Monday, 19 June 2017

An Aussie Birthday Extravaganza

It was my 34th birthday last week and my first ever birthday in the Southern Hemisphere. I was working on my actual birthday but as I'm always up for having a birthday week I started celebrating early by planning an epic day out with Susan from Kittens Gone Lentil. Me and Nick started the day at Petrie station and travelled into Brisbane to meet Susan near her place. We even got to pop to her house to meet Dim Sim, her gorgeous black cat who I've known online for many years!

We had our sights set on eating copious amounts of dim sum / yum cha so we drove south to Gold Coast to eat at Easy House, somewhere I'd been reading about and dreaming of eating at for a while. Easy House certainly didn't disappoint, the food was freaking amazing and I've eaten dim sum in both NYC and Hong Kong so you can trust me. You can order from the menu but the lovely people working there also bring around trays of dim sum so that you can choose what you want to eat that way. So fun!

As someone who is often paralysed with menu indecision this was great news. We started with some deep fried taro dumplings and some delicious bbq filled flaky pastry crescents that I do not remember the name of. They were basically the best thing ever though so if you make it to Easy House order them.

Next up we grabbed an order of turnip cakes which are another of my favourite ever foods. These were a freaking delight and I would have grabbed a second plate if there weren't so many other tempting things on the menu.

All three of us love steamed dumplings so we went big when that tray came around. We grabbed the coriander dumplings, the pea shoot dumplings, and the faux chicken dumplings. The coriander dumplings were my fave' but I think that Nick and Susan preferred the pea shoot dumplings.

Lastly, despite feeling a little full, we couldn't resist some sesame prawn rolls. In the background you can see our almost final order of pork bao (my fave'), bean curd rolls, and an aubergine dish that I forget the name of.

We got more than one round of pork bao because we're geniuses and the only thing that I didn't love was the fried aubergine dish. I'm a little particular when it comes to aubergine based things and this was a miss for me despite it being one of Susan's favourite dishes.

After lunch Susan took us to the beach because despite having been in Queensland for two months we'd still never seen a beach here. Ridiculous! I went for a run around on the sand, dipped my toes in the water, and marvelled at the fact that this was just a regular neighbourhood beach and not even a famous beach! Seriously Australia? You're ridiculous!

When I got back from running around on the sand like a fool there was a soft fluffy kitty just waiting for me to pet her! Could this day get any better?!

The answer is yes because our next stop was Flour of Life bakery in Helensvale just north of Gold Coast. No birthday day out would be complete without desserts and Nick and I ordered so many baked goods (we were buying treats for the other volunteers too) that we had to let a bunch of people go first because we were taking so long!

These are just our goodies. I started with the Neenish Tart (top) because I can't resist a pink baked treat and it was super tasty but so freaking sugary that I could only eat half. This worked out well later when I had a second sugar craving and it was right there waiting for me! Nick got an apple pie and a chocolate fudge slice and I got a Lamington because they're the best. I felt a little jealous of Nick's apple pie when I was taking this photo so I ran in and ended up grabbing an apple and rhubarb crumble tart as well - I'm pretty sure the person working thought I had a serious sugar problem! Maybe I do? Who can say!

We can only get to one very overpriced supermarket from the sanctuary we're volunteering at in Dayboro so we also included visits to a Supa IGA and an IGA with a huge range of Asian products in the day's itinerary. Luckily Susan loves food shopping as much as I do so she thought that this was a fun idea rather than torture! We picked up delicious teas, vegan cheeses, vegetable dumplings, turnip cakes, scallion pancakes, tofu, veggies, Loving Earth chocolate, and a huge tub of hummus for $6.99. It was a very successful shopping trip!

On my actual birthday I was lucky enough to spend the day working with Nick surrounded by super cute animals which was a-ok with me. One of the volunteers who just left us (so sad!) sent me a fun birthday package with hats, balloons, a birthday badge, glitter jelly, and fun tea based things which was so nice and it meant that I spent the day doing my job wearing a party hat! I'm pretty sure that the animals liked it!

Susan also got me a fun gift which included this Lenny & Larry birthday cake cookie and my very favourite Food Empowerment certified Seed & Bean Sicilian hazelnut chocolate. I've wanted to try this cookie for so long and it certainly didn't disappoint. 

There were even two actual birthday cakes. Nick baked me a lime drizzle cake and the other volunteers made me a chocolate coconut cake! They were both super tasty and everyone enjoyed eating them for the next couple of days.

So far I'd say that 34 is looking pretty great. I even saw wallabies and a possum on the big day! I have just under a week left at the sanctuary and once I leave here I'll be spending a couple of days in Brisbane where I intend to focus on delicious food (Doughnuts! Pizza! Juices!), a pampering session at a nice hotel (after all of this mud I cannot wait to have an actual bath!), and matcha lattes which is probably going to make for a fantastic few days. After Brisbane Nick & I are planning to get back into #vanlife mode to drive a camper van up the coast towards Cairns. We're planning on checking out the beaches on the Sunshine Coast, snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef, and exploring cute towns like Noosa. I'm super excited for more adventures and I can't wait to share them with you. I have a couple more China posts to share first as well as my final Melbourne eats post but then hopefully I'll be back on track for some real time blogging assuming that Australian campsite wifi is up to the challenge!


  1. Happy birthday!! Looks like such a fun time! I would love to go to Susan's house and meet her cats! And I see her post about those turnip cakes and bean curd rolls often, and I dream of the day I'll actually get to try them. Also I wish I could find that birthday cake Lenny & Larry's here. We've got all the other flavors, but for some reason, I've not been able to get my hands on that one! I may have to break down and order it online.

  2. Happy birthday, it looks like a wonderful one! That dim sum looks (and sounds) so incredible!

    1. It was super fun and that dim sum was seriously epic. I'm already trying to see if I can squeeze another trip to Gold Coast into our itinerary just so that I can eat there one more time.

  3. Replies
    1. So fun! I'm excited to eat more delicious food with you soon.

  4. Happy birthday! Sounds like a great day :)

  5. Ooh that dim sum feast looks gooood. I wish I could recommend some places to eat up that way but it's been a good while since we did our touring about, though I'm sure people at the sanctuary are more knowledgeable​ anyways. Platypus bush camp is a kooky wee place to stay up that way, on the way to Mission Beach I think. 🤗

    1. Thanks Shelley, I'll look it up! So far we've hired a camper but we haven't planned exactly where we're headed yet.

  6. Happy Birthday!!! Dumplings. beaches, animals, you know how to live my friend!

  7. Happy birthday!!! I'll be joining you at 34 in a few months :) Looks like a wonderful celebration with amazing treats! That beach picture is absolutely stunning.

  8. Happy birthday! That dim sum looks sensational!

  9. Happy happy birthday! It looks like you had an amazing time celebrating!


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