Each of us has the right and the responsibility to assess the roads which lie ahead, and those over which we have traveled, and if the future road looms ominous or unpromising, and the roads back uninviting, then we need to gather our resolve and, carrying only the necessary baggage, step off that road into another direction. -Maya Angelou

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

10,000 hills and still counting......

"If you ask me they're round the bend mate"

Well it’s official. We are now round the bend. “Hmm …. But we knew that already”……….I hear you muttering. That may well be so and I will not argue the state of our mental health which is always of ongoing concern. Here I am speaking more geographically. By way of many hills we have reached New South Wales also known recently as Never So Wet. I have never felt so continually damp. In fact when I painted my toenails the other night my worst fears were realized, I discovered webbing between my toes. Our intended stay of a couple of nights turned into two wet weeks at Genoa River bush camp on the border between Victoria and NSW. We moved the van twice because of the rising river and panic set in when we were down to our last two beers. For heavens sake, there is only so much water you can drink. The one consolation was the rain kept the many Bell birds quiet. Their high “ding ding” call made you feel as if you were trapped in an manic elevator continually changing floors.

Wet Sunset at Genoa River

For light relief we kept ourselves amused observing the idiosyncrasies of our fellow refugees, many made our own mental health issues pale in comparison. There are some seriously eccentric travelers driving around Oz. A wonderful couple, retired farmers we met at Genoa must take first prize. They had a Ute with a pop up tent on top and towed an A frame trailer. One side housed their favorite chooks in purpose built cages, the other side their travelling kitchen. But wait there’s more……in the compartment in the center was their upright piano. This was pulled out when they got to their campsite and the evening entertainment started. The farmer played a polka, the chooks danced, and Toby their Jack Russell cross went around with the hat for donations, and yes, there were always scrambled eggs for breakfast. Strewth!

Top Cemetery lookout - Dalmeny

As soon as the roads became passable we set off up more hills for Dalmeny on the coast and the welcome prospect of seeing two very special people,our friends Geoff and Kaye.  We last saw them in Kununurra in the Kimberley region of western Australia and loved their company, still do !  And still it rained, and rained and rained. Even the rainbow lorrikeets at our new campsite were miserable. There is no sorrier sight than a wet parrot. Luckily we had plenty of seed on board and two became so tame they would come and perch in the van and watch TV with us, obviously checking out the weather. Dalmeny must have the most scenic cemetery in Australia, the views are superb,if you can get a plot here you will definitely have more visitors, its a beaut picnic spot.
We had a brief respite from the rain and the four of us visited the small picturesque fishing village called Bermagui.  Zane Grey, the internationally known American author spent a lot of time here in the thirties. In real life his fishy stories rivaled those of his cowboy westerns he was so famous for. He was a keen big game fisherman, a sport he had pursued in many parts of the world, but his greatest catches were in the waters around Bremagui.
In one month he caught 10 black marlin weighing between 84kg and 213kg and raised and sighted 30 more. His methods and tackle were unknown to the Australians anglers at the time but his capture of a 460kg tiger shark in 1936 was his crowning achievement. It was the largest fish in the world at that time to be caught using a rod and a unique heavy reel specially made for him by Hardy's of London. He also caught the first yellow fin tuna ever found in NSW waters, and at 40 kg it was the lure for other big game fishermen to come to the place and also kick started a big commercial fishing industry. Bermagui still retains its charm as a fishing village but is now also known for its annual “Sculpture on the Bluff” . It was an amazing experience to see so many innovative pieces in such a fabulous setting, the sea crashing onto the rocks below and the pieces silhouetted against the stormy skies.

Sculpture on the Bluff at Bermagui

We faced even more hills and a steady stream of traffic as we travelled up the coast towards Sydney. Since "the incident " on the Mornington Peninsular (see Viva Victoria) we have developed a fear of anything remotely resembling a hill.. Now I am, and always have been seriously navigationally challenged, and this does not help the situation as we have to rely on the Navman. I have come to the conclusion that the Navman and the Ute are in collaboration to cause us as much stress as possible by taking us on the most curvaceous and steep route it can find between destinations. Due to old age  it has lost its voice, so you have to watch it like a hawk and it frequently tells us we are on no road at all!  This does not make for happy travels, and my nerves are shot by the time we reach our camp spot. Thankfully there is always a bottle of Clare Valley Riesling to restore equilibrium.
We reached Woolongong,south of Sydney, and had a the opportunity for some R&R by flying back to Perth for Tessa, Tom's grand daughter's 21st birthday .We couldn't get on that plane fast enough. It was wonderful seeing the family again,and being able to celebrate a milestone in one very special young lady's life. Too soon we were back on the road and faced our most daunting climb yet. There are only two ways north to get out of Wollongong, both involve mountains.......we choose the longer but less steep up Mount Ouwsely. The day before we worked feverishly to ditch anything that we could, including the box we had had made to carry our equipment for fairs. Anything we hadn't used for 6 months was out the door........the caravan park was very accommodating about the spontaneous chuck out.
We left  at 5.30 the next morning thinking we would beat the traffic. We crawled up the mountain in the inside lane in the pitch dark and rain, huge trucks blinding us with their lights and roaring past at insane speeds. A white knuckle ride and as we reached Sydney we caught the morning rush hour.......bad choices!
Our next stop Mullimbimby near Byron Bay and another climb to smokey Nimbin, the alternative capital of  Oz.........high.....high...high in the mountains..........

Soul Food Kitchen 

Succulent Coconut Crusted Prawns

I make no apologies for yet another prawn recipe in my blog........they are plentiful and cheap as chips here. This is so popular and is eaten so quickly that I never get to take a pic



Preparation Time

10 minutes

Cooking Time

20 minutes

Ingredients (serves 8)

• 235g (1 cup) whole-egg mayonnaise

• 60ml (1/4 cup) fresh lime juice

• 1 large fresh red chili, deseeded, finely chopped

• 175g (1 cup) plain flour
mixed with 1 tablespoon of  cayenne pepper and salt.

• 3 eggs, lightly whisked

• 1 x 250g pkt shredded coconut

• 1kg green prawns, peeled leaving tails intact, deveined

• Vegetable oil, to deep-fry


1. Combine mayonnaise, lime juice and chilli in a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge.

2. Place the plain flour, egg and coconut in separate bowls. Holding prawns by tails, dip them, 1 at a time, into the flour and shake off any excess. Dip prawns into the egg, then press firmly into the coconut to evenly coat. Transfer to a plate.

3. Add enough oil to a large saucepan to reach a depth of 6cm. Heat to 170°C over medium-high heat (when the oil is ready, a cube of bread will turn golden brown in 20 seconds). Add one-eighth of the prawns to the oil and cook for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. Repeat, in 7 more batches, with the remaining prawns, reheating the oil between batches.

4. Place the prawns on a serving platter and serve with chili lime mayonnaise.

A perfect snack with drinks and one that will surely impress your guests.........delicious

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