Great Ocean Food: Cheers to the locals
There are so many interesting enterprises in our region. I stumbled across yet another while driving close to home a few weeks back.
Freshwater Creek Cottages is a family farm stay offering accommodation and children friendly interaction with its inhabitants. These include sheep, cattle, kangaroos, horses, pigs and chickens. It is a small working farm and the energy of its owners Phil and Marissa has to be seen to be believed.
Since 2012, they have renovated the cottages, re-established fencing, and created incredible gardens, play areas and orchards. It is definitely aimed at giving children, in particular, a taste of country life. The cottages are comfortable and sit within a garden that is clearly a labour of love. I was astounded by the amount of planting which has been done. It is part of an ongoing process to nurture and reinvigorate the land. All of their green waste is turned to organic matter and returned to the soil. The orchard is producing substantial quantities of fruit and the chooks lay enough eggs to support a small free range production.
By contrast, the Great Ocean Road Gin tasting room at Aireys Inlet is very much adults only. It is a small venue showcasing their unique locally produced gin. If you had told me when I first started exploring the Great Ocean Road back in the Seventies that there would be a smart, urbane gin joint located at Aireys Inlet, I would have said you were crazy.
Times have changed and for the better. This Saturday, February 22, they have partnered with Melbourne’s renowned Gin Palace, which is sending one of their best and brightest senior bartenders, Issí Mead, to mix up a specially curated cocktail list using their coastal gins. The event runs from noon to 9pm and is definitely worth a visit.
Following is Frank (think MoVida/Lorne) Camorra’s recipe for Spanish tortilla (omelette); a classic dish he first learnt from his mother and ideal to use up excess eggs.
1.2 kg large Desiree or washed potatoes
1 litre olive oil, for cooking
1 large brown onion
12 large eggs, plus extra as necessary
60 ml pure olive oil, for frying
Peel the potatoes and cut into two cm cubes, and dice onion. Heat the olive oil in a wide, deep heavy-bottomed pan over a medium heat until just warm, then add the potatoes. and onions. Cook on a low to medium heat for 8 minutes, add onion and cook for further 10-15 minutes, stirring. The oil should be just gently bubbling away, but not frying. When done, the potatoes will be soft but should not have gained any colour. Break the eggs into a bowl and beat with a teaspoon of salt. Drain the potatoes and onions, and season with salt. Allow to cool a little, then add to the eggs. Gently mix together. In a 27 cm non-stick frying pan, heat pure olive oil over a high heat. When very hot, pour in the potato and egg mixture and mix well with a heatproof plastic spatula for 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium. Use the end of your spatula to break the potatoes up a little. Run the spatula around the side of the tortilla to form the edges. Cook for 3–4 minutes. Cover the entire pan with a large plate and turn the tortilla over, then slide the uncooked side back into the hot pan. Keep cooking for 3–4 minutes on medium heat, with the plate acting as a lid. If the top has cracks, whisk two more eggs and pour over to seal. The tortilla should be only lightly golden and almost cooked through but slightly soft and moist in the centre. Once cooked, remove the plate that was acting as a lid. Place a clean plate on top that fits generously over the pan, then turn the pan over so that the tortilla sits on the plate. Allow to sit for ten minutes before serving.