It’s harvest time!

Well, it is officially Autumn…not that it feels like it today at 33 degrees!  I love autumn…it is a time of reflection, grounding and harvesting lots from the garden!  Below is a sample of my pickings the other day: necterines, hazelnuts, zucchini, apples (4 varieties), bush beans, scarlet runner beans, chilies, cucumbers, kale (2 varieties), tomatoes (at least 3 varieties) and plums.

IMG_0086While I love the bounty in the garden, how can one household of 1.5 people get through it all?!?  By sharing the fresh produce (my bike basket was overflowing with zucchini’s for my work colleagues this morning); cooking feasts and inviting friends over to share it; and preserving (& fermenting) it!

IMG_0134I have gotten quite into homebrewing this year with Cherry Stout, Rhubarb Ginger Beer and Cherry Mead earlier in the season and yesterday, I racked some Blueberry Wine and Necterine Mead.  The only problem with the wines and meads is that they have to age for up to 2 years before I can drink them…the ultimate exercise of my patience….

The most recent Tassievore event was a flurry of preserving activity at the Sally Wise Cooking School in Molesworth. A half day workshop in which we made: raspberry jam; piccalilly; tomato relish; apricot and raspberry tea cake; hawthorn and mixed berry cordial; plum sauce; preserved plums; apple and rhubarb shortbread; spelt bread and labne.  It was amazing!  you can see lots of photos of the workshop on our facebook page, but here is a couple to whet your appetite

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I will share one of Sally’s recipe’s with you.  It is for Piccalilli, which is great, because basically you can make it with whatever you are feeling overwhelmed with from the garden 🙂

Ingredients:

1kg diced veggies (beans, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, etc)

2 large onions, peeled and finely chopped
1 red capsicum, finely chopped
¼ cup salt
2 cups sugar
2 cups Tassie apple cider vinegar
2tsp mustard powder
2tsp turmeric
2tsp cornflour
2 tbls apple cider vinegar

Method:

  1. Place the vegetables, onions and capsicum in a bowl, add salt and mix well. Leave to stand for at least 1 hour. Drain well.
  2. Combine sugar, vinegar, mustard powder and turmeric in a large saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add veggies adn bring back to boil and cook approximately 25 minutes.
  3. If the mixture is too thin, mix cornflour to a paste with extra vinegar and stir through. Cook two or three minutes more.
  4. Spoon into warm sterilised bottles and seal. Eat immediately or store for up to 1 year.

Sally also made a yummy dip by combining this with sour cream or cream cheese (the only Tassie cream cheese that I know of is from Red Cow Dairy in the NW, but there are several Tassie sour creams available) that we got to dip the warm spelt bread into…yum!

If you are feeling sad that you missed out on this fantastic workshop, don’t worry, there are still several more Tassievore events coming up, including the Tassievore cook-off this weekend in Moonah!  Learn how to use all sorts of Tassie ingredients and try 9 different Tassievore dishes made while you watch and ask questions.  It will be lots of fun and there are still tickets available, so please get your ticket now!

The Living Local Feast is also coming up (13 April).  A gourmet 3-course fundraising dinner for Sustainable Living Tasmania, featuring 100% Tasmanian ingredients.  Below are some photos from the last 2 years feasts.  It is pretty amazing and there are still tickets available, but they are going quick!  Don’t miss out!

57 42 Main course dessert

We are also planning workshops in the South, North and North West in May to share some of our tips and tricks for incorporating more Tassie goodness into your daily life.  These workshops have been made possible by an Earn Your Stars Grant that we recieved from the Tasmanian Climate Change Office. Details to be confirmed over the coming weeks.  We also got funding to collate a “where to get it” resource to help finding Tasmanian food easier for people.  Do you have a local shop or market that has a great range of Tassie goods? if so, please let us know about it by commenting below or email lissa@slt.org.au

I hope you are enjoying the challenge!

 

Celebrating Tassievore Style

Wow, it’s been a busy few weeks!  With Christmas, New Years and my birthday all within 10 days, I have been pressed to develop a series of decadent and delicious Tassievore treats to celebrate the season.

Christmas Eve saw us tucking into an Adzuki and Mushroom Loaf, garden salad and Parsnip Bravas.  Amazing Kanel Bulla (Cinnamon Rolls) were baked for Christmas Morning Brunch at a friends house.  Oh my goodness…who needs sugar when you can make these so delicious with honey and hazelnuts!

veggie loaf

Adzuki and Mushroom Loaf – doesn’t look that pretty, but it was yummy and fit the vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free, Tassievore requirements

kanel bulla

Oh my goodness, these were good! butter, flour, milk, cinnamon, hazelnuts, honey and yeast (basically).

A selection of truly decadent cheeses, apricot paste and two types of tassievore crackers were served up for grazing at my birthday party at Cascade Gardens.  Coupled with a homemade Tassie Cream – modelled on Bailey’s Irish Cream…it was pretty special!

Tassie cheddar, wheat thins, apricot and citrus paste and homemade Tassie Whiskey Cream.

Tassie cheddar, wheat thins, apricot and citrus paste and homemade Tassie Whiskey Cream.

Basically, I combined cocoa (judged a spice in this context :-)); honey; cream; cinnamon; cream and a raw egg with some of the Lark Distillery Whiskey Liqueur.  It was pretty delicious!

Now I must confess, I was planning to make my own Tassievore birthday cake, but then my friend offered to make one for me.  She asked, “do you want me to try to make it all Tasmanian?”  And guess, what I said!  “No, make it as decadent as possible, please.”  Bad Tassievore!  But wow, it was a pretty amazing rich, chocolatey extravaganza and I really enjoyed it, but realised that it didn’t take very much of it to satisfy me after 2 months now of having much less sugar and chocolate than my previous life involved.

I did get a chance to try out my idea for a Tassievore Birthday Cake though, when my colleagues persuaded me to bring a cake into work for my birthday.  I was a bit skeptical about the virtues of honey sweetened cake, but I must say that I definitely hit on a winner!  Margaret even said that it was the best cake that she has tried in years!  So below is my recipe for Birthday Bliss Cake.  Enjoy!

Birthday Bliss Cakebday bliss cake

  • 200g Butter
  • 200g honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 100ml cream
  • 200g Ground Hazelnuts (I used about ¼ roasted and ¾ raw)
  • 125g flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • Fresh apricots and cherries, pitted

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.  Butter cake tin. Arrange fruit on bottom of tin. Combine butter and honey, stir in eggs (1 at a time). Add cream and stir. Add hazelnut meal, baking powder and flour and mix to combine. Pour mixture over fruit. Bake for approximately 1 hour.  Cover with foil if top is getting to brown. Enjoy!

This is why I live here…

This blog is not about food, it’s about people. It’s about the “Tassie” part of being a Tassievore, and why I live where I live. But it begins with a cheesecake.  

The beautiful berry cheesecake was waiting on my doorstep when I arrived home last night, along with a handwritten note from a new neighbour. I was so surprised and excited that I immediately called my boyfriend to brag about it. Then I panicked. I didn’t know what the appropriate gesture of thanks was – it was like I’d stumbled into some sort of sacred ritual, a kind of suburban Australian equivalent of a Japanese Tea Ceremony. I did what seemed to be the only logical thing, and dashed to the kitchen to make a batch of honey spice biscuits (recipe below) and popped over to return the favour.

Having lived most of my life in one of the largest cities in Australia, I’ve always felt that “being neighbourly” is a rare and prized gift. I was fortunate to grow up in a neighbourly sort of place, but it was certainly an exception to the general rule of City Anonymity. A friend of mine in Melbourne frequently visits the supermarket in his pyjamas because he is absolutely certain he will never bump into anyone he knows. In contrast, I rarely get to my letterbox without a wave and a friendly shout from across the street. 

In Tasmania, acting neighbourly seems to be standard, and the locals don’t always realise just how special that is. The cheesecake wasn’t the first Random Act of Neighbourliness that I’ve experienced since being here, in fact it wasn’t even the first this week. But every time it happens I feel a little wave of gratitude and I promise never to take it for granted.

I moved to Tasmania for pragmatic reasons, but I have stayed for emotive ones. There’s something special about those Random Acts of Neighbourliness that turn a suburb into a community, and this is why I live here.

This weekend, go and get neighbourly. Head out to the farmers market and say g’day to the people who grow your dinner. Drop over to an old friend’s house for a cuppa and a catch up. Or maybe make a batch of honey spice biscuits and go introduce yourself to your neighbours… It’s the Tasmanian thing to do.

 

Neighbourly Honey Spice Biscuits (makes enough to share with friends)

½ cup sugar (challenge: if anyone can substitute or reduce sugar further let me know and I’ll update the recipe!)

1 cup Tamanian honey

2 free range eggs

2 tablespoons of local olive oil

3 cups plain flour (Callington mill)

1 ½ teaspoons of baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon each of allspice, cinnamon, cloves and ground ginger

  1. In a large bowl, beat honey, sugar, eggs and oil.
  2. Combine all the dry ingredients, and gradually add to the honey mixture, mix well
  3. Pop into the fridge for 2 hours to cool (or the freezer for 20 minutes if you’re in a rush)
  4. Heat oven to 180 degrees
  5. Roll dough into small balls (around 1 inch) and place on baking tray about 2 inches apart.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden.

The Challenge Begins….what fun!!

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So, we launched the Tassievore Eat Local Challenge at the Sustainable Living Festival last weekend.  As the Festival Director, I was completely buggered afterward and the first meal or two are a bit of a blur…I think toasted cheese and eggs featured prominently.  But, then I got to have a couple of days off…recovery!  This gave me time to cook up a Tassievore storm…Roasted beet, carmelised onion, kate, lemon zest, fetta and walnut pizza; artichoke pesto; muesli;  garlic aioli; honey oat bickies and “ranch” dressing were among my first Tassievore makings.  I was keen to make a few things that can just sit in the fridge and be used to liven up bread, cheese and eggs, which I think may be my new staples as a vegetarian Tassievore.  Excitingly the Artichoke Pesto I could virtually make from my garden. I’ll try to remember to include the recipe below as well as the Honey Oat Bickies…as a sugar addict, sweet treats will be my biggest challenge, I reckon.  BUT my most exciting Tassievore meal, which I really want to share is…..

Tandoori Cauliflower and Mint Chutney with Naan Bread

I’m a bit of a luddite, and with my job being pretty computer based, I tend to not be very online savvy.  I have however been introduced to the My New Roots Blog, by my friend, Sophie.  It is great and definately good for those wanting to eat healthy, seasonal food. Sarah, who writes the blog, is a nutritionist and gives heaps of interesting info about the nutritional benefits of various foods and I have found many an inspiration on this site. The tandoori cauliflower peaked my interest some time ago, but it wasnt’ until last night that I finally tried it out.  The only questionable ingredient is the fresh ginger that I used in the marinade, but surely that is a spice/flavouring…which I am allowing myself!

I am feeling a bit over typing, so will just put in the link to the recipe here…yummm! Happy cooking and eating, Lissa

Naan Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
  • ¾ cup plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ¼ cup wholemeal flour
  • 3 cups sifted flour

Method:

  1. Activate yeast with ¼ cup warm water..leave 10 mins until foamy
  2. Combine ¾ cup hot water, yogurt, butter and salt in bowl, then stir in the yeast and flour ( a bit at a time) until you can turn it out and knead the dough
  3. Knead until smooth, but still slightly tacky.9
  4. Put dough into oiled bowl, cover with tea towel and leave until double in bulk about 1 hour)
  5. Divide into 8-10 balls and let rest 10 minutes
  6. Flatten balls to 12cm thick (rolling pin or hands)
  7. Bake on heated stone or tray @ 210 degrees for 12-15minutes

Honey Oat Bickies

Ingredients:

  • 150g butter
  • 150g honey
  • 1/2c wholemeal flour
  • 1/2tsp baking powder
  • 250g oats

Method:

  1. Melt butter and stir in honey
  2. Add rest of the ingredients and mix
  3. Spoon onto baking tray, flattening slightly
  4. Bake @ 180 degrees for 8-10minutes.

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!

The Tropical Island Tassievore Challenge

This Tassievore is again overseas attemping the Eat Local Food Challenge – this time in the tropical paradise of the Maldives! I can hear all of your comments now – “you are on a tropical island in the sun and the beach, how hard can it be”.

Well the Maldivevore Challenge is tough. Yes there are great tropical fruits to buy in the markets – bananas, papayas and mangos about to come into season. And a reasonable assortment of weird and wonderful vegies available in the markets (which unfortunately are not available on the menus in cafes/restaurants).  However based in Male’, the capital city island, life is crowded, chaotic and claustrophic. A population the size of Launceston jostles for living space on an island no more than 2km long and 1.5 km wide. There is no food grown on the island, and in the two weeks I’ve been here I’ve circumnavigated the island several times!

EVERYTHING is imported with the exception of fish which is served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Processed foods and ready to eat meals line the supermarket walls and are becoming the norm as both parents work to survive the high cost of living in the capital. The market place is traditionally a male domain (though this is changing) and produce in the shops is largely imported of varying quality. My breakfast has been comprising Weetbix, WA UHT milk and local fruits.

The other 200 plus islands of the Maldives vary in foods available. Some are known as agriculture islands, where hydroponic lettuces and other crops are grown and sold to the resorts or for export.  Pumpkin, brinjal (eggplant), papaya, mango, banana, pineapples, coconuts and chilli are grown on many islands, depending on the soil. Many of the islands are made from coral making growing difficult, and the Boxing Day Tsunami also affected many of the islands destroying crops and fruit trees.

Not surprisingly seafood comprises the national dish called Garudiya’, a soup made from dried and smoked fish, lime, onion and chilli. A Maldivian breakfast consists of Mas Huni – a mix of tuna, onion, coconut and chili, eaten cold with roshi (unleaved bread) and tea. Snacks and short eats consist of fihunu mas (fish pieces coated with chili), gula (fried dough balls filled with fish and spices), keemia (fried fish rolls in batter) and kuli boakiba (spicy fish cakes). Not so good for a vegetarian Maldivore – I can’t wait to get back to the wonderful food in Tassie!

Garudhiya’ (Maldivian fish soup)

What you need:

250 g fresh tuna – swap this for local and sustainable fish source

1 small onion, diced

1 tbsp whole pepper corns

1 curry leaf (de-stemmed) – from your herb garden or farmers market

1 L of water

Salt to taste

How to make:    

Cut the tuna into small cubes. Pour the water into a pot. Place all the ingredients in the pot and cook until the water starts boiling. Reduce the heat and remove the scum from time to time. When the fish is cooked, turn off the heat.

Serve hot with rice*, lime and chilli. The soup can also be enjoyed as it is with a little lime juice and chopped chilli added to it. Variations to the dish include adding some fried onion and some leafy green vegetables at the end of cooking.

Serve with homemade Roti bread, (using Oatlands Tassie flour) and substitute rice* with Kindred Organics Quinoa or homeade noodles.
Read more: http://notecook.com/soup/maldivian-cuisine/#ixzz29SevhOoH

 

Spring is Here!

Hooray for Spring!  Not only do you get beautiful sunny days, lots of rainbows and more daylight hours, but it also marks growth spurts in the garden and a return to the happy days of being able to walk outside and decide what’s for dinner just by walking around the garden!

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I love being able to cook complete meals without having to step foot into a shop…there is a real sense of accomplishment and appreciation, when eating things I grew myself.  It is quite magical really.  It never ceases to amaze me that putting a few seeds in the ground, a bit of love over the following months and then wha-la, I suddenly have delicious food to eat.

So looking around the house today thinking about what to cook and not finding much on hand, Avian and I headed out to the garden to see what we could find.  The greens are prolific at the moment, so we harvested Red Russian Kale, Rainbow Chard, Giant 1000-Headed Kale (see photo) and asparagus. 

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I still have some pumpkins left from last autumns harvest so we roasted some of that as well and added some haloumi that we had in the fridge (how exciting that Elgaar Farm now does Tassie Haloumi!!) I added some lentils sprouts (sadly we don’t grow lentils in Tassie, but they needed to be used and I did sprout them myself so they are almost Tasmanian).  Then we mixed it all together and drizzled with a dressing made with juice from our lemons, coriander and garlic from the garden and honey from our bees!  Ahhh, spring bliss!

Spring is Here Salad

  • 8-10 spears asparagus
  • 2 bunches of garden greens (kale, chard, spinach, etc), roughly chopped
  • Chunk of pumpkin, cubed
  • 1-2 tbls Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 150g haloumi, sliced and pan fried over medium high heat (serve immediately)
  • Bunch coriander, chopped

Dressing

  • 1tbls honey
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  1. Drizzle pumpkin with olive oil and sea salt and roast for about 30mins @180o
  2. Sauté asparagus and greens for 3-5 minutes in a tsp of olive oil
  3. Mix ingredients for dressing in jar and shake well to combine
  4. Mix pumpkin, asparagus, greens and coriander together in a large bowl and top with dressing.
  5. Cook haloumi over medium heat until soft and brown on both sides.  Add to salad and serve immediately as haloumi is at its best when still warm and gooey!
  6. Enjoy

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