What do places like Uepi in the Solomons, Hirifa in the Tuamotus, Nanuya in Fiji, and Marathi in Greece have in common? They are all small island resorts we discovered during our cruising days, anchored off with the idea to stop for a look and a drink, only to end up staying for a while. In every case, we would settle at the bar, meet the owners who would welcome you as friends, enjoy fantastic food and hospitality,  and generally have the run of the place as if it was your own. 

These places hold a special place in our hearts, and the memories rushed back recently, during a short cruise in the Hawkesbury River. 

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to Peats Bite, Sydney’s hidden gem. 

Located in Sunny Corner, on the Hawkesbury River, and only 1h drive from Sydney CBD, this restaurant is only accessible by boat or by sea plane. I first found out about it thru an internet special, when looking for a weekend getaway and we didn’t have a boat. Peats Bite solved the problem, by offering a shuttle transfer service from Brooklyn. 

It is the brainchild of Rod and Tammy Miljoen, who purchased the property in the early 80’s and decided to run it as a restaurant that would welcome guests as though they’d arrive home. Over the years, they acquired a reputation for long lunches and live entertainment, without the need to advertise and have had their share of A-listed visitors.

While Rod passed away a few years ago, his daughter Tanya and partner Geoff, have now taken over the family business. 

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Have you ever had red wombok before? 

It is similar to a traditional Chinese cabbage, otherwise known as wombok, except that it is well, red. Bordering on purple.

It shares the same nutritional benefits , being rich in vitamin C and A as well as calcium and fibre. It is also low in fat and calories, which makes it ideal for those of us trying to eat on the lighter side ( I am getting ahead of myself here, as I read somewhere that we have 14 weeks till Xmas, that means silly season is only a couple of months away !)

The deep burgundy colour is due to the presence of anthocyanins (nutrients responsible for blue, red and purple pigments in fruits and vegetables ) which serve as powerful antioxidants. High levels of these put it in the Super Food category, along with blueberries and red grapes.

Flavour wise, it is similar to its cousin, the green cabbage ( Chinese or otherwise ), mild and sweet with a crisp and crunchy texture. You can use it as you would use plain cabbage, one notable difference being that it doesn’t seem to have the strong sulphuric smell generally associated with its counterpart, when cooked.

A large head showed up in my vegetable box, a few weeks ago, as one of the unusual items we’re given to try. 

Usually, I would buy a quarter of a cabbage, which is enough for a meal for the four of us. But as much as we like it, a whole head is A LOT of cabbage !  

Thankfully, wombok ( of any colour )  has a long shelf-life and doesn’t oxidise ( discolour ) when cut , which is great if, like me, you take a while to decide how to use it. 

Because we had so much of it, I experimented and came up with different ways to have it. We turned it into a salad, a stir fry and a power drink!

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Rise and shine at The Anchorage in Port Stephens!

Our package includes breakfast and the Anchorage’s is famous for its bottomless sparkling wine breakfast. Pre-COVID19 it would be served buffet style, with an offering of continental breakfast and a few hot options. These days, while all options are available it is table service only. Mr T is encouraging me to start the day with a wine, but I am not in the mood or the condition for it. As it is, I am still full with last night’s dinner so I stick to the continental breakfast. It is quite sizeable already, coming with an assortment of danishes and croissants, yoghurt, fruit salad and juice.

Mr T loves a hot breakfast and can’t go past the fried eggs on toast, home made baked beans and double smoked bacon. 

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Needing an escape from Covid19-induced cabin fever? Take a 3h drive to Port Stephens.

This is not our first trip to the area, but this time, it is just Mr T and I. With a couple of free nights and an urge to go the road less travelled, we set off north and decide to drive a new route, Putty Road. 

Well known by motorbike riders for its windy sections, bends and twists the road takes you on the western edge of the Hawkesbury river for 160km and north to the Hunter Valley…it is supposed to be very busy in weekends, but on a Tuesday morning, there is hardly any traffic. Admittedly it is raining quite heavily ( the east coast low is hovering ) and being the middle of winter, who in their right mind would want to take up a scenic drive? To reach the scenic Putty Road drive, we have to deal with heavy traffic in western Sydney for about 1 hour, but once on the scenic road proper,  all cars disappear and it is pretty much us and the odd council truck. The road winds its way thru bush that obviously burnt last summer. Never I have seen so many cremated trees before, though most have regrowth on the trunks. Nature obviously will recover. On the other hand, there are lots of burnt out cars around, how many from the bush fires, I don’t know.

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kumquat tea cakes

 

Here is a variation on the almond and orange cake I posted about a few weeks ago.

It came about after receiving my fortnightly veggie box. There is always some new and unusual produce included, and last week’s surprise was a handful of kumquats.

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