Dec 31: Sandwich; Airline Lunch; Ham, Cheese and Egg Toastie; Country Deli; Grazing Dinner

Today we travelled back over the International Date Line, so we doubled up on Dec 31: once on the aircraft and then again once we got home.


Having risen at 5am to catch a 6:30 train to Sydney for an 11:40 flight to LA we shared a toasted ham, tomato and cheese sandwich and a rare roast beef sandwich.

Because it was an airport, this was $10 a serve!


Once on board and underway we were served lunch. It was acceptable airline food which you have to admire given the conditions. A beef bologna with vegetables or curried chicken with rice.


A ‘bacon’ (really ham), cheese and egg toastie (toasted sandwich) was served for breakfast, along with some things we didn’t eat. It was served steaming hot and wasn’t horrible, which is pretty amazing given it was 11 hours ago it left the kitchen.

Lunch (After arrival)

Our flight landed at 6am and we were clear of the airport by 7. Once home we unpacked and, given it had been six hours since breakfast by that time, we headed for the Country Deli, where Philip had his usual skirt steak, eggs and home fries, while Greg had a French Dip with chunky fries.

Lunch at The Country Deli usually runs about $21 a serve with tax and tip and today was not different.


We decided to celebrate the New Year with a French bubbly rosé and a banquet of cambazola; paté, crackers, sugar snap peas, hummus, dolmas, and caper berries – a first for us.

Of course, after an overnight trip and a full day, neither of us made it to midnight, although local fireworks woke Greg for the celebration!

  • The cambazola cost $5.16
  • Multigrain crackers $2.29 but we used only half at $1.10
  • Dolmas were $2.99
  • Sugar snap peas $2.49 but again we only used half or $1.25
  • Chicken and black truffle paté was $4.99
  • 7oz of hummus was $1.99
  • We also used a pack of seedy herb crisp breads because the paté worked better with that, than the crackers, $2.99.

Dinner tonight, without the bubbly cost $20.47 for the two of us, or $10.25 each for a very generous banquet.

Dec 30: ‘Club’ Lunch; Family Dinner: Duck, Ham, Chicken, Watermelon Salad, Potato Salad with Fruit Salad.


We spent the morning and lunch with Foodie Greg’s parents including a visit to Wangi RSL – another Australian-style club. The Returned Serviceman’s League is very similar to the American Legion, but the club is run as a member’s co-operative with poker (slot) machines, and a liquor license as well as food outlets. Wangi RSL is a small club right on the edge of Lake Macquarie.

Foodie Greg had a squid salad, which he enjoyed, while Foodie Philip went for the gourmet beef burger, but it had been very popular, so he settled for the – quite good – gourmet chicken burger.

Our host paid for the meal.


On our final night in Australia for this trip, the Foodies hosted Philip’s family for dinner. With partners and friends, we had a table of nine. What is a very serviceable kitchen/dining area was stretched with nine. Without enough surface area to plate that many, buffet style it was.

Because we ate away the last two nights, Foodie Philip’s mother had more food than we would have eaten: another duck; some marinated chicken drummettes and some ham. She roasted the duck, cooked the marinated chicken and boiled some potatoes.

Foodie Philip segregated and cut the duck for service, sliced the ham (and extra purchased) and plated the chicken. Foodie Greg prepared the potato salad and Nigela Lawson’s Watermelon Salad, learning in the process just how expensive limes and watermelon are in Newcastle compared with Chatsworth CA).

There are never leftovers when niece Charley comes to dinner: she’ll happily take them!

It’s hard to put an exact price on tonight’s meal but the watermelon salad ingredients (in Australian dollars) were:

  • Limes – 5 @$1.50 each, or $7.50, which is horrifying for anyone living in California, but on discount $6.65
  • Olives $2.50
  • Mint was 20g (just under 1oz) for $2.00
  • Parsley was 20g for $2.00
  • Watermelon was $7.00 for 1.5 KG
  • Feta was $3.96

That adds up to Au$24.11, but there were – maybe – eight serves, making it Au$3.01 or US$2.20 per serve, which compares with $2.33 when we last prepared it in June. Roast Duck about 50c per small serve; Ham around $2.80 per serve; and the drummettes 80c per serve. Overall, approximately  $6.96 per serve, without the fruit salad, ice-cream and whipped cream contributed by our mother.

There are no food photos, so today is represented by our family photo: from left, back row: Niece Charley, Philip, Brother/Brother-in-Law David, Greg, Mother Dawn, Niece Riley and Sister-in-Law Lauren. We had a great night together with Riley’s boyfriend and a housemate of Charley’s who took the photo.

Dec 29: Fish and Chips; Bruschetta, Shrimp, Lamb, Sausages, Baked Potato, Tomato, Avocado and Mango Salad


We traveled for lunch with friends in Sydney, who took us to The Boatshed at Balmoral Beach. No food pictures but the view forms today’s headline photo!

Because it was the seaside, we at Fish and Chips. The fish was perfectly cooked inside with a perfect batter. The chips could have used another minute or two in a hot frier to crispen a little more.

Our friends paid for lunch.


Back to Newcastle for another dinner party: this time with the friend (and relatively new wife) who introduced Greg and Philip in December 1990! He and Foodie Greg’s friendship started before primary (a.k.a. grade school).

Dinner started with Bruschetta and jumbo shrimp. Followed by a leisurely soak in their lake-side pool, before heading back up for dinner.

After the swim, we were ready to eat again, so we dined on lamb, sausages, roast potato cubes and a delicious arugula, tomato, avocado and mango salad. The meats were done on a barbecue or grill outside.

Our hosts paid for dinner.