If this is on the menu it’s my first choice

I know some people can’t stand to do this. They would rather order something else or even ask someone to do it for them. If you spend too much time thinking about it then yes, it can be disgusting and overly fiddly but my love for them is too great and everything becomes a journey to reach a destination especially when it comes to eating. I’m talking about prawns, fresh ones and the art of peeling them, either by hand or if the flavours are so great and cooked Chinese-style with lots of garlic and shallots then, in my mouth. I think my man thought it was some sort of party trick at first! However, there is nothing I love more than to go to the Fish markets, lining up and buying a kilo of fresh tiger prawns and sitting outside with my sleeves rolled up to peel and eat every one there and then. Lemon, mayo or not, it was a love that Dad introduced me to when I was around 4 years old and I have never looked back. Last year for Christmas I made a huge tray of prawns which were skewered and to prepare for the BBQ were doused in fish sauce, ginger, garlic, fresh baby chillies, soy sauce, palm sugar, coriander and lime zest. I did have help this time to peel 5 kilos of prawns (from my niece – it’s obviously in our blood) but it was by memory, a relaxing afternoon and golly, the end product was magnificent.

Day 1 we arrived into Hobart late afternoon and were famished by 7pm when we waltzed into Flatheads after a recommendation from Hotel Islington. Located in South Hobart, 5 minutes drive from the hotel it is a spot we were told where locals like to frequent and our immediate sight was the fresh seafood that was presented in more of a fishmonger style than fine restaurant. But all the same the fish looked fresh, had ample colour and plumpness and there was a huge variety to choose from. Our menu informed us about the 15 or so types available to eat from the more common barra to a childlike character type called Snotty Trevally (aka Blue Warehou) to one that seemed more like a fundraiser called Pink Ling. Our waiter demonstrated a good knowledge of what was in season, how it was to be cooked and matched our order to a fabulous local wine from Bream Creek.

First up and the entrees presented themselves to be Abalone cooked in a mustard seed-star anise broth for my man and 6 fresh prawns for me with a garlic toastie and aioli. Not the slightest bit fazed, prawns were peeled in a flash and sweetness was instantly savoured. Mains were equally as delightful (my Bouillabaise was the perfect choice for a cold first night) and we left Flatheads with full and warm bellies.

And if there is Spaghetti Marinara on the menu; it’s my first choice. The best so far was from an Italian restaurant on Hastings Street, Noosa QLD. It came with fresh papardelle in a steaming hot paper bag. Once ripped open, the tomato aromas awash with the fresh fragrant seafood was heaven in a bowl.

Flatheads @ 4 Cascade Road, South Hobart 7004.

Still in Hobart…a pop-up discovery

In any new place I go to; I love to roam, purposefully get lost and discover new things. I love wandering down streets and happening across a store by chance. Homewares, make-up and perfume, general womens clothing and gift stores usually entice and beckon me in from the street. The discovery of Luxe on Liverpool Street in Hobart was a lovely by-chance moment. It was both a treasure trove of many brands that I know and already love like Aesop, Camilla and Marc, Fleur Wood and Trelise Cooper and a welcome introduction to a new array of brands like Mimosa and Muccia. Luxe is a store one could spend hours in and its stock speaks for itself as there is obviously a very good buyer who sources unique pieces both locally and on a global scale. Each piece could be a staple as much as a one-off investment but every piece is worth having in one’s possession and it took all of my will-power not to walk out with more than one purchase. I wandered around the corner to peruse in Inside which satisfied my thirst for homewares and then suddenly found myself in a back lane where I was initially walking towards an apothecary-type store advertising perfumes on a blackboard in their window. Instead my eyes diverted to the right and I was lured to the store opposite where there was a small decal on the window identifying it as Hope & Harris.

Through the glass window I immediately saw pillows adorned with bold union jack prints, dark brown oil bottles, wrought iron bird cages hanging from the ceiling, old black and white bus rolls and walls of coloured silk scarves. The air was awash with a lingering vanilla fragrance from a burning candle and as soon as I entered the store I knew it was one of those stores where I would be picking up every object to look at and instantly adore.

I asked the shopgirl if there were other stores around like this only to learn and be educated on the concept of a pop-up store. The lady I spoke to had traveled around the world and bought up stock that took her fancy only to come home and find a vacant space to set up shop for a limited time until all of the stock was gone. Another trip would then happen and a second store would pop up later in the year with more loves to sell in a different location around Hobart.

Walking out of Hope & Harris with a new silk scarf, the concept got my mind twitching as I felt inspired and in awe of this lady who had a dream with no regrets. My only hope is that I keep discovering this pop-up store as I look forward to getting lost in it again!

Luxe @ 134 Liverpool Street, Hobart 7000

Inside Home & Gifts @ 90 Murray Street, Hobart 7000

Hope & Harris currently on Bidencopes Lane, Hobart 7000