Wednesday, 1 October 2014

An Aborigine Encounter in Australia

When I heard the subject for October's Travel link up, hosted by Emma, Kelly, Rebecca and their guest host, Molly, I really had to wrack my brains as to what I would write about. 

You see, the subject was the most interesting character you've met whilst travelling. Mr Silver and I spend most of our trips gazing romantically into each others eyes, oblivious to all of those around us (joke btw!). The occasional rather drunken chat with other couples makes little impression on my memory; the gap-year back packers that we met while touring Australia were forgettable and most tour guide encounters were so fleeting that we didn't have a chance to get their back story. 

I toyed with writing about some of the amazing animal encounters that we've have...

But that wasn't quite on subject. 

I asked Mr S what he thought I should write about and he suggested telling the tale of an Aboriginal encounter that we'd had whilst staying in the Great Barrier Reef. It was a brillant idea but unfortunately, I'd already told the story once before on my blog. 

But that was before anyone had found my little space on the I thought it wouldn't hurt to tell it again...with a few more details...

Though my style of travel involves a suitcase full of shoes rather than a backpack loaded with maps, water purifiers and a travel towel, I still like have an adventure. One problem with luxury travel is that you when you have incredible accommodation, fabulous service and very easy transportation the journey loses it's adventure. Having said that I'm a pretty nervous person: I have no head for heights, I hate creepy crawlies and I'm kind of scared of getting in the sea. Well you never know what lurks within...

As I've got older, I've tried to over come these fears by pushing myself out of my comfort zone in order to experience some of the incredible adventures and journeys that the countries I've visited have to offer. 

While we in Queensland, Mr S and I arranged for tour of the beach but we had no idea what we were in for...

Meet Linc Walker. 

Linc and his brother Brandon run the Kuku Yalanji Cultural Habitat Tours and offer a range of tours exploring fishing grounds of Cooya Beach, the national Parks of Port Douglas and the Mossman Gorge and Daintree River. 

The brothers come from the Kuku Yalanji people who are indigenous to Australia and originate from the Rainforest regions of far North Queensland. Growing up in Britain, we learn little of Australian history and Mr S and I became fascinated by  it during our five week trip to Oz. It was incredible to meet a 'real-life' aborigine and to hear more about his culture. 

Today, Linc would be giving us a tour of Cooya Beach; the tour was really just an example of how Linc spends his daily life hunting, gathering and caring for the land. He has an incredibly strong determination to preserve his ancient culture and keep it relevant in the 21st century. 

The morning started with us climbing into Linc's boat and speeding away to the mudflats and mangrove trees...

Despite pre-booking this experience we had no idea what was actually going to happen and we sped away from the shore listening to Linc explain about his culture and the local nature and wildlife. Occasionally he flung his spear in the water, trying to catch a fish for our lunch. 

Soon we stopped at a dense area of Mangroves....
'Right everybody out' said Linc


But what about the crocodiles, sharks, and poisonous spiders....

'Ah, you'll probably be alright' said Linc.

Well and truly out of my comfort zone, I gingerly stepped into the water.

With mud and water up to my knees, this was not time to be a princess! 

Angie, I can believe you're doing this! We usually see you swanning about in heels with a glass of champagne in your hand!!

Linc showed us the traditional way of gathering fish. That is sticking your hands into mud holes and foraging for mussels, clams and whelks. Well, I could forget about my manicure!

That being said, I had an absolutely fantastic time! The only thing I was scared of was a spider falling on to my head. But, that didn't happen. After gathering our spoils we headed back to the shore where Linc gave Mr Silver a lesson in how to throw a spear. 

Linc's house was very close by and we headed back there and enjoyed damper (a type of Australian soda bread) while Linc prepared the shellfish that we'd caught for our lunch. As he prepared everything he showed us various artifacts that he had around his house as well as telling us even more about his culture. 

So there you have it: the day Mr Silver and I met an aborigine and visited his house.

Have you ever pushed yourself out of your comfort zone while travelling? 

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Monday, 29 September 2014

Locale - Your friendly neighbourhood Italian

When I first started SilverSpoon it was my intention to write about high-end luxury dining such as The Ledbury, or really cool hotspots like Chotto Matte. I also wanted to tell my readers about cool concepts such as Bubbledogs and Inamo, pop-ups like On the Roof at Q and quirky happenings such as the Edible Garden Afternoon tea

But, sometimes you want to go somewhere that's just really fab food and excellent hospitality without all the bells and whistles that comes with luxury lifestyle...

Locale is one such place, the kind of place where a fun night and good food will always be the order of the day! If you live in Fulham or Blackheath, Locale is your perfect neighbourhood Italian to head to any night of the week. There's also a restaurant located near the attractions of the South Bank if you're down that way. 

Mr S and I were invited down to the Fulham restaurant to check it out last Wednesday night. 

I mentioned Mr S recent shopping spree and new clothing haul, and he was insistent I got a picture of his new Armani jacket. 

Well, two can play at the game...I had a new top from Maje to show off. 

Showing off our OOTD gave me a chance to photograph the outside of Locale and it's outdoor dining terrace surrounded by bushes full of twinkling lights. 

The inside was rather romantic too, an interconnecting series of rooms with low lighting, exposed brickwork and wooden floors.

The feeling of an authentic Italian trattoria. 

We sat down and I got another picture of my husband's jacket...

And he took one of my top...

Ok, enough of the sartorial interlude. A glass of prosecco was the perfect beverage to start our night at a romantic Italian restaurant. 

Mr S and I love to share... and he likes to try a bit of everything so the waiter suggested opting for their highly popular platter: 

Containing cured meats, bruschetta, vegetables, olives, mozzarella and focaccia. A charcuterie platter really is the ideal way to try everything isn't it? Mr S and I piled our pieces of focaccia high with creamy cheese and delicious salty parma ham. A welcome addition would have been a saucer of olive oil, we didn't request any but I would if to return. 

The flat breads also caught our eye and we ordered one topped half with tomato and basil and half Italian sausage. 

The flat bread was gorgeous, the crisp base was lighter than a regular pizza and the addition of tangy parmesan gave a little extra cheesy goodness! But I've said it can't really go wrong with melted cheese on bread...

Cocktail hour! 

I ordered a 5 Star Martini containing vanilla vodka, passion fruit and lime juice, served with a shot of prosecco. 

We all know the real name for this is a porn-star martini! I love the addition of prosecco to take away some of the sweetness of the passionfruit. It's a cocktail that will always make us smile as we served them at our engagement party

Mr S chose a refreshing watermelon martini to accompany our bready / cheesy / meaty starters. 

I've mentioned before that Mr Silver likes to mock what I look like while I wait for food and he took this sneaky pic of me catching up with twitter between courses: 

So I decided to get back at him and show him what he looks like while he's eating...

He's going to hate me...but trust me this humiliation is mild compared to how he looks when eating a KFC banquet.

And what meal had put such a smile on Mr S's face?

One of his absolute favourites: a plate of perfectly cooked lamb chops, and as you can see above, there was absolutely nothing left on the plate when he was done. 

I had a simple salmon and salad but it was totally brilliant. I'm practically pescatarian so well cooked fish is really important to me and I can't stand an overcooked fillet. But the salmon was cooked medium rare just the way I like it and it flaked softly from under a crispy skin.

Zucchini fritti were a fab accompaniment. My only complaint being, some of the courgette slices were cut a little too big and weren't quite crisp enough. 

Throughout the meal, our waiter was incredibly attentive and friendly, always on hand with recommendations and quick to refresh our water glasses. 

For dessert a peach crumble took my eye. 
'Oh yes', said the waiter, 'We have that on the menu for all you English people....' 

Feeling like philistines ordering an British dish in an Italian restaurant...we did it anyway!

The crumble was a great choice, it was actually very light. Peaches with a sweet crumble topping and dollop of ice-cream was the antidote for our carb heavy starters.

Rather more indulgent was the tiramisu... but I'd heard great things about the dessert and I had to try it even if I could only manage a morsel of this magnificent slab! 

And Mr S chased our puddings with one of his favourites: 

An espresso martini!

Thank you Locale, for a totally fabulous date night. The restaurant has a fantastically friendly neighbourhood vibe and a menu of simple food cooked to perfection. 

It just goes to show that sometimes you can't go wrong with a local favourite. 

Our marvellous Italian feast was complimentary purposes of the review

222 Munster Road 
SW6 6AY 
020 7381 8099

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