The Tassie food diaries (Pt.1)
A good deal of the plan for travelling around Tasmania involved the food, and the first things we booked, before we’d even booked accommodation, were dinner at The Black Cow, and a day at The Agrarian Kitchen. The Black Cow was sensational – the cow, or in my case, Beef Wellington, was too good to be true – rich and tender and salty and smooth. I also had my first taste of quail, which was far better than my imagination had led me to believe it would be, and a gorgeous creme brulee for dessert. It was my favourite meal of the trip.
But my favourite food experience of the trip was The Agrarian Kitchen, a cooking class with Rodney Dunn, the former Food Editor of Australian Gourmet Traveller who, inspired by the work of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, has relocated to Hobart with his family and established The Agrarian Kitchen, a farm-based cooking school.
It’s a great property, gorgeous garden, beautiful house. And then there is the kitchen.
It’s light and airy and heavenly. Ideal for the purpose. There were four of us in the class, and between us we cooked up a storm. But first we went around the garden, and got the veggies needed for the meal – potatoes and spinach and jewel-like baby carrots were all on the menu.
We visited the pigs and chickens and geese, and then headed back to the kitchen where we got on with the business of making lunch.
I mostly worked on the pasta – Pancetta, ricotta and cavolo nero rotolo, which was great as I hadn’t made pasta from scratch since… golly, a long time. And I’d never made a pasta dish like this. Basically you make the dough, roll it out, then lay the pasta, sheets overlapping, on a bench. Then you layer the ricotta, pancetta and cavolo nero (which had been cooked with onion and garlic). Then you roll it up in a teatowl, tie it around the ends and middle, and put the lot into a huge pot of boiling water. Then it was served with a gorgeous brown butter garlicky sauce.
It was delicious, as was the rest of the meal, and I probably would never had made it if it wasn’t for the class. I had several wistful moments of wishing I could move to Hobart, live off the land and enjoy the wide expansive space. I’d probably go mad after a while. But it’s great for a holiday! And such an inspiring place to visit. A day well spent.