Rabbit fur, but rabbit stew off the menu » KathSwinbourne

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May 16 2012

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Rabbit fur, but rabbit stew off the menu

close up photo of red and gold autumn leavesAutumn is a great time to visit the southern highlands of NSW. Well, if you like autumn colours and don’t mind cold.  I hate cold, but I love the colours, and they make great photographs.

And it didn’t hurt that there was a market on.

So Sunday lunch this week was at Robertson. The Green Gateway to the Southern Highlands.

As the name suggests, the southern highlands is high country, and cold, even in the height of summer. So as it was cool at home, I took along my sheepskin coat – just in case.

The drive up Macquarie pass is always beautiful.  It’s the way we drive to get to the farm, and it never palls for me. The road winds up the mountain, through cool, thick rainforest through which you get glimpses of the coast. Fresh streams bubble down along the rocks and then under the road. Once you reach the top of the escarpment the view opens up along the coast and out to see.

As long as you can see through the fog that is. It can get very foggy at Robertson, which is perhaps one reason it’s so green.  The whole of the southern highlands region has a very British feel. I was going to say ‘English’, but much of it has been settled by Scots and I don’t think they’d approve of being lumped in with the English.

So, back to Robertson. I’ve been wanting to go to the market for ages. I wanted to check it out and see if it was somewhere I would like to get a stall to sell my photos. I also love wandering through country markets. There’s always stalls with old bric-a-brac, and some of it is amazing. Even Doc was enjoying himself looking through it. He found some old wood chisels that made him wish he was at least handy with wood. He raved about them for hours – days in fact.

And although I know this might get me flamed – I bought a fur coat. A beautiful, old rabbit fur in perfect condition. I am as opposed as most to cruelty to animals but I don’t really see any difference in wearing rabbit fur compared to wearing leather or sheepskin.  Rabbit meat is eaten the same as beef or lamb, so using the skin makes sense.

So after a very successful trip to the markets it was off to lunch at the pub, with its open fireplace, big deck (too cold), and glass enclosed bar with cushioned seats in the sun.  Unfortunately there were no vegetarian meals on the menu. No matter, people can usually do something. “What’s the pasta of the day” I asked when ordering. “There’s no pasta today” was the reply.

“Oh” I said “Can you do something vegetarian?”

The woman taking the orders looked at the cook “Can we do something vegetarian?” she repeated

“There’s a green salad” he said “or a bowl of chips.”

It was looking more and more like the Sunday lunch project was turning into a “find the perfect chip” project – again. I was prepared to have salad and chips for lunch because there was a rabbit hot pot on the menu and Doc loves rabbit. But no “We haven’t got the rabbit” was the blunt response when I tried to order it. Not the most gracious service I’ve had.

Given the beautiful, fresh, organic and locally grown vegetables we bought at the markets it was rather surprising that there wasn’t a decent vegetarian meal – not even good vegetables to go with the other meals. Mainly just chips and salad.

So we decided to eat lunch elsewhere, after finishing our drinks sitting by the fire.

We drove down the street (Doc still can’t walk too far) to the Chat Café, attached to the Robertson Country Motel.  The Chat Café is a mixture of a take-away, restaurant, café and bar, with a lovely garden outside (again – too cold). Inside it’s got a real homey feel, with a combustion stove warming the place and a vase with a chrysanthemum and pink rosebud on each table. And vegetarian choices.

Doc had a massaman curry and I went for the vege burger (with chips and salad) and a glass of local sauvignon blanc. Nothing gourmet, but very nice and served by friendly, helpful staff. So friendly that when we left they gave me the flowers off the table. It was very enjoyable sitting there by the window, with the fire warming us while we looked out at the autumn trees in the garden. And the chips were rather good.

After a suitable interlude, we went a bit further down the street for dessert at Pizzas in the Mist. This was a bit fancier than the other places, and quite full on mothers’ day. But we still managed to get a table by the window.  Doc just wanted coffee, and made a rude sound when I ordered affogado. But then, just as the waiter was turning away with our order he added “and a warm chocolate fudge cake”.

The desserts were magnificent – and huge. By the time we finished we could barely walk. Doc undid the button on his jeans.

A look around the local art gallery – as much to walk off all the food as to look at the art – and it was time to go home. We were still so full from lunch that we couldn’t even eat dinner. Well except for that piece of bread and butter pudding Doc bought at the markets!

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