Tuesday, September 27, 2016

MasterChef kitchen at the Royal Melbourne Show

The clock that sends contestants' hearts racing, the balcony where "saved" ones look upon those in the heat of the pressure and mason jars of lights illuminating the place of judgement. It gives me a high to see the places of my favorite reality show Masterchef Australia.

Moment of serendipity as I didn't plan it from the start. Didn't even know I would be going to the Royal Melbourne Show which was where the MasterChef filming set was located. It was a huge bonus when I realised that it was open to the public during this event, being designated as a gourmet hall of delights. Made it in time before the place was closed at 7pm and had the most lip smacking oysters going for a song at $1 each (original price of $2.50 each) as well as the dessert sample plate from Bibelot. The Royal Melbourne Show was really fun and to see the Masterchef kitchen on top of it was truly a bonus ! 

Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne

The Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne is located within the grounds of the Royal Botanic Gardens and I can't think of a place more beautiful and serene for reflection and remembrance. The spaciousness and vastness of the place gave it a surreal, calm atmosphere and to think that it is quite near the tourist bustling area of the National Art Gallery.

The shrine was first built as a remembrance to sons of Victoria who have died serving their country in the first Word War (1914-1918).  The great pillars of the Shrine was inspired by the Parthenon in Greece with architectural features such as chariot sculptures, promenades giving visitors a feeling of awe yet solitude. Inscribed on one of the walls 



 Within the heart of the shrine lies a stone engraved with the words "Greater Love Hath No Man." On 11 November at 11am each year, a ray of light goes through an aperture on the roof, shining precisely on the word "Love". This marks the moment in 1918 when the Armistice was signed signifying the end of the hostilities of World War One. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Royal Melbourne Show (Sept 17- 25 2016)

Most unplanned things give rise to happy moments of spontaneity and surprises. I didn't really plan to visit the Royal Melbourne Show until a friend in Melbourne suggested it after dinner at her place. Why not ? All I expected was a fun fair of sorts, but it was more than that. It was really a celebration of everything that the state of Victoria had to offer. The best livestock chosen through competitions- the best quality wool from the different sheep breed (I didn't know there were so many types of sheep ), the best breeds of cows, pigs, dogs and more. The DIY culture is very strong in Australia and the show didn't leave out the best bakes in categories like fruit cake, gingerbread, shortbread, carrot cake and more plus the best cake decorations. Also included were the best jam, honey, butter chosen through a series of competitions and put on display at the show. There were of course carnival rides and games for the family but what was most popular among the Australians were the show bags. Over 350 types with the best mix of goodies ranging from chocolate brands, toys, skincare and spa to teenager products. Best part of show bags -  its value came up to 3-4 times more than what you get from the usual retail outlets. My favorite part of the show was the MasterChef kitchen which featured a number of gourmet products. I was very happy with my show bags and nuts which were really a bargain and I couldn't leave without a glamorous Cupie showgirl doll souvenir complete with glitter and feathers. Apparently she is an  Australian tradition at events. And  to end off this day of surprises were a sheep herding demonstration by a farmer and his 2 frisky border collie dogs, a high thrills motorcycle stunt show that had the audience enthralled and wonderful fireworks. 

Camberwell Sunday Market , Melbourne

Wanted to experience an Australian flea market where treasures can be found amidst the pile of seemingly trash so my friend and  I trotted down to Camberwell Sunday Market despite intermittent light showers. Underestimated the time to get there and when we reached, we had  less than an hour to "rummage" as the market closes at 12.30pm. Still we wasted no time and had to be decisive about our buys.

The good part about it - vendors wanted to close deals quickly before they packed up for the day and my rusty bargaining skills got a bit of a polish. I would take at least 30 - 40% off any price and surprisingly, they took it at first bite. I targeted porcelain plates from England as I wanted to add on to my home collection and only places in England and Australia would have quite a fine collection of vintage plates such as Wedgwood, Johnson Bros and more from the kilns of Staffortshire and Stoke on Trent. It is amazing how most of these old pieces have stood the test of time due to their fine workmanship. Here's a video link to how it was done back in 1966 at Wedgewood. 


Dark clouds are looming in the horizon and open air flea markets like this are totally dependent on the weather 

This dog is not for sale but it's indeed a treasure ! 

These vintage bags are lovely but they weigh a ton..