Aravina Estate – Yallingyup

UntitledawAravina Estate Restaurant & Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chef and I love nothing more than a delicious meal over a glass of wine when we dine in Margaret River, though we don’t always feel comfortable taking seven year old Little Chef along to some of the fancy winery restaurants. So for us, Aravina ticks all the boxes. It is a classy, but laid back winery with great food and wine, plenty of things to do and see and best of all its family friendly!IMG_9810

On our break to Margs last year, we visited Aravina. We drove down the sweeping driveway, past the many rows of vines, parking near the lush gardens. It was the third time we’d visited. The first being a decade earlier, on our honeymoon. It was known as the Amberley Estate and their Chenin Blanc was my favourite tipple. Aravina has a French provincial style cellar door and is set in gorgeous surroundings, with lush plants and huge lawns for the kids to run about on. The dining room is equally as stunning.IMG_9825

 

Aravina’s restaurant is a great spot for a lazy lunch. We’d been here before, but not since their well renowned Executive Chef Ben Day took over the kitchen along with his team. Chef Ben is known as a bit of a forager and gather and I was excited to see which interesting local ingredients we’d get to try.  On his menu, only the highest quality local produce is used, with a lot of it grown onsite. We picked a 2014 ‘Single Vineyard’ Shiraz , $12per glass to enjoy with our lunch. It was wonderfully smooth.IMG_9830

 

Chef and I enjoyed two courses from the set menu for $60 each (or $70 for three). The Aravina menu changes regularly, so these dishes won’t be available now, but you can see how beautifully plated they are. Chef chose the tender Blue Ridge marron with marron dashi, which is a Japanese style soup. It’s served with fermented celeriac and foraged mushrooms.IMG_9837

I adored the crispy lamb pastilla, which is a little like a northern African spring roll. It was brimming with moist lamb and accompanied by a charred eggplant salad, date & rose puree and dollops of hung yoghurt.IMG_9842

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Food Photography – my favourite photos.

IMG_9367Something that goes hand in hand with food writing is food photography. I think without the colour and story telling that a picture provides, blogging would be a bill dull. It’s terribly cliché, but so very true, that a picture tells a thousand words. I really love taking photos too. I started out using the camera on my Samsung Galaxy, which served me fairly well, as luckily camera phones are good quality these days. Chef had been talking about getting a DSLR camera, for photographing his food, for a few years. A few months into the blog, I could see the merits of investing in a good bit of equipment. So we chose a Canon 700D.Untitledgrilld

It’s taken me a little while to get used to it. It’s not as inconspicuous as whipping out my mobile and at first I was a little uncomfortable, thinking I was drawing attention to myself. I didn’t feel comfortable using it when Chef and I went to dinner at Amuse. I didn’t think it would be good manners at an expensive restaurant to start clicking away with a beeping camera. But that’s just me, I probably could turn off the beeps if I knew how! Poor Chef has learnt that he must wait to be told he can eat, till I have a good shot of his food! I do photograph my own dish last, it’s only fair. The chunky DLSR is part of a bloggers uniform and I won’t go dining without it. Wether I remember to pop the SD card in is another matter… Chef just rolls his eyes now, I’ve done that a few times! Whoops!IMG_0285aa

When I attended the Eat Drink Blog conference last year, I picked up some good tips from the photography session. It also cracked me up that whenever there was attractive food around, a scrum of bloggers would gather, clicking away with there DSLRs! I felt at home. I really love the photo I took at the Mushroom Farm on Day two of the conference.Untitledcmmmmmmm

I really love to eat out during daylight hours, as it obviously brings better lighting conditions. So this has also brought more eye rolls from Chef, as I’ll say something daft like “It’s raining today, let’s go to Bib and Tucker on a sunny day”. The things we bloggers do for a good beach shot…IMG_9696

A few people have remarked that I have a good eye for photography. I just put it down to dumb luck, as I feel there are a lot of things I still need to learn about how to use our camera to its full potential. Looking to the future, I hope to do a food photography class soon.IMG_8793

I love to use Instagram. Last week I added yet another social media platform – Pinterest. Now, I’m still a Pinetrest newbie, so I don’t really know what I’m doing! If you’re on Pinterest be sure to follow me on there too – I’ll be adding my very favourite photos.

LINK>> http://www.pinterest.com/chefswifeperth/Untitled

Here are a few of my favourite pics from the last year and you’ll notice that they’re not all of food. Wether it’s edible or a beautiful part of WA, I just love a good photo 🙂IMG_0112 IMG_9807aUntitledzIMG_9857

Lyons Den – Yallingup Private Holiday Home

I was trying to find the perfect holiday home in Western Australia’s South Western region. There were a lot of people to please. I had my English Cousins visiting us. There were 6 of them; children, parents and grandparents. Then there was the 3 of us and my parents too. Luckily there are a lot of BIG houses in the Margaret River wine region!! I spent hours searching on the internet. I happened upon the website www.stays.com.au , which was invaluable. IMG_9582

Lyons Den has 6 Bedrooms. A King with spa en-suite, a double with shower en-suite, two further doubles, a twin bedroom and the kids bedroom with two bunks and a trundle. There is also another bathroom with shower and bath. It can easily accommodate about 15 people and 2 or 3 familys comfortably. The chef’s kitchen was given the tick of approval by Chef. It had a double sized fridge/freezer, huge breakfast bar, great stove and Nesspresso machine (which was a god-send after a few late nights!).There is also a large dining table and sofas galore!IMG_9584

The kids were kept entertained. As well as lots of books and toys in the room there was a fabulous playground and sandpit. Also outside overlooking Geographe Bay was the tennis court and large entertaining patio with BBQ.IMG_9580

Lyons Den is a short drive south of Busselton, down Caves Road. It’s only about 5 minutes from Yallingup too. Whilst we were there, we discovered the beautiful and historic Caves House, which is a fantastic pub with a huge decked outdoor area and manicured gardens. Though the ocean at Yallingup might be a bit rough for swimming, there is an absolutely fantastic playground by the beach for the kids.IMG_0112IMG_0106IMG_0126IMG_0320

On the second day at LD, I thought I’d see what was behind the garage door. I’d assumed it was just an empty double garage – but I found bikes, tennis equipment, scooters, footballs and a TABLE TENNIS TABLE!! We were all very excited and had a boys vs girls tournament that night – I’m pleased to say the girls won!

Oh and the spa bath was a hit too!

Though this post is obviously not about food, it was part of a food and wine holiday and I thought I’d share our experience in case any of you are looking at having a holiday with extended family. I’d never booked private accommodation online and I found it a very easy experience; from booking online to  Alison promptly answering my questions. I would love to stay at Lyons Den again one day. There is something at Lyons Den for everyone. I think it would be a lovely cosy house in winter too, with the wood fire roaring! (no pun intended!).