Tassievore eat local feast – challenge wrapup

Last weekend I held my Tassievore Eat Local Challenge feast for my family. I invited my mum, Lil Sis and Mr Tall to join us.

It’s the second time I’ve done one of these feasts, and I really enjoyed doing it. As a rule I don’t like to cook, but when it’s on a weekend and it’s something I can devote several hours to doing, rather than a rushed mid-week dinner, I do enjoy it because it becomes a bit of an event that I can totally immerse myself in.

As organisers of the challenge, Sustainable Living Tasmania (SLT) suggested that during the feast we have conversation about eating locally, and they had some specific questions for hosts and guests to answer. Here are my answers:

What did you enjoy most about hosting a feast?
I enjoyed it all, from planning the menu, cooking the dishes and sharing them with my family. I was a bit worried that local produce might be harder to source in early winter than it had been in autumn, last time I did the challenge, but I was able to find everything I needed in the end.

Would you do it again?
Yes I would. I didn’t go a huge way outside my comfort zone, and stuck with dishes I knew I could cook, rather than try something new on unsuspecting guests and have it turn out badly. So I might become more adventurous over the next 12 months and turn out some new dishes next time.

Were there any negatives of the experience?
No. My biggest worry was not being able to find locally grown vegetables that I needed.

Is there anything that could be better or that the Tassievore Eat Local Challenge could do to support your local food journey?
As a meticulous, routinised meal planner (because most of the time I hate making meal plans and grocery lists) I would like to see more resources available around seasonal meal plans using produce that is available each month/season, as well as suggestions for substitutes if you can’t find particular vegetables in season when you need them. For example if you have a recipe that needs three or four types of vegetable and there’s one that you can’t get the local version of, what could you substitute for it?

Overall, how would you rate your experience of hosting your Living Local Feast?
5/5 – fantastic. Good food, good company, good wine.

SLT also suggested some conversation starters, which we didn’t cover in a lot of detail at the feast, but I did follow up with my guests later, and here’s a few of the points we came up with.

Did you learn anything new about what local food is available in Tasmania?
I learned that there is such a thing as Tasmanian goats milk feta. I wasn’t aware that there was an Tasmanian-made feta, so I’m glad to know this.

Do you think you will try to eat more Tasmanian food as a result of this feast?
The people that answered “no” said that they already try to eat as much Tasmanian food as they can.

Do you think about the origin of food when you are shopping and eating?
Most of us said that we did, and one person said that they will ask about whether produce is locally grown before they buy it.

How easy do you think it would be to eat mostly Tasmanian for a day/week/month/year/forever?
One person said that, other than a few exceptions, it’s quite easy to eat mostly Tasmanian most of the time. Others said they already try to do this. I think that if I was well-organised and had a good feel for what was available at what times, and had a good repertoire of dishes that didn’t rely on produce that wasn’t able to be grown locally, it would be fairly easy to have a mostly Tasmanian-grown diet, especially if I grew some things that I use regularly myself.

One area where I’d definitely fall down would be days I want to cook things like curries where I need spices that we can’t grow here (and coconut products, which I use a lot of), and things that I use year-round that don’t store well (or that can be stored but that I run out of before they come back into season – or that I don’t have room to store).

What are the problems with eating locally or supporting local business?
People noted that this can be more expensive and that some things can be difficult to source, either because they have a short season or because they aren’t grown in Tasmania.

One example that comes to mind is olive oil, which I use a lot of. Tasmanian olive oil is fantastic, but it’s very expensive, as I think most of the producers are relatively small scale, boutique producers who focus on quality over quantity.

According to a fact sheet produced by the Department of Primary Industries

“Tasmania’s cooler climate allows for a longer growing season than the mainland, and while this provides better quality fruit, it also typically generates lower yields . . . The majority of the production volume from Tasmania is sourced from smaller scale operations developed around key niche markets. Many of these products carry branding extensions which command premium prices in the market.”

So, if you’re not in a position to pay a premium price for this, it’s unlikely you could commit to eating only Tasmanian olive oil. While I do buy small quantities of it for specific purposes, I don’t buy only Tasmanian olive oil.

What would make it easier for you to shop/eat locally?
I think the key is both in being more organised but also being flexible. If I can base my meal plans around what locally-grown produce is in season and, therefore, most likely to be available, it shouldn’t be too difficult. But then I also need alternatives – which I might not always know I’ll need until I’m at the shop – in case something isn’t available. And this has the potential to upset my plans!

I like the way some stores label their fruit and veg bins so you know whether the product is locally grown, from the mainland or imported. Eumarrah gets a big gold star from me for this, because they go further and often provide the locality the produce is from.

I think the Farm Gate Market in Hobart also provides this information in their weekly newsletter on what’s available at the market each week.

These are my initial thoughts, and it’s an area I certainly want to explore further.

So over to you – what do you think? If you have any thoughts, feel free to leave me a comment or if you have any ideas for the broader Tassievore community I’m sure they’d love to hear from you. You can contact Sustainable Living Tasmania here.

If you’re looking for ideas on how to eat more local produce, the Tassievore website has some great resources for sourcing local food, including the Local Food Store and Market Directory.

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Tassievore eat local challenge – feast day!

Yesterday was feast day!

I learned last time I held a Tassievore feast not to be too ambitious. I’d thought about including a dessert on the menu like I did last time, but decided in the end it would make things too busy for me. I could have made a cold dessert ahead of time, if I’d really wanted to, but I’m trying to cut back on sugar, so I ditched that idea too.

Last week I learned that proving my bread dough for too long and in too warm a room leads to bread that is edible, but visually unappealing. It basically spread out like a pancake. So this time I left it for a shorter time and kept it in a cooler room, and baked it at about 10.00 am.

20170528 Flatbread combo

Last week’s Loaf of Disaster

If you read my earlier post on the sourdough class I went to in March with Kate from Garden Shed & Pantry, you might remember the drama I had with the 12+ year old oven. We have fixed the problem with a shiny new oven, which is making cooking so much easier, and I’m glad we got it in time for this weekend.

The result was much improved. At least it looked OK.

20170603 Tassievore 14 Sourdough IG

At the class, Kate explained how the climate affects the properties of the flour, and the end result can be dramatically different in terms of texture if you use flour from a colder climate (like Tasmania) rather than the flour she recommends that’s from a much hotter part of the country. However, the challenge was to use Tasmanian produce, so I stocked up on some Callington stoneground flour that was designed for bread making, and looked at the whole thing as a an experiment.

I let the beef bones simmer away in the slow cooker for a few more hours, before straining it into a pot and letting it reduce. I have no idea how concentrated I’ve made it or what size portions I should freeze it in, but at least I now have beef stock.

20170603 Tassievore 16 Final beef stock

My plan was to serve:

  • Dips, carrot sticks and vegetables when the guests arrived
  • Pumpkin soup and bread as an entree
  • Roast beef with side dishes of pumpkin and beetroot salad, and honey-glazed carrots
  • Cheese, pinot paste and crackers for afters

I was originally only going to do one dip, the smoked salmon one, but as I had more beetroot than I needed for the salad I decided to do a beetroot dip as well. That involved roasting the beetroot, stick blending it and combining it with yogurt and garlic.

A lot of the afternoon was spent cutting up the pumpkin and the other beetroot for the soup and the salad. Cutting up a whole pumpkin isn’t something I do very often, and every time I do it, I remember why I don’t do it. I didn’t lose any fingers so that’s a bonus.

20170603 Tassievore 15 Pumpkin IG

I let the soup cook all afternoon, while I got the other dishes ready. For the chicken stock, I used what I had in the freezer. Whenever we have roast chicken I save the bones and, when I have a bag full in the freezer, I throw them in the slow cooker for 12 hours or so to make a basic stock.

My aim was to serve the beef at about 7.30. It needed about two hours to cook (I like mine well done), so it needed to come out of the fridge at about 5pm. A minor disaster hit when I couldn’t find the mustard I’d bought the day before for the topping.

Catastrophe averted when I found a jar of Tasmanian Rainforest mustard in the cupboard. This is from Hill Farm in Sisters Creek, and no one can remember where or when we bought it, but I’m very glad we did!

20170603 Tassievore 19 Beef Combo

Once the beef was in, it was simply a matter of remembering to put the vegetables in with enough time for them to be ready at the same time as the beef. I always forget that the beetroot takes a lot less time than the pumpkin when I make this salad, so I always end up with overdone pumpkin. One day I’ll learn.

The honey-glazed carrots included honey we got from one of Slabs’ workmates, who has his own hives. That’s definitely the Tassievore spirit!

The night was fun. I saw somewhere that it was World Cider Day, so Slabs had picked us up some from Wille Smiths.  I don’t know who decides these things but I’m not going to complain.

20170603 Tassievore 20 Cider IG

World Cider Day! Yay!

The bread was fine. It was a lot denser in texture than bread made from the flour Kate recommends, but still very good.  And the beef (with the dodgy red wine sauce – the reason I made the beef stock) was great.

20170603 Tassievore 22 Soup & bread IG

We had to serve the soup in mugs because we don’t have enough soup bowls

20170603 Tassievore 23 Beef IG

Mustard roast beef

20170603 Tassievore 24 Main IG

Main course

We concluded the night with a selection of cheeses from Pyengana and Udderly Tasmanian, a pinot paste from Grandvewe and the crackers I made on Friday, which went soggy overnight, so I had to refresh them by re-baking them.

20170603 Tassievore 25 Cheese IG

Demolished cheese platter

In the end I was too focused on getting all the food together rather than having a discussion about some of the questions that the Tassievore people suggested as conversation starters in relation to eating locally. Although we did learn that you can buy Tasmanian feta – as used in the pumpkin and beetroot salad. Westhaven does a goats milk feta, which worked really well in this dish (along with the Tasmanian walnuts, which I substituted for the pine nuts in the recipe).

I’m going to reflect on the questions that Tassievore has posed and put some thoughts together in another post, as I think this is already long enough.

Thanks to Sustainable Living Tasmania and the Tassievore Eat Local Challenge for putting this opportunity out there. It’s definitely something I’m keen to continue being involved with in the future.

The recipes
Salmon dip
Beetroot dip
Pumpkin soup: I have been using the recipe for years. I originally found it in the instruction book for a stick blender that broke years ago.
Roast beef: Adapted from Cape Grim Beef’s recipe
Roast pumpkin and beetroot salad
Honey-glazed roast carrots

What I learned this week

30 days of yoga is going well. I’m now 14 days into the challenge and I haven’t missed a day so far. I’ve had to incorporate my back exercises into my practice, because whatever I did to my back has either stirred up my old injury or resulted in a new one, and it keeps flaring up again.

I’m being Very Careful, especially with the back bends, and I haven’t been game to try any twists. My normal class starts up again this week so I’m looking forward to seeing if it will be easier to get back into it after almost three weeks away than it was last time when I didn’t do anything during the holidays.

Now onto what I learned this week.

1. In my drawing lessons, I’ve been learning about two-point perspective. This was fun. Lots of straight lines here!

lesson-25

2. I read the book The Road to Lower Crackpot by Brian Inder, the Laird of Lower Crackpot. It’s a fascinating read. In the book, Mr Inder says,

“The name Crackpot comes from a real village in Swaledale, Yorkshire. It means ‘a low place where crows gather’. I added ‘Lower’ because we are in the southern hemisphere’.

 

This interested me because my mother’s family emblem is the crow. I asked her if any of her ancestors came from Swaledale, but she doesn’t believe that they did.

3. If you see something in a shop you want, buy it when you see it. It might not be there when you go back to get it.

In the same vein, take photos when you have the chance, because you might not go back that way again. We went to Freycinet National Park on the weekend. I took lots of photos.

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Book 5/24 -Do Share Inspire

I saw this book, Do Share Inspire: The Year I Changed My Life Through TED Talks by Kylie Dunn, at a local bookshop and was intrigued. On the back cover Kylie describes herself as “a recovering judgemental, perfectionist control freak”. With that description, I  felt like I could relate to her straight away.

Book 5 - Do Share Inspire
The book is a collection of blog posts Kylie wrote in 2011 and 2012 about her project My Year of TED, in which she spent a year applying the ideas from some of the TED talks she had listened to over recent years. (I’ll confess right here that, although I’ve heard a number of TED talks, I didn’t know what the acronym meant until I read this book, so in case you’re like me and don’t know, it stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, and you can find the talks on YouTube and on www.ted.com)

For Kylie’s project she planned to “apply the advice, insights and concepts of a number of the TED talks into [her] life – undertaking each for 30 days”. She planned 23 activities based on her selected talks, and she started a new activity on the 1st and 15th of each month, doing each one for 30 days. So apart from the first two weeks, at any one time she’d be doing two activities at a time.

I was fascinated with this idea, and wanted to learn more, so I borrowed the book from the library. It was cool finding out that Kylie lives in Tasmania and knowing some of the places she mentions in the book. It struck me that the 30 days idea is vaguely similar to the work Gretchen Rubin has done in her Happiness Project work, where she focuses on a single area of her life for 30 days. In fact, one of the 11 talks that Kylie considers to be part of the underlying concept of her project rather than being about specific activities is called Try something new for 30 days*by Matt Cutts, which suggests that a 30-day commitment is long enough to try something to see if it’s a habit you want to stick with, but not so long you can’t stick it out.

(I just listened to that talk. It’s great. It’s here.  It’s only 3 minutes long. Possibly the most important message is that when Matt made small changes, he was able to keep doing them after 30 days, but the “big crazy challenges”, which while being fun, were less likely to stick after the 30 days was up.)

Kylie selected a diverse range of activities for her project, including dietary changes, writing letters, introducing simplicity, better listening, challenging preconceptions and being more compassionate. I think she did a great job of getting through most of what she’d set out to do, especially given some of the other things going on in her life at the same time. Circumstances change over a 12-month period, and activities are easier or harder to do than you start out thinking they will be, so what Kylie ended up doing wasn’t exactly the same as she’d planned. Nonetheless what she did was amazing, and she also managed to keep blogging about her progress regularly. As a lapsed regular blogger I know how difficult this is!

As it’s a collection of chronological blog posts, I found the book to be a bit disjointed to read. What I mean is I found it difficult to focus on what was happening when I was reading about one activity, then another, then back to the first. But, of course, this is the nature of collecting blog posts in this way. There isn’t one logical progression of thought, but several separate ideas running simultaneously. It would have been different if I’d been following Kylie’s blog in real time. I noticed that Kylie says she’s working on a book that will bring together her main learnings from all the activities, so that will obviously be structured completely differently to this book.

This is a collection of blog posts and doesn’t pretend to be anything else. It is what it is.

I found Kylie’s choice of projects interesting, and felt like I’d benefit from doing just about any one of them. Although our backgrounds and life circumstances are different, I could relate to a lot of what she was writing about.

I kept finding things she said during her year that resonated really strongly:

“I refer to all of the roles in my career as jobs . . . I have also known that’s nothing I’ve been doing has hit the spot. It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed many of the roles I’ve had in my working life so far, it’s just that I’ve always felt like something was missing . . . like I should be doing something more, that I haven’t been living up to my potential.”

“We are constantly bombarded with information, and I know that I can often feel like I’m not consciously participating in my life; I’m just being swept along in the tide of activity.”

“I have to learn to overcome this reaction to constructive criticism and feedback. I know my work is not perfect, I know that it could always be improved with another set of eyes reading it; so why do I feel insulted when they come back with changes*? Why do I feel the need for everything I do to be perfect even when I know it isn’t? Why do I feel like a basic suggestion to include something I missed or reword a sentence is a commentary on the worth of the entire document?”

The book wraps up with some posts that Kylie wrote after the project had finished. This includes an opportunity to speak at TEDxHobart in 2014, and some of the things she’s done as a result of her project. I can’t imagine that at the start of the project Kylie would have had any idea where it might lead her, and the fact that she has made such huge changes to become “authentic Kylie” is really inspiring.

In making the project public, Kylie has demonstrated two traits discussed at length by Brené Brown: courage and vulnerability – courage in the sense that Brené uses it, as per one of its earlier definitions, being derived from the Latin word for heart *cor* – “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart” – rather than in the sense it’s used commonly to mean heroism or bravery. That’s not to say that I don’t think she was brave not only to do this project in the first place, and deal with the demons she faced along the way, but also to record it so publicly; she was!

I’ve bookmarked heaps of pages in this book to make a note of some of the ideas I want to think about further, and I really love the concept of trying something new for 30 days. It’s simply never occurred to me to actually do it myself. Now I feel inspired, and I have a few things in mind I’d like to try in the same way. Maybe they’ll end up as blog posts, maybe they won’t.

This book came at a very relevant time of my life, and I’m glad I discovered it. I’m looking forward to reading the follow-up.

* Except people who change paragraph formatting from 12 point after to 6 point before and 6 point after. That’s not constructive right?

Walk in her shoes – Day 1

Day 1 of Walk In Her Shoes. It’s finally here!

I got up at an hour that most people would be fast asleep (this is becoming my new normal anyway so I can get things done in the morning that I’d never do if I slept later, but that’s for another time).

I started doing a form of meditation about three months ago, which is where you focus on your breath. I do that first thing after I get up. I’m really good at it. True. I can get to three breaths before I’m distracted with thoughts that I get carried away with for several minutes until I realise I’ve lost focus and go back to the breathing. For three more breaths, until the thoughts creep back in again.

I’m so good at sitting still sometimes my Fitbit doesn’t register that I’m awake and records my meditation time as sleep.

I know right!

I digress. I’m talking about walking.

I went for a 30 minute walk this morning in the cold and dark. Woohoo. It was really cold this morning. Like thick leggings, two jumpers and woolly socks cold. It had warmed up by lunch time, which was when I decided to go for a walk. I had to change into something more suitable and realised that, as it was my work at home day, I could have reshuffled my hours and walked earlier in the morning. But no, I had to pick the hottest part of the day.

I walked to the Esplanade and walked the walking track past Tynwald Park and back to The Avenue, which is the opposite way I usually do that track. I remembered the reason why as I climbed the eleven million steps to the top of the hill.

20160308 WIHS Combo 1

I made a couple of Periscope videos as well. I thought I might do that for a few of my walks this week. Not sure if I can post any of them on here. I will if I can work out how to do it. Otherwise I’ll post them on my very active and well-known Facebook page.

20160308 WIHS Combo 2

The other end of the walking track – open space to be sold off for development; the nearby community food garden; and Willow Court Barracks

I was still about 5,000 steps short when I got home, which I eventually knocked off this evening when, thankfully, it was cooler.

So Day 1 is down and I’ve met my step goal on what was always going to be one of the most challenging days, so I’m happy with that.

Like I did last year, I’m going to wear different leggings each day for a bit of fun. Here’s what I wore today.

20160308 WIHS 04 Leggings IG

I have a couple of new pairs to try out over the week. I’m spoiled for choice.

Looking forward to tomorrow.

Channelling (Day 3) – 12 of 12 July 2015

A very belated conclusion to our weekend in the D’Entrecasteaux Chanel in July.

Sunday was going home day. We had another leisurely breakfast and coffee. Lots of coffee, before packing up and checking out. (Pro tip: If you ask your 8 year old to get everything of theirs out of their room, you actually have to go in and make sure that their definition of “everything” is the same as yours.)

(1 of 12) I had to go back as we were leaving to take a picture of the red door on the cottage.

1 of 12

1 of 12

We drove down past the marina to the start of a short walk to Kettering Point. (2, 3 and 4 of 12) There’s a lovely view from the marina all the way around to Bruny Island.

2 of 12

2 of 12

3 of 12

3 of 12

4 of 12

4 of 12

We spent a while there watching a sea bird circling in the sky and diving for fish. It was mesmerising.

(5 of 12) The Kettering Point walk continues to Trial Bay, where we had stopped briefly yesterday on our drive to Woodbridge. It’s a lovely walk through the bush and, for some reason I can’t explain, I felt a strong feeling of connection to this place. I’m not a coastal person and as far as I know I have no family history in this area, so I don’t know where this came from, but it was a feeling that sat with me for most of the walk.

5 of 12

5 of 12

(6 of 12) After the walk, we finally went back to Grandvewe to buy our cheese.

6 of 12

6 of 12

(7 of 12) We decided to have coffee in their café, where there’s a great view back to the water.

7 of 12

7 of 12

The options were coffee and tea with normal milk, or for $2 extra you could have it with sheep’s milk. I normally drink black coffee but I wanted to try sheep’s milk, so we all ordered our drinks with that option. It certainly tasted different to any milky coffee I’d have before. Both Slabs and I thought the sheep’s milk made the coffee less sweet, although the staff member who served us said that sheep’s milk is sweeter than cow’s milk. Whatever, it was different, and I’d definitely have it again.

(8 of 12) Juniordwarf had a pot of tea. His report was: “It tastes a bit like sheep cheese. It tastes like English Breakfast tea with sheep cheesy milk. It’s delicious . . . (second taste) Yep, this definitely tastes like sheep’s milk. And cheese.”

7 o f 12

8 o f 12

Not too sure about that.

We spoke to a fellow customer who was new to Tasmania, and she told us how much she loved the state and that she’d been spending every weekend getting out of Hobart to see new places. It must be great to have the freedom to do that! I felt a tiny pang of envy.

(9 of 12) Juniordwarf enjoyed a conversation with the sheep before we left.

9 of 12

9 of 12

Our final stop was the Oyster Cove Inn in Kettering for lunch.

It’s a nice pub right near the marina where the Bruny Island ferry leaves from, so you get a lovely view of the boats if you sit close enough to the window.

According to the website it was originally the summer home of one of Tasmania’s richest men of the 19th Century, Alfred Cotton. It was converted into a guest house in the 1930s and a hotel in the 1950s. (10 of 12) Despite the later additions and renovations to the building, you can still see what the original house would have looked like from the deck.

10 of 12

10 of 12

The deck is lovely, but it was a bit cold for us to want to sit out there. (11 of 12) It has some interesting sculptures dotted around, which I’d like to find out more about.

11 of 12

11 of 12

The dining room was packed when we got there, and we got the last free table. (12 of 12) The meals were great, and I think I liked mine better than the meal I had at Peppermint Bay. I’d definitely go back there.

12 of 12

12 of 12

Nothing eventful happened on the way home. As always, the weekend had gone too fast. I was sad to have to leave and I hope we get another chance to spend time in the area soon.

Channeling – Day 2 (11 July 2015)

After our yummy dinner the night before, we all slept in this morning. The cottage was so very dark and quiet.

Breafast was included with our deal. We could choose from cereal, fresh home made bread with jam, and eggs, as well as plunger coffee. Slabs set to work making coffee and breakfast while Juniordwarf and I read our books. I could get used to this.

The advantage of a weekend break is that we could spend a whole day in the area without having to rush home or rush through everything we wanted to do so we didn’t miss anything.

After breakfast we headed south, and our first stop was Grandvewe Cheeses in Birchs Bay.

Grandvewe Cheesery

Grandvewe Cheesery

It’s the only sheep milk cheesery in Tasmania and I’ve wanted to visit for a long time. We arrived at the wrong time of year to see the sheep milking demonstrations as the ewes are still pregnant, and due to lamb in a few weeks. This means we get to go back later in the year!

We were able to taste some of the cheeses, and I surprised myself by really liking the Sapphire Blue, as I’m not a blue cheese fan. Perhaps I could be converted.

Sheep. Grandvewe Cheeses

Sheep. Grandvewe Cheeses

We decided to come back later in the day to get some cheese to take home rather than drive round with cheese in the car.

Not too far away we found the Art Farm Birchs Bay Sculpture Trail,  It’s an annual sculpture trail set in the bushland at Five Bob Farm, running from April to July. There were 34 sculptures on display as part of the exhibit, plus several sculptures that are permanently located on the trail.

Sculpture Trail Entrance

Sculpture Trail Entrance

There was a great variety of sculptures along the trail using media as diverse as sandstone, steel, wood, and many recycled objects. Some of the works reminded me of Juniordwarf’s class trip to the Art from Trash exhibition.

Lizards!

Lizards!

Sculpture Trail

Sculpture Trail

One of particular interest was the series called Spiralling Down, by Jen Newton, which was a series of four pods that you could sit in to “experience the space and contrast natural materials with man-made ones”. One pod was made of plastic trash that would never break down, one from natural things like pelts, bones, hemp and flax that would eventually decompose, one from old blankets for warmth and protection and the final, moving, one from barbed wire in recognition of Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers sent to detention camps.

Spiralling Down

Spiralling Down

It took us about an hour and a half to walk around the trail, and it was a nice way to spend the morning. We hadn’t realised it, but today was the winter bonfire night at the Art Farm, where the awards were presented and everyone was getting ready for that while we were there. We already had plans so we didn’t go, but it looked like it would have been a fun night.

Sculpture Trail

Sculpture Trail

We continued south through Flowerpot, Middleton and Gordon, and stopped at Nine Pin Point for a photo opportunity. We decided to keep going and do a lap instead of turning around and going back to Woodbridge.

Nine Pin Point

Nine Pin Point

We followed the Channel Highway around until we got to the turn off to Woodbridge and took the very scenic, windy road back. We had lunch at Peppermint Bay, which had also been on the to-do list.

Lunch at Peppermint Bay

Lunch at Peppermint Bay

Juniordwarf saw sardines on the menu and had to have them. He’d never had sardines before. He’s recently become interested in obsessed with the movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, which is based in a town which gets stuck with an oversupply of sardines when the sardine demand plummets. So he’s been fascinated by sardines.

He was so very excited to be having sardines! It was almost like it was Christmas. I wish I’d filmed his reaction. He was absolutely over the moon. His favourite word to describe something he likes is “delicious”. “I love them!” he said. It was one of those priceless moments where he was completely overjoyed about something that I’d take for granted. A moment to remember for the pure joy and exhilaration.

I might have had a similar reaction* to the Moo Brew Stout that was on tap. Apparently it’s a seasonal stout known as ‘The Velvet Sledgehammer’. The staff member taking our order warned me that it was 8.5% alcohol. Hey, I’m not driving, it’s cool. It was very very good.

Peppermint Bay

Peppermint Bay

We had intended to go back to Grandvewe, but we’d seen the turn off to Hartzview Vineyard on our way back to Woodbridge, so we decided a wine tasting was in order. Hartzview is set in a beautiful spot with a tantalising glimpse of the very recognisable Hartz peak (which we had also got lovely views of on our morning drive). I think I’d like to go there one day.

Hartzview Vineyard

Hartzview Vineyard

Wine tasted and purchased, we made a quick stop at the local gemstone store in Woodbridge and then headed back to the cottage. Juniordwarf and I went for a walk up the road. We spotted some herons on the way, which is where the vineyard got its name, as well as a couple of other interesting things that caught our eye. (The herons didn’t like having their photo taken and wouldn’t stay still.)

Single early cherry blossom

Single early cherry blossom

The things you see along the side of the road

The things you see along the side of the road

The evening’s entertainment began with the game of Cluedo, in which I made up for the disappointment of my defeat in Qwirkle last night. Juniordwarf and I played a couple of games of Snap and I was victorious again. I tried to help him refine his technique to put him in a better position. Slabs also taught him to play Patience and a sneaky little card trick.

Gerry brought us our dinner at about 7 pm. Tonight it was pork in a fig sauce with mash, purple cabbage and carrots, with apple/berry crumble for dessert. It was really good, and I’m going to try and find a similar recipe for the pork dish so I can make it myself.

Dinner Day 2

Dinner Day 2

I’d told Juniordwarf I didn’t want to go home. I really didn’t. Everything was so peaceful and relaxing, I think I could stay for a week and potter around reading, writing, walking and taking photos. And not cooking for myself. Wouldn’t that be great?

* That is probably an exaggeration. Probably.