Monday, March 10, 2014

Somewhere on the South Coast

Every now and then I just have to cut out and head to a quiet place close to the ocean where I can sleep, cook, eat, drink, and breathe in a whole lot of fresh sea scented air.

I jumped in the car with my fishing rods, tackle box, and a case of beautiful wine and headed south about 5hrs from Sydney.

The reason for why I'm being so cagey about the location of this spot is because my newfound fishing friends are very protective of their special spot. They made me promise only to refer to this place as somewhere on the south coast. This place is true paradise……
It was around magic hour when I crossed an old rickety timber bridge with sandy flat waterways on each side. Bird life and fisherman abundant, I knew this place was for me.

When I spotted the little beach house, which was going to be my home for a week, feelings from my childhood stirred. This was the archetypal fibro beach house, just like the one I spent my holidays in when I was a kid. Those days are truly my fondest memories growing up.

Salty air, wet sandy dogs, the smell of stinky bait and diesel, bare feet, curly sun beached hair, sunburn, and fish & chips. All this represents holidays and relaxation - that is what I needed and that is what I got.
I woke the next day to sunshine and the most beautiful white sandy beach. This was paradise. I ventured to the fisherman's wharf to make some new friends and see what possibilities there were for dinner.

I met Alan… he has the only licence to dredge for clams on this part of the coast and I marvelled at his great catch that day. I bought two kilos of his prize flame clams to cook up that night for dinner, straight off the wharf. Couldn't get fresher than that!
I had so many questions for Alan. I was just so excited to see these glistening nets of freshness being heaved onto the wharf. He explained how he only brings in one size, throwing the little ones back so they can grow into big ones and through the big ones back 'cause they make the little ones… sweet!!! I love how fishermen are looking after the sustainability of our ocean these days. He doesn't throw the empty shells back, which he brings up from the ocean floor. Instead he tips them on his driveway at home…. 800 metres of it evidently!!!
My clams with garlic, white wine and tomato… heaven!
The next day my new fishing buddy Rainer took me out on his boat. We trawled off the beach for kingfish and then went out further hoping for flathead. We came home with both.
That night I prepared sashimi with the kingfish and we cooked the sweet flathead tails up on the barbie bumped up alongside a very yummy potato salad.
Each night as the clock struck six I mixed a cocktail with gin, elderflower, and the piquant and mouth-popping finger limes.
Sadly, my week seemed to pass too quickly as most holidays do, and on my last day as I drove out of my new favourite place in the universe, I dropped into their farmers market. Could it have been any more perfect..? No!!!!

I purchased a beautiful big bunch of organic beetroot, a kilo of local honey, and a bucket of the sweetest and reddest little cherry tomatoes, which I roasted.
Slow roasted cherry tomatoes… great folded through piping hot spaghetti with olives, basil, and goats cheese.
Happy fishing,
Simmone x

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