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 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 .

Beer Butt Chook – American Boy Style

This was first cooked for me last summer by Stephen Spaeder from Philadelphia, he’s a boy that likes beer with everything!  I was excited to try and cook it out here in Australia, but unfortunately we only have gas BBQs and this needs real coals to get the best flavour. I love slow cooking on BBQs, it gives you the opportunity to just sit back and enjoy the sun and let the BBQ do all the work…give it a go you wont be disappointed.

So I found my original beer can chicken recipe I used…

3-4 lb whole chicken
24 oz coca-cola
3/4 tsp salt
Fresh cracked pepper
1 can of beer

Place chicken in ziplock bag, pour in coke and let sit in fridge overnight (or at least 2 hrs)

Preheat grill. Use indirect heat, placing coals to one side (or you can spread them around the outside like we did, that’s how I usually do it). Remove chicken from liquid, dry it and rub with salt and pepper.

Open beer (ENSURE YOU DRINK HALF!!!) then mount the chicken on the can ensuring firmly lodged and chicken stands up on its own. Place it in the cool side of the grill, close lid and cook until internal temp of 165 F, about 1 – 1 1/2 hours. You can use a BBQ sauce to baste  during last 15-20 minutes of cooking if you would like some extra flavour on the skin.

Remove chicken let sit for 15 min then carve

That’s the original recipe I used and it was delicious but with time constraints and having half a load on already I usually skip the whole coke portion haha. Don’t judge me! Still tastes delicious… recipe written by Stephen Spaeder