Well thanks heavens I'm feeling a little better than when I last posted. Ick. Getting a virus really does Suck. I'm at the coast recovering and like the rest of the east coast of Australia, we've had lots of rain. Hasn't really mattered though because it's still relaxing to just read a magazine or book. The latest read that I devoured in a day and a half is Sam DeBrito's latest - 'Hello Darkness' definitely worth picking up and you may find, as I did, that you also can't put it down.
We have had a couple of good beach days but I haven't really got my proper fix of sun - perhaps I should hightail it to Fiji or Bali for a beach holiday? Apparently everyone's doing it. Unfortunately I dont think that I have enough time to squeeze in a trip before Christmas- argh - Christmas is looming. Anyone else feel like its not really Christmas this year? I'm usually so excited, wrapping pressies,nbuying hampers, putting up Christmas decorations, filling stockings and blaring Neil diamond but this year just doesn't feel as festive - maybe its the uncharacteristic weather?
Luckily Sunday morning Brought sunshine and D and I headed off to the Bowraville Farmer's Markets, then followed on through the windy green hills to the Missabotti Markets. Whilst the Missabotti markets didn't reveal any really good foodie finds, it was an experience and a half. I almost don't know if it happened and had to confer with D later on to ensure that in fact, we did drive through impossibly beautiful green winding hills (yes, i did get car sick!) filled with fat spotted cattle, who looked so healthy they were almost leaking milk, before stumbling onto a country hall which held the markets. The thing is, when we arrived,there was a stall with wild chickens clucking and a large yellow Cadillac burning off onto the dirt track. Once we got out oft hear,we heard the unmistakeable sound of the harmonic cutting through the air. Turns out the Missabotti Brother's band were in full swing, and despite the absence of their drummer who hadn't turned up, we're crooning some sweet blues into the hall. I think D almost wanted to get his own harmonica out and start rocking it outwith the brothers. He did borrow my camera to run back and take a photo and have a chat with the guys. The stallholders didn't really have anything I was interested in, but it was an out of body experience. My life has been pretty surreal lately, but I'm sort of still wondering if this was a dream.
I know the Farmer's Markets weren't a dream because I had plenty of souvenirs that proved their existence to enjoy once we got home.
The Markets are held Every Sunday at the Bowraville Racecourse from 8am onwards. The markets are very stall but have some quality goods for sale including artisan bread, homemade baked goods, organic whole foods, home grown garlic and other veggies.
The K pane Artisan Bakery stand (have a bakery in Coffs Harbour) caught my eye straight away. Breads presented in beautiful baskets. Sourdough milk batons, olive bread ciabatta, chunky fruit loaf. I couldn't help myself and bought a fruit loaf and olive bread ciabatta. All the bread was $6. The fruit loaf was unbelievable - big pieces of dried apricot, dried figs that you could actually recognise and bite into. Mostly, the bread wasn't overly sweet like bought fruit loaf, but was dense and when paired with some good butter, was just a serious treat. If I'm up at Coffs, I will definitely pop in to see what's going on with the bakery- the bread was amazing.
Another lady sold choc fudge chunky and choc chip cookies, as well as other baked treats. The cookies for $1.5 each were really good, as was the coconut ice which was a cheeky $.5 a piece.
Garlic was looking good and $19 a kg, pretty damn reasonable for home grown, Australian organic garlic! We tested some in a sauce that included heaps of garlic, lemon juice, parsley root and salt to spoon over some fresh caught blackfish from Davis Seafood in Nambucca. Did someone say summer seafood heaven?
We have been going to Davis Seafood since forever- in fact since before I was born. The seafood is fresh caught,sustainable and wild and is always beautiful. This visit, I've had blackfish which was moist, soft, fleshy and mild- just gorgeous, and perfect for pairing with a summery sauce with a bit of garlic punch.
Also on order are always the oysters which are farmed in the river just out the front of the shop and a gorgeous muddy. The oysters still tasted salty they are so fresh, and the muddy heavy to hold,packed with sweet juicy meat.
Perhaps the most surprising new find, something I'm not usually particularly keen on but tried at the insistence of one of the fishermen was the smoked mussels. Never before has the sweetness and smokiness burst into my mouth creating a whole experience. It's like the mussel manages to capture the smoke and sweetness and it becomes the perfect pairing. They have recently got a smoking machine and have been playing around- when I tried the mussel - they asked -is this not the best smoked mussel you have ever tried? Usually I just murmur as if in agreement but don't want to lie, but there was no need. This was, without a doubt the best smoked mussel I have ever tried and I'm not sure it would be such a stretch to say it may well be the best smoked mussel in the universe.
I am thinking about getting a smoking machine- perhaps a little excessive but Ive I've been to Mango Hill Farm and cooked hot smoked salmon which was also Silky and smoky and divine, had some southern smoked meats at The Smoke and Carolina Kitchen, and this latest discovery has spurred on my dreams of smoking! Maybe some smoked meats in time for Christmas?
As this has been written on a borrowed iPad,I can't upload photos but will do once I get to use a regular computer.
How are your preparations for Christmas going? Have you got the Buble or Neil pumping? More importantly have you bought all your pressies and planned your menu?