In this season, Matthew poses a currently novel question, What does what I eat, eat? From what his animals graze on to the earth his fruit and vegetables grow out of, he turns to the soil. It’s something we take for granted.
If you have the right fertilisers, nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium and water, you get food. Such a simple equation produces the bulk of our food – but at a price: weak soil which is vulnerable to drought & weeds and food that is more vulnerable to pests. All of which amounts to less nutritious and less tasty food.
Matthew’s challenge now is to leave his land in a better condition than what he found it for future generations by embarking on various projects from digging swales to trap water, companion planting, and crop rotation. And in his usual refrain, he wonders, How hard can it be?
Episode 1 | Good food needs good soil
Airs 8pm Thursday 1 August, 2019 on SBS
Matthew’s Fat Pig Farm Kitchen has been feeding people for over a year now, but he knows that the quality of his food is only as good as the soil it comes from; so, he embarks on a 12-month mission to transform the food he serves and the way it's farmed.
Gathering soil samples from all over his property for testing, and learning from one of Tasmania’s leading experts in regenerative agriculture, Matthew undertakes the huge challenge to make his soil more productive and his land healthier for future generations.
The glut of zucchini has us using every trick in the book to try to preserve their delicate flavour. Fermenting extends their life, and keeps that ethereal flavour that is so readily lost when you pickle using vinegar.
Episode 2 | Fermented flavours
Airs 8pm Thursday 8 August, 2019 on SBS
Autumn has come around on the farm and Matthew has been told goats are the natural solution to tackling the farm's blackberry problem. With the garden overflowing with Autumn veg, Sadie opts to trade fresh for fermented and takes some tomatoes to a local who offers up homemade miso paste. Matthew later experiments with the miso in the kitchen.
Kunzea is a native Tasmanian herb and is best, in our experience used dried. It’s got a powerful aroma reminiscent of citrus and thyme, overlaid with the scent of the Tassie bush. Here I’ve used it in a light miso-dressed dish of sweet turnips and radish.
Episode 3 | The elegance of good ideas
Airs 8pm Thursday 15 August, 2019 on SBS
With Winter setting in Matthew welcomes a herd of goats to solve his Blackberry infestation without using a single pesticide and begins to tackle Fat Pig Farms longterm soil health by planting an edible native garden while designing and building an age old form of landscaping that will benefit his farm for hundreds of years.
I like to use both fresh and dried mushrooms with green beans and a tiny bit of minced pork, to add depth and complexity. This is one way of many to get the best out of these ingredients.
Episode 4 | Food For The Land
Airs 8pm Thursday 22 August, 2019 on SBS
After having the health of his farm soil tested Matthew receives the results and needs to explore new ways to rest and rehabilitate the damaged earth in his pig paddocks. He experiments with an acorn pig feed and builds his own mobile chicken pen to fertilise the soil with their life-giving poo.
Episode 5 | The apple of my eye
Airs 8pm Thursday 29 August, 2019 on SBS
With Sadie and Hedley away, Matthew has got his work cut out for him managing the farm on his own and repairing winter rot in the farm’s apple orchards. But to surprise Sadie for her birthday he badly wants to build her a new herb garden and plant a whole row of Camellias before she returns.
You can use white polenta made from white corn, if you can find it, for a more subtle result. Use the polenta as an accompaniment to a ragu of some kind, or ossobuco. Italians have told me to only stir in one direction, but I’ve found that it has made no difference to the end result when I reverse the stirring to rest my arm.
To surprise Sadie for her birthday he badly wants to build her a new herb garden and plant a whole row of Camellias
Episode 6 | Living the dream
Airs 8pm Thursday 5 September, 2019 on SBS
If there is an art to outdoor cooking than why not have a barbecue that’s a work of art. Matthew realises a long held day dream when he installs an incredible outdoor fire pit built by one of Tassie’s most talented blacksmiths, and with his farm work done Matthew finally catches something from the ocean worth bragging about.
This Italian dish is made using the sliced shin of veal or beef, the name meaning literally ‘bone hole’ after the marrow bones you use. Essentially a lovely stew, the crowning glory is the zesty gremolata added at the end.
Episode 7 | The hungry patch
Airs 8pm Thursday 12 September, 2019 on SBS
Its Spring on Fat Pig Farm, the hungry patch, everything is furiously growing but there is almost nothing to harvest yet. Matthew creates an incredible pie with the few things that are available in the garden and learns the intricacies of how to forage for wild food in Tasmania.
I learned to make these in Sardinia with a friend’s aunt in the hills near the east coast. She nagged us the whole time to keep working and keep the dough moving as she mopped out her huge wood oven with aromatic herbs from the vacant lot out the back of her house.
Episode 8 | Little wonders
Airs 8pm Thursday 19 September, 2019 on SBS
With Spring in full swing and bugs in abundance, Matthew invites an insect scientist to survey the health and wealth of the farm’s insect population. He learns just how important insects are to the ecosystem and health of his farm, how to cook and eat one of Australia’s most common garden pests, and what a huge impact insects have on feeding the entire planet.
You can only use properly purged snails for this Spanish-influenced dish. Don’t be put off by the slime - the end result is remarkably delicious.
Episode 9 | Two for one
Airs 8pm Thursday 26 September, 2019 on SBS
It’s high summer, Matthew is focused on making the most of the gardens first flush of raspberries. But with the
garden and soil now in such rude health, he’s looking for ideas on how he can improve his approach to the animals he farms for the restaurant table by exploring the idea of using dual-purpose cattle breeds for milk and beef and a new breed of chicken that produces great quality eggs and meat.
The confit is delicious served with lots of roasted pumpkin and a chestnut and potato puree. Or you can strip the meat from the bone and toss through fresh pappardelle with roughly mashed roast pumpkin.
Episode 10 | A year in the life
Airs 8pm Thursday 3 October, 2019 on SBS
It’s been 12 months, 4 seasons and lots of hard lessons since Matthew set out to transform his cherished slice of Tassie into a farm that grows healthy food while regenerating healthy soils, leaving it more productive and healthier for generations to come. From planting native gardens and reshaping entire hillsides with water
channels, to tackling a runaway infestation of noxious Blackberry weeds without using a single chemical herbicide. He’s tried it all, so which ideas worked and which didn’t?