Thursday, September 14, 2017

Style Diary :: Alannah Hill in Mayfield Gardens

I’ve travelled a fair bit now since I’ve had my blog. I’m always up for new experiences and challenges on what there is to see, taste and do that is not too far from home. I travelled to Mayfield Garden recently and it’s such a beautiful place to be, so peaceful and allows me to be reflective. I was just thinking through my travels and the process of meeting new people and businesses, some people provide services that you think “that’s different” and some provide services that are quite homogenous where I think “oh I can get that back at home”, which particularly rings true for the restaurant and hospitality business. I’ve come to realise that the differentiator though despite providing “the same thing” as someone else is having a great personal relationship with someone, someone who isn’t only "just a customer". Even if their product or service may be a little more expensive, people keep coming back to them because of the strength of their relationship, “they always know what I want” and they are consistent, which secures customer loyalty. Of course, strong relationships doesn’t happen overnight and great relationships and loyalty are built over time. The reverse is also true in that good relationships can be unwound in seconds due to in most cases, distrust. Another aspect is getting your foot on the door, which can happen through word of mouth and leverage from our old customers and referrals and the value of an introduction. Never underestimate the value of an introduction.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Travel Diary :: Mayfield Garden in Oberon, NSW Things to see, taste and do Part 2

This is the third time I’ve visited Mayfield Garden. I always have seen it as a place that provides acres, 160 acres to be exact of botanical profusion that promotes an equal amount of introspection. Mayfield Garden is one of the largest privately owned cool climate gardens in the Southern Hemisphere situated in Oberon in Central West, NSW, about a 2 hour 45 minutes drive from Sydney. Mayfield Garden was inspired by the great gardens of Europe. The garden is owned by the Hawkins family and is open 363 days of the year. 

Monday, September 4, 2017

Travel Diary :: Things to See, Taste and Do at Mt Hay Retreat in Berry, NSW

I think I have decided that some stage in my life when I decide to retire from the hustle and bustle of city life, I would happily live in Berry in the South Coast of New South Wales, about an hour and half drive from Sydney (coming from the south of the Harbour Bridge). There is something comforting about going to the country and being on a farm, in open green pastures. It might have something to do with the fact it reminds me of travelling to a farm regularly when I was about 6- 7 years old during school holidays to visit my dad who did a stint in a restaurant in regional NSW (in a small town called Tamworth) or if you believe in star signs, it might have something to do with my birth date coming under an Earth sign. There’s also something mythical about  being a farm too: sun setting and rising on rolling green pastures, animals, cows, goats, pigs and chickens, greeting you as you bring them their next feed, being bowled over by wombats as you walk in the evening trying to do some night photography, or the brightness and expansiveness for the stars in the sky during night fall. A further drive down from Mt Hay Retreat towards the village, you'll also see an alpaca farm where the alpacas will happily come and greet you too.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Travel Diary :: Camp Food Recipe: Foil Packed Spiced Scotch Fillet Strips with Vegetables

I'm starting a series on camp food recipes as we transition into warmer climate in Australia and we plan to get ready for the great outdoors. I do like being outdoors, in the country or regions in natural landscape, away from the cities for a long weekend break. I remember when I did a 4 day hike along the Bay of Fires in Tasmania a few years ago, it was tough with 10 kilograms on my back walking on sand 6 hours a day and I thought I wished I had packed less. Any food you bring out camping should have the criteria of being light weight, can be stored so it's still fresh when you set up camp, is easy to prepare, easy to cook, delicious, nutritious and no fuss cleaning up.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Personal reflection :: What inspired me in the past week?

Dress wise, the explosion of floral prints in Australian retail stores is a sure sign the warmer weather is coming. I don’t mind the corporatised garden party look, meaning the floral prints I wear need to be suitable as corporate office attire without looking like I’m off to a Sunday garden party. The various shades of blue would also make this suitable for office attire too.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Drunken Chilli Prawn, Basil and Rocket Pesto Spaghetti with Asparagus


We normally associate drunken prawns with Asian food where the prawn or shrimps are cooked in Chinese or rice wine. I westernised this version for my pasta recipe and cooked my fresh green prawns in dry white wine which I got from Dan Murphy's. I wasn’t sure which dry white cooking wine to get so I asked the guy at Dan Murphy's and he asked me what I was cooking and I told him prawn pasta. He suggested I try the Semillon Sauvignon Blanc which provides racy acidity, fruitiness of lemon, grapefruit and passionfruit which would be particularly delicious in seafood dishes.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Things to See, Taste and Do in & around the Banyan Tree Phuket resort

“You’ll love Phuket. It’s not only beautiful. The Thai people understand excellence in service. They think of every little bit of detail”, a couple I sat with at a friend’s recent wedding reception said to me who recently returned from a trip to Phuket in Thailand. I started to write this article in the final hours of my 3 nights stay at the Banyan Tree Phuket and I can certainly say the people in the Banyan Tree Phuket understand excellence in service. By the way ‘Phuket’ is pronounced with a silent ‘h’ like ‘Puket’ and not “Fuket’.