Little Things Count

Fresh Herbs at Hamptons House on Tasmania’s East Coast

Despite what many say has been an extended winter on the East Coast of Tasmania, Spring is in full swing with fantastic wild flowers adorning the grounds at Hamptons on the Bay.

Having originally come from Western Australia, I thought that growing herbs in Tasmania’s cooler weather might prove a little challenging. How wrong was I.

About six weeks ago I added some new herbs to the garden beds for our guests to use when they come to stay.

With about $12 worth of seeds/seedlings from Bunnings, I threw in some Rocket (Arugula), Sage, Mint, Dill, Rosemary and Laksa Leaf (which is also known as Vietnamese mint, or Daun Kesom in Malaysia which is my country of origin). I’ve never been able to grow sage from seed, so I’m thrilled that it seems to be growing.

I’d previously planted some Parsley, Thyme, Oregano and Spring Onions just before winter and they have thrived.

The Parsley certainly proved a tasty treat for the local fauna. I can’t tell whether it’s the wallabies or the possums, but all I can say is that it’s been very popular. So much so, an inverted milk crate to allow sun and rain in and to keep pesky mouths away from the tender shoots was the only way to prevent it being decimated. Alas, I was away for 5 weeks and the milk crate had to be redeployed to protect the Laksa Leaf.

With a slightly pungent fragrance, its unique and prized flavour is essential in its namesake, Laksa. It also gives white fish steamed with chilli sambal an exotic twist. For our Asian guests it will be a familiar taste.

With the abundant seafood available here on Tasmania’s East Coast, the Dill will surely come in handy. When I left in September the Dill was less than 5 cm in height and look at it now.

Last night I used mint from the garden in a Lamb Biriyani, cooked using local Tasmanian lamb and infused with saffron. I have to say I am very impressed with the quality of the meat which was flavoursome without being too lamby or fatty and very tender.

As I had a whole leg of lamb, I marinated an 800g chunk with a good dose of salt, a generous pinch of black pepper, a teaspoon of hot English mustard, a little chopped garlic, a splash of red wine and some rosemary and parsley and a rub of olive oil to seal the deal. Sealed in a pan and then roasted for about 45 minutes at 180°C, it was delicious. It will be even better in a sandwich with some crusty bread.

Totally awesome spring lamb cooked two ways using the freshest of herbs.

Grab some of your gourmet friends and spend a couple of days at the House relaxing in absolute comfort. It has a full kitchen and everything you may need to prepare some extraordinary meals. It even has a sous vide machine if you want to experiment with some slow low temperature cooking. Great food shared with some fabulous wine from the local wineries such as Springvale, Kelvedon Estate, Miltons, Gala Estate or Devil’s Corner will surely make a grand weekend or week away. Call us to find out more.

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