The charm of a tiny town called Cobargo

Cobargo || cityhippyfarmgirl

I had grand plans of taking lots of pictures when I visited Cobargo. I didn’t though. It seems I got caught up in the charm of this lovely little south coast NSW town instead.

When I should have been taking beautiful pictures of the rolling green lush hills surrounding the town, I was hanging half out of the car window drinking it all in instead.

cobargo || cityhippyfarmgirl

With locally made ice cream, a health food cafe to rival any big city-sider one, an abundance of yoga classes to choose from, retro clothing shop, and an intriguing Old Butter Factory that surely is begging for someone to reside in and write their adventure filled memoirs.

This is a tiny town that I whole heartedly want to visit again. Cobargo and all your lovely charm, I will be back.

cobargo || cityhippyfarmgirl

Cobargo || cityhippyfarmgirl

Cobargo, NSW, Australia

 What’s a favourite tiny charm filled town of yours?

 

 

 

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out of the city…

watch your step || cityhippyfarmgirl

While last weeks post was definitely in the city, this week it was about stepping out.

Way out.

It was a long weekend,

and always one to jump on an opportunity to skip the usual day to day stuff,

we were out of there for a few days.

After far too many weeks of far too many illnesses,

too much busy and one broken arm.

It was time for

breathing in and breathing out…

felt good.

end of the day

Tell me what you’ve been up to lately.

What’s going on in your world at the moment?

Eat Local Challenge #3

corn and chilli || cityhippyfarmgirl

corn || cityhippyfarmgirlCorn, chilli and lime.

It’s a cracker of a combination, and that’s a known fact. But the issue was I needed a little butter or something like it to get the finely chopped chilli to stick onto the corn. I didn’t have any and refused to step outside my Eat Local Challenge so I was left with…

1/ squeeze the lime juice on the corn and nibble delicate little pieces of chilli off at each mouthful…hmmm, not a great idea. I like my food hot but these little chillies are quite beastly on their own.

2/ I could finely, finely chop them and roll the corn in it, hoping some would stick.

3/ I could delicately drape the chilli over the corn, admire the contrasting colours and then push my hot little garnish to the side. Yep, I’ll do that. (On thinking later, I should have cut the chilli and gently rubbed it over the corn cob. It would have given the bites a little zing, but not the kick in the pants that a big one would have given.)

So with the corn sorted, what did I have left? While I do love corn, there still needed to be a little something else to the plate.

Eat Local challenge || cityhippyfarmgirlTo avoid a line up of wrinkled noses and pouty lips I didn’t bother serving this one to the rest of the family. Brussel sprouts is an acquired taste it seems and every one in this household? Well, they haven’t acquired it yet.

So what’s on the menu and where is it from?

Brussel sprouts- Kurrawong Organics, Kirkconnel (175km)

Radishes- Rita’s Farm, Kemp’s Creek (50km)

Granny Smith Apple- from Orange

Sheep’s Curd- Willowbrae, Chevre Cheese– Wilberforce.

Olive Oil- Lisborne Grove, Hunter Valley

Eat Local challenge|| cityhippyfarmgirl

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How about you? Interested in taking the challenge?

Just how local is local? Well this depends entirely on you. Only you know how you and your family eat. Raise the bar just a little from what you already do. If making sure the majority of your meal includes solely food produced in your country, than make that your challenge. If you want to make it a little trickier, go for produced in the same state…trickier still within 160km.

My aim is to really know where my food is coming from for at least one meal a month, (where I will be posting here in the last week of the month).

For Eat Local Challenge #1 see here.

For Eat Local Challenge #2 see here.

eat local challenge || cityhippyfarmgirl

Inspiration with The Sourdough Baker, Newcastle



cityhippyfarmgirl

thesourdoughbaker

There is a heady smell of freshly baked bread in the air as I close the little gate to the garden. The nights dew still sticks to the grass, making a soft squeaking noise underfoot. Following the sourdough signs, the incredible smell in the air confirms that I’m in the right spot.

garden

kids club

I’ve come in search of The Sourdough Baker in Newcastle. Currently baking at the Croation Sports Club in Wickham. Nestled in next to a community garden- sourdough and a community garden? It’s already making me smile and I haven’t even tasted the bread yet.

the baker

The Sourdough Baker is Warwick Quinton, who has been baking in all sorts of formats for the last few decades. I first heard of him through the wonders of Instagram, but several friends and family members had been telling me of delicious sourdough tales well beforehand. With his gorgeous partner Ginnie by his side and a handful of trusty helpers, the bread is woodfired and baked in “Bertha” the hefty black oven.

DSC_0118 copy

Watching the beautiful loaves come out of the oven, lined up the table, and sit in the early morning sunlight. I can’t help but feel a huge amount of bread happiness. It’s these sort of people that I find incredibly inspiring, making a business work out of something that is so obviously dear to their heart.

Any artisan work is a labour of love, and sourdough bread really is a wonderful example of that. That love is certainly here, as I bite down on my thickly sliced bread a little while later. I scrutinise the crumb and take in the taste. So different to my own loaves.

It’s good, really good.

cityhippyfarmgirl

Talking with Warwick on all things sourdough, I find out his methods are also completely different to my own. Reading The Sourdough Baker’s site days later and there were audible pops as my brain explodes just a little.

I knew sourdough was a flexible beast, with many variations on how to do things, but some of his methods I hadn’t even considered. Seventy two hours from beginning dough mixing to end, desem dough sourdough starter and slashing hours before going in to the oven, were just some of them. All bready tweaks that I think I would definitely like to play with down the track.

For a wannabe bread nerd I still have a lot to work on, so visits like this just fuel that wanting to learn. So many variations, methods and ingredients to play with. All things which after about three years of baking sourdough I still find incredibly exciting. As I sat later, chewing on sourdough and musing on all kinds of bready possibilities, ideas began to form. Mental lists of what to play with next and how to go about it were made.

And next time I’m in Newcastle? Well, I know where I’m getting my bread from.

cityhippyfarmgirl

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For recipes, sourdough tales, bread making classes and general information, have a peek at the…

The Sourdough Baker

piggy options for a city gal

To market, to market,

to buy a fat pig

home again, home again,

jiggety jig…

Today it’s all about the pig.

It’s been a lengthy porcine process, searching and asking around, and it’s still far from over. What I wanted, was to find some piggy products coming from a pig that has had a chance to frollick in the paddocks, rolled in the mud and has nuzzled the earth. A pig that has been farmed in an ethical fashion. Has a taste a good pig should and can be bought without handing over a small mountain of money. A pig, that I could find out a bit more from the people who had reared it, and of the whole process of birth to abbatoir for the ham intended pig.

Could I do it? What piggy options does a city girl have?

Living in the city surrounded by more city, shopping in city food areas… is it possible to get that kind of information and pay those kind of dollars without it becoming a pain in the pig trotters?

Let’s see.

probably the best tasting ham I've had

First up. Pig products are available everywhere. A lot of people like their porcine products. Bacon and ham get regular look ins for many family meals. Butchers and super markets sell a whole range of products for reasonable prices. The ham, salami, pork products that are readily available however, usually come from conventionally farmed beasts. Animals that are farmed intensively, with breeds selected for their rapid growth and maximum dollar.

A taste comparison between the two is easily distinguished. From what we had bought in the past, a comparison between a wet salty pale ham compared to a much more flavourful darker sweet meat, was really hard to compare. They weren’t even in the same field…*ahem*

I was looking for free-range, heritage breed pork products that I could access relatively easily. I didn’t want it to be eaten every day of the week but as a special occasion in small amounts every few weeks or so. A bacon, lettuce and tomato roll once a month, yep that would do nicely.

Supermarket, nothing to be found there, standard pork products. Butchers in my local area… The conventional ones either raised an eyebrow and scowled at me, within an indignate no, they didn’t know where exactly the pig was from, and yes of course it was free-range if it says it is. Now I don’t want to be a poop, but if it’s free-range, I’d love to know where it’s from and what sort of breeds they are using. If they don’t know, could they find out. Difficult. One organic butcher in my area came up with the goods though. Pasture Perfect ham and bacon, yes ma’am, up north somewhere they come from. With a little googling around, yes indeed. Pasture Perfect is based in Ashford, NSW. (Have a peek at that their website if you would like to see some truly cute pictures of their black Berkshire  pigs.)

I liked what I saw but what other options are there within my area, so I delved a little deeper.

Feather and Bone– Suppliers of sustainably raised meat. Has a large range of regular products along with some seasonal meats. Sign up for a really informative weekly email and they’ll also let you know what’s on offer for the week, and importantly where the meat has come from.

Melanda Park– located in Ebenezer, NSW. “A marriage of heritage and modern breeds…” Distributed by Feather and Bone.

Ormiston Free Range Pork– located in Mudgee. Offers farm visits and runs pig handling courses. Products can be delivered to certain neighbouring areas and are sold through one Sydney retail outlet along with Pyrmont Growers Markets.

Tewinga– located in northern NSW. Distruted by Feather and Bone.

Pasture Perfect– Certified organic pasture raised Berkshire pork. Stockists to buy from.

At the farmers markets I’ve been going to lately, pork products is not something I’m regularly coming across, it seems to be a bit hit and miss. Some times the products are there and sometimes not. I did see a stall a few days ago that had a range of products from South Australia. When I was in Hobart Rare Foods also had a great looking range, but not a lot since. Maybe with customer demand the market will increase and I will see more of these products (and local ones) regularly at my usual haunts. Or maybe I just haven’t searched hard enough. Unfortunately I don’t feel I can just accept “free-range” without questioning exactly how they’ve been kept and how free range that actually means.

Our food environment seems to be rapidly changing and it’s really hard to keep up with what’s happening. For the moment it seems generally most people are happy to eat conventionally farmed pig, in time to come I’m wondering whether this will change. For me, I would much rather pay more for my meat, eat it sparingly and know where it has come from. Knowing how and where the animal was raised, and what sort of breed it was. Compared to not knowing and paying less. Yes, it takes more of an effort, and may not be as convenient as buying at the nearest supermarket or corner butcher…but maybe things weren’t meant to be so convenient?

Piggy Interests-

Black Berkshire– Kuro (black) Buta (pig)- A heritage breed of pig originating from Britain. Prized meat in the pig world.

Rare Breeds Trust of Australia

* From one corner of the world, to another. I know I’m lucky enough to have readers from all over and this company information won’t be relevant to a lot of people. So please feel free to mention a local company that is truly free-range, organic or you know more about the particular breeds used and how they are reared. It may help others in your own local area find these great products, that are quite often harder to find.