My friend Michael, AKA Birdman, is a quiz whizz, as in preparing the questions. He puts in a lot of effort to research and write them himself, they are broad and tricky, and he holds his own as a great MC at the South Lismore Bowling Club Trivia nights. The Bowlo is friendly as most Bowlo’s are, with food available and some great wines by the glass or bottle. It is a fun night out and you don’t need to bring a whole table, just come along yourself and lob onto someone else’s team! – that’s what it’s all about – a bit of fun with others, a chance to earn some cash, a brain stretch and a laugh.
So, I have this friend who is a fine chef and when I bought a rather large Dexter Beef whole shin (ie. “Osso Bucco”) from Cromwell Farms in Goonengerry the friend said “yeah, I will help you cook that!” He probably actually said “S*#t yeah…” but unlike his blog I am trying to keep my mouth clean. Anyway, we cooked it last night. And it was spectacular. I got a cooking lesson in the process and we all got fed on a rainy cold night with the woodfire pumping. We threw cherry tomatoes, chopped eschallots, herbs, red wine, garlic and white beans amongst the browning shin and then slow cooked on 170 for about 3 hours. We boiled up organic sweet potato and Dutch Creams and made mash with butter, lots of butter. Finally, sautéed sliced fennel and leek, with cabbage and sauerkraut. And then we ate it. So very good with a glass of Margaret River red.
There’s a van park/campground in the Mount Warning rainforest, on the way up to the path to the summit. It has a beautiful creek running through it, plus cabins, pool and camp kitchen. Open fire pits are scattered around and even if you are in a cabin you just find yourself a pit, fill it with kindling and wood and light that thing. It’s all about the open fire when you go camping. Like, if you liked sleeping on the ground in a polyester enclosure prone to filling with mozzies, snakes, and nocturnal critters looking for food (if you are not careful with that zipper) then you can do that every night in your own back yard if you really want to. I like the adventure of distance and the lure of the firepit by the creek. The kid managed to do a short distance of the steep Mt Warning climb and looked very small in the Old Growth. Prefers the couch and a good book. The cabin had everything but the Boy (I think they gave us the honeymoon suite)…….
I wonder when the overhead-food-shot trend will go away but it sure is the best way to see a dish. Herewith a kale and other greens + tinned mackerel with dollops of cottage cheese salad I try and eat once a week or so for those Omega oils and crunchy raw green hit. Sitting alongside my handmade linen and cotton fringed napkin, which I have decided I like too much to actually use so it comes out of the drawer and sits on the table and then goes back into the drawer. I can make you one or two if you like but my sewing will never be perfect.
Image: taken from Fat Freddy’s Facebook page
Lismore can rejoice in the news that a new fish and chippery has opened in the Rous Road Shopping Centre at Goonellabah. Fat Freddy’s offers Australian and NZ fish cooked to order, filleted in store and dipped in the most delightful batter I have had in a long time. The chips were cooked to perfection with a crispy skin breaking open to reveal a fluffy potato centre. Perfect. But aside from the delicious serve of a double fillet of John Dory fish for just under $10, the stand out for me was the sensible serve of chips in the cardboard box. Someone is thinking in the kitchen and they know that serving a massive mound of chips generally ends in a majority being thrown out. And food wastage is a bad thing. For a single serve Fat Freddy’s gives you more than a large handful to satisfy your chip craving (and let’s face it, are we really in it for the fish or the salty chips?!) and leave you wanting more. Next time I might try the Whiting Taco Dinner – 3 crisp local Whiting tacos with a roast corn salsa, lettuce and dressing for $12 or the housemade Thai Fish Cakes with sweet chilli (3 for $7.30), sold out the night I visited. Then there’s always the Fish Burger or a quick snack of deep fried king prawns, “at 70’s prices”, 3 large fleshy prawns for $5.50. Eat in on rustic industrial design stools and tables and enjoy great music overhead, or takeaway and make a night of it at home.
Fat Freddy’s – Rous Road Shops, 29 Rous Rd Goonellabah – Thurs to Sunday nights, 4pm-8pm.
NORPA’s 2015 Season Launch is on Friday Feb 6, from 6pm. This is a free event. Come and hear about the fab season this year, and enjoy dinner afterwards at the Popup Diner. All tickets on sale after the presentation – get in quick to Subscribe to 3 shows or more and receive a discount on your ticket price. Then stick the tickets on your fridge, mark the dates in your phone – easy!
17 Jan 2015
Rooster and Beef Curries: Sam Hall Images 2015
Sunday afternoon is perfect for people, food and a beautiful farm. Greg and Alison Cromwell opened their farm gate in early January and invited friends to a glass of their ‘Top Shed’ label home brew beers followed with a lunch prepared by Graeme and Jen Stockdale (Stockpot Catering). I first met Graeme when he was the Head Chef at Lilianas, Possum Creek – a hidden hinterland gem now sadly closed. Jen has joined him in the catering, bringing her talented Pastry Chef (and all things baking) skills to the party. Guests shared in rooster and Dexter farm Beef curries, alongside Stockdale’s pickled cucumbers and shredded carrot and coconut sides and then Jen produced her legendary Coconut Panacotta with mango, lychee and shredded mint leaves. It rained. A lot. But it didn’t matter we stood, we got wet, we sat under the marquee, we explored the farm and visited the 2 day old litter of baby Berkshire piggies. Sign up at Cromwell Farms for 2015 Food Events.
Waiting: Sam Hall Images 2015
Cromwells Farm Lunch: Sam Hall Image 2015