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.


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... 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.


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roast pork GCLM Winter 2018 Wattlebank Park farm

This is the continuing story of Nadine, from Wattlebank Park Farm, taken from the Winter 2018 edition of Gippsland Magazine. The article was put together by me, using Nadine's recipes ...

 ... Before Nadine could cook the pork, we were interrupted, by a piglet visiting the back door to say hello, creating a farming interlude. This is the real meaning of free range farming.

roast pork GCLM Winter 2018 Wattlebank Park farm piglet

Nadine free-range farms, Wessex Saddleback Pigs. A black and white pig, that are known for their placid nature and natural mothering skills. At Wattlebank Park farm the pigs roam freely (in a large fenced paddock), living on a lower protein diet, without any commercial feed. All piglets are raised by their mothers, before weaning at 12 weeks.

To get your pork to cook to the optimal result, it is a good idea to have a meat thermometer handy.

1 kg boned rolled pork loin

Salt and pepper

Olive oil


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 220c
  2. 2. If your pork has not been scored by the butcher, you will need to do this first. Dry pork skin. Massage olive oil salt and pepper into the dry scored pork skin.
  3. 3. Place pork on a baking tray and into your preheated oven bake for 20 mins then turn down to 180c. Cook for 40 min per kg of pork or until internal temp reaches 71c.

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Nadine served the pork with a jar of pickled quinces from my pantry.

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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.


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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.



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