• Food and Recipes

    Christmas Biscuits

    Gifts that you have made yourself are special so I decided to do some baking. My favourite are Nuremburg Lebkuchen and I made a batch from two different recipes.

    My husband really likes these ones with very nutty and chewy texture (These are more lumpy ones to the right of the picture.


    I like the second ones which a more “cakey”. I did tinker with the recipe, I used brown sugar, reducing the quantity to 150 grams and then adding 1/2 cup of honey along and also some vanilla paste.

  • Travel

    Day 1 – Flying to America

    Overthinking the Route

    So flying with Qantas there are two main ways to get from Melbourne to New York. QF93 MEL- LAX followed by QF11 LAX-JFK leaves at 9am and arrives at 4:40pm New York time. That’s not bad, you have to get out of bed at about 5am to be at the airport in time, but then you can have dinner in New York and settle in for a decent night’s rest.

    The night-time version is QF49 MEL-SFO and then QF3177 SFO-JFK. This leaves at 20:55 Melbourne time and arrives in NY at 06:32 local. If you can sleep on a plane (I can’t) this is pretty good because you don’t have to get up early, and you have a full day in NY when you get there. The downside is that QF3177 is a code-share with American Airlines (less Qantas points and credits), and if you can’t sleep then you are at fair risk of getting seriously out of circadian whack and crashing straight into bed in NY and missing a whole day.

    A rather outside-the box approach is to fly to Sydney first (QF410 at 07:00 MEL-SYD) then catch QF11 (SYD-LAX, LAX-JFK). It leaves Melbourne at the same time as QF93 and because it is an extra flight leg you get about 10% more Qantas points and 15% more status credits. The downside is that you have a very rushed transit in Sydney during which you have to go through border control; but Qantas is used to these things and is very organised indeed at getting people through in time for their connecting flights. So that is what we did.

    Mister … Cow?

    Meet Mr. Cow, our travel mascot. He has been with us to Thailand, the USA and many other places. Here he is enjoying the ambience of the Qantas lounge at about 06:15 on the morning of our flight.

    So on with the flight, already!

    Well, it was an airline flight, you know? Lots of sitting around looking at a tiny screen and waiting for time to pass so you can get on with your life.

    Just about to pushback from MEL.
    Mr Cow likes his coffee frothy
    The view is quite nice sometimes, actually.

    I don’t remember what movies I watched, I don’t remember the transit at LAX at all, I don’t remember what books I read. Long-distance air travel is a blur, and possibly thankfully so.

    New York, New York, it’s a Koreatown

    Eventually we arrived at JFK and taxied into town. Tourist tip – if your flights give you a choice of going to any of the other airports near New York, choose JFK. It’s more modern, nicer, and there is a fixed-price taxi fare from JFK to Manhattan ($52.50 as of writing) that is not available from the others.

    We checked in to our hotel for the night. The Stewart Hotel was … okay, I guess. Not fancy, but we were just staying one night before catching the train up to Boston the next day, and the Stewart is very convenient to Penn Station. A bit of wandering around found us eating Korean Fried Chicken at Turntable in Koreatown.

    The food was crispy and spicy, and had been cooked to order instead of reheated, the beer frosted the outside of the glass, we were off the plane breathing fresh air and able to walk more than twenty metres in one direction.

    Clearly it was time to go to bed.