Food Writing

Inside South Australia

I was  involved in a Brand SA project throughout 2016, sharing good news stories from the Limestone Coast for the Inside South Australia website.

Photo by Ockert Le Roux http://www.oxenburg.com

I was so lucky to have the opportunity to write about people I seriously admire, including photographer Ockert Le Roux, whose striking images are not only luring tourists to the region but inspiring locals to explore their own backyard. Brian and Benedetta Wagner from Wagner’s Rose Nursery at Kalangadoo, vegan cook Leah Franklin from ‘just frank’, and the uber successful Generations in Jazz music festival (which is on again from May 5-7, 2017) also feature on the website. 

The 90 x 40-metre tent housing last year’s 6000-strong crowd was the largest big top South Australia has ever seen.

Paddock to Plate – Potatoes SA

Potatoes SA says it’s time to see potatoes in their true light – as ultra-nutritious, versatile vegetables grown in clean, healthy environments.

IMG_1104

I worked on the production of a new potatoes ‘Paddock to Plate’ video hosted by wellness and nutrition guru Joanna Fincham from The Nourish Nook.

IMG_1088My kitchen played a cameo role during the cooking segment!

IMG_0409

Here’s the newly launched video:

Border Inn Hotel’s Rebirth – Outback Magazine

The ‘closed’ sign had been on the door of Apsley’s historic Border Inn Hotel for more than two years when a group of locals figured it must be their shout. While the small farming community in Victoria’s far west had adjusted to the loss of its general store and fuel station, the pub was a different story; the town was missing its social hub.

DSC_1023

 

Just over a year ago, a 23-strong syndicate of locals brought the 165-year-old business back to life.

“We didn’t know each other particularly well, and when you first get a group of people together, it takes a while to find where you belong, but we soon worked it out because it never would have got up and running unless everyone rolled up their sleeves and got into it,” says cattleman-cum-publican Noel Ogilvie.

“People ask how we make it work, but we have made an effort to make it work because we are passionate about it,” says fellow farmer-shareholder Simon Robinson.

What does it take to get a beer in Apsley? Twelve farming families, a retired stockbroker and a ‘sold’ sticker.

What does it take to get a beer in Apsley? Twelve farming families, a retired stockbroker and a ‘sold’ sticker.

My story on this community-minded mob appears in the October/November 2015 edition of Outback Magazine. Amazing cover!!

OB103_COVER

Say Grace Café & Larder

Well, isn’t this food for thought:

graceWords of wisdom from Safe Grace Cafe & Larder in Casterton, Victoria.

grace2

Owner, Penelope Farquharson, could see potential in this tiny country town with its main street layered in history and fit for a film set.

grace6

Her store has become a destination for ladies who lunch, farmers, footy players…and freelance journalists like me, with a healthy appetite and a trained eye for a great story.

grace4

Penelope’s story is in the June 2015 edition of Australian Country Style magazine.

Poetry on a Plate in Bourke, NSW

The most memorable meals often happen during travels, and the poetry dished up on a plate in Bourke, NSW, was no exception. I was passing through with my family on the way home from Cape York, and the editor of Outback magazine asked us to stop to investigate Andrew Hull and Sarah Goulden’s unique recipe for success – beef casserole, lentil stew and lemon-curd tart served with a generous helping of poetry and music at Kidman’s Camp.

Poetry

From April – October, up to 100 campers line up here for a welcome reprieve from ‘yet another barbecue’.

Kidman2

“We didn’t want to make a generic product, and because the stories and food are original and local, it makes a whole experience out of it,” Andrew says. “It’s not just turning out a meal from a canteen; it’s a real event.”

Kidman3

Outback Cover copy

Chef Profile: Kirby Shearing

I have interviewed prominent Limestone Coast chef Kirby Shearing several times in recent months.

Kirby-Shearing

Photo by Joanna Fincham

Kirby’s hunter-gatherer food philosophy is shaped by regionality and seasonality, and in a recent story I wrote for Outback magazine, he shares the thrill of the hunt; landing in fungi heaven after venturing deep into the woods:

“I was almost ready to give up after searching for about 45 minutes, but I turned a corner and came across the thickest mat of pine mushrooms, parasols and slippery jacks,” he says. “It’s true organic produce; wild mushrooms that have just popped out of the earth – there’s no one planting them, no one spraying – they have just grown at the perfect time in the right place.”

Kirby-Shearing-2

Photo by Joanna Fincham

Here’s one of Kirby’s dishes: Native spiced kangaroo, coastal herbs and organic chickpea puree – delish! The recipe is in the October – November issue of Outback Magazine.

outback oct:nov

 

Kalangadoo Organic in Country Style

Country Style’s April 2014 edition has arrived, complete with my article on apple growers Chris and Michelle McColl, who are based at Kalangadoo on SA’s Limestone Coast.

IMG_4319It’s perfect timing, with the apple season in full swing. We’re on our fifth box at our place – huge fans!

IMG_4315

The McColls’ gorgeous maremmas Bruno and Yoshi also made the Dog Tale section of the latest edition.

CS April 2014

Nature’s Pantry – Hamilton, Victoria

There are swings and roundabouts…and then there’s spinach and roundabouts – particularly if you’re driving through one of Victoria’s largest country towns.  Leafy greens are popping up in the middle of some of Hamilton’s busiest thoroughfares, giving new meaning to the concept of ‘lunch on the run’.

roundabouts

“The vegetables can be eaten, but they are still an aesthetic feature, and the cost is no different to annuals, which can take a fair bit of maintenance,” says parks and gardens co-ordinator Jenny Hurse. “We want to be the most healthy, liveable Shire, and this makes a real statement about sustainability.”

My story on this terrific initiative of the Southern Grampians Shire Council appears in the Dec/Jan edition of Outback magazine.

 

The warmest of welcomes for a refugee

After moving to Australia as a refugee late last decade, Lal Lian was lured to Mount Gambier in 2010 by the promise of work in the horticulture industry.

Lal1

Photography by Sharyn Cairns

But the opportunity that knocked was beyond even his dreams. Kalangadoo apple growers Chris and Michelle McColl offered Lal almost a hectare of highly prized fully certified organic soil to produce his own crops.

Lal2

Photography by Sharyn Cairns

My story about this kind family man who accepted a helping hand in a new farming land is in the November 2013 issue of Country Style magazine. Editor Victoria Carey writes:

The story of how a couple of apple farmers at South Australia’s Kalangadoo gave Lal a plot of land on which to grow organic market vegetables, and the way he seized the opportunity with both hands, is one of the most inspiring we’ve had in the magazine recently.

 

Penola’s Best Kept Secret

A thriving herb garden is tucked beyond a rustic picket fence and two timber slab cottages on Penola’s Petticoat Lane in South Australia’s Limestone Coast.

Entry is free, and visitors are encouraged to wander and enjoy the bounty of some beautiful volunteers.

I’ve shared their story in the latest edition of Australian Country Style, and was delighted to read the following in the editor’s opening letter:

As we put the magazine together, my team often tells me which stories they like the best. One that has inspired more comments than most is Gretel Sneath’s piece on the National Trust Herb Garden. 

Yay!

The May issue also features my article on Wagner’s Rose Nursery  which features in an earlier blog post. More gorgeous people and their roses are the best I’ve seen – magazine pix are exquisite!