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sashimi feature

Sensational South Coast cuisine

Wendy Johnson

When chefs source produce direct from growers magic happens.

Like at the cafes and restaurants dotted along the South Coast. Think fresh crays and abalone. Succulent moonlight flat oysters. Veggies from road-side vendors selling what was delicately pulled from lush soil that very morning. Snow white mushrooms that are some of the best in the world.

Milton Mushrooms (Image courtesy Stefan Posthuma-Grbic)

Milton Mushrooms (Image courtesy Stefan Posthuma-Grbic)

The abundance of quality produce has made the South Coast a dining destination for many and there’s no one who knows this better than Stefan Posthuma-Grbic, who has just published The South Coast Cookbook 2 (and in time for Christmas should you be stuck for a pressie for a foodie in your life).

Aside from the mouth-watering images of dishes lovingly prepared by passionate chefs, this cookbook tells a tale of dining from the picturesque seaside town of Kiama to the quaint coastal town of Eden, a distance of 360 kilometres. The photos of regional producers, markets and sun, sea and surf are as enticing as those featuring the food.

The South Coast Cookbook 2 Cover

“It’s amazing to see what the South Coast food culture has become,” says Stefan. “There’s been a proliferation of farmer’s markets in every region, with locals and visitors supporting these small-scale, sustainable practices. People know the growers by name and are excited that each and every week, their pantries will be filled with the highest quality produce, direct from the source.”

Flipping through the 190 pages of the cookbook, with its 50 recipes, makes you want to visit each and every one of the 28 eateries included.

BBQ squid salad (River Cottage—courtesy of Bloomsbury Publishing

BBQ squid salad (River Cottage—courtesy of Bloomsbury Publishing)

The recipes celebrate both the bounty of the pristine sea and fertile land.

There’s an abundance of examples, including the sashimi plate prepared at Rick Stein at Bannisters by the sea in Mollymook. Bannisters recognises the amazingly diverse range of fish that comes out of the clear waters of the South Coast and so combines kingfish, tuna, salmon and snapper in this simple yet divine dish.

RickStein of Bannisters (courtesy of Annie Cochrane)

RickStein of Bannisters (courtesy of Annie Cochrane)

With summer on its way, you won’t want to go past the barbecued squid salad prepared at the charming River Cottage in the lush surrounds of Tilba Tilba, a striking gold-rush era town that is now protected under a National Heritage listing. River Cottage Australia has become a hit on Foxtel’s Lifestyle channel, which is no surprise given the passion of widely known ambassador of South Coast food Paul West, who has been described as a ‘poster boy for sustainable farming and organic food’.

The award-winning Cupitt’s Winery in the quaint town of Milton, Ulladulla, a boutique family-run operation, is featured with its grilled local snapper. It’s dished up with tomato and chorizo pearl couscous and mussel stew.

Author

Stefan Posthuma-Grbic

Aside from the more fine dining operations, the cookbook pays homage to the smaller operations that worship quality produce in all that they do. And so recipes are included from The Deli on Kinghorne (Nowra), Berry Sourdough Café (Berry), Hyams Beach Store and Café (Jervis Bay), the Rivermouth General Store (Tomakin) and Cranky Café (Merimbula).

If you know the South Coast well you’ll recognise the names of other top-notch spots like On the Pier (Batemans Bay) and The Blue Swimmer (Gerroa). If you don’t know the South Coast you’re missing out. There’s no better time to start learning than now.

Cupitt's Winery grilled local snapper (photo by Tess Godkin)

Cupitt’s Winery grilled local snapper (photo by Tess Godkin)

The original South Coast Cookbook was independently published in 2008 by Stefan’s mum, Zorana Grbic, and his sister Sasha. In 2009, Zorana passed away from ovarian cancer, leaving the publishing business to the kids. In publishing this latest cookbook, Stefan raised more than $25,000 for Ovarian Cancer Australia.

The South Coast Cookbook 2 is available through reputable book and cooking stores on the South Coast and in Canberra or online through Stefan’s company, Quicksandfood.com So too are the first and second editions of the Capital Cookbook and the first South Coast Cookbook.

Wendy Johnson

Wendy Johnson graduated with a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, a few decades ago. She’s been living in Australia since 1995, having fallen in love with eucalypt trees and kangaroos. Wendy is passionate about Canberra and all the nation’s capital has to offer. She loves to write (about everything and anything) and owns her own pr and advertising business. More about the Author

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