It was gloomy Good Friday but the sun came out to play on Easter Sunday.
And so did we.
“You mean I’m finally getting to spend a long weekend with Penny and Margaret?” I ask Mysaucepan with bated breath.
“Yup, they can fit us in coz it’s a five bedroom beach house and there’s nine of us” she replies.
“Wooooooohooooo!! Yew … asked …. for … it, ………yew … got …. it” I try to mimick the frail old geezer saying this phrase in one of my favourite movies Forget Paris. I do feel so much the way Billy Crystal does in that movie at times.
Over the years, I somehow managed to miss out on vacations with Penny and Margaret. Our dear friends are great organisers when it comes to planning long weekends away and I have heard so much about the houseboat weekends that Mysaucepan has spent with them.
It’s a wet and gloomy Good Friday as we head south along Princes Highway for the Easter long weekend.
But it’s always an exciting drive heading down to the South Coast with the majestic coastline on the left and rolling hills on the right. As we negotiate each bend along the highway, the drizzling rain makes these green hill pastures dotted with grazing cattle so peaceful and serene.
Callala Beach, Jervis Bay
Callala Beach is located in Callala Bay within the larger Jervis Bay and after a 3-hour leisurely drive from Sydney, Mysaucepan and I are last to check into the beach house as our friends have already arrived earlier in the morning.
“The judges have arrived!” Phoebe tells her mum Penny as she greets us at the door.
You see, all of us will take turns to cook breakfast and dinner over the next four days but perhaps writing a food blog has somehow deemed Mysaucepan and I more food eccentric among our friends.
But on greeting them for the first time on a vacation, I smile as I whip out my KFC takeaway box and after a bit of lunch, we waddle down to Callala Beach.
It’s a gloomy Friday afternoon but I love this kind of weather when I am on vacation in a secluded beachside town.
It’s a time to go on a sojourn, think about loved ones and life.
Or perhaps a friendly game of beach cricket.
It wasn’t long before Margaret takes her first wicket off Dr. CC while Phoebe watches on.
There is a red hue in the surf from the red clump of seaweed along the entire stretch of Callala Beach.
A seashell washes up in the sand. I love the cold water retreating under my feet, drawing sand away around my toes.
“Did you find any pipies?” young Phoebe asks me.
“Nope …. but I would love for you to show me how” I say to her.
She wriggles her feet into the sand to try and find those bivalves.
“You gotta feel them with your toes” she tells me with a smile.
“I hear you guys found quite a few during your last trip here” I say. “And cooked up some kind of delicious meal with them too!”
We wriggle our feet into the sand and unfortunately, we managed only a few pipies the size of our thumb nails.
Good Friday Dinner
Tall Man and Smiley Face are first up to cook dinner on Good Friday and they are preparing a Thai beef salad with cherry tomatoes, butter lettuce and Spanish onions.
Golden brown deep-fried Thai fish cakes are succulent though basa fillets are a little notorious for tasting spongy.
But a Thai style tom yum soup with chunky prawns, slices of tomato, onions and button mushrooms are hearty on a wet autumn evening.
Breakfast on Saturday
Smiley Face‘s roti canai and curry chicken is the reason for me to get up early on Saturday morning.
The cooking utensils and equipment in this rented beach house are a little dated and challenging to use. The feedback so far is blunt knives, a cooking pan with a kinked bottom that don’t sit flatly on the hot plates and a host of other excuses.
“Come on, guys” I say. “I am going to deduct more points the more you complain and make excuses.”
So instead of using the inferior cooking pan, this roti canai needed to be baked in the oven. Still, it’s crisp while gently fluffy inside. And it’s a treat when dipped into a hearty bowl of chicken curry with chunky pieces of soft potato.
Jim Wild’s oysters, Greenwell Point, Jervis Bay
After breakfast, we drove down to Jim Wild’s oysters at Greenwell Point.
Jim is reputed to be one of the fastest oyster shuckers in Australia and damn is he fast.
I have the pleasure of meeting the friendly and affable man himself on this wet Saturday afternoon.
“Ya folks come on back ‘ere for more oysters ya hear?” Jim tells us.
“Well, why not when you can shuck ’em faster than I can eat ’em” I say to Jim.
We bought a good six dozen oysters back to our beach house for an oyster feast ~ fresh and mornay with cream and cheese.
Dinner on Saturday
Taiwan Boy is all serious with his deep-fryer all the way from Sydney. Together with Dr. CC, they are immersing us in deep-fried heaven.
“Yaay, I can do away with KFC for the rest of the weekend!” I declare.
Chunky, golden brown pieces of deep-fried chicken is crunchy while succulent and tender inside. As it turns out, the house fell silent as we sink our teeth into each piece of glorious chook.
Breakfast on Easter Sunday
“Wake up” I say to Mysaucepan as the clock hits seven in the morning. “It’s our turn to cook brekky”.
After an hour of grating what appears to be a tonne of zucchini and dipping each patty into flour and egg wash, we have a hearty breakfast of zucchini fritters, bacon, avocado and yoghurt.
And unlike the two previous days, the sun has finally emerged from its hiding place.
There are clear skies at long last and the surf looks glorious with shades of emerald and blue.
It was wet and gloomy Good Friday but the sun has come out to play on Easter Sunday. And so did we.
We head down to Callala Beach and promptly pitch up our volleyball net.
Before long, the sheilas are up against the blokes and a fierce game of beach volleyball is underway.
I am happy to stay on the sidelines being the umpire and taking photos because the super sheilas are trashing the crap out of the banal blokes. Shames on you boys … now you can go have an icy cold beer with me.
And after a swim in the surf to cool down, it is time to head back to our beach house.
Smiley Face enjoys a cool off in the garden. He smiles so much he seems to be smiling to the sun even as he takes a shower.
Jindyandy Mill, Greenwell Point, Jervis Bay
As the afternoon descends, we head down to Jindyandy Mill to check out some local handicraft and garden ornaments.
There is greenery all around and it turns out to be a beautiful Easter Sunday in the country.
Cattle is grazing in the sunshine as we contemplate a beautiful day out in the open.
Huskisson Beach, Jervis Bay
Huskisson Beach is just a short drive from Greenwell Point and we head down to the sands for a walk before checking out the local pub for a beer or two.
Dinner on Easter Sunday
Mysaucepan‘s entree for dinner on Easter Sunday is grilled king prawns with herb butter and orange and fennel salad. She garnishes the prawns with bright nasturtium flowers picked from Greendale farm during our afternoon walk.
The prawns are so fresh there is little cooking skill needed for the herb butter, salt, pepper and olive oil to weave their magic under the hot grill.
I figure it is a practical and relatively easy dish to be cooking for a boarding house of hungry wolves after a day out in the sun.
Breakfast on Easter Monday
Easter Monday is yet another day when the rain went away and we wake up to the aromas of bacon on the grill.
Margaret and Penny whip up a scrumptious breakfast with Phoebe slicing and dicing all the fresh apples, bananas, strawberries and pineapple.
Phoebe‘s golden pancakes are beckoning me though I have not had pancakes for brekky in years.
Fresh raspberries and pear compote to go with breakfast pancakes and maple syrup would surely get you out of bed?
I don’t have a sweet tooth but who can resist Phoebe‘s heart shaped pancake made with chocolate, pineapple and love?
Lunch on Easter Monday
Here’s the thing about Margaret, the weekend cricketer, volleyball exponent and keen fisherman. She is reputed to haul in a good catch on every trip to the South Coast.
The bait she uses to catch flatheads, snappers, whitings and breams is no less than super fresh green prawns fit for human consumption. And since the weather this trip is less than friendly to cast her rod into the ocean, we are lucky to be having her fishing bait for our lunch today.
To make full use of Taiwan Boy‘s deep-fryer, Penny prepares a scrumptious spread of deep-fried heaven ~ sweet potato puffs, spring rolls and onion rings.
Think crisp, crunchy and fluffy deep-fried batter and you’ve got the idea of a lunch that sees us devouring all the leftovers ~ pancakes from breakfast, spag bol from dinner and everything else in between. And, let’s not forget Margaret’s grilled prawns with herb butter that was meant to be lunch for the fish that got away in Callala Beach.
Till next year folks, we are so glad to have spent a long weekend with wonderful friends.
So dear readers, which is your favourite spot along New South Wales’ glorious South Coast?
Jim Wild’s Oysters
170 Greens Road, Greenwell Point
Tel: +61 2 4447 1498
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday 9am – 4pm