Hobart how I’ve missed you so

Tasmania.

I’ve said it once, I’ve said it twice… actually I might have said it three or four times already. Fifth time?

Tasmania, I love you a lot!

This trip was just a quick one. A conference for me and the baby girl. Hitting the town for Mr Chocolate and The Monkeys.

From the conference, I came away inspired by a wonderful bunch of strong and beautiful women. Seeds have been planted and now I just need to tend to them and hopefully watch them grow.

I also came back with some delicious goodies to be played with. Fudge and walnuts from the farmers markets. Some lovely locally grown spelt, which I’m excited to being playing with. And… a truffle. The smallest truffle in the glass jar. After walking very, very fast (before it closed) to get to the little shop under the stairs where I had first smelt them last year, I got one. Seven grams of black fungus, that I’m still trying to work out exactly what it smells like. Earth, death, and sex they say. It’s a smell that I have trouble likening it to anything else I’ve ever smelt.

So what shall I cook it with?

I’m thinking a truffle sourdough, and perhaps a few truffled eggs to go with it. I’m a little unsure of how to go about the bread though. Shave it, grate it, when to put it in? Would the flavours be lost?

Planning what to do with it though, that’s half the fun isn’t it?

*******

If you have any wonderful truffle ideas, please tell.

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seven

I was linked up by the wonderful blog Bagni di Lucca for a look at seven of my older posts. I don’t usually do award things (as I’m a bit of a poop), but this wasn’t anyway and I really was interested in what had worked, what hadn’t, and just a general going through the archives as did Bagni di Lucca and other bloggers before her.

So I looked, and this is what I came up with…

1. Most Beautiful post.

I still think of the two little old ladies that I wrote of in this post from time to time, wondering how they are… A little Sunshine in your Sunflower Bread.

Sunflower Bread

2. Most popular post.

This was a tricky one to decide on as I wasn’t sure how to define it. Tasmania was certainly popular though. It seems a lot of people have similar dreams of Tasmanian holidays or possibly a lifestyle change. Keeps me inspired just reading what others had to say…Tasmanian wanderings.

3. Most controversial post.

It’s been a while since I wrote something a little controversial, so it was good to re-read this one. I loved the fact that so many people were willing to comment on how they felt on the topic… Meat…could you? would you? 

4. Most helpful post.

A lot of people come looking for Love Cake, (with a name like that, it’s rather tempting) so I guess that’s helpful. Along with tips on using Bicarbonate Soda, which is also helpful…maybe just not used together…. Sri Lankan Love Cake

Sri Lankan Love Cake

5. Most surprisingly successful post.

Actually this recent one on eating through kids books, thrilled me that so many people felt in a similar way. I loved reading every single comment, as this was a topic really close to my heart and I could have waffled on for quite a while…. Eating through kids books.

Kingcup Cottage

6. Most underrated post.

This one was back in the early days of blogging…Why cafes and kids simply don’t mix.

7. The post I am most proud of.

I’m still happy with this one. It was a post I did when the blog was still fairly new once again. I really enjoyed researching it though, as this is my family through the dinner plate ages… Evolution of Frugal Food

For the next part I thought I would mix it up a little, and instead choose seven posts from seven different blogs that I have really enjoyed over the past seven weeks. Go on, take a peek, I think you’ll love them too.

Che and Fidel– I’m a sucker for a newborn, especially a perfect little one like this…sigh.

Just the here and now– this gal makes me think, especially if you have a look at her 21st July post.

Myrtle and Eunice– pom pom bombing? This inspiring lady makes me want to find my nearest tree and pretty it up a little.

Richard Tulloch’s life on the road– I had no idea that I wanted to go to Iceland, now I know I do. Stunning.

Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide– Peach margarita’s surely would have to be definitive summer…which is kind of nice as it’s winter here.

She of 108 Names– food markets Chiang Mai style. We still reminisce about the street side roti with condensed milk wrapped in newspaper… So good.

Spice and More– the imagery of riding a bicycle through Denmark and eating strawberries from the front basket pedalling along, was wonderful.

* Oodles more wonderful posts over the past seven weeks from lots of other bloggers around… It was rather hard to whittle it down to just seven.

art and food…yes please

entrance

I don’t think I had any expectations of MONA (Museum of Old and New Art- Hobart). I had heard it was good. Had also been told of a couple of particular pieces on display, but other than that I didn’t really know what to expect, besides knowing that I did want to go there.

Driving in, vineyards line the drive way up. Guinea fowl, chooks and ducks roam the carpark. I think anywhere that has that as a welcome, along with striking architecture and a tennis court in front of the subtle entrance, immediately has my attention and I wanted in.

Little Monkey had timed a nap in his pram perfectly and the iphone used for orientating yourself with the artworks suited the tech savvy Monkey Boy. The gadget distracted him enough away from any adults only pieces and it was quicker to ask him to find the information I needed, than from Mr Chocolate.

This place is awesome. No other word for it. If you go to Hobart, make sure you head over for a couple  of hours. It ooozes with funk, intrigue, thought and a bucket load of awesomeness….and it’s free. I loved our afternoon here.

falling water drops forming words

30 people singing Madonna songs in unison...brilliant!

 Now food in Tasmania is a big factor. If you like being out doors, being active and like your tucker a whole lot- it really is heaven. This time around we weren’t dining out in fancy places that had two types of wine glasses set up. Not all. If they had kid sized milkshakes excellent. Drawing paper and colourful pens…even better. Fast and tasty, yes please.

A few of the stand outs for me were, (and you don’t have to have kiddo’s to enjoy them).


The Red Velvet Lounge, Cygnet. This place is really appealing as soon as you walk in. My eyes moving straight to the stacked (still warm) sourdoughs and brimming cake counter, (why fight it?) Steve the owner also blogs from The view from my Porch. This is where I got to have lunch with the lovely Kate from Vegetable Vagabond.

Global Kitchen, Moonah. Three cooks from India, South Korea and Ethiopia, all offering different dishes. A tasting plate that left me gasping for air and The Monkeys skipping out with a chocolate chip biscuit gripped in their little monkey hands.

Machine Laundry Cafe, Hobart. This place was recommended to us 7 years ago. We dutifully seek it out and the Fat Boy Roti was remembered for ever more by Mr Chocolate. Back again, and it was a given that we would see if it was all still there. It was, and definitely worth the wait to get in. Part laundry, part cafe. It’s got retro seating, a line up of people outside and a menu that doesn’t disappoint. It was certainly worth the seven year wait to come back.

 
roti filled with scrambled eggs

bacon and parmesan pancakes

he got really slow at the end of that one...

So, with my muddy shoes stacked up, my scarf draped over the back of the chair. I lean back contentedly, give my belly a happy pat and  say very enthusiastically…that, was a lovely holiday.

See you again Tasmania.


* Apologies to any subscribers who got the delightfully titled 4252 post- sometimes my brain pauses…pressing publish without a title was one of those moments. 


Tasmanian wanderings

 

Lured by her siren song, Tasmania has been calling for a long time now. A whispered song at first. Easy to be ignored, turned away for another day, another time. Happy memories of a trip from years before keep the song going. Time moves on and the songs tempo changes. A quickened beat, thoughts of, I wonder…

A fleeting weekend, changes the beat of the song once more. She calls more insistently now. A winter week away beckons…

A week of real winter weather

History

Long quiet nights of reading

Soft snow falling

Apples

Meeting the fabulous people behind the fabulous blogs

And more wonderful food than is rightfully so.

Going back to the Hobart Farmers Markets with the family was like stepping into a familiar pair of comfortable worn shoes. Some of the stalls were different, but some were the same. I was happy to wait while people lined up to make their local food purchases. Gave me a chance to soak it all in. Not as much soaking as I would have liked this time though. The Monkeys were pulling my legs and tweaking at my fingers… as there was cupcakes on the line.

C & C Cupcake Factory make seasonal cupcakes sourcing sustainable and local products. Rhubarb from the garden, quinoa milled from not far away and cupcakes that left us all wishing we weren’t leaving before they were next going to be selling at the markets. I had to reign in the excited puppy within while talking with the lovely Michelle. She had swapped Sydney streets for a slower Tasmanian life years before and I would have happily quizzed her until closing time. I didn’t though, and went and filled my arms with more goodies for meals over the next few days.

I hadn’t got to try any of Rare Food’s piggy treats last time, but this time The Monkeys had put in orders for bacon and what sort of mama would I be if I denied them? Heritage breed, locally bred, locally made products, and I get to talk with the producer. Ticks all the boxes that I’m after. Matthew Evans was also selling his new book just out, which I had heard whispers of.

I wasn’t going to buy it I really wasn’t. I didn’t need a new recipe book, and I had been really happy with the Real Food Companion. But, I did buy it… how could I not?

Winter on the Farm is the kind of book that makes you want to curl up in front of a fire, hot tea by your side, biscuit crumbs on your chest and slowly read your way through. Book marking every second page for further reference. These are the kind of recipes that I like. Recipes that can be easily tweaked, with ingredients that you might have on hand… and the photography is truly, beautiful.

* More Tassie bits to come…

Hobart Farmers’ Market

Second day of my super quick stay in Hobart and I was lucky enough to be staying just a block from the Hobart Farmers’ Market. One of the smallest Farmers Market I have been to for a while, but filled with stalls that I could have happily bought from each and every one. These markets are a little different to my local one, as only the people that actually grow, raise, produce or pick the goodies can sell here. (Got to love that.)

Two stand outs for me were…

Grandvewe Cheeses– a certified organic sheep cheesery located in Birchs Bay. The cheeses truly delicious, but the Vanilla Whey liqueur…ooo la laa! Holy smokes that was tasty. After a little rearranging of my hand luggage, a bottle of this delectable beauty was popped in. I’m a big fan of anything vanilla, but this took vanilla to another level. If you had told me before I had tasted it, I would be grasping a bottle of fermented sheep’s whey, (a by-product from cheese making) infused with vanilla bean… I would probably have cocked an eye brow and looked a little sceptical. Sold by the lovely James and his charming French companion, (whom I rudely forgot to ask his name). A bottle of this stuff would be worthy of either visiting the markets for, or stopping off at The Cheesery door. Great on ice cream, a dash in an espresso or just straight.

My second stand out for the Farmers Markets was meeting and talking with Matthew Evans. *sigh* Yes I got to meet my idol. I managed to not turn in to a puddle of nerves…just, and would have happily grilled him with questions for the whole morning on all things rare breed, slow food, sustainable and Tasmanian living. However, at the risk of looking like a complete crazed stalker… I didn’t. I also didn’t get to taste any of his Rare Food free range piggy products as I had a plane to catch, (but they did look delicious). Looking over the products, reminded me of what bacon was supposed to look like. I can only imagine how it would taste. Matthew and his business partner Ross, use heritage breed pigs for their products, (at the moment Wessex Saddleback and Berkshire) and this week these same pigs would be fed a tasty diet of cherries, to enhance that delectable sweet meat on their ample bodies.

So why am I a Mr Evans fan? Because watching his series, (and reading his blog) Gourmet Farmer gives me hope that one day my family and I can achieve something similar. A city person learning to do things from scratch. Anyone that is willing to swap a city life to one of rare breed rearing, artisan producing and taking a stand for what they believe in regarding what goes on a dinner plate…I have to applaud.

This is the life I aspire to. A life in the stunning Tasmanian countryside, peppered with some of the best food products in the country. Not a life of ease and convenience, but one of taste and ethics. Real food, that is simple, and yet complex and intricate on the palate. Real food that’s produced by that fella down the road or that lady over the hill. All enhanced by like minded people in a community setting that inspires others to strive to do what they feel passionate about.

The fact that Matthew Evans and his fellow food producers seem to be doing this, inspires me.

So for the moment, he will continue to be my ‘pin up’ Gourmet Farmer. As this lets me dream, of a land with hundreds of varieties of heirloom apples and free range heritage breed pigs when I am standing on a busy city intersection, waiting to cross and engulfed in car exhaust fumes.