‘The Camping Collective’ does not starve. As time went on, two peeps undertook a trip to the local Seafood Co-op. The mighty hunters returned with a glorious ocean bounty. (Via the refrigerators of the Co-Op.) They had procured plump Sydney rock oysters, a slurpy minerally mouthful that we topped with a squeeze of lemon. A motza of green local prawns in their shells were tossed in oil, seasoned and barbecued. It was no hardship to partake in one of two of these juicy crustaceans. The icing on this seafood cake was a school of uber fresh flathead. Sister 4 lightly tossed these glistening beauties in seasoned cornflour (necessity is the mother of all invention) and they fried up a treat on the flat grill of the barbecue. Lip smackingly sweet and juicy.
Vegetables were also consumed. Crunchy green salads, coleslaw and one of our number made a simple white cabbage dish that hearkened back to her childhood. It was very finely sliced then dressed with lashings of lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper. Simply moreish.
Whilst we love to cook on our camping holidays it is a welcome relief to eat out and more importantly, not wash up. There was a lovely feed at Thai On the Rocks, we sat outside in balmy surrounds, sipping icy cold rose and perusing the vast menu. One of my favourite dishes was a deliciously creamy chicken panang and The Yak raved about a gigantic plate of stir-fried vegetables with chilli.
After our meal, sans kidlets, some of us sneaked off for a delicious post dinner gin and tonic at the Seabreeze Hotel. During dinner, we had found out that the marvellous David Bowie, the iconic Ziggy and Starman, had succumbed to the cursed cancer that has taken so many. His music speaks for itself and as an actor, he shone in ‘Labyrinth’ and ‘Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence’. We were all admirers or fans but Sister 3, perhaps, loved him the most. Over our icy cold drinks, we toasted his passing. His loss ominously highlighted the ongoing health battle of one of our nearest and dearest. And the cut was deeper. That evening, gazing at a crystal clear night sky, I imagined that I whispered ‘Farewell beautiful Starman, you really blew my mind.’
An early morning beach walk along hard sands and by azure waters to Trial Bay was rewarded with breakfast at the Trial Bay Kiosk and Licensed Restaurant. The Yak and I both had the haloumi stack with pesto, spinach and poached eggs topped with avocado. Mine was perched atop a crunchy slice of sourdough rye and The Yaks was served with gluten free toast. The Yak headily proclaimed this one of the best breakfasts he had ever eaten. Mine was very tasty, despite feeling slightly ripped off by the tiny amount of avocado. The coffee here is velvety, rich and smooth, I have no idea what their brand of coffee was. Shamefully, this Cheergerm will never make it to the lofty echelons of a true hipster.
Towards the end of our last week, we booked dinner at the Seabreeze Hotel where the food impressed and delighted. My linguine with prawns, chilli and basil was seriously good. Fat juicy prawns, perfectly cooked pasta and just a nice backbite of heat. The night was topped off by The Polish Stepfather winning a nice big meat tray. A true Aussie tradition.
More than anything, my hope is that camping provides our children with the experience of a simplified existence, of learning to be part of a communal group, to compromise and co-operate. To forgo television and play card games again. To dive into frothy waves unfettered by the multiple trappings of everyday life. This Australia Day, whilst I will be present wherever I am, a small section of my heart and mind will be back in South West Rocks. Enjoying the truly egalitarian pleasures of this vast nations amazing beaches and natural beauty.