Growing garlic

July 3, 2014

 garlic the tassie farm
Growing garlic is a science. You plant in winter and harvest in summer. Sounds simple enough but there are little tricks and tips that will help give your crop a healthy boost. Preparation is our No.1 ‘must-do’, so here’s The Tassie Farm way to prepare the soil:

You may remember our post on 29 May when we picked the last of our tomatoes Well, when we did, we dug the bed through, adding a lot of natural compost before covering it in hay. About a month later we added worm wee and poo, sheep poo and organic fertiliser We then dug up the soil (again) and relaid the hay. Last weekend we lifted the hay and just like magic, the soil was rich and wriggling with worms. We then planted two garlic varieties – Tassie Purple and one from neighbours Mary and John, called the ‘Rural Gift Garlic’ (make-up name). Once again that faithful old hay went back on top to keep the weeds at bay and the soil moist. In total, 80 cloves were planted and we’re hoping this will see us through until June 2015.

If you can’t plant your own garlic, you can buy it here: or

Pumpkin soup recipe

June 20, 2014

Pumpkin soup the tassie farm
Pumpkin soup is always a winter favourite on restaurant menus and we think we have a recipe to rival any other. The Tassie Farm is being quite smug because we have just ‘harvested’ our first and only pumpkin from our vegie patch! So, now we feel we can mix it with the best of them, especially combined with our other homegrown potatoes and carrots.

Ingredients for 2: (all chopped)
3 cups pumpkin (skin off)
2 large carrots
1 large potato
1 onion
Celery sticks (optional)

By the way, if you don’t have pumpkin, just use sweet potato as the main ingredient instead.


The secret to our soup recipe is roasting all the vegies first. This little trick adds a sweetness to the soup’s flavour. Set your oven to about 180C, add a splash of olive oil to the vegies and roast them until they just start to soften and brown on the edges – about 30 minutes should do it.

Finely chop 1 onion, along with your celery. Slowly set the onions down until they are translucent and just starting to brown. Add your roasted pumpkin, carrot and potato. Then add enough stock to cover the vegies. If you don’t have any handmade stock, just use a vegetable stock cube (and add water). Cook at a slow simmer until all the vegies are soft. The carrot will be the last to soften. Once this is done, take off the heat and use a stick blender to create a smooth soup.

The Tassie Farm serves our soup with homegrown corriander, or if you prefer, garnish with cream. Crusty bread is mandatory!
This batch of soup fed two people for two lunches. Just add more vegies if you need to feed more mouths!

Here are some other recipes with pumpkin


Beetroot Pickle Recipe

1kg beetroot
220g sugar
1 litre cider vinegar
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
4 small dried chillies
1 tsp black mustard seeds

3 cinchy steps:
1.Wash beetroot and trim, leaving some of the stem and main root attached. Add beetroot to a pan of cold water and boil until just tender. Let cool in the cooking water. Keep 125ml of this liquid.

2.Rub skin off gently. Wear gloves to avoid having purple hands!
Quarter or slice depending on what your preference is, and place in sterilised jars.

3.Combine the rest of the ingredients, including the reserved cooking liquid, into a pan and stir over heat. When the sugar has fully dissolved, bring to the boil. Remove from heat and pour over beetroot. Seal while hot.

And like magic! your own very own pickled beetroot. You can store it or gobble it up now!

For more information about beetroots read our post


Growing tomatoes

May 29, 2014

saving tomato seed

Now that tomato season has officially ended (in Tassie), it’s time to start thinking about growing tomatoes for next year! This is what our next door neighbour Mary’s mum use to do. She scooped the seeds out of her favourite tomato (ours is the Ailsa Craig), dried them out on a paper towel, then cut them into small strips. She put the strips in pots and placed the pots somewhere warm so the seeds would propagate – and then by Spring, she was ready to plant her tomato seedlings.


Tomato passata brought to you by from Clever Hen on Vimeo.

The Tassie Farm’s last crop of rich, sweet tomatoes is being cooked up as passata (passato or passata di pomodoro). It’s neither tomato paste or tomato sauce. Maybe somewhere in between. Passata can be used in any recipe that asks for tomatoes as an ingredient, like meat based dishes, and you can make tomato soup from passata. So, when the tomatoes have all disappeared off the vine, there will still be bottled passata to relish all year round. Source:
Music track by Setuniman on Freesound:

Mother’s Day recipe

May 7, 2014

Bake mum’s day this Mother’s Day (11 May) with a CWA member approved Ginger Kisses recipe. Thank you to three badge show judge, Jean Miles, who has generously shared this recipe with The Tassie Farm. You can also make a Mother’s Day card this year with an illustration from our children’s book Facebook page:

3 oz (85g) butter
3 oz (85g) caster sugar
1 egg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp teaspoon ginger
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp ground ginger
8 oz (225g) self raising flour

Cream butter and sugar, add egg and sifted dry ingredients. Roll into balls and press with a fork like you do Yo Yo’s Cook 10 minutes in a moderate (150 C) oven. When cool join with icing.
Jean normally puts some condensed milk in the icing to keep the icing soft if she wants to keep them a while.

Jean’s Tips: “Not many people make ginger biscuits these days but this is a nice recipe.
I sometimes put a little ginger in the icing. These can be joined like Yo Yo’s or left plain.
Also I like to put a little glace ginger on top of a single biscuit. I have also put them through the biscuit forcer.”

growing tomatoes in tasmaniaGrowing tomatoes can be touch and go, especially in Tassie. Most years Kerry and Nick have been in the red but this year it’s been a bumper crop. According to Tasmanian grenthumbs, the cut off to  plant is by Hobart Show Day, which is late October.

In 2013, Kerry and Nick took a punt and planted their tomatoes in early December. They planted a number of varieties into their well composted vegie patch. The most abundant was the Ailsa Craig  pictured above. Thank you to neighbours John and Mary, who have been successfully growing tomatoes in Tasmania for years. They gave these seedlings to Kerry and Nick.

Late planting meant a late harvest. In fact, it wasn’t until mid March 2014 that the green fruits blushed a passionate red and The Tassie Farm was boasting sweet, home grown tomatoes. Even today, Kerry and Nick are still harvesting and processing their tomatoes. So far they’ve made, chilli jam, tomato and sweet fruit chutney, semi sundried tomatoes in oil, tomato ketchup and their first batch of passata.

The best thing about growing tomatoes is that you don’t need a big patch – just a pot with some rich compost and the right variety for wherever you live. If you’d like to relish in more tomato stories, click here


Anzac Biscuits
Our ANZAC biscuit recipe is courtesy of Jean Miles, CWA member and three-badge show judge. Thank you, Jean.

¾ cup (75g) rolled oats
½ cup (125g) sugar
¾ cup (70g) desiccated coconut
¾ cup (110g) wholemeal plain flour
(You can also use ordinary plain white flour)
2 tbsp (40ml) golden syrup
(You can use treacle if you prefer)
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
2 tbsp (40ml) boiling water
½ cup (125g) melted butter

Mix oats, flour, coconut and sugar together in a bowl.
Put the golden syrup and boiling water in a saucepan on the stove and add bicarb soda. See it froths well.
Then add the butter to melt. This should give a crisp biscuit. (The biscuits will not go crisp until they are cold).
Add saucepan contents to the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly.
Drop spoonfuls of mixture onto tray allowing room for mixture to spread.
Try oven at 150 degrees for 10 minutes.
If they are still soft put them back in the oven for five more minutes, even after they are cold. This won’t hurt them. Cool and store in airtight container.

Jean’s special tips:
ANZAC biscuits can be tricky. Some people like soft ANZAC biscuits but they’re not meant to be. No two ovens are the same, so you may need to adjust the temperature depending on your oven’s quirks. The Tassie Farm has baked this recipe a few times and not using the fan force setting has helped.

For another traditional recipe from Jean, try her ginger kisses.

Jean’s special ANZAC story:
A snippet from Jean’s family cookbook, filed under the biscuit section ‘Very Australian recipe. One of our family favourites’ along with these treasured notes:

‘These biscuits were well known with soldiers. Wives, mothers, lovers used to bake them and send them to the troops during the war. They are very good keepers. They were sent in tins sewn into calico bags. I remember my mother sending fruit cakes this way to England after the war as there was a terrible food shortage over there. The R.S.L sells ANZAC biscuits now as a fundraiser for the war widows.’

The best Hot Cross Buns
This no knead hot cross buns recipe is the yummiest and easiest you’ll find. So irresistible, you’ll need to make a dozen at a time!

Ingredients: (for 12 buns)

3 cups flour
1.5 cups water
1/4 tsp yeast
1 and 1/4 tsp salt
Dried fruit
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cinnamon

The ‘cross’ mixture:
1/2 cup of flour
4-5 tbls of water
Make sure this mixture has a good consistency. Pour into a zip lock bag. Cut a small corner off the zip lock bag to make an icing bag.

Method: 5 easy steps
Step 1: Mix ingredients together and cover mixing bowl. Leave in a draft-free place for 16-20 hours (no more).
Step 2: After 16-20 hours, preheat oven to 200 degrees and place stoneware or cast iron pot with lid in oven. No need to grease your pot.
Step 3: Flour your bread board then scrape bread mixture onto the board. Do not knead just fold each corner to the middle. Divide into 12 portions and roll into buns.
Step 4: Take your pot out of the oven and place your 12 buns in it – don’t worry if they touch. Cross the buns using your home made icing bag. Be quick as you don’t want your pot to cool too much.
Step 5: Bake at 200 degrees for 30 minutes then take the lid off and bake for another 20 minutes or until golden brown. While the hot cross buns cool, the spicy fruit aromas will fill your home, making you extra Hoppy!

And if you want to see how easy it really is, watch this 30 second video

A special thank you:
To all the Friends of The Farm who share their recipes with us, our tummies say thank you. Georgie gave us the no knead bread and bun recipe. Margaret and Kate jotted down these two cake recipes which we’d like to share with you and

Scores of summer fruit

April 4, 2014
summer fruits tassie farm 2014
Summer has vanished but the season’s tastes still linger. Plums, apricots, mulberries, blueberries, strawberries and cherries – all grown on The Tassie Farm. Here is the score sheet for our small but memorable harvest:
Plums 8/10 thanks to our bird netting.
Apricots 4/10 (ordinary) but plentiful enough to make two batches of jam which scored 9/10.
Mulberries 9/10. We didn’t net and there were still mulberries to pick at throughout the season. Even the ducks enjoyed a few of the low hanging fruit.
Blueberries 6/10. Not a bad score especially seeing it was our first-ever crop. We probably enjoyed two or three desserts.
Strawberries 3/10 very disappointing harvest thanks to greedy rabbits. All up only a few bowls full.
Cherries 10/10 and we even were able to enjoy some for Christmas and wear them as earrings!