Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Mmmm is that the smell of fresh bread?

I have been making my own bread for a long time now, so long that I could never go back to buying it, although I do like the Pigeon Hole sourdough and the Summer kitchen varieties, but at around $6 a pop, making my own is a lot cheaper! I was making sourdough for a while, but now I am just making basic whites and wholemeal.  I thought I would share this recipe with you because I have had loads of success with it and absolutely love the simplicity of it.

500g of plain flour*                              
2tsp dried yeast
1tsp salt
1 1/2 cups of lukewarm water
melted butter or olive oil for greasing
ground rice for dusting, can use semolina too

Prepare loaf tin with some of the melted butter or oil.  In a large bowl place flour and salt and mix well to incorporate salt, I use a whisk.  Add yeast and mix through, make a well in the centre and add warm water, slowly incorporating dry ingredients until it comes together**.  On a lightly floured surface knead dough until it becomes smooth and soft, allow at least 10 minutes or until dough springs back when lightly pressed. Dough made with wholemeal flour may require more kneading. Shape dough into a round ball, brush bowl with melted butter or oil and return dough. Cover with a damp t-towel and allow to rise for 75 minutes in a warm place.

Once dough has doubled in size knock back the dough for a second rising.  This is done by softly punching the centre of the dough.  Turn dough out on the bench dressed with ground rice and lightly knead out again, I flatten the dough to the length of the tin and fold twice, 1st fold to the centre and the second fold over the first fold, then carefully shape the loaf for the tin. Place in tin and slice the top of the loaf three times until you reach the bottom of the first layer. This will leave lovely grooves in the top of your bread as it rises. Alternatively when kneading for the second time, you can divide the bread into two or more equal portions and place side by side in the tin to allow to rise into pull apart portions once baked, or you can just leave it as one whole. Once in tin allow to rise until 2cm above the tin, at least another half an hour***. Preheat oven to 200C, brush with remaining melted butter or olive oil and bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown, it should make a hollow sound when you knock the base with your knuckles.  Turn out immediately and allow to cool on a wire rack.

* I use Callington Mill light sifted, although I have been mixing half and half with the stone ground wholemeal to make a wholemeal loaf.

** You may need more or less water/flour depending on age, type, brand of flour, accuracy of measurements.

***I have found that the longer you can leave it in the second rising the more airy the bread becomes, giving it an almost crumpety texture, although leaving it too long will result in the bread deflating, although it will retain its airy status,  it will not rise high while baking, resulting in a somewhat flat loaf.

Copyright Tasmaniasfeast 2013

Elgaar Farm

Elgaar Farm is located near Deloraine, they are a leading organic dairy farm in Australia, providing the market with cheeses, cream, yoghurt, milk and butter. I love their organic natural yoghurt which is creamy and rich with bio-live cultures and calcium to contribute to a healthy diet.  Served with fruit, curries on top desserts or cereals it is absolutely delicious.  The farm follows organic farming practices in an attempt to preserve the environment and produce higher quality products. Elgaar products are available at many fruit and veggie stores, health food stores, markets, and delicatessens across Tasmania and Victoria.

For more detailed information here is their link:

Green Tomatoes!

No there're not fried, but stewed into a delicious spicy chutney!  My tomato crop was late this year, partly due to me not getting my seedlings in early, and my partially shady veggie patch.  I went with only two varieties this year, the brandywine and the black from tula. The voluptuous fruit was absolutely delicious, sweet and juicy with the brandy's ripening to a bright pinky red and the tula's a deep greeny red, verging on purple black. Both fruited late but in abundance, however, by mid April the kilo or so left were starting to subject to disease and I suspect a furry ratty friend that comes feasting at midnight.  So fearing the onset of softer sunshine and wintery days, I decided to try my hand at green tomato chutney, a very traditional and delicious condiment which I have since enjoyed with cheese and cold meats on home made wholemeal bread.

Here is the recipe:

2 tsp of all spice
3-4 cloves
2tsp of brown mustard seeds
2 brown onions
2 cups of vinegar, preferably malt, or a combination of red, white and apple cider vinegar
1kg of green tomatoes
Just under 1 cup of brown sugar
1-2 tsp of salt, taste depending
Cracked black pepper, to taste

Dice up tomatoes and onions and place in a heavy based pot, add sugar, spices, vinegar, salt and stir to combine, place on high heat with lid and bring to the boil. Once boiling uncover* and allow to simmer for a minimum of 1 hour, keep stirring now and then to prevent the chutney from sticking. Once chutney thickens add pepper to taste and allow to cook in a little more.  Heat oven to 110 degrees C.  Place clean glass jars in oven to dry and sterilise for 15 minutes.  Carefully remove jars and place on dry cloth, while hot fill with hot chutney and cap with lid immediately. Turn jars upside down for 2 minutes and then return upright to cool at room temperature. Can be kept in a cool dark place for 3 or so months, refrigerate opened jars.  Make sure you label and date them so as to keep track of whats what and time frames. Enjoy :)

* Be careful when removing lid not to breathe in fumes from the vinegar that escape with the steam.  I witnessed someone  passing out once at cookery school after doing this, unless they were so impressed with the job they had done, lightheadedness is a possibility when breathing in strong fumes.

 © Tasmaniasfeast 2013.


Paesano pizza and pasta have transformed the sleepy suburb of West Hobart, filling surrounding streets with an enticing garlically and herby scent as it provides Hobart with delicious pizza, pasta and risotto 6 nights a week.  Paesano have been around for a long time now and are going strong, and I am never disappointed with their crusty thick bases and fresh ingredients that come to arrive at the best pizza in town! One of my faves is the Lansdowne, named after the long sweeping cresent on which the restaurant is located.  It consists of ham, mushrooms, capsicum, olives, artichokes, garlic, herbs with a tomato and cheese base.  There are many pizza's to choose from including traditional favourites and gourmet creations. Paesano pizza's in my experience have always been consistent, so you know what you're getting every time. I highly recommend it.

Paesano Pizza And Pasta on Urbanspoon

 © Tasmaniasfeast 2013.

Farm Gate Market

Farmers markets have made a comeback in urban environments as consumers yearn for ethical and local products in the age of global capitalism. In following this trend, farm gate markets have sprouted up in Bellerive and Hobart in Melville Street, soon to change location, as development occurs in the old car park.  One of my favourite routines when going to Melville farm gate market of a Sunday is a visit to Pacha Mama's Mexican food. I try to get there early so I don't miss out on devouring one of their Brekky burritos, made with a Spanish style omelette, beans, salad and delicious spicy sauce, I absolutely love the combination of fresh flavours.  Also available, is an autumn veggie, wallaby and vegan and gluten free options.

While I cleverly mung down my burrito, without slopping it all over myself, I take the opportunity to peruse whats available for sale.  The market places strict emphasis on local produce only, allowing as much of the ingredients and produce to be sourced only within the geographical region of Tasmania and supplied from the producer only.  This allows for a more traditional consumption of food and produce dictated by seasonal availability, and a wide selection of lovingly prepared artisan products. I try to buy as much of my fruit and veg from here as possible, spreading it out between the different stalls, and even going further, now purchasing my yoghurt from Elgaar farm dairy stall, and Callington flour from the Companion Bakery stall.  Also available are small goods from Bruny Island, fresh meat including game, pies, coffee, cider, wine, juices, flowers, sushi, plants, pasta, many types of breads, cakes, preserves, jams and chutneys, eggs, the list goes on. If you want free range eggs, I have heard these are the best in town, so get there by 9am because they sell out by half past.

This market has a true community vibe, and has grown considerably since it first started, I always run into people here and have a good chat, but don't be put off because the crowds are not massive, its a nice size, although you will have to queue for favourites such as burritos, and the famous sushi from Geeveston which sell out quickly.  If you are looking for local produce and meals, that extend beyond fruit and veg I highly recommend you make a trip to the market on Sunday for Melville or Saturday for Bellerive Market located on the Boardwalk.

Some of the produce bought at the Farm gate market

For anyone interested in viewing an extensive list of whats available, information or even setting up their own stall here is the link to the Farm Gate website where they update whats available at the markets and access to their strict guidelines:

 © Tasmaniasfeast 2013.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Ethiopian Community Association of Tasmania Inc.

I went out a while ago with a bunch of people to the Ethiopian Community Association of Tasmania and we had the most amazing night of beautifully prepared Ethiopian food and coffee.  I was extremely lucky on Sunday to again indulge, with not one but two stalls at the Moonah World Food Festival.  Perusing the isle of glorious foods arriving to our country from a strong migrant community, I could have picked from Hungarian, Dutch, Indian, Thai, Croatian, Italian, Mexican, South American, Afghani, Filipino, Sierra Leone, and Madi, if I have missed anyone, apologies. However, I could not resist sharing a massive plate of mixed curries from Ethiopia.  The flavours exhibited the love and care of experienced slow cooking and for just $20 I was more than satisfied, mopping up the colourful and tasty food with traditional Injera (Ethiopian Pancake).  The plate consisted of a mix of vegetable, legume and meat curries, all completely different from one another.  If you ever get the chance to eat Ethiopian cuisine here or anywhere, don't pass it up, it will be worth the experience.

© Tasmaniasfeast 2013.

Marmalade Cafe

Marmalade cafe formally known as Kaos cafe located on Elizabeth street is a nice relaxed and friendly place to enjoy the company of friends while eating a scrumptious breakfast, lunch or treat.  We sat outside on the deck in the blissful sunshine, even though they have plenty of comfortable seating indoors.  Staff are very relaxed and friendly bringing a fresh feel to the cafe experience.  Coffee is excellent, and the menu is modest, with themed dishes and sweets featuring marmalade. A group of us stopped there for breakfast, and this is what we had:

Toasted muesli served with a delicious berry compote and creamy natural yoghurt, enjoyed with a pot of lemon-grass and ginger tea.  Was absolutely delicious, with a mixture of seeds and nuts in the muesli and honey to sweeten.

Asparagus wrapped in pancetta served with poached egg and delicious house made hollondaise sauce on ciabatta.  A classic combination of ingredients and flavours.

House made crumpets served with maple syrup caramalised banana and butter.  Very appropriate for those who have a sweet tooth!

And, simple poached eggs and bacon on ciabatta, served with an all too familiar garnish of rocket.  Eggs cooked to perfection with rich runny yolks.

I highly recommend going to Marmalade Cafe if you are after a pleasant and relaxed start to the day.

Marmalade Cafe on Urbanspoon

© Tasmaniasfeast 2013.

Chillies and Garlic, what a wonderful thing!

Slug and cabbage moth repellent! That's right a strong and potent natural pesticide that lasts up to 3-4 months in jar requires mixing one part to three parts water and spraying every couple of weeks or more if wet weather. It will deter almost all insects, so be prepared for this if you want to keep your bees happy.  I have noticed also that my brew is becoming stronger as it ages.

So here is the recipe:
1 Tbsp of soap flakes (instead of soap flakes you can use a grey water safe detergent, degreaser free.)
8-10 hot chillies (I used small dried hot Congo ones.)
4-6 cloves of Garlic (crushed is more effective than chopped)
Roughly a litre of boiling water.

Combine all ingredient in a glass jar or heat proof container, let stand for 24 hours and then carefully drain into the jar you will dedicate to keeping the concoction in.  Make sure the jar is airtight and stored out of direct sunlight.  Avoid rubbing eyes while making and using product or spraying on pets, skin or anywhere near precious items or objects, especially on a breezy day with your fresh white linens hanging on the line.

I have found this brew to be very effective in deterring cabbage moth and caterpillars, noticing the difference almost immediately.  This spray is very effective especially heading into Autumn where you will notice an increase in white cabbage moth, as your brassica plants start to mature. Good luck.

© Tasmaniasfeast 2013.