McIsland burger

I went down to the island club tonight for a burger dinner.  The club is a quaint little place that serves food on Friday and Saturday nights.  Saturday night is burger night and it’s never particularly busy. As I pulled into the car park there were 2 other cars and a tractor.  Yes, that’s right, one of the locals had driven their tractor to the club.  It’s perfectly normal here on the island.

  

I ordered my usual, which is “the Works Burger” and Fran went to work in the kitchen to build me this.

 

Now compare that to a similarly priced burger like a Big Mac (below) and ….well, there is no comparison. 

  
I washed it down with a beer and by the time I got home, I was ready to fall into a food coma.

Island days

These past few days on the island have been stunning. The mornings and evenings are cooling down and the light is changing to a more winter hue. 

Even though the temperature is cooling down the garden is still powering along and the bees are making the most of the flowers.
  
I’ve even got capsicum coming on.

  

This is the mid morning light down at the swimming enclosure.    
I took these videos of the afternoon light.  This is on the Eastern side of the island by the swimming enclosure.

  

This is looking South/West from the park at the bottom of my street.


It’s hard to leave this place when I have to go back to the city for work. 

Sourdough

Im back on the island tonight and I wanted to try making sourdough in the new breadmaker.  It’s not as difficult as I thought.  I used the organic flour I bought from the island market last weekend and I’m happy with my first attempt, although it needs a bit longer in the oven.

7 grain organic sourdough.  

  

Bath time

On the way to work I had to stop and give Cutty a quick bath. I’d normally bath her at home but I ran out of time and stopped at a roadside DIY wash.

This is her travelling in the car.  I’m sure she considers herself to be a furry little human.

  

The DIY dog wash is a great idea.  It has shampoo, conditioner and even a flea rinse which is tea tree based and makes her smell pretty good. There is also a dryer. 

  
I ran out of time (and coins) so couldn’t dry her completely.  I’m sure this look is intended to mean, “you stingy bastard, a few more coins and I’d be dry!”

 

Off to work

It’s been a productive few days on the island and I have some exciting plans, and lots of work, for this next month.  

More on those plans soon but for now I’m heading back to the city for a couple of days.  Not a lot of people get to see this on their trip to work.  I wonder if I’ll ever take this scenic commute for granted.

  

On the barge again

After my last trip over to the organic market on Macleay Island I was keen to get back.  I feel it’s important to support small local business since this is what communities develop and evolve around.  Living on the island really isn’t inconvenient at all.  I simply jumped on my bicycle and rode down to the barge.  It’s a free trip between islands and it actually encourages me to not drive the car.  Here is Cutty enroute to the neighbouring island.  It’s less than 5 minutes and as usual the scenery is breathtaking.

  
After a short ride I was at the market.  The main purpose of the trip was to buy some coffee for my reinstated coffee machine.  I bought some beautiful fresh figs, which I had immediately for breakfast, and some unbleached organic flour to make some bread when I get back home.  I remember several years ago reading the labels on food and being shocked at all of the chemical names.  It was virtually impossible to find anything without all of those preservatives and colourings etc.  As I’ve learned more about commercial food production I’ve realised that even the “fresh” fruit and vegetables that don’t have labels still have plenty of chemical additives.  This is why I like the natural stuff.  
  

I tried this coffee from the market and it is fantastic.  I’ll be buying this brand from now on.

 

Having the market so close is hugely convenient and it’s also a social hub where people come to meet and have a chat. That’s what a community should be. I’ve never had that feeling walking into a supermarket to buy my groceries.

Norsca…

There are a few large pine trees on the island that stand out from the native gums.  I really like them because they remind me of Scandinavian landscapes or Canada. I have a couple on my land and one of them had a couple of branches that were rotting. I pulled out the chainsaw this afternoon and took the branch off. To my surprise the branch was only partly rotted so I figured I’d cut the remainder up as firewood.  Freshly cut Pine smells amazing and hopefully this bunch of wood will dry out so I can use it in my pizza oven.

  

Pod crazy…

It seems the world is crazy about coffee pods.  Even I bought a pod machine and would make my morning coffee by inserting the little plastic pod, snapping down the handle and watching the delivery of creamy caramel brew flow into my cup.  How convenient.  No coffee grinds to dispose of and the little pod just ejects, ready to be thrown in the bin.  Oh how my life has become reliant on gadgets since moving onto land. 

A few weeks ago I threw a bunch of used plastic pods into the bin and it made me question whether these machines were really a good idea. Sure, they are convenient, but imagine how much rubbish is being produced by pods.  Literally billions of these things must be ending up in land fill dumps all around the world.   The coffee pod craze can’t be a good thing.  Coffee grounds can be used in the garden for compost, but plastic pods take, who knows how long to break down. 

So I made a decision to get rid of the pod machine today and pulled out the trusty old Breville espresso machine which I picked up at a garage sale for $5 a few years back.

  
I don’t want to sound like a greeny health nut but I wonder if the plastic used for the pods is bpa free and whether there are any potential long term health issues with the plastic pods.

I’m  happy with my decision to ditch the pod machine and in future I’ll have to be more conscious of my consumer choices.

Gadgets and pizza

It’s no secret that I love pizza.  I could eat pizza for dinner every night or at least alternate nights with Mexican. Ok, Pizza, Mexican and Thai, that’s all I need.

So a while back I got a big clay paver to use as a pizza stone.  I just refused to pay $30-$60 for what was essentially just a terracotta tile.  On the way to the island today I stopped by a recycling centre and saw a pile of tiles that were surplus to a tiling job.  They were perfect for cooking pizza.  Natural terracotta and thinner (lighter) than a heavy paver.  I paid the princely sum of $1 each and bought a few as I figured some friends may want one.

Until I build a dedicated pizza oven in the garden this will do the job.

  
I’m not a huge fan of gadgets (I seem to say this a lot then tell you about a gadget I just bought) but since it was my birthday last week I bought a bread maker.  Now before you judge me, hear me out. I used to make bread a lot on the boat and it can be a bit messy.  I like that a bread maker can do the messy stuff for me and also that it can bake for me at 3am without my input.  I also like that it can make pizza dough.  See how I’m keeping the pizza theme going here.

I had my new pizza tile ready to use and the breadmaker so I figured why not have pizza for dinner.  I do love the bread maker.  To make pizza dough I just dump some yeast, flour, salt, olive oil and water into the machine and 45 minutes later I have perfect dough.  It mixes, kneeds, let’s the dough rise and kneeds again.  All while I get other stuff done outside in the garden.

   
  

And a little bit later Marghareta pizza, made from tomatoes and bazil fresh from my garden, is ready.  I’m planning to start making my own mozarella too.

I haven’t yet perfected the art of making a round pizza, but I will.  

 

Reverse week

I’m trying to work a reverse week these days.  Instead of 5 days of work and a 2 day weekend I’m working 2 days during the week and having 5 days at home.   I still seem to be flat out at home working on the Garden and the cottage but it’s better than being stuck in an office. 

I worked Monday and Tuesday this week and headed to the island this morning (after breakfast at Harvest – see below).   I know my photos probably get a bit monotonous but I just never tire of the beauty of the bay, especially on a stunning day like today.

So like it or not, here are some photos I took on the barge trip heading home this morning.

That’s Redland Bay in the background.

  

And looking North up the bay. 

 

And the obligatory bow wake shot.