Nestled in the picturesque Gippsland township of Mirboo North, we offer a unique culinary experience, Walk Amongst the Weeds. 

Walk Amongst the Weeds enjoy mulled wine in front of the fire pit Jacican Mirboo North 

Embark on a delightful journey through our kitchen garden with our interactive five-course pick-and-cook lunch, during which you harvest the ingredients for your meal. 

The next Walk Amongst the Weeds coincides with the festive spirit of Christmas in July.

This allows me to create a warm and joyful winter wonderland menu. 

Lunch starts with a pick-and-cook tour of our vegetable garden, where you harvest the ingredients for your five-course meal, which I cook.

Walk Amongst the Weeds toast homemade marshmellows over the fire pit Jacican Mirboo North

Guests will be guided through the kitchen garden as I explain what grows over winter, what garden preparation for spring is underway and what fruit and vegetables grow best in Gippsland. 

Once I’ve shown everyone around the garden, we will gather around the fire pit for the first course of the five-course lunch.  

We will start with mulled wine and spiced hot chocolate while toasting homemade marshmallows over the open fire pit.

Walk Amongst the Weeds warm yourself in front of the fire pit with a cup of mulled wine Jacican Mirboo North

Depending on the weather, the second course will either be served around the fire pit in the kitchen garden or moved to inside the Jacican studio. 

At this point, I think the second course will be something like foraged chestnut soup with Mirboo North sourdough and Gippsland cheese, maybe flame-grilled on the smoker.  

The main course will be ribeye roast beef with all the sides, including purple potato dumplings, Yorkshire pudding and cauliflower cheese. 

Everything served as a side dish with your main course is grown seasonally in the kitchen garden. 

We adapt our sides to what the garden offers guests on the day, ensuring a unique and flexible dining experience. 

That is the benefit of growing and cooking seasonal produce, as many items on the menu change between lunches. 

Over the summer, summer peaches and berries were preserved so guests can enjoy them now, along with native Blood limes and lemon myrtle from the kitchen garden, making up the fourth course.

Always looking for ways to preserve produce, the plum pudding has already been made using the Fowlers Vacola preserving method, served with whipped brandy butter and fresh creme anglaise.

Walk Amongst the Weeds - Christmas in July can accommodate various dietary requirements. 

Please let me know your specific needs when booking, and I will ensure your meal is tailored to your preferences.  

Take advantage of this unique culinary experience on July 20 and 21, 2024.

I look forward to sharing Walk Amongst the Weeds - Christmas in July with you all. 


Each preserve I make at Jacican is 12 months in the making – planning each year’s harvest, nurturing the kitchen garden to prove its bounty, picking the fruit and vegetables the moment they are at their best, and taking that moment to create my unique range of preserves. Preserving is seasonal, which is why I make jam when I can.

Learn to make jam at Jacican

This first fruit of the year in my kitchen garden is the berries, peaches, and plums, meaning jam, breaking out the Vacola and lots and lots of my hot plum sauce. 

Making plum hot sauce at Jacican

Each year, I grow from seeds, upwards of 100 tomato plants, all the different shapes, sizes, and colours, along with zucchinis and cucumbers. With the fresh young greens, fruit relishes are made, followed closely by the long cook chutneys and sauces. Most years, it is unlikely you will find a ‘normal’ red tomato in my garden, leading me to develop sweet black tomato chutney and black tomato sauce. 

Jaci in kitchen garden at Jacican

As I come to the end of autumn, quinces appear from the neighbours. Many, many quinces. Jelly and paste are made to serve with cheese or pickled to go with roast dinner. 

Quince jelly

The cooler months produce citrus – lemons, orange, limes, and cumquats. Marmalades and butter curds emerge from the kitchen, along with brandy-soaked fruit for a little tipple later. If I’ve had my planting right this is closely followed by the brassicas, meaning buckets of sauerkrant and kimchi can be found fermenting on the kitchen bench. 

lemon marmalade

The start of spring identifies the start of the kitchen garden lifecycle, with the elderflower the first tree to bloom. I will pick a bucket of blooms, soak in  juice for a few days and then I have elderflower cordial. By now in the year, I am looking forward to planting next year’s seeds, watching and waiting for the kitchen garden life-cycle to being again for another year. 

Jaci picking elderflower

If you would like to learn about my kitchen garden life-cycle and make your own preserves, join me for these very seasonal preserves making cooking classes.

See you all in the kitchen!


Learn to make puff pastry from scratch in a Jacican puff pastry cooking class

vanilla slice in the Jacican cooking school kitchen Mirboo North

Prepare for an exciting and engaging hands-on experience at all Jacican cooking classes, including our puff pastry cooking class, where you'll be actively involved in every step of the process. 

At Jacican, you have the exclusive opportunity to learn the art of making puff pastry from scratch from me, Jaci Hicken, a chef who has been perfecting this skill since childhood.

As a kid, I taught myself how to make puff pastry by following the Women's Weekly cookbook recipe resting the pastry for 20 minutes between rolling and folding. 

I would then make a custard tart with the finished puff pastry to share with my family.

As a chef with a few years of baking under my apron, I now know that making puff pastry by hand can take days, with all the pastries resting, rolling and folding.  

It is ideal to rest your puff pastry overnight between turns to create hundreds of thin layers of flaky pastry.

Through the magic of a four-hour puff pastry cooking class, you will make puff pastry, working through all the steps, including making the détrempe, rolling and folding to laminate your pastry. 

The puff pastry you make in a Jacican puff pastry cooking class is not just for show. 

It will be baked into delicious treats like vanilla slices, custard tarts, and vol-u-vents, which you can take home and enjoy.

Puff pastry ingredients

In many of my cooking classes, ‘the one I prepared earlier’ sometimes pops out of the fridge so you can fast-forward through some steps.

This may happen with puff pastry and other classes at Jacican, including my preserving classes.

Upcoming Jacican pastry cooking classes are on the following dates:

puff pastry about to do the first fold

Don't worry if the scheduled classes don't fit your calendar. 

All Jacican cooking classes can be arranged as private sessions for groups of four or more people on a day and time that suits you best. 

For a complete list of cooking classes, including dates for Walk Amongst the Weeds five-course lunches, go to Jacican cooking classes.

I look forward to cooking with you!


yacon cake

Always after different things to grow in the garden, a couple of years ago, Leonie from Brushtail Foods gave me a couple of yacon rhizomes. 

A tuber root vegetable that tastes like an apple crossed with a water chestnut crossed with a potato. You can bake, roast, stir fry and bake into a cake. 

What’s a Yacon?

Like all good bloggers, I went to the source of all correct information – Wikipedia and asked. A species of perennial daisy, related to sunflowers and hence Jerusalem artichokes. 

They contain an indigestible polysaccharide (geez, that’s a big word) made of fructose. 

This makes the tuber sweet tasting but allows the vegetable to pass through a human unmetabolized, with a very low-calorie intake. That’s enough scientific talk.

Let’s make a cake …

Let’s make a processed sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, basically vegan cake 

I promise it will taste great

Yacon and Date Cake


200 grams Dates

300 grams Yacon

200 grams Vegan Spread - I use Nutlex 

50 grams of olive oil

300 grams of almond meal

1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1 pinch of salt


1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line and grease a 23-cm cake tin.

2.    Place dates in heat resistant bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to stand for 10 minutes, then drain off the water.

3.    Place the dates, yacon, vegan spread, and olive oil in the bowl of the food processor. Puree until smooth. Add the almond meal, baking powder, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Pulse to combine.

4.    Pour into your prepared 23 cm cake tin. Bake for 25 minutes or until cooked through. 




PS: If you ask, Walk Amongst the Weeds can be a private vegan meal, where I make this cake as one of five plant only based courses. 

PSS: If you want your yacon to plant, I have rhizomes to plant as I dig up and use the tubers. Drop by sometime during opening hours, and I will have a piece ready for you. 

The life that we all find ourselves in and keeps dragging on has taught me to be grateful for what I have.

And it turns out I have a cupboard (or maybe cupboards, fridges and a storeroom) full of food.

Nearly everything kitchen staple you can think of, along with ones you may not except. 

It’s time for me to use up what I have on hand, cook with what’s in the cupboard and limit my trips to the supermarket.

If I look, I can find things like mini marshmallows, prawn paste, six different types of beans and a few boxes of gluten-free cornflakes.

For the first recipe of using up what I have on hand, I’m making a pumpkin pie, but I’m using up the gluten-free cornflakes and making a GF pie crust before I do that.

Gluten-Free cornflake pie crust. 

This recipe makes 2 * 23cm pie shells.


1  * 450gram box of Gluten-free cornflakes

120 grams butter

2 tablespoons of honey

75 grams of sugar*

1 teaspoon of xanthan gum


In the food processor, pulverise the GF cornflakes until they are a fine crumb. Pulse in 1 teaspoon of Xanthan gum. pulverise gluten free cornflakes example  xanthan gum

Heat the butter, honey and sugar in a saucepan until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is bubbling. butter honey sugar  butter honey sugar foaming

Place the pulverised cornflakes in a heat-proof bowl. Stir in the butter, honey sugar mixture. add butter honey sugar to cornflakes  mix together

Line your pie shell.

line pie tin

This mixture will be a little crumbly, but it will hold together fantastically when you add the filling and bake!

See you in the kitchen!


* Note: in the spirit of using up what I have in the cupboard, the sugar in this recipe was from the storage of my handmade lollies.

Walk amongst the weeds

jacican harvest lunch

Cooking Classes

jacican preserving cooking class

Private Classes

jacican pastry cooking class pasties

Acknowledgment of country

Hello, I’m Jaci Hicken, from the lands of the Brataualung clan, which is where I’ve spent most of my life.

I would like to acknowledge all of us here today to cook together and share a meal.

I love sharing my dream of growing the food this country has to offer and share it with you.

The traditional place that we come together today is on the lands Gunaikurnai people

And I’d like to pay my respects to our elders past, present, emerging leaders, along with all the young people in our community.

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32 Giles Street, Mirboo North Victoria 3871
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Telephone: (03) 5668 2475

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