Let’s be honest, I’m one of those people that is ALWAYS about the food, but in my books ‘birthdays’ are an even better excuse to take food prioritisation to a whole new level.
So when the idea of road trip + farm house + great food + excellent company presented itself, there was no ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’ about how I would be spending my birthday this year!
Yes, a trip to Tamsin’s Table for a beautiful birthday lunch was finally on the cards (I actually found a ‘willing’ Sunday lunch companion…hi Maddy!) and appeared to as the perfect way to spend my 22nd birthday weekend. Yep, we would be slow lunching in a farmhouse with civilised company and no more than half a glass of wine…I live a wild life indeed! Just the way I like it.
Ever since I eye-balled Tamsin’s (‘jaw dropping’) kitchen on The Design Files (and to be honest…even before that) I’ve wanted to visit her humble abode. I dare you to check out the feature and not get kitchen (or rather whole house) envy…and I promise it looks exactly like in the pictures. She had a hard time getting us to leave, that’s for sure.
Exhibit A: The kitchen ‘prop-age’ almost killed me…
Now, I mustn’t forget to mention that we almost didn’t make it into the house, on account of my general ‘gate-opening clumsiness’/ ‘cute farm animal overwhelm’, in which I missed closing the gate and accidentally let loose Tamsin’s much-loved family sheep/wannabee dog ‘Buddy’. Luckily my friend, Maddy has what I now know to be excellent ‘sheep wrangling’ skills and managed to reel him back in with the help of Tamsin’s gorgeous daughter, Martha, who thankfully came to the rescue when I went to get ‘help’.
Okay, okay, I didn’t really ever return with said ‘help’ because as soon as I met Tamsin she whisked me inside, placed a glass of homemade peach leaf wine in my hand, a plate of beautiful semi-dried figs with brandy and goat’s chevre in front of me…and the rest was history.
What sheep crisis?!
The table was beautifully set and the interior of the house decorated to subtle perfection, it really did feel as if we were right at home as we gathered around the solid kitchen island with the wood fire roaring in the background.
Now it wasn’t all to be wine and no work, Tamsin recruited most of us to help make the orecchiette pasta for our first course. It couldn’t have been easier- flour + water to form a firm dough and a little technique. Nothing is as satisfying as making your own pasta, believe me.
The feeling especially apparent when digging into steaming hot platters of fresh, cooked to perfection orechiette, served simply with a tomato and almond ragout and fresh basil. We were really lucky to time our lunch with the last of Tamsin’s beautiful crop of seasonal tomatoes!
It was one of (if not) the best pasta dishe(s) I’ve eaten to date (sorry Nonna!) and I most definitely went back for seconds…okay thirds. It was my birthday after all!
And that was only the first course…
Now I don’t know about you, but nothing gets my heart pumping like the thought of a hearty, slow cooked dish, and Tamsin’s hand-reared beef brisket served on a bed of creamy polenta, with sauteed kale and pickled quince, blew (as expected) my little socks off! An absolutely melt in your mouth dish served with an accompanying salad of nutty black barley and tangy roasted rhubarb – the perfect compliment to the rich beef and polenta!
Regardless of the table’s thoughts on meat consumption (there were vegetarian options available of course) we were all feeling mostly comfortable with the fact that the 6 year old steer (from which the beef was derived) had had as best a life as possible, reared by Tamsin and her family on their beautiful green pastures, before being slaughtered by a local butcher and the meat aged on their property.
In fact, Tamsin and her family survive almost solely from the food they grow themselves, nothing is wasted – true nose to tail, stem to seed eating.
Now, I cannot forget to mention one of the most enjoyable elements of the meal – yes Tamsin’s housemade milk bread, is worth a lot more than just a side mention. The whole table was taken by it – the warm, crusty, scone-like loaf sitting pretty in the centre of the table as we reached for slice upon slice, slathered with curls of freshly churned butter. At the heart of it, there really is nothing better than bread and butter!
Will full hearts and bellies, the wine and conversation continued to flow. We huddled around the fire, took a stroll through the paddocks, flicked through books and sipped tea, almost forgetting about dessert…almost.
Some of us may have falsely believed our taste buds could not have been tantalised any further, but boy were we wrong. Tamsin took humbled poached quince + ice cream and turned it on it’s head.
The toasted apple wood ice-cream was by far the best ice-cream I’ve ever had. The creamy mixture actually infused with toasted apple wood chips, as Tamsin had shown earlier in the day. The taste was unbelievable – no description will do it justice!
We thought we had made it to the end – completely unscathed and nursing one delightful food baby, BUT then Tamsin appeared like lightening in my peripheral vision with a beautiful Rosemary and Almond cake, complete with lit candle. The best birthday surprise and the icing on the cake! #punintended
The cake was moist and light with delicious tones of rosemary and olive oil, reminding me of a torta my Nonna and I make – that Tamsin certainly knows me too well!
We finished the day with steaming cups of tea and coffee in hand and a wander of the paddocks, as dusk began to creep in.
What a day! Many new friends, great conversation, amazing food and wine in a little slice of slow living heaven.
Tamsin’s place was a dream to visit, and from the moment we walked in it really did feel like home. Her hospitality was incredible and her heart truly warm (pictured middle below).
Neither of us wanted to leave, we lingered for the longest while and stole many hugs from our new sheep friend, Buddy.
One thing was for sure, as soon as we set foot back out the front we were already planning when we would return again!
Tamsin’s Table is a working farm situated amongst the hills of Gippsland, in Poowong East. Tamsin hosts beautiful lunches and workshops using meat and produce grown and gathered on the farm and in the rambling kitchen garden. Lunches and classes are held in the hilltop farmhouse, filled with her partner Al’s beautiful handmade furniture, looking down on views of valley out every window.
Do yourself a favour and make sure to pay a visit!