THE rough, hand-made signs often tell the tale: “Oysters farm fresh”, “Fresh local fish”, “Free-range duck eggs”.
These are the signs of the south coast. The signs of quality produce that shines as bright as the summer sun in the dishes served in many cafes and restaurants from Kiama to Eden.
If you hear anyone say there’s nowhere decent to eat in this lovely part of Australia, stand up tall and tell them they’re wrong.
The proof is in the pudding – in the recipes and tales included in “The South Coast Cookbook 2”, just released by author Stefan Posthuma-Grbic, who developed his adoration of the area as a child, when he and his sister used to frolic in and around Broulee.
This delightful and delicious cookbook is divided into three chapters – Kiama to Jervis Bay; Milton to Narooma; Tilba to Eden.
It features little beach stores and cafés, such as the popular one at Hyams Beach that whips up a breakfast pot of Piperade with bacon, chorizo and poached eggs.
It features classy restaurants such as Rick Stein at Bannisters. It features the multiple award-winning Sage Farmers Market in Moruya (be quick or all the fresh produce will be gone).
It features creations by the passionate ambassador of south coast food, Paul West, whose Lifestyle Channel show – “The River Cottage Australia” – is set in the green hills of Tilba.
This hardcover, coffee table cookbook includes more than 50 mouth-watering recipes from 28 of the best chefs of this special region.
So what are my favourite recipes? To be honest, it’s too hard to choose, but I have marked (with bright little sticky notes) the apple and prune crumble by Milk Haus in Milton, which has just opened in the old Cheese Factory at Woodstock. This wholefoods café serves up fresh, honest and simple fare that is free of toxins, preservatives and anything artificial. One of the proud owners is Dan McKeon (think of Canberra’s A Bite to Eat and Café D’lish).
I’ve also marked the seared scallops with truffled pea purée by Mimosa Wines in Bermagui. And a sticky note holds an honoured place on the page featuring the recipe for roasted and pickled local beets with beetroot and chickpea purée made at Mollymook’s Tallwood Eatery.
As the number “2” in the title makes clear, this is the second “South Coast Cookbook”. It’s a great Christmas gift for anyone on your list who is a true foodie and a delightful guide to wining and dining in this pristine part of the world.
We’re lucky to live so close to the south coast. Go on, get out there and indulge.
“South Coast Cookbook 2” is available in all good south coast and Canberra bookshops and gift stores or online via quicksandfood.com