The last two days have been travel days. We spent the night last night just out side of Coffs Harbour to break up our drive in a place that called itself a caravan park but was in Bubba’s rather aghast words “this isn’t a caravan park; It’s nature!” So it would seem we have indeed raised city kids. There is a lot for these boys to learn as we go along this trip!
Our ‘nature’ camp actually turned out to be really nice and we now know that we can function very well without power or amenities.
Travel days go something along the lines of get up early, have a quick breaky and wash dishes, pack up inside van, pack up outside van, hitch up, realise we are late leaving (again), drive for 2 hours, stop for a packed lunch and let the boys burn off some energy, drive another 1.5 – 2 hours to our destination, then race around setting up again. They are hectic days to say the least.
Today, we reached Hastings Point on the Tweed Coast (Northern NSW) and as we will stop here for a couple of nights we had to set up all the extra trimmings. I have now officially dubbed myself the annex master and had a moment this afternoon something akin to Tom Hanks in Castaway where he bellows out “I have made fire” when I achieved setting up the annex all on my own – I did a bloody good job of it too! We actually managed to get our set up time down to 1 hour 10 minutes today which is quite an achievement seeing as it was taking us in excess of 2.5 hours in the beginning. Plenty of time for the big boys to throw in a line off the Jetty just outside our caravan site.
Given the busy nature of these days (and the fact there will be a lot of them as we travel a very large distance), making sure we have a quick, easy dinner is essential or we’d be spending a lot of time eating in pubs and restaurants. I have fallen in love with my thermo pot/ thermal cooker thingy (I have no idea of the actual brand name of mine, but there are quite a few on the market). The best way to describe it is a slow cooker without power. There is a stainless steel pot insert that can go on the stove, which then sits inside an insulated covering and uses the residual heat from the food in the pot to cook the meal through. Our favourite meal in it so far is a kid friendly curry. All our meals have to be tomato free as it sends the Jazzy Devil even more bonkers so this one is a great option for us. I prep all the veg and meat ready to go the night before.
Then in the morning when I get up I put it all into the pot on the stove to cook for 20 minutes while we are eating breakfast.
The pot then just slides into the insulated covering and it gets stored in the space under the couch while we travel. All that is required when we arrive is to cook some brown rice (in the thermie if we have power as it is so easy and JD can’t burn himself on it while I’m not looking), warm the curry a little on the stove and hey presto dinner is on the table.
The weather is starting to warm up now, it was about 23 degrees and sunny today and we are able to sit in the annex this evening without shivering so we are definitely looking forward to a swim and surf tomorrow. For now though, I will leave you with the recipe for my kid friendly curry and see you again soon. Until then , eat well & live happy
KID FRIENDLY CHICKEN CURRY
Approx 700g chicken thigh fillets, trimmed and quartered
1 large zucchini, quartered lengthwise and diced
1/2 cauliflower, cut into florets
1 brown onion, diced
150g frozen peas
1 x 270ml tin coconut milk
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp “Herbamare” (this is a vegetable salt available from supermarkets in health food section)
Heat approximately 2 tbsp olive oil in the pot of the thermal cooker (or any heavy based pot at home). Add onion and chicken and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, except peas, plus 1 tin of water (use empty coconut milk tin) and season with sea salt. Cover with lid, bring to boil then turn heat down and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Place pot into thermal outer section, close the lid and allow to ‘cook’ for approximately 8 hours. Just before serving place pot back on the stove and add peas. Simmer for another 5 minutes. Serve with brown rice.
If you are making this at home you could just cook on the stove for approximately 30 minutes until veggies are soft.