09 April, 2014

Seeker of the Lost Arts

I have started a new blog! It's called Seeker of the Lost Arts and I would love you to come for a visit click here to join me at the blog, and I also have a new Seeker of the Lost Arts Facebook page here.

It's been five years of blogging here at The Byron Life and while I am not ready to fully pull the plug on this personal and cosy corner of the internet, I have felt the desire to expand beyond these pages for some time now...

Seeker of the Lost Arts is fun and quirky and allows me to tell stories about whatever takes my fancy - from the local to the global; from the sublime to the bizarre still with a focus on those subjects I love exploring: the handmade, vintage and photograpic.   It's all about the stories.

I've described it to friends as a blog of curiosities and oddities and I'm enjoying playing around with it. It's something fresh, creative and new for me- and hopefully something you might find fun and fresh too.

Will I still blog here at The Byron Life? Probably, but maybe not so frequently (not that it has been very frequent lately!). I'll see how it goes.

So, I'm not saying goodbye  - I'm saying hi! Just from a different blog.

Come say hi back if you want. I would love to hear from you.


21 February, 2014

Forage and Graze

Something special has started up in the hills beyond Byron Bay... a new pop-up cafe showcasing some of the best and freshest food the Northern Rivers has to offer - prepared by one of our most talented local chefs.

Friends of The Byron Life, husband and wife team, Campbell and Rachel Rowe have recently launched their artisan catering business, Forage and Graze, and last night held their first evening pop-up cafe at the divine Federal School of Arts country hall at Jasper's Corner, Federal.

These photos will give you a taste of what a wonderful time was had, but if you are a Byron local I can vouch for this one - you are in for a treat when you try Cam's delicious fare yourself.

Forage and Graze's pop up cafe will be open on the first and third Thursday of each month at Jasper's Corner, with the menu changing as the seasons change.

Here's what was on the menu last night: 

* Smoky slow cooked shoulder of pork, crunchy crackling, spicy house barbeque sauce, apple & red cabbage slaw, steamed sweetcorn with toasted corn bread 

* Free range chermoula chicken tagine, sweet potato, coopers shoot peppers, date & macadamia couscous, salad greens, coriander & lime 

* Crispy tempeh salad with roast pumpkin, harissa, sprouts, avocado, steamed sweetcorn & house mayonnaise  (I had this tempeh salad - so scrumptious.) 

Details of Forage  & Graze events are on their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/forageandgraze

Also, here's an interview I did with Campbell where he explains what being a modern-day forager is all about: Foraging for a creative menu

Hungry now?


Photos: Megan Kinninment

02 February, 2014

Coast travels :: Ettalong to Palm Beach by ferry


Ah, Pittwater. My old friend. My childhood stomping ground. The most spectacular waters of Sydney's many spectacular waterways... After having grown up on Sydney's Northern Beaches I'm so very familiar with this part of the world, but having moved  to the North Coast nearly two decades ago, it's been many a year since I have sailed these waters. So, when our family arranged to holiday at the Central Coast a visit to Palm Beach by ferry called my name.

The girls and Alex had never visited here, and even when I called Sydney home, I had never caught this particular ferry route  - from Ettalong across to Palm Beach - so there was something new to discover for each of us on this journey.

The trip itself, on the large FantaSea vessel, takes half an hour and passes by Lion Island; Palm Beach lighthouse and the rocky open seas past the heads. On the trip over the ferry was mostly occupied with day trippers like ourselves, but on the 4pm return ferry there were tradies and school kids commuting from Barrenjoey High joining the throng. I imagine you might get used to the scenery if it was your daily commute, but as we approached Ettalong that afternoon a wild sea eagle swooped down from its sandstone eyrie to catch a fish and flew off again, completely entrancing us tourists.

At Palm Beach we had a meal at the Palm Beach RSL Club (my parents' idea, they are RSL goers from way back). The club offered lobster mornay through to $12 lunch specials and the food was delicious, but if you wanted to go more upmarket, Palm Beach caters to the rich and famous, so the options for fine dining are there. A simple picnic lunch on the foreshore would have been equally enjoyable, and even on a school day, there were a few young families doing just that.

While living in Palm Beach has a million dollar price tag, the beauty of this place is open to all, and for a family with young children like ours that ferry trip was both a great adventure and an affordable holiday experience.

Next time I visit I would like to take another trip down memory lane and spend the day over at The Basin, also accessible by ferry, and also explore Ettalong itself with its beautiful beaches.

I'm going to post a couple more blogs from our recent travels down to the Central Coast. I hope you find something inspiring in them - whether you are likely to visit from afar, or are a local. And, on that note, if you are a Coastie or Sydneysider, I wonder if you have ever made this ferry trip?


05 January, 2014

Devastation, beauty and hope :: Welcoming 2014

It is rare to see our coastal landscape in this condition. An intense fire swept through heathland just a week ago, fuelled by southerly winds and a dry, dry season and by the time it was done more than 700ha were destroyed.
On the first day I went out reporting the smoke was thick and heavy; the fires still raged and my eyes stung.
Just five days later I visited with my camera and the landscape is already renewing itself. Specks of green can be seen among the still-smouldering ashes.
There is beauty. In the devastation, there is hope.
It has been a dramatic start to 2014.