We have spent the last six nights staying along the Great Sandy Strait at both Tin Can Bay and Hervey Bay.
Tin Can Bay is a sleepy little sea side village near the Cooloola Coast and we spent a couple of lovely lazy days here splashing in the shallow clear bay waters and playing on the playground while Matt and Bubba cast a rod in. Tin Can Bay is known for a couple of things, the fist being the blue solider crabs that crawl up out of their holes and scurry around the expansive beach as the tide goes way out. Unfortunately we missed seeing the hundreds of crabs out and about but we did find one little “cabby” who I managed to just save from certain squishing by the Jazzy Devil, curious as always and never nervous about picking anything up!
The second major attraction at Tin Can Bay, and a highlight for us all, was the chance to feed wild, endangered humpback dolphins. The story goes that many years ago, an injured humpback dolphin came into the harbour and the locals hand fed him back to health. After healing he continued to come back into the harbour to be fed and play with the humans. A while after a female dolphin joined him. She had a calf named Mystique, who still comes in every morning with his small pod. A centre has now been set up and is run by volunteers and overseen by government. Tourists are allowed down to see the dolphins and feed them, under strict supervision by the volunteers. We were lucky enough to experience a very rare event, one of the female dolphins came in with her newborn calf!
Moving on from Tin Can Bay we traveled about and hour and a half to the Fraser Coast and the bigger bayside town, Hervey Bay. The first Day here was Matt’s B’day and we treated ourselves to a delicious dinner out in celebration. Wild Lotus was a restaurant down on the esplanade that had most of their menu gluten free and were really accommodating with the kids meals, who often order a modified adult meal as the standard kids menu fare just ‘aint for us! Tender Hervey Bay scallops, perfectly cooked salt and pepper calamari, mud crab risotto, duck confit legs and gf & df panacotta and pavlova had us licking our lips and rubbing our bellies in satisfaction.
Our days were spent here wandering the esplanade, splashing in the crystal clear, sky blue water and playing in the many toddler friendly playgrounds. We also visited Reefworld, a small aquarium that had a number of tanks filled with coral and brightly coloured reef fish as well as a centre tank with some large ocean fish and a couple of small sharks. The highlight here though was the outdoor tank with two green sea turtles. We were able to pat them and feed them lettuce. It does seem as this trip is a trail of animal feeding at the moment but the kids love it and I must admit I get quite a kick out of it too!
Whilst a birthday definitely calls for a meal out and we’ve enjoyed a few coffees and snacks out, we do try to keep most of our meals home cooked, one as it’s cheaper and two it means full control over ingredients , which even with thorough questioning things slip through when eating out. Last night we had honey mustard chicken for dinner. This is my take on the old “chicken tonight”. Very kid friendly, this meal has the sweetness and saltiness that appeals in some of those jar sauces without the horrible hidden preservatives, flavours and added sugars. I also manage to pack a few veg in there. So I thought that we were due for a recipe and this is a great one that the kids and grown ups will both enjoy.
Before I leave you with the recipe though, I thought I’d leave you with some food for thought too… The Fraser Coast is the traditional home of the Butchulla people. On arriving here during Creation, three lores were passed down to them by Yindingie: What is good for the land comes first; Do not touch or take what does not belong to you; If you have plenty you must share. Ideals that we would all do well to live by I think.
Until next time, eat well and live happy
HONEY MUSTARD CHICKEN
800g chicken thigh fillets, trimmed and chopped into small pieces
1 large zucchini, quartered lengthways and thinly sliced
2 large carrots, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
4 heaped tsp seeded mustard
1 tbsp gin
3 tsp arrowroot
1 cup coconut milk (the UHT type not the can type eg vitasoy unsweetened coconut milk)
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp herbamare (a vegetable salt available from supermarkets)
150g frozen peas, defrosted
2 tbsp olive oil
cooked brown rice to serve
Heat olive oil in a heavy based pot. Add chicken and sauté for 2 minutes. Add mustard and gin and cook for another 2 minutes. Place arrowroot in a cup and add enough water to cover, stir to dissolve and add to the chicken. Stir for a minute or two until it thickens then add the coconut milk and stir. Add honey, herbamare, zucchini and carrot, stir and bring to a simmer. Cover and allow to simmer for 20 minutes until chicken is cooked and veggies are tender. Add defrosted peas for the last couple of minutes cooking. Serve with brown rice