The Islington Hotel's dining Conservatory

I've just got back from a trip to Hobart, Tasmania to meet up with my friends Romy, Faux Fuchsia and blog commenter Pammie. For those of my readers unsure where Tasmania is, it's the island at the bottom of the map of Australia, and Hobart is the Southernmost city in Australia.

The Islington's Yellow sitting room 


It was freezing and even snowed while we were there. It felt very English to me for a few reasons. Firstly we had to walk through a door at the airport that said "International Arrivals". I'm not sure Tasmania has officially Seceded from the mainland yet, but all the little black faced sheep in fields, rolling green hills, misty rain and Georgian style Architecture of the original Colonial era buildings combined to give a very English feel.

Mona's bunker like buildings overlooking the Derwent

We started our trip at MONA - the Museum of Old and New Art. It's one Billionaire's collection centring on the themes of life, death and sex. At one point I thought we'd entered Dante's fifth circle of Hell as we had to keep doubling back through a room with an installation of televisions with people screaming as performance art. We zipped through it all fairly fast, especially the infamous poo machine (the smell was awful), but I highly recommend the food in the cafe- we all had a great lunch.

The Fat Porsche - a message about overconsumption.

Later that night we had dinner at Franklin, recently anointed Hottest New Restaurant in Australia by Gourmet Traveller magazine and also The Australian newspaper food critics. If you like spending time in spartan concrete warehouses sitting on stools, and all the fun of deciphering menus with dishes containing three words ("nettles, grains, Sumac" etc) then this is the restaurant for you. It was full to the brim on Friday night with unhappy hipsters morosely eating Iceberg lettuce sprinkled with seaweed.

The Agrarian Kitchen cooking school before chaos started

Thankfully Tasmania has a very vibrant food scene, and our other dining experiences were fabulous. Every street seemed to have cool little hole in the wall cafes selling excellent coffee and cakes made on premises, and one of the purposes of our trip was to attend a cooking day at The Agrarian Cooking School with the theme of Vintage Baking. Faux Fuchsia has already done a post on it, so you can live the magic there.


But it was akin to being in an episode of The Great British Bakeoff. We baked our little fingers to the bone Vintage Style. So much so that I'm pretty sure Faux Fuchsia (who was standing next to me) was about to hit me over the head with a vintage style rolling pin at one point as I morphed into one of those annoying people that moan about how much easier it would all be if I just had my Thermomix with me. But we turned out an impressive array of Suet and lard based pastry goods. Delicious! An under-utilised ingredient these days.

Where we ate lunch - pastries and cakes we'd baked

We spent that night lying fatly around in front of the fire in the red sitting room at the Islington Hotel where we stayed chatting about houses, books, art, antiques and gardening. It's such a beautiful hotel, it's very cosy with lots of open fireplaces, books, art and china and feels like you're staying in someone's really nice home.



A spot of Cartier China in the Dining Room

Speaking of nice homes we spent some time also camped out at our hostess Romy's house, which is divine. Full of colour and art and books and so personal and eclectic. Lots of mementos of family travels and special occasions, it's all I love in a house.

corner of Romy's Dining room with Designers Guild covered velvet bench seat and coloured wine glasses


Romy's Boathouse


Sunday saw us eating lunch at Smolt, which was excellent, browsing bookshops and wandering around Salamanca Place which is the old wharf area of Hobart. Romy also took us to her boat shed, which is in a most lovely, tranquil little spot and drove us around and around Hobart which curiously reminds me of Sydney. Perhaps it's all the little one way curvy streets, sandstone walls and colonial era Architecture? Plus the water is always turning up around a corner as you enter another little bay.


Salamanca Place



Back to Adelaide with a thump late last night. It was such a fun weekend escape but too short! I can't wait to get back there again. Lastly, we always exchange little presents on our yearly catch ups, and I was so pleased with these I thought I'd mention them -  Project Ten chiller bags that come in a bunch of fun patterns. I like giving useful presents and these are perfect for the supermarket shopping, picnics or transporting things to lunches or dinners (they also make different sized shoppers, totes or zip wallets that match too). So I bought one that matches with each of my three Hobart bakers in arms.


I'll leave it out to you to work out who matches up with which one! Hope you had a good weekend too.

33 comments:

  1. That weekend sounds like bliss! What a beautiful part of the world, I hope I can get there some day.
    Luff all of the colour and interest in the interior photos. And that boat house is divine! xx

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    1. It was so much fun Dani - I love our yearly catch ups, and I hope you get to Australia too one day! We have a very diverse country.. so many people think it's all just desert and beaches, but we get snow as well (although not as much as you). xx

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  2. What great fun and love all the pics!! Looks a bit cold but the fires are lovely. I like Tassie a lot. My favourite Pinot was Tassie one I haven't drunk in ages. I'd love to see that museum I hear loads about too. I bet you enjoy your thermo mix a bit more after some elbow grease? Is the chiller bag from left to right - ff, p, r? ;)

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    1. It was freezing - 6 most days, but that gave it that English feel. Those convicts arriving hundreds of years ago would have felt right at home. Apparently people fly in from New York specifically to visit the museum. It has made quite a wave in the Art world. But it's kind of a strange, strange place. You guessed right with the bags! It was like they were made for them all xx

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  3. What a fun weekend - Romy's house looks incredible. What a nice tradition you have going there. Fabulous cooler bags too - very thoughtful. The red room is fantastic - lovely to have in a hotel rather than a home though, slightly easier to be bold if you don't have to live with it 24/7! xx

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    1. It was so much fun, I can't believe I'd never made it down there before. The houses are absolutely divine and Romy has a real eye for colour and design. We were trying to twist her arm to write her blog again, and she has said she will so fingers crossed. Agree with you about the red room. I think bold colour choices are good in occasional rooms only. I had a yellow everyday sitting room once and I was so sick of it after 4 years. Probably why I stick to neutrals for my living spaces now.xx

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  4. I love MONA!
    And I am with you on the thermomix, though it's not really vintage.
    Sounds like a very well deserved weekend away.

    I hate restaurants with uncomfortable seating. Good restaurants should know better

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    1. what exactly did you love about Mona? My favourite thing was the lunch and location and I liked the sandstone walls x

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    2. Look, after I had to zest orange peel by HAND and beat sugar and butter together with a wooden spoon the Thermomix was definitely missed. Plus Linda, our teacher, said she had one too!

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  5. I love your post!!! So many unhappy hipsters! So much on trend food! So many decent antiques and high end soft furnishings!!!

    I also LOVE my bag!

    Yesterday I put carrot onion and celery in my food processor because I was too lazy to chop it by hand and thought of how much you'd approve!

    Miss you xxxx

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    1. So many hipsters! I keep laughing remembering that night. Loved all the antique shops and the little houses. I want to retire to that circus place we kept making Romy drive us around. Those houses are so adorable. Won't fit 3 kids in them with ease, but maybe later in life…
      Glad you love your bag. You can now think of me every time you're at the supermarket. Good work on the food processor. Life is too short to chop things all the time. Miss you too xx

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  6. Wonderful Heidi!!... I can just imagine the agony of hand-whisking ingredients?.... too hard! Hobart and the hotel look divine.. tempting and might arrange a trip there. What about photos of finished baked goods? Love to see! Have a lovely week xxx

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    1. I can tell you now Jenny that my arm was a bit sore the next day. Our great-grandmothers must've had superior upper body strength to bake a cake. Or kitchen staff.
      You'd love Hobart, it's absolutely gorgeous - definitely arrange a trip. Faux Fuchsia has pics of the finished goods on her blog - I was feeling quite ill by the time it was all brought up (no lie!). I had to lie in front of the fire to recover while the other bakers finished up the laming tons. xx

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  7. Sounds fabulous- what a lovely way for you all to meet up and I have read Faux Fushias post on the Agraian Cooking school, that too sounds so interesting, definately getting back to baking basics. I bet it all tasted amazing. Nothing like home baked goodies in front of a warm fire when its cold out.
    Loved the hotel- will definately put it on my list next time - we will be taking the yacht down again next summer to Tassie and a night off the boat is often a welcome luxury!!!!
    Also loved Romys house and boat shed- all looked very warm and inviting.
    Great post. Have a lovely week xxx
    Marilyn

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    1. I can tell you that the suet and lard did make things taste very good. I'm unsure whether I'll tackle it at home… maybe (it wasn't hard, but I think sourcing suet these days is not easy).
      Sailing around Tassie would be fabulous, and I can highly recommend the hotel. It would feel like an absolute treat after the boat. Plus the breakfasts which are included in the rate are fabulous! xx

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  8. Hobart looks beautiful! Sounds like you had an amazing weekend!

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    1. It's a beautiful part of the world, and so different from the mainland Louise. And so much fun to catch up with friends from afar. xx

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  9. what a wonderful time was had by all and thanks for sharing. Good friends and shared times are priceless.
    Nearly 19 years ago, we visited Tassie and stayed in the heritage houses and colonial cottages including Islington. Wonderful memories. I remember coming back home (Sydney) and telling my family how we should all move there ( great homes, even better fresh produce and good food). Only problem was finding jobs for us all. Back then we had to visit Tasmanian tourist office to get info. Those were the days. Den xxx

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    1. Friends do make it all - we had a great night at Franklin restaurant despite the interesting food/ ambience because of it. And we laughed about it all weekend. Lots of Sydney people do live in Hobart now - and I can see why when you compare house prices and what you get for it. But yes, jobs are scarce. I think if you can be self employed or have portable work then it would be perfect. xx

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  10. Great post! I'll definitely check out The Islington next time I'm in Hobart.

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    1. It's a beautiful hotel Sandra - I highly recommend!

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  11. Heidi, I'm troubled to report that even on the first day of Spring it's still cold in Hobart and threatening to rain…..again! On a happier note my children are still working through all of the vintage cake yet they've eaten all of the lamingtons already and are hassling for me to make more……so soon! Am taking my beautiful bag (thank you again) down to the corner shop this afternoon for provisioning the fridge. Let's not wait a year until we catch up again! Rx

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    1. Well, it rained here today and was grey, but 19! So a bit humid and weird really. My kids are so jealous your kids got all the cake! I rallied today and baked a banana cake despite saying I wouldn't bake for at least a week. But just say no to the lamingtons! All those steps! Hopefully a catch up will be sooner rather than later, and thank you again for showing us your beautiful city xx

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  12. I loved Franklin! but I am a bit of a hipster. I snorted out loud when I read this: 'It was full to the brim on Friday night with unhappy hipsters morosely eating Iceberg lettuce sprinkled with seaweed.'... I was down there about two months ago and my airbnb host said something along those lines. I am a long time reader via FF's blog but I never comment. Would love to go to the Agrarian Kitchen for one of the smallgoods classes.

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    1. You'd love the Agrarian kitchen Sophie. They are hardcore from scratch types - they were grinding the flour for us on request for the baking! One of the small goods courses would be fab, or the cheese making. But of course you're a hipster - you're from Melbourne! My plane on Sunday night was full of Melbourne hipsters dressed in black who had undoubtably spent a lot of time over the weekend at MONA and eating at Franklin. Maybe we just got unlucky with our food choices - my entree was delish but main, sides and dessert left me cold. Same with the others! Thanks for commenting x

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    2. Sophie I will def do a preserving course with you!!! That iceberg lettuce wasn't good but the pate stuff was 11/10!!!

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  13. So glad you had a great weekend - nothing better than a catch up with friends in another state. Can't tell you how happy it makes me that you can now mock Hobart for its hipsters. I lived there in the days when it was truly a hipster free zone. I agree with you about Franklin - too cool for itself but seems very popular. Confusingly there is also Frank which has much more buzz.

    I love MONA and perhaps part of that is seeing a world class building and art experience in Hobart - it really is an amazing addition and has drawn in so many visitors. I only ever go for an hour or two but always enjoy the experience very much.

    Love The Islington - I have accommodation in Hobart but perhaps should ditch the kids and head there for a night. Gorgeous.

    The job situation keeps us in a bigger city - although when I compare my every day life to my Hobart friends' routines, I think we're mad... thanks for the little taste of home...

    (PS I need a thermo post from you - should I buy one, really? The demo didn't really do it for me...)

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    1. I think Hobart still has a big divide - there are the hipsters, and then there are the bright coloured fleece jacket wearers with beanies. Look, Franklin was packing them in, and clearly there are people that love the seaweed and iceberg combo. Mona has definitely done good things for Hobart and it's a very curious place.
      As for the Thermo - I won't do a post on it! It will annoy too many people! But I LOVE mine. I don't use a lot of their recipes, more my own that I've adapted to suit the thermomix... but the things I do use it for are: cheese sauce (for mac n cheese for the kids), risotto, doing rice/ quinoa and steaming veggies at the same time, actually I use the steamer a fair bit now I think about it. I make lots of cakes, pizza dough, veggie stock paste (never buy stock now), when I have things like dinner parties I do marinades, spices, chopping things up in it, I make pastry, grind almonds up for almond meal on an as needs basis…. do smoothies for the kids in which I add nuts and it turns it into a smooth consistency (I hide lots of veggies/ nuts/ chia seeds in their smoothies by using frozen berries to mask it all). I do meatballs where I chop things, make breadcrumbs, it mixes it all together and then I use a tiny ice cream scoop to make the meatballs. Takes me about 5 minutes from start to finish. I think the biggest benefit is that it is really, really easy to clean. Much better than the magi mix that I had previously. So I use it multiple times a day. Plus you never have to run out of stuff - you can make your own flour from wheat, or icing sugar from sugar etc. Maybe you had a bad sales person demonstrating? xx

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    2. Thanks so much, agree a post is too much (so much thermo angst that divides the masses) but it's very helpful to see that long list of what you use it for. My demo person couldn't really cook I think.

      I would probably do all of that with it. I don't actually own a food process or kitchen aid etc but love to cook so think I'm a prime candidate. My processor died about seven years ago and I've never replaced it - you can live with just a stick blender for soups and an electric hand beater. I'm living proof ! But it's definitely time... I have been tossing up magi mix or thermo and think it's probably worth the investment.

      Thanks - big help as always !!

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    3. You are a prime candidate if you haven't already heavily invested in kitchen equipment. I had a magi mix and a kitchen aid, so I hesitated for 4 years. But I haven't regretted it for a minute. I forgot to write the soups in - I do them all in the thermomix from start to finish. So easy and I frequently whip one up for lunch when at home by myself as it's just so easy. But yes, thermomixes do divide so I daren't wade into that sort of a promotion! x

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  14. Such a lovely weekend you've had Heidi. I adored hearing about your vintage baking experience. All that lard and suet reminded me of my mother's baking using Trex, a British product that was a substitute for suet. Thanks for the memories.

    Hobert looks lovely, by the way, and your friend's house looks supremely comfy.

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    1. It was so great to see a part of this country I've never been to CD - it's so geographically different, and a real slice of Georgian era England. The houses are so beautiful.
      Funny re lard and suet - I might have to search out the replacement. Suspect it's going to be hard to source here.

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  15. All your wonderful posts about Hobart are making me want to take a look!
    I suspect Romy would love my house, and I would love hers. Colour, art, and whimsy.
    Thanks for the lovely post
    K

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Architect & Interior Designer. Mother of three. A sometimes Cook, Baker, Reader, Gardener, Fashion Lover, Renovator, Writer of random things in South Australia email me on anadelaidevilla@bigpond.com
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