Tuesday, 22 January 2013

This is Common Sense!

This book came my way via an acquaintance whom owns and runs a successful organic blueberry farm down south.  The way to a healthy and sound garden is through composting and respect for the soil, as all good organic gardeners know.  It doesn't have to be a tiresome task, and in reading these wise words you will be inspired to pursue the little effort required in creating an optimal organic garden.  I found the book a pleasure to read, and luckily it is online for all those who prefer internet researching.

Home grown tomatoes, achieved with good home made compost
Here it is:  

© Tasmaniasfeast 2013.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Burger Got Soul

Arriving in Hobart a few years ago, with the offer of tasty, healthy and filling burgers, Burger Got Soul is a favourite for young and old.  The humble burger has had a makeover to gourmet status for some time now, moving away from the unhealthy fast-food image to a new and improved wholesome meal made from quality ingredients. The menu here is extensive, with many choices to suit, including vegetarian. The only thing that I found disappointing about their menu range is it stops at beef, chicken and lamb, without any fish or game options.  I had a Summer Sun burger, which I definitely enjoyed out in the summer sun.  Made from Tasmanian beef, It was very filling and all ingredients were fresh, including a generous layer of ripe avocado.  There is room to improve, with an extras list, and I decided to add a dill pickle to invoke that classic burger taste.  Those who are used to fast food chains may find this a little expensive, but I can ensure that you will be pleasantly surprised as your taste-buds come alive again to the taste of real food.

For more info on their menu, location, check out their website:

Burger Got Soul on Urbanspoon

© Tasmaniasfeast 2013.

Brookfield Vineyard, Margate

On a quiet Tuesday night my partner and I decided to mosey our way down to Brookfield for a night of entertainment.  Our main attraction was the UK artist Jo Quail who had been down for the Cygnet Folk Festival.  Brookfield is situated just as you go into Margate on the right hand side of the Channel highway.  Unfortunately they are no longer making wine, as they pulled up their last remaining vines three or so months ago.  We were fortunate to try some of their last remaining stocks of pinot noir which was absolutely delicious, fruity and smooth, without harsh tannins, and as full bodied as a pinot can safely get.  The space offered at Brookfield is a collectic of old wares, vintage treasures, and model villages.  It had a very comfortable and rustic atmosphere, encouraged by soft lighting, spacey seating, and relaxed clientele.

Unfortunately we had no idea they would be serving dinner during the act, so we had not planned on eating, but observing other peoples meals, I could see that portions are generous, and ingredients fresh, with not one plate returning unfinished.  I also hear they do a very good Devonshire Tea.  Brookfield offer live music many nights of the week, dedicated to supporting local and visiting artists.  They also have a gift shop with a range of crafts and music available for purchase.  Although the night was excellent, I could not help there was something missing, as I perused the wine list that was very limited, and got the vibe that things were not quite right, I was sad to find out that Brookfield is struggling to stay open, so I urge everyone to get out there and support them.

Check out their website for detail:

© Tasmaniasfeast 2013.

Don't Waste Those Egg Shells!

For those gardening egg lovers out there with slug problems, here's a good way to use up those egg shells.  I'm sure many of you already know, but spare a few egg shells from your compost, crush them up into small pieces and sprinkle around your leafy greens.  The annoying sharp pieces deter slugs as they try to make their way to your crops.  Eggs shells break down relatively quickly so you will need to replace them regularly.  It has seemed to work well for me, but other old tricks such as beer traps are also a good match.  Try combining the two if your slug situation is frightening.  

© Tasmaniasfeast 2013.

Cygnet Folk Festival

Over a summers weekend you can make your way down to Cygnet to enjoy some enthralling live music from local and international artists.  Musicians bash out their talents throughout the township at various venues, including the local park, pubs and churches.  Not only is music on offer to entice, but there is a range of Tasmanian produce, food and craft stalls.  Also putting on a good spread are the local butcher, Lotus Eaters Cafe and Red Velvet Lounge.  This festival attracts many travellers who are in the region WWOOFing and fruit-picking this time of year, so it is a good opportunity to go out and meet new people or enjoy old company.

Here are some of the tasty treats I tried:

Silver Hill Fisch

Sausages are always a safe bet, and here is something a bit different for those health conscious people out there.  Criticised by some for being a waste of salmon, Silver Hill Fisch have actually come up with a clever way to utilise salmon and ocean-trout.  The use of various spices and herbs have been used to create a modest range, which are preservative free, and wholesomely Tasmanian!  I had the herb salmon sausage which was served on a pide with some lettuce and mayo, delicious! Sausages are available at most festivals around Tasmania, Melville St Market on Sundays, and various delicatessens and small retailers.   

Living History Museum Sausage Fund-raiser

An adult serving of sausage in bread with lettuce and help yourself tomato sauce was most satisfying.  Using Cradoc Hill Sausages made from humanely slaughtered beef at the local abattoir I was delighted by the quality and taste of the sausage, not too fatty, or too dry.  Cradoc Hill offer specialist cuts of meat and products from selected producers and will process private stock.   

Tempura Huon Valley Mushrooms

These guys have been around for a long time, popping up at various festivals including the Taste.  They can be a bit hit and miss, with the batter turning out to be thick and greasy.  However, I can't resist as these tempura mushrooms are a favourite of mine, as i'm sure they are with many other Tasmanians.  The queues at the stall were extensive and relentless all day, highlighting the popularity of the stall as an established icon of Tasmanian festival food.  I was lucky this time, ordering a platter to share with friends, which was full of juicy young mushrooms encased in a crisp batter.  Although the batter was a little heavy, it wasn't soggy or under-cooked as it has been on occasion.  There are different sauces to choose from, but I always go for the spicy plum sauce and a bit of worcestershire sauce, perfect in matching the earthy flavours of the mushrooms.

© Tasmaniasfeast 2013.


Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Lenah Game Meats

I love a bit of roo, and Lenah products are definitely the way to go if you are seeking something different or returning to an old fave.  When Australian native game started to creep onto restaurant menus and grocery shelves, people were a little hesitant with the idea of eating 'road-kill' as it was unfortunately nicknamed.  Aside from this, accused of eating our national emblem, consumers were faced with a moral dilemma, as to whether or not they should be devouring their iconic furry friends.  Although native game has been enjoyed since humans arrived in Australia, a steady nation building exercise since the mid 20th century, involving detachment from mother Britain and all the imagery she imported, has seen the use of our furry friends in national mythology and nation building imagery.  From football teams to chocolate wrappers, in kids stories and television, our native game plays an important role in the national psyche.  However, game is a healthy, sustainable and cheap source of tucker!  Minimal impact on the environment and being non-farmed means lower carbon footprint and less overheads making it cheaper.  A healthy diet of local grasses means low fat content, and rich in good minerals and proteins, not that i'm an expert!  It is because of these aspects that it is now becoming popular again, with many butchers and retailers providing special cuts or value added wallaby products.  Lenah meats can be found at many butchers, alongside other local suppliers, but if you are short for time it is also in the supermarkets.  Wallaby is not as 'gamey' as other game meats with softer flavours, making it very versatile, you can really just use it as a replacement for other red meats. However, due to its low fat content it does have a tendency to dry out and requires less cooking time.

Wallaby fillet spiced with juniper, thyme and black pepper atop roasted home grown parsnips and sweet potato.

For more info on Lenah Game Meats try their website, which also offers recipe ideas and supply contacts for interstate:    

© Tasmaniasfeast 2013.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

The Mill-on Morrison

Be prepared to get caught up in the atmosphere at this lively tapas bar.  The converted flour mill situated in Hobart's busy waterfront location offer street views and history that form part of the restaurant's scene and vibe.  A classic dining setting, open and airy allows for easy movement between tables and a relaxed feel, good if you're sick of feeling like a tinned sardine while dining out.  I was very impressed with the service provided by friendly and efficient wait-staff, bringing an almost 'amongst friends' vibe. We splurged a bit, ordering a bottle of Redenti at $80, but that's what I mean about getting caught up.

As the place is a bar, I found the extensive drinks list a bit overwhelming to sit down to, requiring time to sift through the pages filled with choices, even so I didn't feel pressured and took my time.  Drinks cover all areas of the globe, but I was disappointed that a place of such style in such a prime location was absent of any decent whiskey.  I'm talking as a lover of the smokey Islay malts, which once hard to find have become more widespread in bars and restaurants all over Tasmania.

Moving on, the menu on the other hand is nice and simple, in the form of a place mat and traditionally set out from starters/ or snacks through to pricier and heavier dishes, followed by desserts.  The key here is to order a few things at a time, you can keep ordering as you receive meals, allowing you to enjoy the food and company you're with in true tapas style.  Again getting caught up is easy so keep track of what you've had, we just kept ordering all over the place.  As I said the staff are very enthusiastic and are happy to answer any questions.

So to the dishes: For $5 we had the witlof with walnuts and blue cheese, all classic flavours that accompany each other, very cute and tasty, and a nice refreshing break from the heavier flavours.  For $10 we tried the crisp whitebait, always a favourite, which came with a very spicy capsicum aioli, and the Dover mussels with chorizo and sherry vinegar, which had a sweet and delicious impacting Mediterranean flavour.  For $12 we had the pan fried salmon and pumpkin seed pesto, which was delicious for lovers of salmon, however, I am not convinced that farmed salmon is sustainable, and prefer not to eat it.  For $25 we had the locally produced scotch fillet, which we ordered to a perfect medium rare and had the beetroot, wild rice and goats curd salad to accompany it ($10) which was fresh and inspired.  We also indulged in some house cut chips which were perfectly crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside with a clean taste ($5).  The highlight of the night, though, had to be a specials dish which at this time of year (summer) I could not pass up.  The stuffed zucchini flowers were perfectly sweet and beautifully coated in a light tempura, a must if you can.

I have to express that the menu is extensive with many more dishes to choose from covering meat, vegetarian, and seafood along with sides. Dessert on the other hand was less inspired, I ended up not being able to enjoy the champagne sorbet which was unavailable, and settled for the vanilla and berries option. Delicious due to the fresh berries, creamy Valhalla ice-cream, and delicate spun toffee, however, all desserts were garnished with the same slabs of chocolate, and sounded more impressive than they were.  Above all I highly recommend the Mill for intimate couples or large celebratory groups, again its just about trying whats out there.  

The link to the restaurant site:

The Mill on Morrison on Urbanspoon

© Tasmaniasfeast 2013.           

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Ingleside Bakery Cafe, Evandale

Firstly, the picturesque township of Evandale located 18km south of Launceston on the C416 off the B41, rivals the likes of places such as Richmond with its historic village buildings and English country-side quaintness.  As you walk down the main street on a milky summers day, there is no shortage of stores to peruse and cafes to indulge.  The Ingleside Bakery is situated on the main drag, and the beautifully converted council chambers provides a unique space for enjoying the locally baked goods.  The bakery is full of locally made art and crafts as well as Tasmanian produce, including a nice selection of Tasmanian wines which feature on their menu - that's right its licensed! There is an outside courtyard for enjoying whatever takes your fancy, which has had extensive attention, filled with beautiful plants, herbs and garden art.  I was particularly taken with a spreading viola and a huge growth of mint forming part of the lush green surroundings.  Service here is swift and friendly adding to the intimate character of the place, and there is an array of bakery goods to choose from, savoury and sweet.  I have to say I have not had a Cornish pasty as good as the one I had at Ingleside in a long time!  The pastry was a flaky golden delight, and chock full of delicious filling.  The meat was perfectly spiced with a traditional flavour and perfectly cooked without dryness or oiliness.  My partner, sadly to say, was less impressed, having a steak and mushroom pie and a coffee, in which he stated was so so. I anyway, highly recommend stopping in, to soak up the atmosphere and discover what you can.

Here is a link on Evandale for those who want more info:

© Tasmaniasfeast 2013.