Iluka and a damn tasty bowl of white curry mee

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Beach side getaway. It’s real and it’s name is Iluka.

When it comes to a weekend away, hanging out near the ocean, plenty of fresh seafood and booze on hand and a refurbished old school fisherman’s shack to keep you safe and warm and night Iluka, on the New South Wales north coast, ticks all of the boxes… and it’s nice and it’s close to where we live to boot. So this mythical Iluka joint is indeed a place we try to visit as often as possible.

This time away though, I must confess I was feeling a little under the weather. But I had a plan. A plan to make me strong like ox once again. I would be looking for my time in Iluka to rejuvenate the metaphorical worn grass and naked fields of the landscape of my life. And then I shall call upon the almost mythical three hit combo that is the fully charged power animal, the centered and sexually satisfied chi and the ginger minge to piss that under-the-weather type feeling right the heck off.

I hope you’re paying attention.

Iluka turned on the happy smily weather for us
Iluka turned on the happy smily weather for us

Iluka.

I think one of the highlights of my time in Iluka was (and please don’t think any less of me for saying this… bahahahaha. Any less of me? As if that could actually happen, ay. I just made myself laugh a fair bit) a pack of white curry mee. I don’t even know what white curry mee is or even where the hell they came from, but I do know these instant noodles were one of the pinnacles of my day. Cheap, easy, fast and somehow they kinda left you feeling just a little bit dirty, these things were not dissimilar to a three buck hooker… but they certainly were a whole heap tastier… a whole heap tastier.

I realised pretty quickly that is was indeed “taking a little break” AKA a holiday, so I found it very appropriate to obtain myself a glass of some fermented red relaxedness enhancer. Oh yes. That relaxy-dinky-donky-doo feeling.

Feel it?

When staying near the ocean I find it essential to purchase local seafood food sustenance as well as enjoyment
When staying near the ocean I find it essential to purchase local seafood food sustenance as well as enjoyment

Later in the afternoon I felt it appropriate that I should make soup. A little chickpea and vegetable number would be the go I reckoned as that would be good for me plus it would also be good for my friend Ainsley – who is one of my top 2 favourite vegetarians in the word (yeah Gitana, you’re up there too) – as it would not contain meat thus would be deemed edible by said vegetarian friend, Ainsley. Little did I know that Ainsley had also considered it a worthy day to make soup so had brought with her an offering to the soup eating vegetarian gods of her own, clevery disguised as a pot of pumpkin soup… or actually just straight up a pot of pumpkin soup.

Needless to say, much soup was enjoyed by everyone present.

The next morning I awoke at a time that I could only call ridiculously early… or maybe ridearly… or possibly even earliculous… but I certainly wouldn’t stray too much further than that. But I did get up early. Like, the kids weren’t even awake and the sun was still sleeping too.

We ate the meal often called breakfast for sustenance as well as enjoyment. I smiled at everybody’s morning hair as I find morning hair quite entertaining. This is a little known fact about me.

The day was filled with all of the activities you might expect from some kind of lakeside summer camp. Except we were all keen participants and not ostracized step-children, ditched by our families for the holidays because of our annoying belching habits and yet undiscovered skin conditions. We played scout-esque, sickeningly feel good family bonding games, skateboarded, shot hoops, went walking, blah-di-blah-blah.

And then we did that all over again some more.

That’s all.

White curry mee in all of it's glory. Props by Iluka Beach Shack Co
White curry mee in all of it’s glory. Props by Iluka Beach Shack Co

WHITE CURRY MEE

Packet instructions seemed to work fine for me.

Prawn san choi bau with squid balls for our last night in Iluka

This, my friends, is what I call san choi bau
This, my friends, is what I call san choi bau

This folks, is sadly my last post from Iluka. My seven days of love and sunshine are almost at an end. A week of a post a day (a PB for me too, I might add) devoted purely to our holiday eating is almost done. Soon the afternoons when I sit on the verandah of the holiday house, a bottle of liquid inspiration by my side, and type these words for you shall be gone. There will be no more early morning fishing trips, no swimming and skating all day long. No. I shall be returning to work. Reality is a harsh evil stepmother of a bitch. She is harsh like the face of an out back farmer with three-day growth. Harsh like the breath of a five-buck hooker. Harsh like the tongue of the salty old sea dog. Getting the picture?

I pack up all the things I deemed necessary to make my holiday complete; a few clothes, some books, my knife kit, I-pad, MacBook, IPhone, beard trimmer (don’t know why I packed this. I am well renowned for not trimming my beard very often at all), external hard drive, camera and vibra… er… nothing – all complete with chargers. Enough technology to be considered a NASA mobile command centre 20 years ago but today, bare necessities.

It is also quite possibly time for a proper wash to cleanse my self of this fishy aroma. For the past week I have been using fish for bait, catching fish and prepping seafood every single day. Nothing wrong with that, but to be sure I am starting to smell like the toilet door on an old prawn trawler.

So what do I have to help ease the pain of this impending reality of getting back to my other life (Seriously, it’s not that bad… I just love holidays as much as anyone else out there I guess)? A cleanse. A big fat healthy cleanse. No booze. No cigarettes. No meat on meat cook-ups. Just healthy eating, probably a green smoothie or two and other things conducive to a healthy lifestyle. Wish me good luck with that one.

But before that happens I will indulge myself in one more seafood cook-up. Mostly because I am damn well still on holidays for one more day and also we shall be joined by Jennee tonight after a week by herself at our real life home, and to quote her last Facebook status directly; “It has become very apparent that if Gray is not here then I would probably eat eggs on toast for dinner every night and always have an empty fridge! I think it may be time to welcome the family back to the fold…. I have run out of eggs Graeme.” So that girl is ready for some food loving too…

Stir-fried prawny goodness
Stir-fried prawny goodness
Jennee could not wait another second. Sometimes  as a food blogger you just have to work with what you've got...
Jennee could not wait another second. Sometimes as a food blogger you just have to work with what you’ve got…

SAN CHOI BAU with squid balls and prawns
300g king prawns, peeled, de-veined and diced into 1cm pieces (the fish shop only had cooked prawns so that’s what I got, but fresh would be my choice if available. They would need to be cooked with the onion though)
½ brown onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 thumb sized piece of ginger, grated
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 carrot, grated
½ cup peanuts, chopped
1 cup cooked rice… jasmine, basmati, brown. Probs not arborio… use your smarts kiddos
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon chilli in soy bean oil
Other things that would work well in here include bean sprouts, water chestnuts and bamboo shoots
Squid balls, iceberg lettuce (not butter lettuce, frissee or mesclun mix. Iceberg lettuce), coriander and an Asian inspired dipping sauce/salsa to serve
• Stirfry the onion and garlic (stirfry = hot pan/wok, yeah?) for one minute
• Add the ginger, cabbage, carrot, peanuts and rice and toss for another minute
• Add the sauces and prawns and rock that shit for one more minute
• Check seasoning, adjust if necessary, serve in lettuce cups with squid balls, coriander and salsa

Squid balls
Squid balls

Squid balls
500g fresh squid, cleaned and diced
200g pork mince
½ cup cooked rice just to help it stick together. Breadcrumbs would work but I like rice
1 eshallot or ¼ onion, chopped
1 long red chilli, chopped
½ kafir lime leaf, chiffonade
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk lemongrass, chopped
1 teaspoon fish sauce
A good pinch white pepper
• Process everything except squid, pork and rice, to make a coarse paste. Set aside
• Now pulse squid, pork and rice in a food processor (the same one you used for the spice paste should do the trick) to make a coarse paste all of their very own. Don’t put it all into the food processor together and think you will achieve the same result. The squid and pork will end up pureed to shit and you still want a bit of texture in there
• Mix the spice paste and the meat paste together. Form into small balls or quenelles and fry in hot oil for 3 minutes, turning regularly
• Serve with the other stuff

Bye bye Iluka. It’s been swell… really swell

Paul’s Caul… Holiday State of Mind

How good are holidays? Seriously everything changes the second you begin whatever adventure you have planned… if it’s a car trip then the simple pleasure of stopping in a servo to buy a cheese sausage or if you are going a bit further then it may be the dodgy airplane food… either way I effing love it all. It all tastes of freedom and freedom dripping from your chin is the best kind of freedom!

To clarify; the cheese sausage is the creator of the chin juice not a guy called Bob, he most certainly does not taste like freedom. To be honest he tastes a lot like shame wrapped in disgust.

It seems to be something most of us forget to make happen, but the minute we start our planned break all of our anxiety and woes seem to fuck off instantly, fair enough it isn’t as simple as saving some money, booking some accommodation sorting travel and getting time off work… hang on, it is that easy so sort your life out and wake up and smell the god damn metaphorical roses, because unlike real roses these ones don’t smell like chicken shit.

Travelling is the gift you give yourself that just keeps giving, firstly of course you get to go somewhere (that’s not only obvious it is a fact), but that is just the beginning. What you’re doing without even realizing is that you are learning, absorbing and broadening your views on everything from the noticeable stupidity of most if not all Queenslanders to the flavour of produce eaten close to where it was grown.

I’m a day into my first real holiday in many years, I know what you’re all saying and it’s either…

“I’m bored and hungry, I may make myself a ham sandwich”

Or

“You just stated how easy holidays are, so why haven’t you taken any”

Well all I can say is I’m continually trying to better myself and I pledge to you all that I shall from this moment on endeavor to lead by example and take shit loads of holidays.

But I’m in Noosa for a week with most of my family, some great friends and my beautiful girl, Lauren. I know most of you out there would be surprised to think that G-bags McFilthy mouth and myself have beautiful partners, and they’re girls, and not blind and are willing participants in our lives… well to honest I think we are more shocked than you.

This first leg of our trip is what I love most in this world. It’s hanging out with your favourite people whilst drinking, laughing, relaxing and most importantly eating. When you hang out with people for a whole day you quickly realize that everyone’s life flows around food and in turn the preparation of said food… and this is quiet frankly where I really come into my own. I love nothing more in this world then chopping things up gathered round a bench with a glass of shiraz in hand, shirt off, pots bubbling on the stove, someone awkwardly trying to help me, people asking questions, people laughing and if possible a small amount of food actually being produced.

I’m in charge of two things on this holiday…. wine and food, so I’ll let you into a little secret, which may help you if you ever take on the challenge of cooking for 12 people. What I like to do is just go to your local veg monger and just recklessly buy a plethora of assorted goods, then find some bloke that’s sells meaty/fishy goods and do the same. Then don’t overthink the process and maybe start by cleaning and prepping vegetables and before you know it an idea will most likely spring into your mind. If nothing seems to appear in your mind just type www.foodisthebestshitever.wordpress.com into your interweb machine and knick some of our recipes. My other tip is buy shit tonnes of booze so people will be so pissed they have next to no fucking idea what you cooked, how it tastes or if it even happened.

Last night dinner was…

‘Barbequed Barra, zucchini fritters, herb roasted sweet potato, green beans and a citrus infused sheep’s yoghurt’

But what I started off prepping was…

‘Zucchini & feta fritters, chicken with sage and buttery beans’

I think what we had was better in the end.

Next part of this journey will be the long overdue catch up and cook up with G-bags McFilthy mouth… shit is gonna get real…