I'm compiling this post from the deck of our holiday cabin at Kiama on the Illawarra Coast of New South Wales and, frankly, there's no other place in the world I would rather be at this moment.
Little wattle birds and white cheeked honey eaters dart across the garden, frequenting a Grevillea bush that's covered in nectar-rich, spider-like flowers. In full sunshine, a pair of skinks (lizards) laze on the lush buffalo grass, scurrying to shelter the moment I move forward to get a closer look. I catch a glimpse of the deep blue, green and red plumage of a rainbow lorikeet, and then hear its call. A power boat, bearing the name Yogi Bear, whips up foam as it makes it way out of the harbour to open sea. Soon, the engine noise is no more and all I can hear is the restful lull of birdsong and waves.
'Here's to our holidays,' says Peter, as he joins me outside, bearing a couple of champagne flutes and a bottle of moscato that's almost too pretty to drink. After popping the cork, he fills both glasses and we kick back, sipping the sweet wine in silence. There's no need for chat. We're happy to sit quietly and drink in the vistas.
A short while later, Peter lights the barbecue and, as he assembles a simple garden salad of oak leaf lettuce, teardrop tomatoes, baby cucumbers and red bell pepper, I cook a 500 gram slab of swordfish and some gurnard fillets, bought fresh from the fishmonger. I dress the salad with sea salt and cracked pepper, followed by a little extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice (on his). A splash of caramelised apple balsamic vinegar finishes mine.
That's how things roll in my seaside kitchen in a cabin on the coast at Kiama. We have a week of this to look forward to. One. Full. Delicious. Week. And it feels so good, I can barely contain myself. As a city girl, I have always found seaside getaways to be ever so restorative. My Peter, who spent the first eight years of his life in northern England, before growing up in Warilla on the Illawarra coast (not far from Kiama), doesn't have quite the same passion for it as I do. But, with a little arm twisting, he's getting there.
There are mostly fresh ingredients in my seaside kitchen, with just a few additional purchases. While my man visited the Family History Centre earlier in the day, I popped into the Flour Water Salt Bakery on Shoalhaven Street and picked up a loaf of freshly baked rye sourdough.
I also called in to the store for a bottle of malt vinegar. It's my Englishman's must-have accompaniment with fish'n'chips. The "chippie" is down on the harbour, not far from the fishmonger. Later in the week, we plan to bring Peter's elderly mam over for the day. She's looking forward to enjoying battered perch and chips for lunch while staring out to sea.
In the cool of the afternoon, I flick through the pages of Seasons by Donna Hay. It was a (late) Christmas gift to me from Peter's brother, Paul, and his fiancee, Debbie, who live in Albion Park. We met them for lunch on the way to Kiama. This is a beautiful book, and I look forward to bringing the recipes to life in my kitchen at home.
We awake to the most glorious of days. Blue skies dotted with just a few clouds. The ocean is shimmering in a most inviting fashion. There's no time to waste. We're up early and in the water not too long after breakfast. Surprisingly, the sea water is icy cold. Bracing. Invigorating. On entry, it feels as though a million needles are being stuck into every square inch of your skin. After a couple of laps the pain eases. And soon it actually feels good.
I take a couple of protein bars down to the rock pool so that we can refuel, in between swimming laps and short bursts of sun-basking, soaking up the Vitamin D.
After swimming, thongs (flip-flops) are exchanged for sturdy walking boots. It's time for a brisk walk around the headland, up past the Kiama Blowhole and the lighthouse, alongside the Pilot's Cottage and down by the harbour. We feel blessed to be spending time together in such a beautiful part of the world.
In so many ways, my heart has always been with the sea. My favourite coastal destinations include Malua Bay on the NSW south coast. My family and I spent much time in that part of the world from the 1960s onwards, when mum and dad bought land in the district and eventually built a home there.
In case you haven't already guessed, I also adore Kiama. It's another destination I've been visiting since the early 70s. I (we) would move here in a heartbeat, given the right circumstances. For now, it's not possible. But I'm going to keep on dreaming, because dreams can and do come true, right?
Disclaimer: This post features postcards from our annual holiday to Kiama, my most favourite seaside destination in Australia. This is not a sponsored post; and opinions expressed are my own.
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I hope you didn't mind this month's IMK post. It's part In my Kitchen and part travel log from the holiday we enjoyed this past week.
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