Tassievore tips for the International Day of Happiness

blue buildings

I have to say that the weather in Tasmania today makes it pretty easy to be content with your lot in life. The sun is streaming in the window as I type and the sky is as blue as those beautiful stone houses in Rajasthan.

I spent the morning mulling over the things that have kept me happy in my Tassievore challenge over the past few weeks and I have to confess it is mostly those seasonal changes that bring a bit of zing and inspiration back into your cooking. I should explain that I tend to be a bit slap dash in my cookery – I make something fairly basic from the ingredients in the fridge, pantry and fruit bowl using fragments of recipe and cooking knowledge that I have built up over the years. Needless to say it gets the job done but isn’t often worthy of overly enthusiastic praise from the family.

Anyway my Tassievore saviours for the start of autumn have been, in no particular order: Pirates bay octopus tentacles, sweet corn, new season apples and Japanese ginger.

The Pirates bay octopus is a bit of a treat (ie not super cheap…but cheaper than most fish) but I love it because it is easy to cook and can jazz up a tomato pasta sauce or make a great meal in itself if accompanied with some sort of salad and perhaps some chunky baked potato wedges. To prepare it I just rinse off the legs and then put it in a heavy fry pan or griddle with a bit of olive oil at medium/high heat, slap a lid on and leave it for twenty minutes. Then I turn it off and let it rest for another ten minutes before chopping and adding to the dish/meal. The other fun thing about Octopus legs is that they go a bright pinky red colour when cooked, thus elevating your meal another notch or two above the mundane.

Sweet corn seems to be a hit with my little boy and I have to say that I have enjoyed munching and crunching on a cob or two as well. The other great thing about sweet corn is that it gets me thinking of Mexican things and I have discovered that you can do a pretty good sort of Mexican frijoles (bean sauce) using Tasmanian Aduki beans. I have a ginormous sack of aduki beans in my cupboard so anything that gets them cooked and eaten is a good thing.

malus-coxs-orange-pippinNew season apples are on the hit list because they are just so crunchy and tangy and gorgeously fresh. I am particularly excited by the resurgence in old heritage varieties like Cox’s orange pippin – delicious! New season apples certainly help to ease us out of the declining berry season doldrums and it’s far too soon for us to be sick of pome fruits while eating Tassievore style (that will likely come later in the year…). Keep an eye out for apples ripening in parks and public spaces too – such a shame to see fruit rotting on the ground when it could be chopped up and stewed or crunched on while whistling your way home.

My final pick for the Tassievore saviours list is the lesser spotted Japanese Ginger (Myoga). I grabbed some from the lovely couple at the Little Red Hen stall at Farm Gate market in Hobart and, while no match for the feisty punch of traditional ginger, it was great to have something completely new to try. The ginger looks 2013-03-19_19-20-59_257[1]more like a bulb than a rhizome and has only a delicate ginger flavour and a gentle punch of spicy heat. It works best finely shredded over salads or gently fried and sprinkled over stir-frys. Apparently it has a reputation in Japan for making you forgetful or stupid so perhaps i won’t over indulge (I don’t need any help with forgetfulness and stupidity most days!).

Otto enjoying the new Mathers Lane Park in Hobart

My other non-food cause to be happy today was discovering comfy pink bean bags and fun magnetic words in the new park in Mathers lane Hobart. It was lovely to see such a great use of public space and my little boy loved interacting with the metal sculpture by sticking on and taking off the magnetic letter and words. Let’s hope that they are respected by all the park users and stick around (pun only retrospectively intended) for many months to come.

Have a great International Day of Happiness Tassievores!


A week in the life of a Tassievore – Part 2

Part II of A week in the life of a Southern Tassievore

More than two months have passed since the commencement of the Tassievore Challenge –filled with eating, sharing, sourcing and growing delicious foods and drinks and lots of fun in the process. It hasn’t even been hard work! But don’t just take my word for it, check out how the State-wide Tassievores have got to say as we celebrate the first two months of the Challenge – and let us know how you are finding the Challenge, and any changes (positive or negative) that have been made to your lifestyle since commencing.


My week as a Tassievore starts on Sunday mornings with an early trip to the Farm Gate Market to get my fruit, veggies and assorted other goodies. Typically Sunday afternoon involves preparing and freezing some meals for the week. I also do a cooking experiment each Sunday – gnocchi, pizza dough and flatbread have been my greatest successes, though there have been a couple of spectacular failures along the way including mozzarella that refused to curdle!

I work full-time and I’m often busy on weeknights, so dinner is often a quick stir-fry, omelette or a salad packed with local goodies. Friday and Saturday evenings are my chance to try my hand at something more creative, and to relax with a glass of wine and some gorgeous Tasmanian cheese.

Link for Naan bread: https://taseatlocal.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/the-challenge-begins-what-fun/

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Two months on and going strong!  My eating has diversified somewhat as I learn to adapt to ‘shopping in the garden’.  Some crops seem to have a ‘eat now or I’ll wilt/ go bitter/ dry out/ get mushy/ turn brown’ requirement that I truly didn’t expect, which is annoying mid-week when I am not at home to pick and enjoy (p.s my bush and runner beans are cranking out the goods!!).

I have to admit I get a lot of support from friends – foodies who love a challenge and are up for hunting pipi’s in the sand at low tide, or those considerate to go the extra mile and source a Tassie alternative to a common staple so I can eat with them (my challenge isn’t rigidly eating only Tasmanian food, but I’m not about to tell them that!!).  I love the knock-on benefit of being a Tassievore in that my friends are thinking about the food system as well.  Yes, I occasionally annoy wait-staff by asking them what on the menu is Tasmanian (the more people who ask, the more they take notice), but most of the time it’s a chance to have a bit of fun and plan elaborate meals with my mates.

I hope your Tassievore challenge is going well and I hope we give you inspiration and help you when you need it – eating locally has so many short-mid-long term benefits, it is a worthy cause we can all champion.

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My week as a Tassievore is a nice mix of visiting my local shops (snug butcher and Merediths, we are pretty lucky down the channel!), Farm Gate market if I’m in the area, and seeing what I can get from the garden. At the moment, this is consisting of zucchini, cucumbers, chard, green and butter beans, beetroot, leafy greens, potatoes, garlic, herbs, apricots, strawberries and raspberries.

If I haven’t had time to get in to the farmers market, I usually make myself a loaf of bread for the week, make some yoghurt, and I’m pretty much set for the rest of it.

I decided to go a bit hardcore and give up tea and coffee for the duration of the challenge, so I was super excited to discover that I can order a hot milk and honey in most cafés around town (an adult bubbacino, as one waitress so aptly put it! so I can now ‘do coffee’ which is a total treat!)

I’m loving the last minute meals that are made by scouring the fridge and garden and coming up with some delicious creation that I wouldn’t have found unless I was Tassievoring!

So far one of my favourite (and really easy) meals has been Roast chicken with apricot quinoa stuffing, served with pink eyes, garlic beans and zucchini, and my last golden nugget from last summer.

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 A day in the life of this Tassievore generally looks something like this:  wake up, go out and feed chooks, pick a few bits and pieces from the garden on the way back inside (peas, mint, greens, broccoli and berries yesterday).  Feed my sourdough.  Make breaky….my springtime favourite is Tassie Muesli (Oats, linseeds, walnuts, hazelnuts, honey, dried cherry/apple/apricot) with yogurt and fresh berries and stonefruit.

Next comes my last minute throwing of things into my backpack for lunch as I head out the door, nearly forgetting.  Sourdough bread, cheese, veggies and dips feature heavily on my lunchtime menu.  I try to make sure that I have a dip/spread or two in the fridge for these last minute meals – Artichoke pesto, Aioli, Beetroot & Yogurt, Broad Bean Homous, Spiced Carrot, etc. I often make honey bickies or a muesli slice or something to take to work as a sweet snack. I am sure that I am saving money by not impulsively buying lunch and snacks in town, though I do need to be more organised than I did before starting the Tassievore Eat Local Challenge.

I love cooking, so dinner is often a more elaborate affair, which revolves around whatever veggies are bursting from the garden or lingering in the fridge needing to be used. Last night was lemony pea & mint pasta with haloumi (photo attached). Tonight I am planning to do a trial run of some of the pizzas that we will feature at our Tassievore Pizza Party at Source Community Wholefoods on Wednesday (the very first of our Tassievore events – see events page for full listing).  Roasted pumpkin, kale pesto, carmelised onion and goat chevre is the one I’m most looking forward to.  Overall, I have found being a Tassievore quite easy, extremely delicious and it has made me more appreciative of the abundance that we have in Tasmania!

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The week is pretty busy for the Clark household on Tassievore challenge. As with other urban Tassievores the most useful shopping trip is to the local Farmers market. We stock up on a big bucket of milk and fruit and veg, and then spend extra money on eggs and Tassievore treats such as cheese and the odd bit of wallaby. We are also growing some of our own veg (greens, beans, zucchini, tomatoes) and are part of a vege co-op which allows us to top up our larder mid week.
The challenge has been great so far, and we certainly haven’t felt deprived, but we do have to commit at least one night to making pasta, bread, muesli and yoghurt. All pretty lo-fi and simple, but they do require you to be around. I have to confess that I watch TV on my iPad while I roll the pasta – it makes the chore much more attractive! Homemade pasta is the only thing we weren’t doing before the challenge and is certainly something I will continue with, but perhaps not every time we want to eat pasta.
Another funny side effect of doing the challenge is watching my son’s vocab expand in odd directions. Apparently the third little piggy had “roast beef with quinoa on it”!!

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Tassievore on Tour – Part 2

Back in September I did part one of this post, which was about eating locally while on holiday in Far North Queensland. Happily, I can now do a similar post about camping and touring around Tassie eating locally.  It is actually quite miraculous how similar the two trip were given the vast distance and climactic differences!

In what is becoming a bit of a tradition, I took the few days between Christmas and New Years to go camping all by myself somewhere beautiful in Tasmania.  This year saw me driving up the East Coast, where I got to frolick on beautiful beaches, go bushwalking in Douglas Apsley Gorge and indulge in amazing fresh fruit and Tassie goodness!

Pyengana Farm VisitI found delicious peaches, apricots and cherries at farms around St. Helen’s and Bicheno. And drove a fair bit out of the way to call into Pyengana Dairy.  Pyengana offers cheese tasting and full cafe service in a picturesque setting on their North-East farm. I sampled their fresh scones with raspberry jam and cream and brought home my very own cloth covered cheese wheel of their Matured Cheddar.

Robyn TUDOOn my way back home, I had the pleasure of stopping at The Ugly Duck Out cafe in Swansea.  Robyn, who runs it, is passionate about sustainable food and serving fresh, Tasmanian produce.  She even has a flourishing veggie patch surrounding the cafe and carpark in the centre of Swansea where they harvest fresh produce to use in the cafe daily.

TUDO entryseasonal fruit, manuka honey and yogurt As this trip coincided with breakfast time, I got housemade yogurt with local manuka honey and seasonal fruit.  On a subsequent visit, I got to try out the dinner options and settled on a mushroom burger with quinoa tabbouleh.  Thanks TUDO!

Tomorrow, Tomorrow, It’s only a day away!

Tomorrow’s Sunday right? Unless you’re going to church, you get a sleep in! Then what, not sure?

Well we have just the thing for you!

After sleeping in (or morning jog if that way inclined) come to the Farm Gate Market (Melville and Elizabeth) and grab some Tassie-fare. At 12, join the Farm Gate mascot and the Southern Tassievores in strolling from market to Princess Wharf 1, where we can have ourselves a good old fashioned picnic. Specifically – the Totally Tassie Picnic and launch of the Tassievore Eat Local Challenge. We have some vittles’ kindly donated by local businesses (we love you all!) and a few picnic blankets – but BYO spread and rug just to be sure.

There will be a few known faces among the crowd (it’s not just us randoms that care about supporting Tasmanians!!), some sunshine and a whole lot of happy, shiny faces.

See you soon,

The Tassievores

p.s- weather forecast is good!

There is no place like (the food) at home

Yes it clichéd and probably sounds a bit daggy. But as I flew back into Launceston after 24 hours in transit and close to three months (on and off) away for work, that’s the thought that went through my jetlagged little mind.  And then, where is my bed!

Unfortunately, I’d arrived too late in the weekend to catch the Farmers Market or Evandale markets – and the backup Young’s Vegie Shed was closed on Sundays. However pulling into the driveway I was super excited to see the progress in the vegie garden while I’d been away. Leafy greens nearly a metre tall (and a bit seedy), spinach and silverbeet ready for harvesting, and the ‘orchard’ blooming in flowers ready for summer. Excellent, this Tassievore Challenge is going to be easy!

First dinner home was Saag Paneer with spinach, silverbeet and fresh herbs from the garden.

Saag/Palak Paneer

  • Lightly wilt some fresh spinach/silverbeet leaves from the vegie garden in an uncovered saucepan (this maintains the green colour) with some last seasons dried chilli and garlic, once cooled blend in blender
  • Add Fenugreek and Cumin to frypan, with chopped onion and paneer (homemade using Tassie dairy products) or local Haloumi cheese
  • Once onion is translucent, add diced last season tomato from the freezer, and then stir in blended spinach, more chilli and garlic to taste
  • Stir in fresh coriander or curry leaves from the herb garden
  • Instead of basmatic rice, serve with Kindred Organics Quinoa, or homemade roti or naan bread (using Oatlands flour).

After many years of renting with various successes with vegie gardens, it is pretty exciting to come home to see the garden is surviving, and now actually feeding us! I lost track of the amount of vegie seedlings demolished by our resident peacocks and wallabies at our old rented house in Trevallyn near the Launceston gorge. Who knew that peacocks would eat brussel sprouts seedlings? Or wallabies would love, well anything we planted and tried unsuccessfully to shelter from them! We’ve still got a long way to go with making ourselves self-sufficient, but with vegies and fruit trees surviving in our own backyard, we’ve made a great start.

My successful foraging during the week continued as I eagerly eyed all the fresh Tasmanian labelled produce in the Vegie Shop – a far cry from the imported, wilted and sometimes suspicious looking produce I’d been exposed to over the previous few months. Memories of wilted $11 turnips and “fresh” produce streaked with pesticide residue rapidly faded as I jumped around excitedly like a child in a lollie shop (embarrassing but true!).

With such great local food (and drinks) available in Tassie, why would you want to live anywhere else? Bring on the start of the Eat Local Food Challenge in two weeks time!

Isn’t that going to be expensive!?

Next year I plan to ditch my job and go back to Uni. Because I soon won’t have an income, I look at everything with the eyes of the card carrying broke.

“You don’t need new runners Andrew, electrical tape fixes everything”

“Why use the car, it’s a 20min walk and it’s not REALLY raining”

“Feel like a beer? Too bad princess, you’re on tap water from here on!”

Sometimes I get attitude and call myself princess in my head, that’s normal right?


Right now, behind the scenes little Tassievores around the state are working furiously to source Tasmanian produced foods (and we’ve found some beauties!). But the student in me is very aware that mass produced products can be grown elsewhere (see Caitlin’s pantry challenge blog on our global food supply entitled The Cupboard Cleanout) for cheaper. I’ve been worried I can’t afford to participate in the Tassievore Eat Local Challenge.

But will participating be more expensive?

The Tassievore Eat Local Challenge has different levels of commitment to cater for our different lifestyles, including my lack of funds. The Challenge is not a competition to see who is hardcore, while other Tassievores are leading by example and going whole-hog, it is not feasible for me to do so.

Enter the garden. I’m going to produce my own food as a major part of my personal Tassievore challenge. Have I gardened before? No! But with the help of the interwebs, fellow garden enthusiasts and my trusty Peter Cundall planting guide, I hope to grow local. 300 carrot seeds for $3, a bag of 30 seedling pink eyes for $5, 12 raspberry canes for $12 – YES. I can afford this. 300 carrots is a lot of carrot.


Cheapskate recipes. With a little experimentation, I’ve found I can turn Tasmanian milk into yoghurt, cheeses (labne, ricotta, mozzarella) and breakfast smoothies. The smoothies are a no brainer – I wanted to see if you were paying attention. If I buy a Tasmanian chook, I can roast it for a meal then make stock with the bones for soup the next day. Eating seasonally in Tasmania can be really cost effective (1$ a kg of apples for the past 2 months at Meredith’s!), so shaping my eating around what’s ready here and now is a good move. Annnnnd steering away from food fads (Spirulina, agave and red sorghum muffin anyone?) by sticking to the basic food groups, and not using unnecessary supplements (man multi-vitamins: for all my manly needs..) should work in my favour budget-wise, as a lot of these products are a result of marketing spin.

Shop local. Considering the two points above I think I may end up spending less on food than I do now! Which means the third part of my challenge is to spend that saving by shopping local. I’ll buy meat from my local butcher Darren instead of a supermarket – not because he sells all Tasmanian products, but because the profit he makes will stay in Tasmania. Unless he goes on holidays overseas. Or has a global investment portfolio – besides the point really, Daz can do what he likes with his cash, but buying from Tasmanian owned shops is a part of what this challenge is all about (promoting the Tasmanian food supply!).

So. That’s my Tassievore Challenge. I will be increasing my consumption of Tassie produced foods without increasing the money I spend on groceries, and supporting Tasmanian businesses, if not Tasmanian producers all the time. Whaddya think?



Definition: n, a condition in which an individual is afraid of a sudden and vertiginous drop off in muesli supply.

I have a confession: I am a muesli fanatic. It is my sole breakfast-foodie joy for much of the year, with the exception of porridge on those crispy winter mornings. When I travel I get unfashionably excited about muesli varieties that are available in other countries. Britain and Scandinavia are the top destinations for anyone who is interested (there must be others out there like me surely??). Continue reading