Thursday, 14 April 2011

Our Tasmanian adventures....PART ONE.

We are home in Melbourne for a couple of days to catch our breath before we continue our April adventures.

Our trip to Tasmania was as heart warming & soul filling as we hoped.

As I sit here trying to start this post I am kind of lost as to which point I start....I think I am going to have to write a series on my Tasmanian adventure.  It has had my mind a whirl with ideas & thoughts since the minute we set off and if I tried to put them all in to one post it will just be too long & rambling.....

The trip started when Nick Haddow of Bruny Island Cheese invited our family to come and stay and make Tomato sauce along with a few other families.

We took the opportunity to take a VERY long overdue family holiday.  The sauce making was going to take a day but we booked a 12 day trip and gave us an opportunity to steal our children out of school to offer an education of a different sort.

We took the Spirit of Tasmania - the boat that travels between Melbourne & Devonport. 
 A large and majestic creature that swallows hundreds of cars in its belly and transports it's cargo safely across the famous Bass Strait.

We wanted the trip itself to be part of the adventure.  Boat trips are the stuff of life long memories, something not part of modern childhood.   We long ago traded the idea of such slow transport for the speed and ease of aeroplane travel.

Our kids have caught many many aeroplane flights but this was their very first boat trip.  And it was my first for a VERY, VERY long time.

One of the bonuses for us as a large family of seven in choosing the boat is being able to take our own car (not so easy to hire a car that fits us all) and we chose to attach a trailer to be able to pack freely- and of course to transport the precious sauce back to Melbourne!
We have done plenty of long haul car travels with our family and it has stood the kids in good stead for the long waiting periods that are part & parcel of boat travel.

We had to book 2 separate cabins as our family is too big to fit into a single.  We took advice of others and booked 'cabins with a view'.
You can almost touch the excitement in this picture of our precious five as they join together grabbing memories.

It felt so big & so exciting.

Arriving the following morning we drove directly to the little town of Perth to eat breakfast at the gorgeous Ut Si cafe.  It was well & truly worth keeping tummies hungry till we arrived there.  An old church has been converted into a gallery cafe that exudes a warm welcome- even when our busy family arrived!

Collette served us coffee that soothed our caffeine deprived souls and filled our bellies with
gloriously prepared, beautiful local food.  All of us left sated and smiling at the wonder of how food prepared with love tastes and looks sooooo different & soooooo delicious.
Ut Si has it's own vegie patch out the back as well as it's own wood oven where their super tasty bread is baked.  My kids wanted to know if it was how ours will look when it is finished.  I told them I hope so! 
 It kept us happy all day.  Things prepared with love do that.

We continued our drive to Hobart and marvelled at the beauty.

We arrived at Bruny Island later that day warmly welcomed by Nick & his gorgeous family.

We sat around an enormous bonfire.
 The children found ways as they do of making instant & lasting friendships.
 We ate the tastiest most perfect hot Minestrone on this very very cold day finished with a little of Nick's cheese around the fire as we chatted into the darkness........

 ......little ones snuggled in the arms of their parents mesmerised by the dancing flames.
We had no phone reception and no internet connection from this time for the rest of the holiday.

It really truly made us stop still and soak up the moments. 

We were instantly transported out of our city busyness and into our holidays........and this was only Day one!!

We could not have been happier if we tried..........

more of our Tassie adventures to come.........

GOURMET GIRLFRIEND'S MINESTRONE (via Elizabeth David's Italian Food)
This is a soup from Italy where region to region it varies widely.  In Genoa, Pesto is added to give the soup a super delicious finish.  I have chosen to share Elizabeth David's Minestrone Genovese as it is really interesting and not that well known but generally I cook a version starting with good quality free range Bacon rashers, oniins, garlic, Italian parsley and whatever veg & beans I have in my pantry.  I just fry off the onions, bacon, garlic and then add the rest cover with water, season and cook through. 
It is one of those dishes that can be varied as much or as little as desired (and can be meat free for the vegos) & is a fabulous way to use vegies that may otherwise get left to waste.
It is best served with really good quality bread.

I often make it for myself for lunch as it can be super quick.

  • 100g white haricot beans
  • 2 large eggplants
  • a cabbage
  • 500g of tomatoes 
  • 2-3 zucchini or a piece of pumpkin
  • 100g mushrooms
  • 3 tblspoons EVOO
  • 100g pasta
  • 2 tblspoons pesto
  • grated parmesan
Soak beens overnight and boil till three quarters cooked.
Strain and place into 1 & 1/2 litres fresh water. 
Cut all veg into small cubes and add with the EVOO to water.
Just before the veg are cooked through add the pasta.
When it is tender add pesto.
Check seasoning and serve with grated Parmesan.

Serve with crusty bread.

Todays listening pleasure is a track called Happiness by Jonsi & Alex....that is really what this day felt like. Total & utter happiness:


  1. Oh Ruth, what a lovely post. Heart-warming.

  2. So good to read and imagine the boat ride. I listened to Nick on the radio not long ago talking about his raw milk cheeses...thought of you guys over there. Veronica xx

  3. Oh thank-you. So glad you liked our little caf. It is always a delight to feed lovely, lovely people who 'get' us. X

  4. how fantastic for you to have a holiday so suited to you. Well deserved to the max too. I am so happy it worked so well for you. Wonderful piccies reminiscent of our camping and travelling with you 40 years ago. On Saturday we're taking the very same good old French camping trailer from those days down to the Yorke Peninsula. I'm really looking forward to enjoying camping again with some delightful people - who are what always make for special times. xxxxxJoma

  5. I LOVE reading about family holidays. Mainly because I so enjoy being on them myself. I'm looking forward to doing some camping later this year. Isn't it wonderful just having time off from the world?


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