We've been to Sydney. The key reason was to go to IKEA, but of course other things fit in. We visited our friends with the orange tree, and the Bloke's family. And I got in my required Galaxy and Abbey's fix. I came home with only 8 new books - quite restrained of me, I thought. The Bloke didn't get to test ride his proposed new motorbike because the shop stuffed up, but at least he got to gaze in wonder at some amazing classic and custom bikes. And we got a new kitchen table.
In addition to mind-numbingly enormous selections of shelves, beds, tables etc etc, IKEA also stocks smaller things like kitchenware and food. The kitchenware is right at the end, and my mind was too numbed to comprehend it. I did have a scant quarter of a brain left for food, and since it was right there next to where we had to wait for our table to be got out of the warehouse, I browsed around and bought Swedish food. Because IKEA, as any fule kno, is Swedish. I skipped the refrigerated stuff and got lollies, cloudberry jam, and a bread mix. If I get a chance some time, I'll buy some cheese and caviar and pickled herrings, but frozen meatballs seems a little silly when they're so easy to make. I half wish I'd got to the cafe and had princess cake or real cinnamon rolls, but we were pretty full from brunch.
Anyway, these Skumkantarell lollies are quite inoffensive, despite the funny name. Actually, "skum" means foam - and "sylt" means jam. They are cute little white mushrooms with pink caps who - according to the packaging - like to wear glasses and take baths. The actual lollies are not anthropomorphic, so you don't have to worry about biting their heads off.
When you open the pack, the chemical raspberry essence smell hits you. They're very much like our milk bottle sweets, only raspberry flavoured and slightly softer. The other lollies I got were fruit gums, and they were also mostly harmless - except for the salmiaks. It's hard to describe salmiak to the uninitiated, but salted ammonia licorice comes close. I'm not a fan. Luckily these are easy to avoid, being a distinctive black.
We ate at several places, of course. On Friday night, we were at The Harp in Tempe. Their bistro has a fair amount of Irish-style food as well as burgers and such. We sat in a booth in the main bar, and I drank Guinness. For dinner, I had the pork knuckle ($20), which was delicious - mash, red cabbage, apple sauce and cider gravy with a huge lump of roast pig. Actually it's mostly bone, like a lamb shank, but it looks impressively enormous, and the meat is similarly gelatinous. Plus bonus crackling!
Saturday brunch was at Deus ex Machina, in Camperdown. This place is completely awesome. It was my second visit - I had a weekday lunch there about a year ago, and it was pretty quiet then. But Saturday late morning it was packed. I had a huge breakfast of poached eggs, bacon, tomato, mushroom, asparagus and toast ($17), all generously portioned - half a dozen fat asparagus spears, yum. And a rather good coffee. The space is a converted warehouse, and the hugely high ceiling makes it feel very spacious.
It's a gorgeous space with amazing art works, especially featuring bikes both motor- and push-. There's an associated bike shop adjoining, and we browsed around there without actually buying anything. I admit I was tempted by the polka dot open-face helmet, but it would look rather silly on my Kwaka with my boring practical body-armoured jacket. The Bloke picked out half a dozen retro and vintage styled bikes that he's going to get any day now, just as soon as we win lotto.
We had dinner with The Bloke's family - BBQ lamb and salads, and a classic chocolate mousse with cognac. The Bloke used to make this mousse, long ago before he got so out of practice in the kitchen. One day I must make it again; I see it's been a very long time and it is very good. The key thing about the mousse that it's made purely of eggs and chocolate, and a small splash of grog. There is no cream or butter or anything else filling it out, although a bit of cream is good to have with it.
And we tried to go out for brunch, but it was Fathers' Day and our preferred Cherrybrook cafe was running a fixed menu, which was excessive for us. We shared a pretty decent pizza next door instead. While we were in the shopping centre, I also visited the kitchenware shop and the lovely deli. I bought some fabulous pistachio & amaretto stuffed dates at the deli - not cheap at $2.60 each, but they are large and very well-stuffed. The Bloke's Mum gave me a very fabulous early birthday present which came from that very kitchenware shop. But I am not going to show it here, or even play with it, until closer to time. Three weeks to go!