Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Parsnips Bravas

The man and I have been busy preparing garden beds for growing vegetables recently. We are attempting this on a larger scale than our previous endeavours into vegetable gardening and have done a fair bit of research along the way. My mother in law lent me her copy of Stephanie Alexander's Kitchen Garden Companion, an incredibly useful resource for growing and utilising various fruits and veg which also includes lots of recipes, mostly vegetable based. In addition to taking notes from the relevant vegetable chapters for gardening tips, I also scanned through the recipes and took photos of several ones that captured my interest.

One of these recipes was Parsnips Bravas. Although I haven't had much experience eating Spanish food, Patatas Bravas is something I've been keen on trying as crispy potatoes paired with a spicy tomato sauce sounds like a dish I would adore. Parsnips are a vegetable I purchase on rare occasions, usually to roast or add to a soup and I can't recall making anything where they have had more of a starring role. I became enamoured with the idea of Parsnips Bravas and decided that Patatas Bravas would have to wait for another day.

It was a simple recipe to put together, the parsnips were cut into sticks and roasted with olive oil and sea salt. While they were in the oven a chunky tomato sauce with onion, garlic, chilli, smoked paprika and saffron simmered away on the stovetop. When the parsnips had finished roasting, it was only a matter of tossing them through the sauce and adjusting the seasoning.

Everyone loved the Parsnips Bravas. The sauce packed enough punch without being overwhelming spicy and I adored the flavour that the saffron stamens brought to the dish. We enjoyed this with a Fry's schnitzel topped with pizza sauce and vegan cheese, roast potatoes and steamed broccoli. This is a recipe I'll definitely be making again when I'm in the mood for eating parsnips.

Parsnips Bravas (Adapted from Stephanie Alexander's Kitchen Garden Companion)

250g parsnips
Olive oil spray
Sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 birds eye chillies (depending on your chilli tolerance)
200g fresh tomatoes, diced (or use ½ of a 400g tin of diced tomatoes)
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
A pinch of sugar
10 saffron strands

Preheat oven to 200C.

Cut parsnips into bite sited pieces (I cut a couple of sticks from the bottom and quartered the fat tops to make 6 pieces from each parsnip). Line a roasting tray with baking paper and spray lightly with olive oil. Place the parsnips on the tray, spray with additional oil and season with a pinch or two of sea salt. Roast for 45 minutes or until tender and golden, turning the pieces after 25 minutes.

While the parsnips are roasting, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a deep sided frying pan. Fry the onion and garlic over medium heat for 8 minutes or until softened and beginning to colour. Add the chilli, tomatoes, smoked paprika, sugar and saffron and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce will be thick and spicy after this time. When the parsnips have finished roasting, toss them through the sauce and season with additional sea salt if required.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Around the world - Stopover 27 - Armenia

After the conclusion of Vegan MoFo 2012, I boldly stated that my MoFo theme of around the world cooking was likely to continue on a weekly basis. Three of these themed posts were published in November, followed up with two posts in December and just a single one in January. The momentum for around the world posts may have waned a little but be assured they will still appear from time to time. Armenia has proved a little challenging to cross off my list as I cooked this meal almost three months ago and never got around to writing it up!

It didn't take long to decide what to cook for Armenia, when I saw mention of Armenian pizzas called Lahmajoon my mind was made up instantly. Lahmajoon are thin based pizzas traditionally topped with minced meat, vegetables, spices and herbs. The freshly baked pizzas are drizzled with lemon juice and folded around some raw vegetables. After looking up a few recipes, I preferred the sound of one on Taste of Beirut and adapted my version from there.

I've never been much of a TVP fan, I haven't used it much and can't recall a single recipe where it has made a really good impression on me. I decided to give it another chance as it seemed like the simplest substitute and it was also a good chance to clear out the pantry a little. After the dough was prepared and in the rising phase, the rehydrated TVP was processed with onion, green capsicum/bell pepper, garlic, parsley, chilli flakes, allspice, tomato paste, paprika, roasted red pepper strips and fresh parsley to make the topping for the lahmajoon.

The original recipe stated that it made 25 pizzas so I halved the quantities for the dough and rolled it out into 12. I rolled these out in batches fitting two pizzas to a large roasting tray lined with baking paper. They only took 8 minutes to cook and while a tray was in the oven I was busy preparing the next batch.

After sampling the first batch, the salt and spice flavours seemed lacking so I added additional sat and chilli to compensate. The rest of the lahmajoon were a lot tastier with these minor tweaks. The TVP did a decent job as a meat replacement on the topping yet it still hasn't won me over. Wrapping the lahmajoon around some fresh vegetables is how they are traditionally eaten, I enjoyed them this way although the man had ideas of his own. He preferred to tear off pieces of lahmajoon and dip them into hummus.

Lahmajoon (Adapted from Taste of Beirut)


1 ¼ teaspoons dry yeast
1 ½ teaspoons sugar
¾ cup lukewarm water
2 ¼ cups plain flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil (plus extra to coat the dough)

Place the yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar in a small bowl and cover with ¼ cup of lukewarm water. Stir well then set aside for 5-10 minutes until it becomes frothy.

Mix the flour, salt and remaining teaspoon of sugar together in a large bowl. Pour in the yeast mixture, ½ cup lukewarm water and olive oil. Mix until the ingredients come together then turn the dough out onto a clean bench and knead vigorously for 10 seconds. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, roll it around so it is coated evenly with oil then cover with a tea towel and allow the dough to rise for an hour or until it has doubled in size.

Filling & toppings

1 ½  TVP mince
1 ½ cups boiling water
1 small onion, roughly chopped
½ green capsicum/bell pepper, roughly chopped
¾ cup parsley, roughly chopped
1 ½ teaspoons chilli flakes
½ teaspoon allspice
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/3 cup tomato paste
40 grams marinated red capsicum strips
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
½ heaped teaspoon sea salt
Lemon wedges, for serving
Shredded lettuce, cucumber sticks, diced tomatoes, for topping

Place the TVP in a bowl, cover with boiling water and allow it to rest for 15 minutes until it has rehydrated. 

Transfer the TVP to a food processor bowl and add the onion, capsicum, parsley, chilli flakes, allspice, garlic, tomato paste, red capsicum strips, paprika, cayenne pepper (if using) and salt. Process until everything is finely chopped, stopping to scrape down the sides a couple of times if necessary.


Preheat oven to 200C.

Punch down the dough, divide it into 12 even pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Cover the dough balls with a damp tea towel to prevent them from drying out. Roll a piece of dough into a very thin pizza, then place it on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Spread a thin layer of the TVP mixture almost out to the edges using the back of a spoon. Roll out another lahmajoon if you have room on your tray. Bake in the oven for 8 minutes or until the edges are browned. Continue to roll out and top more lahmajoons whilst waiting for the batches to bake.

After removing from the oven, cool for a few seconds, scatter with shredded lettuce and cucumber sticks and drizzle with some lemon juice. Fold up and enjoy!


Did you know?

The total worldwide Armenia population is estimated to be 11 million although only 3 million Armenians actually live in Armenia! The remaining 8 million Armenians reside in other countries. Russia, the United States, France, Turkey and Lebanon have the highest populations of Armenians living outside Armenia.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Roasted tomato and basil soup

My mother in law kindly shares home grown fruits and vegetables with me when she has a surplus. I treasure these gifts whenever they appear and try to utilise this special produce in a recipe I haven’t tried before. The couple of tomato plants I grew last summer had a very short season as they were pulled up before we went on holiday so I was delighted to receive an assortment of standard and heirloom tomatoes from her recently.

An idea sprang to mind straight away – roasted tomato soup. As soon as the weather begins to cool down I always crave warm bowls of soup and aim to have a batch on hand for the days when there are no leftovers for lunches. I’ve previously made very tasty roasted tomato pasta sauces with home grown tomatoes and have wanted to try roasted tomatoes in a soup ever since.

I don't feel the need to seek out a recipe if I have a firm idea in mind. In these instances I trust my instincts and tweak the ingredient amounts (when necessary) after taste testing throughout the cooking process. This soup was kept very simple as I wanted the flavour of the tomatoes to shine, lentils were added for some protein as well as thickening the soup. After indecision about which type of stock power to include, I forgot to use any and simply seasoned the soup with sea salt after blending it.

Tomato soups create a divide throughout our household, the man and I adore them and the young man doesn't like them much at all. I'm not sure if that's the reason I don't make them as often as I should or perhaps it's just never cold enough for soup when tomatoes are in the height of their season. This particular soup turned out to have a wonderful creamy texture courtesy of the red lentils and the flavour of the roasted tomatoes paired with basil was lovely. It was an uncomplicated bowl of soup I'm looking forward to making again next tomato season.

Roasted tomato and basil soup
Serves 4

1 kg tomatoes
3 – 4 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium carrot, diced
1/3 cup red lentils
3 cups water
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
30 basil leaves, chopped

Preheat oven to 220C. Cut tomatoes in half and place cut side up on a roasting tray. Drizzle with 2-3 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with a few pinches of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tomatoes are very soft and juicy.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a stockpot and sauté the onion, garlic and carrots over medium heat until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the lentils and water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

When the tomatoes have finished roasting, add them to the stockpot along with all of the juices from the roasting tray.

Puree the soup with an immersion blender or in batches using a blender. Return the blended soup to the pot, season with sea salt to taste and stir through most of the chopped basil leaves. Allow to reheat, then serve garnished with additional chopped basil and freshly cracked black pepper. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Esperance and the drive home

Norseman marks the start/end point of the Nullarbor crossing, from this town there are two main roads leading to Perth. The first is via the historic mining town of Kalgoorlie which we visited on our way over and the other takes you through the seaside town of Esperance. Before commencing our long drive home we planned to spend two nights in Esperance at a caravan park until I made a last minute discovery of some moderately priced pet-friendly accommodation. After an eight hour drive it was great to be able to check-in to the studio unit and not have to bother about unpacking and setting up camp.

Although the unit was equipped with a kitchenette I was tired from the drive on our first night so once again we ate heat and eat curries. Different varieties of the Tasty Bite curries had been available at the majority of decent sized supermarkets, punjab eggplant had remained one of our favourites throughout the trip. It wasn't until Margaret River that I spotted a different brand called Maharajah's Choice. The range in this brand wasn't as diverse, dhal tadka and saffron rice were the only ones I was able to find that were vegan.

Before leaving Cowaramup I picked some silverbeet/swiss chard and spinach from the garden, cooked them together and sealed them in a snap lock bag. The greens were stirred through the dal to provide some additional goodness. I went slightly overboard with the greens as they dominated the dal slightly too much yet I was still able to determine that this brand had a more interesting blend of spices than the Tasty Bite variety. The saffron rice wasn't terribly exciting, it was nowhere near as good as the basmati rice and peas we ate in the Pattu range.

Heavy rain and thunderstorms set in overnight and the weather was still looking very glum the following morning. We had planned to tour around the Esperance beaches some of which have been voted as Australia's best. As the rain looked like it was going to stick around for a while, instead of checking out the local beaches we took an hour long drive to Wharton Beach in the hope that we would out drive the bad weather.

The rain and heavy clouds followed us the whole way although it started to clear a little when we reached Wharton Beach. We had some fun with Ollie on the pristine, isolated beach with the whitest sand I've even seen before hopping in the car and heading back to Esperance. The weather was clearing when we reached Esperance so we took a shorter drive along the coast to marvel at more stunning beaches (top photo - lookout over Blue Haven beach).

Twilight Beach was named Australia's best beach in 2006. The white sands combined with crystal clear waters and tranquil rock surroundings were simply breathtaking. It was one of the only beaches where dogs were not permitted which didn't matter as the beaches just around the corner were equally gorgeous spots where you could exercise dogs.

The man was exhausted after so much driving and given we had to hit the Nullarbor the next day I suggested that he have an afternoon nap while I did some final bits of food shopping, filled up the car with fuel and took Ollie for a last romp at the beach. This was my best solo decision of the holiday as I spotted a pod of dolphins surfing the waves about 50 metres offshore. I watched them in awe and neglected Ollie's ball game until they eventually disappeared. Even though the sky became full of heavy clouds once again, it was the most perfect ending to the trip!

For dinner we ate a big bowl of spaghetti with a bolognese styled sauce topped with grated Vegusto piquant cheese. I usually make this type of sauce with lentils but couldn't find any dried or tinned lentils at a smallish IGA so I bought a tin of 4 bean mix instead. The sauce also included carrots, mushrooms and zucchini with a touch of chilli. I made a big batch of sauce as I figured it might be an easy meal to eat while travelling home.

After departing Esperance we had three full days of driving to get home which also meant two nights of setting and packing up camp. In the afternoon we started discussing possible stop off points for the night and the man asked how I would feel if he kept on driving. The only concern I voiced was regarding wildlife, night driving in these areas is considered extremely dangerous as it's when the animals are most active. Colliding with kangaroos or wild camels has claimed the lives of many drivers. I probably haven't mentioned before now that the man drove the entire time we were away!

Without going into all of the details, we did continue driving and made it home the following evening. Just under 3000 kms in 36 hours and neither of us had a wink of sleep! It was a crazy thing to do and I wouldn't recommend anyone do the same. The drive had some harrowing moments such as almost running out of fuel because there were no 24 hour service stations on the Eyre Peninsula, passing a huge kangaroo on the opposite side of the highway in the middle of the night, big groups of kangaroos grazing by the side of the road in the night, peak hour traffic in Adelaide, long weekend traffic and road works between Adelaide and Melbourne and more peak hour traffic when we made it back to Melbourne. We did manage to have a lengthy stop in a nice park in Adelaide to stretch Ollie's legs as well as our own.

After such a long drive it was wonderful to be home, especially as we had the young man and our cat Monty waiting for us. The entire trip was such an enjoyable travelling experience which has fuelled my passion for further road trips around this vast country. Over the past month we saw kangaroos, emus, dingos, goannas, lizards, frogs, dolphins, turtles, sting rays, colourful reef fish, water birds, birds of prey, parrots and a beautiful owl in Kalbarri. The total distance we travelled was almost 13,000 kms.

That brings me to the end of my travel posts. The emphasis wasn't solely on food so I apologise for that and thank you all for reading along. More food focussed blogging will be back very soon!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Back through Perth to the Margaret River region

During our time in Perth a family friend kindly offered us accommodation at her property in Cowaramup near Margaret River, about 3 hours south of Perth. This had been playing on our minds during the camper trailer trip and after weighing up the logistics of where to go after Shark Bay we decided to head down south and return the camper trailer early. In order to make it back in time to collect the keys we endured a 10 hour drive which then gave us a rest day in Perth for cleaning up the camper trailer, eating out and enjoying a final swim at the lovely Perth beaches.

After heading back to PAWS for more food shopping and devouring another delicious falafel for lunch we attempted to go for a swim. Stingers (jellyfish with stinging tentacles) were littered across the shoreline of several beaches and clearly visible in the water which was odd as we hadn’t noticed a single one a couple of weeks earlier. As the weather was very warm, we braved the water momentarily to cool off although it wasn’t the relaxing swim we had been hoping for. A bushfire burning in the nearby Swan Valley sent clouds of smoke creeping over the otherwise clear blue sky.

We ordered take-away from Sri Melaka for dinner once again and had an alfresco meal in Kings Park. All of the meals on our first night in Perth were so good we wanted to eat them all again, even though we didn’t have the young man around to help us out this time. We couldn't resist trying some entrees and snacked on crunchy spring rolls and curry puffs. Along with main dishes it was way more food than we needed which didn't matter as the leftovers were devoured the next day. Pictured on my leftovers plate is "beef" rendang, mee goreng noodles and kangkong belacan. 

I’ll never forget our arrival at the Cowaramup property as it was like being in the lovliest dream I never wanted to wake up from. After meeting our friend at the front gate we drove down a long driveway with rows of grape vines on one side and a lake on the other. This wasn’t just any old property we had been invited to stay at, it was a huge vineyard with a tastefully decorated luxurious home overlooking an enormous  lake. Our friend showed us around the house and vegetable garden and then left it in our hands as she was staying elsewhere with family over the long weekend.

Ollie amused himself all afternoon trying to work out how to catch ducks and the hundreds of other resident water birds, thankfully without success. The man and I slowly unpacked and told each other a million times that the change of plans had definitely been our best holiday decision. When it was Ollie's bedtime we realised that his mattress had been left outside on the front verandah and discovered that a large frog had made it a temporary home. Ollie's fur is strewn across the front of it's nose.

Waking up to this view the following morning was rather surreal.

Followed by a leisurely walk around the lake and through the vines to sample some grapes.

It had been leisurely until Ollie spotted a young kangaroo! Ollie was right on the heels of the poor frightened creature at the beginning of the chase. They ran up and down the rows of vines until we lost sight of them for ages, eventually Ollie reappeared looking exhausted but very disappointed his fun game was over.

The walk worked up our appetites and it was inspiring to have an expansive kitchen at my disposal so I made a tofu and mixed veg stir fry for lunch. The sauce was thrown together from items in my portable pantry in addition to items at the house. From memory it contained soy sauce, garlic, sambal oelek, rice vinegar, sugar and sesame oil. Apart from being slightly too salty from an overload of soy sauce it was a fine meal and one I would like to replicate at home.

Lunch was followed up with a slightly less healthy dinner of pizza! We had been craving pizza ever since our disappointing one at Loving Hut. This was one of the main reasons we stopped off at PAWS, to purchase Cheezly and Redwood cheatin' pepperoni for pizzas. The man always loves a simple margherita and this one was enhanced with some fresh basil from the garden.

The other pizza was Mexican styled. I mashed a tin of Coles Mexican beans with some tomato paste and hot sauce to spread on the base and topped it with red onion, red capsicum/peppers, mushrooms, vegan pepperoni and cheezly. The dried out spinach on top that was procured from the garden was supposed to go on top of the bean layer but it was forgotten until the pizza was fully assembled and about to go in the oven. Regardless of my error, the pizza tasted great and the crunchy spinach provided a interesting texture.

A cooking relic in the house that captured my interest was a bean cutter. I have clear memories of my mum and grandma using these devices throughout my childhoood. Green beans are fed into the holes at the top and then you wind the handle whilst placing pressure on the beans. I don't think I ever ate a whole bean as a child, they were always sliced using one of these machines!

The days dwindled away quickly and we really hadn't seen anything at all in the region as we found it difficult to leave the magical property for long. The man suggested that we visit one of the nearby caves as he had fond memories of seeing them as a child and left it up to me to decide which one. I booked us in for a tour of the Lake Cave which begins with a descent down 300 steps through karri forest into a doline - a hole in the earth's surface.

True to it's name the Lake Cave contains a permanent lake in it's chamber. The main feature of the cave is called the "suspended table", an impressive formation which is the result of the fusion of stalagmites and stalactites and weighs several tonnes.

As we were due to hit the road again, our final meal needed to use up the frozen goods we had remaining. On my plate is a couple of Linda McCartney sausages with fried onions and gravy, mashed potatoes and some mixed frozen vegetables which were sautéed with garlic and a dash of soy sauce. 

Neither of us were ready to say goodbye to this beautiful place. Camping had lost its appeal after this comfortable instalment of our journey, and we weren't looking forward to the long drive across the Nullarbor back home either.  

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Kalbarri, Coral Bay and Shark Bay

After farewelling the young man at Perth airport, the man and I picked up our portable accommodation for the next 14 days – a camper trailer. Although we were already equipped with our own small tent, we figured that this style of tent would be easier to assemble and pack up and would also give us more space to organise our belongings. We didn’t have a firm itinerary at this stage, our goal was to travel to Coral Bay (approximately 1100 kms north of Perth) stopping off in places for as long as we felt and being mindful of local weather forecasts due to the cyclone season.

In addition to hiring the camper trailer we also rented a portable fridge/freezer and had been under the impression that it could run off the camper trailer battery or our car battery while we were travelling. I had done a bit of homework and pencilled in many bush camps along the way which sounded like peaceful waterfront locations. After discovering that the fridge/freezer hadn’t been charged and the camper trailer battery would only last for one night without power some quick re-planning was in order.

We resigned to staying in caravan parks for this leg of our trip for the sole purpose of electricity. After a quick overnight stop in Jurien Bay we drove to the town of Kalbarri, right on the edge of Kalbarri National Park. I had previously written off Kalbarri as I didn’t think we would be able to camp here with Ollie but it turned out I was wrong. The small town is located just outside the boundaries of the National Park on the mouth of the Murchison River. Along the coast were several dog friendly beaches we were thankful for as the daytime temperatures were around 40C. We enjoyed several trips to the stunning Red Bluff beach (pictured below) and were usually the only people there.

The caravan park we stayed in was one of the nicest on our trip, our camp site had an outlook to the river and a swimming pool was nestled amongst the gum trees. As I didn’t take any food shots at Kalbarri, I’ve included a photo of this rather cute long nosed dragon who was peacefully enjoying basking in the hot sun.

During our stay at Kalbarri most of our fridge items became frozen and we were informed by the hire people that the configuration was 80% freezer, 20% fridge and not the other way around as we had initially thought. Thankfully we still had our esky/car fridge with us and were able to use that for cooling things without freezing them! On our drive up to Coral Bay we passed through the larger town of Carnarvon and I made use of the freezer by stocking it up with bags of mixed frozen vegetables as it was difficult to keep produce fresh in such hot temperatures for any length of time.

Coral Bay is a tiny tourist town situated on Ningaloo Reef, the largest fringing reef in Australia which is renowned for being a temporary home to the whale sharks during their annual feeding season. Snorkelling is accessible as little as 50 metres offshore which is ideal for beginners and youngsters. Unfortunately for us, an impending cyclone further north by the name of Rusty brought some gusty winds to Coral Bay which made the conditions for snorkelling rather challenging. Even though all of the area surrounding Coral Bay is a marine park there was still one beach where Ollie was allowed to run free and the man and I could alternate snorkelling attempts. We spotted lots of colourful fish of varying shapes and sizes as well as the occasional sting ray.

Every afternoon, there was a fish feeding session in the bay so I went along one day to check it out. A marine biologist spoke to the tourists standing around in knee deep water about the types of fish that usually visit during the feeding times as well as the other species which hide amongst the reefs. The hungry fish were extremely bold and not afraid to brush against your legs, some of the fish were rather large and a number of tourists were afraid of getting too close. Everyone was given a handful of food pellets to drop into the water slowly, if you dropped too many in at once the fish would fight over the food. Hand feeding was strictly prohibited as humans can pass on germs and the fish are likely to bite with their sharp teeth.

Even though the weather wasn't ideal, it was difficult to leave Coral Bay as we had travelled over 4000 kms from home and this was the turn around point of our journey. After starting to drive back towards Perth we made a detour at Shark Bay, a World Heritage Area. The region of Shark Bay is home to Monkey Mia, a popular tourist destination due to the daily feeding program of bottlenose dolphins which have been visiting the shallow waters for over forty years.

The number of dolphins that choose to visit the feeding area varies on a day to day basis. The feeding program is only a supplementary part of the dolphins diets. To ensure that all of the dolphins are still hunting for themselves and not becoming reliant on hand feeding, the number of fish each dolphin is fed on a given day is accounted for and strictly limited. We were fortunate to be there in low season and arrived in time for the last feeding session of the day which the least number of tourists attend. In high season the beach and jetty can be lined with hundreds of people straining to view the dolphins, I counted 25 people attending our session.

It was a beautiful experience watching the dolphins swimming a couple of metres away from you. Small turtles were also clearly visible swimming around in the clear waters, rays and sharks were spotted in the distance jumping into air. The man and I rotated between standing in the shallows with the dolphins and holding Ollie on the beach who was fascinated with the huge dark shapes bobbing about in the sea.

On the road to seeing the dolphins I called out to the man to slow down when I spotted a couple of emus further ahead on the road. By the time we reached them one had disappeared into the bushes while this bold one was happy to stick around for a few photos. He wasn't afraid of us and would have stuck his head inside the car if the man hadn't quickly wound up the window.

Although the dolphins are the main attraction, there are plenty of other interesting areas to see in Shark Bay, being a World Heritage Area most of them weren't dog friendly so we stuck with the places we were allowed to visit. Our favourite spot was called Little Lagoon which really wasn't so little. Shallow - yes, little - not really. It's a serene location with a few picnic tables and free BBQs sparsely located around the perimeter of the lagoon. After an initial visit we decided to return for a sunset BBQ and enjoyed a Fry's hamburger there (pictured below with Ollie blissfully chasing seagulls in the background).

I do apologise for the lack of food shots in this post, be assured that I’ll make up for it in the next couple of posts. Sunsets before 7pm meant that we were rarely eating dinner in decent light which wasn’t ideal for taking photos of meals. The few food photos I have included are the only ones I took during this part of our trip even though we did eat more a lot more than burgers. Once again, we relied on Indian heat and eat curry packets after long days of travelling and setting up camp as they were quick and easy to prepare. Some of the other meals I cooked on the camper stove were Thai red curries with tofu and vegetables and Linda McCartney veggie sausages and onions with vegetables. We ate baked beans on toast a few times, sandwiches were our standard lunches and there was plenty of snacking on nuts and fresh fruit in between meals.

We ended up cutting our camper trailer trip short but this was for a good reason. I’ll fill you in on the details in the next post!