royal bounty

With a royal flourish we added 2 days to the Queen’s Birthday long weekend and escaped to our house up the coast. With no expectation of great weather, we were looking forward to an early winter mini-break & quality time by the fire. We achieved the objective plus acquired a bounty of rural winter offerings.

In sameoldsameold mode we made a Saturday 3.30am departure & 5+ hour drive north. We arrived at Macksville to morning sunshine and the riverbank markets opening for trade. We snapped up coffees and an array of vege-goodies from members of the G.O’s clan at Wilton Farm Fresh: avocado’s, eggplant, sugar snap peas, chilli’s, and from Gumma Seedlings Fresh Produce: silver beet, beetroot, spring onions. From yet another of the G.O.’s clan we purchased a couple of bright bromeliads, for a good cause of course, to assist KW reach his goal of raising $100, 000 for the children’s charity “Plan”.

We ran a few errands, had a cup of tea with the M.I.L., rescued a set of old hand embroidered linen tea towels from her charity bag, and proceeded via the scenic dirt detour which Council now estimates weather permitting will be no longer necessary when the tarred route landslip reparation is completed in August… we’ll see.

Unlike Easter, considerately cool weather since our last break meant we arrived to a winter garden and little to be done other than unpack & tidy which nonetheless took a good hour or so. We’d thoughtfully left ourselves a pre-prepared load of firewood in the wheelbarrow, so the G.O. loaded the fire up not-too-much-later in the afternoon. Bliss.

Sunday defied the weather reports by being sunny but cool. Perfect for a post late-lunch stroll to the river. Enroute as we stacked his firewood delivery, a neighbour warned us “storm cell on the coast heading our way, wouldn’t go too far if I was you”. By the time we cut through the church yard on the way back we abandoned our plan to forage for bush lemons as the prophecy manifested.

Once again the G.O. lit the fire, and it stayed lit until our Wednesday morning departure. The rain far from being a burden lent enchantment to long baths, sleep-ins, book reading, football watching, a foray to town to browse the second hand shops for bargains, oooh oooh, a find! 2 tiny white & gold sweet bowls in the marked down basket, visits from the LHS neighbour’s cat, and the culinary delights of those vege-goodies.

Notable of which, never-before-attempted despite being easy-to-do baked beetroot: place peeled (the instruction to simply scrub them is rubbish) beetroot onto double wrapped foil; instruct the G.O. to acquire an orange from RHS neighbour’s tree (ours aren’t ripe), peel & cut half into chunks, add to beetroot; further instruct the G.O. we need garlic from RHS neighbour’s shed, add half a dozen peeled cloves to beetroot; drizzle with olive oil & balsamic vinegar; garnish with sea salt & pepper medley; and crunch foil into a parcel. Bake in 220-250 degree (celsius) oven for about an hour or until you can smell cooked beetroot. At the same time you may as well wrap oiled eggplant in foil and bake it, because even though the G.O. will screw his face up when requested to taste it, it will the next morning with the addition of the contents of a garlic head baked whole in foil in the fire, olive oil & sea salt, make silky (also never-before-attempted) Baba Ghanoush to be eaten on sourdough toast for breakfast.

As the sun re-emerged on Wednesday morning we were drinking coffee on the veranda prior to departing, in true country style the RHS neighbours appeared proffering shopping bags of mandarins, oranges, a jar of home made marmalade and the caution “you’ll need your teeth in to eat it, I forgot to soak the rind…”

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29 thoughts on “royal bounty

    1. Thank you. It’s great when you have no expections & things work out well. I’m so over the thrift/second hand shops in my local city area and am champing at the bit to get into them when I’m in the country 🙂


  1. The view from your verandah looks absolutely beautiful, what a gorgeous spot. And all that space, and trees, and flowers, and fruit. Just perfect.

    Even better, you have neighbours like mine that load you up with goodies 🙂

    I used to cook beetroot in the oven, but I don’t think I peeled them first, did it afterwards. I take it silver beet is spinach beet by the look of the pic?


    1. … I like that you spelled “verandah” the English/Australian way. Microsoft have Americanised everything, including my typing… sometimes it’s all to hard 😉


  2. Thank you. I call it spinach, the produce sellers call it silver beet… With the beetroot, I tried a combo of peeled & not peeled but scrubbed to test as I’d never cooked it before, and peeled was better as it’s a bit sticky/messy to peel off the skin afterwards, so for the sake of a few peeler scapes I’m going with pre-peeled next time. I had a couple of pieces of beetroot in my lunch salad today and fell in love all over again 🙂 The produce type goodies from the neighbours are great but not anything out of their kitchen! I really wanted some bush lemons to make lemon butter/curd but the track was inundated with sticky beak bushes and the bad weather came in.


    1. Thank you. I’d been wanting to make it for quite a while so my excitement may have been a little out of proportion with the task, but they were delicious.


      1. I’ve got beetroot on my shopping list, and am on the look out for the freshest orange I can find (sometimes they’re a bit the worse for wear, Sri Lanka and places like this being a sort of dumping ground for fruit we wouldn’t buy in the stores at home, I suspect), then on the weekend, I’ll bake up a storm. Just love beetroot and I think your enthusiasm for the task was totally appropriate:)


        1. The orange is optional. The original recipe I referred to didn’t include it but an aunt makes a fabulous baked beetroot salad with oranges & as there was a tree full I thought it might be nice 🙂


        2. Most of the ingredients have sugars but the orange adds another flavour strand. Try not to eat them all at once as the flavours develop over a few days. That said I have consumed mine in less than a week, unaided.


    1. Hah! They may well be. I love them.The G.O.’s sister (my S.I.L., I guess) works at a local charity shop & brings home stuff for the M.I.L. & when she’s done with it, or if it doesn’t suit (as would have been the case here), it goes back…


      1. My husband grandmother made tea towels like those. Unfortunately, they are all threadbare now. I loved them. Disliked the grandmother . . . she was an old bat.


        1. I’ll think of her now when I use my tea towels… Yes, with the rellies (either side) there’s no guarantee they’ll be good ones 🙂 I am sad when I see old things which should be handed down, in the charity or second hands shops, but I’m happy to take them home & love them like the few handed down items I have.


    1. Thank you. Sometimes it’s a lot of work and/or a pain to need to be there but mostly it’s great & we never have enough time… could’ve stayed the week or longer… much longer.


    1. We had a lovely weekend. Very little work to be done. In Australia/UK it is verandah but Microsoft Word insists on changing it to the US veranda. I’ve given up… either it fine with me 🙂


    1. Thank you. Any weekend is a good weekend but long long weekends when we escape to the country & there isn’t much much to be done are the best 🙂


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