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Thursday, 19 December 2013

Elizabeth Food and Wine

Hobart restaurants have rapidly and creatively taken on the idea of using Tasmanian produce with a mind to promote its quality and indulging flavours, and why not? Elizabeth Food and Wine is no exception, displaying some of the most original Hobart cuisine, playfully selecting and utilising some of the most fantastic produce available. A great advantage of this place is its inclusion of a store, in which you can purchase produce ranging from honey, jams and pickles to pre-made dinners, wine and vegetables. Forming part of a network that supports local enterprise and Tasmanian produce, ESt.F&Wine offers a spacious place for casual dining in which you get to indulge in the assembly of many flavours that show off the potential of Tasmanian produce. In addition, displayed on the wall is a map of where in Tasmania the food is grown, produced and made, an excellent idea that visually captures the food by making it geographically relevant and enhancing the localism and diversity within the state.  Menus are simply set out, with each meal wine matched, no pressure to comply of-course. Some of these meals are very creative, with the use of seasonal ingredients, such as salad greens comprised of snow pea shoots and wild rocket tossed in Elder Flower dressing, now in bloom, a fresh revival of the balsamic soaked mesclun salad.

A key issue with Tasmanian produce, as with any other product in the market, is once something does well it saturates it and then becomes taken up by larger companies becoming almost like a mono-crop leading to reduced variety and limiting culinary creativity.  Until, something comes along with new and fresh ideas, and that is exactly what is displayed in the meals at ESt.F&Wine. Among the fresh flavours are smoked tomatoes, salsa verde, quince syrup, labne and beetroot jam that accompany delectable creations ranging from chicken liver confit, steak and kidney pie, pulled pork, or fried haloumi. They also have, as all good cafes do, exquisite sweets, like gluten free chocolate mud cake, rich and heavy, no scrimping on the chocolate there! Delicious coffee and excellent service. I do like this place, and on sunny warm days the windows open right up to create a street dining atmosphere. Whats not to like, try it all.  

Elizabeth St Food + Wine on Urbanspoon   

Patchwork Cafe

New Norfolk is a place that is often overlooked as a destination for fine food and the makings for an interesting afternoon out. Given its past steeped in stigma of incest in the close by mountains, and overall its little selection of eateries, its no wonder. However, if it offered a place where you could indulge in some delicious Tassie food and beverages whilst sitting in the former grounds of one of Tasmania's most notorious and misjudged collections of buildings, you would probably start to get interested in poor old New Norfolk. Forget Port Arthur or Macquarie Harbour (although completely justifiable in their own right and not to be missed), head to New Norfolk and to the Patchwork Cafe, situated in the former grounds of Willow Court, of the Royal Derwent Psychiatric Hospital.  Willow Court, steeped in urban legends, has received a lot of attention, ranging from stigma, taboo, historical interest, the paranormal, and of coarse its tragic part in the discrimination and abuse of the disabled and mentally ill exposed prior to its closure in 2000.  I must say its a strange place to go and enjoy a coffee and cake, I could not shake the fact that I was sitting in Willow Court. Although the cafe is lovely and offers fantastic food in a nice section of grounds enhanced by the old trees and green gardens, out of the corner of my eye sits the old wards, disheveled, boarded up, smashed out windows and piles of junk left from deconstruction the buildings and vandalism. In addition, it also seems to serve as a creepy grave yard for old broken down cars.  It is certainly a curious place as you can roam around the accessible sections, stealing a peek into an old ward, whilst dodging a potential hazard.  This may not be everybody's cup of tea, but I am fascinated by our history and this is an interesting attempt by some individuals to utilise the space, renewing the energy and stepping away from its jaded history.  

The cafe is located in a new building made from reclaimed timber near the Willow Court Motel (yes you read that right). It looks fantastic, simple in design, yet full of character. It is surrounded by its own little grove of shrubbery and trees that offset its location slightly away from the administrative buildings and old wards.  They offer tasty cafe savories and sweets, are licensed  and also sell home made and Tasmanian specific preserves and produce.  This place was bustling with tourists and locals, and they offer live music every Sunday of the jazz/blues genre, weather permitting, a good place to catch up on local gossip and history.

Of course New Norfolk is famous for its collection of antique shops and this also applies at the Willow Court site where you can roam the lower floor of the former nurses quarters, filled with bizarre and amazing antiques, ranging from vintage buttons, kitchenware, art and former security doors of the wards and prison, a scary site when you first come across them.  I could not help but blow out at this experience, walking around willow court looking at antiques, the rooms have a faint odour of heritage and institution, with original fixtures and hospital flooring, and with the random collection of music playing in the background, it's a strange experience. However, it is a new era and although we have been quick to judge and forget its past, this place is slowly going through a transition, preserving the older convict era buildings, and rejuvenating the area through land sale and new development.  This place was built to house invalid convicts, before it became Australia's first psychiatric institution open to the wider community and private patients. Maybe one day it will be a place to come and openly discover its rich and turbulent history, free from shame and stigma. But, for the time being this place is still a raw reminder, and as it slowly transforms, you can at least enjoy a little food and drink there.    

Patchwork Cafe on Urbanspoon

Monday, 4 November 2013

The Roaring Grill

Quite a pleasant evening, made possible by the talented and respected use of Tasmanian produce and flavours.  This place has a significant 'Tasmanian' edge with its range of deliciously Tasmanian sourced products.  Beef cuts from the North West and Robbin Island Wagyu, lamb from Roland Range and seafood from our own local waters, the Roaring Grill boasts the use of quality products and has integrated Tasmania's 'clean green' image into their own culinary repertoire, literally in the title, the 'roaring' plays on our own roaring 40's. Alongside this, they seek out locally grown fruit and vegetables, locally produced beers, wines, cheeses and ice cream that specialise in unique 'Tasmanian' flavours.

A little pricey, but quite reasonable given the quality and professionalism of preparing the food in relation to other places, its a place to take someone special, or maybe just celebrate a week of fasting with a nice big juicy steak, and that is exactly what you get.  The meat is exceptional here, cooked perfectly to your liking, sparsely displayed with your choice of condiment (the red wine jus is delicious), the ever popular champ potatoes, and a pear and walnut Waldorf inspired salad.  Alongside this you can have alternatives to steak, with ribs or lamb and fish.  The house made sausage is absolutely delicious, full of flavour and robust texture. Served with pureed creamy potatoes and sweet sauteed onion, the dish is available as an entree and main.
 
The service is swift, punctional and professional, although if not a little high-brow with slight uneasiness, doesn't hurt to smile. The establishment has had many transformations, and in this instance, the roaring grill sets up a simple dining space that extends through to the back, with soft lighting and exposed convict red brick, the space opens up and is inviting.  They have a bar for those who want a pre-drink or are waiting for a table, as this place fills up fast, forget punting on a Friday night, make sure you book.

Desserts are not to be overlooked either, as these guys extend their talent and passion right to the end, with a delicious selection of ice creams, sorbets, coffee infused creme brulee, crumble and chocolate creations.

Located in North Hobart corner of Elizabeth and Burnett Streets, the Roaring Grill is by far one of Hobart's better restaurants to patronage.

http://roaringgrill.com/   

Roaring Grill on Urbanspoon  

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Pollen Tea Room

On a stormy Spring Sunday, we rushed about looking for a nook to enjoy a warming beverage. In the heart of Battery Point we were drawn to the quaint and cosy Pollen Tea Room. As you enter into the tiny but comfy front room of a former cottage, you're welcomed by a fake but convincing flame fire, and the most friendliest staff/owner I have ever come across.  This place is a shelter in the storm, like arriving home, you feel like kicking off your wet weather boots and reclining back with your favourite book and an enticing Chai tea. Indeed that is what we almost did, keeping our shoes on and taking place at the center table, we both indulged in the home made Chai, chock full of fresh ginger and warm spices to keep away the damp cold of a Wintery Spring, and put a massive smile on your face, saying 'I've arrived'.  As well as a choice of tea's and single origin coffee, you can have tasty snacks provided by Mrs Reese's healthy treats or more substantial smashed avocado on sourdough, fruit toast, eggs on toast and many more. Everything here feels very homely and nurturing, from the warm brick colours of the interior, to the long colonial style kitchen table, and the friendly staff whose relaxing and familiar manner resonate with notions of 'tea with friends'. Yes you can romanticise and get lost in this place as much as you want. You could be coming home from a hard days work, or taking refuge from a maritime storm, the surrounding colonial Battery Point steeped in history and contemporary cultural life has found its way to the Pollen Tea Room, with the cafe nicely taking place within this theme, forcing a thematic and pleasurably intimate experience. A must!  

Pollen Tea Room on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Simply Chicken

There was a time when I was even more of a snob about food than I am now.  I used to casually say to friends when out to dinner chicken was the meat of choice to those who could not decide what they actually wanted.  Looking back on that remark I feel somewhat ashamed of my bourgeois attitude to the humble meat, and feel a slight guilt that I may have been plagiarising Anthony Bourdain. Now that times have changed I am happy to promote chicken, and its versatile contributions to the culinary world, as long as it is free range, antibiotic and hormone free. The best example that comes first is Marion Bay chicken from the pristine east coast.  Marion chickens are harder to come by, often found at smaller grocers and some butchers, like Hill Street or Nicholls Rivulet Store located near the turn off on the channel highway.  At a time you could get Marion chickens precooked from IGA stores.  Of coarse, select butchers will stock local chicken, such as cygnet butcher or J.B Nicholson, who will also provide to smaller grocers.  However, most chicken that claims to be free range generally comes from the same place and is supplied by one of the main producers. Marion chicken is a little on the expensive side, but it is by far the more superior and genuinely free range of the chicken products.  Buying a whole chicken and portioning it up will make your money stretch, and you can make stocks and soups from the carcass.  Alternatively you can roast it, eat what is needed, then use the rest for sandwiches, pasta etc. and the bones for stock and broths.

 However, there is another road you can go down, which is the humble Nichols chook.  Once promoted as free-range this product now prides itself as being 'responsibly farmed' and hormone free.  I believe now that Nichols only keep to guideline minimum on what is considered free-ranging and it is not hard to be hormone free in Tasmania, as all meat is due to state laws.  However, Nichols deserves a mention as they have made a huge impact on farming practices in the poultry industry, including promotion of antibiotic free chicken and sustainability, with the introduction of wind turbines for generating power on the farm.  Nichols chicken is easier to find, including super markets, grocers and butchers, and is a lot cheaper. Other brands you may come across are Churchill's, a lot rarer, only come as whole and are of a high standard like Marion, and the suspicious unmarked 'free-range' packets, often very cheap and found in less reputable grocers.  I steer clear of unmarked packets, unless they come from a butcher with verbal guarantee that they are free-range etc. Of course there are smaller producers out there and its always good to check out butchers and grocers that are located in the country for other suppliers.

Chicken is a very amazing product as it contains natural antibiotics, leading to its use in broths and soups used to fight off colds, aches and pains and the like.  Here is a recipe I use with my left over roast.

Healthy chicken broth:
Chicken carcass, meat removed- if using uncooked, boil chicken whole, alongside other ingredients.
Carrots, 2-3, I use orange and white, as purple ones leech their colour- cubed
Parsnip, 2- cubed
Potatoes, 2-3 med-large- cubed
Onion, 1 large- chopped
Garlic, 2-3 cloves- finely sliced
Dill, 3-4 large sprigs- chopped
Pepper, Salt (optional)- to taste
A little oil
If using a carcass left over from a roast, use to make a stock first, cover with water, add two bay leaves, some pepper corns, 2 storks of parsley, some fresh thyme, roughly chopped onion and carrot and a stick of celery (optional, depends on flavour). Bring to a high simmer for at least 1 hour, 2 is better.  Skim off any fat and drain into a clean bowl or container. The flavours from its previous roast will also permeate the stock and give it a richer taste. If using a raw chicken place in pot with other ingredients, cover with water and allow to boil gently until chicken is cooked, remove whole chicken and set aside. You can if you want, gently brown the outside of the chicken in the pot first for added flavour.  It is up to you whether you want to take the meat off the chicken and re-add it to the broth or serve it on the side, a more traditional touch from Eastern Europe.

Once you have your stock, place a little oil in the pot to heat and then all other ingredients except the potatoes and dill into the pot to sweat off. Once sweating off is complete, onions will look glassy or translucent, add stock, dill and season, add extra water if needed.  It is optional to add a little sugar if you wish, however I find the natural sugars in the onion and carrots work fine for my taste. Once cooked though add the meat that you took off the carcass, heat through, check seasoning again.  I like to serve mine with large chunky garlic and dill croutons, I make by rubbing fresh garlic onto thick slices of old sour dough, then cut into large rustic squares and sprinkled with dill.  Cook in a low oven about 150C for 15 minutes.  You can also sprinkle these with sea salt or Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!                  

Sunday, 15 September 2013

The Squires Bounty

Well, if it's past lunch time and you are hankering for a decent sized meal, sick of pizzas and toasties served during the dead time between lunch and dinner, then you will be pleased to know that the Squires Bounty is open for business.  We had a nice juicy scotch fillet here, available with your choice of sauce and chips and salad.  Located in Salamanca Square, behind Grape, the Bounty is a nice spot for drinks and food. A little on the expensive side, as there are plenty of places that offer steaks, burgers and food of the such in the area, at better prices, but not many of these places offer food all day, or if they do they revert to snack menus.  I was really pleased with the steak, a good quality cut, not too fatty or chewy and cooked perfectly to a medium rare.  It came with a delicious side salad that was dressed with a light lemon vinaigrette and consisted of thinly sliced celeriac and radish, not often found in the humble salad these days. I had a nice refreshing glass of Pipers sparkling to wash it down with and opted for a demi glace to go with the meat.  I have to say we picked this place out of desperation, as we had missed the lunch service and where absolutely ravenous for a decent meal.  It was a sunny day, and pretty much every place was packed with happy sun goers, however, Salamanca Square loses its sun in the afternoon, making it a cold and shadowy place. All this aside, we enjoyed our experience at the Bounty, and this place is a must for those who enjoy boutique beers, and quick bar snacks.  On certain days, the Bounty offer special pint and food deals.

The Squires Bounty on Urbanspoon 



Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Kathmandu Cuisine

Beautiful food, beautiful people and beautiful location. Kathmandu is relatively new to Hobart, offering a delicious range of Nepalese food, taking inspiration from their neighbours India, Tibet and China. Picture a quiet evening out with your loved one, tucked away in an intimate dining space, soft warm lighting and street views of heritage Battery Point. Or a lively get together with a bunch of friends out back. This place caters for all, providing excellent and attentive service. The menu is extensive, offering a range of dishes tailored for meat and vegetables.  We ordered a selection of curries, covering, fish, chicken, lamb and goat.  To accompany we had serves of garlic roti and rice, one infused with almonds, peas and currants.  The flavours in these meals are delicately complex, where saffron, cumin and cardamon marry black pepper cinnamon and ginger.  Beautifully presented, and prepared you will be hankering for more.  Chinese influences include mo mo or dumplings, fillings decided by the patron, and noodles, rice and soup dishes.  Prices are extremely reasonable, so don't be put off by its 'expensive' location. Located on the corner of Hampton and Francis Streets, Kathmandu is delightful and a fresh addition to dining in Hobart.

Kathmandu Cuisine on Urbanspoon

     

Lotus Eaters

Funky chicks cooking up a storm in the kitchen, creating some amazing tasty meals for you. Lotus Eaters offers delicious wholesome food made with fresh, locally produced ingredients.  Its a small place on the main road of Cygnet packed with bright and sunny character. They have plenty of outdoor seating, but its wise to book, as lunch time fills up fast. I love the food and atmosphere here. Plates often come with large servings of salad, fresh leafy greens and herbs. The staff here are lovely and friendly, with a genuine compassion for making healthy delicious food and supporting free-range and ethical farming practices.

I relished in a glorious lunch of French onion tart with trio of salads, stocked up with plenty of salad greens. The Tart was delicious with a rich combination of flavours attributed to dill, onion and cheese. I loved the vibrant colour of the carrot salad that was speckled with nigella seeds, delightfully dressed in a sweet vinaigrette. Alongside this was a herby apple and red onion salad combined with creamy fetta cheese and light lemon dressing. The stark contrast of flavours and colours was enhanced by a red cabbage salad dressed in balsamic.
French Onion Tart with Trio of Salad


My companion had the chicken dumplings in a delicious vegetable broth accompanied also with plenty of fresh salad greens and crisp vegetables.  The chicken dumplings were delicious, superbly spiced and matched with fresh garlicy herbs.  The broth had a clean natural flavour which exuded healthy elements into the rest of the meal. These meals are very generous, with at least 12 dumplings to the bowl. Definitely check this place out, its worth the drive. They also offer great breads, cakes and pastries.

Chicken dumplings in Soup
The Lotus Eaters Cafe on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Spice World

Spice World is the go to place for all exotic and standard spices, pastes, herbs, dried pulses, flours and rice varieties. They make up their own mixes and stock a number of standard herb and spice combinations catering for Ethiopian, Mexican, Indian, Iraqi, and Moroccan cuisine to name a few. You can find many imported products, sauces, curry pates and specialty ingredients. In addition they stock fresh ingredients, such as herbs, chillies, galangal and lemon-grass.  Where possible Spice World will stock Tasmanian produce, such as Tas Saffron.  You can also find cook-ware such as Tagine pots and Arabic coffee dullahs. Spice World is the first place to go if you are looking for that particular ingredient. Impress your friends and support this longstanding family run business, when you host your next dinner party. Located in Wellington Walk, they also have a website and do online orders if you just cant make it in, however, you will be delighted by the fragrance of the store.

http://www.spiceworld.com.au/

Friday, 2 August 2013

New Town Greenstore

Relish in a free-range and organic breakfast or lunch, knowing that the vegetables and products you're consuming are wholesomely grown, and sourced from Tasmania, supporting local growers and ethical farming practices. That's right the Greenstore out in New Town prides itself in providing fresh ingredients, deliciously prepared for your pleasure.  You can grab classic favourites such as bacon and eggs, eggs Benedict, shepherds pie and steak sandwiches. All made using free range, hormone free and organic produce.  I enjoyed a delicious steak sanga, with perfectly cooked minute steak, succulent, juicy, and rich in flavour with fried egg, rocket, caramalised onion and Tasmanian black cherry relish. The Greenstore, is in fact a store with the cafe attached. They stock a collection of Tasmanian products, many in which they use on their menu. Most meals range from under $10 to under $20, breakfast is served from 7:30 until 2:30 and service is friendly and swift. This place is a must, especially nice on a sunny day, where you can sit outside by the florist and enjoy their decorative arrangements.

Greenstore and Cafe on Urbanspoon 

Friday, 26 July 2013

Taco Taco

Located around Hobart CBD where ever the van may pull up, Taco Taco offer late night street style cuisine.  Fresh and contemporary, Taco varieties change, and there is even seating, comprised of up-turned milk crates and cushions. To give you an idea, we indulged in a black bean and red slaw with goats fetta cheese, deliciously spicy and moist. A chicken with white slaw, sliced pickled onions and spicy chipotle  mayo, heavenly. A Korean BBQ beef with pear and sesame slaw and a pulled pork with apple slaw, both exquisite and moreish. Some nights they offer beers and sangria, or hot chocolate and spicy corn chowder. All taco shells are gluten free and of the soft variety and all are made to order, very swift, beautifully presented and accompanied with a fresh slice of lime, for added flavour. They also have hot sauce on hand for those seeking extra spice. You can follow these guys and their movements on Facebook, often beginning service at around 6ish. get in there, its part of Hobart's new thing!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Dark Mofo-Winter Feast

This winter definitely had a different feel to it. No longer did I feel like staying in at nights and hiding behind a bottle of red and a book by the fire, although not complaining if that was the only choice.  No, it was the first year that MONA went out and launched their winter dark MOFO in celebration of the winter solstice. A time when Hobart shuts down and is in need of social festivities to warm its inhabitant's and remind them of why they live here.  I was very impressed with the getup, walking into the Elizabeth st. shed was nothing like the Taste, more edgy, with more people crammed in like sardines, excited wide eyed looks on their faces as we all made our way around, keen to embrace this new cultural phenomenon. Soft, red lighting and candles enhanced the muses which danced around as part of the scenery. Outside gas flames lit up the street and laser works stunned the new comers that had flocked to check out the edible art.  No one cared that it was raining and freezing, because this was a new experience, nothing to complain about, the winter feast had definitely started off well. Queuing was a key negative here, as the crowds were massive, with not enough food stands to cater, also there was no flow to the crowd, with everyone battling each other to go their way. We saw there were some of our favourites here, including Rin and Pacha Mama.  But we couldn't go past Bruny Island Cheese company.  Indulging in a welsh rarebit and sauteed mushroom jaffle. With a glass of MONA cab merlot, sat outside by the fires it was a comforting, thematic and lovely experience. Following our melted cheesy treats and caught up in the moment we downed a super creamy goats milk ice cream with a hazelnut chocolate fudge sauce, also from Bruny.  Still feeling peckish, we later had a soft shell goat taco from Olli Bella, another super warming and spicy experience. I hope the Winter Dark MOFO is catered for every year, as I really feel that this event has changed the experience of Hobart's winters, and the community's indulgence in it.  

Jam Jar

I have been to the Jam Jar a few times now, a couple of times for coffee with cake, and a few times for breakfast, enjoying an exquisite take on french toast or smokey cod omelette.  Each time I have enjoyed the food and atmosphere overall, a dark and rustic feel brought about by the decor of second hand vintage furniture and low hanging art-deco light shades.  This place is dog friendly, as there are always dogs outside in the courtyard, so you can bring your pooch if you have one. In our most recent visit we decided to have lunch. With a couple of glasses of sparkling, we had the trio of wonton dumplings, which came with a sour and vinegary sauce. Each dumpling was different, one being seafood, one chicken and one vegetarian. Neither one tasted the same and exhibited its own individuality, accompanied by a lightly steamed bok choy, refreshingly crunchy and retaining its bright green colour.  This dish demonstrated a capable and enthusiastic chef at the helm and although it was on the light side for a lunch meal I would highly recommend it, if you were to order something else, or just after a light snack.  We also had a ceasar salad, which was fresh and classically prepared, although I would have liked to have a little more anchovy in the flavourings.  Check it out, located in Battery Point, making it central and quaint.

Jam Jar lounge on Urbanspoon  

Chatterbox

For a quick bite at dinner chatterbox is as good as any other place.  Offering basic dishes inspired by South East Asian, Singapore and Malaysian cuisine.  I stopped in here with a friend one night as it recently received a favourable review in last weeks Mercury. I had a spicy prawn laksa which I must say was delicious, I wouldn't say 'the best in Hobart' as claimed, but very creamy, sweet and spicy from the fusion of coconut cream and chilies. It was a generous portion bulked up by thick egg noodles and fat juicy prawns.  I'm keen to go back and try their soya duck noodle soup, along other classic soups such as wonton and tom yum.  As well as a modest selection of soups to choose from, you can also get the typical dishes found in any bain-marie Asian restaurant. There are plenty of places like this around Hobart, some are better than others, specialising more in one thing than the other. However, Chatterbox is simple, cheap and convenient, offering nice food so why not?!

Chatterbox on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 20 June 2013

The Picnic Basket, Taroona

Another great little spot to stop at while touring the Channel Highway on a lazy Sunday.  For such a lovely suburb as Taroona, I am continuously surprised that there is very little there, given its demographic and size.  So when Picnic Basket opened, I was relieved to see this place had not been entirely abandoned. Picnic Basket is a quaint and trendy bakery offering a range of pies, artisan breads, slices, sweet treats and breakfast/lunch, including gluten free.  They also stock a modest range of locally produced goods and garden vegetables.  I know someone who sells their organic garlic there.  Its run by vibrant young people who offer great friendly service, and owned by experienced bakers who trained in Europe. Whether you're touring on your bike or driving through, try stopping at this suburban oasis for coffee and lunch. They are open every day and located at the old servo on the corner of Jenkins street on the Channel highway.

http://taroona.tas.au/picnic-basket


The Picnic Basket on Urbanspoon

Jackman and Mcross

Jackman and Mcross is a Hobart institution, having been around for a long time, with three great locations to choose from.  Jackman may have been one of the first trendy bakeries to offer good quality food since super bakery chains slowly gobbled up and bought out smaller competitors. They have a generous reputation, in giving the bread they don't sell to charity, and their employees to take home, always good to know someone who works there! Their bread can be found in most deli style grocers and is often the choice of many cafes and restaurants. All establishments are set out in older stylish places set in picturesque surroundings.  Whether this is on purpose or not, I don't know, but it certainly creates a relaxed and timeless atmosphere. My father was the prior owner of the old bread van Jackman drove around, an old Morris, which we nick named 'Noddy' due to its colouring.  He ended up selling it to Jackman, and I remember being appalled when I saw it in its new get up of black and blue.  However, I have never been disappointed with this place, continuously satisfied with a feeling of bakery decadence when eating anything from the menu.  Apart from bread, they offer a range of breakfast, lunch and sweet items, so be prepared for a little indecisiveness, as it all looks so great. Jackman and Mcross bakeries are located main road New Town, Hampton Rd. Battery Point and Victoria St. Hobart.

Jackman & McRoss Bakeries on Urbanspoon     

Back to my roots- Polish Borscht

Now that winter has set in, with endless grey rainy days determined to bring on the winter sniffles, I was inspired to rekindle my connection to my Polish ancestry and make a hearty beetroot Borscht.  Armed with kilos of yummy organic beetroot purchased from the Melville st. farm-gate market, I set about preparing my soup, using a Jewish recipe that was aired on SBS food by the lovely and rustic chef Ramona Koval.  There are many variations of borscht, clear, thick, beef, but I have found this one easy, and delicious.

Vibrant colours of beetroot and carrot, once boiled

1kg of beetroot, peeled, I also added a couple of large purple carrots, boiled in chicken stock or water with a squeeze of lemon until tender.  Drain beetroot and cut up roughly return to pot with another squeeze of lemon, a bunch of chopped dill, 1 chopped onion, 3 or so potatoes, peeled and diced, 1tsp of sugar, and pepper and salt to taste. Cover with water and cook again for half and hour, season again if needed. Puree.

Now, you can serve borscht chilled or hot, depending on the time of the year, with a dollop of natural yoghurt or sour cream and a sprinkling of fresh dill.  It goes well with heavy Eastern European style breads, such as a dark rye (such as Jackman and Mcross).  Traditionally borscht is also served with boiled potatoes, dumplings or perogies, a stuffed dumpling made from unleavened dough.  Enjoy this hearty and healthy winter's soup and relish in its striking and glorious colour.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Pigeon Hole

A trendy urban cafe in outer West Hobart, what we Hobartian's refer to as 'so Melbourne...', sits at the bottom of Molle street on Goulburn.  Don't worry its not wanky, this place has some of the best baked goods in town, with a focus on using seasonal, and ethically produced products, represented by their constantly changing blackboard menu. Its a great place for something easy and quick without sacrificing the quality of the food.  They have received a lot of acclaim since opening, with many food writers and critics giving them the thumbs up.  Among their delicious range of baked goods are their rustic sourdoughs and baguettes, which are absolutely gorgeous, and also found at Salamanca and Melville Markets among other deli style stores.  Get there, but be prepared for a crowded situation, as this is one of Hobart's favourite spots.


http://pigeonholecafe.com.au/

      Pigeon Hole on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Myu Easy Bites

One cold winter's eve, as we perused the icy streets of Hobart for something new to try, we came across a small establishment out in New Town.  Peering through the window we were invited in by a delicious aroma of garlic and ginger. By now you're wondering what the hell is she going on about and cut to the chase!? I'm talking about the cute and cosy Myu Easy Bites, the home of good wholesome Malaysian cuisine.  The place is a small cosy establishment, run by a young couple.  It has a very relaxed and casual vibe brought about by the new young mum with her baby strapped to her back as she serves up bowls of delicious Laksa.  I have tried just about everything on the menu, which is modest but suited to the size of the kitchen. All meals here are served in generous portions and priced appropriately, entrees are big enough to share as well.

To boast about a couple of meals; The Rendang curry is absolutely delicious, served traditionally dry with dried fish and egg garnish, allowing all flavours to melt together beautifully, refreshed with sliced cucumber.  Also my favourite  dish, the Hainanese chicken, is so deliciously infused with garlic and ginger it leaves a flavour imprint in your foody memory, enticing you until your next visit.  The Radish cakes served as an entree come with a delicious spicy sauce infused with five spice, as do the crispy beef spiced pancakes, a must try.  I highly recommend giving this place a try for something a bit different, it has now become one of my favourite places for take away. Located on main road New Town, its a small place, open Wednesday to Saturday for dinner and lunch.


Myu Easy Bites on Urbanspoon       

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Miyabi

The loud chatter of diners squished into the upper-floor of a North Hobart terraced restaurant, brings back memories of my time spent in Japan.  Miyabi aims to bring an 'authentic' Japanese experience to Hobart diners, combining traditional and typical drinking food found in any izakaya with energetic service.  Japanese waiters greet you with Japanese and the establishment is cosily decorated in iconic Japanese symbols and flare.  With dim lighting and busy atmosphere I was caught up in energy, ordering Asahi beer and warm sake with a range of delicious foods.  Japanese drinking establishments like these pride themselves on offering a relaxed environment where one can unwind the stresses of a days work by drinking and eating late into the night.  The selection of food is extensive, including delicious sliced sashimi, nigiri, yakatori, tofu, okonomiyaki and the list of favourites goes on.  The style of eating and drinking here is similar to tapas in Spanish cuisine, ordering different things to experience a range of flavours as you drink your night away.  I was really impressed with this place, enjoying a great start to a night out on the town.  Above all this place is great value for money, located on the restaurant strip of North Hobart under 'sushi and Crepes'. Get there and book ahead for dinner, this place is busy and vibrant.


Miyabi on Urbanspoon

        

Churros cafe, Island Markets, Moonah

This is a Spanish delight hidden in the suburban warehouse of Island Markets.  This place is by no means comfy, trendy or authentically presented.  However, find the energy to put up with the chilly air and faint smell of fish from the markets, and you will certainly enjoy the cuisine brought to you by the stars of of Hobart's former Spanish restaurant Cisco's. These ladies bring to you sweet treats such as Churros, generously served with chocolate sauce and cinnamon sugar to classics such as Paella.  Also on certain Friday nights the place comes alive with Spanish dancers, bringing to you the experience of eating out in Spain.  If you are inclined to do some shopping out at Island Markets, check out Churros for a no fuss easy meal or sweet treat.  Remember the experience here is in the food.  

http://www.islandmarkets.com.au/vendors/churros_cafe.php


Churros Cafe and Coffee Shop on Urbanspoon

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:
           
http://www.elgaarfarm.com.au/





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

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:

http://farmgatemarket.com.au/

 © 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.

http://marmaladecafetas.com.au/



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.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Island Olive Grove Tasmania

Tasmania possesses an abundance of exceptional produce, although embraced lovingly by locals, it is also awarded with international recognition and prestige. Island Olive Grove fall most gracefully into this league with a modest range of marinated and prepared olive products.  I remember when they first appeared at Salamanca Market in the mid 90's, even though I was a young tacker I possessed a taste for new and exotic flavours.  As the years have gone by, Island Olive Grove have expanded, now exporting their products yet maintaining quality that is intrinsic to Tasmanian gourmet produce. I have known people to try their classic olives and not thought much of them due to the intensity of flavour, as a result of using dried herbs and spices.  However, I have found the intensity of the olives in their herby brine delightful.  I particularly like their spicy black olives and plump kalamatas, a must for any robust antipasto platter. Olive Grove also offer marinated fetta cheese, which I personally don't enjoy, as I prefer the softer Danish varieties.  As well as this Olive Grove make an olive tapenade/pesto, flavoured either 'Classic', 'Chilli', 'Port' or 'Herb', and make the classic by-product of olives, our favourite virgin olive oil varieties.  Situated outside of Hobart on way to Richmond, Island Olive Grove is part of the Riversdale Estate winery which also offers accommodation. You can find their products in most delicatessens, as well as many gourmet outlets. If you are stuck and don't want to take a trip out to the winery you can order online off their website.

Here it is:

http://www.islandolivegrove.com/


© Tasmaniasfeast 2013.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Sea Eagle Seafoods

This little business is situated at Eagle Hawk Neck on the majestic Tasman Peninsula. They are family run and dedicated to sustainable local fishing, by only taking what they need and releasing the by-catch. As with other proponents for sustainable fishing, such as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall from 'River Cottage', Sea Eagle Seafoods promote the use of local and unpopular varieties of fish rather than species that have been popularised by the market, costing the earth of it's precious deep sea resources. Species such as mullet, mackerel, couta and pilchards, often tossed aside for bait or pet food, are of high quality flavour and full of healthy fatty acids due to their oil content. All their products are free from nasty ingredients and use the freshest quality fish that they source themselves. I have tried many of their pates, including the flat-head one, which is absolutely delicious. I was skeptical at first, thinking that it was sacrilege to put flat-head into a pate, flat-head being my favourite fish having spent many summer afternoons with dad and friends fishing for it, cooking it right there and then in butter and letting it mellow in its natural flavours of the sea.

Alongside this, Sea Eagle Seafoods offer pickled and smoked products, such as Tasmanian octopus in a sweet marinade, exhibiting absolutely divine classic flavours that will accompany any platter of pickles and cheeses. I love their products and I am extremely supportive of their aims and goals. I was particularly pleased when they came out with their own rollmops, especially after a ban to import them to Tasmania due to the salmon industry meant that all us eastern European food lovers had to go without or rely on our friends to smuggle them into the state. Although not the same, they exhibit tasty qualities that promote the flow of knowledge and ideas into locally provided resources. Sea Eagle Seafoods' products can be found in many small delicatessens, fish markets and local grocers, such as Hill Street Store. If you are ever out Tasman way, you will find many of their products at the Murdunna store, alongside many other local products. Happy fishing.


Sea Eagle Mackerel Rollmops


Here is an article from 'The Mercury' explaining more about them and the challenges their industry faces:

http://www.themercury.com.au/article/2009/07/08/83285_food-wine.html


© Tasmaniasfeast 2013.
    

Westend Pumphouse

I was apprehensive at first, having had a quiet coffee here in the morning with a 25 min wait, I was expecting service in the evening to be slow and disappointing.  However, I was put in my judgmental place when service was swift and professional.  Our waiter had energy and was professionally cool and collected during service, even though he possessed extensive knowledge of the food and produce on offer he failed to tell us at the beginning any changes to the menu, making it awkward when both first and second preferences were unavailable.  But such is life and lucky for us there were plenty more delicious options to fill the gap.

I was a little disappointed with the baba ganoush, always a hit and miss dish with the humble egg-plant, and the corn bread served with it was a little greasy, as it was more like a fried corn batter.  The crispy chicken with hot sauce was tasty and spicy, presented as a bar snack with the sauce in a little bottle, a perfect starter to stimulate the digestive system.  I ordered the sardines with rye and lemon, which I was slightly hesitant as I imagined a nightmare of tinned sardines on toast, but again put in my place with some lovely cured sardines that tasted like my childhood favorite roll-mops. Sadly importation to Tasmania is now banned as a consequence of the salmon industry.  Still Tasmanian producers are coming up with their solution by curing local fish. Anyway back to the 'Westend', served with the sardines, came some lovely rye bread and fresh lemon which cut through the oiliness of the fish, providing a classic salty, sour flavour atop the rustic, earthy notes of the rye.

For mains I had the wallaby fillet cooked medium-rare and served with chimichurri, my first time tasting the Argentinian sauce.  The pangrattatto, a fancy term for chunky bread crumbs, unfortunately resembled the dregs of a deep fryer, however, delicately scattered around the centerpiece were absolutely delicious! There was a mystery sauce, like a  savoury mousse, which took me a little while to pick the flavour as it was so delicate and subtle.  I am making a guess here that it was horseradish, absolutely delicious with the rareness of the game and the hints of preserved lemon in the chimichurri. The Pork chop was exceptionally grilled remaining succulent without drying and the fatty side crisp.  It was served with a fresh coleslaw salad lovingly made with all the classic ingredients, along with a pineapple pickle, a perfect accompaniment to the sweetness of the pork meat and the apple in the slaw.  Our meals were a perfect size, not too big, rich or too little, I was very satisfied with the presentation and assembly of aesthetics and flavours of the dishes.

The Pumphouse is also renowned for its exceptional coffee, and I must say it is very good, offering different roasts for different tastes and experiences.  Alongside this, they offer an extensive wine list, promoting Tasmanian wines (a must for any island state restaurant and bar), offering it by the litre if you wish, alongside an abundance of beer varieties and cocktails for something a bit extravagant.  The restaurant is set out with couched seating and tables for cafe and bar use towards the front, where you can relax and enjoy company, towards the back is a more formal dining area with set tables.  Our table unfortunately had a sticky residue, but we were not sure if this was a non-slip element to the finish of the table, as the waiter seemed to be skilled in lifting up the plates without them catching, and the table itself seemed clean, interesting as I have never seen this before.

The term 'westend' usually implies a classy, and expensive experience, taken from London's more ritzy and glamorous entertainment scene.  Although elements of the Westend Pumphouse inspire this, especially the food, without the expense, the building itself does not exhibit this, having exposed air-ducting, wires, walls cleverly made from recycled milk cartons and untreated timber beams.  Being converted from an old car garage, the Westend Pumphouse fits into a relaxed urban warehouse vibe, enhanced cleverly by opening the front right up in an attempt to capture the energy of the street.  Unfortunately Murray street is not buzzing with urban vibe, dominated by car traffic and views of chemist warehouse.  Whatever, Westend is conveniently located a stones throw from the CBD, with reasonable prices, and relaxed atmosphere I highly recommend trying Westend Pumphouse, for food and drinks.                                      

Here is their link:

http://www.pumphouse.com.au/


The Westend Pumphouse on Urbanspoon

© Tasmaniasfeast 2013.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Tynwald Estate

It's always good exploring your own backyard, and deciding to do so my partner and I went on a weekend adventure to Tynwald Estate located in the picturesque upper Derwent Valley.  Tynwald is a grand colonial building of the 1830s and has been impressively restored and maintained since then.  It offers B&B style accommodation with various rooms presenting in a mish-mash of colonial style decor and early 20th century antiques that will transport you back in time.  The 'Lachlan' room, in which we stayed, had its own en suite and was fitted out in a light green floral motif, invoking a sense of theatrical quality fit for an Agatha Christie 'Miss Marple'.  The establishment is run by a lovely couple who do all the work by themselves.  They are very friendly providing a warm welcome when you arrive and are more than happy to provide you with what you need.  An added bonus is that they are both qualified chefs, and provide excellent fare which is served in the intimate dining space in one of the front rooms.

The food combined contemporary and traditional flare with the flavours literally bursting in your mouth, exquisitely showing off what can be achieved with our local produce.  We started with a taster plate, comprising of smoked salmon rosettes and house made caraway lavosh and Cwikla, duck liver pate with fresh red currants, spicy harissa, sweet potato and chickpea salad, and pork rillettes served with slivers of polski orgorki.  For mains I had pork fillet, generously dressed in a rich creamy mushroom sauce, served with goats cheese souffle and fresh garden vegetables of green and butter beans, potato and dutch carrot.  My partner had a Chinese inspired cinnamon and orange marinated roast duck breast which was served on lightly steamed wong buk , bean sprouts and snow peas with a spicy plum sauce.  Both meals were outstanding, although I did find my sauce a little rich and the size of the meal quite large, but very enjoyable over all.  Due to the size of our meals we decided to opt out of dessert and go straight for coffee and petit fours.

The next day breakfast was served in the decoratively country style kitchen quarters with continental provisions of toast, home made preserves, yoghurt, and muesli with freshly grated apple.  There was also opportunity for a cooked breakfast for those seeking a getaway fry-up.  The coffee is excellent, strong and pungent and I was very impressed with the preserved fruits and jams.  If you are looking for something a bit different, are relaxed about character and impressed with originality I would recommend Tynwald, whether you stay for a night or just choose to dine, you will be pleasantly surprised and much appreciative of the efforts these two put into your experience.

Check out their site:

http://www.tynwaldtasmania.com/


Tynwald Willow Bend Estate on Urbanspoon

© Tasmaniasfeast 2013.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

A Fiery Ginger Beer

This is a non-alcoholic beer, and has worked out really well.  The recipe is simple to follow with very little mess.  The result is a warming, gingery drink, with a light bubble for a thirst quenching effect.  I use 2ltr plastic bottles to guard against explosive consequences and grating the ginger works better than chopping it. Enjoy!



Here's the recipe from River Cottage:

http://www.channel4.com/4food/recipes/chefs/hugh-fearnley-whittingstall/ginger-beer-recipe

© Tasmaniasfeast 2013.

Rin- Japanese

Tucked away on Harrington street is the cute and pokey Japanese restaurant Rin. Exhibiting the essence of Japan , you will be very pleased with this establishment providing authentic, and fresh flavours imported from the eastern paradise.  Specials are made almost daily and the menu has a nice selection of goodies.  I was absolutely in heaven here, with delicious rich flavours of gyoza, tempura, tamago omelette, salmon, tofu and shiitake mushrooms.  Prices are fair, and the effort put into the preparation and presentation of the food is in true style, simple and clean, in order to emphasise the fresh, subtle flavours of Japanese cuisine. The staff are gorgeous and helpful, and even though the establishment is small and a little cramped, I felt at ease, while enjoying my food.  The only complaint is that they are not open enough, closing at 3pm, closed in the evenings and on the weekends.  So one lunch break plan a trip to Rin and support this well needed arrival of Japanese cuisine to Hobart, takeaways available as well.






© Tasmaniasfeast 2013.

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:
http://journeytoforever.org/farm_library/QR/QRToC.html  

© 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:

http://www.burgergotsoul.com/menu.html



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:

http://www.brookfieldmargate.com/

© 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.

http://www.cygnetfolkfestival.org/

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.

http://www.silverhillfisch.com.au/   

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.

http://cradoc-hill.com.au/   

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:
http://www.lenah.com.au/index.php    

© 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:

http://themillonmorrison.com.au/
  

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:

http://www.evandaletasmania.com/
 

© Tasmaniasfeast 2013.