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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.


GLM winter 1 small

As you all know I write for a local magazine - Gippsland Magazine. I was lucky enough to pick up the gig - share recipes when I meet the editor at a tourism conference. In the 2018 winter, I've shared my recipe column with Nadine, from Wattlebank park farm, down near Wonthaggi.

Nadine is the owner and operator, let just call her the farmer, of Wattlebank Park farm, located at St Clair, about halfway between Inverloch and Wonthaggi. A mixed farm of dairy, beef, pork, and lamb, Nadine produces a way range of meats and small goods that she sells through her farm gate butchers shop and at many of the local farmers' markets. In a collaboration with Prom Country Cheese, she produces a range of cow’s milk cheese. She even coordinates the Bass Coast Makers & Growers market, the second Sunday of each month at the Wonthaggi Goods Shed.

As you all know that I like to buy direct, where I can, from the farmer and as Wattlebank Park farm offers the whole range, it is one of my first go to shops for beef, pork, lamb and small goods. Nadine makes the best ‘Polish Sausage’ you have tasted. You can find her polish sausage atop many of the wood-fired pizzas, made and served locally.

Nadine Wattlebank park farm

Not only is Nadine a farmer, and businesswomen, she is a fantastic cook. The day I visited, she was up earlier, stoking ‘Betty the Rayburn’ to slow roast my meal. Her delicious serving of slow-cooked lamb, cooked through chicken, melting in the mouth beef and crackle, yes, the crackle crackled, roasted pork, made me want to return to the kitchen and cook up a winter roast feast!

So follow along with my next few posts, as I share Wattlebank park farm with you all.


GLM winter 2 small

beetroot tatin

This is a versatile entrée, that can be made with many things – potato, tomatoes, carrots, today with beetroot.

You can use store brought puff pastry, but today I make my own rough puff for the tatin.


500 grams of wash Beetroot – blub only (save the leaves for mains)

A drizzle of olive oil


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

2 onions, peeled and sliced

½ cup of brown sugar

¼ cup wine vinegar

Fresh oregano

Fresh thyme 

Homemade rough 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. Peel beetroots, wearing gloves. Wash beetroot very well to remove any loose dirt. Place the beetroot in a lined baking tray, drizzle with olive oil. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes or until soft when pierced with a sharp knife. Remove from oven and put aside to cool.
  3. Heat the first 2 tablespoons of butter in a frypan, until foaming. Add the sliced onion and reduce the heat. Allow the onion to cook down and caramelize. This may take half an hour. Once the 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 wine vinegar. Remove from heat. Stir to combine vinegar with brown sugar well 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 beetroot into 2 cm lengths and place beetroot 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.

Thia is one of the many dishes, we make together on the Long Lunch - vegetables for the garden cooking classes at Jacican. I would love it if you would like to come along sometime.



rough puff


300 grams flour

Pinch salt

1 egg yolk

½ cup water

Squeeze lemon juice

185 grams unsalted butter


  1. Sift flour and salt
  2. Beat egg yolk with water and lemon juice
  3. Place ‘walnut’ size pieces of butter into the flour. Do not rub in.
  4. Add liquid to flour and mix into a soft dough, without breaking up the butter. I use a small palette knife for this.
  5. Turn out onto a floured surface and shape into a rectangle.
  6. Roll the pastry away from you, keeping the rectangle shape to 7 mm thick.
  7. Sprinkle lightly with flour and fold in three. Place the lower third over the centre third, then the top third over the lower third. Rest for five minutes.
  8. Turn the pastry ‘quarter of a turn’, so that the folded edge is on your left. Repeat the rolling, folding and resting process three times.
  9. To keep pastry for a week in the fridge, cover with plastic wrap.

This recipe is used for many things - homemade sausage rolls and pies, potato or beetroot tatin. Basically anything you need to use a quick puff pastry for.

Sunday 10th June 2018

I work really hard to try and adapted the menu at Jacican when asked to suit everyone's dietary needs. back in January, I catered a function for the Southern Business Women's Network - meats & salad (it was a 40-degree day in the Meenyan town hall), followed by a dessert buffet. I know myself and Jacican, is very strong in dessert, so I used the occasion to high light the cakes and desserts Jacican has to offer.

From that function, and because I put some care into making sure everyone was included - all mains were gluten-free and vegetarian and there as a range of dairy free, gluten free, even process sugar-free dessert on offer. This has met that I have been asked to host an event on the Queens Birthday weekend - a dairy free, gluten free High Tea (Saturday).

As I will be making everything dairy free, gluten free for the private event, I have decided to open up the Sunday as Gluten-free, dairy-free High tea for everyone. many of the cake items will be Vegan, as well. Here is the menu ...

Chicken & cashew triangles, roast beef & chutney sandwiches, hummus carrot & beetroot ribbons
garden vegetable frittata & bruschetta
kasoundi chicken
Mothers Day High tea Jacican 2018 011

Yacon & date cake, with caramel & apple crisp (V)
Almond peach pannacotta (V)
Macarons - berry, banana caramel
Chocolate Beetroot Cake
Chocolate Avocado mousse 'nut' cake (V)
Musk sticks

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