Byron Bay (The meeting Place)

On Tuesday Maisie and I hired a car and took a three day road trip to Byron Bay. We left at 7am and by 8.30 we were at Tallebudgera Creek, a beautiful inlet just past Burleigh Heads. Jemi recommended us to stop there for an early morning swim, its magical with golden sands, bleached drift wood and clear waters. On the advice of a lady we met at the creek we made our next stop at place called ‘Bangalow’, which is a small village with a unique selection of arty shops, we had fun just mooching about whilst staying out of the midday sun. We then drove onto Byron, this place could be a bigger version of Calstock but by the ocean. It has breath taking beaches and shops and cafes with a good touch of bohemia…yes I am at home! We chilled on the beach and later booked ourselves into ‘Coconut Cottage’ for the night. Check this one out at www.atlanticbyronbay.com.au. After dressing up and going out for a Thai meal we slept well and the air conditioning was glorious.

Wednesday morning we decided to set off early and do the walk to Byron lighthouse… this took us through some rain forest and five minutes in we spot a wallaby just to the left of our path..we manage to get a picture and then off he hops right in front of us…bit of a highlight. Its seriously hot as we do the last bit of walk to the lighthouse and we stop at the small cafe and have toasted banana bread for breakfast, this is a first for me and its so good! We later head out to the most easterly point of Australia and then as we are watching a massive Ray in the waters below…we sight Dolphins…just playing in the waves, we must of counted over twenty! We continued to ‘Little Wategos Bay’ and took a dip in the ocean to cool down. The scenery is truly stunning and we continue to walk around this penninsular until we reach ‘Captain Cooks look Out’ telling the history of how Captain Cook discovered this place in 1770 and named it Cape Byron after John Byron, circumnavigator of the world and grandfather of the poet, Lord Byron. We later pass Wategos Bay and its like a scene from the sixties..camper vans, travellers, people cooking up on the communual BBQs a wash with charactures, oh and some wild turkeys strutting their stuff…I can’t help myself, I love it all, its unthreatening, its peaceful and its living in the simplest form.

So we are sold, we get back to the car, check on how Miles is doing, Jemima is taking good care of him. We feel happy to book ourselves a second night into Coconut cottage.  We cook up some true Aussie burgers on the BBQ and we spend a great evening chilling in the beautiful outside kitchen of this place.

Thursday morning I wake at 6am and sneak off to the beach alone…I grab a coffee on the way, the beach is stunning the sun is rising and i can’t quiet believe how lucky I am. I get talking to a man who I can only describe as Robinson Crusoe…he is a sand artist and is about to sculpt an elephant, he tells me about Byron and how he and his business partner travel the world just doing this for a living . By now there are a few more people on the beach and some are doing yoga, others surfing, jogging, walking and some are just sleeping off the night before!

We leave Coconut cottage once again and head out to the early morning Famers market..this is a highlight for me..we taste and buy numerous foods, I will talk more about this in a seperate post…but the excitement of chatting to growers and bakers and makers of all these beautiful foods, only endorses my belief that food has the same value the world over and unless it is grown and placed on the table with love and respect for the land, humanity and us as a whole, you will only ever be feeding your stomach and never your soul.

The rest of the afternoon is spent at ‘Cosy Corner’ on Tallow Beach, sheltered from the easterly winds and free from blue bottle jelly fish. We find ourselves swimming in the clearest waters I have ever seen, the dolphins join us for the swim and I can officially say I have died and gone to heaven. This place looks like Fiji. We reluctantly leave as the sun is now scorching hot and after getting a few rough directions I make the decision to drive inland to Minyon Falls..much to Maisies horror. We have a tiny car and we bravely head up mind blowing hills and take on some crazy Aussie country drivers. Eventually we are in the middle of the rain forest, dense thick vegetation with a pretty impressive waterfall at the top. We try out the compost toilets and Maisie reminds me that I bribed her with the promise of an ice-cream to come on this hair raising journey. There is nothing in sight so we head back down the mountain and find this eccentric cafe…with bronze sculptures out side and the skeleton of what looks like ‘chitty chitty bang bang car’. This place turns out to be a real find…we sit on the veranda overlooking the drop to the forest base, maisie slurping an Iced chocolate drink, me sipping my first cup of earl grey tea since I arrived in Australia and both of us devouring a delicious piece of homemade pecan pie made with local pecans. The cook has also sent out a complimentry lemon tart to see what we think..seriously can my life get any better? The Cicadas seronade us with their forest song, ..I put my feet up before we start our journey back to Surfers and in that moment, I realise I am grateful, truly, truly grateful .

Lemon Chicken with Roasted Vegetables

This makes a great roast any time of the year, but is especially good during the hotter months when doing a full roast can all a bit too much.This is quick and easy and uses minimum pans. It was the first meal I cooked when we arrived in Australia and they loved it!

  • 1 chicken (approx 1.5kg)
  • 1 whole lemon
  • Olive or rapeseed oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Dried tarragon or rosemary or herbs of your choice
  • 2 red onions, peeled and quatered
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into inch sized chunks
  • 8 small potatoes, leave skins on and cut into quarters
  • 6 gloves of garlic with skin on and slightly crushed with side of knife
  • 2-3 carrots peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 butternut squash peel, deseed and cut into inch and a half size chunk
  • 1 red pepper deseeded and cut into inch pieces

 

  1. Pre-heat oven to 190 °C / Fan 170 °C prepare the chicken by washing in cold water and removing any giblets etc. dry with a paper towel and place on a roasting dish. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with herbs. Drizzle with oil and rub into the skin of the chicken. Meanwhile warm the lemon in the microwave for 30 seconds or in a pan of boiling water for 2 mins. Carefully pierce the lemon with a fork and place inside the cavity of the chicken.This not only allows the lemon vapours to seep into the chicken meat but also starts to cook the chicken from the inside out, speeding up the cooking process. Place in the oven for 1hr 20mins.
  2.  Prepare vegetables as stated in the ingredients list and place on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper and some dried herbs of your choice. Toss the vegetables in the seasoning and oil and spread them out on the baking sheet. Put the veg in the oven 35 mins after the chicken has gone in, cook for approx 45-60 mins, turning the veg a couple of times during cooking.
  3. You will be able tell when the chicken is ready by inserting a skewer into the centre of the leg of the chicken, if cooked the juices should run clear. Cover and leave to rest for 15mins while the roasted veg finish off.
  4. We served this with a mixed salad and balsamic dressing…place it all in the middle of the table and tuck in!

Storms, Stings and Surfers

For the first week we have taken things easy the day goes a bit like this, wake up at 6am meet Jemi at 6.30 for a run.. we stop at Ily’s outside coffee shop and devour a huge iced coffee each, tastes like heaven. One morning I ran by myself and arrived at the coffee shop with what I thought was six dollars, turns out it was six cents haha..they took pity on me, realised I was special and served me anyway. Our days are then filled with the beach, pool and food.Tuesday I had a day to myself and decided to walk to broadbeach.The day started well until I decided to go for a swim…two minutes in and something wraps itself around my leg and a i feel the sting go in..my mind races and I’m remembering the horror stories the boys love telling me, about jellyfish that only give you three minutes to live after they sting you. So with as much speed as I can muster I limp my way up the beach to the lifeguard. he is as chilled as then come, telling me its a blue bottle jelly fish that has stung me and Im lucky! After being treated I try and act as normal as possible and lay down in the sand trying not to draw anymore attention to myself…which is hard cause now the pain has reached my groin, the sun is intense and i have run out of water, my fingers are also stung, relaxing this is not! Later I walk back to Surfers and arrive in the Hilton food store(where Jemi works) for a coffee..Jemi takes one look at me and hands me a napkin saying ‘Oh no! what has happened to you?’ She sits me on a beautiful white leather sofa under a huge painting of Marilyn Monroe (Marilyn stares down at me with a look of distain) and Jemi serves me the best coffee yet. I try to blend into the finery that surrounds me but my leg is now white with the treatment and I am literally covered in sand..sophisticated I am not. As I stand to go, a pool of sand is left on the once pristine sofa…only Bridget Jones would understand my humiliation.

Wednesday, Maisie and I bought tickets for Sea World. On the way there we pass the Versace hotel, where ‘I’m a celebrity get me out of here ‘  celebrities stay when they get kicked out of camp. Maisie and I loved the Dolphin show the best, incredibly creatures so tuned in and receptive to humans…I could have watched them all day. we also saw baby penquins, whales, sharks sting rays and a crazy sea lion show.

Miles has been ill since we got here and after two trips to the doctors and an allergic reaction to medication, we find ourselves in accident and emergency on Thursday afternoon…five hours later it is diagnosed from blood tests that he has glandular fever, so loads of rest and good food for him. It’s a shame but even in paradise these things happen and Maisie has loved that he has not been working and she can just hang out with him…always an up side.

It’s now Saturday morning and the weather has been storming for the last couple of days, which is no bad thing as the humidity became a bit of a joke and once this has cleared things should be good. Staying in gives me the chance to sit and write my blog, I have some recipes to put up for you…unfortunately nothing thats that new, as the requests from the kids have been for all their favourite things such as, roasts and lasagne, but I hope you will still enjoy cooking them. The eating out culture here is huge and its seems that not much homecooking is done. Grocery shopping is expensive but the fruit and veg are excellent, locally produced and superb flavour.

Miles and I  have been trying to cook pasties and our first attempt was pretty good. I found some lovely skirt meat over in Chevron Island, incredibly tender, but finding the right fat to make the pastry is proving  a little more difficult. We can only find beef lard or coconut shortening for the pastry, not sure if white vegetable fat exists out here. Anyway we think Surfers could do with a pasty shop, well what town couldn’t do with a good pasty shop

In advance, I apologise for all the incorrect grammar and spelling its not my thing, but cooking is, so what I lack in that department I hope I more than make up for in my food…love to you all,

Deliciously Bohemian Mama

 

G’day Maaate

I know, I know….whats taken me so long…this is mostly due to a lack of internet and an overload of beautiful sunshiny days and things to see (well wouldn’t you?).Jemima and Miles met us at Narang Train station, Maisie flew out of the train doors and ran to meet them, it was emotional and wonderful. When we had showered we went to Bumbles for breakfast and sitting there all together made the ridiculous amount of hours it took to get here totally worth it.

We have been in Oz for over week now and we are getting used to the extreme temperature difference and the laid back Ozzie lifestlye. Maisie and I are living with Miles and two other boys, Ben from back home and Chris originally from Zimbabwe. They live in a beautiful apartment nine floors up overlooking the river, there is  garden and pool and Maisie loves just hanging out with the water dragons who often join her for a dip. Its alot of fun living here believe me. When we want some girly times we head up river (just two blocks away) to Jemi’s apartment, again no roughing it there, spetacular views with all mod cons, its clear to see why they are in no desperate need to come home!

Ok..short interlude…Jemi has just finished work and beer is calling…whats a Sheila to do?…Be back soon!

 

Delicious travels with Bohemian Mama…

Here it is….. delicious travels with Bohemian Mama

So I am packing my case for the beginning of my travels….. and in goes silicone squishy  cake cases, numerous bars of cooking chocolate and stacks of my favourite recipes.  I’m travelling with Maisie, my 12 year old daughter, to Australia to see Jemima and Miles (my two older children), who are currently living on the Gold Coast. Emotions are running high – my first thoughts turn to the opportunity of being able to cook for them again and share that amazing feeling of love, connection and togetherness that you get from special times with your family and friends.

This is something that I have missed so much and that really is the reason for me starting this blog, because although I have always had a deep passion for food I didn’t really realise just how deep that was until my family started to spread their wings. This is the point when I realised just how much love I had been putting into the food that I cooked for them over the years – and it wasn’t even in the recipe!

Food that is made with love has the power to connect and deepen the ties that bind family and friends together.  In the weeks to come you can share with us the fun, food and family fiascos!