A couple of weeks ago we took a car trip up north to the Byron Bay hinterland. It took an entire day with frequent stops on route to reach the tiny hamlet of Eureka. We rented a modest house, perched on a hill, with awe-inspiring views. The only other living creatures during those two days that we saw were the neighbouring horses chewing innocently in the morning light. I find it incredibly thought provoking when surrounded by nature, in this case my mind was spinning in an endless loop trying to work out if we could move up there. To say that the area resonated with me is an understatement, I loved everything I saw. Acreage up high with rolling hills and views of the ocean (if you're lucky), a plot of organic vegetables and herbs growing in the garden and rows of fruit trees in your very own orchard. Organic markets rotating through the towns, the sea a short breath away and above all the relaxed vibe of the residents and passing through folk.
We gorged on local avocados, stocked up on bananas (the ones up there have a reddish tint to the flesh), had the best sushi ever by Doma, washed down with tropical smoothies at the market, checked into Byron for some raw snacks at Naked Treaties and wandered about at The Farm before settling in to catch our breath at the Harvest Cafe. There's not a lot that you need up there as the thriving community of like minded individuals seemed to have thought of everything from the organic supermarket and bulk buys shop in Mullumbimby to the gourmet pub fare. There seemed to be a lot of ex city dwellers calling this slice of paradise home.
I would highly recommend a visit to these foodie spots if you happen to find yourself there one day;
Mullumbimby Farmers Market - Friday mornings, a buzzy little scene of food stalls, fresh produce and live entertainment
Doma Cafe - I'm sure we aren't the only ones that question why the Doma crew (all Japanese) have established themselves in a town with no main street. Hard to find unless you're in the know but thanks to the grateful locals the Cafe has a loyal following. Their crispy nori cones are delicious, mine was filled with the lightest tempura battered sweet potato and fresh slices of avocado swathed in a generous amount of brown rice
The Farm - There's something for everyone here, a walk amongst the pecan and macadamia trees, yoga classes, playground, fresh flowers, bakery, groceries and cafe/restaurant. My lunch of chargrilled tempeh on an Asian inspired salad was quickly devoured it was so good
Harvest Cafe - A cosy and friendly cafe that boasts a deli next door, they make their own bread and pastries
The area boasts scores of macadamia trees, here's the place to buy them in bulk and the reputed macadamia nut oil. I use the oil for sautéing as it has a high smoke point and in baked goods. It has a marvellous buttery taste. Plus a long shelf life and it's more stable than olive oil. The fat in Macadamia nut oil is 80% monounsaturated making it the highest percentage amongst cooking oils. The only caveat is that it's expensive unless you live in Australia or other countries that harvest the nuts.
I don't really know why I've never made my own nut butter considering how simple it is to make, I make gallons of nut milk but no butter. The only nut butter I usually eat is peanut butter, up until the little jar of Hand n Hoe lightly roasted macadamia nut butter made it into our home. It's lovely on raisin toast or fruit bread. In the spirit of frugality I thought I would try to make my own, I bought a packet of Hand n Hoe macadamias and made butter. My daughter Millie loves it too, she lashes it on raisin rye toast, her bread of the moment. If you're lucky enough to land yourself a bag of macadamia nuts give this recipe a whirl you might like it as much as we do. I should probably try making peanut butter next!
Roasted Macadamia Nut Butter
Amazingly good slathered on freshly baked bread. Check out Amy Chaplin's bread recipe here it's the bread featured in the photo.
250g unsalted macadamia nuts
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees celsius/300 fahrenheit.
Line a tray with baking paper and roast for about 19 minutes until lightly golden, stirring once or twice in that time. Remove and leave to cool before transferring to your food processor. Save the paper for another batch or for your next roasted dish. Blend on the highest speed for 30 seconds, scrape down the sides and continue blending until you reach a smooth buttery consistency. It takes just under a minute in the Thermomix but may take longer in other food processors. Blend according to taste, for a coarser butter reduce the time. Transfer to a clean jar and store in the fridge.