My birthday Lunch

Caroline: For my birthday Kris took me away on a mystery trip. While the food was made by him, I thought I would share my side of the weekend.

It started as a meandering drive through the country with an esky  packed in the trunk full of things unknown to me. It’s still so weird to me having opposite seasons than I’m used to. Back in the US my birthday is in spring (April) and it was so surreal driving around and seeing all the fall colors in Tasmania. But Fall being my favorite season, I’ll take it.

After driving for a while we stopped in Mt Fields National park. It’s one of our favorites and not too far from town (~45 min). They have picnic tables and these great wood burning BBQs and they even supply a stack of wood!

We sipped on tassie bubbles from fancy champagne glasses while the fire heated up.

and the view was terrible. imagine having to eat lunch looking out onto this? poor me, right?

Kris brought some amazing steak scotch fillets from Cape Grim Tasmania. And there’s just something about cooking in this way, outside, over a fire and everything from so near by, it just makes everything taste better. I guess it might all be in my head.

Kris caramelized some onions in this Abbey Ale and we drank the rest. He just threw a splash of beer over the chopped onions and let them grill for a couple of minutes. He also grilled some hen-in-the-woods and some shitake mushrooms from the huon valley. 2 of my favorites, they’re so earthy and funky.

the assemblage begins

no mushroom left behind

even without steak, I would gladly dig into this. 

Next step: add cheese to melt. mmmmm cheese

We (and by we I of course mean Kris, but I like to feel involved) finished it off with some of our (Kris’) tomato chutney. Remember the chutney? You can find the recipe HERE.

man oh man. The steak sandwiches did not last long. We ate them sitting by the water and getting misted by a fall rain.

we put out the fire and went for a hike through Mt Fields. Well, when I say hike, it was really just a leisurely stroll, but since we were outside I’m going with hike. I’m tempted to put up pictures of weird mushrooms and moss and tall trees we saw. But, as they have nothing to do with beer or food I will spare you. Maybe next year…

Thankyou Kris for the best birthday full of all of my favorite things:

you, food, beer, and outside-ness (all in order of preference)

Hop Smoked Salmon with Red Sails Perry

 Kris: Thanks to a very kind neighbour, I had a freshly caught Australian salmon to cook with. In a previous blog post, I hot smoked some Atlantic salmon using some Tasmanian Cascade hops. I thought I would do a different version of smoked salmon using some Tasmanian grown Topaz hops. I also came across a bottle of Tasmania’s newest Pear cider from Red Sails. They have planted a huge variety of heirloom cider and perry trees and are producing some awesome cider. I thought the perry would be a great match for my smoked salmon.

Kris: Instead of brining the salmon like last time, I simply smoked it for 15 minutes over a mix of mallee wood chips and topaz hops. I then seasoned it with salt and pepper, drizzled over some olive oil and baked it in some foil in a 160 C oven for 25 minutes.

Kris: I was brewing my first saison, so the smoked salmon was a perfect lunch time snack. While waiting for the fish to bake, I started preparing the spices for my home brew. I used some Tasmanian pepperberries, lemon myrtle  and bush tomatoes and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

 Kris: I served the salmon with some Bruny Island O.D.O. (One day old) cheese and some fresh, crusty bread. I also made a simple salad from the garden with a dressing of olive oil and lemon juice.

Caroline: I love using Nasturtium flowers in salads! Not only are they delicious (peppery) but they are so beautiful. I think they make even the simplest salad look fancy. Not only are they delicious, but they are so easy to grow! Ours grow like weeds; we have to prune them back regularly just so they don’t take over the back yard. More facts about nasturtiums and some recipes here.


Kris: The Perry was a great match for the smoked salmon. It’s fine carbonation and dryness cut through the smoky richness of the salmon. It also complimented the cheese and the fresh bread. I will be keeping an eye out for some of the other ciders from Red Sails. The perry was one of the best I have ever tried.

Caroline:  I really liked the Perry by itself. It was refreshing and fruity. However, I did not really like it with the smoked fish. I thought the fish brought out a lot of fruitiness in the cider (which I guess is a good thing) but to me this masked over the smoked salmon a bit, and I love me some smoked salmon so I don’t want anything overpowering it.