Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Kabocha Squash

Many thanks to Dinah Moore for providing us with two of her favourite Kabocha squash recipes. Kabocha, she says, can be used in any recipes that call for a dry pumpkin, and it makes the best pumpkin soup.

Kabocha Soup
1 average size Kabocha (about 2 kg)
2 onions
1 carrot
1 litre vegetable stock
salt & pepper to taste

Peel and roughly chop vegetables, place in large pan with stock and enough water to just cover the vegetables, bring to the boil. When boiling turn the heat down and allow to simmer until pumpkin is tender. Puree in blender or food processor and return to the pan. If you like thicker soup cook a little longer. Serve with a dollop of tatziki or sour cream and garnish with chives or parsley.

Kabocha & Raisin Cake
250g butter
1 tsp grated orange rind
1 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
1/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup cold mashed Kabocha
1/2 cup chopped raisins
2 cups SR flour
1/3 cup milk (approx)
Cream butter, orange rind and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in orange juice, Kabocha and raisins, then sifted flour alternately with enough milk to give a soft consistency. Spread into greased, deep, 20cm round cake tin, with base lined with grease proof paper. Bake in moderate oven for 1-11/4 hours. Stand 5 minutes. Turn into wire rack to cool.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Why is it that...?

Why is it that...wild mushrooms are hard to find, but easy to tread on when you're not looking for them?
Why is it that...some mushrooms look like daisies? 
Why is it that...we can only find one mushroom producer in the whole of Tasmania?
Why is it polka dot wellies seem to be making a comeback?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Friends Who Pack

And this is what happens if you visit us impromptu on a Sunday might just get invited to weigh and pack fresh goodies ready for Monday morning deliveries. We don't normally pack in the garden on a low bench and garden furniture... but, one thing seemed to lead to another, and... 
A big thank you to Fiona and John (all the way from Manhattan, New York) and Sylvia and Steve (all the way from Riverside, Launceston).

Anzacs & Cheddar

Friends visiting impromptu from near and from far on Sunday afternoon brought local wines and cheeses. And as we remembered to remember the soldiers who died for our country, out came the freshly baked Anzacs, which - with Cheddar (Pyengana) and Sylvia's home-made quince paste - won the day. The quince in today's hilbarn boxes were generously supplied by Alvaro and Suzanne, our nearby neighbours and market gardeners from Lalla. And we'll be turning a box of their windfall quince into paste using Suzanne's own recipe. Promise to share it with you here soon.

Monday, April 19, 2010

More About Chestnuts

On Sunday night, as we packed chestnuts into paper bags provided to us by growers Colleen and Daryl, Hil's mum Audrey remembered her childhood growing up in London when she and her friends would buy a bag of roasted chestnuts from street sellers after going out to "the pictures". So we roasted a few in the oven as we weighed and wrapped, and nostalgia reigned in the Indian summer evening in Karoola as the sweet smell of roasting chestnuts wafted out onto the veranda. When cooked and peeled, however, they look rather less romantic: like brains.  For better inspiration and serious foodie ideas, make sure you look here: 

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sweet Sweet Chestnuts

We picked up our order of freshly harvested chestnuts today from Preolenna growers Colleen and Daryl at the Burnie Farmer's Market. Colleen has provided information, recipes and storing notes especially for hilbarners and we're looking forward to hearing what you think of your results. We'll be trying them out ourselves tomorrow night and will let you know how we get on. For more information Colleen recommends

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hilbarn New Vintage

The Hilbarn New Vintage Country Store is now open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, stocking country style designs by Tasmanian artists and makers including unique cushions by Tara Badcock, featured here:
Also, scarves by Cocorose, hair accessories by Monique Germon, jewellery by Sophie Hill at That Vintage, landscapes by Richard Crabtree, and Fer Design handbags. Come and see us at 1065 Pipers River Road, Karoola.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

North East Feast

This week's hilbarn box was a taste of the North-East with rhubarb from Jetsonville, parsnips and swedes from Scottsdale, heirloom tomatoes from Springfield, corn from Lebrina and carrots from Lilydale. Next week we're off to the Central Coast.

Hilbarn Goes to George Town

We've only been delivering to Pooki's in George Town for a couple of weeks but already hilbarn boxes are making a mark on the main street.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Coming Soon...

North-East farmer Glen Moore is the only grower in Australia to export Kabocha Squash, primarily to Japan, where it is prized. Hilbarn box customers will get to experience it soon, direct from the farm, and Glen's wife Dinah is happy to share her favourite recipes using Kabocha. So, watch this space.

Albino Found!

Congratulations to Michelle and family of Riverside who found the lucky albino carrot (pictured here) in their hilbarn box yesterday. They win a free $25 box of fresh goodies!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Win A $25 Hilbarn Box

We love a rogue. If you are lucky enough to find this albino carrot in your hilbarn box this week, you will qualify for a free box! (Note: We have no idea who the recipient will be as Barn's youngest son Billy is charged with planting the carrot). Be greedy and keep the box for yourself, or choose to gift it to a friend. If you are the lucky recipient, let us know by dropping us a note here (or by email). With thanks to Lilydale growers Bruce and Rowan for saving the Albino Carrot for us.

Karen's Basil

Thank you to Karen from Dilston (Hil's clever-cook sister-in-law) who was generous with her gorgeous last-of-the-season basil, adding an end-of-summer kiss to this week's hilbarn boxes.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Big Carrot Soup

Les sent us this photo of his daughter Cybelle's Moroccan spicy carrot soup, enjoyed on their deck in idyllic sunshine on Easter Sunday. Using Alan's big carrots from last week's hilbarn box, Les says the recipe started with chicken stock, coarse chopped carrots, potatoes, salt and a spice mix called Eygptian Gold - - and coriander chopped and folded in just before serving. Looks like sunshine in a bowl. Thanks, Les, for the photo.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Death of a Forest Shared

Our view in Karoola is dominated by magnificent Mount Arthur. At 1200 metres, it's one of Tasmania's higher peaks, and home to the burrowing crayfish which is listed as a vulnerable species. We love to take the road part way to the summit, sip sparkling wine in fresh air by the clearest mountain river, and walk through rugged bush to the summit to take in top-of-the-world views across northern Tasmania and Bass Strait. The top photo is what we call Fern Corner, taken in March 2008 on just one of these days. Yesterday, on Good Friday, we were stunned to see the same corner made bare by logging. We support our local sawmill, but it doesn't feel right that the one route to the top of our ancient mountain blessed by native bush and wildlife, should be dealt this fate, without comment or resistance, because those who have resisted have given up on being heard. Fern Corner will self-heal, but it has been destroyed for at least a generation and mountain lovers who crave summit roads will first have to trek open-mouthed through their version of Armageddon, made worse because it is industrial. Hectares of plantations have been established specifically for timber production; so why, we wonder, are public routes of immense beauty, and which give access to local wilderness and extreme amenity, treated with such lack of care or regard by the people entrusted to look after our forests?
"Mountains are the beginning and the end of all natural scenery."  - John Ruskin

Happy Holidays

Days of rest
Test the driven
Stop doing
Start living

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Bridge Not Too Far

We couldn't help but notice that the Red Bridge Cafe and Providore is now open in the old Plume building in High Street, Campbell Town. It's stacked with fresh Tassie produce, comes with dining hall, cafe, and cool antiques from old shops, and we especially love their words.

Note: The Red Bridge Providore overlooks the original red bridge - the oldest, convict-built, red brick bridge on the National Highway.

Apples Are Cool

Ethan from George Town was thrilled to receive his first hilbarn box and couldn't wait to dive into the apples.  His professional photographer mum, Estelle, sent us the perfect proof. Thanks Ethan - and we hear you have green thumbs too.

Image courtesy