Three Bears Kitchen, Newcastle

It seems like every week there’s a new eatery springing up in and around Newcastle. I’m not complaining! Three Bears Kitchen is the latest cab off the rank and from all signs so far, it is juuuust right. (Sorry, Three Bears reference, you know.)

Shakshuka | Three Bears Kitchen | lizniland.com

I find it hard to go past a Shakshuka, especially one that is labelled as such rather than the more generic “baked eggs and tomatoes”. It holds more promise, I think. This was superb with just the right amount of heat, without feeling like I was sweating off my freshly applied make up.

Breakfast with friends | Three Bears Kitchen | lizniland.com

I’ve been to Three Bears Kitchen twice now – the above snap was a “Stop! Nobody touch anything til I take a photo!” moment with my Ladies’ Breakfast crew. Yes, I’m that guy girl. Bottom left was my porridge (don’t worry, you’ll get the close up below); the two top dishes are the Bacon Butty filled with endless barbecue sauce, apparently; and the other one was the Green Machine: Poachies, avo, greens and sprouts.

Porridge | Three Bears Kitchen | lizniland.com

When in a cafe named Three Bears Kitchen, one cannot avoid the porridge on the menu; here it is a totally modern mix of red rice and quinoa with almond milk, rhubarb, berries, figs & pistachios.

The coffee was on point too – I enjoyed a couple of long blacks and no complaints were made by the milk coffee drinkers.

I didn’t take a snap of the interior – can’t photo, eating – but it’s obvious that the people behind the beautifully-decorated Rustica had a hand in the striking, faux-broken down industrial stylings.

Welcome to Newcastle, Three Bears Kitchen!

x Liz

Photo note: All by me, on my trusty iPhone & slightly touched by ABM Actions.

#The100DayProject: 100 days of posts

I’ve decided to attempt the 100 Days Project.

100 days project | lizniland.com

Participants are encouraged to pick a creative pursuit they want to practice daily & stick with it for 100 consecutive days, chipping away at a bigger work or knocking over a bunch of tiny projects day-by-day.

From the site:

It’s a celebration of process that encourages everyone to participate in 100 days of making. The great surrender is the process; showing up day after day is the goal. For the100-Day Project, it’s not about fetishizing finished products—it’s about the process.

I’ve decided this website is my project. I have perfectionist paralysis – I take ages to write something & then never hit publish until I’m 100% ready. (Apologies in advance for the typos and under developed thoughts that will no doubt make their way in.)

It’s time to change that – I’m committing to posting daily. Short posts, images, lists, rants, long posts if I get the time & inspiration: it’s all happening.

I’ve decided to take the pressure off creating my own images for this project – my goal is to focus on writing – so while I won’t be hanging up my camera necessarily, I will be using Death to Stock Photo regularly to complement my posts (and cut down on excuses).

Here goes nothing!

 

x Liz

P.s. If you’re keen to join me for 100 days of whatever your creative jam entails, head to the 100 Days Project to find out more.  

P.p.s. This post is totally counting as Day One.

Review: #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso

Review: #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso | lizniland.com

#GIRLBOSS is a part-autobiography, part-business advice book from Sophia Amoruso; the 30-year-old founder and CEO (until last month) of fashion e-tailer Nasty Gal.

I found this an easy, entertaining and inspiring read, perfect for those who are seeking more out of life than their current 9-5 job. And while it’s geared towards entrepreneurial types and career-driven individuals, I think it’d be an empowering read for any young woman – not just those aspiring to be the boss-lady either.

#GIRLBOSS was part of the A Beautiful Mess Book Club last year so I decided to write to the same questions they posed in their discussion.

1. What was something you related with?

As a comparatively straight-laced, straight-A-achieving, relatively untroubled kid, I thought it would be tricky to relate to Sophia’s story. Obviously dumpster diving & hitch hiking were not commonalities I could claim, but the striving to find your niche and succeed on your own terms was something that I really appreciated.

“I always suspected that I was destined for, and that I was capable of, something bigger”.

It may just be the ‘curse’ of the Gen-Y dreamer but I think the rebellion Sophia shows against a life of suburban mediocrity is inspiring. She is living proof that a laptop, a solid idea and hard work can get you places.

I also loved reading Sophia’s approach to feminism.

“#GIRLBOSS is a feminist book, and Nasty Gal is a feminist company in the sense that I encourage you as a girl, to be who you want and do what you want”

I really identify with this kind of definition. Too many people, not just women, avoid labelling themselves as feminists thinking that it’s all about women. Obviously what women are able to do is a big part of it, but the whole “be who you want and do what you want” is a message that every man, woman & child the world over should hear & be able to live. Whether a bloke wants to run a business or do the 3pm school run (or both!) it should be just as supported as a woman’s right to do so too.

I’ve just finished reading Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg & it covers this concept heavily. I’ll write up a post on that soon – I loved it though!

#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso | lizniland.com

2. What was something you felt challenged by?

The chapter titled “Money looks better in the bank than on your feet” is definitely a challenging phrase to my ears. I wouldn’t say I’m irresponsible with money but my eyes do glaze over at talk of budgeting and spreadsheets.

In the fashion world, sensible financial chatter is rare – Carrie Bradshaw sums the general consensus up nicely with “I like my money where I can see it: hanging in my closet”. Sophia uses examples from both a more personal perspective and from the position of a #GIRLBOSS to show that this is not a sustainable attitude.

I’m lucky to have a partner that forces me into financials every so often but the messages in the book hit me loud and clear!

And the shoplifting was definitely challenging to my lofty ideals that everyone is always trying to be good and do the right thing! That said though, I love that by explaining the consequences of her actions, Sophia has the opportunity to discourage would-be wannabes without sounding hypocritically preachy.

#GIRLBOSS by Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso | lizniland.com

3. What was something you learned and put into action?

I was really surprised how much practical advice #GIRLBOSS had to offer. I’m working towards building my own business and although Sophia started Nasty Gal from the point of nothing to lose, her ability to just launch and learn is truly enviable.

“I was addicted to my business, and to watching it grow everyday”

It seems like the strict timelines of eBay really prepared Sophia for the consistency and dedication needed for following through with her business. Consistency is something I know I struggle with so #GIRLBOSS has provided a good kick up the butt to sort that shiz out.

#GIRLBOSS also drives home the overarching importance of absolutely nailing customer service.

“I just went with my instincts and treated my customers like they were friends” has arguably been one of the keys to Sophia’s success. By focusing on what her customers really want, and utilising a natural talent for content marketing, Sophia has created an authentic tribe of loyal followers. In her early business days, Sophia would post on social media and create a blog post about every eBay auction she had running, just to advise potential customers of what was available.

By legitimately filling a void in their lives, meeting their needs and solving their fashion and styling problems, she has been able to share her products with her followers without feeling all slimy-salesy.

And this. I want to read it everyday.

“Abandon anything about your life and habits that might be holding you back. Learn to create your own opportunities. Know that there is no finish line; fortune favours action.”

Fortune favours action: that’s something I’m going to put in action!

 

Have you read #GIRLBOSS? What did you think of it?

 

Image #1 by me, the others are from deathtothestockphoto.com.

Week of eats: Crackers, cafes & tasty event tucker

So let me just join everyone in saying: how on earth is it now February?! The year is flying already! In between the daily grind and getting stuck into wedding plans, there have been a few foods of note.

After making the seed crackers from Lorna Jane Clarkson’s Nourish over Christmas, I couldn’t wait to get another batch on the go (for those playing at home, I use buckwheat flour instead of spelt & mix in dried herbies). Accompanying the crackers for a happening happy hour is a cheeky wedge of blue cheese and some fresh fruit.

Cheeseboard  |  Latest Eats | lizniland.com

The Edwards is an all-day dining cafe/restaurant/bar which, not too long ago, was an industrial laundry. Serving deliciously home-style food, this place is a regular haunt of mine for brunch, lunch, dinner, coffee… Any time really! This is the Savoury Mince (sans toast) and it is both a delicious brunch and a foolproof hangover cure.

Savoury Mince at The Edwards | lizniland.com

A forever favourite, One Penny Black is a coffee-obsessed cafe with excellent eats. I’ve raved about them before (and if you follow me on Instagram you’ll probably know the extent of my fandom) but this Thai Beef Salad was a simple and delicious weekend lunch, especially when washed down with an iced long black.

Thai Beef Salad at One Penny Black | lizniland.com

I’m always surprised when food from a festival or a big event is actually good. This rice salad (with dried fruit & fresh herbs) was an unexpectedly tasty carb-up I had while waiting for Eddie Izzard to take the stage on the Sydney Opera House steps. He. Was. Hilarious. And given plenty of people gave me blank stares when I mentioned his name, if you don’t know who he is, go watch this and this and give him a good Google.

Rice salad  | Latest Eats | lizniland.com

The next morning, we schlepped up to Pablo & Rusty’s for breakfast and coffees. I settled on this toasted granola with sheep’s milk yogurt, truffled honey and vanilla poached strawberries. Michael went for the epic Rusty’s Breakfast Brioche, which was stuffed with organic free range bacon, banana jam, labneh, sorrel & dulce de leche. Craziness!

Granola at Pablo & Rusty's | lizniland.com

Here’s to a delicious February!

Crafternoon: How to make a pineapple vase

I’m in research mode for wedding decorations and this pineapple vase DIY idea keeps popping up in my social feeds. I had to test it out for myself and see if it’s just a Pinterest pipe dream or whether it’s legit enough to make it into my nuptial plans.

Crafternoon: Pineapple vase | lizniland.com

So! First things first, you’re going to need a pineapple and some flowers (duh) plus a decent knife, a spoon, a chopping board and a bowl for the scooped out pineapple chunks. (Or just eat it as you go. Not that I would do that. Ahem.)

Step by step pineapple vase - wedding DIY | lizniland.com

Slice the top off the pineapple, taking into account the size of the mouth you want your vase to have. Then, carefully shimmy the knife around the inside of the skin, trying not to stab into the side of the fruit.

Once you’ve cut out your circle, you’ll be able to slice diagonally into the flesh towards the skin to extrapolate (what a word!) the delicious chunks. The spoon will come in handy here. I found I needed to tip the juice out into the bowl every couple of slices too.

Note: If you do stab the side of the pineapple, you’ll be rewarded with a sticky puddle which will totally rain on your vase making and displaying parade.

How to make a pineapple vase | lizniland.com

Et voila! It should be looking pretty vase-y by now! To get my roses to stay where I wanted them, I had to trim my stems down a lot and I found I needed to stuff the base of the pineapple with some of the excess foliage. If you wanted to have more control over your flower arrangement at this point, sticking a glass or small jar inside the pineapple could help you out.

Wedding DIY - Pineapple vase | lizniland.com

I love the look of this vase and it was quite simple to pull together. However, it would be a tricky one to DIY for wedding decorations – I’m not sure how the little guy would hold up if you tried to make it the day before your ceremony and ain’t no bride got time for making pineapple vases on her big day! BUT if you have a crafty aunty or mate who could help you out, this would definitely be a stunning table decoration.

DIY pineapple vase - wedding decorations | lizniland.com

I didn’t keep the vase in action for very long and I didn’t put any water in to keep the flowers fresh (the jar tip I mentioned would probably be the key here!) so I’m keen to try it out again, maybe for a dinner party or other function.

Also, I now really want to make a pina colada cocktail and serve it in the pineapple. Next time!

Totally tag me on Instagram if you try this crafternoon!

Tell a girl she can… & help her make it happen

So #fitspo is massive but we’re all still overweight, undernourished and hating life. Now, we all know the well-documented benefits regular exercise has (here’s a refresher: reduced risk of chronic disease & improved mental health) but how many people do you know who just don’t make sweat time a priority in their schedule? According to government stats, it’s actually more than half of your mates!

“Nearly 60% of Australians do not undertake sufficient levels of physical activity, and many of us (almost 80%) usually spend 3 or more hours sitting during our leisure time”.

The below video is part of Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign and, right now, you should definitely watch it (it’s like 90 seconds long), fall in love with it (not hard) and share it with all of your friends (I know you know how).

I know how incredibly intimidating a boxing class can be if you’re pooped after hiking the stairs to a meeting (believe me, I’ve been there). But, you should never compare the beginning of your fitness journey to where someone else is at. There’s a good chance half the people doing that class probably started exactly where you are now.

I think the whole #fitspo craze has made exercise too intimidating for everyday people. What you don’t see on Instagram are the amazing genetics, the 7 years of daily yoga/weightlifting/running training and the daily meals of steamed fish and broccoli – not to mention the angst over editing the photo sufficiently & picking an appropriate filter! That’s why I love this clip so much – it’s all real girls doing real sports. That’s what we all need more examples of.

If you’re already out there leading the exercise charge by example, why not lend a friend a hand & help them get outta that 60% that need to move more. Invite them to a just-for-fun dance class, encourage them to join you on a regular lunch-break walk or even just send them this clip because you love it.

Exercise for yourself & your health – not to be skinny or to slim down for that upcoming wedding/birthday/reunion. Do it for you. And don’t worry what you look like – the sweatier the better I reckon!

Jean Paul Gaultier at the NGV

With a career spanning more than 40 years, it is perhaps not surprising that the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria took my friend & I more than 2.5 hours to make our way through.

Me at the gallery |  Jean Paul Gaultier @ NGV | lizniland.com

Gaultier is well known for the cone bra popularised by Madonna. The exhibition shows the evolution of this iconic garment, from the newspaper prototype sported by Gaultier’s teddy bear to the real deal straight from Madonna’s closet. His corseting skills made for a beautiful display.

Madonna | Jean Paul Gaultier @ NGV | lizniland.com

Corsets |  Jean Paul Gaultier @ NGV | lizniland.com

One of the things I loved about this exhibition was seeing dresses that I recognised from various publications over the years. The below dress was instantly recognisable from this recent Australian Vogue cover promoting the exhibition.

Catherine McNeil |  Jean Paul Gaultier @ NGV | lizniland.com

Another dress that I was excited to see was this glorious frock, worn down the catwalk by model Crystal Renn in 2006. While her size has varied over the years, Renn wore this as a curvier-than-your-average model & I remember being blown away seeing a woman on the catwalk who, while absolutely stunning, was quite obviously not from the same mould as the norm.

Crystal Renn's 2006 dress  |  Jean Paul Gaultier @ NGV | lizniland.com

The craftsmanship and detail of the more than 140 outfits on display was easy to see – every stunning detail was out in the open for all to admire. There’s no glass cases here and many of the more intricate designs are accompanied by the hours they took to create.

Urban Jungle |  Jean Paul Gaultier @ NGV | lizniland.com

Jean Paul Gaultier @ NGV | lizniland.com

The exhibit itself is split out into separate rooms, each reflecting a different stage in Gaultier’s career. A curated mix of clothing, photography, film and other media, it’s an engaging display that gives great insight into Gaultier’s professional life. He has worked with some of Hollywood’s biggest names and counts Aussies Kylie Minogue, Nicole Kidman and Cate Blanchett among his favourites.

Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition @ NGV | lizniland.com

The catwalk |  Jean Paul Gaultier @ NGV | lizniland.com

On display at the National Gallery of Victoria until February 8 2015, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk is a must-see for fashion-lovers. This exhibition shows just how much of an impact Gaultier has had on the fashion industry and popular style.

Week of Eats: New Year’s cheer in Melbourne

Before we get into the ins and outs of the eats, I have an exciting announcement to make following our Melbourne trip…

We're getting married | lizniland.com

Yay! Michael proposed as we were strolling around Melbourne’s King’s Domain Gardens and I excitedly accepted! Stay tuned for further developments & planning 🙂 For now though, back to your regular scheduled programming.


 

While we still made it to our favourites, our eats in Melbourne on this trip took us to a couple of new spots. One of the standout new-to-us eateries was BARRY. A short tram or taxi ride (we recommend tram if your taxi driver smells anything like ours did *shudder*) away in hip Northcote, BARRY has a creative menu full of inspiring food and drinks which are well worth the 20-minute wait for a table.

Coconut cold brew | Week of Eats: Melbourne | lizniland.com

Living in the coffee hub of Newcastle, it takes some impressive bean work to get us excited but this coconut cold brew was a winner. With an accompanying bottle of coconut milk for a dash to taste, it’s a refreshing take on caffeine.

It’s not all about the coffee here though: once the food landed on the table, it’s easy to see why this place is packed to the rafters at brunch o’clock.

Eggs benedict | Week of Eats: Melbourne | lizniland.com

Benedict eggs, slow braised free range ham hock, apple cider hollandaise and granny smith apple on a potato hash brown; don’t mind if I scrape every last morsel of it from my plate! Anyone cafe can do an eggs benny but this one was next level – creativity and quality produce are a killer combination.

Cumulus Inc is a long-standing breakfast favourite of ours in Melbourne but, while we’d sampled the wine list in the classy-but-cosy bar upstairs, we hadn’t been in for a dinner service. With no room at the inn downstairs, Cumulus Up had four stools free at the bar overlooking the kitchen for us and our two friends – jackpot!

Duck waffle | Week of Eats: Melbourne | lizniland.com

Now I know how much I love duck waffle, foie gras and prune. We feasted on most of the menu – including (but definitely not limited to) the steak tartare, the ricotta dumplings, the roast potatoes – and loved every mouthful.

Another favourite is, of course, Movida. It was lovely to share dinner there with our uninitiated friends. We revisited a couple of dishes (the menu doesn’t change a whole lot over time) but this Ajoarriero – salted cod roe with potato and piquillo pepper – was a delicious tapa I hadn’t tried before. And you can bet I kept it all to myself.

Salted cod roe | Week of Eats: Melbourne | lizniland.com

We totally indulged with the dessert menu too. I managed to post the almond parfait with lemon curd ice cream on Instagram before we forked in.

Fun fact: Aussie model Abbey Lee Kershaw was dining with us at Movida. Sure, she was at another table, but we knew who she wished she was chowing down with.

Late breakfasts and deluxe dinners resulted in low key lunches most days. A picnic of (bun-less) Grill’d is always an easy option, especially when you’re trying to find food in bustling St Kilda on a sunny day! Mmm sweet potato fries…

Grilld Melbourne | Week of Eats: Melbourne | lizniland.com

And sneaking in as the last entry in this round of Week of Eats, we have takeaway long blacks from Brother Baba Budan (left) and Cup of Truth (right).

Melbourne coffees | Week of Eats: Melbourne | lizniland.com

Both coffees were quality but bonus points go to Cup of Truth for the hidden location – I had no idea where Michael was taking me when we were getting to it! It’s tucked away in the Degraves Street subway station so don’t rely on your GPS knowing where the devil it is.

Hope you had a fabulous festive season!

Review: Nourish by Lorna Jane Clarkson

It’s becoming increasingly apparent, through whatever wholefood-focused eating plan you follow, that low-fat dairy, wheat-based filler and low-calorie pre-packaged snacks are old news. Nourish champions a movement for less dairy, meat and simple carbs and more veggies, fish and healthful fats like coconut, avocado and olive oil.

Review: Nourish by Lorna Jane Clarkson| lizniland.com

While it’s not groundbreaking stuff for those who’ve spent some time moseying around a paleo-inspired path, it’s a promising sign that young girls looking up to the designer of their tights and crop tops will fill up on more than just air and apples.

No regrets | Review: Nourish by Lorna Jane Clarkson | lizniland.com

Proving she’s got the chops for much more than dreaming up tank top designs and fitspo slogans Lorna Jane Clarkson’s recipes are mighty tasty and most are simple and quick to whip up. I’ve had this book for quite a few months now and it is a top shelf favourite.

Assuming you’re down with chia seeds, all up on gluten-free whole grains and hip to your nut “mylks”, Nourish is a totally accessible cookbook and healthy living manifesto which goes well beyond green smoothies and salads.

Breakfast smoothie | Review: Nourish by Lorna | lizniland.com

The recipes on the highest rotation are the frittatas and the Breakfast Smoothie (don’t tell Sarah Wilson what’s in it though – hello banana, honey & mango!). That smoothie gets varied depending on what’s in the fridge (I’ve subbed the banana & spinach for avocado & it worked a treat) and we usually eat a couple of eggs with it for added protein too.

The frittatas are a great way of using up leftovers too – an excess cooked chicken thigh, some sagging greens and scrapings of a forgotten jar of pesto have all made their way into this recipe. They’re those special recipes that, once you nail the basic format, you can choose your own adventure.

Frittata | Review: Nourish by Lorna | lizniland.com

This Christmas our young teenage nieces got a copy of this book. They’re at an age where the food they eat now will shape what kind of food they eat when they move out of home & have to fend for themselves. The girls are keen to learn about new foods and taste test different things so it’s a great time to get them excited about real foods.

The thing I like most about Nourish is, as the name suggests, the focus on nourishing your body – not on eating to a particular label or restricting anything in particular. By filling yourself up with good food and focusing on having things that your body needs, you can stay healthy without it becoming an obsession.

Lorna Jane is becoming a healthy living juggernaut but I couldn’t be happier with the message she’s peddling. Inspire away, LJ!

Creating terrariums at the Octopus’ Garden

Living in a two-bedroom apartment with a pint-sized balcony does not allow for a whole lot of green-thumb flexing. Creating terrariums though? That’s gardening I can get on board with! Terrariums are all over the place right now and it’s easy to see why: they’re customisable and hard to kill.

Creating terrariums | Octopus' Garden | lizniland.com

For our lovely Lee’s hen’s weekend (you might remember her fun & colourful engagement party) we took in a terrarium workshop at Octopus’ Garden in Long Jetty on NSW’s Central Coast.

Terrarium Workshop | Octopus' Garden | lizniland.com

A beautiful florist and workshop space, Octopus’ Garden is a treasure trove of flower power and general plant adoration. I fell in love with the below bouquet and spent plenty of time admiring the bunches of wildflowers, wall of ferns and other odds and ends that lined the walls.

Beautiful bouquet | Octopus' Garden | lizniland.com

Inside the Octopus' Garden | lizniland.com

As part of the workshop fee, we had expert tuition from one of the Octopus’ Garden owners and everything we needed to create two terrariums – one fishbowl-sized & one pint-sized. Our places were set around the table with a selection of succulents and buckets of dirt, pebbles, twigs & moss were passed around to bring it all together.

How to make a terrarium | Octopus' Garden | lizniland.com

Getting your hands in dirt and inhaling its earthiness is fantastic therapy, especially when you have great company to share the time with. It also helps that you get to take home the delightful fruits of your crafternoon labour.

My big terrarium | Octopus' Garden | lizniland.com

Lee picked up a few cute extras to incorporate into our terrariums which I totally recommend you do if you decide to try your hand at putting one together. While they were a bit lost in the bigger fishbowl-style terrarium, they look super cute in my smaller one.

My little terrarium | Octopus' Garden | lizniland.com

You’ll need to be willing to get dirt under your nails to enjoy a workshop like this – so it may not be for everyone – but I love the edition of these little living sculptures in my house. And the best bit? I only have to water them once a week. Perfect for busy plant mothers!

Week of Eats: Chiang Mai edition

If ever there was a week of eats worthy of a Week of Eats post, this most definitely would have to be up there! So as I mentioned in my Chiang Mai cooking school post, some of the best food I ate was what I cooked for myself. But, lets be honest, that’s a big some in a very delicious week!

Street kitchen | Week of Eats: Chiang Mai edition | lizniland.com

I have a friend who is mortified by even the concept of a three-second rule and slathers hand sanitiser on religiously before meals. It is these friends that will struggle in Thailand. I took the above photo while waiting for the below food… and that pad thai was an absolute ripper.

Street kitchen pad thai | Week of Eats: Chiang Mai edition | lizniland.com

While it can feel a bit strange to eat food from a kitchen like this, if it’s good enough for the locals, it’ll be perfect for you. When I was in China for a few months in 2008, those of us that ate local food avoided any hint of an off belly. Others that tried to find western-style food for most of their meals were the ones who struggled to maintain their delicate digestive balance.

Fried rice | Week of Eats: Chiang Mai edition | lizniland.com

On our first night in Chiang Mai, we weren’t quite sure where everything was and we were quite keen to find whatever food was easiest so we could just go sleep away the plane trip. We found a busy street-side restaurant (busy with locals is the key to success!) and I chowed into this simple fried rice and a mango & coconut milk smoothie – it was heaven to our bleary eyed selves!

Free Bird Cafe | Week of Eats: Chiang Mai edition | lizniland.com

I’d looked up a few cafes before we left on the trip and one that kept coming up as a winner was Free Bird Cafe. A fundraising arm for the not-for-profit Thai Freedom House, this cafe had vegan treats, coconut milk smoothies and coffees. Everything was delicious & pretty creative too: Michael got a coconut that came with an espresso which you’re encouraged to tip into your coconut. He was impressed!

Tom kha gai at Inpoo Food Shop | Week of Eats: Chiang Mai edition | lizniland.com

The Inpoo Food Shop became the #PNTHAILAND14 headquarters by the end of the trip. It’s where we had day 2 of our cooking classes and was across the road from our accommodation. Som is one talented lady in the kitchen. We’ve since tracked a tom kha gai down at a Thai restaurant back here in Newcastle but it just makes us miss Som’s version.

Cherng Doi Roast Chicken | Week of Eats: Chiang Mai edition | lizniland.com

Another notable restaurant was Cherng Doi Roast Chicken. Recommended by Nom Nom Paleo, this restaurant was the host of an all-in culinary ninja feast. I think a lot of chicken was probably harmed in the feeding of our group. It went to a good place though, a good delicious place.

Street food sausages | Week of Eats: Chiang Mai edition | lizniland.com

Given we were in Chiang Mai at the same time as the Yi Peng Lantern Festival, we got the opportunity to sample even more street food than what would normally line the streets of downtown Chiang Mai. Meatballs, grilled chicken and sausages galore were all on offer and made for good dinner fare.

Grilled banana skewer | Week of Eats: Chiang Mai edition | lizniland.com

But my favourite of all the things on skewers in Chiang Mai was undoubtedly the grilled banana. Served with a take-it-or-leave-it creme anglais dressing, these bananas were fascinatingly tasty – not squishy, barely caramelised and not too sweet. Food van people of Australia: get on to these – I want to eat them when I wander the markets here too!

When in Chiang Mai: Fresh food markets

On a Culinary Adventure with Paleo Nick and Steph from Stupid Easy Paleo it’s probably not surprising to know that we never strayed too far from food-focused activities.

Woman slicing papaya | When in Chiang Mai: Fresh food markets | lizniland.com

The fresh food markets dotted all across Chiang Mai were really interesting – not just for the photogenic subject matter, but also for the many different items on offer & the characters working there.

Fishmonger with live frogs | When in Chiang Mai: Fresh food markets | lizniland.com

There’s no Coles, Kmart or Woolworths – this is where you buy your food whether you own a restaurant or are just cooking for the family at home. Som, our chef-friend from the Inpoo Food Shop, often buys her curry paste fresh from the markets, along with all her other produce, to save time.

Bowls of spices and curry paste | When in Chiang Mai: Fresh food markets | lizniland.com

As westerners accustomed to often frozen but at least refrigerated, pre-packaged fresh food it was a little off putting to see piles of fresh meat and fish on display.

Butcher| When in Chiang Mai: Fresh food markets | lizniland.com

The thing is though, the fish is so fresh it’s still flapping about first thing in the morning and the meat is snapped up almost as soon as it’s put on display. The demand for produce seems to far outweigh the fresh food ready for purchase.

Fresh fish on ice | When in Chiang Mai: Fresh food markets | lizniland.com

Baskets of fish | When in Chiang Mai: Fresh food markets | lizniland.com

Chiang Mai is blessed with so many different types of fruit. Dragonfruit, jackfruit, the infamous durian, bananas, pineapple, papaya: the list goes on.

Colourful dragonfruit | When in Chiang Mai: Fresh food markets | lizniland.com

While we didn’t go near a durian, I tried dragonfruit and jackfruit for the first time and probably ate my weight in pineapples and bananas while I was in the country!

Bananas| When in Chiang Mai: Fresh food markets | lizniland.com

The fresh food markets of Chiang Mai are almost inescapable but they’re certainly worth exploring. It was such a great opportunity to learn more about the food and culture of Chiang Mai.

Check out my Chiang Mai tag to read my other posts about my Culinary Adventure.