Welcome to Jacican

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I love to cook, I've always loved to cook.

As a young girl, my time was spent reading the cookbooks that mum kept in the bottom kitchen drawer. Always looking for a new recipe to try, a new food idea. Many weekends were spent making rainbow cakes with as many colours as possible – have you seen my Instagram, not much has changed, and looking for recipes that I could cook using what was available in the cupboard or from the vegetable garden.

At the aged of about 16, I remember stating that I wanted to leave the farm and travel the world. This would be followed by retiring by about 30 and moving back to South Gippsland to grow vegetables and cook. From 16 fast forward 20 years and I returned, starting Jacican Food Studio in Mirboo North, Gippsland where I grow vegetables and cook. This blog is where I share my food adventure.


Sausage Rolls

No one ever told me, that when you become a chef you have to be able to make the best sausage roll and that you will be making a lot of them!

At Jacican I serve them as part of the High tea canapes, on the lunch menu on the tasting plate or as a giant with a side of salad. I even teach your kids how to make them at home for everyone's lunch.

For this recipe, I use Sweet Black Tomato Chutney as the flavoring, but you could use any flavor you like, along with any type of mincemeat you like. Another combination I have made includes chicken with Green Tomato Kasoundi and pork with plum sauce.


1 pack of puff pastry

1 carrot, peeled and grated

1 zucchini, grated

500 grams mincemeat – Beef, pork, or lamb

1 jar of Sweet Black Tomato Chutney (or tomato sauce or chutney of your choice to taste)

1 cup breadcrumbs

1 egg



Preheat the oven to 180oc.

Lay out puff pastry on the bench top. Cut each sheet in half so you have 12 rectangles of pastry.

Mix remaining ingredients together in a bowl.

Place the mince mixture along with the middle of a piece of pastry. Rolls the sides over to seal the mince in the pastry. Repeat for the remaining mix/pastry.

Cut to size.

Place the rolls on baking trays and cook for 20 minutes until crispy.

Serve alongside your favorite sauce or chutney.



This is one of the many things I use my Beetroot relish for.

Beetroot Dip


250 grams of cream cheese

60mls of whipping cream

250-gram jar of beetroot relish



Place everything in the bowl of the food processor and whip until combined. Serve alongside bread, crackers and vegetable croutons.




jaci Ernst jacican 1

... myself and Building Maintenance brought our house and moved into our home in Mirboo North, Gippsland. The two of us working very hard over that period to build our dream and create our happy place!

But, it all started before that. We meet at work, just before the 2000 Olympics, when he was building OB trucks and I was working in them. Jump forward a year and apart from work, we are rarely apart.

When I announce that it was time to follow my dream, he was there backing me up. It was Building Maintenance that pushed me to train as a chef. I remember him saying ‘that we could follow the dream – to grow and cook our own produce’ on the condition that I worked from the ground up and trained as a chef.

So, I took a job washing dishes in a Richmond café, then a catering company, got my certificates in catering and commercial cookery, worked in hotels, all before moving to Mirboo North. Through this, he supported me, never once either of us asking for government support for training or a wage.

Fast forward to now. We have built our business – Jacican. This includes renovating the house, the dairy, putting in the kitchen garden and teaching kitchen. Now there is staff (with room for some more) and I get to do what I love every day.

Thanks for reading.


jaci Ernst jacican 2

tatin 2

There are many potato farmers surrounding my food studio in Gippsland, so there is not much point growing normal potatoes in my vegetable garden. By normal potatoes, I mean white fleshed, great for frying, gnocchi, and chips. For this dish I use the potatoes I grow in my vegetable garden, a purple variety that has the brightest purple fresh.

You don’t need to use a special potato for this recipe. The golden kipflers would be fantastic to use as well.


500 grams of washed potatoes


2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter and extra for greasing the tin.

2 red onions, peeled and sliced

½ cup of brown sugar

¼ cup red wine vinegar

Fresh oregano

Fresh thyme 

1 sheet puff pastry


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C. Line the bottom of a 20cm loose bottom cake tin with a round of baking paper. Grease the walls of the cake tin with butter. Place the cake tin on a large sheet of aluminum foil. Bring the sheet of aluminum foil up the outside of the cake tin, to enclose the tin. This is to prevent leakage.
  2. Wash your potatoes very well, but do not peel. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan of boiling water, with a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are cooked through, but do not fall apart. Drain and put aside to cool.
  3. Heat the first 2 tablespoons of butter in a frypan, until foaming. Add the sliced red onion and reduce the heat. Allow the red onion to cook down and caramelize. This may take half an hour. Once the red onion has caramelized, remove from the heat and place in a bowl. Set aside until needed. Wipe out the frypan, you will need it again.
  4. Return the frypan to the stove and heat the extra two tablespoons of butter, until melted over a medium heat. Add the brown sugar to the pan and continue to cook for 5 minutes, until the brown sugar has melted. De-glaze the brown sugar with the red wine vinegar. Remove from heat. Stir to combine vinegar with brown sugar to make a toffee.
  5. Pour the toffee into the bottom of the lined loose bottom cake tin. Sprinkle fresh oregano and thyme over the toffee.
  6. Slice the potatoes into 2 cm lengths and place potatoes atop of the toffee, cut side down. Cover the bottom of the cake tin with the potatoes. Top the potatoes with the caramelized onion. Let the onion fall between the potatoes.
  7. Cut the corners of the sheet of puff pastry. This is to make it easier to fit in the cake tin. Place the sheet of puff pastry on top of the onions. Place the tart into your pre-heated oven. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.
  8. Remove the tart from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes, before turning out on a plate.


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