Category Archives: Food concoctions

What I find, I cook while on the road. Sampling the local produce to make amazing meals is my dream.

Camping Recipe – Rice with Chicken and Mushroom Cream Sauce

I love to cook and camp, I feel like they go hand in hand. When I camp I want to eat good, healthy and convenient meals and this one ticks all the boxes.

Ingredients:

1 x chicken breast sliced
4-5 mushrooms finely chopped
1 small onion finely chopped
Teaspoon of oil or butter
300ml of light thickened cream
90 second rice
Veggies to serve
Salt & Pepper to Taste

What to do:

  1. Heat pan and add oil or butter, onion and the mushrooms – cook until mushrooms are soft.
  2. Scoop this mix into a bowl.
  3. Add the chicken and cook until lightly brown and add back the mushroom mix and half the tub of cream. Let this reduce for 5 mins
  4. In the meantime add a couple of tablespoons of boiling water to a saucepan and add the 90sec rice. Stir until heated through
  5. Add salt and pepper to the sauce.
  6. Put rice on a plate and serve with the sauce on top and the veg on the side.

Note: I had asparagus which I cooked in some hot water as the chicken was cooking. I then used that already boiled water for the rice.

Creamy Chicken with Rice

Creamy Chicken with Rice

Mud Crab – From Net to Plate in Less Than 25 Minutes

Warning: this post contain images and explanations of how to kill a mud crab

Today I had the freshest mud crab I’ve ever had in my life. In reality, it’s also the freshest seafood period I’ve ever had.

Doug, a friend of the family, lives in Bundaberg and so while Mum and I were boozing at the Bundaberg Rum Distillery, Doug and Hubby were setting pods to catch some muddies for dinner.

The one that didnt get away!

The one that didnt get away!

We all went and checked on them a few hours later and to my absolute delight we had caught 3 big ones and 2 babies which we threw back.

Doug is an avid fisherman and also an avid cook when it comes to the fresh stuff he catches. He showed me how to kill them with a knife through the butt into the brain and then how to pull them apart and clean them.

Bundaberg Mud Crab, the killing

Bundaberg Mud Crab, the killing

We cooked using the following recipe. A dollop of butter in a bowl with about 6 cloves of garlic finely chopped, a couple of tablespoons of ginger, some lime zest and juice of half a lime. Mix it all together, added the crab and cooked it in a hot frypan until the shell turned pink.

Bundaberg Mud Crab, in the bowl

Bundaberg Mud Crab, in the bowl

Bundaberg Mud Crab, in the fry pan

Bundaberg Mud Crab, in the fry pan

The final verdict, wow! From the nets to the plate in less than a half hour, the most amazing seafood I’ve ever had. I really wish I could have bottled the smell and the taste, I would have made a fortune.

Bundaberg Mud Crab

Dinner is served!

 

 

A Foodie / Boozie’s paradise – Bruny Island

Untitled BrunyBruny Island is an island off south east Tasmania. It has a bit of something for everyone, beaches, forests, driving tracks, cruises, holiday shacks, camping, fishing, hiking, restaurants, food and alcohol products. We came over late one afternoon via the car ferry, set up camp ready for exploring the island the next day.

 

Unfortunately our trip over to Bruny Island was cut short due to bad weather. The thought of leaving the comfort and warmth of our 4WD to brave the cold, wet and windy weather that was plaguing the island was somewhat unappealing. Unfortunately that meant that instead of hiking, sightseeing and relaxing for 2 days we spent a day eating and drinking our way around the island instead, it’s a tough life.

 

Lookout near our campsite, at the neck.

Lookout near our campsite, at the neck.

Places we visited:

Bruny Island Providore

We found this place along the way to the berry farm, It wasn’t listed on the tourist map provided to us so we didn’t know it existed until we nearly drove past it. We did stop in though to sample some fudge and OMG! The fudge is all made by hand from local products, a video was playing in the store, very interesting. We bought some choc mint fudge and kept going.

Bruny Island Berry Farm

Our first stop after leaving Bruny Island Providore was the berry farm. Unfortunately berries are out of season; but, they make sauces and jams when the berries are in season and always have that on hand. We sat down to some real coffee (seriously missing good coffee while travelling) and hot scones, just out of the oven with jam and fresh cream. Melt in your mouth amazingness! I sampled some of their Blackberry sauce and had to buy a bottle to take with me.

Bruny Island Cemetery

Bruny Island Cemetery

Bruny Island Cemetery

This deserves a small mention as this tiny little cemetery had some rather interesting gravestones that I’ve never seen the likes of before. On a few of the graves were these tiny little cement crosses, about 20cm high just sticking out of the ground. The inscription seemed to just be the name of the deceased, strange.

Bruny Island Premium Wines

A lovely café and wine tasting shed on the other side of the island from the berry farm. The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes are grown on the island and the Sauvignon blanc and Riesling grapes are grown in another part of Tas; but, all of the wines are made onsite. The wine was fantastic and I managed to walk away with just one bottle, if that doesn’t show restraint then I don’t know what does!

Bruny Island Cheese Company

I tried a couple of their cheeses at the Salamanca markets in Hobart, very pricey for cheese – $16 each for the 2 I purchased and well worth it! We went through a tasting of 5 cheeses on site and I wasn’t disappointed, the cheese is just sensational. You can eat a load of freshly made goodies onsite but I bought a freshly baked sourdough loaf with my cheese to enjoy later.

 

Oysters and wine from Get Schucked

Oysters and wine from Get Schucked

Get Schucked

You wouldn’t have thought that I would need lunch at this point; however, there is always room for fresh oysters and wine. The oysters are locally grown and freshly opened which I paired with a glass of Jansz bubbles, felt like I had died and gone to heaven!  A dozen naked oysters and a glass of bubble was about $23, bargain!

Bruny Island Smokehouse and Wine bar

And our last stop enroute to the ferry was the smokehouse where a couple of platters of the locally made products (smoked in the back paddock) were waiting for me to taste, yum! We ended up with smoked chorizo pork sausages and hot smoked salmon.

This was the last stop on our foodie / boozie’s tour of Bruny Island, now off to Port Arthur. I would love to come back again to do the hiking, there is always next time.

Drive through the forest in the centre of the south island

Drive through the forest in the centre of the south island

 

The Historic Town of Stanley

I’m going to say upfront and without having seen too much of Tas yet, Stanley is one of my favourite places in Tas to visit. The quaint town is set on a peninsula in Northwest Tasmania and its star attraction, other than being super quaint, is The Nut. The Nut is a rather large volcanic plug that looks like someone took one big hill and stuck it down right on the edge of a peninsula.

The Nut, Stanley

The Nut, Stanley

We drove into Stanley, after having a great homemade pie at the roadhouse, parked and set up Herc (the 4WD). Setting up camp is soooooo boring when you have so much to see and do, but we got it out of the way and finally started our ascent of The Nut.

There are two ways of getting to the top of The Nut, one by taking a paid chair lift to the top, and two by climbing an incredible steep 430mt stretch, which is of course what we took. I hadn’t realised how unfit I am until this point and now have vowed to run every morning.

View of the chair lifts from The Nut

View of the chair lifts from The Nut

Once at the top of The Nut, there is a km or so walk around the summit, super windy and cold, but stunning views of the town, ocean and farm land surrounding the area. Quite unexpectedly on various sides of the summit were different types of flora and fauna. On the less windy side was a strange little forest filled with butterflies. From The Nut I’d also spotted an old cemetery, I know this is a little freakish but I really like old cemeteries, there’s something about the history and the quiet that I really enjoy. So we started the descent down The Nut via the really steep path, rather than the comfy chair lift, and walked off to investigate the cemetery.

Another picture of The Nut because it's so pretty!

Another picture of The Nut because it’s so pretty!

Of the list of cemeteries that I’ve visited (don’t judge!) I’d say this is probably the second loveliest cemetery I’ve ever visited after Waverley Cemetery in Sydney. The Circular Head cemetery in Stanley had the most stunning views overlooking the ocean and The Nut. Lots of old graves with stories, lovely!

Circular Heads Cemetery_Stanley_A Girl A 4WD and A Trailer

As Stanley’s main street was just around the corner, it’s a very small town, we strolled down and read the historic trail information points. Stanley was opened in 1827 as a port and so there are many beautifully restored historic buildings in the town. The historic information points lead us straight into the historic pub with an old cellar, not much there so we made our way to the Pirate Oyster Bar where we ordered oysters and chips of lunch. The oysters were Pacific oysters grown locally in the next town over on an oyster farm. Unfortunately the farm is private and can’t be visited, but the oysters were lovely yum!

By this time is was getting to mid arvo so we headed back to the caravan park. As we were parked in a caravan park with washing machines, we had some domestics to do; however, I won’t bore you with that right now.

Devonport to Hellyer Gorge

Devonport

Devonport

We left Devonport early Monday morning. We decided not to stay longer than a day as there really isn’t much more to Devonport itself, but rather the surrounding areas hold the attractions and nothing seems to be very far away. We headed west of Devonport and drove through a number of small towns. What I didn’t know when I booked our trip over to Tassie was we were arriving on a public holiday long weekend so not much was going to be open.

First stop was Branddon’s lookout, which looked over the surrounding farmland. In true Tassie style, as I’m quickly learning, it was cloudy, overcast and prone to misting rain so we didn’t stay long.

Branddon's Lookout

Branddon’s Lookout

Next stop was Makers Workshop in Burnie. This gorgeous little centre has been brilliantly put together with sculptures, tours, an information centre, café and more. What really interested me about this place is that it is where a number of cheeses from Tasmania are actually made and they have them for purchase.  I was hoping I would find a cheese that maybe I hadn’t heard of before; however, I found that they produce the main brands that you can find in any supermarket. This didn’t stop me from tasting and buying a massive off cut of Brie for $5.

We did stop a while here as the little café sold massive chocolate wagon wheels and did tastings of Hellyers Road Whisky. As Hellyers Road Distillery was closed, damn public holiday, I thought this would be the next best thing so Hubby and I stopped and relaxed for a while in the cafe.

 

View from Makers Workshop

View from Makers Workshop

From here we meandered through more dairy farmland with rolling green hills spotted with cows until we arrived at Hellyers Gorge. Named after Henry Hellyer an English surveyor and architect who was one of the first explorers to visit the rugged interior of the north-west of Tasmania, Australia and made the most comprehensive maps of the area up to that time (thanks Wikipedia).  Hellyers Gorge had free camping in the rest area so we set up and stayed for a couple of nights.

Hellyer Gorge

Hellyer Gorge

 

Taste the Harvest – Mon’s Style

So Devonport threw a wine and food festival just for me, yay! I tend to be a bit of a foodie/boozie so to have a collection of wineries, breweries and food from around the local area, in one location is pretty much my idea of heaven. I was so excited that I dragged my very patient (non drinking) husband down to the festival as soon as it started at 10:30am.

(Please note that the photos included in this post are not shot with my DSLR Canon, but my iphone5 as i decided that operating heavy machinery while drinking was not advisable!)

As soon as we arrived it started to drizzle, not to be deterred, I bought my tasting glass (rookie error, totally should have thought to smuggle my own it) and started to make the rounds. I won’t go into every single wine and beer I tried, I’ll be honest, there was a lot and I don’t remember all of them. I did however pay special attention to my favs so here they are.

Spreyton Cider

WOW! This unusual cider has not yet made its way up to Brisbane so I haven’t had the pleasure of indulging before and I was blown away by what I tried (which was all of them). Spreyton make the cider in a dry style, perfect with food and not like other sweeter styles on the market. The Cider Maker (??) was there and was very patient with answering all my questions. I learnt that they don’t add any sugar for the first fermentation; however, they do add some into the second fermentation (either in the bottle or the keg) and this makes the bubbles, just like the traditional method of making champagne – very interesting! I managed to get a small taste of the apple juice they make as well and it was a-ma-zing (originally that was what they specialized in was making apple juice and more recently branched into ciders).

Spreyton Ciderery Goodness

Ironhouse Brewery

These guys had 6 beers on tap, all lovely. However, my fav was the Honey Porter, which is Porter with Leatherwood Honey added to it. Leatherwood Honey is produced around the center of Tas and isn’t well known as a table variety of honey due to its stronger flavour and smell.

Seven Sheds

I was able to taste their 5 beers on tap. My favourite was the Willie Warmer, named after one of the owners. Willie used to make this beer as a home brew before starting the brewery. The Willie warmer was a lovely dark beer, all spicy and yummy! I had a good chat to the other owner who was full of information. Did you know that earlier last century Cascade and Boags were part of one company? They bought out all the breweries in Tas and shut them all down. Seven Sheds is the only brewery in Tasmania’s North West to open since 1907. Also another fun fact,  IPA’s are generally more alcoholic as back in the old days, when they were shipping it from Britain to India, to stop the beer from going off on the journey they increased the alcohol content, interesting stuff!

Morrisons Brewery

Quite a new brewery and again I was lucky enough to corner the brewer and bombard him with questions while sampling his beers. The Saison was my favourite and boy was it amazing! Unfortunately as he is new to the game and a small brewer, getting hold of his beers is going to prove challenging so I will need to wait until Launceston to try and get hold of some takeaway.

Morrisons Brewery

Pagan Cider

The label first attracted me to these guys and my favourite cider was the Apple & cherry blend (Cerise) yum yum!

Pagan Cider, great labels

Blustery Banks Vineyard

Grows only 2 varieties of grapes (Chardy and Pinot Noir), has a small parcel of land and all their grapes are hand picked. Add this altogether and you get exceptional wines. The 2010 Chardy and the 2012 Pinot Noir were my picks from these guys.

General observation: A lot of the vineyards at the show were actually the farmers / owners of the vineyards. It seems to be the trend that the task of creating the wines is contracted out to the winemakers who make the wine and then the vineyards sell it.

Also, I’ve noticed that a large number of white wines I tasted are really light, almost like water in colour, strange!

Deloraine Fruit Wines

These guys were just quirky, lovely, but quirky. They use fruits, other than grapes, to make wines and the wine are made in quite a dry style rather than sweet and syrupy. The couple on the stand were quirky and advised us that we needed to go to Zeehan to a theatre where the famous Dame Nellie Melba performed. Now the only reason I know the name Dame Nellie Melba is because Downtown Abbey featured her character on the show so now I need to see this place!

Frenchman’s Cap

Named after a peak here in Tassie, these guys find grapes and then find winemakers to make the wine. They are kind of like a middle man, they don’t actually grow any grapes or make any wines themselves but their wines were lovely. My fav, Frenchmans Cap Pinot Noir

Ghost Rock Vineyard

Had a lovely stand and very knowledgeable vineyard owner. The wines were great and my favourite for the day was the Catherine Sparkling.

Iron Pot Bay Vineyard

The owner has only just bought the vineyard within the past 9 months so only a couple of the wines that she has produced were for tasting, plenty of other wines from the previous owner though. My favourite was the Late Harvest Riesling

Lake Barrington / White Rock Vineyard

Just released a variety that I’d never heard of before called Dornfelder, a red German variety. I bought a glass of this one to finish off my drinking for the day. Man, was it good!

Dornfelder

So even though my day was booze filled there was also some food happening behind the scenes. Tornado Potato, I ate 3 of them. It was a potato slinky on a stick, dipped in batter and deep-fried, kind of like potato scallops, yum!

Dornfelder and Tornado Potato

By about 2pm i’d decided (I meaning my husband) that i’d done my dash and it was time to go. Deciding that I had made a nice dent in the long list of places I’d hope to see on our travels (bonus that they were all in one convenient place), I didn’t make a fuss. So home (caravan park) we went for a big meal of pasta, shitloads of water, a couple of pannies and early to bed for me!

The Adelaide Hills are Alive with Food and Wine

We took the long route down from Brisbane to Tasmania with detours via Griffith and Adelaide. While in Adelaide I was lucky enough to spend some quality time with my Husband’s family in the Adelaide Hills, an area I’ve not spent much time in.

We started off with a quick drive up to Mt Barker Summit, which can be driven, ridden or walked. It was a clear day so we were lucky to get 360 degree views of the countryside. This area has a long history of German settlers (check out Harndorf) that is evident in the cobble styled structures that dot the countryside and add bucket loads of rustic charm to the area.

Mount Barker Summit

Next stop, and my favourite of the day, was the winery Bird in Hand. You can read more about my experience at Bird in Hand here.

Following the stellar visit to The Bird in Hand, we dropped in at Melba Chocolate Factory; but more importantly we stopped in quickly to the Woodside Cheese Wrights and did a quick cheese tasting. And oh my, their cheeses were amazing! I managed to walk away with only 1 block, such great self-control right? It was the Monet Chevre (see below), which meant the chevre was topped with a bright array of edible organic flowers. Nearly too good to eat; but we managed.

 

Monet Chevre

On the way home we stopped quickly at the Green Valley strawberry farm and bought a punnet of freshly picked strawberries, easily the best I’ve ever had.

We had managed to cram all of this into a ½ day without feeling like we were pressured or exhausted and not too sleepy considering the wine I enjoyed so much. This was just a tiny portion of the Adelaide Hills, there are so many more places to see and I cant wait to come back!