Golden Bathurst days

The school holidays were coming to a close and my feet were itchy. (Metaphorically not medically.) So, I decided that a road trip to Bathurst was long overdue. We could visit the old man, Mr Bagpipes. Just me and our two lads. And it would be mega awesome. (In ‘young boy language’.) Autumn had hit and golden poplar leaves glinted like a million tiny gold coins, bedazzling us as we drove by. Conversation revolved around our favourite Lord of the Rings characters and the fanciest cars we had encountered thus far. All set against a musical backdrop of the Gaelic clan Capercaille, a drop of Chris Izaac and part of the soundtrack to my youth, Split Enz.

We arrived safe and sound and celebrated with a tasty lunch at The Hub, involving roast mushrooms, buffalo mozarella and parsnip chips. Afterwards, an obligatory ice-cream for the boys from the iconic institution that is Annie’s Old-fashioned Ice-cream Parlour. Church bells ring regularly in this old town, reverberating closely off sandstone walls and reminding us that we are no longer in a big city. The weather is strangely warm and balmy and we enjoyed the gentle stroll into town for dinner. Our destination was the artfully converted place of worship, the Church Bar and Woodfired Pizza. We sang songs of praise to the beautifully crispy based pizzas. And slept well that night at Dad’s abode.

Next day, sunny skies again and a visit to Bathurst wouldn’t be complete without morning tea at Legall. The goodness that is French patisserie set us up nicely for further adventures. (Involving the mandatory toffee choux and lemon tart.) We were wowed by the amazing collection of vintage cars at the the National Motor Racing Museuem, located at the foot of the iconic Mt Panorama racing track. Dad then popped into to his place of employment to do a spot of work. My sons and I visited the War Memorial, being on the cusp of Anzac Day and enjoyed a meander in the ornamental 19th century parks. Back at Dads,’ the whipper snippers read real-life books whilst I cooked up a big pot of my restorative vegetable soup for Pa, freezing a few portions as well.

As we were on an eating tour of Bathurst, dinner that night was at Tommy’s. We happily consumed ribs, hotdogs and burgers the size of a small boys head. The grown ups may have partaken in a jug of Tommy’s margarita mix. But that can neither be confirmed or denied.

Friday morning arrived and the weather gave way to the impending bleakness of winter. After one more quick visit to Legall (pastries are actually good for you dontcha know), we bid farewell to Mr Bagpipes. Naturally, thanking him elegantly for his kind hospitality. For a last hurrah, the wee lads and myself trotted off to the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum to see the Supercroc touring exhibition. Modelled off the fossilised bones of a prehistoric crocodile found in the Saraha desert, this behemoth was over 13 meters long. All three of us were glad that it was now extinct. We oohed and aahed over various brilliantly coloured precious and semi-precious minerals. As well as honest-to-goodness fossils, including a life sized T-Rex replica. Roar.

Like the poplar trees lining the roads to and from Bathurst and the precious stones at the Mineral museum, these days are golden. Time taken to once again reconnect to my children will hopefully hold us all in good stead in the busy weeks ahead. We also got to eat a whole lot of damn fine food and clap eyes on Mr Bagpipes in his natural environment. And that ain’t half bad. In fact it’s, gold.

http://www.churchbar.com.au
https://www.nmrm.com.au
http://www.somervillecollection.com.au
http://www.tommysbx.com
http://www.visitnsw.com/destinations/country-nsw/bathurst-area?nst=0&gclid=COm_6KvRpswCFQJwvAodDBsOtw&gclsrc=aw.ds

Desperate to read more Bathurst posts from the Cheergerm?
Back to Bathurst and a spot of Tex-Mex
Shadow sisters and the Apple Bar
Bathurst and bagpipes

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Spicy parsnip soup

Autumn is finally casting it’s multi-hued shadow over our city, changing leaves from green to yellows and varying shades of red or orange. Summer has had a tight grip on the throne and has refused to abdicate, up until now. Nights are somewhat cooler and the produce at the growers market has started to reflect the changing seasons. Parsnips, swede, pumpkins, ruby coloured plums and pale lemon coloured quinces.

The knobbly root vegetable parsnip, has a lovely creamy white flesh and lends itself well to soups and purées. Roasting the veggies in the spice mix adds a wonderful depth of flavour and whilst this may not be the prettiest of soups, it is earthy, certainly quite spicy and heartily warming.

SPICY PARSNIP SOUP

WHAT YOU NEED
2 tbsp olive oil
500g parsnip, peeled and diced
1 potato, peeled and diced
1 red onion, peeled and cut into 8 chunks
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tsp ground coriander,
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1 litre vegetable stock
Salt

HOW YOU DO IT
Preheat oven to 180C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Place all the diced and chopped veggies including the garlic, into the tray. Sprinkle over the spices, pour over the olive oil and mix the veggies until they are well coated in the spice mixture.
Bake for 20 minutes, then stir the vegetables. Bake for another 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Once the vegetables are tender, place them in a large saucepan, add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil.
Simmer for ten minutes then allow to cool for a few minutes before blending with a stick blender. Check for seasoning and add a bit of extra water if the soup is too thick for your liking, I added 3/4 cup. Bring the soup back to a simmer and serve.
We ate it with sourdough toast and hunks of Manchego and blue cheese.
Serves 4 for lunch or 2 very hungry grown ups for dinner (with a little leftover for someone the next day.)

A Cheergerm recipe


Mum

To our Mum on her 70th birthday, from your four daughters.

When we were little, you were always there for us, both physically and emotionally. You clothed us (yes, albeit it in homemade corduroy trousers and hand knitted jumpers) and fed us delicious and healthy food that you made (mostly) with love. You played with us, made sure we spent plenty of time outside and provided books, music, art and craft with what felt like, endless encouragement and loving patience. When we were teenagers and things were often treacherously bumpy, you listened to us and you talked to us. Now we are grown up and know what it takes to be a parent, we know that your mind would have been full of many concerns and worries and that nothing is as easy as it looks. Yet, when we were little, we always felt that you saw us. That we were actually people who had as much right to be in this world as any grown up did.

And maybe that is your most special gift Mum. When you look at a person, what you see, is the actual heart of that person. Not physical beauty, not colour, not difference, not ability or lack of ability, not whether hair is curly or straight but the fact that they are put on this earth and in your view, that makes each of us worthwhile. This quality along with your sense of humour, kindness, can do attitude, work ethic, interest in others and in this crazy world we live in; has made you the best of teachers, a beloved daughter and sister, an attentive grandmother, the most steadfast of friends, a great wife (twice), a valued member of our community and in our view, the very best of mothers.

And for that, we thank you.

http://bluwatergrill.com.au/


A fight to the death and chocolate swirled pavlova

Some marriages are life-long love affairs, full of flowery and undying proclamations of romantic love. Others are like a military alliance, where the couple march steadily along the highway of life, side by side, enjoying common goals with stoic fortitude. Some marriages are simply just endured and others don’t make it at all. Whilst ours has had its bursts of romance and is based on a rock solid friendship, it is probably best described as a prolonged torturous comedic metaphorical fight to the death. The winner of the day is the one who gets in the best joke, at the others expense of course. The final victor will be the last one left standing. I am going to make sure it is me.

This pavlova was made for a friends pre-Easter soirée. The Yak was a big fan of the grown-up savoury spiciness of this dessert. The soft buttery pears, the chewy meringue, the tangy sour cream and the sweet heat of the gingery syrup was a food revelation. Happy fifteenth wedding anniversary Yak. In the face of the fear that I won’t do better at this late stage of the game; I guess you’ll do.

CHOCOLATE SWIRL PAVLOVA WITH MAPLE POACHED PEARS

WHAT YOU NEED
6 small pears, peeled (I used rather large Corella pears but smaller pears would have looked better on the pavlova)
2 cup (250)ml maple syrup
5cm piece ginger, sliced
6 fresh bay leaves (I didn’t have any fresh, so I didn’t use any.)
6 egg whites, room temperature
1 1/2 cups caster sugar (330g)
1/ tsp white vinegar
1 tsp cornflour
2 1/2 tbls cocoa powder
300-400g creme fraiche
1 tsp pure icing sugar, sifted

HOW YOU DO IT
To make the maple pears: place pears, maple syrup, ginger, bay leaves and 3 cups water (750ml) in a saucepan.
Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then cover the circle with a circle of baking paper and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 45 minutes or until tender. (My bigger pears took about 1 hour and fifteen minutes.) Remove pears from the liquid.
Discard half the liquid, reserving the bay and ginger. Return the remaining liquid, bay leaves and ginger to a deep saucepan and place over high heat.
Boil the liquid for 30 minutes or until thick and syrupy. Cool completely and set aside.
To make the pavlova, preheat the oven to 180C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Place baking paper on a large tray and draw an 18 cm circle.
Beat the egg whites and a pinch of salt to firm peaks.
Keep beating the egg white on low adding the sugar a tablespoon at a time.
Once all of the sugar is added, continue beating on a medium speed until the meringue is no long gritty to the touch and is stiff and glossy.
Fold through the vinegar, cornflour and 2 heaped tsps of the cocoa.
Spread into the prepared tray and sprinkle another 2 tsps of the cocoa over the pavlova and using a palette knife, swirl the cocoa through the pavlova.
Place it in the oven and drop the temperature down to 130 (120 fan forced) and bake for one hour. Rotate every 20 minutes to ensure even baking and colouring.
Turn off the oven, leave the door ajar and let the pavlova cool down in the oven for at least 3 hours.
Combine the sour cream, icing sugar and remaining 1 tsp cocoa and spread over the pavlova. Halve (or quarter) the pears and arrange over the top. Served drizzled with the reduced maple syrup and scatter with the bay leaves. (If you had any.)

A Cheergerm adaption of a recipe from the April 2016 Delicious magazine. I changed the pavlova method