better than

Marianne via her East of Malaga’s CBBH Photo Challenge: Food asks “Is there a food typical of your country or area where you live?

the master barbequer
the master barbequer

While we were enjoying the recent Queens Birthday long weekend at Taylors Arm, the G.O. made the bold statement

we eat better when we’re here than we do in Sydney.

When I asked

why is that, because you are the master barbequer?

the G.O. pondered, and modestly replied

no, because we have time. We eat what we want and when we want.

Preceding the drive out to our house we do a fresh food shop to supplement existing pantry ingredients, which are somewhat heterogeneous having been sourced at various places and times often on impulse and then forgotten for months in our absence.

As we’d flown up for a 3 day mini-break and travelled light, not having much to unpack on the Saturday afternoon I made a quick cake (butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla essence, milk and flour) with swirls of just past its use-by-date home-made guava jelly I’d impetously purchased at the local markets the summer before last; and the G.O.’s favourite potato bake.

simple country fare
simple country fare

We dined on that, the G.O.’s master barbequer delights, veges, fruit, eggs, toast, cheese and leftovers for the duration. For our last night I’d marinated pork belly strips with the remainder of the guava jelly, soy sauce and white condiment (vinegar). The G.O. despite my contrary advice couldn’t resist swiping them with a little extra marinade on the BBQ so they were fashionably ‘blackened’. Notwithstanding their deliciousness we couldn’t eat them all, or take them on the plane home, so leftovers were dropped off to the M.I.L. whose affection for potato bake rivals the G.O.’s.

My own theory why we perceivably eat better at Taylors Arm is that barbeque and potato bake are native to our TA diet, i.e. not something we partake of at our Sydney apartment. We gave up trying to barbeque on our noisy, grimy city apartment balcony – it’s just not pleasant or worth the effort. The G.O. never requests potato bake in Sydney (although he notes when we bring leftovers back) and I deliberately don’t make it, to maintain the holiday mystique.

Simple potato bake
Slice a few potatoes and onions thinly. Layer potato then onions in a buttered casserole dish drizzling pure cream and grinding salt & white pepper over each layer to taste. Cover with lid/foil and bake in a 200 C (392 F) oven for about an hour until soft then sprinkle with grated cheese of choice and bake without lid/foil until cheese is golden. Wonderful the next day as a base for frittata – warm leftovers in a non-stick frypan with, if you choose, anything interesting you have to hand, top with beaten eggs and put under the grill or in the oven to brown.

To join in the CBBH Photo Challenge all you have to do is post your entry by the end of the month, tag your entry ‘CBBH Photo Challenge’, link back to the East of Malaga blog and, most importantly, don’t forget to add links to any two blogs that you’ve commented on during the past month, so that we can all HOP OVER and have a look.

My Featured Blog Links for this month are two busy creative bloggers who warmly welcome virtual visits:

talltalesfromchiconia – “living in tropical Mackay QLD; gardener and vegie grower; quilt maker; enjoyer of expensive book and fabric stash habits; gluten free cook”.

Veronica Roth – “takes photos every day, takes herself out on art dates, takes sugar with her tea, loves papers and pencils and oils and brushes and quills and inks and poetry and sushi, loves her cars and computers and canons”.

Better Than, John Butler Trio

27 thoughts on “better than

    1. I also love BBQ veges and the G.O. is happy to cook them for me even though he rarely eats them… the corn is the exception he enjoys. I particularly love BBQ baby choko’s, and we have a vine handy on the fence. I suspect one of the reasons the G.O. enjoys TA dining is because there is more meat on the menu than my city cooking.


        1. Possibly… but his answer was the smart answer. Back in Sydney, I’m the cook, and you know you should never upset the cook 🙂


    1. Country dining is a good deal for me because I do prep and veges/salad and leave the cooking to the master barbequer… except for Christmas when my favourite cast iron pot commutes so I can roast a really good roast cook.


  1. Two things in common – we both celebrate QB so funny the UK doesn’t – and we probably eat better, certainly differently in Spain. As you, or rather GO says, more time, and in our case fresher local ingredients, some from the garden.


    1. More meat is on the menu at TA courtesy of the G.O.’s preferences and the BBQ, but even we manage to harvest choko’s, herbs from the [neglected] garden, whatever fruit is growing on neighbors’ trees and is reachable, and bush lemons. I just chop up veges and chuck them on the BBQ for the G.O. to cook, and whine constantly, let’s get seafood…


  2. Why is it that your foodie blogs don’t come with a Health Warning at the top. Beware, Pictures of Food ? I start reading the post innocently enough but by the end I’m salivating all over my trousers and I have bite marks down my arm. People think I’ve wet myself.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx


    1. I have the same issue. Food blogs and illustrated recipe books see me foraging, usually fruitlessly, through the cupboards and fridge. At the very least someone should invent scratch and sniff blogs, or even scratch and taste 🙂


  3. I like the idea of that holiday mystique extending to recipes – anticipation is the best condiment! And I love the recipe for the potato bake as well. My mum used to make one very similar but with slices of hard boiled potato instead of onion. It’s one of our favourites although I don’t make it often because of all the cream. 🙂


    1. It’s interesting how the senses relate us to places. Certain smells and tastes gives us tangible memories. There are many variations to potato bake… and versions culturally. Mine has evolved to simplicity and sometimes I use milk if that’s what I have but have used skinny evaporated milk too. Although I’ve never tried, even when my sister was vegan, a non-dairy version.


      1. Just trying to think what you’d use in a vegan/non-dairy version. I can see using say a vegetable stock for flavour, but what would you use to get that richness I wonder?


        1. oh… that recipe made my mouth water. I usually have some home-made stock or soup in the freezer so I could give this a test run over the weekend. 😀 Many thanks!


  4. Mmmm … a scratch and sniff blog! I would love an App of THAT!

    It must be true that being at TA you have more time to eat what you want, when you want. It makes sense with you working when you are in Sydney.

    Love your simple potato bake – haven’t made one for quite a while, so you reminded me 🙂


    1. Meal ‘times’ are non existent at TA. In summer holidays we tend to 2 meals – brunch and late dinner. Supplemented by civilized late afternoon cheese & biccies, with a cool drink of course 🙂


  5. It will be interesting to see how things change when you are living in TA permanently. My Fella is the BBQer at our place, and he cooks all meats like steak, sausages and chops on the BBQ. It stops the house smelling fatty. However, we have been roasting sausages lately. I took pity ink the poor lad, as it has been too cold and dark to cook outside 🙂


    1. We had that conversation too… and I was amused to realise it was apparent if I let the G.O. have his head we would be eating little other than his master barbequer offerings and potato something. I would be pleased to share the cooking more equitably but I like variety and green stuff in my menu, so we agreed that we will both get our turn 🙂
      Same here too – in the city I have baked sausages – can’t stand the mess and smell otherwise inside, but lately I just throw them into the big cast iron pot with hoards of onion, madeira and stock and slow cook them.


        1. Another taste sensation from Food, Photography & France whose delicious “potato bake” made with wine I shared in the comments to this post 🙂


  6. It’s so true that food is better in the country – it’s like sitting at the coast and eating seafood (always tastes better)! Hubby is firing up the barbecue tonight and now I want potato bake with it. I’m heading off to start prepping right now! 😀


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