Kitchen Garden Guides

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Raw milk in South Australia

I received this email and hope you can help to get South Australians you know to add their impetus to allowing cow share-holders access to raw milk from the cow. If any state can do this, it will be SA. Please do what you can.



As an update to the situation in South Australia, I have been informed by Senator Mark Parnell that he is intending to introduce legislation into the South Australian parliament that would effectively ensure that share-herd operations are a legal means for people to access unprocessed milk.

This I suspect will be the first time an Australian parliament will have seen legislation that tries to ensure a legal avenue for people to have direct access to unprocessed milk.
It is important that those who support this cause make their voice heard now.

If you live in South Australia then write to your local representatives. If you don't, write to anyone who has anything to do with the place - like your batty old aunt who barracks for the Adelaide Crows, or your friend whose parents had their honeymoon in the Flinders Ranges!

Gordon Rouse

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

An autumn snapshot of food, friends and ingenuity

The weather has been glorious; crisp, Autumn mornings followed by calm, sunny days. I rarely go out for the day but I was invited to a pizza making lunch so I headed off to see what I might see.

imageBob built the pizza oven entirely from second hand bits and pieces from local tip-shops, garage sales and salvage yards…. there’s nothing like a man with a ute, in rural southern Tasmania, to smell a bargain!



imageOut in the countryside here it is impossible to grow vegetables, and many ornamental plants, without protection from wildlife such as wallabies and possums. They don’t just nibble at ground level, as rabbits do, they eat everything, even the bark of many fruit trees, and possums break the branches as they clamber up your new orchard plantings. So, Bob also built a wonderful, netted vegetable garden and glass house from his bargain hunting rounds. And that is where Janet grew all the toppings for our pizzas.

imageThe pizza oven is housed in what I call a hut, but without walls, nestled prettily in the garden. Tasmanian weather can change suddenly and this well thought out hut gives shelter without closing you in from the peaceful garden setting.

It all looks like a million dollars, but land is cheap here and Bob built everything, even the house, and together Janet and Bob have established  the gardens with thought and hard work, without outlaying much money.

First, Janet made the dough and let it rest for an hour…..
Then came the home-grown toppings and into the oven it went…
Janet and Bob checked everything was right in the oven…..
A few minutes later it was ready to eat!
It didn’t take long to disappear….
I think my favourite was the olives and roasted capsicum….

The 20 minute drive back to Cygnet takes my breath away, every time. Wherever you go, there is water….river or sea….


There are boats in every nook and cranny…..

One minute it is calm and sunny…
but the weather can change so quickly….

How I found such paradise and how I met such wonderful people, is still a mystery to me.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Tasmania in winter….

View from Waterfall’s Cafe, Mt. Field National Park, Tasmania…. so, why wouldn’t you come to Tasmania in winter?

Photo: WARNING... Images may INSPIRE!!<br /><br />To celebrate the launch of Waterfalls Gallery on the 1st June I'll be sharing some seriously amazing images to entice you all to come and visit us here at Waterfalls Cafe Mt Field National Park.<br /><br />How could you not be inspired by the Tarn Shelf here at Mount Field?

And the hills are alive….. with peace, and green and cosy fires….

(from Discover Tasmania)

Photo: A picture perfect morning in Deloraine. Almost makes you want to jump in and go for a swim...

And Tuesday Soup Nights at the Red Velvet Lounge in Cygnet…. free and warm and welcoming…. Thanks Steve!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Food was the problem, now it is the solution

A very concise, well spoken and clear explanation for how food is changing the world for the better.

When you realise that transporting food all over the world produces as much as 30% of the green house gases and simply by growing it closer to home we can do huge good, for the hungry and the obese, the earth and the seas, the future of all of us…. it really makes you sigh with relief, roll up your sleeves and want to join in.

Foraging Workshop at Birchs Bay

Channel Living with Paulette Whitney
Saturday the 1st of June             10am until 12:00 noon
Take this opportunity to learn more about the edible plants, both native and introduced, that are growing all around you.  Paulette Whitney will share her extensive knowledge of these plants in a foraging field trip at Birchs Bay.

Paulette, a qualified horticulturalist, and her husband run their business Provenance Growers they supply many innovative restaurants and have a regular stall at the Farm Gate Market, where they share their passion for utilising little appreciated plants.
According to Paulette;
‘Foraging refers to the gathering of wild grown food, rather than intentionally raising and harvesting it.  It enables new and intense flavours to find their way onto our plates, and forgotten foods to be rediscovered.  Traditional Tasmanian foods give us a window into our history, help to humanise Tasmania’s past.  Weeds, prepared artfully to reveal their innate deliciousness and to allow us to enjoy their nutritional benefits, are fabulous foraged foods.’
An excerpt from Paulette’s blog; Provenance Growers where she shares some of her knowledge and experience with Grey Saltbush.
Grey Saltbush, or Atriplex cinerea, is in the goosefoot family, Chenopdiaceae, along with lots of other valuable edibles; silverbeet, beetroot, quinoa and spinach. Even closer edible allies share its genus, Atriplex, which includes orach and fat hen.
I can't find many references to Aboriginal uses of it, please tell us if you know any more, but in the early days of white settlement it was depended upon as a vegetable. From what I can gather of its history of use, there was a terrible famine in Tasmania when supply ships failed to arrive. Grey Saltbush took on great importance as a famine food. It was eaten boiled, and it is still recommended today that it be cooked before eating.
The most delicious use it has been put to in my kitchen was to as a covering for a leg of lamb. I'd put the lamb in too hot an oven, and placed a bunch of saltbush on top of it to protect it while it cooked. A great example of necessity being the mother of invention, we threw away the sprigs on top that were burnt, and underneath found the most delicious leaves that had soaked up a little lamb fat, and had become like crispy, lambey, vegetabley potato crisps.
Cost: $25 children free
Plus Channel Living Membership if not a member: $12 single or $20 per family
(All participants must be members of Channel Living to be covered by our insurance)
Email: to register or
Phone Cath Earnshaw 62921032 for more information

Limited numbers
What to Bring:
·         Photos or examples of plants that you would like identified (extensive range of reference books available for plant identification)
·         Water for drinking
·         Warm work clothes
·         Sturdy boots or gumboots and gloves

Friday, May 17, 2013

May in my garden

The autumn light is a delight for photography and I have been spending a bit more time in the garden again, since the weather has been so wonderfully cool and sunny. What happens is that, by the end of an afternoon in the garden, I have made all sorts of plans for what I will do the next day.

Then, the next day comes. I saunter out into the garden, grab my tools bag on the way and before I know it I have ditched yesterday’s wonderful plans and am launching into another, never-before-even-considered project. With gusto and enthusiasm I work away, searching out the bits and pieces needed, from every nook and cranny of my fabulous acre.

Today I took to the area under the oak tree. For 3 years I have tried to improve the soil and tried to grow various tough vegetables such as broad beans and then sunchokes. All have more or less failed to thrive. The soil remains dry, hard and barren, even after applications of compost and straw as well as constant summer watering. I wish I had a ‘before’ photo but it was never worthy of any photos and I did not expect today to bring such satisfaction that I would look back and wish for such a photo.

But one thing leads to another and it happened that the beautiful terracotta pots I brought from Adelaide a couple of years ago, which had been stacked in a corner until I had decided how to use them or sell them, were shifted yesterday, to make way for something else. As I came outside this morning they immediately caught my eye and thoughts swirled around until one took root. So obvious, in retrospect. Where the soil is hopeless, put pots.

In the back of my mind I have wanted to have somewhere in my vegetable garden to sit and look out over it…… a sunny, winter coffee corner….. out of the wind…. and it all gelled today, under the oak tree.


I removed everything that was there…. which wasn’t much…. wheelbarrowed in some poplar mulch and a few stepping stones (both from the tree I had removed last week)…. dotted the pots about…. installed a bench from elsewhere in the garden…. made a little table (also from the poplar) and I thought it looked quite nice…..

I went back to my proper Tuesday plan which was to dig up and transplant dozens of self-sown leeks…

Then, part way through that job, I had an urge to go back to the oak tree and use the seat for my coffee break….

Looking at those pretty pots was nice but they needed filling with plants….. hmmmm…. two parts of my brain collided as I remembered I had some seedlings ready to go, in my hot house.



So, I planted them all into the pots…. lovely winter things like coriander, chervil, garlic chives, bok choy, frilly mustard and shungiku.

Liz came around to collect her milk and I showed her, as I knew she’d love it too, but she was way more ecstatic than I even imagined. Isn’t it lovely when someone else sees things the way you do!



Leeks, from tiny bulbils in the soil
imageI dug up the clumps and washed all the soil off, trimmed the leaves and roots and separated them out…
image… then wrapped the bundles in damp newspaper, ready to give away. imageTray of winter seedlings needing a home!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Buying Meat in Tasmania

I hesitate, with my fingers hovering above the keyboard, thinking how to launch into this post about meat. You see, meat is a very emotive topic, worldwide, these days. Animal welfare, human health, peak oil, river contamination, water usage etc etc etc etc, are all hot topics. There is not just one answer; there are complexities, often not realised and sometimes misunderstood, by people in different countries and even within countries.
In South Australia I ate only feral meat. There are a lot of non-native animals there, that have become established in the wild. They cause massive erosion, eat vegetation down to the bare, hot, dry, rocky soil and destroy food and habitat for wild animals. So, shooters were allowed licenses to hunt them. The animals included goats, deer, rabbits, pigs and even camel. When a shop started up selling this feral meat, shot on the hoof, I was probably their first customer and shopped there exclusively from then on. In doing so, I was saving the terribly fragile, semi-arid landscape (mostly of the Flinders Ranges and north) and the native animals that call it home.
Here, in rural, southern Tasmania there are wild rabbits and that’s about all. Neither of the butchers in Cygnet sell local or organic meat!!! So, a quandary existed for me when I moved here and I mostly ate locally shot wallaby because at least it was local and wasn’t from a an animal factory. Since then I have met some wonderful people who raise meat for eating and I am comfortable saying that for this part of Australia, where pasture, water and space are plentiful and the farms and abattoir close by, that this is how I now choose to eat meat. Let me introduce you….

Gerard and Deb produce everything organically. Here, this means REAL organics and includes care of the land that is not farmed, as well as the land that is. You won’t find their cattle in feed lots; they live their lives entirely on the farm. These are REAL people, with a passion for excellent quality, organic food, whether it be meat or vegetables.

Gerard has sown his pastures with herbs and grasses and all things that keep his cattle healthy. When other farms in the area have short, dry grass, Nicholls Rivulet Organic Farm still has knee high, green pasture.
The rest of the world would die for meat like this at the prices that Gerard sells it for. You can contact him direct or find him at the Cygnet Market, 1st and 3rd Sundays.

Check them out on Facebook too.

Hogget, Mutton and Some Piglets
Next is man who raises a few animals, usually sheep and pigs, for his own meat and to sell to locals. His name is Bud and he was originally from Texas, about a million years ago.
We are incredibly lucky to have him in our community, offering us free range, ethically reared meat with old fashioned flavour. Slaughtered at the Cradoc Abattoir, only minutes from Bud’s home, these animals have had no stress. There they are hung for 1 – 2 weeks. Bud will provide you with any cuts you desire and his meat is available most of the year.
If you have only eaten shop bought lamb until now, you are in for a real treat. I eat Bud’s meat with my eyes closed, savouring the wonderful flavour and texture. Not just for the slow cooker, the loin chops grill beautifully too and you’ll get all the bones, for stock, as well as any offal.
Right now he also has a family of piglets for sale, the likes of which you probably won’t have seen before as they are striped. Ready to go straight away, to be further raised or eaten as suckling pig, don’t miss out!!
Give Bud a call any time on (03)6295 1580 or send him an email:
The thing about Gerard and Bud is that they use the land they have in the old fashioned way; no over-grazing, no artificial feeding, no irrigation, no chemicals, just living off the land and sharing the proceeds.
I am so lucky to be able to call these farmers and their families, my friends. This is how life is meant to be.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The TV segment and my interview with Gavin

It was great to talk with Gavin from the Greening of Gavin. Gavin is a star of sustainability and has written various ebooks about cheese making, cob oven building  and all sorts of green and wonderful projects and ideas. He lives by his words and manages to have chooks, fruit trees and vegetables as well as an impressive solar power station on his tiny suburban block in Melton, Vic.

Here is the interview with Gavin, with all the stuff that they didn't show on the ABC Gardening Australia TV segment.

Podcast Powered By Podbean

.....and here is the Gardening Australia segment, which I was happy with but a little disappointed they didn't show at least a little bit of the deep and meaningful.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Vegetable Vagabond on TV

Do you remember Tino Carnevale and the Gardening Australia team came and filmed at my place back in October?

Well the screening is going to be this coming Sat. May 4th, 6.30pm, ABC1.

I am sooooo nervous! I wonder what they will have made of all those hours of footage they took. Will they make me look like a pathetic old woman who’s crazy about seeds or worse….. only show the fluffy, light bits and not the nitty gritty discussion we had about the demise of the earth’s biodiversity and hence humanity, if we don’t save seeds?

They arrived with a full load of film gear!











It was pretty hard work and there were lots of instructions but soon I forgot I was wired for sound because Tino and I had so much in common…… I bet they don’t show all the food I fed them in my kitchen!










I wonder if they will show some footage from on top of my hill, where you can see the whole of Cygnet….


One thing is for sure, my herb and vegetable gardens looked fantastic, thanks to all my great friends who rallied around, the weekend before, and tidied it all up for me… I wonder how I can get them to come back and do that again soon!!?