Tag Archives: Russ

Amusing ourselves on windy days

We think this one is a verticordia

We think this one is a verticordia

Too windy to fish again yesterday, we decided on an afternoon drive out to Mt Frankland and a short walk to the summit.

After breakfast and before our drive, Russ had a go at making us a loaf of caraway rye bread for our lunch. It was a great success and yummy as open sandwiches of leg ham, avocado, tomato, cheddar cheese and red onion.

Mt Frankland is about 30ks from Walpole through big trees, farmland and along sealed and unsealed roads. The term “mountain” is used loosely-we were gradually climbing the whole way as we drove to the car park, then it was a 1.2 km return walk to the granite rock summit. The last 200 metres was a steep walk up (then down) over 300 steps and two near vertical ladders. All well worth it though as it gave stunning views of what’s known as the Walpole Wilderness-over 300,000 hectares of often untouched bush land.

Brown Tree Creeper

Brown Tree Creeper

At the car park, we got out of the car to the most beautiful bird calling somewhere nearby. It sounded like a bell. I looked down to see a little brown bird right at my feet making all the noise. At home we looked him up in our bird book and found he was a Brown Tree Creeper. We saw some climbing the trunks of trees looking like little woodpeckers and quite a few on the ground where they apparently spend quite a bit of time. They certainly weren’t shy.

After the walk to the summit, we took a 600 metre return walk to the Wilderness Lookout. It was a magnificent steel structure through the tree tops at the base of Little Mt Frankland (a smaller granite rock), for more views of the wilderness. We had this whole place with it’s huge information shelter, bbqs and amenities all to ourselves to enjoy.

Walking to the summit alongside Mt frankland

Walking to the summit alongside Mt frankland

Off home, we decided to take an alternate route down Copeland Rd as we’d seen both ends of it on our drive out. The word “road” was also a loose term with it not much more than a goat track in places. We had branches scraping the sides of the car and whipping the windscreen for most of the 12 ks.

Russ's Smoked Fish Pie

Russ’s Smoked Fish Pie

Last night Russ cooked us a delicious and warming smoked fish pie, using our own smoked fish. It was a great finish to a great day out.

This morning, we toasted the remaining rye and caraway bread and topped it with Donnybrook tomatoes and avocado for our breakfast.

Peaceful Bay

Peaceful Bay


After lunch (it was still too windy to fish) we took a drive to Conspicuous Cliff and Peaceful Bay. The beach at Conspicuous Cliff was deserted apart from us and another couple and really beautiful. Peaceful Bay is a tiny town consisting of several streets (First to Fourth Street and and the grandly named dirt Central Avenue), a caravan park and shop/office, fire brigade and emergency services shed. The fibro holiday shacks all have names like digabringabeeralong, sootz us, peace and quiet, the love shack, this’ll do, etc.

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Fishing on the Reef

Saffron Tomato Relish-The Beginnings

Saffron Tomato Relish-The Beginnings

We have never pretended to be particularly good at fishing-we’re more enthusiastic than skilled-but we catch more than enough fish etc. to feed ourselves, give a little away, and freeze to take home.

After 6 visits to Coral Bay and this part of the Ningaloo Reef, we are pretty good at knowing where to fish for particular species.

We fish mostly drifting over the coral (and the coral is dense), using big hooks, big baits and no sinkers. We let out a little line to attract the smaller, pretty fish, they then alert the big ones. When we feel a decent bite, we retrieve our line as quickly as possible-if we’re not quick enough, we get taken into the coral. We lose a bit of gear, but not much and I would say 99% of the time, we are out there doing it all on our own.

Yesterday, we came home with 8 red throat emperor (we are allowed 4 each), 2 Charlie Court Cod and a stripy sea perch. We released as many, or more, size emperors too. No one else put in a line over the coral.

Depending on the tides and swell, we can go straight to a spot and catch 60cm spangled emperor, we know where the goat fish live, where we’ll definitely catch spotted cod, or Charlie Court Cod, or the red throat emperors. We can fish to order!

Russ made us a yummy brunch before we went out yesterday of smoked fish slice (it wasn’t quite and omelette or a frittata so I’ll call it a slice). We ate it with grilled Carnarvon tomatoes and toast.

Smoked Fish Slice

  • 4 eggs,whisked
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
  • 100g smoked fish, flaked
  • Salt and Pepper
Smoked Fish Slice

Smoked Fish Slice

Method

  1. Preheat grill (broiler)
  2. Mix all ingredients together.
  3. Heat a pan over medium heat, spray with oil.
  4. Pour the mix in turn heat off and allow to stand for two minutes.
  5. Place under the grill for a further 2 minutes, or until set.
  6. Slice to serve.

For dinner I made us a recipe I’ve made quite often. It’s posted on food.com by Felix 4067 and is called Ralf’s Pretty Good Pistachio Baked Fish. It tasted great as usual, but the photos were a disaster! The original recipe uses butter-I used olive oil as that’s what we travel with.

Ralf’s Pretty Good Pistachio Baked Fish

  • 1 lb (about 400g) fish fillet ( I used red throat emperor)
  • 1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs (I used panko crumbs)
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, shelled, chopped fine and divided
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted (I used olive oil)Ralf's Pretty Good Pistachi Baked Fish (Jan's Bad Photos)

Method

  1. Cut fish into serving-size pieces and check for bones.
  2. Combine bread crumbs, 1/4 cup pistachios, cheese, parsley, and mustard in shallow dish.
  3. Dip fish in milk and roll in crumb mixture; place in shallow greased baking dish.
  4. Drizzle with butter; sprinkle with remaining pistachios.
  5. Bake at 450°F allowing 10 minutes per inch of thickness measured at its thickest part or until fish flakes when tested with a fork.
Ralf's Pretty Good Pistachi Baked Fish (another of Jan's Bad Photos!)

Ralf’s Pretty Good Pistachi Baked Fish (another of Jan’s Bad Photos!)

Today (Friday 9th) we’re not fishing so I’m making tomato relish using those beautiful Carnarvon tomatoes once again.  Weather Willie told us it would be too windy to fish today, but it’s not really! We’re quickly losing faith in the Bureau of Meteorology  especially when the weather for Coral Bay comes from Learmonth 107kms away.  Learmonth is on the Gulf of Exmouth rather than the Ningaloo Reef too, so that makes it even worse.

I’m making a triple batch of a Maggie Beer recipe. She says to use her verjuice (of course) but it would cost me around $40 to do that so I’m using cider vinegar instead. I made one small batch using verjuice the first time I made it, but since then, have used the cider vinegar. To my mind it works a (cheap) treat.

The flavours of this relish are simple, but it’s one of my all time favourites and I make it often. I have to really love someone to give them a jar of it!

NB When I triple the recipe, I only double the salt!

Saffron Tomato Relish

  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 700 ml verjuice
  • 1 pinch saffron thread
  • 600 g ripe tomatoes, skinned (see the intro)
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper
Saffron Tomato Relish-The Finished Product

Saffron Tomato Relish-The Finished Product

Method

  1. Place sugar and verjuice in a stainless steel saucepan and stir over a low heat until sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil over high heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until reduced and syrupy.
  2. Remove from the heat, add the saffron threads and leave to infuse for 5 minutes.
  3. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, then add the onion and garlic and cook for ten minutes or until softened.
  4. Add the tomatoes, verjuice, saffron syrup and cook over low heat for 1 1/2 -2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the syrup has reduced and thickened. Season with the salt and pepper.
  5. Immediately transfer to a sterilised 500ml jar and seal, then turn upside down to ensure lid is sterislised by the hot mixture.

Relish will keep in the refrigerator for a few months once opened or unopened in a cool place for up to a year

Port Smith Day 7

A juvenille Diamond trevally resting on the missing fishing box

A juvenille Diamond trevally resting on the missing fishing box

We managed to get our fishing reasonable early for us (just after 9 and saying goodbye to Kathy and Steve).  As Russ was getting organised to go, he discovered our fish box missing. It was a good one, and quite expensive, so we were a bit pissed off by that. Russ checked the fish cleaning table in case he’d left it there 2 nights before but no. I reported it missing to the office and let the neighbours know what had happened.

Everyone leaves all sorts of things outside and unlocked here so if there was a thief about, best everyone was careful. When I told neighbours Bob and Lynn, they said they’d seen it at the fish cleaning table last night. As we drove up to check one more time, one of the park employees drove down to the office with it in his trailer! Another crisis averted!

Off out to fish right on high tide, we came home with 6 fish. 2 bream, a trevally, a mangrove jack, flathead and my favourite-goat fish.

Port Smith Day 6

Steve giving russ a Reflexology session.

Steve giving russ a Reflexology session.

The tides were all funny, making fishing very difficult, so we had a rest day, something we rarely do. We slept late, then Russ gave Steve a filleting lesson with the fish they caught the day before. After that, Steve gave us each a reflexology session on our feet. I loved it and wished he’d never stop.

Steve showing us how it's done!

Steve showing us how it’s done!

In the late afternoon, we all went down to fish off the sand-Russ caught our only legal sized, edible fish, a bream.
Kathy doing a bit of beach fishing

Kathy doing a bit of beach fishing

We had drinks at about 6.30 with Kathy and Steve, then after dinner watched a movie.

Sunset

Sunset

Broome

Camel ride at sunset on Cable Beach

Camel ride at sunset on Cable Beach

6 years ago we visited Broome for the first time and didn’t really enjoy our two week stay. We decided that in the future we’d pass right by the turn off into town but we have good friends here so visited again two years ago.

Gantheaume Point

Gantheaume Point

Two years ago we stayed 9 nights and loved it. We realised then, that we’d not enjoyed the caravan park (and the site we were allotted) on our first stay. On our second visit, and this one, we decided to stay at Cable Beach Caravan park and our opinion of Broome changed dramatically! The only problem now is cost-at $52 a night for a site, it’s yet another place getting too expensive for us to stay at. It’s a pity because the sites are big and well shaded and the park has lots of ablution blocks with great, big, showers! We were given a site by the pool and although we haven’t swum in it, the water running over the rocks is a very pleasant sound to sit outside by.

It’s the last of our 5 nights tonight, and we really have had another good time. Our boat motor

Taken from Town Beach boat ramp as we launched the boat

Taken from Town Beach boat ramp as we launched the boat

had to be serviced and have some minor repairs done (very important it’s going well for Port Smith where we like to get right out in the sea on good days), then we got in two days of fishing. One the first, we launched off the Gantheaume Point end of Cable Beach. It was fairly windy, we caught no fish to speak off and I really didn’t enjoy the day. Yesterday we put in at Town Beach and headed up the creek-it was sheltered, not to hot, calm and we caught fish! A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon! Right now, I’m in the process of pickling the queen fish and trevally we caught and we’re having sooty grunter for dinner

As well as fishing, we’ve been enjoying sunsets on the beach, the beach, shopping and last night, we had dinner out at a Japanese restaurant with our good fiends Jimmy and Beth. We met Jimmy and Beth 7 years ago at Coral Bay when we were all caravanning. They gave up when they got to Broome, Beth got work and they bought a house and rescued a couple of dogs and a cat. They are the reason we keep visiting Broome now.

Sunset

Sunset

Dinosaur footprint

Dinosaur footprint

This morning with the very low tide, we walked out to the dinosaur footprints at Gantheaume Point. If anyone is liable to hurt themselves, it’s Russ, and he did a great job of it this morning. He slipped on the rocks as we were clambering over them to get back to the car and cut his hand and all the way up his arm on the barnacles on that rock. He really made a mess of it. After we’d been to the dinosaur footprints, we visited the Courthouse Market. It’s very big so I can’t believe that a market of it’s size had only ONE fresh fruit and veg stall which was annoying as we need to stock up for our stay at Port Smith. We go to Port Smith for 9 days tomorrow. This morning, I was pleased to run into Steve and Kathy who we met in Karumba and find out they’ll be spending a few days at Port Smith too.

Quick Pickled Fish

Ingredients

  • White vinegar
  • 1/2 Kg scaled fish fillets (fillets of herring or tommy rough can be used but whiting fillets are recommended)
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil or peanut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1 small clove of garlic – crushed
Pickled Fish

Pickled Fish


Optional Ingredients

  • 1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dill

Method

  1. Add all the ingredients to the vinegar and stir. Place the fillets in a suitable glass container and cover with the vinegar mix. Leave to stand for approximately 1/2 an hour

Pickled fillets are ready to eat after 1/2 an hour, but taste better if refrigerated and left for about 12 hours.
The fillets can be stored in the bottom of the refrigerator for up to 10 days. Always make sure that there is some liquid covering them when stored.
They can be used as an entrée,or a quick snack on a hot day – taste great.
NOTE: Quantities of herbs, spices and garlic can be varied to suit individual taste.

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Kununurra Saturday Market

Kununurra Market

Kununurra Market

Nothing gets us out of bed and organised quicker than a local market. The last few we’ve been to have been really small, so we weren’t expecting much from this one either. We were pleasantly surprised at the size of it and variety of stalls-a good little market.

As usual we were on the lookout for fresh vegetables and books. I think there’d been a bit of price fixing go on between the second hand book vendors with used novels starting at $5. We generally like to pay about $1 at garage sales, church fetes and op shops so weren’t paying that! I think the food vendors had done a bit of price fixing too, with those containers of market food (Indian curry and rice, red thai curry and rice, pad thai etc.) around $16. It’s time like this when I’m so happy Russ and I can turn out a fairly authentic tasting Asian meal ourselves at a quarter of the cost! Times like this too, when I’m happy I emptied my pantry of spices and sauces and condiment and brought them along.

Pumpkins and cucs Armenian cucumber on top right

Pumpkins and cucs Armenian cucumber on top right

Kununurra is an irrigation area and grows lots of melons and pumpkins so plenty of those on sale. We bought local bananas, dried chick peas (we bought some last time we were here), green pap paw and limes (pawpaw salad in the next day or two!) and a thing called an Armenian cucumber which looks most like a long, pale bitter melon but is most closely related to honey dew melon and is used as a cucumber. The texture is very crisp and the taste great! I’ll let you know what we do with it.

Back at home (well, the van IS home) I decided I better make room in the fridge for my new purchases, so am currently making ratatouille with the stuff I bought to do so at the farm gate the other day.

Farm Gate Ratatouille (my way)

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 large onions, diced chunky
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 eggplant (about 600g or so) cut into 1 1/2 cm cubes
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into similar size to eggplant (I used a yellow one this time)
  • 1 red capsicum, diced
  • 1 green capsicum, diced
  • 2 440g cans whole peeled tomatoes, chopped (I like to chop my own as I think they are a better product than the pre diced ones)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • Plenty fresh basil
  • Juice of half a lemon (taste and add more if you want)
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste (we LOVE black pepper)
Farm Gate Ratatouille

Farm Gate Ratatouille

Method

  1. Heat the oil over a medium heat and cook the onion and garlic until the onion is softened but not browning.
  2. Add in the eggplant, zucchini and capsicums and cook stirring for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped tinned tomatoes and salt, bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer gently about 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and add in the remaining ingredients.

We eat ratatouille hot, cold, we poach eggs in it for brunch/lunch, pop little meatballs in it, take it on picnics-we love it!

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Good News

We got the call at 4pm to tell us the rails had arrived, were fitted and we could pick our ute up. We did, the boat is now on the roof, and we’re on our way in the morning.

Caramelised Pork Belly
A couple of days ago, I suggested to Russ he should take me out for dinner on our last night here because we’ve been stuck here for a week. He suggested I could find something in the freezer and he’d cook me dinner instead (haha, fell for it again!). I found a pork belly, so he cooked me/us Caramelised Pork Belly over rice with an Asian Style Coleslaw on the side. I doubt we could have got better anywhere in town!Asian Style Coleslaw

Caramelised Pork Belly

  • 600g pork belly
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 star anise
  • 1cm piece fresh ginger
  • 4 tablespoons palm sugar syrup
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce

Method

  1. Put the pork belly in a saucepan it just fits in. Best if the skin doesn’t get too wet.
  2. Add the stock, water, soy, star anise and ginger. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer VERY gently for 1/2 to 2 hours or until really tender. Remove and cool.
  3. Heat a grill to hot and place the pork belly under it watching it carefully until the skin has crisped up. It will pop and puff up.
  4. Let it cool until you can handle it, then cut into 1cm (ish) chunks.
  5. Place the syrup in a frying pan and cook a few minutes until it reduces a little, then add the pork chunks. Cook a few minutes until hot then add in the fish sauce, give it a toss and serve.