inspired rustic potatoes with olives and rosemary. I of course had to steal one or two.

St Elmo – I later found out that Sarah Wilson, one of my favourite Australian bloggers lives near here and this is a spot she also recommends for a special dinner, and mentions the staff know their stuff. They really do. You should definitely put this on your list if you visit Byron Bay.

I have been all about the recommendations lately, and not giving much out about what I have been cooking… mostly because I haven’t.

In between decorating, enjoying the little bursts of sunshine and generally being quite busy I haven’t been cooking properly lately. There have been lots of Waitrose/M&S trips to buy food I don’t have to do anything with.

I need this break I think. It hard to get anything done in an evening if you plan on cooking properly and I am a girl who likes her early nights.

But anyway this is a little something I made for my girlfriends a couple of weeks ago and have been meaning to make again and make prettier and better so I could share it with you.

I have made it again, yesterday, after a few glasses of wine in the sunshine it’s the only thing I could think of, but it definitely wasn’t prettier so here you are. I am sharing with you anyway with a photograph from my phone. I hope that’s okay… it really is a good salad and another ‘boy-friendly’ salad, I had proof last night.

As this is a salad I am not giving you quantities you can make it for 1 or many, teeny or huge.

You need;
Rocket and spinach
Tomatoes
Mushrooms
Red onions
Potatoes
Blue Cheese
Prosciutto

So first I caramelised the onions, do take your time with this do it slowly and take at least 30 minutes, you might want to do this first. About 15 minutes in a sprinkled sugar on them and then stirred that in. Fry on a low heat with a little oil and stir and watch.

At the same time I put all the tomatoes on a baking tray with some olive oil and seat salt and black pepper again on a low temperature and left them in there while I cooked everything else. I used the best cherry tomatoes I could get my hands on but you can use any kind you like.

This was also the first time this year I tasted Jersey Royals, damn they are lovely. ut again you could use any potato you want, I simply boiled them because of all the other tasty (naughty) ingredients in this dish but you could also fry them up with the prosciutto. That would be good…

So those are the bits you need to cook, fry your prosciutto last then you just need to chuck your salad into the bowl, add those hot bits then the crumbled blue cheese (I used Gorgonzola this time and have also tried it with a Stilton) and lastly the Prosciutto.

And yes I did serve it with a huge lump of garlic bread. What?

*Since it is BBQ weather (finally) in Bristol here are some more sunshine worthy recipes for you to try this weekend.

Salads;
Apple and hazelnut salad
Strawberry and halloumi salad
Blueberry and goats cheese salad
Sweet Potato, pomegranate and halloumi salad
Asparagus and mozzarella salad
The perfect Caesar salad
Grilled peach salad
Griddled potato salad

Dips;
Guacamole
Hummous
Salsa

Bread;
Soft white rolls

BBQ;
Beef burgers
Bean burgers
Red chilli fish patties
Lamb Kofta

Or use my Portugal post for inspiration, all we did was BBQ and eat the pool…

Eating in Portugal

or this for a simple quick supper that lets you stay outside for longer

Pan-fried salmon and avocado salsa

Sake – Brisbane

May 23, 2012

So this restaurant was one of our food highlights on the whole trip… Sake is an amazing Sushi – Japanese restaurant in Brisbane.

The space is amazing, they have private rooms as well as traditional booths and then a huge normal restaurant space with tables and chairs.

We booked ahead and got a booth, the kind you have to climb into.

We started with cocktails, and there were many. They were all great, they have a dedicated bar staff here and our waitress was great at talking us through choices and making up bespoke cocktails to our tastes.

There were 5 of us which was great as it meant we got to try lots of different things.

I love these, and have said this before, but I have to get them when I can. So simple and so good.

 
The plate of sashimi was definately the best I had ever eaten. Look at the colours on that fish. So fresh.

The steamed prawn dumpling. Oh my. I can still remember these. I really wish I could make them.

These are Miso-Barra lettuce cups. Little bits of miso marinated fish – barrimundi in this case.


We randomly ordered a mushroom salad but it was filled with so many exotic mushrooms cooked just so, it was brilliant and unexpectly something we all fought over.


These are crispy chicken pieces, just like KFC… joke. Served with three very different and tasty sauces. I cannot remember what they were except I like the cremy slightly hot one in the middle.


This is the Wagyu beef, marinated in ginger and soy with chives. This was intense and so so good, I ate so much of this beef I felt bad for everyone else.

My plate looks bad in this photograph but I had to show you the pink colour of the meat. It melted in my mouth.

 
Popcorn shrimp, so light and little tiny bite size pieces. Very dangerously good as I doubt it’s as good for you as it is light. The sauce served with it was described as a cremey spicy sauce and I think the same one I liked with the chicken.

Salt and pepper tofu was ordered purely because my husband is obsessed. It was great.

Everyones aboslute favourite and the restaurant famous signiture dish; sushi tacos served with a shot of sake. We got tuna and salmon and then ordered another lot. These were so good and the ritual of the shot make them so much fun. I loved these, and again the fish was insanely good.

This was a cocktail some of us had served with a ball of ice, they have a special machine to make this. I had to show you.

Desserts were also good but not in the same league.

I had a chocolate bomb which was so rich and nearly pushed me over the edge. The sorbet served with it was beautiful though.

A berry creme brulee.

And a make shift apple tart. Which was the best chocie I think.
 

If you go here all you need to know if take a big group so you can order lots, drink cocktails and sake and get the sushi tacos.

 

This is the view from outside. Pretty amazing huh?

Sake – Brisbane

 

***edit*** just found this about ice balls for whiskey, check it out; http://www.coolhunting.com/food-drink/whisky-ice-ball.php

Sling – Brisbane

May 22, 2012

Another great thing about Brisbane was all the amazing bars… and my favourite was Sling.

It’s a teeny bar but if you walk through it has a lovely lush courtyard full of trees and low seating.

It had a huge ‘bible’ of cocktails, a huge heavy book full of choices. A little overwhelming in fact. Big long descriptions and explanations and history. A little pretentious… maybe? But I liked it.

We had some amazing cocktails.

We all tried one of our choice each first… a couple of us chose the house cocktail which was amazing. I found out I like egg white in a cocktail… sound weird? It makes your cocktails all frothy and thick.

Then we picked four cocktails to share as a group, this might sound strange but they were I guess ‘foodie’ cocktails and we all wanted to try all of them.

We picked an English Marmalade one, served with brioche toast which was delicious.

We also tried a potato salad cocktail… I think the base was vodka.

This one was a sushi cocktail, sake with smoked salmon. It was horrible. I do not recommend trying something similar.

Would you try a food theme cocktail? I loved the little piece of toast, that’s surely a good idea when you’re drinking yes?

We have our fair share of lovely bars in Bristol too, I am planning on some spotlights soon.

Sling – Brisbane

Salt – Brisbane

May 21, 2012

One of my resounding memories of the food in Australia is its freshness and slight differences in similar dishes made for the sunny life…

Like this breakfast which I have been recreating. Instead of a fry up and very filling and tasty eggs, bacon and avocado. Amazing.

Salt is one of those places that make you want the lifestyle here, very open you sit out on the deck or inside the airy restaurant on hot days drinking huge glasses of juice, or wine and just enjoy the sunshine.

On a very hungover morning we made it here and I had so much trouble deciding as all the breakfast dishes sounded amazing.

Breakfast pizza anyone? Some great ideas on this menu, and nothing you need a recipe for.

Amazing strawberry smoothies.

In the end I just copied everyone else.

It was so amazing, the best avocado I ever tasted. And ordinarily I don’t like hollandaise but this little drizzle of light sauce was great, no gloopy think stuff here.

Some weirdo’s got salmon, I used to be a person who chose salmon over bacon… that doesn’t happen anymore.

 
 Salt – Brisbane