Friday, May 31, 2013

Off to the Campbell Town Show

This week's Kate Smith for hilbarn 'jamalade' was made from Nuns' House apples, lemons from Art and Liz in Launceston, and rosemary from Kate's Pipers' River garden. This morning, Kate has packed her car ready with no less than seven different marmalades and is heading for the Campbell Town Show where the Northern Midlands community is celebrating the show's 175th anniversary. Leon Compton is broadcasting live from the Showgrounds today from 830am on ABC Local Radio. Happy showtime!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

An Orchard of Quinces!

Diana, one of our hilbarn customers, phoned us this week to see if we'd like to have the last of her quinces: "You can only use so many of them," she said. We were expecting to find a backyard tree, but when Diana showed us to the old orchard on her family's farm at Evandale we were over the moon to see three magnificent old quince trees bearing golden drops. Diana dropped the book work, left her quinces slow cooking on the kitchen Aga, and joined us outside to pick the fruit for hilbarn boxes this weekend. As we stood on tip toes - and Di climbed the branches - to pluck the highest fruit she told us the farm has been in her family for seven generations. It was lovely to think of her, her mother, grandmother and all the greats before her, running through the orchard with the air ripe with quince. We hope there's enough to share one or two of this year's crop in everyone's boxes this weekend.  Diana works as a health coach in Launceston; so, what's her tip for cooking them? Just slow cooked in water, she says. Don't bother to peel or core them, or even add sugar. A cinnamon stick or vanilla bean will do. Then, once they're soft and stewed, peel off the skins and blitz in the blender, et voila! Quince sauce you can pour on anything you like from breakfast to pork! Thanks, Di, for helping us run riot in your orchard. Now, we just have to remember not to put any in your box this weekend!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Good Times

While Barn is cooking supper tonight Hil is sitting down to share a special moment. Nirvana has been a hilbarn customer for... gosh, how many years, Barn? Hang on! He's checking the computer.... Wow! Three years. A couple of weeks ago we had a lovely time sourcing a recipe suitable for a Mother's Day Brekkie from the good people at Blue Cafe & Bar in Launceston using fresh produce from the hilbarn box. Some hilbarners took snaps of their version of the recipe for our photo competition, and while Nirvana's wasn't chosen as the winner, we wanted to share our love of the photo she sent us. We checked with her first and she was happy to introduce us to husband Sam, son Bryn, who's nearly 3 and whose first food, says Nirvana, was a hilbarn apple, and new baby Claerwen, now 11 weeks old. There's something about this photo that is good for all times. We just love the look on Bryn's face. Just helps to remind us that all the important things happen at home. 

We also wanted to share a new word we've just learnt from another hilbarn customer, Nan. She says she came across the Scottish word "scushling" in a book by George MacDonald. "The word," says Nan, "so very well describes the sound and action of walking through deep fallen leaves, kicking them up a bit as you go (just for the fun of it)." 

Thanks, Nan, for sharing your love of scushling.

"It was early October by the calendar, but leaves brown and spotted and dry lay already in little heaps on the pavement – heaps made and unmade continually, as if for the sport of the keen wind that now scattered them with a rush, and again, extemporizing a little evanescent whirlpool, gathered a fresh heap upon the flags, again to rush asunder, as in direct terror of the fresh-invading wind, determined yet again to scatter them, a broken rout of escaping fugitives. Along the pavement, seemingly in furtherance of the careless design of the wind, a girl went heedlessly scushling along among the unresting and unresisting leaves, making with her rather short skirt a mimic whirlwind of her own. . . ."  George MacDonald - 1824-1905  -  'Far Above Rubies'

Friday, May 10, 2013

Lyndy's Chook Gossip #5

Lyndy and Dave's hens at Pinners B&B have been having a little rest these past few weeks. Despite the unseasonally warm temperatures (21 degrees here yesterday) they're taking their usual winter vacation, laying less than Lyndy would like, losing their feathers, and in Miss Muffet's case, mothering nine new chickens hatched on Monday. Which means The Nuns' House hens Marilyn & Monroe are now aunties! In the meantime, Lyndy says she's looking forward to when their new Australorps start laying - apparently they're not as broody!

And here's a snap from Vikky who helps us with our boxes. She took her daughter Hollie to the beach yesterday. "Have a paddle for us!" we said. And not much later, this photo arrived. Thanks you two - lovely to see the toes taking a dip in May!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Big hilbarn Sunday

Celebration of Autumn 1 - Let's kick leaves!
It's official. Today has not only been a fantastic day but also the biggest since hilbarn started a little over four years ago. This morning started at 730 collecting fresh baby bok choy, coriander and cavolo nero which we chauffeured home in the white van to add to the rest of the goodies already collected and stored in the hilbarn cool room. The inside of the van was thankfully warm - given the first major frost of the season outside. 

Now, we're sitting in front of the wood fire, realising the day is ending as it started: in low temps! Suitably low, in fact, to enable us to stack the packed boxes straight into the van instead of the cool room: ready, set, go! for tomorrow morning's deliveries. 

We have to say, we're quite proud of the look of this week's hilbarn boxes: the sweetest little Beurre de Cap pears from Hillwood, ruffled Savoys from Laurie in Lower Barrington, and fragrant coriander from Chua and Zong... Plus, one of our favourite Masako illustrated recipes in preparation for a special day next weekend. We'll post the produce list and recipe on our Facebook page in the morning. We're delighted to say it's a recipe kindly shared by Blue Cafe Bar, Launceston. We invited them to come up with a recipe using ingredients from this week's hilbarn box. Inspiration, we hope, to share with (or make for) someone you love.

Celebration of Autumn 2 - yesterday @ Jansz Wine Room

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Breakfast Jam

After planting bags of bulbs in the garden this morning, it was a relief to get up off wet knees to enjoy a breakfast entree of: macadamia nut muesli with yoghurt, local passionfruit and a fair dollop of Kate Smith for hilbarn's Caramel Apple Butter (left). It's a delicious autumn treat for you in next week's hilbarn fresh produce boxes, made from Nuns' House apples. Kate will be in her regular spot at Evandale market this Sunday so if you're heading that way make sure you find out what else she's been adding to her bubbling pots this week. A big thank you, too, to the Hillwood hilbarners who left a bag of passionfruit in their recycle hilbarn box this week... hopefully there might be some more where they came from! Now for the main course...