Curried sausages on the campfire (but easily adaptable for the home kitchen just in case you didn’t figure that one out for yo’ self)


Welcome to another thrilling installment of “the things my ma cooked for dinner when I was a kid and now I cook them sometimes because I am disgustingly in love with nostalgia”.

The ol’ curried sausages were on high rotation as a midweek dinner option during my years at home. Woolies snags, a bit of Keen’s curry powder (one of the only “spices” in my Ma’s pantry. Seriously, I made a spice rack for my year 8 wood work project and it was home for the Saxa salt and pepper, and Keen’s curry powder. That was it), an onion and a couple of other bits and pieces all came together in the big pot to make our bellies very happy indeed. A scoop of either under cooked or over cooked rice on the side and dinner was sorted.

I have made it a little different because that’s just what I do but I think even my Ma would agree that the essence of the thing is still there.


CURRIED SAUSAGES

Serves 4

600 g sausages (beef or lamb is my choice but this is also perfect with pork, chicken or “of no specific origin” snags)
1 onion, large dice
5 garlic, roughly chopped
1 ½ tbls Keen’s curry powder
1 capsicum, large dice
1 zucchini, large dice
1 x 400 g tin diced tomato
1 x 400 ml tin coconut milk
Salt and pepper
Natural yoghurt, mango chutney, coriander and steamed rice, to serve

Heat a splash of oil in the pot that you will be cooking your curried sausages in. Add whole sausages and cook over medium heat for 6 – 7 minutes or until cooked through.
Remove sausages and set aside while you get the rest of this thing going on.
Using the same pot as the sausages were cooked in, sauté onion and garlic until starting to soften a little.
Add curry powder and cook out for 1 minute.
Slice cooked sausages into 2 cm pieces and return to pot with all other ingredients.
Simmer for 30 minutes over med – low heat.
Check seasoning and get it on the table, with garnishes somewhere also on the same table.
Camp fire or stove top, it’s Keen’s curry powder for the win.

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.

Seafood chowder-esque type thing in a Vienna loaf

seafood chowder in a cob
My brother is just about to head back to his humble grotto in Margaret River, Western Australia, after a mammoth stay of two months. That’s right, now I shall be in charge of my own mis en place again… and we will have to do our own washing… I’ll be sad to see him go, that’s for sure.

But before he makes like a tree and gets out of here we needed a little man time. You know, get a couple of lads together and find ourselves a little riverside cabin where we can eat, drink, fish, wear the same clothes and not make our beds each day if we did’t want to. Power to the man eh? That’s right, the new man power revolution begins with us and it begins right here, today, now! Viva la revolution. Viva le revolution! Also please note, the revolution will end at approximately noon on Wednesday when we shall be returning home, so our office/support group will not be taking any calls from that point onwards…

So I did find us a nice little riverside cabin in the sleepy seaside town of Brunswick Heads (known as Bruns to the indigenous community). It had enough beds to ensure that only two of us need sleep together (I won’t explain that one), a small kitchenette that would enable us to prepare food and stay nourished for the length of our stay and a shower, which apparently was not needed and took up valuable space that could have been used to position a cracking barbecue/smoker set up.

We caught some fish, a couple of which spent less than an hour out of the water before they went into this Creole-esque type seafood number. Kind of even a bit of a chowder… maybe. I really don’t know what to call this bad boy except damn tasty. It was taken to damn-tasty-town by the addition of some of my patented Big Red Rub, which travels with me everywhere like a faithful side kick, adding flavour boosts to food like this and generally making me look a lot better than I actually am. Which is not actually a very hard job so maybe I am giving it a little too much credit…

We did scour the shelves of the one little bakery in Bruns for the cob loaf that this chowder-y number was going to fill, but alas it seemed that there had been a run on cob loaves that morning and we had well and truly missed out… so a crusty, white, $3.10 vienna loaf was going to do the job for us today.

We were right about here
We were right about here

Hollow that bad boy out
Hollow that bad boy out
Clean prawns in the little kitchen
Clean prawns in the little kitchen
Cooking in whatever the little kitchen has on offer
Cooking in whatever the little kitchen has on offer
Eat. Just eat
Eat. Just eat
This was really effing tasty. The Big Red Rub makes me look like a champ once again
This was really effing tasty. The Big Red Rub makes me look like a champ once again

SEAFOOD CHOWER-ESQUE TYPE THING IN A VIENNA LOAF (serves 4-6)

300g each bream and flathead, cut into large chunks (any fish you want to
eat will do the job here)
500g king prawns, peeled, deveined and cut in half
1 chorizo sausage, diced
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon Big Red Rub
1 medium sweet potato, medium dice, steamed/boiled until just cooked
Kernels from 1 cob of corn
600ml cream
Seasoning
1 crusty Vienna or cob
A handful of grated cheese of some description
Chopped parsley
Pickled chilli to serve

• Cut the top off the crusty loaf and hollow it out a little. Tear up insides and top. Get that puppy extra crusty in the oven at 180C for 10 minutes
• Sauté chorizo, onion and garlic in a little oil until starting to brown
• Add big red rub, prawns, sweet potato and corn and cook out for 1 minute
• Add cream and simmer for a few minutes until slightly reduced
• Add fish and stir to combine. Don’t play with it too much now because you don’t want to break this fish up
• Simmer for another few minutes until the fish is cooked
• Season
• Pour into the crusty loaf, top with cheese and parsley and serve with extra crusty bread and pickled chillis on the side. Best consumed with a lot of beer
• This would also be really effing good on some rice or even pasta

Sunset on the river. Pretty
Sunset on the river. Pretty

Punch and Daisy and Scratch Patisserie – two of Mullumbimby’s finest

punch and daisy mullumbimby
I’m pretty sure Mullumbimby is going to be the next big thing in the Northern Rivers.

Yeah, pretty bold statement eh. Well I’m a pretty bold kind of guy – I’m overly confident in myself and I have a little voice in my head that tells me it is OK to fling aspersions about the place as if they are based on scientific studies conducted in a Nordic country resulting in wholly factual findings. Also, my ability to construct a sentence without grammatical errors is knocking on the door of a big fat zero.

Your smart brains may be telling you right now that there is a high chance I have visited this little hinterland beauty recently… listen to your smart brains my friend, for they are correct.

I should’ve got a pic of the road into town for you because it is damn well picturesque. It has a backdrop of heaps of pretty things like sky and lush hills and shit, of which the queen must be Mt Chincogan. If Mt Chincogan is the queen, then a little further north is Mt Warning, her king. So damn good at being brilliantly regal it would be the king that all the other kings came to for advice on how to be more awesome and king-ish. It’s just damn pretty. As I did not get a picture of the road into town I can only offer you this;

Not sure where this photo came from...
Not sure where this photo came from…

Back to explaining that opening sentence.

Apart from the picture perfect, neo-realist painting that is the back drop to the town, we found a couple of cracking new(ish) joints that, if they gather enough support, will pave the way for the new breed of Mullum (that’s what we call it for short) eateries with an emphasis on making things that are good and tasty and are just begging to get the hell into your face and give your taste buds a damn good seeing to. In fact, if the things that these guys are making were prostitutes they would be handing back your fifties, getting down on their hands and knees and literally begging you to let them give you the deluxe package upgrade… rubber ducky included.

I literally have no idea what I am talking about anymore.

Ah yes, eating in Mullum.

A cute little courtyard at Punch and Daisy
A cute little courtyard at Punch and Daisy

First port of call was “Punch and Daisy”.
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Oh dear good lord. This is the exact way I wanted my breakfast to be. I had grilled local chorizo with a free-range fried egg (not my bad grammar for a change), marinated peppers and shaved manchego on organic caraway rye-sourdough (16.0) with a side of twice smoked local bacon (4.0) and that is what it was. The flavours were everything I expected plus more. It was truly a game changing breakfast – the bar has been raised, the breakfast-o-meter recalibrated and my taste buds well and truly gratified.
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Jennee opted for the truffled mushrooms with Jamon Serrano, rocket, chilli and shaved pecorino on organic caraway rye-sourdough (16.0), which was quite predictable of her I must say. But the meal was nothing like predictable at all. For one, it wasn’t an eleven letter word and two, it was quite simply damn awesome in a way the outshone any predictable outcome. Creamy mushrooms, pecorino (which I love, love, love), jamon… it was a great. It could’ve done with a little more truffliness, but it was still damn fine.
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We had coffee which was delivered in little paper cups with an effing cool, hand-stamped picture of what I think was Punch, from the Punch and Judy thing that happened in the olden days, with a daisy in his mouth. The coffee that was inside the cups was tasty tasty me likey, but even without the coffee, they were damn cool cups.

Finished. Done. Say good bye and then we’re off. Just like Dorothy we followed the yellow brick road (which is in fact an actual road which led onto a paved foot path… which is grey) to the opposite side of the street and down a little arcade to the door of Scratch Patisserie.

Scratch have been about for a while, doing wholesale and markets, but have recently opened a retail shop across the arcade from their bakery.

Pastry chef Mark Conroy looking photogenic as hell in front of a window of tasty treats
Pastry chef Mark Conroy looking photogenic as hell in front of a window of tasty treats

These folks know pastries. I was buying these croissants five years ago because they were simply the best croissants available in the area… and quite frankly they still are.

The brownie is already in our bellies
The brownie is already in our bellies

I needed a couple of samples to really get the gist of what was going on here and configure an informed opinion for this review, so it would be a macadamia croissant, a pan au raisin and a gluten free brownie (all 4.5 each I think). Croissants made with real butter are hard to find in these here parts, and these did not disappoint. I wish I had handed over a few more of the Queen’s dollars to bring armfuls of pastries home but I did not so, on the upside, a new belt will not need to be purchased this week.

If I had some kind of emoji app I would be putting up all sorts of punchy fist, a-one hand, thumbs up, happy face shit all in your face, but I don’t so I will just say this; do your taste buds a favour next time you are in or around Mullum and try these joints out. Wait, I have a better idea. Get in your car now right now and drive the hell out there purely to treat your taste buds to the enjoyment of delicious food. Go now.