Firstly, a Happy Easter Monday to all who are celebrating! The recipe that follows below is simple, delicious breakfast treat; one that definitely errs on the side of wholesome in the midst of chocolate-drenched April. Secondly, I apologise in advance if the next few posts I write defy the laws of chronology, but such is life on the road that I can never quite keep up with myself, let alone all the ‘happenings’. As it is, I recently found myself in possession of a punnet of organic edible flowers from Byron Bay. And so, having used them to decorate the very dish I’m sharing with you today, I have decided to start this patchwork quilt-esque series of posts there; on the coast of New South Wales, in hippie-meets-hipster ville Byron.
We left Sweden in January to embark upon a series of adventures that started in Connecticut (I’ll come back to that one) and has led us all the way back to Adelaide again after a road trip loop that saw us cover thousands of kilometers. Literally. Our road trip began in Adelaide, taking us to Hay, then on to Sydney, Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour, before we even made it to Byron Bay. I will attempt to fill in the blanks at some stage (oh, for the luxury of time and space to write), but for 3 years of my life on Instagram, I dreamed of #ByronBay. More specifically, I suppose, I dreamed of the food I would eat there whilst seated at tables previously occupied by the likes of Sarah Wilson and others who shared their Byron inspo from afar!
So as we approached real life Byron, hungry and in need of caffeine, we headed straight for hipster joint No. 1* (*not its real name) while I browsed the restaurant’s reviews on Tripadvisor. Perhaps it was a mistake, perhaps it was a godsend… I might never know now. But there seemed to be a pattern: “Great food. Rude service”, “Excellent quality of food. Terrible place for children”, etc.
My husband was nonchalant. “If the food’s good, do we care that much?”
To which I responded, “I have too much self-respect not to care!”
I decided to duck in quickly to gauge the “vibe” of the place before committing to hanging around. The menu did look amazing, but lack of seating, the bad reviews I’d just read and the half-smile the woman at the counter gave me when she looked down and spotted my daughter standing with me sealed the deal. We were out of there, and onto a distinctly non-hipster venue, Byron Corner Store.
Toasted sandwiches, veggie burgers, smoothies, good coffee, friendly smiles, sharing long tables with strangers in an unpretentious setting… what’s there to complain about, really? The prices were reasonable, the grilled veggie sandwich and the veggie burger were tasty and unfussy. The kids seemed happy with their fare too. Yes, I may have preferred some quinoa + salad type of meal over something bread-based, but it was more than passable and worth it for the chance to feel relaxed about eating lunch out with our 3 young children.
Veggie burger at Byron Corner Store
I was glad we didn’t stay at venue No. 1. There may have been a time in my life when I went to night clubs/bars/restaurants and put up with whatever the standard of service/friendliness (or lack thereof) was because it was “the place to be”. But I have a very low tolerance for that stuff now, especially when my kids are in tow. If I eat out, I expect good food and friendly service. There’s no place for attitude in customer service, in my opinion. Especially in the hospitality industry!
And that brings me to Folk. Two amazing east coast girl bosses brought me there: Louise, from We Print Nice Things and Amanda from Probioskin, with whom I had scheduled consecutive meet-ups. Pitching itself as being “organic, ethical, plant based”, Folk Byron Bay ticks a whole lot of wholesome boxes before you even glance at the menu. Located on Ewingsdale Road, adjacent to the Discovery Holiday Park, it’s a foodie hub set away from the main Byron thoroughfare that attracts locals and the transient Byron population alike. Upon arriving, I was immediately struck by the lack of seating space. People were spilling out onto the lawn and most of the tables were occupied by groups of backpackers who didn’t seem to be consuming anything at all, but rather merely waiting around listlessly. Louise arrived, remarked that Folk is not ordinarily so busy and, right on cue, a table was vacated and we had a quiet nook in which to sit and enjoy a coffee.
I almost became teary with happiness when I read the menu. Though the options are few, the food is absolutely my kind of food (as in, I’d eat it everyday if I had the means and time). The prices are far better than I would expect of similar meals in such an establishment, especially when comparing them to the prices we paid for stock-standard, far more pedestrian veggie meals elsewhere on the east coast and well-known cafés attracting a similar patronage in the major Australian cities we’ve visited. I was fond of the understated rustic charm of the place… the copies of Lunch Lady magazine left on tables, the macramé touches, the wooden bowls. The coffee, as promised by many a favourable review, was good. The music was not obnoxiously loud and, when the backpackers started to disperse, the space was even more subdued and there were tables enough for the lunch crowd.
And – hallelujah! – the staff were very friendly.
Louise departed and I was joined shortly afterwards by Amanda who brought a care package of gorgeous, lovingly crafted organic Mayella wellness products with her; a timely gift, given my under-the-weather state (little did I know I’d end up in a doctor’s office in Newcastle the very next day!). It was a muggy, sweaty day and the refreshing organic hibiscus iced tea with lavender, citrus and ginger was just the thing to accompany lunch. Without much deliberation we ordered the nourish bowl and the purportedly ever-popular Folk burrito. The nourish bowl changes seasonally, I believe, but the one I had included brown rice, quinoa, raisins and cumin roasted pumpkin. I opted to skip the haloumi, but it’s offered as an additional extra. The menu comprises a tasty selection of wholesome, vibrant dishes, and even the carnivores among the patrons are sure to find something appealing.
Hibiscus Iced Tea at Folk Byron Bay
When I met with Sarah Wilson and Jo Foster for breakfast in Sydney recently (go on, pinch me!), I mentioned that my Byron Bay memories of “darker days” amount to nothing more than a hazy recollection of being perched on the edge of a roadside gutter eating “veggie nachos” (which back then meant corn chips with a bit of cheese). I was on tour with the band that I’d found myself in and the entire east coast experience of that time is a bit of a blur, to be honest. But I am happy to report that my culinary experiences of Byron (and my east coast travel experiences in general) this time around far surpass those of my past! 😀
I have meandered long enough back to the organic edible flowers from Byron Bay that I mentioned at the start of this post. And so, as Sweden embraces frosty spring in hopeful anticipation of summer, and in Australia the days are getting milder (I can’t bring myself to write ‘colder’ as 29°C is hardly that, but it’s relative I suppose!), this breakfast dish is a humble ode to changing seasons.
I hope you’ve had a wonderful Easter weekend if you’ve celebrated… and I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe if you try it!
PEACH & STRAWBERRY MUFFIN
250 ml gluten-free oats
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
A pinch of nutmeg (optional)
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
200 ml cashew milk (or plant milk of choice)
1-2 tbsp rice malt/maple syrup (optional)
6 large strawberries, chopped
1/2 a peach, chopped
50 ml flaked almonds
Extra strawberries and peach slices
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (fan) and lightly grease 2 large ramekins/oven safe jars (350 ml capacity each) with a little melted coconut oil.
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix oats, spices, baking powder and salt.
- Add wet ingredients – minus fruit and berries – and mix to combine well.
- Gently fold the fruit and berries into the porridge mix (you can anticipate jammy fruit pockets to form as your oatmeal muffins bake).
- Spoon porridge mixture into ramekins/jars and top with flaked almonds.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, depending on desired consistency (a longer baking time will produce a firmer set).
- Let stand for a few minutes (the ramekins/jars will be very hot at first), then top with a scoop of coconut yogurt, extra fruit, and fresh, edible flowers if you like. The baked porridge pots be kept covered in the fridge (after cooling) for at least 3 days, and make a wonderful, portable breakfast treat.
* If you like this recipe, check out the one it is based on; my Sweet Potato Pie Baked Porridge Pots!
**Heading to Byron? Check out Folk Byron Bay at Lot 1, 399 Ewingsdale Road, Byron Bay for wholesome, delicious meals (at a surprisingly budget-friendly price point) in a charming locale. For simple yet tasty sandwiches, coffee and such, check out Byron Corner Store at 47 Jonson St, Byron Bay.