Book signing – Ultimate Slow Cooker at Big W stores

I’ll be doing signings of my latest book “Ultimate Slow Cooker” (all new recipes) tomorrow, April 22nd, at Big W stores in and around Hobart. Times are as follows:

KIngston – 11am

Rosny – 12.30pm

Glenorchy – 2pm

Hope to see you there!

Melbourne Food and Wine Festival

This year son Alistair and I were privileged to be asked to participate in the Family Dinner function at the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. Such an amazing Festival, fantastic ambience with incredible chefs everywhere.

The dish we prepared on the evening of April 3rd was Charcoal BBQ Chicken. The rub for the chicken was reminiscent of Paprika Chicken, a family favourite of decades – only a step upwards for sure. The cooked chicken portions were then tossed in a tasty Peach Barbecue Sauce.

Silik Pak was one of the accompaniments – made from pepitas, tomatillos, onions, garlic, lime juice and more.

Here from the Derwent Valley came Mangel Wurtzels, from which we developed a preserve especially for the event – Pickled Mangel Wurtzel slices.

Matched to all of this was delicious fried bread. The dish was very well received on the night, to say the very least.

They were a wonderful couple of days, certainly not soon to be forgotten.

(Photos by Daniel Mahon)


Working with those Wild Wet Hops

We’ve been experimenting with those wild green (wet) hops. The beer was ready for bottling within a very short space of time. A little taste of the liquid seems promising – a hint of hops but not too much.

20170317_135024 Of course there are the dregs from the base of the barrel (known as trub). We poured these into jars for experimental baking sometime soon.


But then again, no time like the present and little to no patience, so I made a batch of spelt bread immediately. Its only raising agent was to be a cupful of the wet hop beer barrel’s dregs.

I was amazed how quickly the bread rose with a very promising aroma of hops emanating from the dough. All in all about 4 hours later from start to finish, the bread is baked. I only wish that I could convey the aroma in the house-  simply, hoppily stunning.


Non-alcoholic sparkling elderflower and also a batch of sparkling rhubarb needed to be bottled off as well. Just look at the beautiful pink liquid that has picked up the colour of the rhubarb! Both of theses drinks should be ready for a function here in the not too distant future.

Such lovely seasonal produce, the results of a little foraging in the Valley and a few simple pickings from the garden.



On a not so happy note, my rhubarb wine did not fare well I’m afraid, and went the way of the compost heap. However, Robert’s version is much better and was siphoned off this evening.

Another day of preserving tomorrow – lots to do!

High Tea Class Today

The lovely people in the class this morning rustled up a little High Tea together.

Good company, some small bite sized treats of the sweet and savoury kind, made for a most enjoyable morning for Robert (chief washer-upper) and I……

hi t 2hi t

Hops of the Valley

Foraged fresh today from the banks of the Derwent River – wonderful organic hops! Robert has spent the morning most productively.


There’s more than enough for making yeast for the bread during the months to come, as well as ample for brewing the beer.

The aroma is astounding incidentally…..

Autumn Produce – Rhubarb Wine and Quince Cheese

We’ve been given some lovely quinces, the first of the season. Time to make quince cheese then. The now much-used recipe is in “A Year on the Farm”. I’ve given a table there for making the cheese in the microwave, so much less messy and far quicker than the stovetop method.

Quinces 2017Quince cheese recipeInterestingly, same quinces, same microwave, same quantities – yet one batch took a minute or two longer than the other. Just be guided by the colour – it’s done when it reaches that deep red or amber hue.

Normally I pour it into small containers but today used trays and will cut into squares to serve and share.

quince cheese finished

I’m in the process of making a little quince jelly too – autumn would not be the same without the aroma of quince jelly in the air.

Any pieces of quince that need to be cut away, I cook up for the chooks – today it’s along with some peels and cores of nashi fruit, leftover from making a fruit compote. Our feathered girls especially love a touch of coddling moth in there – as Peter Cundall would say – they gobble them up like lollies.

quince jelly plus chook mash

Our rhubarb has grown abundantly, so we are also making rhubarb wine. As always, there is a debate about which recipe to use when starting something new. As no compromise could be reached, Robert and I are each making a different version and we will see who gets the better result. It’s a work in progress at present.

Robert chopped a mountain of rhubarb, then made his version (the first you see here, with sugar but no water added), while mine is an entirely different beast with water already included but as yet no sugar – in fact none for 5 days at least.

Robert cutting rhubarb

Cookbook vs recipes

Rhubarb wine robertsally rhubarb wine

Now to the blood plums a neighbor just delivered to our door – plum and port paste maybe….. I’ve already made lots of cordial syrup with some I had before. It’s a day for making fruit cheeses and wine I think.

Last evening another neighbour brought us some wonderful tomatoes from his garden. So hard to decide what to do with them…. semi-dry I think. Their flavour should be astounding – another addition to the cheese platters to come.

All-in all not a bad way to spend an early autumn day, here in the Valley of Love.

Ultimate Slow Cooker



The official launch will take place at Fullers Bookshop in Hobart on April 11th at 5.30pm.

In the meantime, the book (with all new recipes, more than 100 of them), due for release on March 20th, can be pre-ordered online at:


Tasmanian Pepperberries – black gold!

Yes, black gold indeed!  We planted Tasmanian pepperberries outside the cooking school after the potoroos, wallabies and possums considered the vegetable garden we originally planted there were part of a lovely smorgasbord for their enjoyment. They are not so keen to feast on the pepperberries.

20170228_094836This is the first year the bushes have produced so prolifically. The ones drying on trays represent only about a quarter of what needs to be picked from just a few bushes.

20170228_095015I’ll make some pepper berry gin, but mostly dry them to use in all sorts of dishes. One of my favourite things to do is to grind them once dried, and sprinkle over bread rolls before baking. Simply sumptuous.

The leaves can be dried also and used similarly. Definitely one of the best things we ever planted.

Koonya Garlic Festival Recipes

Yesterday was spent at a really special event on the Tasman Peninsula at the Koonya Garlic festival.

In the afternoon I did, with trusty and competent assistance of Tino Carnevale, a cooking demonstration.

I’ve had requests for the recipes for the Kasoundi and also the Garlic and Ginger Seafood Sauce that accompanied the fish, so here they are.  The recipe for the batter is also provided.


375ml  cider or white vinegar

20 cloves garlic

2.5cm piece of green ginger

250g long red or green chillies, stalk end removed and each cut into 3 pieces

2kg ripe tomatoes, chopped

1½ tablespoons of mustard seeds

375ml oil such as mild flavoured olive, peanut or sunflower

One and a half tablespoons of turmeric

4 tablespoons cumin powder

1¼ cups sugar

1 tablespoon salt

Peel the garlic and ginger, then place in a food processor with the chillies.

Blend well on high speed until well pureed.

Place in a large saucepan or jam pan with the rest of the ingredients. Bring to the boil, stirring, then simmer for approximately two hours or until desired consistency is reached.

Pour into warm sterilised jars and seal immediately.

Ginger and Garlic Sauce

1 tablespoon oil (such as peanut or rice bran)

2 tablespoons grated fresh green ginger root

4 cloves garlic, crushed

2 teaspoons cornflour

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup vinegar

½ cup water

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 dessertspoon white wine

3 teaspoons sweet chilli sauce

½ teaspoon salt

Heat oil over medium heat, then sauté garlic and ginger in this for one minute. Combine the rest of the ingredients and add to garlic and ginger.

Stir quickly over heat until the sauce begins to thicken.

Simmer, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes.

Auntie Pearl’s Batter

1 cup self raising flour

¼ to ½ teaspoon salt

Good pinch of bi-carbonate of soda

Cold water to mix

Mix the flour, salt and bi-carbonate of soda into a bowl.

Stir in enough cold water to a coating consistency

Berry or Blackcurrant syrup – recipe as discussed in Jams and preserves talkback

During the talkback last Saturday on ABC radio Tasmania, there was a request for this recipe.  This is so delicious and nutritious.  It can be used over ice cream also, s a topping, or even to flavour it if you make your own.  It’s an excellent flavouring for yoghurt too.

Berry or Blackcurrant Cordial Syrup

3kg berries or blackcurrants

3 litres water


2 level teaspoons citric or tartaric

100ml white or cider vinegar

Place the berries and water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer very gently for 10 minutes. Strain through a colander, and the resulting liquid through a kitchen sieved lined with a layer of muslin (even a clean tea towel will do).

For each cup of the resulting liquid add 1 cup of sugar. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat immediately to a bare simmer and cook 2 minutes more. Stir in tartaric acid, pour into sterilised bottles and seal immediately.

The cordial will keep at room temperature but in warmer weather or climates it would be best to keep it in the fridge. In either case, refrigerate the bottle once it is opened.

HINT – very occasionally the cordial syrup will tend to want to set.  Therefore, it’s best to use wider mouthed bottles.  If you find when you come to use the cordial that tis has happened, simply place the bottle, lid removed, in the microwave on High is 20 second bursts.

Another trick to help prevent this happening is to use riper fruit.