Tag Archives: food

Tasmania – Trip Costings & Stats

Starting Point: Brisbane
NSW – Griffith
SA – Adelaide
VIC – Melbourne – Ferry across to Tasmania
TAS – Right around – Ferry across to Melbourne
SA – Adelaide
NSW – Griffith
Ending Point: Brisbane

Total Km’s: 10,000

Total Time Away: 28th February 2014 – 22nd April 2014 (7.5 weeks)

Average spent per week: $940

Budget: $800

Category Budget Actual Difference
Fuel $2,200.00 $2,043.83 $156.17
Alcohol $400.00 $515.50 ($115.50)
Food $1,450.00 $2,035.67 ($585.67)
Accommodation $500.00 $614.50 ($114.50)
Touristy stuff $850.00 $899.00 ($49.00)
Personal Items $100.00 $131.00 ($31.00)
Other $500.00 $814.50 ($314.50)
Total $6,000.00 $7,054.00 ($1,054.00)

1. I budgeted more fuel then I think we will normally need. This was due to the long, detoured trip we took to see friends and family.
2. Alcohol – should have guessed that would happen with all of the wonderful wineries in Tassie
3. Food – same happened with food as with alcohol above
4. Accommodation – we stayed with friends and family until we got to Tassie and once we came back over to the mainland. The last 4 nights in Launceston we also stayed with friends so this helped to keep the cost down. We did take advantage of free/cheap camps in Tasmania.
5. Touristy Stuff – lots of free things done. We blew the budget with the expensive cruise around Strahan.
6. Personal – ok
7. Other – this was mainly car servicing and repairs.
8. note: this budget didn’t include the ferry fare of $700

Route Around Tas in Purple

Route Around Tas in Purple

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.

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!


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!

Campfire Dip

I’ve had a fantastic response from Pinners to the photo I uploaded from a trip to Moreton Island.

Ideally you would share this with a few friends and beers/wines in the late afternoon, maybe with some cheeses and dips.

Campfire Dip - Moreton Island

Campfire Dip – Moreton Island


2 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 x tub of pre sliced mushrooms

1 x small onion finely chopped

Tin of tomatoes

1 cup of grated mozzarella cheese

Glove or two of garlic, crushed

salt and pepper



A splash of wine, red, white, doesn’t matter

Chilli to taste

Leftover sausages – I had some chorizo on hand

50-100g of sundried tomatoes or olives chopped finely


  1. In the skillet put the olive oil, onion and garlic. Cook for a few minutes until soft.
  2. Add the mushrooms, cook for a few more minutes.
  3. Add the tin of tomatoes, salt and pepper and any of the optional extras as this point.
  4. Loosely place some al foil over the top and cook for 10 mins.
  5. Grab small handfuls of mozzarella and put them in little piles on top of the tomato sauce. Put the al foil back on and cook for another 5-10 mins until the mozzarella has melted.
  6. Slice the damper and either dip it in or spoon the sauce on and enjoy with your beer/wine.


This can be made in a normal fry pan on a gas cook top if the fire isn’t an option.

Any leftover? Use it as a pasta sauce, filling for jaffles, on top of bakes tomatoes the next day.



Sara’s No Bake Frozen Oreo Cheese Cake

It’s Johny’s birthday tomorrow and I wanted to make him a birthday cake to take into work. Mum suggested that I call my youngest sister Sara for her Oreo Cheese Cake recipe.

Sara SMS’s me the recipe because its wasn’t written down, its just something she made up. Therefore, I decided that this blog would be dedicated to Sara’s marvellous  No Bake Frozen Oreo Cheese Cake.


  • 2 packets of oreos
  • 50g of softened butter
  • small container of cream
  • tsp of vanilla essence
  • 1 block of Philly cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup of icing sugar
  • block of white chocolate


  • Get out a round, quick release cake tin approx 20cm
  • line with baking paper
  • process the oreos and the butter in the processor until all the oreo chunks have gone
  • press this mix into the bottom of the tin so that its compact and even, place in the freezer
  • whip the cream and the vanilla essence in a bowl until thick
  • beat the Philly cream cheese and icing sugar in another bowl until combined
  • mix the cream and vanilla into the Philly cream mix
  • crush the white chocolate bar into little pieces and mix into the cream and Philly cheese mix
  • take the frozen base out of the freezer, pour the cream mix onto the base and smooth with the back of the spoon until flat and even
  • put the cake back in the freezer and freeze for at least 5 hours, overnight if possible
  • take out of the freezer about 1/2 hour before you eat


  • use low fat Philly cheese, it tastes just as good
  • get an extra pack of oreos, process and add to the cream mix when adding the white chocolate chunks
  • I found that the above recipe makes quite a small cake so if you want something that sits higher then double the amounts of cream, vanilla, philly cheese and icing sugar.



Beer Review – MT Brewery

I went to Mount Tamborine with my Mum and we stopped briefly at the MT Brewery. MT Brewery is in a little complex, which also houses Witches Falls Cheese. The bar was closed when we got there, however, the bar tender very kindly sold me a sampler 6 pack of the beer anyway.

MT Brewery’s passion is “to produce our award winning beer with the best ingredients sourced using traditional brewing methods, proper maturation times, while totally avoiding pasteurization, additives and over filtration.”

The bottles are all different and quite cute.

The first beer I sampled that evening at Mount Tamborine was the Moderation Golden Ale. This ale was a light at only 2.8% and unfortunately this was quite evident. The flavour was lovely, very easy drinking, but had a watery finish.

On the 2nd night at Binna Burra I got through the Curvee Belgium Blonde 5.2%, nothing particularly exciting about this one, it was very easy drinking. Also the St Bridget Dubell 7.2%, the plumminess and spice came through. I didn’t really get to look at the colour and head of this one as.

Black Cockatoo 4.8% was consumed after completing a 17km hike around the Coomera Circuit, Lamington National Partk. First mouthful was a burnt bitterness, which gave way to coffee flavours. It was actually quite smooth and went down a treat with the Locally made Swiss style cheeses from Fromart that we purchased days earlier from the markets.

Since one is never enough I also polished off the Settlers Wheat Beer. It was a cloudy gold in colour, not a lot of head and I didn’t think anything particularly special to write home about.

The last and final beer, Rainforest Lager, was consumed while lounging around in the sun at Mount Warning Holiday Park. It was yellow in colour and nice and clear, not a lot of head. Really sweet, nearly wine like, but lovely and refreshing. I could definitely have consumed a couple more of these while sitting in the sun.

My favourites out of this batch were definitely the Black Cockatoo and Rainforest Lager. All of the beers were nice in their own way; however, these 2 were definitely my favs. I recommend going to MT Brewery and trying a couple of their lovely beers and while you’re there check out Witch Falls cheese next door.

Beer Review – Murray’s Craft Brewing & Burleigh Brewing Co

So I’ve been soaking up some rays in sunny Gold Coast while I’m in between jobs. We found this fantastic little caravan park between the theme parks, which is where Johny is working at the moment. Since he needed to be here all week I thought, why let him have all the fun? So I packed everything up and came down with him. I have spent the last week sitting in the hot spa next to the pool, walking around, reading, writing, drawing and meditating. I feel fantastic!

On my travels I came across a Dan Murphy (One of my two favourite bottle shops) and decided to have a sticky. Dan did not disappoint as I found a large collection of local craft beers on hand. Since one of my goals during our trip around Oz involves tasting craft beers what better time then the present to start practising?

Beer number 1: Murray’s Craft Brewing  – Angry Man Pale Ale. On second look at the bottle I realised that this is actually a NSW beer from Nelsons Bay. So not a QLD beer at all, oops! Anyway since I’d cracked it open I didn’t want to waste it. This beer is featured as number 10/100 in 2011.

I must say that the label was the initial draw card from me. I like to choose bottles with interesting labels and stories on the back. The label features a man and boxing kangaroo.

Angry Man Pale Ale was a lovely golden colour and still retains the yeast sediment in the bottom of the bottle, which makes it a little cloudy. It smelt yummy, the beer maker calls is spicy-citrusy and if I smelt hard enough I got it. It is big on taste but it’s a bit harsh on the old tongue and I’m not terribly fond of the after taste.

Food matching is with spicy food, maybe some Thai. I would say that I probably wouldn’t go back for a second bottle. One with dinner would be quite enough.

Beer number 2: The Burleigh Brewing Co – My Wifes Bitter. This one is definitely from Queensland. Thankfully I found during my research on this beer that it’s name is a declaration of love rather then public jape.

Again, I loved the image on the bottle; this is what initially drew me in after the fact that it is a local beer. I had read some less then glowing reports on this beer which was a bit concerning. However being a VB girl, classy I know, I was willing to give it a go.

First sniff and I got burnt toast. Not a lot of head and a nice amber colour. I got a very quick short burst of bitter toffee and then nothing. After the initial mouthful it feels a little watery, but I don’t mind it.

I had this beer with a posh Mac & Cheese (with Chorizo) and quite enjoyed both.

Beer number 3: The Burleigh Brewing Co – Hef

This beer was my hands down favourite out of the 3 I’ve sampled.

Hef made in a German Wheat beer style. I read that this beer has banana and clove characteristics. How can you get a banana beer? First mouthful and all I could taste was banana lollies, sounds weird, and tasted delicious.

There was a nice creamy head to the beer. It’s a dull gold and a little bity bit cloudy and is lovely and creamy with a hint of sweet.

In true German style I had this beer with a sausage. It was a French style Toulouse sausage (made by the local butcher in Oxenford) on a fresh bun with mustard. I tell you what this foodie/boozie could not be a happier chicky right now.

If ever you’re in the Gold Coast region I highly recommend either stopping in at the Burleigh Brewing Co as they run tours of their brewery in Burleigh Heads or stop in at your local Dan M’s.

Preserving the Traditional Way

My purpose for writing this blog is to share and give a little insight into why I love my food so much and hopefully to inspire others to keep these methods of food preparation alive.

I grew up on a farm in country New South Wales. My Mum and Dad are first generation Australians. I’m the eldest out of the 6 children. Our farm is located a 20minute drive from the main town. On the farm we grow mainly rice and lucene; however, we also had cows, pigs, chickens, various cats & dogs, a paddock of fruit trees and massive veggy & herb gardens.

When I was a very small child, my parents would get up early in the morning to milk a cow so we would have fresh milk daily. Honestly, I wasn’t particularly fond of the milk because the floaty cream bits, but I drank it. Sometimes we would also make our own butter, but not very often. As I got older and Mum and Dad continued to have children, this stopped and we got milk from the supermarket or sometimes our neighbours would give us fresh milk from their cows.

Our vegetables came from the garden picked fresh and eaten straight away, the same with herbs, unless there was too much and then we would dry them for use later. Our eggs came from the wheat fed, chemical free chickens that we kept.

Boxes of Fruit in the Shed

Mum prepared every meal and baked all our treats. She loved to bake cakes, biscuits, bread, pies, slices, you name it, Mum made it with the help of her trusty Commonsense Cookery Book. Meals were prepared from scratch and made with love. We had an electric stove in the kitchen and an old wood fire stove. In winter we would have the old wood fire stove going. One of the things Mum would make was an amazing slow cooked lamb stew. Another tasty treat was to butter bread and place it face down on the top of the stove so the butter would toast into the bread. When the oven was going it smelt divine of wood and smoke, like a little campfire in the kitchen.

The wood fire stove also doubled as a water heater as the water pipes ran behind the stove and heated the water for our showers, when it was sunny there was a solar panel on the roof which did the trick.

My Italian Grandparents (Nonno & Nonna) lived on a fruit farm close by. Throughout my childhood I picked oranges on their farm. We would get up at 5am, wear long sleeves and long pants (to keep the mozzies and spiders off) and we would pick trailers of oranges. Sometimes just Nonno, Nonna, Mum, Dad, me and my brother, sometimes with a few of my Dad’s sisters and my cousins.

My Nonno & Nonna

A lot of food preparation was done as a family group. Annually we would pick all the leftover fruit off the trees, we would sit around the table to peel, de-pip, slice and preserve the fruit in vacuola jars, dry them on a rack in the sun or make jam out of them.

Sometimes we made our own wine by filling a tub full of grapes and stomping them. The outcome of each vintage would vary, sometimes a bit hit and miss, but that’s part of it. Nonno still to this day makes his own wine.

Nonno & Daniel with the Wine

We would have tomato days (very Looking for Alibrandi) and the kitchen would be a sea of red. A few methods of preserving tomatos are: cut them in half, salt them and place them on the rack in the sun and turn occasionally until dry. Once dry chop up garlic a fill old jars with the garlic, tomatoes olive oil and herbs, yum yum! Alternately you skin them, puree them and bottle them or bottle the skinned tomatoes whole.

On occasion we would make our pasta from scratch and dry it over broom handles to keep for later. This is very easy to do and even to this day I make pasta from scratch with my friends, they love pasta days. Everyone gets together in the kitchen, drinking a few bottles of good red wine and pitches in to make dinner from scratch.  If Nonna was making her gnocchi, you could guarantee that everyone would be there to help eat it.

On the slightly more gory side, we would also slaughter our animals for meat. This is not everyone’s cup of tea but that’s what we grew up with. Everyone had their job, when it came to chickens, Nonna broke their necks under the broom handle, Nonno chopped their heads off with an axe and we would string them upside down to drain out the blood before plucking and gutting. One of my earliest memories is helping to pluck the chickens, the job that the younger kids did. As you got bigger you graduated to gutting and preparing the carcasses for bagging and freezing.

We also killed our pigs and made them into salami, sausages and various cuts to eat. You’ve never had proper salami until you’ve eaten homemade salami. The pig is chemical and hormone free, raised on wheat and grass. The salami is rustic and chunky and tastes amazing.

Salami Making Room

It’s probably only the past few years that I’ve come to truly appreciate my unique foodie upbringing and how lucky I am to have this knowledge and experience. And although now I live in a rental property in a city, I have no garden and no animals I still practise a lot of traditional food preparation methods. I know where to get amazing fresh fruit and veg, I bring out the pasta maker when friends and family come over, I bake bread that I make by hand and my next venture is into making cheese.

Nonno’s Wine, Stewed Apples and Bottled Olives Yum Yum!

If you have any questions or would like any further information on anything I have written about here, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Alternately a fantastic book full of information is “Preserving the Italian Way” by Pietro Demaio

My 3 youngest Siblings Helping to Bake