17th/18th May 2015
With my first campsite set up just behind Wangolina’s Cellar Door, I tucked into some leftover osso bucco and braised cabbage before bunkering down for my first night in my new tent. 13 hours later I arose to beautiful sunshine and made myself a double shot latte. I then tucked down to a big bowl of porridge for some serious blogging followed by a bottle of Sauv Blanc. My new friend Sarah from Wangolina had kindly enough invited me to dinner that evening at the Robe Hotel. But before that was to happen I had to do some serious wine drinking with John. He brought down “some of the good stuff” to the cellar door, aka the Wangolina Syrah 2013, currently unreleased. It was completely different from the 2012. A dark purple opaque red – my favourite colour in Shiraz. It was sweeter, richer, smoother and more complex. We talked wine smack for a while, finishing that bottle, then one of the 2012, then a bottle of Samuel Gorge Grenache, at which point John disappeared with another bottle of the 2013, leaving Sarah to drive me to dinner.
The Robe Hotel is an old school South Australian hotel. It’s big, comfortable and warm. Sarah new both the other patrons and the service staff, as you do in small communities. We started with more wine, some squid and some brisket. Nothing special but both were garnished with snow pea tendrils – clearly the latest thing to hit Robe. Next to come were a rump steak for her and some beef cheek for me. The beef was beautifully cooked and the mash was smooth and creamy. Once again both were garnished with snow pea tendrils. There were different ways in which they used them. They draped them over the squid, picked them over the brisket, twirled them up on top of the steack and piled them high on the beef cheek. Wait until micro herbs hit Robe, it’ll be chaos. Heading back to camp we got stuck into some more wine before the rain and wind set in. We called it a night.
19th May 2015
The next day after a good snooze I went out for a ride to work off the wine. I rode for an hour in one direction and the scenery didn’t change. Farm land with a few lamb or grape vines. All very green, very flat and rather boring. Nice easy ride though. It was another beautiful sunny afternoon so I decided to cook up a shoulder of lamb for Sarah and I. I purchased the meat from the Kingston butcher. Great butcher, very clean and very helpful.
This recipe is based on a Jamie Oliver recipe from The Return of The Naked Chef. This was my first real cook book, I was given it for Christmas when I was 11 years old. For the shoulder of Lamb; warm up a large casserole and added a good glug of olive oil. Season the lamb generously and fry on all sides until browning, put to one side. Then add a sliced onion, a head of peeled garlic cloves, a bunch of thyme and 3 leeks, sliced into 3cm batons. Cook these until softened then add the lamb with a bottle of Pinot Gris. Once at the boil, reduce the heat to very low and let it tick away for 3-5 hours. Turning every hour or so and topping up with water as necessary. Then make a Parsnip Puree, which is my favourite flavour of late. Into a pot of cold salted water add 3 peeled parsnips and 1 small peeled potato, all cut into chunks. Bring to boil and cook until very soft, about 15 min. Drain and mouli back into the same pan and add a good 60g butter and beat until smooth, season to taste. Once the lamb is tender and beginning to fall apart, remove from the pan along with the leeks. Remove as much fat from the remaining sauce as possible and season to taste. Tear the lamb into pieces, serve with the parsnip puree, some of the braised leeks and a good spoonful of the sauce.
It got very wet and windy that evening. We huddled in the back of the van, trying to stay dry and trying to eat our lamb before it went cold. Failing on both counts. Halfway through the night I woke to a big bang. The wind had increased significantly and my gazebo had pulled itself free of its pegs and flipped over in the wind, basically destroying itself. I was planning to move on the next day but my camp set up was slightly amiss. I spent the morning trying to get everything dried out and packed up. In the end I stayed an extra night, this time inside at Anitas place. She was heading back from Adelaide the next day and I could get her to bring down my other gazebo with her.
20th May 2015
That afternoon I headed to Robe. I went for a walk out to the Obelisk and and along the beach then visited Mahalia Coffee Roasters. They have a great little café/shop just out of Robe centre, that’s connected to their roasterie. The coffee was absolutely fantastic and the croissant pudding I ordered was delicious. The coffee machine is gorgeous and the shop is full of an eclectic and very extensive mix of coffee and tea accessories. That evening it was scotch fillet, leftover parsnip puree, kale, hughsli beetroot relish and an early night.
21st My 2015
Once Anita returned in the afternoon I could finally get underway. For breakfast I cooked up blueberry, bacon and hazelnut pancakes and stocked up my sandwich supply for the road using the left over roast lamb.
Roast lamb sangas my way. Butter slices of bread generously on the outside. Shred roast lamb, mix with home-made mayo and some watercress (or when in Robe snow pea tendrils.) Place a good dollop of hughsli beetroot relish on a slice of bread followed by a handful of lamb mix, sliced tomato and fresh mozzarella. Place another slice of bread on top and fry over low heat in a small fry pan. As bits fall out, let them fry away. Turn the sandwich once golden, then remove once golden on the other side. Open one side, add the left over fried bits from the pan and a couple of leaves of cos. Done. These have now become a staple of the trip. As it turns out a 2.4Kg Lamb Shoulder makes a lot of sandwiches.
I finally left Wangolina late that afternoon after a quick catch up with Anita. I headed for the Little Dip Conservation Park, which is 15Km out of Robe. I pulled in at Long Valley where there was a group of campers with blaring heavy metal, a huge fire and chainsaws roaring. I thought I best move on. I moved onto a lovely camp site under the trees next to Old Man Lake. I knocked back another roast lamb sandwich and that was that.