Tasmania's Food Trail - heading

Food Trail mapshotFormer dancer and wannabe chef, Paul Mercurio, continues his culinary trail around Tasmania.

In Episode Two Paul explores Launceston, Tasmania’s second largest and Australia’s third oldest city.

The city and surrounding area has a reputation as a place for food lovers and Paul meets up with a number of producers and one of the Launceston’s top chefs – Fiona Hoskins from Fee and Me.

But first, he hunts down the world’s most desired cooking ingredient, grown by Peter Cooper, not far from Launceston – the black truffle, and prepares his very own Cauliflower and Truffle soup using the best Tasmanian vegetables.

Fiona Hoskins meets Paul’s challenge and makes the most exotic sandwich with truffles and Huon Valley mushrooms.  

Food Trail Tasmania image array episode 2

The lush northern countryside also produces fine game meats – wallaby and venison, and Fiona and her team prepare a meal that clearly demonstrates why she is regarded as one Australia’s best chefs - slow cooked wallaby with carrot puree, mushrooms in filo and chicory sauce, pinot noir Springfield poached venison with a Huon Valley mushroom and Tasmanian potato stack, and zucchini and beetroot salad, pepperberry jus and red wine syrup.

Not to be outdone, Paul gets creative and makes a saddle of peppered venison.

There’s also a new take on cannoli made by Liz Peirce with Elgaar Dairy’s organic ricotta, local walnuts and Leatherwood honey.

But good food needs great wine, so Paul visits the Tamar Valley producer of Australia’s best cool climate wines.   Remember, you can create your own food lovers tour of Tasmania using our Cellar Door and Farm Gate guide. So don’t just sit there – start planning your next Tasmanian holiday.

Recipes from Episode 1, Episode 3 and Episode 4.

Food Trail Tasmania Recipes TWO

Cauliflower and Truffle SoupCAULIFLOWER AND TRUFFLE SOUP
(Paul Mercurio)


One head of cauliflower approx 600–700g
250 ml of full cream milk
750 mls of chicken stock
1 stick of celery
1 leek finely sliced
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon of nutmeg
½ a cup of cream
One truffle
Salt and pepper to taste
Butter and olive oil

Slice leek and celery finely and then cut up the cauliflower. Heat oil and butter in a large pot, add leek and celery and sweet down a little then add the cauliflower. Continue to cook for five minutes or so to caramelise the flavours. Add milk, stock, nutmeg and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Cook until the cauliflower is tender.

Meanwhile, heat the cream in a saucepan and add the chopped up truffle to infuse the cream with the truffle flavour and aroma. For this soup you would like to use about 20–25grams of truffle in the cream and then a slice or two in each bowl served. Truffles aren’t cheap though!!

Once the cauliflower is cooked put soup into a blender and blend until silky smooth adding the truffles and cream. Return to the heat and taste for seasoning adding salt and pepper accordingly. Serve in bowls with a slice of truffle as garnish.

Fiona Hoskin)


90 grams of black truffles
275 grams of Huon Valley mushrooms
3 truffled eggs
1 loaf of Helga white sliced bread
115 ml of cream
3 grams of cooking salt
5 ml of white truffle oil
125 grams of Western Star clarified butter

Make a batter with the cream, eggs, salt and truffle oil.  Slice the truffle and mushrooms carefully wafer thin.  Brush the slices of mushrooms with clarified butter and stick the truffle slices to the mushrooms with the butter.  Using a sharp knife cut a slit in the middle of the bread and carefully insert the mushroom and truffle slabs.  Dip the sandwiches in egg batter.  Then trim and fry in a little butter and oil until crispy and golden.  Slice and serve.

(Fiona Hoskin)


500 grams of wallaby porterhouse
100 grams of szechuan cured wallaby
500 grams of Western Star butter
59 mls of cold water
Rock salt
Black pepper
Szechuan pepper

Cure 100 grams of trimmed wallaby porterhouse in a little rock salt, black pepper and szechuan pepper for eight hours, turning halfway through the process.  Pat dry then slice very thinly into long strips.  Trim and butterfly the remaining wallaby porterhouse and wrap in the cured wallaby slices, securing with a toothpick.  Bring the water to the boil then whisk in the cubed butter until amalgamated and the mix reaches 65-70 degrees Celsius.  Keep at that temperature and submerge the wallaby pieces totally.  Leave in for around 25-30 minutes turning often.  Rest in a warm place before slicing and serving with carrot puree, mushroom filo parcels and chicory sauce.

Carrot puree
500 grams of carrots
300 grams of Kennebec potatoes
200 grams of brown onions
20 grams of Western Star butter
600 ml of cold water
5 grams of rock salt
Sweat chopped onion off in the butter until soft and add peeled and chopped carrots.  Cook for 3 minutes.  Add peeled and chopped potato and cook for a further 3 minutes before covering with water.  Add the salt and simmer gently until the vegetables are very soft and the liquid has  evaporated.  Puree until  smooth.  Adjust seasoning if necessary and keep warm until ready to serve.

Mushroom filo parcel
5 grams of salt rock
20 grams of Western Star butter
300 grams of brown onions
80 grams of Huon Valley mushrooms
50 grams of Shiitake mushrooms
50 grams of Oyster mushrooms
12 sheets of filo pastry
Bunch of thyme herb
10 ml of vegetable oil
30 grams of clarified butter
50 ml of red wine – pinot

Saute the finely diced onion off in the butter until soft. Add chopped thyme and finely diced mushrooms and cook until soft.  Add Pinot and reduce slightly.  Add salt and cool.  Brush clarified butter over the filo sheets and place spoonfuls of the mixture on each one.  Wrap and seal edges and sauté in bake in hot oven until golden brown and filling is hot.

Chicory Sauce
0.75 litres of beef stock
200 ml of red wine (pinot)
300 grams brown onions
5 grams of cooking salt
2 grams of garlic
5 grams of cornflour paste
5 ml of chicory

Cook the finely diced onion in a little oil until soft and then add the grated garlic and cook for a further two minutes.  Add the pinot and simmer until wine is reduced by two thirds.  Add beef stock and chicory essence and simmer until reduced by half.  Season to taste and thicken slightly with pure cornflour mixed to a paste with cold water.  Sieve and serve.

Poached Venison and stackPinot noir poached Springfield VENISON
(Shane Delanty)
- With roast Huon Valley mushrooms, potato and Tasmanian truffle stack, beetroot
zuchinni and baby carrot salad, pepperberry jus and red wine syrup


4 x 150 gram venison back strap pieces, cleaned
1 litre of good quality beef stock
500 mls of Silk Hill Pinot Noir
1 bay leaf
Sea salt

Place beef stock into a pot and reduce by half.  Then add the red wine and bay leaf and reheat to 68 degrees Celsius using a digital thermometer and a simmer pad under the pot.  Add the venison straps to the liquid and keep at 68 degrees (no hotter or the meat will tighten and be tough).  Leave for about 25 minutes depending on the thickness of the venison or until medium rare.  Remove and rest for 10 minutes in a warm spot.  Slice the venison thinly ensuring that you cut across the grain of the meat, then sprinkle with sea salt and serve.

Mushroom and potato stack
4 large Seymour gold potatoes
8 medium sized flat honey brown mushrooms
1 large Tasmanian truffle
500 grams of clarified butter
Sea salt and pepper


Potatoes … bring the peeled potatoes to the boil in a pot of salted water until they are firm, but will no longer stay on a small knife.  Remove and cool, then slice into 1 cm thick medallions.
Mushrooms … Remove the stalks and the white tips of the mushrooms with a small knife, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.  Place on a tray and put into the oven for 6 minutes at 175 degrees Celsius.  Remove and place on a paper towel to drain.

To serve
Place potato medallions and the mushrooms on a tray and paint with  clarified butter.  Place into a 175 degree celsius oven until hot and ready to serve, then remove and make the stacks by placing potatoes on a tray, then mushrooms on the potatoes, until the stack has 3 potato medallions and 2 mushrooms in each stack.  Shave the truffle on a truffle cutter and place 2 slices on top of each stack.  Using a spatula, place onto the plate.

Zucchini and beetroot salad
2 medium sized zucchinis
1 large beetroot
8 baby carrots
400 mls of extra virgin olive oil
50 grams of clarified butter


Cut the zucchinis into spaghetti shaped noodles using the large teeth setting on a mandolin and blanch in salted boiling water for 20 seconds, then remove and strain.  Peel the beetroot and wind on an Asian spiral cutter until all noodled.  Then place into a pot with the olive oil at 70 degrees Celsius and cook for 30 minutes until ‘al dente’ (with slight resistance in centre when chewed).  Peel baby carrots and remove tops, leaving 1 cm of green at the top.  Wash well and place into a pot of boiling water for 1 minute.  Remove and roll into clarified butter whilst hot.  Wind the zucchini and the beetroot noodles into 4 tight bundles with a fork and place the beetroot on top of the zucchini.  Place 2 baby carrots on each stack over-lapping one another and serve warm.

2 carrots
2 onions peeled
4 celery sticks
1 cup of good quality red wine
1 litre of beef stock
1 tablespoon of pepperberries
1 beetroot
1 bay leaf


Cut carrots, onions and celery into 1 cm dice and fry in a well-oiled pan until golden and caramelizing.  Add the red wine and reduce by half, then add the beef stock, pepperberries, beetroot and bay leaf and reheat until soft.  Simmer and leave until reduced by about three-quarters and sauce is of a thick consistency and holds the shape on a plate.  Strain through a very fine strainer, season if needed and serve.

500 mls of Silk Hill Pinot Noir
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon of castor sugar


Heat 300 mls of the pinot noir, the bay leaf and the sugar in a small pot and bring to the boil.  Mix some arrowroot with cold water and slowly whisk into the hot liquid leaving time to thicken so that it becomes thicker than needed.  Then, remove from the stove and cool.  Add the remainder of the pinot to the liquid until it thins to piping consistency, then strain and serve.

How to plate
Step 1:  Using a flat spoon spread the pepperberry jus down the right side of the plate in a 9 cm wide strip, staying away from the side of the plate.
Step 2:  Place the zucchini, beetroot and baby carrot salad towards the bottom of the plate on the left-hand side of the sauce staying about 4 cm away from the edge of the plate.
Step 3:  Place the potato and mushroom stack to the left of the sauce behind the salad towards the top of the plate.
Step 4:  Slice venison thinly across the grain and place on the sauce from the top to the bottom over-lapping itself neatly.
Step 5:  Using a small nozzle bottle put a pattern of the red wine syrup on the left hand side of the plate keeping the plate in balance visually.

Peppered VenisonSaddle of Peppered Venison
(Paul Mercurio)
- Served on Boysenberry and Porcini sauce with Swede and carrot mash and three cabbages


2 Venison loins approx 250–300g each
Crushed black pepper
Sichuan pepper
Caraway seeds
1 large swede
3 carrots
Red, green and savoy cabbage
½ cup apple juice
1 jar boysenberry sauce
Porcini mushrooms
Beef stock
Garlic chives

Trim venison loin of sinew and fat. Mix black pepper, sichuan pepper and caraway seeds together in equal amounts then roll loin in mix to coat the meat well. Brown and seal all sides in a hot pan with a little olive oil, then finish in a moderate oven (160 fan forced – 180 normal) for 7–10 minutes or so depending on how you like your meat. 7 minutes for rare 10 mins for medium. Keep checking your meat as it cooks and remember that when you take it out of the oven and rest it the meat will continue to cook from the residual heat so take it out a little before it reaches the desired texture.

For the mash peel the swede and carrot and chop into equal size pieces. Put into salted boiling water and cook until tender. Drain. Mash swede and carrot together in the pan adding a little milk and some butter. Season with salt and pepper. I like this mash a little chunky so I didn’t bother to mash it thoroughly.

For the cabbage slice equal amounts of each and cook in salted boiling water with some apple juice added just to add a little bit of sweetness.

For the sauce soak dried porcini mushrooms in boiling water. Once soft, remove mushrooms, squeeze out excess liquid and slice finely. Reserve soaking liquid. In a pan add the boysenberry sauce, porcini mushrooms, mushroom stock, beef stock, crushed black pepper, garlic chives (finely sliced) and cook for 10–15 minutes.

I had never made this sauce before so it was a real seat of the pants adventure. I just added a bit of stock tasted it and then added a little more then adjusted with pepper and a little more mushroom stock etc. So, I can’t give accurate measurements. Finish the sauce with a squeeze of lemon juice and then some butter to add a lovely silky sheen.

To serve pour some sauce on a plate and sit sliced venison on top then drizzle a little more sauce over the top. Serve with the mash and three cabbage.

Liz Pierce - Cannoli dishCANNOLI REVISITED
(Liz Peirce)


Cannoli shells
150 grams of flour
25 grams of castor sugar
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of salt
10 grams of butter
1 egg yolk, well beaten
1 teaspoon of marsala
1 teaspoon of cold water
1 egg white, slightly beaten
Table oil for frying

Sift flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt together.  Blend butter in a blender until it looks like bread crumbs.  Add the eggs and stir.  Add the marsala and cold water.
Wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for half an hour.
Set out cannoli tubes.  Heat vegetable oil to 180 degrees Celsius.  Roll out dough to thinnest setting on a pasta machine, then cut out oval shapes.  Wrap the dough loosely around the moulds and seal together using egg white.  Fry until golden brown, around 3 or 4 minutes.  Drain well on paper towel and remove tubes.  Using a pastry bag fill the tubes with the ricotta filling.  Serve immediately with candied citrus and honey walnuts.

Ricotta filling
250 grams of Elgaar Farm Ricotta cheese
62 grams of castor sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth

Candied citrus
2 limes
2 lemons
1 orange
300 grams of castor sugar
300 mls of water
Combine the water and sugar and bring to a simmer.  Mean while drop the zest into another pot of boiling water, strain and repeat two more times.  This removes any bitterness.  Add the zest to the sugar syrup and allow to simmer for half an hour or until the zest is transparent.

Honey walnuts
100 grams of walnuts
50 grams of water
50 grams of sugar
20 grams of Leatherwood honey

Heat the water, honey and sugar to 121 degrees, add the nuts and stir until they are completely covered.  Pour onto a baking tray.  Allow to cool and break up.
Fill cannoli shells and garnish with zest, walnuts and shaved couveture chocolate and a rich chocolate sauce.

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