It's easy to love your work, when it all comes together in such a momentous way that is obvious from the faces of the guests attending the Hog Watts theatre dinners at 48 Watt Street. I was so excited to be asked to create this event series and what a perfect location to host a Hog Watts mid year feast. We are now in our fourth year of running this event. It's not just the children that go wild for Hog Watts. The adults are just as caught up in the awe of dining in the great hall and a conversation with Dumbledore or Hagrid. The historic church is transformed with incredible styling by The Wedding Designer and the evening brought to life by characters from the books who preside over the dining room awarding house points, signing autographs, posing for photographs answering those questions you've always wanted to know about Hogwats and breaking into performances.
"I journeyed with a local, Neroli from Underground Epicurean, who is as passionate as me about the Newcastle food scene." Rupali Dean, Food Writer, India. Click to see article.
The creative folk at Underground Epicureans have a knack for thinking outside the box. Read the article.
"Newcastle is Australia's best kept secret especially if you journey with Neroli from Underground Epicureans." Rupali Dean, Food Writer, India.
Rupali wanted to experience some hands on experiences while she was in Newcastle. We made bread at Three Bean Espresso, donned protective clothing to care for some bees, harvested a hive, tasted cheese and spent some time in the kitchen of a hatted chef. Thanks to all my contacts who made this day possible.
As a child, our first meal of the holidays was a breakfast of bacon and eggs cooked over the fire by a river a few hours into our journey. A bit of rock hopping, a paddle perhaps or a wander and we’d bundle back in the car for the rest of the trip. It was such an adventure and is a very fond memory.
Pondering the idea now, it was a great way of switching from our busy schedules to life in the slow lane.
As an adult, with my own family, the ‘slow lane’ is not somewhere I spend a lot of time. Every now and then though I like to switch lanes with a change of scenery.
Each Christmas, we head off in our kombi hopping around the national park campsites. We have no particular destination in mind, just a northern or southern direction and a new beach every day. It’s definitely a move to the slow lane and life becomes so simple.
In my slow lane, I don’t need to eat fancy food, or to move through the day anticipating my next beverage or meal. In my slow lane it’s more about the location. The pleasure comes from watching the sun sparkle on the water over my bowl of muesli, having the kids stand dripping in their swimmers under a tree while they scoff a ham sandwich that has interrupted their surfing. Sitting under the moonlight sharing a bottle of red and a conversation with my husband after dinner.
It would be easier to take a break from food preparation altogether, but I’d rather take a break from the need to have fresh lemon squeezed on my salad and a reduction jus on my steak and spend the time making memories with my children enjoying life in the slow lane.
Foodie musings for The Follower newspaper
"Rather than following a box-ticking itinerary, she takes a casual approach - we feel more like we're with a local friend than a tour guide." Jasmine Crittenden for Concrete Playground. Read the article.
People often ask me for restaurant recommendations, I always think it depends on the occasion. Believe it or not, whatever the occasion, the west end has it covered. Lets try some out some occasions.
Lunch with Mum
Sherwood Coffee Bar can fix you up with a coffee to start and you won’t be able to walk past the fabulous Pappa Sven’s Swedish home wares right next door. Wander down towards Hunter Street to show her how the Bellevue hotel has come of age. It might not have changed on the outside since she last visited it, but it’s now home to original works of local artists at cstudios. Take a stroll over the railway line and walk the harbour for a block or two returning to Hunter Street for lunch at Pappa’s Bagel. To make it even easier come on an Epicurean Excursion where we visit all of these and more!
Casual evening with partner
If your favourite other wants to take you on a European adventure, just pop on down to Bank Corner Café for a French farmhouse menu and some musical vibes floating around their courtyard. If the street was cobbled you might think you’d been transported to a village in Provence.
Of course if your occasion is a celebration of value like you’ve been in love for 10 years, you’ve finished Uni after 10 years or you’re that much older than you were 10 years ago, then its a visit to Subo where the food is so unexpected and incredible you’ll be dreaming of it for another 10 years. No longer a lonesome location, you can now take a few steps to the left or to the right and enjoy some pre dinner drinks or late night activity in four locations.
What’s your occasion? Are you brave enough to discover it in the west end?
My musings for The Follower newspaper
The hardest thing about a health kick is how to keep it kicking on. For me health kicks are all about longevity and lifestyle.
A maybe not so wise friend said in order to choose a diet you need to read all the diets there are and weigh up all the facts and then choose one that makes the most sense. A very logical approach, but who has time to do that? I’m just going with any facts that come across my sphere due to conversations with friends and family. After listening to all that nutritional small talk, I have decided to give up ‘white stuff’.
Its not about replacing white stuff with fake white stuff. I’m pretending that cereal, bread, rice and pasta never existed. I’ve replaced them all with vegetables.
This can make eating out a bit of a challenge and my work requires me to eat out quite a bit. Its a tough gig my job!
The word coleslaw makes me shudder, but Three Bean Espresso’s Wonderslaw gives this raw vegetable classic a whole new meaning. A serving of Life Changing Bread, may not be a magic pill to quit smoking or help with anger management, but is just the type of replacement white stuff I’m talking about and with some house made beetroot hommus and live feta, its a perfect fit.
Thankfully, I’m not on a “diet” so I can be a bit flexible with my white stuff allowance, but it’s nice to know there is somewhere I can go without compromising my loyalties.
My musings for The Follower newspaper
Newcastle is full of creative vibes and if you can see food as art then you’ll want to mix your (This Is Not Art) TINA events with some great grub as well. For dinner on your first night you should rock up to Scotties fish cafe for live art and $10 curries. They get cheaper the more you buy, so grab some friends or strangers to join you.
You should be able to get up early for breakfast on your first morning before you really get into the swing of the weekend. If you like dolphin spotting while you spoon your bircher go to Estabar, if you want people watching then One Penny Black is the one for you.
For your mid morning coffee, Good Brother Espresso is open all weekend and is just around the corner from the TINA venues of 48 Watt Street and the Royal Exchange. For a caffeine fix in the mall One Penny and Ground Floor will keep you more than satisfied. Keep an eye out for Mama P treats where the benchmark for flavour blows the expectations of its sugar free ingredients. You can’t go home without a visit to Doughheads for doughnut flavours of your wildest dreams. Around in King Street, on your way to events at the Foghorn Brewhouse venue, is the Tea Project offering every tea you could imagine. Each one brewed with love and perfection.
With so many events on you won’t want to linger over dinner but you can still grab something awesome between gigs. The Casa de Loco can fill you with a few soft tacos, a sangria, a dos equis or a cocktail popsical. For fried chicken flavours you’ve not thought possible and on tap craft beer Chook and Broosky is the place.
My musings for The Follower newspaper