Kid Friendly

Bream Creek Farmers Markets

 

Charming little stall selling local Berkshire pork.

Charming little stall selling local Berkshire pork.

Autumn in Tasmania is proving to be a spectacular time of year. There hasn’t been much rain, which isn’t good when you are on tank water, but it’s perfect for exploration. The wind has died away and in its place are mild sun filled days and nights, cool enough for flannel sheets and even a fire now and then.

We made the most of a beautiful Sunday last weekend and drove to the monthly Bream Creek Famers Market to delve into the seasonal produce on offer and enjoy the hour long road trip. I should say we thought we would enjoy the road trip but it turned out to be a bit much for our three children who put on a special show in the back seat which included pinching each other, telling each other to stop talking, stop singing and stop moving and asking, “are we there yet”, a record number of times.

No matter… When we arrived at our destination we all enjoyed the food, atmosphere and fresh air. The Bream Creek markets have a lovely community feel and are obviously a regular meeting place for all the locals. My shopping basket was pretty good looking by the time we left. Purchases included rolled shoulder of goat, raw occy tentacle for the BBQ, boned quail in pinot and native pepper berry, fresh veg, sweet treats from Vintage Sugar and Coal Valley roasted walnuts.  I can’t wait to head back again soon, although I might leave the kids at home next time!

My very delicious basket of goodies from Bream Creek Market

My very delicious basket of goodies from Bream Creek Market

 

Entertainment free to all

Entertainment free to all

Flowers from Swallows Nest Farm. facebook.com/swallowsnestfarm

Flowers from Swallows Nest Farm. facebook.com/swallowsnestfarm

 

One of Tassies many artisan ciders.

One of Tassies many artisan ciders.

Shopping with a view beats the mall any day!

Shopping with a view beats the mall any day!

Love the styling of this stall by Honk Mustard.

Love the styling of this stall by Honk Mustard.

Charli's t-shirt says it all.

Charli’s t-shirt says it all.

The ever threatening Autumn sky over the markets

The ever threatening Autumn sky over the markets

Easter sweet treats by Vintage Sugar.

Easter sweet treats by Vintage Sugar.

Local occy on the grill.

Local occy on the grill.

Categories: Cider, Destinations, Food, Kid Friendly, Markets, Shopping, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Pub in a Paddock in Pyengana

The Pub in the Paddock

The Pub in the Paddock

I am now starting to fall dangerously behind on my travel posts, finding more play and less work is suiting me well. I couldn’t leave it much longer though to share our day trip to dairy country west of the Bay of Fires. I can only imagine how green and lush Pyengana, home of legendary cheddar and happy cows, looks in winter. When we visited a month ago it was the height of summer and although it was a stifling day, by Tasmanian standards, the valley was still Kermit the Frog green and filled with the black and white milk machines who provide the quality “REAL” milk needed to make one of Australia’s most award winning cheddar cheeses .

Our first stop in Pyengana was The Pub in the Paddock, famed for its beer drinking pig Pricilla, who was nowhere to be seen on our visit. We had to assume Pricilla was passed out drunk in her sty because no amount of calling or bottle rattling would entice her out. The story is Pricilla gets a bit dry and needs you to shout her a beer to quench her piggy thirst. (see photo)  The pub owners have stated they water down her beers and watch her intake but I can’t help feeling like maybe they shouldn’t be allowed pets!

The pub itself is one of the oldest licenced drinking holes in Tasmania and has been serving thirsty travellers since 1880. The charming building surrounded by paddock and hill, serves genuine pub grub to locals and passers-by. It’s definitely worth a stop in because proper fat sausages with chips, packet gravy and an 80’s style side salad in a lettuce cup are hard to come by these days. I have to say my Dad was chuffed with his snags and my dinner plate sized chicken schnitzel didn’t go down too badly either.

Pub Grub

Pub Grub

Visitors Parking

Visitors Parking

Pricilla's Request

Pricilla’s Request

Sign Pyengana

Pyengana Dairy café “Holy Cow”

After lunch we heaved ourselves out of our chairs and ambled down the road to explore the Pyengana Dairy. The farm is now under its fourth generation of Healy family ownership and has grown to become one of Australia’s most awarded dairies. In 1992 current operator,  John Healy,  decided to value add to the business by using the farms single origin milk to create cheddar cheese, cream, ice-cream and milk under the brand name “The Pyengana Dairy Company”. Since then the dairy has become regular on the show circuit with their Pyengana Cheddar, amongst other products, regularly winning in its category.

The Holy Cow Café shows off their produce as well as other local boutique food and beverages and the views over the lush pastures to the hills beyond are truly Tasmanian. So serious is the paddock to plate ethos here that you can watch the cows meander leisurely into the milking shed at the café boundary and smell the heady aroma of cow poo wafting gently up to your table.

It is a perfect family day trip if you are in the area and would be great summer or winter.

Holy Cow Cafe

Holy Cow Cafe

Before

Where it all begins.

After

Real Ice-cream

Cows enjoy a scratch.

The cows enjoy a mechanical scratch.

The cows enjoy the valley views post milking.

The cows enjoy the valley views post milking.

Categories: Destinations, Food, Kid Friendly, Restaurant Review, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blackberry Strudel

Blackberry Strudel

Blackberry Strudel

We have been watching the blackberry bushes on the roadsides with great interest lately, waiting for the abundant fruit to turn from green to red and finally to a beautiful deep purple. A couple of days ago we were on our way home from school when we decided it was time to get picking. There are blackberry bushes tangled into many of the fences along the roadsides in our rural suburb and there is more than enough fruit to go around. I’m fairly sure most of it gets eaten by the birds or drops to the ground when it becomes over ripe.

The kids had a ball, except when they were tempted too far into the bush by a big shiny berry only to be caught and held by the spiky tentacles that sneak out at all angles. What’s a good hunting and gathering expedition without a little blood anyway??

The kids get picking.

The kids get picking.

When our hands were stained purple and our tummies and bags were full we headed home with dreams of jam, cakes and custard.

That night I made a whole egg custard and gently cooked some of the berries with a little lemon juice and sugar to go with. Yesterday it was  Blackberry and Apple Strudel with almonds and cinnamon (recipe below) and today is jam day.

Isn’t it reassuring to know that some dreams really do come true.

Dreaming of Blackberries.

Dreaming of Blackberries.

Blackberry Strudel

(serves eight)

Ingredients

500g blackberries – washed and drained

220g apple – peeled, cored and diced 1cm

30g caster sugar

2 tsp lemon zest

1 cup almonds (skin on)

1/2 cup Panela (evaporated cane juice) or light brown sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 cup rice bran oil

2 tsp Demerara sugar

9 sheets filo pastry

Method

Preheat oven to 180C fan forced

Place berries, apple, sugar and lemon zest in a bowl. Mix gently and allow to sit for ten minutes.

Place almonds, Panela and cinnamon into a food processor and process until the almonds become a fine crumb. Tip into a bowl and set aside.

Lay out one sheet of filo (landscape), drizzle with 2 teaspoons of rice bran oil then lay another piece of filo two-thirds of the way over this and drizzle with two teaspoons of oil and repeat a final time with a third piece. Once the three are layered, sprinkle the sheets with a couple of table spoons of the almond mix.

Repeat this twice more, building up the layers of filo so nine sheets have been used with another sprinkle of almonds after the sixth sheet goes down.

Once the sheets are prepared spread the remaining almond mix into the centre of the filo sheets in a rectangle of about ten cm wide by 30 com long. Top this rectangle evenly with the fruit. Roll the filo lengthways tightly around the fruit then fold each end so it is nice and tight.

Place the strudel folded side down on a lined baking tray.

Brush the strudel liberally with the remaining oil and sprinkle with the Demerara sugar.

Bake at 180C for approximately 25 minutes or until golden and crisp. The rolled edges may get quite dark but you can cut these off so don’t worry too much about that.

Serve warm with double cream.

Categories: Food, Kid Friendly, Recipe, Wild Tasmania | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sunny Days in Fiery Bays

Jeanneret Beach

Jeanneret Beach

It’s been a grey, drizzly weekend in Tassie, so to keep my inner sun shining I thought I would reminisce about our recent camping holiday to the stunning Bay of Fires (BOF) on the states North East coast.

My parents were visiting with us from Perth and I wanted to show them some Tasmanian coast line to rival that of beautiful Western Australia. Well rival it did!

The Bay of Fires is not one but many small bays. Pure white sand and crystalline water, bookended by ancient rock formations splashed with fire-red algae, which I initially thought gave the area its name. Actually, the name originated when an early explorer, sailing past the area, noted numerous fires along the coast which had been lit by its many aboriginal inhabitants. Officially BOF runs from Binnalong Bay in the south through to Eddystone Point in the north. It’s a four-ish hour-long drive along the coast road from Hobart with many a winding road to travel and I would suggest packing the kwells and sickie bags if you or your kids suffer from motion sickness. From Bicheno to St Helens notable wineries line the road and the lush beauty of wine country really enhances the journey.

There are a number of free camp sites dotted along the beaches which make up the BOF and after a decent recon we decided on the perfect spot in Jeannerts Beach. Our nomad’s castle was set up metres from the white sand and lapping waves with a long wild beach to one side and a kid friendly gentler bay to the other. The sites are basic with no facilities apart from eco drop toilets, though I would much rather camp rough than set up our tent right on top of the next family in one of the “Big Four” camp grounds. Each BOF camp ground has numerous sites set into bushy alcoves so, although you are not alone you enjoy complete privacy. This definitely helps when the camp shower comes out!

Parks and Wildlife camping details http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/indeX.aspX?base=3999

We spent our days splashing, surfing, exploring rock pools, attempting to fish, reading, kipping and reapplying sun screen. If you haven’t experienced the Tasmanian sun before then come prepared as even a sunny day of 24C is more than enough to turn you into a rock lobster in 15 minutes. The water temperature is certainly a bit chillier than we are used to but we all got in for a refreshing dip/shower and the kids swam until their lips were navy blue and their limbs par frozen.

There is a great side trip to Pyengana, cheddar capital of Tassie,  which is well worth doing (post to follow) and would be a great way to spend a day if the weather goes bad.

My camping holiday highlight was slurping spanking fresh local oysters from the shell (post to follow) and sipping Tassie bubbles on the beach while the kids snuck in a final evening swim each day. Following this ridiculously civilized ritual our fire would be lit, BBQ heated up for the nightly grill and the cards would come out. I’d like to tell you it was a friendly game, but then I’d be lying.

Beach Bag

The necessities

finn red rock.jpg

Finn against the fiery red rock at Honeymoon Bay

Lily and Finn hit the beach.

Lily and Finn hit the beach.

Honeymoon Bay

Honeymoon Bay

Honeymoon Bay- Bay of Fires

Honeymoon Bay- Bay of Fires

Seaweed.jpg

Seaweed Bank

Elephant Trunk Seaweed ripped from the rocks

Elephant Trunk Seaweed ripped from the rocks

Charli is one with nature.

Charli is one with nature.

 

Categories: Camping, Destinations, Kid Friendly, Travel, Wild Tasmania | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Our New Feathered Friends

The results of happy chickens.

The results of happy chickens.

When we left Perth we also left behind our beautiful chooks who had been providing us with fresh googlies for over a year. Luckily the lovely couple who rented our family home were happy to have them around and the girls got to stay on in their backyard home.

Since arriving in Tassie we have been super keen to add chooks into the mix again. Unfortunately, until we made the move to the country block in Margate it wasn’t an option. Immediately upon unpacking the furniture in our new abode we embarked on our second priority of creating a space for chooks in our life once more.

The photo’s to follow are of the fabulous chicken coup Jamie and Finn built using recycled materials and timber from the property. It was a great father and son bonding experience and I must say I’m pretty impressed with the result.

It was a happy day when the coup was ready and we could fill it with our six new family members Elly, Ester and the four brown chooks. Elly and Ester were gifted to us from neighbours, who had more eggs than they knew what to do with, and the four brown chooks were rescued from lives as caged layers. They are the sweetest natured ladies and I’m sure they appreciate their new digs, which beat the hell out of a cage.

So once again I can send the kids on their daily treasure hunt to check for fresh, warm eggs, which poach to perfection by the way. I love hearing the birds gentle growls as they free range around the property and sometimes, if the door is left open, into our house. I love throwing our food scraps to our feathered friends rather than into the bin. Chickens as pets just make perfect sense to me.

Day one of construction, with a little help from the neighbours.

Day one of construction, with a little help from the neighbours.

Access to the laying boxes.

Access to the laying boxes.

The finished product thanks to my clever lads.

The finished product thanks to my clever lads.

Categories: Home Sweet Home, Kid Friendly | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

A Taste of Summer in Tasmania

If the winter seemed long in Southern Tassie it is only so the residents can hibernate and recover from what, I’ve heard, is a frenetic summer schedule. Festivals, sporting events, culinary shows, a music gig or two and hitting the road for as many camping trips as they can pack in from late December to Easter. At this point the weather will turn once again, fire boxes will be lit and the seemingly endless light will draw away once more.

So… it was with great excitement that we made our way into Hobart to throw ourselves into what is, “popularly considered”, the official opening of the party season. This being the first day of the Taste Festival and the line honours finish of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race for 2013.

The sun was out, as was the entire population and a plethora of interstate sailing and food enthusiasts who had flown in to take part in Tassies biggest events of the year.

The Taste Festival offers food, wine, music, street performers, cooking demonstrations, workshops, free children’s activities and great people watching opportunities. It’s Tasmanian shin dig fuelled by good quality cold climate wines, boutique ciders and small batch brews. Local producers turn out in force serving up home grown grub to an enthusiastic crowd.

Summer style is a blend of hippy and hipster and there were plenty of white legs finally bared to soak up some much needed vitamin D.

After perusing our endless options from the many vendors, Lily, Finn and Charli got stuck into some  Mures fish n chips. Jamie and I were drawn to the Gourmet Farmers Platter from the Bruny Island Cheese Co, and we washed down the three artisan cheeses, pickled onions, cherries, pork rilletes and wood fried bread, with a young Joseph Cromey Pinot Gris.

Our day finished tucked into bean bags in front of Taste’s outdoor twilight cinema screen. The kids watched Toy Story (again) while Jamie and I took turns heading down to Elizabeth Pier to soak up the crowds energy as Wild Oats won line honours in the big race.

And so it begins. Summer in Tasmania promises big things. I just hope we can keep up!

The Buskers Theatre

Wild Oats makes it seven wins in a row.

Soaking up the sun

Outside Taste Central

Taste 2013 - The Mac Warf

Inside Taste central

A colourful vendor

Lily tucking into some fish n chips on the twilight cinema lawn.

Categories: Cider, Destinations, Events, Food, Kid Friendly, Music, Wine | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Year’s Eve in the Huon Valley

Huon Valley

Huon Valley

After flying in from a hectic but wonderful Christmas spent with family in country NSW, a quiet New Years Eve was just what the doctor ordered. Jamie and I are big fans of the good ol country drive and so we set off along winding gravel roads towards the Huon Valley for a slow afternoon with the kids.

Our meanderings took us through picturesque farmlands dotted with freshly shawn sheep, fat cows, fruit trees, ramshackle old pickers huts and timber farm cottages. Farmers were baling hay in the late summer sun and acres of apple trees hung thick with baby fruit which will be picked in the months ahead. Cherry’s are in full swing and available at farm gate stalls throughout the area. It’s the type of vision you’d expect to see in Country Life Magazine. Green valleys, mountains in the distance and spring flowers still stubbornly holding on among the grass along the road side.

A pit stop was made at the newly opened Apple Shed at Grove, which has been lovingly restored by Willie Smith’s Cider co-owners Andrew Smith and Sam Reid. The Apple Shed, built in 1942, was once a packing shed at the heart of the Huon Valley apple industry and is now a museum, providore-style shop and cider bar which will play a key role in the planned Tasmanian Cider Trail.

http://www.premier.tas.gov.au/media_room/media_releases/tasmanian_cider_growing_the_huon_valley

The redevelopment has allowed the building to remain true to it’s origins as a packing shed while enjoying some modern fit outs and clever country styling.  Jamie and I settled in for a cider tasting at the bar, while the kids sipped on home-made raspberry cordial.

We chatted to locals out in the courtyard who shared with us their ties to the region and pointed out a rock formation in the distance they had always called, “Sleeping Beauty”. I have included a photo so you can try to make out the lady laying down in the distant mountains.

It felt like the perfect way to end 2013 in Tasmania. A quiet afternoon together in the honey coloured summer light with no real plan.

Happy New Year to you all. May your 2014 be filled with great adventures!

The Apple Shed The Apple ShedThe Apple Shed

Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty

Categories: Cider, Destinations, Kid Friendly | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

Mt Field National Park

Three faces of Mt Field National Park.

Three faces of Mt Field National Park.

The kids and local flora and fauna.

The kids and local flora and fauna.

I have often pondered what it is about spending time in the midst of nature that so many of us find appealing.

Sometimes it takes a quiet glass of red, on a rock shaped like a chair, in the middle of an alpine water hole, in a national park, while you watch your children explore, for the glaringly obvious to become clear.

To be surrounded by an environment in perfect balance is to feel perfectly in balance.

That said… We just had a brilliant weekend stay at the government huts in Mount Field National Park. It was the type of weekend that makes you want to move to a shack in the bush and let your kids enjoy the school of life.

Mount Field is about one hour north west of Hobart and offers rainforest, waterfalls, glacial lakes, alpine moorlands, long and short trail walks, the tallest flowering plant in the world,  snow-capped mountains, glow worms, platypus and lots of space to breathe.

We booked one of the rustic timber huts in the alpine area of the park which, for $45 a night, offer a fire box and wood, bunk beds for six, cold running water, a sink and kitchen table. It’s pretty much camping without a tent.

We were gifted stunning blue skies on days one and two, which allowed us to get out and explore the diverse landscapes within the park. Amazingly the temperature on Mt Field can drop 25C in one hour and on day three we woke to the soft fall of snow which slowly gathered force and blanketed the bush around us. Snow is pretty bloody exciting when you come from a state where it rarely drops below 20 degrees, so we got out amongst it and enjoyed a short lived snow ball fight before I fell over on a rock and the kids, who were wearing socks on their hands, started complaining about frost bite.

Mount Field National Park is a wonderful example of what our environment should look like. It’s messy, with fallen trees and branches rotting into the ground which provide the perfect base for moss and fungi as well as homes to local fauna and eventually fertiliser for the trees and ferns of the future. The walks within the park vary and we were able to tackle three easily with our children in tow.

Strangely, despite being in the middle of nowhere, we discovered the family in a neighbouring hut were originally from Armidale, where Jamie grew up, and they knew his parents. This led to red wine and great conversations around the fire with our new friends on night two. Isn’t the world a tiny place!

Highlights of this adventure

  1. Spotting an echidna on the tall trees walk, during which we strolled between seventy plus metre tall flowering swamp gums. (The world’s tallest flowering plant)
  2. Walking around Lake Dobson, through a thick Pandani Grove, which looked like the movie set from a prehistoric thriller.
  3. Sipping coffee next to the fast flowing Tyenna River, at the quaint ‘Possum Shed’, just outside the national park.
  4. Wandering through the stunning waterfall studded rainforest at the base of Mt Field.
  5. Waking to find snow drifting gently down to earth on day three.
  6. Staying in the rustic government huts, whose timber cladding has silvered with time to blend perfectly with the surrounding bushland.
  7. Watching our kids live life to the fullest, exploring, rock climbing, animal spotting and honing their UNO skills.
Grubs up at the government huts

Grubs up at the government huts

More photo’s of this beautiful park are in the gallery.

Categories: Destinations, Kid Friendly, Travel, Wild Tasmania | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Dairy Free Brownies

Gluten Free Brownie

Dairy and wheat free Brownie

School holidays bring out the project mummy in me. So far the holidays have been fairly rainy so it’s been inside activities. Glitter, glue, Uno and cooking. The kids and I whipped up these chocolate brownies from a recipe I have been playing with. I have been doing more baking with gluten-free flour and spelt lately because Lily seems to get a sore tummy if she eats too much wheat. Anyway, I thought I might as well go all the way and try giving dairy a miss too. Despite all this they are really delicious and easy to make.

I have to admit, despite trying my hardest to be patient with them, cooking with the kids is always crazy! Back to the UNO I think. Much less mess.

Wheat and Dairy free
Almond and Coconut Chocolate Brownie

Makes a 20 x 20 square slab

Ingredients
½ cup gluten-free flour
½ cup spelt flour
½ tsp baking power
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 ¼ cup caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
120g virgin coconut oil, softened
½ cup blanched almonds, toasted
1/3 cup shredded coconut, toasted
Icing sugar to dust

Method
Preheat oven to 180C
Line a 20 x 20 slice tin with baking paper
Sift flours, cocoa and baking powder into a large bowl and stir to combine
Add sugar, stir to combine
Add eggs and coconut oil. Mix well. The mixture will be dryer than regular brownie mix so you may need to get your hands dirty to get the mix even.
Sprinkle in the almonds and coconut then mix again.
Place the mix into the tin and flatten out to the sides evenly.
Bake for 25 minutes
Cool slightly, dust with icing sugar and slice

Categories: Food, Kid Friendly, Recipe | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Kingston Handmade Markets

The family and I enjoyed a visit to the Kingston Beach Handmade Markets on Sunday and I was really impressed with the standard of products on show. There was plenty of variety with colourful clothes, artisan foods, wood work, soaps, home wares, jewellery, paintings, cards and quirky cacti filling out Kingston Beach hall. Outside in the adjacent car park food vendors prepared Mexican dishes, burgers, coffee, BBQ, soup and cakes to keep the crowds content.

We followed our markets visit with a quick stroll down Beach road to Kingston beach, where we made the most of a sublime burst of sun on, what was otherwise, a fairly rainy day.

The Kingston market is held on the second Sunday of every month and is definitely worth a look, especially as Christmas approaches. The photos that follow are just a taste of what’s on offer.

http://www.kbhm.com.au/

Quirky cacti by Tutus and Tattoos

Quirky cacti by Tutus and Tattoos

Handmade lighting and home wares by Light Owl www.lightowl.com.au

Handmade lighting and home wares by Light Owl
http://www.lightowl.com.au

Market Coordinator Patricia Eaves-O'Brien with her children's clothing range.

Market Coordinator
Patricia Eaves-O’Brien with her children’s clothing range.

Red Parka Design redparka@gmail.com

Red Parka Design
redparka@gmail.com

Hat by Patricia Eaves-O'Brien

Hat by Patricia Eaves-O’Brien

Soap by Port Arthur Lavender. www.portarthurlavender.com.au

Soap by Port Arthur Lavender. http://www.portarthurlavender.com.au

Planters by Tutus and Tattoos

Planters by Tutus and Tattoos

Beautiful applique cushion cover.

Beautiful applique cushion cover.

Categories: Destinations, Kid Friendly, Markets, Shopping | 1 Comment

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