What an amazing couple of days – I was able to see one of my closest friends marry her best friend, at a glorious homestead in the Grampians mountain ranges. Thank you so much Caroline and Sander for letting us share your wedding day.
We flew into Melbourne airport on Saturday, a couple of days before the wedding, so we could explore the area. We met up with Pauline and Felix, and headed west for the three and a half hour journey to the Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park. It was a scorching day, with temperatures hitting the mid-30s. Due to the heat, we decided to only do a short hike from the Wonderland car park up to the Pinnacle. I hadn’t been to the Grampians before, and was impressed by how spectacular the ranges are, with a series of alternating sheer rock face and towering sandstone rock formations, dotted with pretty wildflowers.
While only a short walk, it was mostly uphill and quite hot! After cooling off in the creek, we headed to our accommodation for the evening, the Happy Wanderer Resort. A lovely, peaceful spot, with kangaroos hopping around our front porch and some rain breaking the heat from the day.
Bushfires had ravaged through the area earlier this year, and part of the property where we were staying had been destroyed by fire. It must have been difficult for the local residents who lost their homes and livelihood. The fire raged through and desolated the area, and you can see empty hillsides with blackened tree trunks in place of the dense forest elsewhere in the Grampians. However the area is just starting to regrow, and the contrast of the blackened trees, peeping green regrowth and blue skies was beautiful. Part of the cycle of life in the bush.
It was another hot day on Sunday, so we set off with a picnic lunch for a hike along the river to the impressive McKenzie Falls. We made good use of the waterfalls before heading off to join the party at Mt Sturgeon homestead, where the wedding was to be held the next day.
The location for the wedding couldn’t have been more idyllic – set against the base of Mt Sturgeon, surrounded by golden pastures and gum trees. And the bride and groom looked smashing, of course. It was a great day, filled with love, laughter, fun, good food and wine. Congratulations and much love to the happy couple.
We returned back to Sydney last night, and I’m feeling the indulgences of too much alcohol and food over the past couple of days. I decided to make myself these decadent eggs for lunch, loosely based on the Turkish dish Çılbır, which is the “eggs benedict” of the Turkish cuisine and apparently served to the Ottoman sultans way back when. I first had this dish at Spicer Street cafe (our old local which I miss!), and was craving it today – its the perfect post-hangover breakfast, with poached eggs dressed with yoghurt and spicy butter. I added some spinach and chickpea fritters to balance out the the dish, although you could always leave them out and serve it instead with some sourdough toast. It really hit the spot today! This recipe serves one person, so multiply it if you intend to serve it to guests.
- 2 free range eggs
- 2 large handfuls of baby spinach (about 30g)
- Extra virgin olive oil, for cooking
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 3/4 cup of cooked chickpeas (or canned chickpeas, rinsed)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons full-fat non-sweetened Greek yoghurt
- 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon celtic sea salt
- 2 tablespoons of butter (about 20g)
- 1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Prepare the chickpea patties by combining the chickpeas, cumin, paprika, olive oil and a grind of salt and pepper in a small bowl. Mash the chickpea mixture with the back of a fork until it is mushy. Form two flat patties with the mixture and set aside (I used an egg ring to form the patties as the mixture is fairly loose).
- Add the garlic to another small bowl with the salt and crush with a pestle or the back of a spoon until you have a smooth paste. Add the yoghurt and mix well. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat, then turn the heat to low to simmer the water and poach the eggs for 3-4 minutes. (Read the link – Jamie can give you much better instructions on doing this than I can!)
- While the eggs are poaching, put a fry pan over medium heat, add a splash of olive oil and add the chickpea patties and spinach to the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the fritters are warmed through and slightly crispy, and the spinach has wilted.
- Assemble the wilted spinach and chickpea fritters on a plate, then add the poached eggs. Spoon the yoghurt over the eggs.
- Put the butter, chilli flakes and paprika in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until the butter has melted (1-2 minutes). Pour the spicy butter over the eggs and serve immediately.