Friday, 25 March 2016

Satellite Island, Tasmania

These are the years, the memory makers. Spend them with the people you laugh with so much your face hurts. Make time to cook. Travel somewhere breathtaking, even for a few days. Be in the photo. 

Sideline yourself once in a while, it is good for your soul. And if you make the time, Satellite Island, a tiny private island off the east coast of Tasmania, is the perfect place to slow down. 

Spend your mornings wrapped in something soft, sipping tea and watching the early sun stream across the channel and into the Summer House. Or maybe you have chosen to sleep waterside in the Boat House, where you might lift the shutters and simply lay there. How long has it been since you had a genuinely lazy morning?

Photo: Siobhan Rogers

Contemplate breakfast. Take advantage of the fresh eggs laid by the hens and forage in the herb and vegie garden. If you're lucky, the island's owners will leave you a gift of fresh ocean trout, as they did for my friend Siobhan, the birthday girl and the reason for our recent getaway to this remote and startlingly beautiful place.

After breakfast, take a stroll to the back gate to feed Henry and/or Burt apples from the bucket of Granny Smiths supplied for their breakfast. They're very friendly and very photogenic.

Read about the history of the island in the notes provided and then take an hour or so to explore it on foot, either on the rock shelves or above on the cliffs, where you might catch a glimpse of the grazing deer herd or spy a pod of dolphins out in the channel.

When you get back, take the plunge into that cold, clear water to be slapped awake. Feel every cell in your body sing as you swim out a little way to where the depths turn inky blue. You could even see a school of salmon tumbling and churning up the water just meters away. Time to go in. Maybe take a kayak out there later. Or tomorrow.

Eat a late lunch of freshly shucked oysters (Richard, the island's manager will teach you how to cut them from the rocks around the jetty and prize them open). It will be the freshest, cleanest taste of the sea you will ever hope to experience.

Add a glass of local House of Arras sparkling, and let the world go.

Later, when the chill sets in, light the brazier and gather around. If you have caught your dinner from the jetty, all the better. 

Siobhan brought her own quilts to the island

This is a wonderful place to take a family with teenage kids or proficient swimmers. It allows time to reconnect, to explore, to lose yourself in books and wage boardgame wars. We plan to take the boys when they're older.

It is also a brilliant place to escape to with a small group for a relaxed break or low key event. We went to celebrate a milestone with our friend, who made us Aperol cocktails and cake, and she also made us do craft. So there were cocktails and wonky flower crowns and lots of laughing. There were photos on the rocks in our dresses, which no one was specifically asked to wear but we know her well... 

Later, marshmallows were roasted over the firepit and we played the music we grew up with, sitting around in the dark, singing badly and proving that nothing really changes when you are with your tribe. Milestones be damned.

Take a day to explore Bruny Island, where you can stock up on artisan bread and cheeses from The Bruny Island Cheese Company and try the local vintage at Bruny Island Premium Wines. We also took a "flight" of whiskey tastings, including the celebrated Sullivan's Cove, at Bruny Island House of Whiskey, and we climbed the stairs to this view at The Neck, the narrow stretch of sand joining North and South Bruny.

Bruny Island has quite a few unsealed roads, so hire a car that can handle the terrain and seek out some of the more remote beaches. Or not. This photo was taken among what was considered a crowd of tourists. I had some sharing issues after having an island to ourselves for a few nights...
I urge you to try it.

* We travelled to Satellite Island at our own cost.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Bliss Balls

My little sister is getting married and I have a maid of honour dress in a very hard-to-pin-down shade of raspberry to firstly find and then fit into. This is presenting a problem right now as I'm approaching 40 and I find I can't eat carbs without them fucking hanging around on my waist. Things are thickening and I am doing nothing differently. It's catastrophic.

That is where these two-bite bliss balls come into the picture. It's hard to escape morning and afternoon tea when you have little kids, but if I have one of these with my morning coffee instead of banana bread/bickie/hot cross bun, I feel better about things. My kids love them too, which is handy.

I have developed two flavours - a date and cacao one to satisfy any chocolate cravings and a date and peanut crunch, which my husband says tastes like the inside of a Picnic bar. Do they still exist? For the younger players, Snickers with rice bubbles.

I have started selling them to my cafes, sharing around the skinny love. Cmon skinny love....

My my my. My my my my my my my my....

Sorry, blame the lack of sugar.

Date and Cacao Bliss Balls - refined sugar, dairy and gluten free
(Makes 10)

300g pitted dates
1 cup natural cashews
1 tablespoon goji berries
2 tablespoons raisins (dried sour cherries are nice here too)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 1/2 tablespoons cacao powder
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
Extra desiccated coconut for coating

Blitz all ingredients except extra coconut in food processor for one to two minutes until finely chopped and a thick paste forms.
Shape handfuls into balls (slightly smaller than golf ball sized) and roll in extra coconut to coat.
Place in the fridge for at least 30 mins to set. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Date and Peanut Crunch Bliss Balls - refined sugar and dairy free
(Makes 10)

400g pitted dates
1/3 cup natural unsalted peanut butter 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup roasted unsalted peanuts, chopped
1 cup puffed brown rice
Dessicated coconut for coating

Blitz dates, peanut butter and vanilla in a food processor. 
Transfer to a large bowl and mix in rice and peanuts.
Shape handfuls of mixture into balls (like small golf balls) and roll in coconut.
Place in the fridge for at least 30 mins to set. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Come on skinny loooooooove...