We thought we’d change it up this year and head south to Kangaroo Valley for Easter.
Rathkell’s Pavilion is kind of like a farm-stay home and is nestled deep in the valley. Although it took a while to get here, its serenity and remoteness was well worth it!
Last time F and I were here, the gate wasn’t being diligently closed and indeed a rather angry looking bull and a few placid cows found their way into the yard. Happily, it didn’t happen this time, but we did have a couple close encounters with some curious cows and calves by the pool fence.
Besides that, we just enjoyed the serenity that came with this gorgeously appointed house.
For our first lunch, N made us a huge platter of beef and beans nacho.
No matter that there was no guacamole, it was still pretty darn good! (Eating it pool-side in beautiful weather didn’t hurt either hehe)
I feel like having gourmet instant noodles for our first dinner is becoming an Easter trip tradition.
W and C bought the usual bbq meats: pork, duck and chicken. Not being able to source bok choy at the last minute, they grabbed broccoli instead – which actually went really well with the instant noodles.
We totally overcooked the noodles last time, so there was absolutely no soup whatsoever, but we did really well this time with the soup / noodle ratio. Yay!
We woke up the next morning to a chilly, surreal foggy morning and broke our fast with scrambled eggs, sausages and toast.
There were pancakes, but I kind of ate most of them as F were cooking them *cough*. We also made a few banana pancakes by Undressed Skeleton, but I must have done something wrong because mine did not look anything like hers and looked too awful to even snap a shot of. While F liked it and D thought it was tolerable, I think I’ll stick to normal pancakes.
W and C took charge of our second lunch: beer can chicken. I’ve never had this before and was fascinated to find out that as the beer heats up, not only does the flavour suppose to permeate through the chicken, it’ll keep it moist while baking. Dang!
The end result was fantastic! The chicken was so succulent, though I couldn’t really taste any beer-y flavour, it was even better with a dash of Gravox gravy and chunky, buttery mash potatoes.
I absolutely adore this aptly named salad – I think all the chopping was worth the end result. I can’t remember if they had any dressing for it, but I felt like the salad didn’t need it anyway – the blue cheese really sets the salad off with a punch to the taste buds.
We mostly lazed about sun-baking around the pool for the rest of the day, and even though it was a pretty warm, the water felt like it was below freezing! A few of us braved the pool’s freshness until we couldn’t feel our toes any more.
F and I decided to do a BBQ dinner, but not being able to grab the meat from Meat Emporium as intended and short on time, we had to hit up our local Woolworths.
We bought beef Mexican-style roast (butterflied), bulgogi, steaks, herbed pork loin, beef sausages, chicken sausages with cheese and garlic, kangaroo sausages and pork sausages with fennel and Italian spice. I think I may have missed out on a few things, but that pretty much sums it up!
We were all pretty surprised at how tasty the produce was (or maybe it was Linda’s and Howie’s deft touch on the grill hehe) and I actually had misgivings when we bought the meat. I was half-convinced that there wouldn’t be enough for everyone. Turns out, we had bought enough to comfortably see us through three breakfasts and two dinners (granted one dinner was just with F, D and myself, as we headed down one night before everyone else, but it’s still a dinner! Hehe).
F and I thought we should try out some relatively healthy side options, making an adapted Spring Orzo Pasta Salad with Asparagus and Artichokes by Food For My Family and F’s own adapted Beetroot Salad with Toasted Almond Slivers, Red Onion and Fetta.
We also made The Spotted Lamb’s Slim Potato Casserole, which turned out surprisingly quite well (and not sure why I had forgotten to take a snapshot of it). In the back of my mind, I was expecting something creamy (a la potato bake), even though we didn’t use any cream, so the tanginess from the Greek yoghurt took a little adjusting. Despite the initial oddness, it was quite delicious and I’d definitely be making it again (the orzo pasta salad too!).
Pretty early the next morning, D, F and I hid various types and sizes of Easter eggs around the living room, kitchen and patio. We impatiently waited for everyone else to wake up and oh my goodness, it felt like everyone slept in. We had to laugh at the failed surprise Easter egg hunt, as everyone woke up at different times and some were already having breakfast (and bemusedly finding random Easter eggs) while others were still waking up or getting ready.
All good! The hunt was so much fun to watch (especially since everyone were in their onesies) and we kind of overdosed on chocolate afterwards.
This was the first time on any Easter trip that we ventured out of the house to do something… active. Maybe we should do it more often haha. The walk at Fitzroy falls was refreshing and pretty nice – the guys thought it was too easy and ended up jogging it back to the starting point!
On our way back, I spotted llamas in a paddock of cows. LLAMAS!!! Is this a common occurrence on other farms? I just found it to be so weird, but cool.
N and C thought up of a brilliant idea of transferring nachos from baking tray to plate: bake the nacho batches on their own piece of foil and then simply move the foil with the cheesy nachos onto a waiting plate. So simple! I loved that they had made it extra cheesy too.
The taco filling was top notch and we all could not get enough of that guacamole. I really should ask them for the recipe for the next time we have nachos / tacos *must remember*.
N made this special salsa the night before (the recipe instructed to marinate for 24 hours) and he even made a non-spicy one for me! *heart* I always feel bad when people have to make extra or set aside something for me so I can eat it, but honestly, this chilli tolerance thing isn’t getting any better and I don’t think it ever will.
He really smashed the salsa out of the park. We loved its bright, punchy flavours – so much so that there was barely any left over. Actually, there was barely any nachos or tacos leftovers!
The day was a little chillier than the day before, so we mostly stayed indoors and bummed around playing Mario Party on GameCube. Though things started to get exciting as we prepared for… HOTPOT!!!
We had the usual, delicious hotpot suspects and oh, they were all so good, especially on such a cold night. We kind of forgot the special hotpot broth mix Linda usually gets, so we used chicken stock instead and it worked almost as well (just not as flavourful, I think).
W brought his fancy induction hotplate, which was used for the (super) spicy hotpot soup. I think I’ll bug F to get us one too – it’s so cool! We used the plain, old portable gas stove (which was just as serviceable, just not as cool haha) for the non-spicy hotpot soup, where it was a respite for when the spicy hotpot soup got too spicy.
I realised that we don’t really sit when eating hotpot – I think it’s that vested interest of the stuff you’re cooking doesn’t get lost in the soupy goodness and/or doesn’t get overcooked. I only end up sitting down when my bowl’s full and am happily munching away.
With so many Easter eggs leftover (we couldn’t eat any more by themselves), the girls whipped up a chocolate cake using the big, hollow eggs and embedding the small ones as surprises.
They also made butterscotch from scratch (I couldn’t believe how simple it was to make!), which made the cake freaking awesome.
Later that night, R decided to start up the campfire out in the front yard (which we all had completely forgotten about) and by the time he finished and we trooped out with anticipation, it started to sprinkle.
Shrugging off the rain, we raised our hoodies and went on the serious business of roasting marshmallows.
The night’s not over until you feel all buzzed from a sugar high and need a lie-down.
When we left, we saw a random cow just casually munching on a patch of grass the road snakes around.
I hoped the last person out remembered to shut the gate.