Food News 7th March

Autumn is always a very busy time when it comes to food, everyone is harvesting, preserving and getting ready for the winter crops. I dropped in to see Helen Shield on ABC Afternoon’s to talk about what is going on around Tasmania in the food and drink world.

Sweetcorn and popcorn  Matt Young from Elphin Grove Farm saved my bacon when Helen and I were talking about the right sort of corn to make popcorn. Here in Tasmania we have delicious, juicy, plump sweetcorn, but this is not the right corn to make popcorn with! It turns out that you need the same sort of corn as we usually see as baby corn in stir fries or tins. This corn has the right chemical make -up that allows it to puff up and create those fluffy kernels that we love. Learn more about the Native Americans who grew popcorn for thousands of years before Europeans ever landed in America.

Tomatoes, chillies, aubergines and courgettes roast them, dry them, turn them into sauce or relish but now is the time to get on to preserving them so that you can enjoy them all through the colder months. 

Kombucha pickling If your pantry is stuffed to the gills with relish, chutney and sauces, how about pickling some of your summer glut? This recipe for kombucha pickled beetroot is easy as can be, plus it’s a great use for your kombucha if you have a mother that is very productive! 

Frozen berries and fruit fly  The fruit fly findings in Northern Tasmania have been a devastating blow for farmers in the peak of their season. Luckily, many quick thinking individuals have managed to preserve their crop by freezing the berries. Your local farmers market or greengrocer will stock local frozen berries so that you can support the farmers across the region. As the winter draws in, use the frozen berries to bring a splash of sunshine to a winter cake, a smoothie or a cheeky cocktail! Keep an eye on fruit fly developments here.

Kooee’s unique preservervatives If you’re the adventurous sort, you will already be a fan of Kooee’s 100% grass fed Tasmanian beef jerky.  The creative team behind Kooee have gone one step further and created an all natural preservative of cider vinegar,  salt, beetroot, cherries and culture. 

Massimo Mele hits the road – Heading out around the north has been Massiomo Mele, the new head chef Peter Twitchett, and some of the team from Grain Restaurant , visiting farmers and producers. Langdale Farm, Nichols Chicken, Pyengana Dairy and Robur Goat Farm are just some of the places they visited, finding out where their food comes from. Massimo says “My aim is to make a connection with the farmers and the boys and girls who are going to showcase their beautiful products in the restaurant.”

Booze news…

7 k distillery –  Young entrepreneurs Tyler Clark and Harry Foster have created Aqua Vitae, their take on a modern gin, in an unique shipping-container distillery. Hard graft, priceless support from industry legend Bill Lark and Dean Jackson, a voyage of discovery to several American distilleries and a chance meeting with a young cocktail bartender, all resulted in a new and vibrant addition to the Tasmanian distilling scene. They recently launched their new gin with a stunning ice sculpture and a table groaning with sumptuous Tassie produce at Hobart establishment, Born in Brunswick.

Brady’s Lookout Rosé cider A limited edition release, this has been made in collaboration with Abel Gin and Eversley Cherries, it is made in the methode traditionelle way with wonderful colour, sparkling with fine bubbles as subtle notes of cherry and apple. You can find Brady’s Lookout at Harvest Launceston Farmers’ Market or online.

#V18 the grapes are starting to roll into the winery all across Tasmania. News from winemakers such as Anna Pooley (Pooley Wines), Jeremy Dineen (Josef Chromy Wines) and Nat Fryar (Bellebonne) are all saying it looks like it’s going to be a cracking year. The first fruit was off the vines a little earlier than usual and should make for some excellent wines.  

Booze, Broads, Bubbles and Books Join notorious local broads Kim Seagram, Nat Fryar and Polly McGee for an engaging night with the 5 B’s – Business, Bubbles, Booze, Books and Broads. Entry price includes a signed copy of The Good Hustle, a welcome cocktail, nibbles and the priceless wisdom from the 3 broads in conversation. Participants will have access to exclusive discounts on sloe gin and bubbles. Book here

Southern Wild gets creative – the fruit fly findings in Tasmania have inspired the distillers at Southern Wild to turn fruit destined for destruction, into something quite delicious. Distiller George Burgess is utilising fruits from the exclusion zone to create strawberry gin liqueur and much more.