Bernie’s Diner, Moss Vale

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Some years ago I began reading Sydney food blogs. The main reason was so that I would know the great places to go when we visited. As we usually day trip and somewhat rarely at that, I want to know where the great places are so we can visit.

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Sydney food bloggers often blog food from regional NSW when they travel and this is how I found out about Bernie’s Diner sometime around 2012/2013. I do not think it was very long between my reading about the place and us visiting. We have been back at least once a year since then – well it is about a 60km drive otherwise we would go more often.

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The owner was featured on SBS about a week before we went this on most recent visit so it was absolutely packed. Standing room only as you can see in that top pic there – all the booths were full and people were waiting for other people to leave so they could grab a booth. We just got a couple of chairs at this kind of breakfast bar that runs along behind one side of the booths.

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We usually go for the burgers here. I get the Waikiki, the other half changes up his order each time. This time he did a double cheeseburger with bacon and egg. We also get a serve of cheese fries. These are amazing. The regular fries are also excellent. I also splurge and have my one occasional soda – so occasional I can tell you exactly when the last one was – November 2016, when we last visited Bernie’s with Sephyroth.

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The things you need to know about Bernie’s Diner – BYO paper towel or napkins, because the provided napkins while authentic to the diner experience are not exactly built for cleaning up after one of these great burgers.

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There are bathroom facilities hidden out the back after you walk through a spare empty room – I would expect that room might soon be in use with booths and seating and quite rightly so given the amount of people visiting here these days. The sink in the toilets is only a half sink so that is also not very helpful with a good after-burger clean up.

Here is the owner, Ioannis Benardos, being interviewed on SBS. Here is the website with the menu, and here is their Facebook page but I warn you, liking it is going to make you hungry whenever food pics are posted. :)

food, Southern Highlands

The Berry Markets

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Berry 1896

There are exciting times ahead for the little town of Berry on the South Coast of NSW. The Princes Highway has run right through the centre of town for over a hundred years now, making this section of the highway a slow and tiresome part of the journey to the South Coast and making life dangerous for the tourists who visit and cross the highway without a pedestrian crossing or set of traffic lights.

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Soon, the Berry Bypass will open which will remove much of the passing traffic – a lot of that being large trucks – from the heart of this gorgeous town, leaving the traffic of those who actually want to visit Berry. This coming Sunday people will have the opportunity to walk the new bridge.berryloop2
You could catch the train down from Sydney if you wanted to do this walk – there will be a shuttle bus taking people from the station to the new bridge.
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The new bypass might not make a great deal of difference to the busy-ness of Berry on the first Sunday of each month, though – with the one exception of February.
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The Berry Markets are held at the Berry Showgrounds that day – depending on weather, they are sometimes cancelled if it is too wet underfoot – which is just a short walk from the main street and also a short walk from the train station which makes it easy for people to visit from Sydney. If the weather is good you can expect many people to descend, all decked out in their Berry appropriate outfits.

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You may see a lot of dogs. You know that saying every man and his dog was there, this is almost true at the Berry Markets. There are so many dogs, they get a cupcake stall. Sounds delicious!

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Big dogs, medium dogs, small dogs, all of them will be on the leash which I deeply appreciate.

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There is quite a range of things for sale at the Berry Markets. Everything from $300 real rabbit fur ponchos to plants and local produce to locally made jams and chutneys to glass paperweights.

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I suggest you bring a tote bag to place your purchases into. Depending on the time of year, in winter I recommend a beanie, scarf and gloves, and in summer you should bring sunscreen and a wide brimmed hat or baseball cap.

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There is also quite a range of food available, from locally made sausage rolls with gorgeous relish to corn on the cob to gozleme to Shanghai dumplings.
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The dumplings are awesome, FYI. But as the sign says, beware the hot soup inside!

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My personal must buy items from these markets are Lemon Myrtle moisturiser and Wasabi and Seaweed macadamia nuts from Batemans Bay Nut Roasting Company. But you can try all the flavours of nuts so don’t just take my word for it, pick the ones you like the best. The salt and vinegar ones are pretty awesome too.
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And when you are done at the markets, you can grab a gelato from Il Locale and then explore the town itself which I personally believe is one of the best shopping towns in Australia. And I have been shopping at a lot of places in Australia. You can buy everything from coffee mugs for less than $5 right up to $400+ reindeer furs.
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Yes that building is in the photo from 1896 – many of the buildings in that photo are still alive and well today. Berry might be able to get creative now with events held in the main street, something which they could not do without closing the highway in the past. I certainly hope they will and I am excited to see what will be possible once they open the bypass.

Berry, shopping

Quick Note

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No movie post this week, we have been too busy to watch movies. Part of the busy was an overnight trip to Canberra. We went to IKEA and picked up a few things, including another HODDE.

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One presently resides on the floor in front of my recliner. Something about this rug just makes me happy. If I could, I would cover the entire house with them!

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For now, I have settled for replacing an older rug in the Kitty Hang Out Area. This is a spot where the sun shines for much of the day. There are places for cats to sleep at varying levels, many including floor mats placed inside or on top of cardboard boxes.

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There is a pot of all the vegetables we did not eat over the last two and a half weeks bubbling away on the stove. Red capsicum, leek, one lonely carrot, cauliflower, zucchini, brussel sprouts and potato. It will be ready for lunchtime. Happy moments here!

Home

A Day Out & Il Locale, Berry

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I’ve had laryngitis and bronchitis this past week so I have been sticking close to home. But now The Other Half has two weeks off and this past Saturday we got out of the house.

At first we were just going to the chemist and to Bunnings, a local hardware store for those of you not in Australia. But one look at the carpark of Bunnings and we decided it was a HELL NO situation. Even the chemist carpark was packed, so much so the other half chose to stay in the car.

When I got back to the car we looked at each other and said what now – do we go back home? My outfit was not quite ready for that, so I suggested we head over to Berry to pick up some hand cream I have been wanting to get.

I am a member of a local food group here in the Shoalhaven – it is usually how I find all the local gems – and someone had recently posted photos of their meal from Il Locale. So as we were wandering about reading menus, I suggested we check out the menu at Il Locale. It turned out to be a great choice.

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Il Locale is best known for the amazing gelato they make on the premises. In fact strolling past you might not be aware that they do actually serve delicious food and coffee and they do it at very reasonable prices for Berry. Berry is the kind of place where a simple ham and cheese croissant could cost you more than $10. It is a bit “Up Money” on occasion.

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The Other Half chose his usual Egg and Bacon Roll. For $8, it was a bargain. The tomato chutney was *incredible*. It was so good I actually would have liked to buy it and take it home. I am not sure if it is for sale and they were quite busy when it was time to leave, so I couldn’t interrupt and ask. Next time.

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I went for the BLAT – Bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato. It was so delicious. We also had coffee which was the perfect temperature and so, so good.

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There are a couple of side rooms with tables for people to sit and eat, which you would not necessarily know from the street.

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They also have take away sandwiches ready to go. And sorbet and gelato. Don’t forget about the gelato! It was a nice – and rare these days – treat. We do not eat out very often since changing our diet to low sodium.

We went for a stroll through our favourite shops, I got my hand cream, and by the time we were done the Bunnings carpark was suitably empty. Win win all around! Happy moments for all.

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Kitchen Update

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Our new Westinghouse fridge has been a great addition to our household. So much space, and everything has a specific home. Today I will take you on a fridge tour.

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The top shelf is where lunches for The Other Half reside. Those are his cans – every second can is a Solo can. While I no longer drink my calories he is losing weight without trying so the occasional can is cool with me. The next shelf down is mainly dairy storage AKA extra cheeses, chook yoghurt and meats.

Then we have a treats shelf, that grey storage container there holds all our dark chocolate, there is some hommus for me and on the other side is a roll out shelf with things like garlic, chili, ginger, jams, and our aioli. I get the wasabi aioli from Aldi, it is amazing.

The final shelf here has tinned tuna, our cheese in use drawer, eggs, and in that little alfoil package is a ham and cheese croissant snack. I made them for lunch for The Other Half yesterday and there was an extra one, so I saved it as a snack for myself in case I wanted it for lunch today. For lunches now I find it really difficult to go past my protein shake. My body needs the nutrients in there way more than it needs a butter croissant, especially after a tough workout.

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The shelf with the large pink container – that has all our potatoes – sweet and normal. I can fit about 10kg of potatoes in there. We found a place that sells a 5kg bag of potatoes for the same price I buy 2kg for normally, so when we go past there we tend to stock up.

I keep them in the fridge now which extends their life significantly BUT it makes my hands super cold when I have to peel them. I try to remember to put them out an hour before peel time.There is a watermelon treat for the chooks there too. Next to it in the grey container is my apples.

Then we have two fruit and vegetable shelves. Carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, leeks, zucchini, then in the bottom crisper there is a cauliflower, green capsicum, red capsicum and 1.5kg of brussel sprouts which finally returned to the shelves at Aldi this week. The Other Half had to stop me from buying even more of them! I have missed them so much, we will incorporate them into every single meal this week.

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Some more treats reside on the top shelf here. Peanut butter on apples is my daily treat right now, and we usually have something dark chocolate with afternoon coffee – kit kat dark is the present go-to, but I limit myself to just one serving.

San Pellegrino is my other more occasional treat. I grab them if I am headed out for errands or if we are going for a drive in the car. When we are staying here I mostly drink my Soda-Stream carbonated filtered tap water.

Next to that some more condiments – the South Aussies will recognise the Beerenberg tomato sauce. When we first moved here we could not get it, relatives would bring us 2 litre flagons from the store in Hahndorf. Now it is available on the shelves and it is the only tomato sauce I could imagine using. It is that good.

The vegemite is not for me – I am perhaps not Australian enough because I do not like it. The Other Half does, though. The olives are mine.

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My soda stream bottles, the Costco maple syrup which I was surprised to find should be kept in the fridge, a bottle of mineral water with lemon for visitors, bottles of water, and then all that milk. I switched to almond milk for my smoothies – it is less calories and tastes incredible to me. The A2 milk you see there will last us for 2 weeks.

Right at the bottom there, some more bottled water, my lemon and lime squeeze bottles and some whipped cream which I will *very* occasionally put on top of a hot chocolate, milo or coffee.

We are down to one grocery shopping trip a fortnight, made after 6pm on the weekends when everyone else is doing other things. The bigger fridge has helped a lot – I can buy milk for two weeks now without having to worry about where I will put it, and the next time I go to Costco I will probably buy 4 of their large cheeses which keeps extremely well, that will mean I don’t have to buy cheese for 3 months at least, maybe 4.

We buy all our meat in bulk once every 2-3 months then foodsave and freeze it except for beef mince which I buy fresh each fortnight. But the freezer and how we organise it, that is a story for another post. :) I just did a big pantry clean out this weekend too. That is also a story for another post.

food, Home

Getting Organised

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Sometimes you just need to de-clutter and reorganise. This process is happening all over my house at the moment. Everything from getting a new fridge to cleaning out the cupboards to reorganizing my wardrobes and letting go of a lot of clothes that no longer fit me, and welcoming in new clothes, shoes, even underwear that does fit.

Part of this process which came to me as a surprise on a recent Saturday was organising our movies. There are a lot of movies which The Other Half likes which I do not enjoy, and vice versa. We went through the list to organise my movies into two groups – watched, and to be watched.

After the sorting, I now have a directory on the server with over 70 movies that are marked “to be watched”. These are movies I have never seen that somehow got lost in our movies directory. When I would go in there to pick something to watch I would often get tempted by something I have already seen and love, or there would be so much choice I could not choose.

My plan now is to work through these movies one by one. After I watched the first one, I thought maybe I would keep a little list, maybe once a fortnight – or once a week depending on how much watching I get done – and post it here on the blog. I might organise it similarly to how Zandria does her book posts, but maybe with loved, liked, disliked.

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Here is a fridge preview – on Monday next week I have a post where you get a closer look.

Movies and maybe some music will be Wednesday posts for a while, going forwards. I am slowly getting my blogging mojo back. ;)

blog housekeeping, Home, movies

What Happens In SnoskredLand?

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There’s a chook lurking back there!

So much stuff, almost too much to type. Things are very busy and I am not sure when I will get back to regular blogging. In the meantime, here are a few tidbits that might eventually work their way into posts of their own.

– We got a new fridge, which is all fridge no freezer.

– The reason we most needed the new fridge – eating so much of our food prepared from scratch takes up a lot more space

– Buying things in bulk saves us money but things like potatoes keep better and longer in the fridge.

– I have been shopping for clothes at my new size and you can bet that is going to be a post by itself.

– I have discovered a new snack – peanut butter spread on apples. I like to eat this at 9:30pm while watching Tabatha’s Salon Takeover reruns on the Style channel on Foxtel. The Other Half believes this is a freakish snack, not eaten by “normal” people. He has never seen Tabatha’s Salon Takeover, but I am sure he would think that is freakish as well.

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– We have had so much rain, the chook pen is a flooded mess. This means we are in the process of planning a new chook pen.

– The chooks have been getting a lot of treats as a consequence. They had lactose free yoghurt today.

– The colonoscopy did not happen as scheduled. Unfortunately all the “low fibre” foods I was told I had to eat to prepare actually cause a lot of irritation and inflammation in my bowel. I would have been better off sticking with my protein shakes only but they were “not allowed” even though chicken and eggs were.

– We have been revisiting the 80’s and 90’s musically – our car stereo is like a Delorean, taking us back in time.

– My oldest nephew has decided to become a pilot. This is terrifying news for me but happy and great news for him.

– The chook pen rebuild may mean less time for blogging but I will try to keep you updated.

Reading – Persuasion by Jane Austen, previous to that I re-read Game Change which is such a great book about the 2008 election campaign. It is not just about McCain/Palin as it was in the movie – it covers the democrat side fairly comprehensively as well and says some very revealing things about the Clintons. Worth a read if you like US politics.

Watching – Season 2 of Billions – Season 6 of Homeland – Big Little Lies which is just amazing.. I loved the book but the show is even better.

Drinking – We did an overnight trip to Sydney recently for a wedding and I had a glass bottle of San Pellegrino sparkling water. It was perfectly chilled and in a glass bottle which made it feel very fancy and awesome. The next day we were at Costco and they had a 24 pack of San Pellegrino in 500ml plastic bottles on special so I bought it and once a week or so I treat myself with one.

Eating – just cooked the first Brussels Sprouts for 2017 tonight. So glad they are back on the shelves!

I’ll try to post at least once a week for the next month, we’ll see how it goes. This post might actually inspire a few more to be written. :)

Chickens, country life

The Bin Theft

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Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the house..

Not a creature was stirring, except for the mice in the chook pen.

The bin had been placed on the kerb with care..

In the hope that the bin truck would soon be there.

The Other Half and I were nestled all snug in our bed..

While visions of sugar plums danced in our heads.

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When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

but because we were asleep,

nobody sprang from our bed to see what was the matter.

Luckily the security cameras caught the bin thieves,

who rather stupidly live just up the street

and chose to use their quite recognisable 4wd to try and steal our bin.

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Because they took off like a bat out of hell,

This bin theft did not go very well.

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Because I use very recognisable bin bags,

we found our bin right where they left it.

Just between you and me,

The council replaced our broken bin for free.

And they would have provided our caught on CCTV thieves with a free bin regardless of why it went missing. Your results may vary depending on your council.

Perhaps in the old days before CCTV, people might have snuck out in the night to steal someone else’s bin if something happened to theirs, and the destiny of the bin would forever remain a mystery. These days, not so much.

Home

Building A Chook Fence

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The previous fence arrangement was Not Great. It worked for the most part AKA it kept the chooks on the lawn where they were meant to be and NOT on the concrete pooping up a storm. However as time went on, it began to biodegrade and holes began to appear.

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It was originally meant to be temporary until we built our Queensland room onto the back of the house. Realistically that is a HUGE job and may even require getting council approval depending on what we want to build and how we want to build it.

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Normally the chooks ignore the holes but sometimes one would find their way into the promised land. That was no big deal. But when all 5 of them scratched up my seedling bed – seen above with Grumpy before I planted the seedlings in it, it was time to get to work on something a bit more permanent.

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I never question the how, what, why, where or when. The Other Half just creates a plan and implements it. I am purely there to assist and sometimes this causes problems when I do not understand his vision. But I must say I am usually very fashionably attired to assist. These are my Aldi $15 wellies which originally were gorgeously shiny, several months of doing chook jobs has dulled them a little. They are due for a good clean.

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So his plan involved stardroppers, chicken wire, and wire to tie the chook wire to the stardroppers. That was the time consuming fiddly part of the job.

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It did turn out very well indeed.

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Here are the girls back out free ranging once it was finished. This photo was taken on the Sunday before Purple Comb became so unwell. You can see she seems perfectly fine, free ranging happily with her besties. However it is more likely she was starting to feel unwell and just very good at hiding it.

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I had become very sick of our hose arrangements, and it was time to find a better solution. You know when you change something and it works so well, and you are left wondering why did I not change this thing before? That applies to this hose purchase. It is incredibly useful and has me out watering the plants way more often than ever before. Which can only be great for the plants in the long run.

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Life goes on, for the girls. They do seem to be sticking together in their flock more, just recently. They are still being spoiled rotten with blueberries, baby spinach, corn on the cooler days, tuna, strawberries, and occasionally scrambled eggs as well.

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If we make it through the summer with 4 chooks remaining, we will be very lucky. Rosie and Dark Comb are over 6 years old now. Lizzy and Kitty are expected by our vets to have shorter than expected lives due to the early vitamin deficiencies their previous owner inflicted upon them by feeding the wrong food. We will make their remaining days as great as they can be.

Chickens, country life, Home