Tag Archives: organic food

365 Places: Manik Organik

Day 57: Manik Organik, Sanur, Bali, Indonesia

Today I write about a favourite haunt close to Paneeda View, Manik Organik.

Manik Organik is a great spot, offering delicious whole foods from the cafe, natural skin care, alternative health therapies, arts, dance and cooking classes and our favourite form of tropical torture – yoga.

There were three types of yoga classes on offer while we were here – Bali style, Hatha and Ashtanga Vinyasa Flow. We did the Bali and Hatha classes and enjoyed both, for different reasons. The Bali style was quite different to other classes we have done in the past and the first class was very challenging. The second class was a bit easier, finding that our bodies were willing to stretch a bit more. Mangku was also a wonderful teacher and we promised him next year that we will be better. He is also a traditional Balinese Hindu priest and healer – here is some information from The Power of Now Oasis Yoga website.

Jero Mangku comes from a long line of traditional balinese hindu priests, his life is truly an offering. He began teaching yoga over 5 years ago, and is certified by the School of Sacred Arts here in Bali. He always brings strong elements of Joy, Peace, and Harmony as well as Effort and Discipline into his yoga classes. Drawing from a deep knowledge of spirituality, body work and a life of practice, his classes are very popular with locals, expats, and tourists alike.

Here is Mangku in some pretty amazing poses.

Image Credit: http://manikorganikbali.com
Image Credit: http://manikorganikbali.com
Image Credit: http://manikorganikbali.com
Image Credit: http://manikorganikbali.com
Image Credit: http://manikorganikbali.com/
Image Credit: http://manikorganikbali.com/

What we found was really nice way to spend a morning was to go to yoga class and then tuck in some yummy breakfast from the cafe. Here is a picture of the fruit and muesli plate – delicious!

© Tracey Benson 2014
© Tracey Benson 2014

Given we are already planning our trip for next year, it looks like some more yoga will be in store – the challenge will be making sure we keep going once we get back to the cold of Canberra.

365 Places: Parap Markets

Day 50: Parap Markets, Northern Territory, Australia

Today and for the next few posts, I will be writing about a place I love dearly, Darwin. Our family moved to Darwin in 1977, as my Dad worked in the building industry and was employed to work in the rebuilding efforts after Cyclone Tracy devastated Darwin on Christmas day 1974. Many of my school friends lived through this catastrophic event, which literally wiped Darwin out. I will write in detail about Cyclone Tracy later.

For today though, my focus will be the fabulous Parap Markets, which has been a Saturday morning tradition for many years. The markets started in 1982, with some humble offering of some Asian foods (fantastic Laksa), juices and some fresh fruit and vegetables from some of the market gardens. Of course the market was extremely popular with locals at the time, because good quality fresh food was hard to come by. Anyone who lived here in those days will speak of the horrible, old fruit and veg from the larger supermarkets, shipped from down south which cost a bomb. In contrast, the fruit and veg from the markets is locally grown, fresh and mostly organic.

Over the years, and with the expansion of tourism in the dry season, the markets has grown enormously, now with many jewellery and craft stalls, boutique sauces and condiments and lots more great spicy food to enjoy from Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia.

After grabbing delicious (and huge) icy fruit drinks we wandered around and checked out all the stalls. Along the way we met Photographer Louise Denton, who creates some beautiful images of the Top End. I couldn’t resist buying her book – mainly as I couldn’t choose a photograph for the wall at home.

Louise Denton @ Parap Markets, © Tracey Benson 2014
Louise Denton @ Parap Markets, © Tracey Benson 2014

It was great to spend some time wandering around the markets with some friends, enjoying the offerings and doing some people watching. It was also quite nostalgic for me as well, as going to the Parap Market was one of my favourite things to do on the weekend when I lived in Darwin. The Asian food, tropical fruit and seeing people wandering around with big sun hats remind me of how much I treasure Darwin and how it seems so different from any other Australian city, more like South-East Asia because of the climate and relaxed lifestyle.

365 Places: Bellingen

Day 29: Bellingen, New South Wales, Australia

Today, we wandered over to Bellingen, a lovely village about 20 minutes south of Coff’s Harbour.

It is known for being a beautiful location as well as having a vibrant arts community. The Visit NSW website says:

Referred to as the creative hub of the Coffs Harbour region, Bellingen is also home to the Bellingen Jazz and Blues Festival (held every year around August). Within the Bellingen community are a number of writers, artists and musicians: imbuing the area with a dynamic creative energy.

One of Bellingen’s claims to fame is that it was one of the locations for the book and film of Peter Carey’s Oscar and Lucinda.

Image credit: The Guardian
“I dare not hope, and yet I must that through this deed I gain your trust.” Image credit: The Guardian

It is a lovely place to talk around, just to soak up the creative atmosphere. The main street of town is lined with quaintly restored old shop fronts that have been converted into quirky designer stores, organic cafes and fresh food markets.

We had lunch at a great local cafe/bar – 5 Church Street. The food was excellent and we also had a delicious juice – apple, ginger and mint. 5 Church Street uses local, organic and biodynamic ingredients where possible in their food and you can really tell – my veggie burger was just divine, as were the chunky fries! The burger had lots of caramelised onion, freshly grated beetroot, greens and carrot, with a big chunk of grilled halloumi – you really can’t beat a veggie burger made with organic ingredients.

Here is a quirky map from the 5 Church Street menu, showing some of the local suppliers:

Coff's Region Map - Image Credit: 5 Church Street
Coff’s Region Map – Image Credit: 5 Church Street

The other place that is worth visiting is the old Butter Factory on the outskirts of town. Here you will find a number of galleries promoting local artists, a gorgeous homewares shop, a leather-craft shop, massage therapy and a cafe.

For more, you can also check out Martin Drury’s Photo Essay on Bellingen.

200 followers – thank you!!

Thank you to everyone who visits our site and likes and follows our posts. We really appreciate your support – it inspires us to continue to write and publish our travel stories.

Don’t forget – we welcome guest contributions (like the prolific Garry Benson), so if you have a great story please check out the submission guidelines and  contact us.

Thanks again – you are awesome!

This is us at our fave cafe in Istanbul , more later 🙂

Tracey and Marty in Istanbul
Tracey and Marty in Istanbul

Help us make 200 followers: it’s still the w’end in some parts of the globe:

Yesterday we hit 500 likes on our travel site www.geokult-travel.com .

We are really excited to share that we almost have 200 followers. We would love to make this milestone this weekend,  so if you haven’t already checked out the site, drop by and say hi. We would really appreciate it 🙂

We write articles and present photo essays on all sorts of topics related to travel, culture, food, adventure and sustainability.

You can also contribute articles to Geokult Travel.

If you drop in and love what you see, please tell your friends ❤

Twilight Markets at New Acton

It is not often I venture to the New Acton precinct on the weekend, as I work there during the week. What seems to be evolving in this architecturally designed, trendy urban locale is an eco savvy, fashion conscious and foodie vibe. New Acton is situated close to the Australian National University, the National Museum of Australia and the National Film and Sound Archive, making it a handy place to visit while seeing some of the capitals cultural and educational centres. The Nishi Building also hosts the Palace Cinema, which screens many international and art house  films. All in all, New Acton is a pretty groovy place to hang out.

This weekend two markets were on at New Acton – Forage and Hustle and Scout.

The Forage was held  through the paths and grassy areas of the John Avery Gardens and Kendall Lane. (behind A-Baker and The Parlour Wine Room). Their website states that the goal of the forage is “to create a unique, fun, and community vibe where everyone feels welcome. Aesthetics that reflect a raw and earthy feel with a rustic edge will differentiate the forage from any other food market or event in Canberra.”  This was the first event for the forage and plans will see them popping up at different locations around Canberra.

There were a few stalls with organic baked goods, mainly sweets, some selections of wines and a large group of people were queued for pork belly rolls. We didn’t try any of the fare at forage as our main objective was to check out the fashion and jewellery at Hustle and Scout. Perhaps at the next forage we will focus on the gastronomic goodies.

Hustle and Scout was fun and fabulous with lots of designers, sustainable and eco-fashion, recycled and up-cycled fashion and a broad selection of jewellery. There was also models mingling in the crowd, which made the event seem very accessible. Ordinarily fashion is not really my domain (beyond shoes, handbags and jewellery) , but my love for recycled and up-cycled products is slowly revealing a eco-fashion diva. What was also really nice about this event, was that the fashion and accessories were not just for young people, there was a wealth of options for the not so young fashionistas.

Some of my favourites included:

  • Honey Bee had some stunning jewellery made from etched stainless steel. the designs have been influenced from a range of cultures and retro styles. I particularly loved some of the earrings that incorporated Arabic patterns and design. Also the material is very light so wearing large, dangly earrings won’t weigh heavily on your ear lobes, a nice feature of these pieces.
  • Pure Pod has emerged as one of Australia’s largest ethical fashion brands and is considered to be a pioneer in the ‘Eco & Sustainable’ fashion industry. Pure Pod’s ethos focuses on sustainability, ethics, caring for the environment and humanity. They pride themselves on using talented Australian crafts people and keeping local fashion industry thriving. Even better, their products are 100% ethically Australian Made. I fell in love with the “Wise Old Owl” design and will be talking to Kelli soon about ordering one of these fab frocks made from organic cotton blend.
  • Middlemost had some wonderful quirky items – have a look at the image above. I bought the cutest handmade card with a picture and come cat earrings. They specialise in creating clothing, accessories and cards made using vintage and recycled fabrics, with each piece being a handmade original.
  • The Darling Sisters specialise in gorgeous retro chic – they also have a shop called “Darling Central” in Gold Creek Village, near the George Harcourt Inn and the Cockington Green miniature village. At the markets, they had some lovely books on hair styling and makeup, I nearly bought the hair styling book and then remembered that I am completely lazy when it comes to hairdos.

This is just a small sample of the fabulousness at the Hustle and Scout market. I look forward to seeing what happens next with this wonderful event.

No, Canberra Doesn’t Suck!

One of the great places to find products that have been handmade by local artists, designers and craftspeople is through Handmade Canberra. They have a shopfront located at City Walk, 20 Allara Street in Civic, which features the work of over 170 local designers. They also run regular markets at the Canberra Convention Centre, 31 Constitution Avenue 4 times a year. The next market is scheduled for June 7 & 8, 10am to 4pm.

Canberra Doesn't Suck
Canberra Doesn’t Suck

I love this lollypop as it says a lot about Canberra’s reputation. There is a stereotyped idea that it is a place of dull monuments and boring public servants, which is simply not true. To the contrary, if people take the time to look around they will find it is a rich, creative and diverse community. Ironically, I also held this belief that public servants were dull, until I joined the APS and worked alongside other people who had identities as artists, musicians, healers, scientists and aid volunteers.

So, no, Canberra doesn’t suck, though it is true that in Winter, the wind can blow.

Idyllic Canberra Sunday

Today was pretty much my idea of a perfect Sunday in Canberra. After sleeping in just a little and catching up on some household chores, we headed off to the Old Bus Depot Markets and Fyshwick Markets. After we stocked up, we then went to my favourite cafe in Belconnen, Ricardo’s Cafe for coffee and Portuguese Tarts. After we dropped off the groceries, we enjoyed a lovely walk up Mt Painter.

EveryTrail Map of Pt Painter walk
EveryTrail Map of Mt Painter walk

Mt Painter Walk at EveryTrail
EveryTrail – Find hiking trails in California and beyond

Organic Markets
One thing I really love about Canberra is the quality of food that is organic and/or locally grown and made. There are a number of markets where you can buy really good organic food. For example, the Fyshwick Markets has the Fyshwick Gourmet Organic butcher who sells free range and organic meats, as well as game meat like venison and kangaroo.  For your organic fruit and veggies, you can usually find a good variety at Wiffins, if you get there early. The prices are also reasonable, last week I paid $18.99 for a kilo for apples at the Organic Energy Foods at Griffith, Wiffins had two varieties for $12.99. I never save money though, as I just seem to buy more apples to make up the difference. In defence of Organic Energy Foods, their shop is beautifully presented the produce is always excellent quality and they home deliver.

Other places you can find organic produce in Canberra, include the Capital Region Farmers Market (7.30am to 11.30am on Saturday mornings at Exhibition Park), the Southside Farmer’s Market  (Sunday afternoons at the Woden CIT Campus) and the new Northside Farmers Market at the University of Canberra Campus (2.30-5.30pm, Kirinari Street, in front of Building 10).  You can also go to Choku Bai Jo at the North Lyneham and Curtin shops. Choko Bai Jo also lists the road miles that produce have travelled, to help customers make informed decisions.

Old Bus Depot Markets
The Old Bus Depot markets are always a treat. Located in a couple of old industrial buildings along the Kingston Foreshore, you can find all sorts of wonderful treasure: antiques and collectibles; art and craft; fine food (especially olives, cheeses and breads); and, usually some live music. The markets are situated next door to the Canberra Glassworks which is also worth a visit, as the artists often have demonstrations of glass blowing. I managed not to spend too much money, though we did indulge and share a delicious chocolate brownie with pecans. However, I was very taken with some bags from Vintage Creation made from recycled leather jackets that can be worn 6 ways, I think I will be putting in an order with the designer as they are just gorgeous and I cannot resist a beautiful and practical bag.

Portuguese tarts at Jammo
After enjoying the markets, we went to our favourite cafe in the Belconnen region – Ricardo’s Cafe at the Jamison Plaza (affectionately known as Jammo). Their coffee is always reliable – I am a self admitted coffee snob so this is very important, the food is good and the service is friendly and prompt. We have been going there for years and we are never left waiting for our coffee or our food. They have also consistently won ACT Restaurant and Catering awards over the years. The highlight for us though is a sticky sweet little treat – the Portuguese Tart, made on the premises and absolutely magnificent washed down with a coffee. We have noticed recently that they are getting very busy, so if you have a group, it might be an idea to book a table in advance.

Mt Painter
After offloading the groceries, it was time to get out for a walk, today we stayed close to home, walking up Mt Painter. The views of the Molonglo Valley and the mountains were magnificent, such a great way to end a busy weekend. I will leave you with this view of Mt Stromlo and surrounding areas.

Mt Painter views, photo by Tracey Benson
Mt Painter views, photo by Tracey Benson