High Tea in the Hamptons

We left Gladstone yesterday (gladly – that town had nothing that made us want to stay there. It was overrun by the mining industry and seemed very bleak). We stayed overnight abouorkt 30km north in Mount Locum at the showgrounds there. They were pretty shabby, with swarms of mosquitoes in the bathrooms, which were kind of gross anyway. But, it was a place to stay.

We headed out early this morning, driving another 80kms or so to reach Rockhampton before 9am. We did a bit of a ring around to see if there was any work, didn’t find any, so agreed to keep going.

But first, we thought we’d have a look at one of the local attractions, Mount Archer.

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Boyfriend Bear was set on the idea of having high tea, as we still had leftover cucumbers from a bunch of them that we picked up in Bundaberg (locally grown of course!) He really wanted to have some cucumber sandwiches, so we got some Tofutti, salt, pepper, cucumber and soft white bread and headed to the ‘highest’ place we could to have our tea.

ZZ managed to chug his way to the top of the mountain, albeit very slowly. It was beautiful and serene, with a few little picnic tables.

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Billy was very satisfied.

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We even had some wildlife come and join us, in the form of two kookaburras who sat above us hopefully. I don’t think they would have been too excited about cucumber sandwiches though.

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We’ve actually had a really wildlife filled day – waking up to kangaroos munching on grass in the showground, seeing two hawks flying above the van, plus a snake slid across the road in front of us on the way up the mountain. Not to mention all the bugs and spiders that have been landing on us over the last hour or so, hehe.

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Afterwards, we went for a walk down a trail towards a lookout, which looked out over some other mountains and the city of Rockhampton. It’s from there that this blog comes from you today! Pretty cool, huh?

Hope everybody is having a wonderful day!

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veganmofo

Sort-of Sausage Rolls for my Nan

Yesterday we set off from Bundaberg and drove up to Agnes Waters on the coast.

We were going to stay on a property belonging to Billy’s second cousin, but it didn’t work out as the floods earlier this year had washed away the driveway and we couldn’t get our van onto the property, and we accidentally went onto the wrong property and got confronted by a scary dog so we decided to abort that mission. Instead we looked around the area during the day, and kept heading north towards Gladstone in the evening. The area we stayed in had no reception, so I wasn’t able to blog yesterday…ba bowwww.

My family had some sad news the other day (I found out yesterday) – my Great Nanna passed away in her sleep. She was in her nineties and was the last living great-grandparent of mine. When I was born, I had four great grandmothers and three great grandfathers. At a young age, I didn’t realise the significance of this, or how lucky I was to have so many generations of my family in my life – it was just normal. I remember being shocked to find school friends didn’t have great grandparents, some didn’t even have grandparents!

While I moved away from Perth, where Nanna Wilson lived, when I was about 11, I still have fond memories of her from throughout my early childhood. She was a tough lady, and one thing in particular I remember about her is that she was always looking after everyone (usually through the provision of food). It just wasn’t a special occasion without Nanna Wilson’s homemade sausage rolls or one of her jam and cream sponge cakes, or a pavlova. I also still have intricately patterned cardigans in a cupboard at my parents’ house that were knitted by her when I was a little one.

While none of this suits my present vegan lifestyle, I still enjoy the memory. As a tribute to my Nan, I wanted to enjoy some of the foods that I associated with her, but this was surprisingly difficult to do in the van, without an oven. In an attempt to enjoy some (vegan) sausage rolls, we bought a box from the Linda McCartney range and tried to cook them on the stovetop. I realised that this would not allow them to puff like a normal sausage roll, but still I tried, and they were still edible. We had some Bundaberg vegetables on the side.

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They didn’t turn out quite like sausage rolls, but it’s the thought that counts.

So here’s to my Nan, a strong and wonderful lady who will be missed greatly by all who knew her. X x

veganmofo

A Bundy Rum and Cola, thanks

***I just realized that this post was still a draft! This was Saturday’s post…I did try and upload it after a few Bundies so maybe that was the issue….
Today’s locally sourced ingredient is a bit of a stretch…

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As we are in Bundaberg, the home of Bundaberg Rum, we figured that we needed to go and have a drink at the local and really immerse ourselves in the spirit (ha ha) of the town. A lot of businesses here seem to be called “rum city” this or that, like rum city hairdressers or rum city dry cleaning services and so on. They are really proud of their produce. We settled on the Grand Hotel, as it sounded like it would suit our needs.

Bundaberg as a town on the whole is pretty unappealing to me, it seems kind of dreary and not very colourful (though I have spent most of my time working inside of a shopping centre). This could also be due to the massive flooding that occurred earlier in the year – the town kind of looks part under construction.

In saying that, we certainly met some colourful blokes at the pub, fresh out of the big house and looking to have a good time. They were a bit much for us after a while though, so we focused on what we were there for.

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Our first drink was the classic Bundy and Rum with Coke. It went down pretty well, as knock off work drinks usually do.

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Next we decided to go the pre-mixed variety and go with a ‘Dark and Stormy’, which is your Bundy Rum mixed with Ginger Beer. I actually liked this better than the original.

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After the novelty wore off, we decided that Rum wasn’t really our favourite drink and moved on to something else. The end.

veganmofo

Strawberry Fields For-never (or not getting jobs as strawberry pickers)

Have you ever wondered why voting booths give you PENCILS instead of pens? Billy’s mum alerted us to this a little while ago, and when casting my early vote this morning, I couldn’t help but notice that I was given a pen to fill out the envelope I had to write on for the interstate form, but when I got to the booth – only pencils! Conspiracy?!?

Luckily for me, I had a pen on hand and the voting volunteer said it was fine that I used it but assured me that there was no chance that anybody was going to be messing with the votes. Not now that mine’s in pen, that’s for sure!

Anyway, I digress from what I came here to post.

Queensland is home to many strawberry farms, particularly along around the Sunshine Coast region. We tried our hardest to get some picking work on one of them on the way up but the place was swarming with backpackers, also desperately seeking some employment.

In many ways, it’s a good thing we didn’t get any as it opened up other opportunities to us – Billy getting to work at the Gympie Muster (and getting paid an hourly wage rather than oh…about $4/tray of strawberries) as well as the work I am doing this week the jewellery stall. But it was still kind of demoralising ringing farm after farm, doing drive arounds and stopping at every strawberry farm in sight and just getting rejection after rejection. Nothing personal, but still.

Nevertheless, just because we didn’t pick the strawberries, doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy some of what sunny Queensland has to offer us in the form of these little red gems.

Melt a little chocolate and some coconut oil, grab some strawberries and voila! Heavenly choc berries!

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Ode to a Baby Avocado

Hellooo everyone!

I have just finished an eleven hour work day with virtually no breaks (aside from two toilet pit stops) so I am royally pooped. I am so looking forward to finishing up so that I have more a chance to explore more of what is going on in MoFo land. After Saturday, I’m all aboard! How is everyone enjoying MoFo so far?

In saying how glad I will be when it’s over, it’s obviously awesome to have a week of cash work, and when it finishes we will be heading north up the coast, on the way to the Great Barrier Reef. Exciting!! I’m definitely on the mend in terms of health as well which is a relief.

Today I’m just going to leave you with a couple of happy snaps – I enjoyed a salad comprising of local ingredients from a few different locations, if that makes sense. Let me explain: I still have a bunch of avocados from the Eumundi markets on the weekend, but now that we are in Bundaberg I have picked up some Bundy cherry tomatoes, lettuce and cucumber from the fruit market.

I wanted to share this snap of my lunch just because my little baby avocado was just so damn cute. I should have put a knife next to it for scale, but if you compare it to the size of the almonds you can get some idea of the size. Eeeeeep!

 

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Baby avocado was certainly doing a lot better than this poor little dude, who came to some sort of accident while rolling around in the back of the van (note: I think I may have stepped on him in the dark…oops). Don’t worry, he didn’t go to waste.

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And finally, here is a terrible photo of tonight’s dinner, brought to you courtesy of boyfriend bear (the dinner, not the photo – that was my doing. Sorry, bad light). Bear cooked a delicious feast of garlic carrot and brussel sprouts (Australian organic garlic – somewhat hard to find, Bundaberg brussel sprouts), mediterranean lentils (this was a packet job we got on clearance from the supermarket), garlic bread and salad. Yay, I love feast plates with different components.
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Backloggin’: Zucchini Fritters

I can foresee the next couple of days being much like today. As long as I am sick, and I am working all day (while snotting and sweating), I am too tired to come up with the spectacular posts that I obviously would have if I had not been stricken down (lets just go with that…)

So today I’m bringing you more backlogs, this time in the form of a yummy recipe that I got from a lovely blog called Lucy’s Friendly Food.

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Last week my haul of local foods from Gympie included some zucchinis and a bunch of parsley. With no plans as to what I was going to use them for, Lucy’s recipe for zucchini fritters came at the perfect time. This was a really easy dish to make, and ready in minutes. Served with a side salad it makes a really nice meal for a warm night when you don’t want to spend too much time cooking.

Hop over to Lucy’s blog and check out the recipe for these delicious fritters here. I am no food photographer, so her pictures definitely tell a better tale than mine.

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veganmofo

Sickness and Watermelon juice

I have managed to contract a sickness from the boyfriend, which he got from a guy he was working with, who got it from his kid. Sharing is caring huh…

So I’m super scratchy throated and runny and sore nosed and TIRED and the last thing I could think of today was an amazing food post for you all, so I’m going to draw on the little backlog of posts that I have from the last two weeks or so that I haven’t yet had a chance to put up (yes, I came with backup).

Back to Gympie for a moment – while we were there I got a few bunches of mint from the area. One day we had some watermelon that needed to go (seriously, it took up about half of our tiny fridge) so I made this yummy juice to enjoy in the sun. I wish I could teleport to this picture, where I was healthy and had a juice in my hand. Ohh those were the days…

The juice barely warrants a recipe with a mere three ingredients, but hey, I’m gonna give ya one anyway.

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Watermelon and Mint juice
(makes about 3 cups)

4 cups chopped watermelon
1/2 cup (packed) mint
Juice of one lime

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend. Add some ice if you want it a bit on the chilled side. ENJOY!

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veganmofo

Lemony Almond Kale Pesto

I’m back for round two!

I’ve had a long day on my feet working for a jewellery stall in a shopping centre here in Bundaberg, so I’m going to make this a quick post.

In Gympie, I picked up some kale from a fruit and veg market that was according to the dude, grown “literally just down the road” – you can’t get much more local than that without growing it in your own yard (or van? Van garden? Hmm…)

It’s no secret that I love pesto…and garlic, and kale and lemon and almonds and so on. Anyway, I decided to whip up this pesto to stir through some pasta as a quick and easy meal, and we used the leftovers to spread in sandwiches (kale pesto, baby spinach, marinated red capsicum and sundried tomatoes). Yum.

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*note: I made this with raw kale as I enjoy the taste, but if you don’t like the bitterness, it’s a good idea to blanch it first (by dropping it in boiling water until the leaves turn bright green, then transferring to a bowl of ice water). However, if you are going to heat it up (on pasta for example), you will end up losing a lot of the bitterness anyway.

Lemony Almond Kale Pesto
(makes about 2 cups)

1 bunch kale, washed and stems removed (*see note above)
150g raw almonds

2 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
3 Tbsp water (plus more if needed)
Salt
Pepper

Add almonds and garlic to a food processor and pulse a few times until roughly chopped.

Roughly chop the kale and add it to the processor along with oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Process until well combined.

Add nutritional yeast and water and process to combine. If necessary, add water 1 Tbsp at a time until desired consistency is reached. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.

Use as a dip, spread, sauce, or pretty much whatever you can think of. Sometimes I like to just eat it on my finger.

 

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Raw Choc-Mint Mousse

Happy Vegan MoFo everybody! Wahoo!

This is my first time participating, which is a bit exciting for me. I was umming and ahhing over whether or not I was going to do a theme as I thought posting every day as I travel around might already be quite a challenge, but hey, I love a good challenge – so I’m hitting the ground running and doing a theme.

I’m opting for what I am hoping will be quite a simple one, which is ‘locally sourced’. This means that I will be aiming to use at least one locally sourced (from wherever I am local to at the time) ingredient every day, which as well as a fun theme is a great way to support local farmers and industry. As we are in quite a big veggie growing region at the moment, it shouldn’t be too difficult. And it’s an excuse to visit more farmer’s markets too! I know, tough gig right?

So we’ve moved on from Gympie – we left today and are currently in Bundaberg, as I have picked up a week of work selling jewellery at a stall starting tomorrow. Billy finished up his labour gig yesterday, so it was perfect timing.

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Before we left though, I had a chance to go on a little trip of my own to Eumundi to visit the infamous markets there. Eumundi is about half an hour south of Gympie, and a little closer towards the coast. It’s a really cute, funky little town and it is buzzing on market day.

The markets were awesome – a diverse range of arts, crafts, food, clothing, jewellery, instrument, handmade toys and so on. I had just eaten brekkie before arriving, which was a bit of a bummer as there were a few different vegan options on offer including momos, smoothies, raw sweets and a Hare Krishna café. I just couldn’t justify buying food for my already full tummy.

I did grab some organic veggies though – some local garlic, salad mix and a big bag of avocados. How I love cheap avocados!

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Afterwards, I decided to travel a little further to the coast as it had been a while since I’d seen the ocean. I drove through Noosaville to Sunshine Beach, where I was able to enjoy the last day of winter under the sun (not that Queensland could call this ‘winter’….29 degrees! That’s summer in Tassie!)

Anyway, enough talk, more food!

Last week I made this deliciously creamy mousse with some avocados that I got in Nanango….being well stocked in the avo department I thought it would be a great start to MoFo to share this simple and sweet recipe.

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Raw Choc-Mint Mousse
(serves 2)

2 avocados
3 Tbsp cacao powder
1-1.5 Tbsp stevia or other sweetener (depending on taste)
1/4 cup fresh mint
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp virgin coconut oil

Add all the ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Chill in the fridge before serving, and garnish with extra mint leaves.

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That’s it. It is sooo easy and I just can’t get over the creaminess..it’s amazing. It’s also super versatile, as you can easily alter the flavours – I’m thinking Mocha, Raspberry and Jaffa next. Mmm…

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A weekend of country at the Gympie Music Muster

Yeehah! We are back from the Gympie Music Muster, and what a weekend!

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The Muster is a country music festival held in the Amamoor State Forest, which provides a really beautiful setting. We stayed on site from Wednesday, with the festival officially running from Thursday to Sunday. Apparently there had been people camping, drinking and having a good old time there for at least a week already though.

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The site had been completely transformed from the first day I dropped Billy off to work – there were marquees, lights, flags, food stalls, bars, and camps galore. There were some pretty impressive camp sites, I rode my bike around for a squiz and saw big wooden house structures, and many people opting to build their own bar at camp, just for those times when you need a break but can’t bear to leave the bar.

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The actual festival was really fun. I wasn’t exactly sure what I would make of it all (not being the hugest country music fan), but I had a great time. There was certainly some music that was not really to my taste (teen girl country pop), but with about seven different stages there was always something you could find to enjoy. And no shortage of cowboy hats or boots either.

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My personal favourite was the Blues and Roots stage, with heaps of funky stuff happening there. One guy in particular who played three or four of the days was amazing – Juzzy Smith. Not only did he have a lovely manner and an infectious smile, he was an incredible talent – playing his ‘one man band’ of guitar (of which he had multiple – lap steel, cigar box, etc), harmonica (of which he had a utility belt of about ten), stomp box and juggling maraca balls. The coordination was outrageous! He even played a harmonica through his nose at the same time as he played one with his mouth.

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We worked the bar every evening, which was pretty fun. I got hit on by countless cowboys, young and old which was kind of funny. The majority were harmless and even quite charming, the odd few pushed it a bit too far (into sleazeville).

I had a few great lines, like “you broke me darlin’, I shoulda married you so I’d have an excuse”, and “there’s a Bob Dylan song called ‘what’s a sweetheart like you doing in a dump like this?’, just thought it was relevant to the situation”. Actually the song is called ‘sweetheart like you’, but I’ll forgive you cowboy because it was a pretty good one. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been called sweetheart and darlin’ as many times in my whole life as I did this weekend.

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The bar we worked at was the Muster Club, which was pretty neat. Quite a few of the bands that I wanted to see played there while I was working, so it worked out well. The layout and setup of the festival and each area was really cool – it was well thought out and you could tell a bit of effort had been put in.

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I forgot to take a picture of the actual bar, I guess I was always on the wrong side. But there were some great decorations, and we had an awesome path to walk from our camp to the festival, which was lit from above and wound through the forest and over little footbridges.

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A few disappointing factors included the lack of recycling bins (even behind the bar, where 99% of our waste was recyclable), portaloos instead of composting toilets, the price of drinks ($6 beer, $9 spirits, $10 Jack Daniels) which remained the same after 12am when we were no longer allowed to sell full strength drinks (so people were expected to pay $10 for a mid-strength Jack Daniels), which was just ludicrous…and made us very popular.  Also there was no free water available, and a bottle cost $4, which is kind of poor responsible service of alcohol, as there should always be water available for punters. But anyway, I won’t let that overshadow the good stuff.

There was a pretty big variety of food stalls – the first few days we cooked our own, but once our fridge ran out of juice we bought a few meals. Billy fell in love with these Hungarian breads called Langos, which were these puffy deep fried breads, coated in garlic oil, a tomato red onion and basil mix, sour cream, cheese and sauce. I will have to try and recreate a vegan version…for days ‘Langos!’ was the last thing he said before falling asleep and the first thing he said when he woke.

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There was a neat mexican place too that had some vegan options – I got some soft tacos with beans, coriander, hot sauce, guacamole and lime juice.

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We had them twice, but only took a picture the second time at the end of the festival, when they obviously didn’t put quite as much effort in – the first lot looked beautiful! They were still good though – fresh compared to a lot of the other fried food available.

I guess that’s about it for my weekend roundup, I’ll finish with my musical highlights: Juzzy Smith, The Perch Street Family Jug Band, The Round Mountain Girls, the songwriters session we saw at the Blues & Roots tent (not sure the names of the three on stage but they were awesome), The Bushwhackers, hearing Darryl Braithwaite sing ‘Horses’ while I was in the middle of a queue at the toilets….and this lovely lady, Tami Neilson, and her band.

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Now I can proudly say that I am no longer a Muster virgin, a title I will gladly shake. Billy is back at work, packing down the festival so we will be in Gympie for at least another week, with plans to head north after this.