Wednesday, March 17, 2010

, was de-lightful....(*groan*)

Is it just me, or does this year seem as if it's going a bit like this? :

Our little weekend camping trip was definitely a welcome pause, time to indulge in a little R&R:

As an added bonus, we got to catch up with family and celebrate a little birthday.

Meet Mr. Kitchen Hand's parents - henceforth known as Nana Hand and Pop Hand (yeah, I thought of that myself!)

Guess who played a part in this cake? Yup, the Mini-Critics and Nana Hand joined forces to create this gorgeous cake for Pop Hand's birthday

There was time to stop and enjoy the little things in life.

And time to muck about with the camera

And best of all? There was lots of time to enjoy breakfast.

I've confessed to being a bit of a breakfast skipper, and part of the reason is time, or lack thereof. After I've grumbled my way out of bed, showered and fixed school lunches, put hair in plaits, made sure teeth are brushed, bags packed and matching socks are worn, it's a wonder we get out the door before the school bell rings. (Luckily for me, the heroic Mr. Kitchen Hand, who is a much better morning person, usually fixes the Mini Critics their breakfast). Some mornings I manage to make myself eat a bit of toast, but usually a quick banana will tide me over until a much saner time.

But camping breakfasts are so different. There is actually time to prepare, then savour each mouthful. Which we did.

Is that all the food we're going to get for this post, you may well be wondering?

Fear not, I've saved the best til last. Well, the best information, but not the best photos I'm afraid (the lighting was against my little point and shoot). This camping trip was what I like to term "soft" camping (ie easy camping). We'd actually pitched our tent in a caravan park, which meant hot showers, electricity, pool, lots of entertainment options for the kids and a proximity to civilisation and restaurants.

As part of Pop Hand's birthday celebrations, we'd booked ourselves a spot at the Back Deck Bar and Grill. It's always a bit hit and miss, making internet bookings based on a handful of reviews of unknown origin, but we lucked out. The dinner turned out to be fabulous. I must admit I'm easily swayed when there's pork belly on the menu, but everyone agreed that the food was pretty darn good.

The menu is a bit small - about 3 or 4 starters, 3-4 entrees and I think 5 mains, but the dishes we had were handled very confidently. It was a joy to sample pork belly that was crisp, smooth, silky, meltingly creamy and rich all at the same time. Nana Hand pronounced that her fish was cooked just right, and Mr. Kitchen Hand was very satisfied with juicy chicken enrobed in a crisp golden skin. The mini-critics chose something off the kid's menu and were rewarded with  house- made gnocchi and a slow cooked ragu, which they polished off in no time at all. (The rest of our table had either the pork belly or the fish).

Babe does Stonehenge

Nana Hand's fish

Dessert wasn't bad too, but a tad heavy on the creamy, milky, confections, and a little bit predictable - panna cotta, sticky date pudding, creme brulee, tiramisu. By the time we came to order dessert, the tiramisu was all gone so if popularity is any indication, it must be worth having. Our table had helpings of the sticky date pudding and a creme brulee instead. Both very good, but I would have liked a touch more "excitement" from the choices. To be fair, that's just because I like desserts and continually obsess about them so I guess I'm a bit jaded.

Overall though, the ambience, service and food all helped create a perfect night out.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say it was a perfect weekend getaway, and I'd definitely like second helpings if anyone's offering?


3 hungry tummies said...

Must be a good time to go away, it is still fairly warm without the big crowds! Glad to hear you had a great time!

msmeanie said...

Aww..what lovely photos! The cake looks awesome and very festive. And OMG, the breakfast looks amazing. With breakfast like that, I'm sure you wouldn't want to skip it!

Xiao Yen Recipes said...

Yes, time seems to fly by so quickly. I think it's because we have like a gazillion things on our mind and a gazillion things to do. I try to refocus by not thinking and just let my mind remain free so I can take it what's happening at the moment.

JT @ areyouhungary said...

Looks like a pretty good weekend away, especially the breakfast!

grace said...

stonehenge in food form--i love it. i also love the shot with the reflection in the shimmering sand. terrific!

Anh said...

Such a wonderful trip you had there! :)

I am not a morning person either, always a bitmore grumpy in the morning.

Barbara said...

I know. Time flies when you are having such a great time!
Your photos are marvelous!

The Real Mother Hen said...

Nice post! The days are getting warmer here too, yup, Spring is here, and Summer will be just around the corner (at least I hope so) :)

Oh I admire you for eating pork belly. You know, despite growing up as a Straits Chinese in Penang, I have never attempted to eat pork belly, along with other exotic food like chicken feet etc. I must be a pseudo Chinese.

Hungry Dog said...

I thought I already commented on this, perhaps because I have read this lovely post several times! :) love the photos--they are absolutely gorgeous. The cake is too cute. And, someone get me some of that pork belly. Pronto.

shaz said...

Thanks everyone!

3 hungry tummies - Funnily enough it was quite crowded, but nice and warm.

msmeanie - the cake was very well received:)

Xiao Yen - great thinking.

JT - yes we did!

grace - thanks.

Anh- I think it's cause I stay up way past my bedtime!

Barbara - it sure does.

The Real Mother Hen - lol! I love pork belly but same with you on the chicken feet, not going there!

Hungry Dog - I get that way sometimes, I read a post, but it's late so I go to bed, then I think I've commented but haven't. Go the pork belly :)

dessert girl said...

I actually really love that cake! So fun!