2018 in review: My top 10 albums

10. First Aid Kid – Ruins


9. MØ – Forever Neverland


8. Robyn – Honey


7. Lykki Li – so sad so sexy


6. Matt Corby – Rainbow Valley


5. John Butler Trio – Home


4. Kimbra – Primal Heart


3. Janelle Monae – Dirty Computer


2. Florence and the Machine – High as Hope


1. Middle Kids – Lost Friends



Mealo – No Repeat 2018

This is my attempt to not repeat a dinner for the entirety of 2018! I’ll update this post to keep track of progress, share recipes and highlight my recommendations.

1 January: Fish taco bowl (quinoa, white fish cooked in spices, any toppings and sauce you’d put on a taco)

2/1: Barley salad with marmalade dressing. I didn’t have any leftover Christmas ham, so made a vego option with roasted pumpkin instead.

3/1: Vegetarian Bun (Vietnamese rice noodle salad).

4/1: Pappardelle with roast tomato pesto (chop and roast any tomatoes for 45 minutes, blend with parmesan, almonds and olive oil), mushrooms, balsamic red onion and ricotta.

5/1: Okra sweet and sour curry. I didn’t have fish, so bulked this out with extra veges – capsicum, broccoli, carrot – and added a hard boiled egg to each serve.

6/1: BBQ chicken chipolatas with rice vinegar slaw (shredded red cabbage, carrot, nashi pear, coriander, corn kernels, dollop of dijon mustard and rice wine vinegar to taste)

7/1: Mango glazed pumpkin, with crispy chick peas, paneer and cauliflower. I added the cauliflower in to bulk it out and served it with cashew rice.

8/1: Zucchini slice with roasted carrots.

9/1: Chicken drumsticks and mixed potato salad with pickled onion dressing.

10/1: Spaghetti with lentil bolognese.

11/1: Char siu eggplant on rice. Based on a pork recipe, this one has gone vego with eggplant instead and bulked out with extra broccoli and other veg.

12/1: Coconut and lime salmon with mango salad.

13/1: Grilled corn and quinoa salad

14/1: Chorizo and sweet potato salad

15/1: Spicy soy chicken

16/1: Teriyaki udon noodles

17/1: Kiwi, lime and chilli fish

18/1: Calamari, orange and hummus

19/1: Roast tomato pesto pasta (roast 8 – 10 tomatoes until they begin to char, cool then blitz with almonds, parmesan and olive oil)

20/1: 7 hour lamb and Cypriot grain salad

21/1: Pacos Tacos

22/1: Thai pork and basil

23/1: Chargrill vegetables, pearl cous cous and haloumi

24/1: Falafel and black rice tabbouleh

25/1: Tofu satay noodles

26/1: BRAT (bacon, rocket, avocado, tomato)

27/1: BBQ


28/1: Paprika chicken and salad

29/1: Ricotta pasta

30/1: Turkish zucchini and haloumi bake

31/1: Gazi (Greek feast)

1 February: Sesame chicken with cashew rice

2/2: Lemon butter garlic salmon

3/2: Cauliflower burgers

4/2: Warm lentil and paneer salad

5/2: Pineapple and tamarind pork

6/2: Hanoi style eggs

7/2: Wild rice, haloumi and grilled peach salad

8/2: Singapore noodles

9/2: Kangaroo steaks and crispy onions (adaption from this recipe)

10/2: Pulled pork udon noodles

11/2: Pumpkin and edamame cous cous

12/2: Vietnamese take out

13/2: Wild mushroom tortellini

14/2: Middle Eastern pearl cous cous

15/2: Cauliflower, chick pea and coconut curry

16/2: Salmon with miso soba

17/2: Flammkutchen

18/2: Crispy cabbage salad with haloumi

19/2: Holy Bowly with smokey tahini sauce (this one is really good)

20/2: Cavatelli pasta with octopus

21/2: X’ian style cold noodles

22/2: Spicy turmeric fish

23/2: Italian lentils with pork and chilli sausage

24/2: Stuffed mushrooms

25/2: Grilled capsicum, spicy cous cous & crispy haloumi

26/2: Orange and broccoli quinoa

27/2: Cayenne chicken on brown rice

28/2: Summer pumpkin dahl

1 March: Chilli, zucchini and lemon spaghetti

2/3: Crepes (Breizoz French Creperie)

3/3: Birthday noodle bar

4/3: Gourmet snags and various salads

5/3: Italian feast (Riserva)

6/3: Lentils and mushrooms

7/3: Roast vegetable quiche

8/3: Antipasto bowls

9/3: Zucchini pitas

10/3: Salmon and coconut wraps

11/3: Hotdogs


12/3: Quinoa vegetable fritters

13/3: Vegetarian Pad See Ew

14/3: Greek noodle salad

15/3: Japanese lamb meatballs with miso glazed pumpkin

16/3: Pea, mozzarella and mint pasta

17/3: Flake and chips

18/3: Pesto chicken kiev

19/3: Nothern Thai chicken and noodle curry

20/3: Summer greens tomato and basil frittata

21/3: Broccoli, green chilli and smoked almond spaghetti

22/3: Middle Eastern zucchini rice with soft boiled egg

23/3: Chicken salsa tacos


24/3: Chicken meatloaf

25/3: Curry leaf prawns

26/3: Baked suco gnocchi

27/3: Lamb and coriander kofta

28/3: Japanese noodle and vegetable bowls

29/3: Orecchiette, lentils and kale

30/3: White fish with spice crunch

31/3: Beef cheek pizza (Pizza Religion)

1 April: Roast pork (Easter lunch)

2/4: Corn fritters and poached eggs

3/4: Grilled roo with macadamia salad

4/4: French mushroom tagliatelle

5/4: Roast pumpkin and cauliflower quiche

6/4: Pad Thai

7/4: Massaman curry

8/4: Spinach and ricotta rolls with tzatziki

9/4: Orecchiette with Italian sausage

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10/4: Cauli-bitsy bowl

11/4: Coconut chicken wai wai

12/4: Pumpkin and grain salad

13/4: Korean fried rice

14/4: +39

15/4: Roast beef

16/4: Chicken, cabbage and egg noodle stir fry

17/4: Eggplant and ricotta

18/4: Roo and six veg

19/4: Pork and egg dan dan

20/4: Dumplings

21/4: Mushroom and goat’s cheese tart

22/4: Honey popped tofu

23/4: Spinach and ricotta cannelloni

24/4: Mushroom omelette

25/4: Spicy pork, refried beans and quinoa

26/4: Hummus bros. with veges

27/4: Indian spuds on flatbread

28/4: Honey glazed pumpkin and enoki on brown rice

29/4: Sticky ginger roast chicken

30/4: Pulled pork ramen

1 May: Farro and veges

2/5: Spicy dahl with tomatoes and naan

3/5: Sausage, lentils, pear and rocket

4/5: Vegetarian lasagne

5/5: Haloumi tacos, with avocado, tomato and mango

6/5: Spicy chorizo enchiladas

7/5: Tofu and mushroom poke bowl

8/5: Vietnamese pulled pork rice noodles

9/5: Israeli chicken and cardamom rice

10/5: Pumpkin pesto orecchiette

11/5: Riversdale Thai

12/5: Cheese board, meat and olives

13/5: Mango pumpkin, cauliflower and coconut rice

14/5: Crispy tofu laksa


15/5: Eggplant agrodolce

16/5: Farro with chicken and loads of greens

17/5: Roo with mash, kale, carrots and zucchini

18/5: Bolognese pie

19/5: Healesville pub

20/5: Pumpkin soup with roast cauliflower

21/5: Roo rendang

22/5: Mushroom and baked polenta bowls

23/5: Tagliatelle with chorizo, pumpkin and tomato ragu

24/5: Chicken, broccoli and cashew stir fry

25/5: Mushroom and potato pizza

26/5: Okonomiyaki

27/5: Carrot soup with chorizo cornbread

28/5: Oven roasted meatballs

29/5: Egg noodles with Asian greens and egg

30/5: Roasted gnocchi and vegetable bake

31/5: Lentil lasagne

1 June: Mac & cheese

2/6: Cocktails… (no dinner)

3/6: Breakfast burritos

4/6: Chicken, fennel and rice soup

5/6: Crunchy quinoa, pumpkin, cauliflower, feta and nuts

6/6: Chilli con roo

7/6: Butter chicken

8/6: Garlic eggplant soba noodles

9/6: Bao and dumplings (Box Hill)

10/6: Baked chicken and Middle Eastern pilaf

11/6: Thai pumpkin curry soup

12/6: Coconut and chilli poached chicken

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13/6: Creamy artichoke gnocchi (blue cheese)

14/6: Roo with cauliflower and cannellini beans mash

15/6: Char sui pork on egg noodles with egg

16/6 – 23/7: Canada

24 July: Quinoa with roast and fresh veges

25/7: Orecchiette with crummy eggplant, tomatoes and ricotta

26/7: Spiced chicken and roasted peppers with hummus and veges

27/7: Pork shoulder with pear, fennel and potato salad

28/7: Eggwhite omelette with goat’s cheese

29/7: Potato and leek soup

30/7: Soba noodles with tofu and greens

31/7: Eggplant and capsicum casserole with polenta

1 August: Roo meatballs

2/8: Baked spinach gnocchi with veges

3/8: Eggplant parmas with sweet potato chips

4/8: Pumpkin and artichoke quiche

5/8: Cauliflower soup with lentils, haloumi and sprouts

6/8: Greek chicken, lemon and potatoes

7/8: Asian omelette and rice noodles

8/8: Mexican tofu, black rice and beans

9/8: Roo pies & green bean salad

10/8: Gypsy eggs

11/8: Salami pizza

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12/8: Carrot and lentil soup

13/8: Malaysian chicken laksa

14/8: Mushroom, blue cheese and pear spaghetti

15/8: Okonomi-bowl (no pancake)

16/8: Chermoula with roasted orange veges

17/8: Pad Grapow

18/8: Lamb larb

19/8: Pumpkin and parsnip soup with prawns

20/8: Ten veg bowl

21/8: Mushroom and paneer curry

22/8: Lamb biryani

23/8: Freekeh and beets

24/8: Avocado, smashed edamame and sprouts with poached egg

25/8: Mimis

26/8: Chicken and tomatoes with garlic bread

27/8: Pad see ew with tofu

28/8: Pulled pork burgers with fennel slaw and potatoes

29/8: Eggplant katsundi

30/8: Pumpkin and pomegranate cous cous

31/8: Rigatoni with artichoke, lemon and peas

1 September: Mexican bowls

2/9: Spring greens minestrone

3/9: Sticky lemongrass chicken

4/9: Mushroom and pumpkin risotto

5/9: Bangers and mash

6/9: Mujadarra with lamb and yogurt

7/9: Egg noodles and eggs two ways

8/9: Lamburgers

9/9: Lemon roast chook

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10/9: Mexican soup with capsicum, tomatoes and beans

11/9: Hummus, grains and greens with egg

12/9: Spinach, garlic and pesto gnocchi

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13/9: Carrot tart and fennel salad

14/9: Snags, pumpkin and cous cous

15/9: Sweet potato pancake

16/9: Harira

17/9: Thai green curry with chicken

18/9: Pork ball vermicelli

19/9: Miso eggplant soba

20/9: Roo, smashed peas, pumpkin and asparagus

21/9: Black bean jacked up nachos

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22/9: Korean feast

23/9: Indian vege and chick pea bowls with crispy curry leaves

24/9: Mixed lentil dahl with cucumber and peas

25/9: Tofu and mushroom katsu

26/9: Chicken rice paper rolls

27/9: Broccoli and anchovy spaghetti with lemon breadcrumbs

28/9: Bridge Road Brewers

29/9: Press Room – tapas

30/9: Indian in Benalla

1 October: Ricotta, broccoli and pea risotto

2/10: Tuscan bean soup

3/10: Rioja chicken with saffron rice

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4/10: Pumpkin, spinach, ricotta and lentil lasagne

5/10: Fish burrito (Fonda)

6/10: Pulled pork tacos

7/10: Creamy mushroom medley pasta

8/10: Apricot lamb

9/10: Legume salad with haloumi and potato

10/10: Sundried tomato pesto rolled chicken with pancetta

11/10: Chilli bean pork and eggplant

12/10: Lemongrass chicken and roti (Penang Coffee House)

13/10: Smashed avo and eggs

14/10: Stuffed Indian tomatoes with naan and paneer

15/10: Snags and caramelised potato and onion

16/10: Fesenjan

17/10: Stroganoff pasta bake

18/10: Meatballs and risoni

19/10: Green shakshuka

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20/10: Haloumi, fried beans and guoc

21/10: Tandoori pumpkin, chick peas and cauliflower

22/10: Walnut chicken and chips

23/10: Lemon spaghetti with roo mince

24/10: Fried pumpkin gnocchi

25/10: Gooey eggplant and capsicum stir fry

26/10: Green curry rice with salmon

27/10: Buttermilk chicken burger (Burger Burger)

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28/10: Eggplant flatbreads

29/10: Ricotta, spinach and pumpkin rotolo

30/10: Lemon, garlic and herb chicken with potatoes and greens

31/10: Spinach pesto fried gnocchi with artichokes

1 November: Lamb and coriander balls with lentils, beetroot, tomatoes, zuc and tzatziki

2/11: Tapas at Theatre Place

3/11: Smoked salmon, green veg and pearl cous cous

4/11: Feta and bacon frittata with cucumber salad

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5/11: Charred drumsticks with carrot noodle salad

6/11: Zucchini and bean rolls in tomato ragu

7/11: Roo chow mein

8/11: Chicken skewers

9/11: Almond crumbed pork with slaw

10/11: Pad mee

11/11: Grilled cheese with mushrooms

12/11: Hoisin chicken

13/11: Spicy prawn, spinach and mushroom egg noodles

14/11: Salmon Buddha bowls

15/11: Black bean pork and noodles

16/11: Beer and vodka battered ling and chips

17/11: Meze – fried sesame feta and friends

18/11: Sweet potato noodles bowl

19/11: Haloumi bowls with quinoa

20/11: Baked taco pull apart

21/11: Prawn dumpling noodle bowl

22/11: Meatball and rigatoni bake

23/11: Pork ball subs (banh mi)

24/11: Bibimbap (at Queenscliff MF)

25/11: Pearl cous cous with edamame, beets and feta

26/11: Roast chicken thighs w sage, rosemary potatoes and tomatoes

27/11: Lamb and hummus

28/11: Salmon, pumpkin and ginger soba noodles

29/11: Tamarind pulled pork rolls

30/11: Carrot and cashew pasta

1 December: Cypriot salad with haloumi

2/12: Dahl with eggplant, peas, asparagus, spinach and snow peas

3/12: Orecchiette with pumpkin, tomatoes, zucchini, capers and artichoke

4/12: Cous cous with potato, sweet potato, cauli, avo, celery and tahini mayo

5/12: Quinoa with corn, lentils, red cabbage, cap, red onion and snow peas

6/12: Party pies

7/12: Cheesy vego burritos

8/12: Chinese five spice noodles with bok choy, carrot, spring onions, broc

9/12: Soba noodles with pumpkin, carrot, raddish, snap peas and miso dressing

10/12: Lamb and almond kofta

11/12: Chicken, chorizo and chips

12/12: BBQ pork + various salads

13/12: Zuc and polenta slice with broc pesto

14/12: Xmas party

15/12: White bean korma with brown rice and haloumi

16/12: Tuna nicoise

17/12: Quinoa, mozzarella, avo and tomatoes

18/12: Indian pilaf with pumpkin, chick peas and paneer

19/12: Chicken singapore noodles

20/12: Cheesy lamb patties on eggplant and roast carrots

21/12: Gingerboy (AVRMBC)

22/12: Friendmas (HB Cheesus)

23/12: Christmas ham sambos










And all of that produces a word map of 2018’s foods that looks a little like this:


Tarra Bulga National Park

Where is it? Gippsland, take the M1 out to Traralgon and head south to Balook. Traralgon-Balook Road is a prime country driving! – just over 2 hours from Melbourne

Distance: 6 km

Time: Approx. 1.5 hours

Most recent visit: 4 January 2018

Difficulty: Easy

Cool features: The ferny view from Corrigan Suspension Bridge is cool. While the bridge is very popular, the Forest Track is super quiet, so is a very peaceful walk.

Map and track info: https://www.trailhiking.com.au/tarra-bulga-scenic-circuit/ (includes an extension to the Cherry Track)

Notes: There are a couple of nearby waterfalls you can cruise to – Cyathea Falls are pretty and at the end of a short walk featuring some incredible Myrtle Beech trees, while Tarra Falls are by the side of the road and have very poor visibility.


Australian Gardens, Cranbourne

Where is it? Take the Monash from Melbourne to the South Gippy – about 45 minutes

Time: 1.5 – 2 hours

Most recent visit: 31 December 2017

Difficulty: Easy

Cool features: The feature desert landscape as you enter, the abundance of birds, and the array of colours.

Map and track info: https://www.rbg.vic.gov.au/visit-cranbourne/attractions/australian-garden

Notes: Where are all the bandicoots at? In the scrub areas to the left as you enter, there are plenty to be found, but be patient and polite! They probably won’t invite you in for a cuppa if you’re stomping on by. On one visit we saw heaps of the little guys (bandi-cute!), but on the last visit we only spotted one. Keep your slippery senses about you, too – there’s plenty of snakes in the neighborhood!


Macedon Ranges Walking Trail

Where is it? About half way to Bendigo, straight up the Calder – just over an hour from Melbourne

Distance: 18.8 km

Time: 6 hours

Most recent visit: 29 December 2017

Difficulty: Moderate, but the beginning is really steep!

Cool features: The wildlife and changes in forest and landscape as you progress through the walk.

Map and track info: https://www.trailhiking.com.au/macedon-ranges-walking-trail/

Notes: Use the map to navigate the track and don’t be deterred by the beginning of the hike – once you turn onto the track from Douglas Rd, there’s an elevation gain of nearly 400m in about 1 km, so it’s pretty dastardly if you’re not prepared. After that, the walk levels out and becomes a pleasant day’s work.


^ Hanging Rock looks very small from up here (Camel’s Hump) ^


Grampians – Fish Falls and MacKenzie Falls

Where is it? West Victoria, about 3 hours drive from Melbourne

Distance: 9.7 km (circuit)

Time: Approx. 3 – 3.5 hours

Most recent visit: 28 November 2017

Difficulty: Mostly easy with very steep climb at MacKenzie Falls

Cool features: MacKenzie Falls are way better seen in person – they are huge! Fish Falls aren’t as grandiose, but they are way quieter (there’s no carpark like there is at Mac), so arguably nicer to hang out at. Walking through the gorge is beautiful and the changes to the surrounding rock faces on approach to MacKenzie Falls are really impressive.

Map and track info: https://www.trailhiking.com.au/mackenzie-falls-circuit/

Notes: We completed this as a return trip – Zumstein’s Picnice Area to MacKenzie Falls via Fish Falls – instead of a circuit, which took about 2.5 hrs including a break for lunch.