Local Tasmanian goodies…..

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This was a feast. There was so much to choose from.

Basically we picked up bits and pieces from different places as we travelled along.

Tasmania is a great place to visit.

We started in Launceston and made our way anti-clockwise around the state. Unfortunately it was raining and snowing around Cradle Mountain so we didn’t get to do the magical walks we wanted to, but it was a beautiful place to be, standing on our little verandah watching a huge wombat eating the grass below.

Then heading west to Strahan and Queenstown and all the little towns along the way. Picking our way through a list of nature walks.

Onto Derwent Bridge, then Hobart.

Thanks to Emily (Chilli Marmalade)’s recommendation we dined at ‘Smolt’ in Salamanca Square. If you’re ever in Hobart you should try it. We started with the taster plate then had Lamb with smokey eggplant purée and Venison with spiced cauliflower almond and quinoa salad. Plus local wines and beers.

It was very, very satisfying.

oh and you’ve got to visit Salamanca Markets on every Saturday. Fantastic atmosphere.image

South of Hobart is Kettering where we caught the ferry across to Bruny Island for a couple of nights then back up and around to the Tasman Peninsula. Beautiful part of the state.

Bruny Island is where we had the little mezza in the first photo. The veggies and olives were from Salamanca Markets, the smoked ham from a deli and we stopped off at a lovely bakery/cafe called Jackman & McRoss in Battery Point on the way to the ferry for the yummy sourdough bread. We stopped at Bruny Island Cheese once we were on the island, (oh and we had also stopped and shopped at Ashgrove Cheese Farm near Deloraine)  and bought a couple of new cheeses, then off to ‘Get Shucked’ for a dozen oysters for $12 and I juicy lemon for 60c.

Along with the tassie wine and beer it made for an absolute feast.

Onwards and upwards then stopping at Freycinet National Park where we climbed the saddle between two mountains to an amazing lookout over Wineglass Bay.image

We had a short stopover at Bicheno where we walked along the coast on huge rocks to get to a blowhole then to a bakery for good strong coffee and sausage rolls by the boat ramp while fending off crazy sea gulls.

Continuing up the Tasman Highway to St Helen’s then up bright and early to make our way back to Launceston for a final night.

Polished off the rest of the Tassie cheeses with some apples and carrots and the last glass of Tamar Ridge Pinot Gris before heading out for a healthy Thai meal finishing with some lovely green tea and pistachio ice cream.

it’s been a very full couple of weeks but we had a great time. Tasmania is a beautiful place to visit we’re already planning our next trip. Though we’ll probably come during late summer and take advantage of all the berry farms that are scattered all over the country side.

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I can’t wait…..

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Little Apple Pies.

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Sometimes you just need apple pie.

For this one I added dates to the filling instead of sugar. It added a great flavour.

A little ice cream on the side and you’ve got yourself a brilliant dessert.image

So…..

For the pastry rub 50g butter into 100g plain flour, 15g polenta and 20g sugar until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add a little cold water (about 2-3tablespoons) and mix into a dough.

Roll out to 3mm thin and line the base and sides of two small tart tins. With the left over pastry cut two rounds big enough to cover the tops of the tins. Chill in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

Peel, core and dice 1 green apple. Put in a small saucepan with 5 chopped dates, 1tablespoon sultanas, juice of half a lemon and a couple small cubes of butter. Cover and gently cook on a low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft and the dates have melted. Add a few chopped walnut pieces and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Stir and leave to cool.

Once the filling is cool, divide it between the two pastry lined tins, cover with the two pastry rounds and seal with a fork. Brush a little water over the top of each pie with and sprinkle with a little raw sugar and a pinch of cinnamon.

Bake for 30-40 minutes at 180c. The top should be a light brown.

Enjoy…

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Public Holidays and Eggplant Bake….

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It’s a public holiday here today. Besides a 30 minute spin on the exercise bike and ironing a few shirts I haven’t really done too much. It’s been good.

I was thinking about what I had in the fridge that needed to be used up and remembered I’d bought an eggplant a couple of days ago with the idea of making a pasta dish with tomato, eggplant and chilli but we went out for dinner instead. That was good too.

So I took the eggplant out and looked at it with the hope that it would let me know how it wanted to be cooked, and do you know what it suggested?  Yes, that’s right… NOT pasta with eggplant, tomato and chilli but potato, eggplant and tomato bake.

Crazy huh?

So I peeled a couple of potatoes, sliced them about 5mm thick, tossed them in a little oil and spread them on a baking sheet and baked them at 250c for 20 minutes.

Then I partially peeled that brilliant eggplant, sliced it about 1cm thick, spread it on a tray, splashed a little oil over those slices and sprinkled them with salt, cumin powder and fennel seeds and then baked them at 250c for 20 minutes.

Yes, it was all coming together.

Next I peeled a couple of really big cloves of garlic and a small onion and chopped them up nice and chunky. I put them in a large frypan with a little olive oil and a couple of sliced red chillies. I stirred them around for a few minutes on a medium high heat until they were soft then threw in a 400g can of italian cherry tomatoes (it was the contents of that can I threw in. I discarded the actual can), added a pinch of salt, a pinch of ground pepper, a pinch of sugar and about a tablespoon of dried oregano. Yum! I turned the heat down and let that wonderful sauce bubble away gently for 20 minutes. It was all good.

Next came the whole putting it together part of the program.

In a deep oven proof dish I spread a little of the sauce then arranged half the potato and eggplant slices on top. I spread half the sauce over that and enjoyed it so much I did it again Finishing with a layer of sauce. But I wasn’t done yet.

I put what I had created into the oven at 180c and commenced preparing a luscious white sauce which I would use as a cover.

Melting 20g of butter in that very same frypan I made the tomato sauce in, I added 1 tablespoon of flour and stirred it around for 30 seconds. No more no less. I then gradually incorporated 200ml soy milk. Oh the joy as it started to thicken and bubble.

Next I took it off the heat and added a sprinkle of salt and a single egg. Oh the whisking was brilliant, even if I do say so myself.

I brought the dish out of the oven and poured this amazing milky, eggy sauce over what I had already built, sprinkled on a few pieces of goats feta and a little mozzarella cheese then I had it back in the oven quick smart for 45 minutes. It was all bubbly and brown. Perfect I tell you.

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To accompany this masterpiece – a salad and a glass of red.

Brilliant.

And the best part……….

I cooked and my husband cleaned.

Enjoy…