Tuesday 24 August 2010

A Taste of Melbourne (free tix)

AGITK has some free tix to either this Thursday or this Friday's sessions of A Taste of Melbourne, along with some luscious Green and Black chocolate.

If you would like complimentary ticket AND a block of G&B chokkie, tell me why, in the comments section. The best responses will get themselves a ticket.

Note: the tickets are for THIS Thursday night, and one of the 2 sessions on Friday, NOT for the weekend.

Le 'em rip!

Thursday 19 August 2010

A Taste of Melbourne

What's not to love? Some of the finest restaurants in town, all getting together to present punters with bite-sized.. taste sized, if you will morsels of their best dishes.

Longrain Bar are doing mohitos. Dear got in himmel, I am doomed before I begin!! Charcoal Lane is doing a wallaby tataki with ginger, soy and horseradish, MWR and Mr Wolf are putting up a vanilla pannacotta and blood orange jelly. However, Sarti is doing a pistacio "Panna cotta" with caramel salted popcorn.

Taste of Melbourne is unlike any other food and drink event.

For four days, selected restaurants will set up full professional kitchens to deliver a degustation menu like no other. These restaurants are offering over 40 of the city's most tantalizing signature dishes and this is just the start. It all takes place under one roof at the fabulous Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton from 26-29 August and will be the ultimate dinner party experience.

These taste-sized signature dishes are purchased with "Crowns" – the festival currency which can also be used to buy fine wines, champagnes and specialty beers from a range of bars and quality drink purveyors. Each signature dish will cost just 8-12 Crowns ($8 - $12).

A Taste Session lasts for 4 hours (5 on Sunday) and allows you enough time to browse around the event and enjoy the various features such as The Australian Gourmet Traveller Taste Kitchen, Taste Wine with Gourmet Traveller Wine, the Australian Gourmet Traveller Chef's Table and the Producers Market with over 100 fine food and drink exhibitors.
I'll be there, and will be roving reporting for SBS Food.

You can follow us @SBS_food on twitter while I gorge myself senseless, all in the name of taking one for the team.

Only for you, dear readers, would I put myself out like this.

Head over here for the whole programme.

Wednesday 11 August 2010


This is the coat of arms of Saudi Arabia.. the place I am planning to move to sometime in the next few months. We've expatted before.. the last time to PNG. Where, and I kid you not, you jump on a plane with your Aussie passport and turn up at Port Moresby airport, wherein you ask the customs man "May I buy a visa, please?". You hand over 100K (that's Kina, not short hand for thousand) and off you go. In fact, they are so laissez-faire about it, that on my first trip up there, they didn't have change, so HAND WROTE IN MY PASSPORT.. "Please buy one on the way out".

I kid you not.

So we were HORRIBLY unprepared for the lengthy hell that is the Saudi visa process. Furry was offered the job, signed the contract more than 3 weeks ago, and to date, we STILL don't have a date for him leaving.

Our paperwork has yet to be submitted to the Embassy.

We've spent the past 3 weeks collecting various bits of information about ourselves to submit for perusal by the Saudi Embassy, who will then decide whether we are fit to enter The Kingdom. Then and only then, will the employment contract become binding. So, right as of now, we're still no better off than we were a month ago.


So far we have had to provide chest x-rays, blood tests, urine and stool samples, original documentation of qualifications, prove our HIV/AIDS status (which will be re-tested again once we enter Saudi, just in case ). We've been tested for bilharziasis, had malaria screens, had our eyes, our ears, our stomachs poked and prodded. I've been fitted for and bought my first abaya (being 5ft 9 was a bit of a problem, cos with the abaya it's ALL about the length)

And all just to get in to The Kingdom.

Friends I have made on various Saudi forums tell me this is par for the course, but it's driving me batty.

And we STILL haven't received the requisite paperwork from Saudi to even begin to submit all of the above to the Embassy.

And now that Furry's generic blood screen has thrown up some odd LFT's. we have to get a 2nd opinion from an heptologist as to why. (Don't sweat it, its all elevated because of his cholesterol meds!)

Meanwhile, we're packing up GW and plan to rent it out ($400 pw, if you know anyone) and are re-housing the pups (again, if you know anyone...)

So, if you wonder why there has been so little activity here, that's why. I am lost in the ongoing and never-ending hell that is organising a Saudi visa.

Hopefully, soon, I'll be back posting more on my ongoing learning journey to master Saudi food!

Oh, and I can't possibly post here without some reference to food, so:

Did you know that nutmeg is illegal in Saudi as it is considered an aphrodisiac?