Finding Love in Lilydale

My Tasmania Weekend is over, and here’s my promised report. Day one began, like all days do, with sunrise. This one was a welcome appearance after a zero-degree night.

sun's up over Lilydale:

The view from my window was a beautiful sight. Fresh jonquils (narcissus, my favourite flowers) bloomed and filled the air with a delicious fragrance.


Creatures big and small awoke from their slumber, including the local ducks and geese, and my son Nitai who accompanied me on the trip as my assistant.

view from my window:

Lesley and John Gallagher, avowed vegetarians, with their daughter Jasmine, run Cherry Top and Eagle Farm as the home of L.O.V.E. (Lilydale Organic Vegetable Enterprises). They grow organic fruit and vegies for a small local customer base who collect their love boxes every week. That’s Lesley, below, far right, at the onset of our first cookery class, on day one.

Saturday in Tassie:

Lesley and I spent many months co-ordinating the ‘Winter Spice Retreat’ at Eagle Farm, and finally the weekend was upon us. Cherry Top and Eagle Farm sit in the lovely rolling hills near the village of Lilydale, about 45 minutes from Launceston, near the northern part of Tasmania.

Sean and Nadia:

Sean and Nadia drove from Launceston for the weekend. They helped pick some lovely fresh vegetables, still drenched with morning dew, for our first day of cooking.

pink carrot:

Pink carrots were just one of a number of ingredients I hadn’t used before, including some lovely fresh herbs, notably rocket flowers and borage flowers.


Phil cuts some freshly harvested coriander greens as the beautiful pastureland, replete with grazing horses, lights up with the full rays of the morning sun.

We cut, we chatted and cooked our way to a delightful late lunch of Sweet & Sour Mung Dal Soup with PumpkinZesty Lemon Rice with Fresh Coconut, Coriander & CashewsSucculent Tomato, Peas and Home-made Curd Cheese (Matar Panir) Dry-roasted Crispbreads (Pappadams) Fresh herb-laced Garden Salad,Battered Crispy Fritters of Cauliflower, Eggplant & Sweet Potatoes (Pakoras) , and Hot & Spicy Apple Chutney.

Dessert was a magnificent Saffron-infused Semolina Halava Pudding with Almonds, Walnuts & Raisins, and an invigorating Hot Spiced Rooibos Tea (Masala Chai) .

Sunday Dinner in Tassie:

The weekend ended with another class, bristling with song and kitchen camaraderie, culminating in a wonderful candlelit banquet, where we enjoyed more jolly talk, and feasted on Fragrant South Indian Hot & Sour Toor DalSoup (Rasam) Basmati Rice with Cashews, Peas & Fresh Coriander (Pulao)Creamy Cauliflower and Potato Supreme (Gobi Alu Bhaji) North Indian Puffed Fried Breads (Poories) Hot, Sweet, Spicy & Sour Eggplant Pickles, and yet another Fresh herb-laced Garden Salad.

Finally, out came the Traditional Karnataka Carrot Halava and another welcome mug of cardamom- and cassia-laced Hot Spiced Tea (Masala Chai). And so it all came to an end, as quickly as it had begun. Farewell Tasmania, until next time.

Oh, and remember, if you’d like to experience the delights of a day or night of cookery camaraderie and feasting in your home, I’m available.

Posted by Kurma on 23/6/10; 11:24:38 AM

Life and Travel

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