In Gippsland, Victoria this weekend, come along and celebrate the 150th anniversary of the inception of the Sale Botanic Gardens and take High Tea with fine bone china, cucumber sandwiches and passionate discussion about sustainability, seafood, cooking and eating!

It will be a lovely afternoon.

Slow Food East Gippsland’s High Tea in our Beautiful Botanic Gardens
Slow Food East Gippsland is holding a High Tea in Sale’s historic Botanic
Gardens to celebrate the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the
inception of the Gardens. Supported by the Wellington Shire Council and the
‘Friends of The Botanic Gardens’ members and friends are invited to come
and share an old-fashioned tea party served on pretty tablecloths, on
grandma’s fine china a delicious spread of tiny sweet cakes, sponges and
cucumber sandwiches. A large marquee will protect guests from inclement
weather and seating will be provided.

Food writer, Hilary McNevin will be addressing the group about the importance of making sustainable food choices in fish and seafood. Hilary is the author of “Guide To Fish” in which fish species selection is advised and relevant recipes are given. Copies of Hilary’s book will be available for sale. Last year’s High Tea
was a great success with Rosa Mitchell (author of “My Cousin Rosa“)
delighting those gathered talking about her Sicilian heritage, how it shaped
her own life choices. and establishing ‘Journal Canteen’ in Flinders Lane in Melbourne.

The High Tea is to be held on Sunday, October the 17th at 2 p.m. The cost is $12.00 to members and $15.00 to friends. Reservations are essential and can be made by

ringing Liz on 0409 447 472.

I’m posting this recipe that I spoke about on Radio Marinara on 3RRR yesterday because there have been lots of requests for it – so to save time and to be very un-bloggy – I’m putting up a recipe without pics.

I’ve made this a few times but have  never snapped it – so – use your imagination, follow the steps – it’s easy and delicious and the whole fish looks so bounteous and stunning on the plate, your sense of achievement could well be palpable.

Salt-Baked Blue-eye Trevalla

1.5 – 2kg blue eye trevalla, scaled, cleaned and gutted.

6 cups sea salt plus 1 extra cup

6 egg whites

(Hil’s tip: use the egg yolks to make a mayonnaise to accompany the fish)

1 lemon, sliced into rounds

small sprig of rosemary, just 6 strands of rosemary will do – it can overpower so easily but adds just the right depth if used sparingly

2 cloves garlic

1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped.

Heat oven to 200C

Trace a rough outline of the whole fish on a piece of parchment paper, and cut it out.

in a mixing bowl combine 6 cups of salt and the egg whites with a spoon and mix it well. The mixture should feel like wet sand in your hands; heavy and moist.

Place the parsley, rosemary, garlic and lemon in the cavity of the fish. Spread the remaining salt over the base of a baking tray and place the cut-out parchment paper on the salt, then place the fish on top.

Use your hands to cover the whole fish with the salt and egg white mixture pressing down onto the fish to pack it tightly. It’s a large fish and will need most of the mixture but it’s okay if there’s some left over. The key here is to have an even coating over the fish – I find if you work from the head of the fish down towards the tail keeping an eye on consistent thickness of the crust you’ll be fine and so will the final result.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, without turning or touching, until the salt crust is hard and golden brown.

Crack the salt crust w the handle of a knife and peel it away. Use a spoon to break the flesh away along the top side – it will have begun to pull away from the bone.

Serve it with a side of homemade lemon mayonnaise, silverbeet sauteed in garlic, grilled fennel and lots of boiled potato chunks.

I’ll get the pics up next time I make it.


Ever gone to a market that claims to be a real farmers market only to find out later the people selling the produce had nothing to do with its growth and production?

We can now put those days behind us with the introduction of the Victorian Farmers Market Accreditation that was introduced here in May 2010.

It helps on many levels but mostly for all of us as consumers. We  now have  logos that represent the integrity of the industry, guarantee accreditation and  the authenticity of the product and produce we are buying.

Miranda Sharp, VFMA President says, “The Accreditation Program is a huge step for the farmers’ market community. Now the public, media and the rest of the food industry can easily identify farmers’ markets which have proven their authenticity and get behind regional Victoria with confidence. We look forward to many more of Victoria’s wonderful farmers’ markets coming on board.”
Simply, look out for the ticks (click on the link below for more comprehensive explanations of each tick):

Black for farmers

Brown for specialty makers

Red for markets

VFMA Accreditation Program_details

Victorian Farmers Markets accredited so far include:

Bendigo Community Farmers Market

Boroondara Farmers’ Market

Casey-Berwick Farmers’ Market

Collingwood Children’s Farm Farmers market

Echuca Farmers’ Market

Gasworks Farmers’ Market (Albert Park)

Hurstbridge Farmers’ Market

Lancefield Farmers’ Market

Kingston Farmers’ Market

Melbourne Showgrounds Farmers’ Market

Mt. Eliza Farmers’ Market

Slow Food Melbourne Farmers’ Market (Abbotsford Convent)

University Hill Farmers’ Market

Veg Out Farmers’ Market (St Kilda )

The Department of Primary industries has just produced this video about sustainable fish and fishing in Victoria featuring Neil Perry.

It’s just under 10 minutes and looks at Port Phillip Bay, snapper, calamari, King George whiting and is supported by people with great vision and love of the sea: Anthony Hurst from Fisheries Victoria, Roy Palmer of Seafood Experience Australia and Ross McGowan from Seafood Industry Victoria.

Just 10 minutes of your time…

Click here

When a film opens with the line,

“The way we eat has changed more in the last 50 years than in the previous 10 000”

You can’t help but sit up and listen.

Food Inc is coming to Australian cinemas on May 20th – I was fortunate to see it tonight.

It’s a factual path that endeavours to explain the absolute power very few hold over so many in the food chain.

People spoken to throughout the film range from the manager  of a meat-processing plant who said he was a mechanic who worked with science and technology, to a heart-broken mother who lost her two-year-old boy to E.coli poisoning, to the dynamic, articulate farmer Joel Salatin.

In the introduction, what struck me more than anything were these lines…

“This isn’t just about what we’re eating,

This is about what we’re allowed to say

and what we’re allowed to know.”

If I have nothing else in my life – I have what I perceive to be my freedom and I don’t want huge faceless companies to take that away.

This is a film worth seeing. The extreme anonymity of these multi-nationals who standardise flavour, texture, history and culture give even more kudos to the Farmers Market culture that is thriving – see you there!

Click here to see the intro


Whenever we eat pork, ham or bacon at home these days the one question my children ask me is, “has this pig had a good life?”

We’ve talked about intensive farming and about how it’s better to not eat meat at all than buy pig or chicken meat that has been intensively farmed. So, I took them to the Gypsy Pig farm in West Gippsland in Victoria to show them what I mean and what farmers like Michael and Bronwyn Cowan do on a daily basis.

I have profiled Michael and Bronwyn on FwT before, click here and I wanted to share the photos of what they do and just how good the lives of their pigs are.

Large Blacks and Tamworths

These Large Blacks are the bacon girls

If you’re concerned about animal welfare in the rearing of pigs and chickens for meat, then it’s about asking questions, becoming aware of what to buy and where to buy it from  and often going to Farmers Markets where people like Bronwyn and Michael sell their products directly to the public.

Avoid nameless, generic brand pork products. Don’t buy pork that is ‘Bred Free Range’ – this simply means that once the piglet is born in a free-range environment it is put into an intensive one soon after (a matter of a few weeks, if that).

I choose to eat meat and so do my family but we do it with awareness and consume with conscience.

If you had one chance to say one sentence to one person, about how to eat better, seasonal, less-processed food, what would that sentence be?

I’d love to hear suggestions, answers, directives.

I’d love to hear your ideas to help us all put better food on the table.