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OK, so its May and I’m STILL working on posting all the pictures from our March/early April adventures.  Rather than give you the impression that I am ambivalent or lazy, please note this is due to the sheer abundance of fun had by all (partially offset by the necessary balance of work and picture weeding).

So needless to say, we had a blast during Lisa & Matt’s trip, hot on the heels of the parents visit and our hiking adventures.  We meet the  jet lagged couple in Sydney for the Easter weekend, and showed them our favorite sights in the city.

On Saturday morning, it was off to the Blue Mountain. Just an hour’s drive as the crow flies (but certainly NOT as the traffic accumulates) east of the city, rich gum tree forests earn the Blue Mountains their name, as a blueish fog settles on the hills through a combination of mountain climate and aerial eucalypt oils.  We stayed in a cute little house in the middle of a bird paradise, managed to rope Lisa & Matt into the stairmaster of all hikes and only got a little lost along the way, and enjoyed ourselves a serene dawn-hike over (literally) the Wentworth Falls.

Check out the pictures on the photos page.

After we returned to Melbourne, we had a whirlwind week to show them the best side of our city.  And although it may not have an internationally recognized opera house, it does have a golf course that’s home to hundreds of kangaroos.  So on their sunny last Saturday down under, what else could we do but journey down the Great Ocean Round and play a round at Anglesea Golf Course?  I played photographer to what I’d like to call golf-a-roo…

Thanks Lisa & Matt for the visit!!

When Steve’s parents were here, we took a week long vacation with them to two Australian islands–Kangaroo Island and Hamilton Island.  Cathy had always wanted to visit Kangaroo Island for the up close and personal encounters with Australian wildlife. Dave’s life long dream was to see the Great Barrier Reef.  So for their visit, we spent 4 days off the rugged southern coast at Kangaroo Island, and 5 days in Queensland on an island in the Great Barrier Reef.

(c&s W at Seal Bay, Kangaroo Island)

A pretty great way to see two vastly different parts of this great continent if you ask us!  The first part of our adventure started in Kangaroo Island.  Pictures and story of our adventures on Kangaroo Island are on the out and about and photos pages.

(Australian and New Zealand fur seal pictures are definitely worth a gander!)

During Leah & Jordan’s recent trip, we rented a 4-sleeper campervan and embarked on a vacation, Aussie-style.  Roadtrip!  After deciding in the 24th hour to completely change our course, we set off on the tantilizingly close and beautiful Great Ocean Road for a 5-day adventure.

It was… spectacular. We were so happy to have shared these moments with Leah and Jordan, as we saw more native wildlife in 5 days than we have in our 9 months traveling around this great land.  And all no more than a 3-hours drive away!  It was a trip to be remembered.  The narrated story is on the out and about page, and a full slate of pictures up on the photos page.

More to come of our continued adventures in Melbourne proper when we returned from the great ocean road(trip)…

Two of Wes’ requests while visiting us in Melbourne were to see a kangaroo, and to eat a kangaroo.  A bit perverse, yes.  But, given that roo cooking was also one of my 2011 New Years’ Resolutions, I was game .  After a day out and about at Healesville Sanctuary visiting with kangaroos, we came home to roast up some kangaroo loin. 

After reading up on a few different recipes, I realized that kangaroo is like chicken – but red.  You can prepare it in a hundred different ways: seared filet, roasted or grilled, stir fry, stew, baked pasta with roo mince, you name it, you can do it with a roo. 

One thing I absolutely LOVE about living in Richmond is that within 2 blocks walking distance of our house  are a farmer’s market (Saturdays), butcher, deli, and bakery.  It’s pretty awesome.  So on Saturday morning, I popped over to the market to get some fresh heirloom heart tomatoes (like engorged roma tomatoes, with a hint of yellow coloring at the base), figs, and a handful of potatoes, and picked up the kangaroo loin I’d pre-ordered at the butcher. 

About an hour before it was time to feast, I marinated the loin in a rosemary and garlic olive oil rub. 

When it was time to eat, we seared the loin quickly in a saute pan, rolled it in a dry rub of jerk, onion salt, heaps of black pepper and a bit of ground mustard, and into the oven it went.  It is a bit of a tricky meat to cook (and I have to admit I have gotten better, but still not really mastered the art of celsius convection oven cooking).  We cooked it for 20 minutes, let it rest, and carved it up.  It was superbly tasty, and soft and supple enough, but even I (the queen of chargrilled meats) agreed it could have been just a tad rarer.  I think 12-15 mins at 180°C is the sweet spot, and be sure to let it rest a full 5-8 minutes before carving.

Serve on top of garlic mash, with roasted tomatoes and green beans, and figs (basted in balsamic, honey and with a slice of parmesan on top) on the side, and a robust (preferably decanted) pinor noir.  Voila!

1 down; 9 to go in 2011!

Pictures from our day out and about at the Melbourne Zoo are up!

We saw a kangaroo! We saw 10 kangaroos! We saw a troop of kangaroos! Nannahannaha… (Sorry, just realized you can’t see me doing my little happy dance).

And no, I’m not going to post the pics on the main page.  There’s no cutting to the chase here.  This was a long-awaited event.  And you’ll just have to read all about it….