An island summers day

North Stradbroke Island has been my holiday island escape for as long as I can remember.  As a child each and every Christmas holiday was spent swimming in the crystal blue ocean, fishing for whiting off of the rocks, stumbling up the hill of Cylinder Beach in search of salty hot fish and chips and dawdling along the ocean’s edge collecting shells whilst basking in the hot summer sun.

The smell of watermelon, sunscreen and mango instantly bring me back to my wonderful holiday memories and although we didn’t have the luxury of spending a week on the island this summer, a summer’s day was a delightful consolation.

Straddie is a wonderful escape, with little development the island remains relatively untouched with just enough shops, restaurants, pubs and cafes to suffice the shopping and hunger appetites of enthused tourists and ultra relaxed locals.

The natural beauty of the island is completely breath taking.  Even after all of these years of being completely spoilt with the ultimate holiday island destination, the islands beauty still has even me gushing.  I had an almost childlike sense of pride pointing out of all of the different beaches of white sand and crystal blue water to my husband for the first time. 

R. was amazed and enthralled with the islands gorgeousness.  As we drove down the hill towards Cylinder Beach taking in the spectacular site of blue ocean lapping at crystal white sand we couldn’t help but jump straight out of the car, race to the beach and dive into the blue ocean for a cooling swim.  The timid surf, clear sky, and warm water made our swim utterly relaxing and rejuvenating. 

When hunger pangs kicked in we reluctantly decided to leave the crystal blue ocean in search of some hot salty seafood spritzed with lemon juice and glass of vino of course.  I had my heart set on taking R. to the Point Lookout Pub, where years earlier my parents had worked.  The pub is nestled on the cliffs above Cylinder Beach and has the most incredible view overlooking the beach and vast deep blue ocean.  The view alone makes a trip to the pub worthwhile, the wine and great food is just a delightful bonus!

In the cool shade of the pub, we sat happily for an hour taking in the amazing view, sipping wine and grazing on grilled calamari, a beautifully dressed salad and nibbling piping hot chips spritzed with fresh lemon juice.  It was a moment to savor.

After lunch R’s. thoughts immediately turned to fishing, he had bought along rods so all that was needed was a hot fishing spot and some bait.  But before we embarked on our fishing adventure we had one more very important thing to do, visit my grandfather who has a holiday house on the island.  We made our way to Poppy’s house only to find that he wasn’t home.  Knowing my grandfather very well I knew there was only one other place he could be, at the RSL having a bet on the horses!  So we headed in the direction of the local RSL and sure enough, perched on a bar stool with the form guide in toe was Poppy watching the races and I am very happy to report he’d backed a winner!

We picked out an amazing fishing spot that provided much needed fishing adventures for R. and plenty of photography opportunities for me.  We spent the rest of the afternoon watching the sun set serenely over the island, throwing lines into the spectacular blue ocean and photographing the events of a wonderful summer’s day. 

Returning home I wanted to savour the amazing day we’d spent at Stradbroke which meant cooking some beautiful summer dishes full of seasonal produce.  I went about making a very simple fig, pomegranate and feta salad which was filled with gorgeous greens, fragrant mint, plump juicy ripe figs, jewels of pomegranate, creamy tart feta cheese and green pistachios.  With a simple pomegranate vinaigrette R. and I were in summer heaven sitting on our balcony overlooking the city (wishing it was the beautiful blue ocean) nibbling on the salad, sipping wine and reliving tales of the big one that got away.

For dessert I decided to bake a very simple clafoutis filled with blueberries and raspberries.  The aromas of the baking berries spoke of all things summer, it was wonderful.  R. and I were like children scooping spoonfuls of the berry laced dessert into our bowls and drizzling with fresh cream.  It was the perfect end to a perfect day. K x

Fig, Pomegranate & Feta Salad
Adapted from Donna Hay ‘Seasons’

1 cup mint leaves
1 cup mixed lettuce leaves
8 figs, halved
1 pomegranate, seeds and juice removed
100g feta, crumbled
A small handful of pistachios, roughly chopped
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Red Wine Vinegar
1 tablespoon pomegranate juice
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

To make the dressing, place olive oil, vinegar, pomegranate juice, sea salt and freshly ground pepper in a small ball and whisk to combine.
Place mint leaves, lettuce leaves, figs, pomegranate seeds and 2 tablespoons of the dressing in a bowl and gentle toss to combine, place on serving platter and top with feta, pistachio and drizzle with a little extra dressing.  Serve.

Mixed Berry Clafoutis
Adapted from Donna Hay ‘Seasons’

4 eggs
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 1/3 cups single pouring cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
200 g raspberries
150 g blueberries
Icing (confectioner’s) sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 160°C.  Place eggs, sugar, cream and vanilla in a bowl and whisk until frothy.  Sift flour over the egg mixture and whisk again until smooth.  Place berries into a lightly greased 1.5-litre (6-cup) deep dish baking dish.  Pour over the egg mixture and bake for 55 minutes to one hour, or until set and golden.  Dust with icing sugar and serve with cream. 

1 comment:

  1. These photos are so beautiful. Beaches and figs - does it get any better than that? I was drawn to the photos so much - I had to go back and read the post.

    ~ Tiffany

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