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Slice of Paradise
Food, glorious food! It's one of our favourite past-times, so we sample some of the best around the country.
Words and Images by: CAROLYNE JASINSKI

Do you remember a place on your travels especially for the food?

I don’t mean just Michelin-star dining experiences — though I would not be averse to trying that. I am talking about those taste sensations that etch a destination into your mind forever.

For example, I will never forget Paringa in South Australia’s Riverland. It’s a cute town, famous for the Black Stump in the main street and the bridge over the Murray River, which rises to allow taller boats underneath.

But what’s the first thing that springs to my mind about Paringa? The biggest bee sting I have ever ploughed through from the Paringa Bakery. Honey-flavoured fresh cream squishing out the sides as I tried to get my mouth around all that deliciousness.

Then there’s the whiting or lamb burgers at the Vivonne Bay General Store on Kangaroo Island. Vivonne Bay is a stunning destination, but it’s made even more mouth-watering if you can stop for one of these burgers.

Whiting burger from Vivonne Bay General Store on KI

What about a platter with a view at Dudley Wines, also on Kangaroo Island? The view stretches all the  way across Backstairs Passage to the mainland and there’s no better way to enjoy it than sipping on a glass of wine and grazing on delicate samples of local produce.

I can’t forget my first taste of crocodile in Darwin, fresh oysters at Coffin and Smoky Bay on the Eyre Peninsula, and gigantic lamingtons from Reid Street Kitchen at Miama Marketta on the Gold Coast.

But I’m not the only one who loves a bit of gastronomic inspiration. I reached out to our members on the Facebook CMCA Members Connect page to discover their favourite food stops. Here’s the results.

It looks like we all have a sweet tooth and a soft spot for bakeries — great minds (or is that stomachs) think alike!

Donna Winzar and Jeannie Fidler- Bishop give a big thumbs-up to the ‘amazing vanilla slices’ at Tasmania’s Ross Bakery.

Paul Grinter said, “One of the surprises in life was the scallop pies in Tasmania. Several bakeries served up fantastic examples but the bakery at The Nut on the north-west of the island had a delicious crayfish pie which caught my fancy!”

Stopping for cheese at Milawa

Carolyn McLagan and Sally Lahra said the Swiss patisserie at Bellingen, NSW, is “best for lots of things, breads, pastries pies…”

And the Blackbutt Bakery in Queensland is famous for its pies according to three of our members, Dianne Kohn, Kathy Elliott (whose vote goes to the pie with mushy peas) and Rosemary Robinson, who also said they do a “pretty mean bee sting, too”.

Barnett’s Bakery at Crescent Head in NSW is “legendary,” says Narelle Nash, “but don’t tell anyone,” because she doesn’t want them to run out.

Kaye Forrester found an “interesting combo” of fruit toast and avocado at a cafe in Winton, Queensland. I’m not sure if that’s a good combo or not, but it did make the stop memorable.

Lorraine Smith loves cruffins from Milaway Cheese Co in Victoria and vanilla slices with icing from Red Gum Bakery at Leitchville in Victoria. This bakery is a three-time winner of the Best Vanilla Slice award.

Julie Healey says Parker’s Pies in Rutherglen, Vic, win for having the “best pies outside of South Australia,” and because they “even sell their pies frozen to take away”.

Breakfast at the Katherine Hot Springs pop-up

Nindigully Pub will always have a place in Colleen Povall’s heart because, “the burgers are so big they should have their own postcode”.

Tasmania is Sally Lahra’s favourite spot for foodie experiences. “We had a special occasion with family at Mudbar Restaurant at Peppers Seaport,” she said. “The dessert, wonderful Persian poached apple with our own Cradle Mountain Whisky ... no driving that night!”

It’s not often that Christine Marts can get cream buns, but she found them at the Cummins Bakery Cafe in SA.

One of Sandra Payne’s favourite foodie stops is Jaques Coffee Plantation Cafe on the road from Mareeba to Kuranda in Queensland. “Friendly fast service, beautiful food, especially the coconut and lime crumbed prawns,” she said. “Very well-priced meals. Oh, did I mention their amazing coffee. They also offer plantation tours and ultra-light and gyrocopter flights which hubby did.”

Nari P Roughit Instyle found Bill’s Pizza & Pasta in Ceduna years ago and now any trip through SA’s Far West Coast includes a stopover. “Sorry no pictures have been taken, too busy eating pizza,” Nari said. “Another place is a breakfast cafe – Gorges Cafe in Grey Street, Kalbarri, WA — where we indulged in eggs benedict, never forgotten and especially sought out last March before we had to abandon our planned itinerary.”

Paringa Bakery’s giant bee sting

Annie Palmer says the Oyster Barn on the Eyre Hwy where the quarantine inspection place is when entering Ceduna, SA, from the west is etched in her food GPS. “Fabulous oysters and good local fish,” she says. “We plan our west to east travel to get us there for an early dinner. Dining on the roof is a novel experience and they do takeaway.”

Julie Jagot remembers Mortlake Clarke Pie Shop for cheesecake that was so “awesome” she ate it quickly and forgot to take a photo.

Diane-Marie Campbell’s food radar falls on a dry season popup cafe at the Katherine Hot Springs in Northern Territory, for “excellent breakfast dishes” and a Bao Bun served with a $3 side of locally grown asparagus. “For those who must cook for themselves, the Katherine fruit & veg market is the best I have found,” she says.

A special night at the Mudbar Restaurant at Peppers Seaport in Qld

GOURMET ON THE GO

For some members, food is more enjoyable when eaten on the road.

Campfire Laurie, for example, has a Thermomix: “It’s like having your own restaurant on board.”

Derek Bullock says every stop is a food stop when you cook and proves it with a recipe for baguettes in the camp oven and Weber Baby Q.

Lorraine Smith loves a great bakery, but she’s also a deft hand at baking up her own biscuits.

Sue and John Turner love making the most of a perfect setting by cooking whatever they have available in the motorhome. Check out her chicken and veggie hotpot whipped up in Tasmania.

George and Brigitte Prince found the key to trimming down while enjoying delicious food and share their secrets to wholesome eating.

DEREK BULLOCK’S BAGUETTES

This recipe uses a no-knead method he adapted.

Ingredients

2 cups flour

1 tsp bread improver

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 tsp sugar

1/2 tbsp dry yeast

250ml warm water

1 tsp olive oil

Method

Place dry ingredients into a bowl and mix. Add three quarters of the water and the oil and mix well. Keep adding half of the water left at a time until you have a moist stiff dough — you may not need all the water.

Cover with cling wrap and set aside to rise and double in size, normally around 40 minutes.

Remove dough to a floured area and fold several times to expel the air. Divide the dough in two and stretch out to a sausage shape.

Place on a greased tray.

Allow to rise again for around 40 minutes until double in size. Spray lightly with water and sprinkle over sesame seeds.

Cook in a preheated camp oven for 30–35 minutes until crusty brown.

1. Start with these ingredients (above)

2. Mix dry ingredients then add water

3. Divide dough into two sausage shapes

 

 4. Cook in a preheated camp oven

 5. Voila! Tasty, crispy baguettes

LORRAINE SMITH’S CAKE MIX BISCUITS

Ingredients

1 packet cake mix

60ml vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 cup choc bits, optional

Method

Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix together. Place balls of dough on lined biscuit tray and cook in medium 180-degree oven for about 15 mins. You may need to check and turn tray to ensure even cooking. Makes 24–30 biscuits.

Notes:

• You can use sultanas or dried apricots instead of chocolate chips, as well as coconut, walnuts or macadamias, and combinations thereof.

• Cheap 70–90 cent ‘no name’ cake mix in Woolies (in plastic bag not box) works well.

• Biscuits are a hard biscuit and freeze well.

Variations of Lorraine Smith’s cake mix cookies; Add chocolate chips, dried apricots or nuts to switch up the recipe

SUE TURNER’S CHICKEN AND VEGGIE HOTPOT

Ingredients

2 chicken thigh fillets (or whatever sort of meat you like)

Preferred pasta

Whatever veggies you fancy or have in the camper — in this case, chopped onion, sweet potato, mushroom, sweet corn and peas.

A little soy and honey marinade for extra flavour

Sue Turner whipping up a meal at Hall Point, Sulphur Creek

Method

Place in a frypan with the lid on, get hot then turn heat down, stir occasionally.

Boil whatever style of pasta you like in a small saucepan for a few minutes before adding to the chicken and veggie mixture to finish cooking.

Pasta soaks up the juice from the meat and veggies.

Cook slowly until veggies are soft.

The finished product

HEALTHY WHOLEFOOD EATING WORDS AND PICS: BRIGETTE PRINCE

It’s so common, when enjoying life on the road, to exchange tips on where the best bakeries or pizzas are to be found. For us, though, we aren’t tempted by displays in bakery windows as we don’t feel we are missing out since I discovered how easy wholefood preparation is.

Morning tea is one of our favourite times of day as we sit down to a delectable, delicious yet nutritious selection of slices and bliss balls.

Made without flour, butter, milk, eggs or processed sugar, these delights give us a boost of protein, being made largely from nuts and sometimes dried fruits. The variety of recipes is endless.

Although we realised the need to trim down our expanding bodies eight years ago, we weren’t inclined to feel deprived. We wanted to keep enjoying food. At this stage of life, we felt the emphasis should be on fun and enjoyment and that decreasing our weight shouldn’t be a hardship or feel like a punishment.

We were thrilled to find a solution which ticked all the boxes. 

Three years ago, when both of us were diagnosed with different cancers within a few months of each other, we realised it was more important than ever to eat healthy foods to give our bodies the very best chance of overcoming disease. Interestingly, the solution was the same for losing weight as it was for ensuring peak health — to get as many nutrients into your body as possible. When you concentrate on providing your body with maximum nutrients at each meal or snack, there is little room or appetite left for poorer choices.

Snacks are important because we can often manage a healthy main meal but feel it’s easier to reach for something pre-packaged when feeling peckish outside of meal times. When you see how easy it is to prepare wholefood recipes, you’ll be happy to buy the ingredients and enjoy making them.

Brigette’s peanut butter bliss balls, peppermint and apricot slice

PEANUT BUTTER BLISS BALLS

These require ingredients you are bound to already have in your pantry, (unless you are allergic to peanuts). In a mixing bowl, stir together ¼ cup honey, ½ cup peanut butter, a pinch of salt and 1tspn vanilla. In cooler weather, it helps to soften the peanut butter and honey over some warm water or briefly in the microwave.

When combined, stir in 1 cup of coconut (desiccated).

Take roughly 1tbsp of the mix at a time and roll into a ball, then roll in a little extra coconut to coat. Set in the fridge for half an hour or so. This makes about 16.

For instant variety, halve the mixture before adding the coconut. Process one half as above (add ½ cup coconut in this case) and to the other half, add 1.5tbsp cacao and ½ cup almond meal. Mix until sticky and roll into balls and set in the fridge. If too sticky, add a little more almond meal or coconut for the first lot.

Peanuts are high in magnesium and are a good source of protein, iron, potassium, Vitamin B6 plus good fats with no cholesterol. Almonds feature Vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, copper and Vitamin B2 and phosphorus as well as protein and good fats.

When we started down the wholefood track, I found I needed a few extra ingredients to those I normally bought, namely, almond meal, cacao (less processed than cocoa but you can start with that), chia seeds, almond butter, dates and tahini, if you can’t have nuts.

My favourite source of wholefood recipes is Bianca Slade’s website wholefoodsimply.com — the source of the recipes above. I have featured many of her recipes on some of my Facebook pages, Recipes4Happines, Happiness with Cancer, Recipes4Body&Soul and sometimes on Laughterr4wellbeing.

BANANAS YOUR BEST FRIENDS

Ripe bananas can be your new your best friends. Peel and slice them, and freeze in a bag or container ready to make smoothies, mousse, or instant ice-cream, where you either use banana or add frozen berries, (or any number of interesting things), and whizz it up to a creamy state.

Place treats in the freezer if there’s space and just take out a daily portion to help with portion control and prevent overindulging.

A BREAK FROM COOKING

If you are needing a break from cooking or have run out of ingredients, there are many places that will be of interest when en route to the Townsville area.

At Clairview, the Barra Crab Caravan Park features a licensed restaurant where the seating overlooks the water. It covers a large area where you can choose from many camping sites along the water’s edge. In the evening a fire was lit in the huge fire pit. We sat around with our wine glasses filled with strawberry-infused water, but you can buy a glass of wine. There is also a freecamp just up the road.

At the freecamp at Bluewater, the community serves the travelling public on Fridays with inexpensive meals and even small bottles of wine or beer.

More of Brigette’s simple home-made wholefood treats, Don’t they look tasty

We now eat our main meal at lunchtimes (better for digestion) but as there was no other way to support the community — not even a donation box — we thought we’d support this venture and so chose a veggie burger from the ample menu. 

Chips and gravy and frozen meals are also available for $5, but everything is now take-away. In pre- COVID times, there was often local entertainment provided as well.

Next stop was at Balgal Beach free camp, with its fish and chip restaurant almost on the water’s edge. Several other dishes are also featured.

Watching the sunset on the grassy slope next to the shop, sipping a fruit smoothie, felt magical until we noticed the midge bites from which we suffered for many days thereafter.

Kurramine Beach is a spot where we never mind setting an alarm to ensure we don’t miss the sunrise over the water and we’re never disappointed. This time we stayed at the Kurramine Beach Holiday Park which has a Poolside Deck Cafe and a fully licensed restaurant with an impressive menu featuring cocktails, steaks and so much more. We ended up sampling their excellent scones.

On arrival, we found a free morning tea was being served in the camp kitchen. There was plenty of room for social distance chatting in the open air space.

We were so impressed with this welcome we indulged in scones, jam and cream, even though it’s something we usually avoid.

The friendliness of the management team was also impressive, so if you need a break from cooking, it’s certainly an extra bonus if there is food available right on the spot as in the places listed above.

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Category: Features
Written: Sun 01 Nov 2020
Printed: November, 2020
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