vegetarian

Slowly slowly, cafes and restaurants on the Central Coast and Newcastle and venturing beyond having a single vegetarian item on the menu, and giving options for those who don’t want meat in every meal. Admittedly, most are still full of cheese and/or mushrooms (which is okay until your vegetarian date doesn’t like mushroom, or your friend is vegan) but they are getting there.

Here are a few (cheesy – so glad I’m back on the dairy, though my waistline might not be) vego options I’ve had over the past couple of weeks.

The Spot, Beaumont Street HamiltonThe Spot, Beaumont Street Hamilton

From The Spot on Beaumont Street, Hamilton: Corn and Feta Fritters with Mushroom, spinach and tomato relish. Oh so yum!

Vege Nachos

From Cafe Pennoz in the Tuggerah Business Park: Vege Nachos. I had time to kill at work one day so I treated myself.

vegetarian pizza , hungry wolf, Terrigal

From Hungry Wolf’s Pizza, Terrigal: Dom’s Special (Cheese, tomato, mushrooms, onion, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, olives, garlic and chilli (optional) – minus the mushrooms and chili. It’s always a nice little delight to get artichoke on something. Way back when I worked in Tuggeranong (not to be confused with Tuggerah), there was a cafe downstairs at Homeworld that sold an amazing vegetarian foccacia with roast Mediterranean veges which I loved… and made me realise that I did like artichoke (from a jar anyway!).

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Frankie's Place, Darby Street

Sunday morning breakfast with some of my nearest, dearest, and fittest (! they all did Tough Mudder, and lived through it, 3 weeks ago!) high school friends.

Frankie's Place, Darby Street

Home made baked beans with poached eggs for Rish (similar, but not the same as Lisa had last time I was there for a meal)

Frankie's Place, Darby Street

My mushrooms, spinach, tomato and aoli on gluten free toast.

Frankie's Place, Darby Street

Avo on toast for Amanda.

Frankie's Place, Darby Street

Benedict and bacon for Phil.

Frankie's Place, Darby Street

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Newcastle

Newcastle springs. Been a little while since I’ve lived through one, but I remember now, too hot in the sun for a jumper, but the second the clouds come in with that strong wind, the jumper is back on again in an instant. Always carry one, something light, black, and tied around your handbag.

(which is my advice for a Canberra summer evening, btw)

Estabar

Sunday morning brunch at Estabar, out in the sunshine. A coffee to perk me up.

Estabar

Avocado, lemon and feta from the special’s board, with gluten free toast. Notice how they’ve figured out us food bloggers and instagrammers???

Estabar

Breakfast beans and feta with sourdough for Rish.

Estabar

Pear and walnut bread.

Some nice light brekkies to start our Sunday :)

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Olenka and Milo's Engagement Party

On marches the string of celebrations. This time a very well catered engagement party :)

Olenka and Milo's Engagement Party

Olenka has to be one of the most thoughtful hosts out there.

Olenka and Milo's Engagement Party

Tags on all the gluten free, dairy free, alcohol free, vego and vegan items.

Olenka and Milo's Engagement Party

A combination of sweet and savoury.

Olenka and Milo's Engagement Party

Olenka and Milo's Engagement Party

Olenka and Milo's Engagement Party

Olenka and Milo's Engagement Party

Olenka and Milo's Engagement Party

And traditional and not!

Olenka and Milo's Engagement Party

Olenka and Milo's Engagement Party

Olenka and Milo's Engagement Party

Good thing my breakfast was an apple!!

Olenka and Milo's Engagement Party

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Jess's 30th, Paymaster's Cafe Newcastle
Rish’s Roast Pumpkin and Beetroot Tarte Tartin

And the string of 30th birthdays, engagement parties, weddings, and spawning continues. Something about the face that I graduated highschool in the year 2000, I’m told.

So, this time around, it was Jess’s turn to turn 30. Another lunchtime affair (showing our age ;)

Jess's 30th, Paymaster's Cafe Newcastle
Baked Camembert

Paymaster’s Cafe Newcastle was our host, we had upstairs to ourselves, with little orange dots with a different number each allowing us to split the bill.

Jess's 30th, Paymaster's Cafe Newcastle

Ahhh, telling dirty jokes. Us? Never!

Jess's 30th, Paymaster's Cafe Newcastle
Grilled Eye Fillet of Beef

Jess's 30th, Paymaster's Cafe Newcastle

The chef came up to fill us in on the menu, what was available, what was not. Unfortunately (for us and them!) they didn’t offer us desserts, only coffees… and so many of them looked tempting!

Jess's 30th, Paymaster's Cafe Newcastle
Stuffed Squid

Jess's 30th, Paymaster's Cafe Newcastle
Harrissa Spiced Lamb

Jess's 30th, Paymaster's Cafe Newcastle
Special Chicken with Polenta

Jess's 30th, Paymaster's Cafe Newcastle
Supreme Breast of Chicken

Jess's 30th, Paymaster's Cafe Newcastle
A rather untouched Paymaster’s salad…

Jess's 30th, Paymaster's Cafe Newcastle
Paella Before

Jess's 30th, Paymaster's Cafe Newcastle
And after :D

Jess's 30th, Paymaster's Cafe Newcastle
With coffee to end! (I so stole Anna’s truffle!)

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Breakfast @Merewether Surfhouse

Newcastle turned on the sunshine for our friends visiting from Canberra over the weekend.

Breakfast @Merewether Surfhouse

A little different to the -4 overnight they’d come from!

Breakfast @Merewether Surfhouse

We took them out for breakfast at Merewether Surfhouse Cafe, making it there 10 mins before the 11:30am cutoff for ordering breakfast.

Breakfast @Merewether Surfhouse

(they were out of polenta, which is understandable given the late order, but I was very happy with what I got in its place!)

Breakfast @Merewether Surfhouse

Vittoria Coffee is such a Newcastle thing… This was perfect. They initially mixed up Angel’s coffee order, but were happy and helpful in sorting it out :)

Breakfast @Merewether Surfhouse

Rish and I went for a couple of Vegetarian options:

Breakfast @Merewether Surfhouse

Sweet corn fritters for him, which he thoroughly enjoyed

Breakfast @Merewether Surfhouse

And Portobello mushrooms with feta for me. Mmm…

Breakfast @Merewether Surfhouse

Angel went the Benedict,
And Aqua the Big Breakfast:

Breakfast @Merewether Surfhouse

Gorgeous views! :)

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Billabong Yoga Retreat Sydney

Wow. Okay. Where do I begin to recap on a bliss-filled 48 hours at Billabong Retreat on the way to Richmond, NSW? Should I start with the delicious vegetarian food, the awesome tent I was in, the yoga, breathing, and vocal sessions, the tea ceremony, or the purrrty scenery?

Billabong Yoga Retreat

Shall I start with the food, as that’s what you’ve come to expect? :)

The Food

Billabong Yoga Retreat Sydney

On arrival there was a spelt and fruit based slice and tea on offer (and caffeinated products because for the addicts, there was no point spending the whole weekend with a headache!), and some delicious tasting filtered rain water. Technically they can only recommend us drinking from two of the taps (the bubbler and the kitchen tap) but the rest of the water is rain water, so no issues with brushing teeth with that water.

Billabong Yoga Retreat Sydney

Stacks of mandarines, green apples (my favourite!), bananas and seedless red grapes kept making appearances in front of me, and were soon in my belly :) There was a stash of Freedom Foods bikkies for the sensitive tummies amongst us, and we were welcome to help ourselves to snacks through the weekend from the kitchen.

Billabong Yoga Retreat
I can smell all the spices now!

Mignon, the chef, fed us well for our main meals as well as baking up a storm. Most of the produce was local when possible, and in season was the way to go. Seconds were often had!

Breakfasts

Billabong Yoga Retreat

OMG people, I ate hard boiled eggs for the first time since I was maybe six. I thought it was the least egg smelling way to get back into eating eggs. I’m still a long way off eating runny eggs. Small Steps!

Billabong Yoga Retreat

Lots of fresh breads, jams and spreads on offer. The gluten free loaf was from the freezer, but hey, it was there!

Billabong Yoga Retreat

Porridge on the first morning was cinnamon, morning two there was vanilla added, and I think it inspired a winter of porridge eaters.

Billabong Yoga Retreat

With bananas with Greek yoghurt, local honey and home made muesli (unfortunately not gluten free) for those after something lighter. I think most people went for a little bit of everything!

Lunches

Billabong Yoga Retreat

A spicy pumpkin soup. Probably towards the edge of this wuss’s chilli coping range. But delish!

Billabong Yoga Retreat

Roasted Mediterranean vegetables baked with ricotta.

Dinners

Billabong Yoga Retreat Sydney

A plate of ‘nachos’. A little mix up meant there were some difficulties for the guy with the nut allergy, but he didn’t die, so all went well :P (He’d forgotten his epipen and all!) The salads with our meals were amazing! Simple, like with cabbage, apple, walnut and dressing, but crunchy and tasty.

Billabong Yoga Retreat
(excuse the dodgy photo)

A vegetable curry and a dhal, seconds were sought by a lot of us!

Desserts

Yes! We were given dessert :) Like I said, no one went hungry this weekend!

Billabong Yoga Retreat Sydney

Berry sorbet with tofu cream and crumble.

Billabong Yoga Retreat

MMm poached pears. Gotta love cinnamon!

If you’re going, and have dietary requests, such as allergies, intolerances or if you’re vegan, they can cater for you at Billabong. Jut let them know when you book, and have a chat to the chef when she gets there on the first afternoon to make sure accommodations are made :)

The Facilities

Billabong Yoga Retreat Sydney

I got to experience the walk-in tents. Don’t let anyone tell you they are too cold! With a super thick doona,blankets, hot water bottle and oil heater, I overheated on the first night! Meep!

Billabong Yoga Retreat Sydney

In the long term, they hope to only have the rooms along the ridge overlooking the billabong, with ensuites etc. But for now, the tent and old cottage serve well! Short dash in the rain to the loo at 3am, but I lived to tell the tale ;)

(Check out the premium cabins here)

Billabong Yoga Retreat Sydney

Billabong Yoga Retreat Sydney

Billabong Yoga Retreat

The showers all have little egg timers for 4 minutes. My first shower was so under two minutes, but I couldn’t get in under 4 on the Sunday, because I decided to wash my hair with the biodegradable shampoo and conditioner. It was soft and fluffy once it dried :)

Billabong Yoga Retreat

Below are some of the other parts of the main building – the fireplaces, the super comfy couches, the yoga room and the view.

Billabong Yoga Retreat Sydney

Billabong Yoga Retreat Sydney

Billabong Yoga Retreat Sydney

Billabong Yoga Retreat

All the art is by Tory, one of the owners.

Billabong Yoga Retreat

Billabong Yoga Retreat

Billabong Yoga Retreat

Billabong Yoga Retreat Sydney

The Sessions

Billabong Yoga Retreat

The yoga and meditation sessions were WONDERFUL. There was such a mix of experience in the room, from people who’d done nothing along those lines at all, to some of me who get so distracted meditating, to people who’d done yoga for 15+ years. But everyone got something new out of the weekend. I focussed on my breathing, an was able to take home some yoga techniques to help with my stress reduction and anxiety management that I’ve applied already!

(and for those of you that know me, no, it wasn’t all “woo” ;) Lots of practical stuff)

Tea Ceremony

Billabong Yoga Retreat

An amazing part of the weekend, we were guided through a mindful tea making exercise with the gorgeous Basia from My Tea Ritual. Taking note of all the aspects of the tea making, from the sound of the water, to the blooming of the tea, to the heat of the cup and the taste on your tongue. At least 3 people were “wow, I can do THIS at any time with my normal tea” to create a peaceful, portable ritual. Yep, even during 3:30-itis at work!

I had an amazing weekend and would certainly recommend it to anyone who needs to escape but can’t really find more than the weekend to do it. You walk in, and an instant calm just… happens! The place it only 45 mins from Sydney (3 hours from Newcastle by train, but that’s another story and I slept for a lot of it :p), and they pick you up and drop you back from the station if you go by train :)

Billabong Yoga Retreat

Billabong Retreat can be stalked via their website, blog (where Paul promises he’ll start putting up recipes soon!) and their Facebook Page (skim for a pic of my group and for spur of the moment offers for last minute bookings)

You can also sign up to their mailing list and receive a generous discount on your first stay! (Currently $200 which means your first stay can be $399 twin share for their Two-Night retreat package)

Billabong Yoga Retreat

Basia’s tea ritual information, bookings and products such as blooming tea and tea pots is over at MyTeaRitual.com and she’s on Facebook and Twitter. You should consider booking her for a team building day to help your staff appreciate their cuppas that little bit more mindfully rather than just for the caffeine hit ;)

The rest of my pics for the weekend are over on Flickr.

I stayed as a guest of Billabong Retreat, and loved every moment! My only gripe is that 48 hours is just enough time to get used to it… would love to go to a longer retreat next time. :) And while it rained pretty much the whole weekend, that simply added to the beauty – and who doesn’t love falling asleep to the sound of rain?! :)

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Blue Water Pizza, Warners Bay

May 5, 2012

Been a couple of years since I went to Blue Water Pizza, but it was time to go back again. They have gluten free bases for a $5.20 surcharge, but they are nice bases! Started with a garlic crust. Which initially came out with cheese, despite a specific request for no cheese. Vegetarian – Mykonos […]

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MacU Mexican

April 26, 2012

A decent feed, for only $7.80 for the vego option from the Mexican outlet at Macquarie University Union. Noms!

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A day out in Sydney

April 24, 2012

Mum came down to Sydney for the day, and we did what we usually do whenever we’re together, drink a lot of coffee and walk a lot of kms! Happy coffee from Vivo World Square. I also got to introduce her to the craze that is Mexican takeaway chains. This bowl was from the Guzman […]

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Bondi Massive Cafe

April 22, 2012

Took advantage of my transit pass one day, and headed to Bondi for only the third time in my life (once I ran the city to surf, the other time was a job interview) and enjoyed a vegetarian brekky of Zuccini Fritters and a soy latte.

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Beach Burrito Company, Newtown

April 21, 2012

Mmm Frozen Margaritas A simple Vegetarian dinner with lots of flavour. Nachos and Burritos, washed down with a frozen Margarita. Awesome.

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Badde Manors – Nachos and Sorbat Susu

October 6, 2011

While Rish was around last weekend, we headed into Glebe, and ended up having these awesome $12.50 vegetarian nachos from Badde Manors on Glebe Point Road. We got the sour cream on the side, and were both SO FULL by the end of the dish! We managed to squeeze in a hot drink each though […]

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The Cookbook Challenge – Theme One – Stonefruits

January 9, 2011

I have to HAVE TO start using some of my cookbooks, so the Cookbook Challenge is totally for me, and a good excuse to wear my new apron! 26 recipes in 52 weeks, here I come! To kick things off: Fruit Compote with Cinnamon Crumpet Fingers from Green: Vegetarian Food For the fruit compote: 200g […]

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Root and Lentil Curry

April 29, 2010

Nommy Winter Fare….

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