Each of us has the right and the responsibility to assess the roads which lie ahead, and those over which we have traveled, and if the future road looms ominous or unpromising, and the roads back uninviting, then we need to gather our resolve and, carrying only the necessary baggage, step off that road into another direction. -Maya Angelou

Monday, February 27, 2012

Viva Victoria!

Melbourne the most livable city!

Victoria is a multicoloured mosaic of dramatically different places. From the rugged blue grey mountains in the north to the golden sandy surf beaches of the Mornington Peninsula. The coast hugging splendour of the Great Ocean Road,with its green-clad hills plunging to the sea to the dramatic vistas of giant limestone stacks rising out of the bluest Southern Ocean. Secluded emerald rain forests full of giant tree ferns in the Otway National Park to lush corduroy vineyards in the Yarra valley.  Idyllic bush camping next to the peaceful Genoa River with its crimson and green King parrots to picturesque seaside towns like Eden famous for its killer whales. The quaint villages in the Dandenong hills with its beautiful gardens to William Ricketts serene sanctuary set in a primitive forest and filled with his amazing sculptures inspired by the Aboriginal people who he admired for their affinity with nature. Then of course there is the vibrant multicultural capital city of Melbourne rated as one of the best cities in the world to live in. Home to the MCG, and thousands of eateries of every description, wonderful shopping and the best cappuccino this side of Italy.

We took the ferry across from the mainland to Sorrento on the Mornigton Penninsular. Terry and Chris our good friends who we first met at Katherine in the Northern Territory were camping at Point Leo and we were to join them there. The Ute had been pushed to its limits pulling the heavy rig on the winding and hilly Great Ocean Road and we had kept smelling "clutch" but choose to ignore it.  Not a good decision.........as we were descending a steep hill with a hairpin bend at the bottom the smell got worse. There was an even steeper climb up the other side and we managed to make a third of the way up the hill before the clutch packed up. The next few minutes were a nightmare as the Ute and rig started sliding back and finally jackknifed across the road blocking all traffic. We were scared and helpless. Cars and motorbikes came to a screeching halt behind and in front of us.  An off duty Victorian policeman was singularly unhelpful but angels came to our rescue in the disguise of a wonderful Italian family Joe, Nicole, Hayden and Nathan Mammolito. With their help we were able to tow the rig up the hill and back to the safety of the flat. Words cannot fully express our gratitude to them but they will always be remembered as the best that Victoria has to offer.Thank you guys you're amazing. We will pay it forward............a foot note...........Tommy has much maligned this noble renaissance race in the past.No more! In fact he actually got down on his knees and asked for forgiveness from the Mammolitos........they were very magnanimous and it was smiles all around. I told you Tommy "One day an Italian will save your life...........Capisce!"

Victorian Angels

We made our way gingerly to Point Leo without further mishap. Our good fortune continued as we camped next to Mike and Jenny. Mike who had an automotive workshop took the Ute in and fixed us up with a new clutch. Another act of kindness from Victorians. We spent a wonderful 10 days ,swimming in the warm clear waters of the Southern Ocean and indulging in long lazy sun downers with Jeff , Mary Ellen, Max , Jen, Chris, and Terry. It’s amazing how much enjoyment you can have on one foot. I tore the fascia on the sole of my foot diving into the water and spent a few days on crutches courtesy of the local hospital. By the time we left we felt one of the tribe…….Viva Victoria!

Having had such a warm welcome we decided to extended our stay and found a caravan park in Chelsea south of the city. From there it was an easy commute into Melbourne where we caught trams to take us around the city. The Queen Victoria market with its amazing range of fresh fish, meat, fruit and vegetables to say nothing of the delicatessen section which had the widest selection of cheeses I have ever seen kept us busy for a day or two. I was serenaded by an elderly tenor in tattered trousers as we had our bratwurst rolls on the pavement cafe.   Another trip took in the cultural delights of the National Gallery, Federation Square with its funky architecture and a stroll around the beautiful lush Botanical Gardens next to the Yarra River. We had a pizza at one of the numerous Italian resturants in the famous Lygon Street and quite frankly “it wasn’t worth a cracker” perhaps I should have chosen the “chocolate pizza” not my mundane “Quattro stagioni” I loved Melbourne, the city has a creative buzz, unlike any other I have visited, the street musicians were amazing, and Chinatown a delight to the palate even if Tommy declined to eat the chicken feet covered in a delicious chili and ginger sauce.
Gale force winds ripped our awning which happily extended our stay even longer. Thai curry evenings with the gang as we waited to get the rigs awning to be replaced made the wait easy, and a final cooking evening with the girls making Soulfood Kitchen's famous Pea and Potato Samosas brought our time in Melbourne to a close........sigh. " missing you already"!

An Ode to Melbournians

Hail to you Melbournians!
Folk of wit and charm and grace,
Blessed to live in a city fair
Whose trams do set the pace

Angels now come in disguise
To lend a helping hand
Renaissance race accept our thanks
Never again shall we deride

Your hospitality is legend
To dine is a delight
Wine flows as swift as Yarra
At Leo’s Point most nights.

Old dogs can learn new tricks I’m told
I’ve tasted so I know
Samosa wallahs everyone
Whether Vegan, Veg or Carnivore.

So Farewell to you Victorians
Old Monarch would be proud
But to the Feral Cops of Moe
May you be buried upside down.

I cannot stay another day
My time is running out
My waistline is expanding
And now I have the Gout

Your laughter, fun and friendship
We never shall forget
So build the bridge
Get over it and
Let's meet again real quick.

Soul food Kitchen

Pea and potato Samosas with ginger and garlic.
This recipe will always bring back happy memories of a wonderful curry dinner at Mary Ellen and Jeff's home where we feasted like kings.

This amount of ingredients makes a goodly number of samosas depending on size but you can never make enough..........there are never any leftovers!


2 cups of chopped onion

2 Gloves Garlic crushed and chopped

1 large red chili chopped

6 potatoes boiled ( but still firm) and chopped

2 cups of frozen peas

Ginger the size of a small potato grated

2 tablespoons cumin seeds (fry in a dry pan over high heat quickly then crush finely or grind)

1/2 cup fresh Coriander chopped.

1 veg stock cube and 1 3/4 cups of hot water

Sheets of spring roll pastry


Cook onion garlic & red chili in a large frying pan with a little peanut oil till soft and add about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the roasted crushed cumin seeds to the mixture. Cook for a few minutes to release that wonderful pungent aroma of  the spice. Add the grated ginger.(the best way to store fresh ginger is to keep it wrapped in the freezer, then you always have it to hand and it grates beautifully when frozen)
Add chopped potato and peas with vegetable.Cook over medium heat until peas are cooked & stock reduced .Leave to cool and add salt & pepper a squeeze of lemon and chopped fresh coriander.

Cut pastry square into three strips and and lay one strip across your left palm. Bring  the left edge point up and over to make a triangle.Fold it back to make a pocket. Fill with cool mixture, do not overfill. Fold over the triangle till you reach the end of the strip. Wet the end of the strip with a little water to seal.Fry a few triangles at a time for about 3 minutes in hot peanut oil. Put onto Kitchen paper to drain and serve with fresh  lemon wedges the rest of the roasted cumin seed mixed with salt and some fresh coriander to garnish.

Melbourian Samosa wallahs

No comments:

Post a Comment