Tasmania's Food Trail - heading

Food Trail mapshotPaul Mercurio continues to cut a culinary trail around Tasmania.

In Episode Three, Paul explores our capital city, Hobart, and then ventures out to meet chefs and producers in the surrounding countryside.
In the lush Huon Valley he chooses his very own Atlantic salmon, enters the mysterious world of the mushroom, and learns to watch out for the tang of pickled onions. 
In our highland country, near Bothwell, Paul encounters the next generation of Tasmanian farmers, Will Bignell, growing horseradish and salsify. But all along the way he sources the flavours for his recipes – from garden fresh vegetables from the Hmong gardens, pepper berry and Moo Brew's boutique American Ale.
Then he joins Peppermint Bay’s former chef, Steve Cumper, and together they create a stunning meal. 

Here are recipes for the dishes Paul and Steve create:
Slow cooked boned leg of lamb in cider and olives - Paul Mercurio.
Salt, sugar and honey cured salmon with wasabi mayo - Paul Mercurio.
Salmon wrap - Steve Cumper.
Tofu and vegetable curry - Steve Cumper.
Warm chocolate and stout pudding (actually it's American dark ale)  - Steve Cumper.
Native pepperberry icecream - Paul Mercurio.

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.

Food Trail Tasmania image array

Recipes from episode 1, episode 2 and episode 4.

Food Trail Tasmania Recipes

Paul Mercurio) 

1 boned leg of lamb tied up
2 cloves of garlic cut into quarters
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Stab lamb with a sharp knife and insert the slivers of garlic into the slits. Rub lamb with salt and pepper then seal in a hot pan with the olive oil. Brown on all sides, then remove from pan.

1 sliced onion
2 cloves of garlic sliced finely
4 anchovy fillets
Olive oil
2 diced carrots
2 sticks of diced celery
650 mils of alcoholic apple cider (I prefer sweet butyou can use dry also)
250 mls of beef stock
1 can of chopped tomatoes
½ cup each black (Kalamata) and green olive(Spanish Queens with pip)
Rind of one orange
Juice of one orange
Fresh thyme
250g of button mushrooms
250g of green beans

Soften the onion garlic and anchovies in olive oil in the same pan as you browned the meat for several minutes – don’t burn them. Add carrots and celery and cook for 5 minutes to seal and colour a little. Put lamb back into the pan, including any juices that have come from the lamb. Pour in apple cider, beef stock, tomatoes, orange rind, orange juice and olives. Season with the thyme, salt and pepper and then bring tothe boil.

When at boil turn off heat, cover pan with lid or foil and place in an oven at around 16 –170 Celsius and cook for around 1¼  hours. Remove lamb from oven and give a stir adding the mushrooms, then return to the oven for another 30 minutes. Add the beans and then return to the oven until cooked.

Serve on it’s own or with polenta or mashed potato/pumpkin. If the sauce is still a little watery you can remove the lamb and keep warm and then return the pan to the stove top and reduce the sauce to the desired consistency.

(Paul Mercurio) 

2 tail end fillets of Huon Aquaculture Salmon
½ cup of white sugar
½ cup of sea salt
¼ cup of honey

Crush salt and sugar together to mix well, place layer in a glass dish that will fit the salmon. Wash and dry the salmon fillets and then place on to the sugar salt cure. Cover the top with more of the mixture and then press firmly so that the fish is well coated. Drizzle honey over fillets. Cover dish with cling film and put in fridge for a couple of hours. Remove from fridge and turn the fillets over. Cover with cling film and leave for another two hours. You will notice a lot of liquid has come out of the fillets. This is what you want. You are drawing out the water and in it’s place the fish is taking in the sugar salt and honey flavours.

Remove fish from cure and rinse under cold running water – you will notice the fillets are firmer and dryer. Fry fillets in a pan with some olive oil until browned and cooked. Careful not to over cook as the curing has already cooked it to some extent.

To make Wasabi mayonnaise take two or three tablespoons of good quality mayonnaise and add a generous squeeze of Wasabi paste (from one of those tubes you can get at a super market) and mix well. Add amounts to taste for heat according to your taste buds.

Serve on a bed of steamed bok choy or spinach or with a spinach salad.

Steve Cumper)

Yield  … 4 serves 

Cooking and preparation time … overnight


2 sides of salmon or ocean trout, skin on and pin boned
100g of shredded cabbage
2 grated Sturmer apples
200ml of mayonnaise
4 slices of smoked pork hock
4 slices of caramelised warm Sturmer apple
200ml of master stock sauce
Spring onions finely sliced
Sesame seeds 


Firstly remove the skin from the salmon and reserve.
Lay out a length of cling film on the bench and lay the Salmon skin on top. Place the salmon flesh on top of this.

Season with salt and pepper. Begin to roll it up like a sausage with the skin on the outside.
Wrap in more cling film to help this. When wrapped, continue to squeeze it so the sausage shape becomes tighter and refrigerate.

Meanwhile into a pot place 500ml of soy sauce, 200ml of oyster sauce, 6 star anise, the peel from 2 oranges, 1 head of crushed garlic, 2 knobs of peeled ginger, 200g of rock sugar, 10 cloves and 3 cinnamon quills.
To this add 1 litre of water and bring to the boil. Finally drop in the smoked pork hock and cook until completely soft (about 3 hours). Once cooked the pork bone should come out cleanly.
Roll this up the same way you have done the salmon and refrigerate until hard, preferably overnight.
Reduce the stock until syrupy, strain and reserve.
The next day, add the apple, a little lemon juice, cabbage and mayo to make coleslaw. Season to taste and reserve.
Heat a little butter in a pan and add some brown sugar.
Drop in four thickish slices of apple and caramelise until cooked and golden.
Slice the salmon sausages into 5cm thick pieces and cut the pork hock into 1 cm slices. Deep fry both of these until really crispy on the outside. Drain well.
Meanwhile arrange the coleslaw in the middle of the plate.
Place the apple on top, then the slice of pork followed by the salmon.
Spoon a little of the sauce over the lot, scatter with sesame seeds and spring onions and serve.

Steve Cumper)

Yield … 4 serves

Cooking and preparation time … 1 hour


1 tablespoon of minced ginger
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
1 teaspoon of minced chilli
2 tablespoon of turmeric
2 tablespoons of grated palm sugar
100g of tamarind paste
400ml of coconut cream
Fish sauce to taste
250g Earnest Bean Tofu
½ a butternut pumpkin
200g green beans
1 bunch of asparagus
4 red rascal potatoes
1 bunch of Vietnamese mint
1 bunch of coriander
4 duck or chicken eggs
1 teaspoon of Sichuan pepper
1 tablespoon of self-raising flour

Curry method

Steam all the vegetables and refresh them in cold water.
Cut the tofu into manageable pieces and shallow fry until golden.
Drain well and reserve.
Poach the eggs until just set and refresh in cold water, also set aside.
Now heat a little peanut oil in a wok.
Add the ginger, garlic and chilli.
Now add the tamarind, turmeric, fish sauce and coconut milk.
Bring this to the simmer before adding all the vegetables and tofu, heating themup in the curry sauce.
Finally drain the poached eggs and dip into a mix made from the sichuan pepper,salt and self-raising flour.
Shallow fry until golden but still soft in the centre.
Gently serve the curry into four bowls, scatter with the fresh herbs and gentlyplace the egg on top and serve.

Steve Cumper)

Yield … 10 puddings

Cooking and preparation time … 20 mins.


300g of bitter chocolate
300g of softened butter
200ml Moo Brew dark ale
5 whole eggs
5 egg yolks
150g of castor sugar
150g of plain flour
Cocoa for dusting
Clotted cream
Spiced muscatels

Pudding method

Pre-heat fan forced oven to 220°c. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a Baine Marie. Meanwhile whisk together the egg yolks, whole eggs, stout and sugar until soft. Ribbons appear. Grease and flour 10 small (125ml or ½ cup by volume) pudding moulds. Carefully combine the melted chocolate mix and the egg mix.
Finally sift in the plain flour and fold in carefully. Spoon into the moulds and bake for exactly 8 mins. If using a non fan-forced oven extend cooking time. The puddings must be rested for two minutes before serving to allow them to ‘relax’ before you un-mould them. This can be tricky!
Dust them well with cocoa powder then serve immediately with the clotted cream and muscatels.

The centres should be molten, viscous and ‘self sauce.

Clotted cream method

Place 250 ml of cream in an earthenware dish overnight in your oven with only the pilot light on.The next morning transfer the cream to the fridge.  It should have set firm.The cream should not be whisked as it will break down and kept refrigerated should last up to three days.

 Muscatels method

Heat 200g of sugar and 300ml of water in a pan to syrup stage.
Add 60ml of rum then add the muscatels on the vine into the warm syrup.
Let macerate for a day before use.

Paul Mercurio) 

500 mls of full cream milk
5 egg yolks
200 grams of white sugar
1 tablespoon of freeze dried ground pepperberries
¼ vanilla pod
Rind of one orange

Put milk in a saucepan and heat gently. Add the pepperberry powder, vanilla beans scraped out of pod, the pod itself and the orange rind. Heat to combine all the flavours then let cool down a little. Beat egg yolk and sugar together. Add some of the warm milk to the beaten egg and sugar combo to combine and warm up and then add the egg mixture to the milk. Return to the stove and continue to heat, stirring often until the mixture thickens enough to lightly cover the back of the spoon – make sure you do not bring it to a boil.

Remove from heat and strain discarding the solids. Chill in the freezer and then mix in ice cream maker as per instructions for the mixer. 

Note: the freeze dried pepper berries are fruitier and have much less heat than the air dried pepper berries. If you made this recipe with ground air dried pepper berries it would be very hot. Also the freeze dried pepper berries make a vibrant purple ice cream whereas the air dried will make a much darker midnight blue coloured ice cream. You could also add the Pepperberries to the custard mixture right at the end of the cooking process, before you chill it.  This would probably retain the vibrant colour because I found that, once the pepperberry powder had cooked in the milk mix, it lost some of it’s vibrancy and took on a slightly grayish tinge.

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