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30 Oct 2009 - 4:31 PM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2013 - 9:31 AM

Winter. No kidding. This is cold. It barely makes it above 10°C many days. I bought some merino thermals. The smartest purchase in years.

It’s not the cold that worries me. It’s the rain. It’s been chucking it down. Drought? What drought? Not all parts of Tasmania are getting drenched, but in my neck of the what used to be woods this is rainfall like the old days. The very old days. The paddocks are getting swampy, the grass is getting trampled and there’s little end in sight. I do love having a full rainwater tank, though, and a wood cooker to heat my shower.

It’s a time of year for bunkering down. A friend from Hobart invites me over for dinner. Not just any dinner, but a Swedish feed. I’m tired from the farm, and not used to socialising after 5pm, so the best I can do is just try and stay awake. The food is incredible.

Salmon with diced red onion, capers, boiled egg and dill. Jansson’s Temptation, a lush dish of shredded potato with cream and anchovy. I’m sure if he could have found pickled sprats, the original fish used in the dish, Al would’ve used those.

It seems a long time since Nick, Ross and I went fishing. What an incredible adventure. Two days on a boat with legendary local fisherman, Morrie Wolf. We set off on a perfect Tassie morning, all golden sunrise and water so still you could see your nose hairs in it. Magnificent scenery, as we motored down the channel to Recherche Bay. We hooked plenty of flathead, a great eating fish, and a few squid to boot, and Morrie pulled some lobsters in from a pot he’d set. We cooked it all on the rocky shoreline at Recherche, arguably the finest seafood feast of my life.

But the best was yet to come. In a massive 4-metre swell the next day, with the boat pitching and the camera crew spewing over the side, I pulled in my first tuna. Morrie bled it on the boat and brain spiked it – the textbook Japanese way to preserve the fish’s quality, making it 'sashimi-grade’. Back on Bruny we had some as sashimi with fresh wasabi I got from a bloke’s back porch in Hobart after making a single phone call. We had some as steaks, cooked over a wood fire. And we preserved half the fish in jars using seawater to cook it in, and olive oil to steep it in.

The reason I’m reminded about this trip now, all these months later, is that in the dead of winter, when tuna aren’t running, I can open a jar at a moment’s notice and taste the exhilaration of being on a fishing boat in a wild storm. Eating a simple tuna and lemon pasta after a busy day on Puggle Farm, I’m able to taste a remarkable flavour, one from a fish that we caught and preserved ourselves.

Salamanca Market is still fairly busy for Ross and me, and, on a good day, far exceeds our expectations for this time of year. A mix of hardened locals and flavour hungry tourists brave the gorgeous clear winter’s days, and our stall, eyeing off our ham and rillettes. I make cassoulet, my own recipe, using locally produced meats, so no duck or goose. I try to flog it at the stall, but watch as eyes glaze over when I attempt to explain the joy that comes from a humble, long cooked bean dish, laced with confit pork belly and more. It seems few can appreciate the time and work that has gone into it when it looks like grey meat in a bucket. Sausages, of course, sell well. So too the bacon. Ross’s pork pies always sell out.

Ross and I have a Rare Food event in mind. A way to showcase what we’re doing at the stall, including cassoulet. A lunch, a revolutionary lunch to say thank you to those who helped us set up and supported us in our first months. It’s in a couple of weeks, so we start to invite some of the regulars along.