La Petite Mort

A favourite, quick snack at Tansley Farm is what we like to call La Petite Mort.

Step 1. I like to use a nice, fresh sourdough bread cut into medium-thick slices. A pain paysan would work as well, but a typical baguette might be slightly less interesting.


Step 2: Drizzle some robust olive oil (from Tansley Farm, of course) over the bread until it soaks in a little. You could do this step after the cheese (see Step 3), but the cheese can prevent the bread from taking up a lot of the oil.


Step 3. Spread some fresh chèvre goat cheese over the oil. We use our own, raw-milk chèvre.


Step 4. Ideally, you now want to sprinkle some piment d’Espelette over the cheese, but this can be hard to come by in Australia. A great alternative is some cracked pepper.


There you have it — I know you will love your petite mort as much as I do.




Kale salad with nouvelle olive oil

kale and silverbeet

Winter greens in the Tansley Farm garden

When winter is in full swing, I crave dark, vitamin-packed kale salads.

And winter is well and truly here. We are tired. It was an amazing harvest season; everything was top-notch. It began in early spring with mountains of gorgeous eggs, then launched into summer with luscious tomatoes, cucumbers and celery; then blackberries and boysenberries, and cherries from Cowlings. There were litres and litres of milk from Gigi and Noëlle, until the cheese cave was overflowing with ageing beauties. Then in autumn, the apples were ready – a tonne from our little orphan trees! Pears went into jars and the freezer, poached and their saffron scented syrup saved for winter cocktails. We dried walnuts in the sun and stored them safely in metal bins in the cellar or shelled in the freezer. And did we mention vintage? A barrel and a half of pinot noir, tasting amazing already, gently ticking away until bottling at the end of the year. Then finally, the olives. It was a stunner of a crop, but after a harvest season like we have had, who would expect anything else?

And so we are tired, and so grateful for the season’s bounty, and so ready for the rest that winter brings.

Summer is for crisp cucumber, sweet tomatoes and delicate lettuce, but winter is fresh carrots, radishes, and mountains of thinly sliced kale, doused with soy sauce, vinegar and lashings of our spicy nouvelle oil.


Moroccan Lamb Pizza

We used to have a ram named Genghis.

preserved lemon

golden preserved lemon, like jewels in a jar

He was a beautifully built dorper ram, with a nice wide stance, a naturally short tail and a wonderful shedding ability. His mother, Ma Costa, was by far my favourite ewe in the flock at the time. She was smart and gentle, a natural leader: a really beautiful girl. So I pegged Genghis early on as a lamb I would keep for a ram, and always paid him extra attention, feeding him treats from my hands, trying to ensure he was comfortable with me. He was always a bit more flighty than the other lambs, but I thought that with time he’d gain confidence and would grow into a wonderful specimen.


More eggs!

Leftover Pasta Frittata

double yolk egg

Double-yolker from Flower!

With 33 eggs collected on Wednesday, a new farm record, I thought I might share another egg recipe! Now is peak egg season- as it gets warmer, the girls will start to get babies on the brain and one by one, they will receive their instructions from the mothership, pick a nest box or a bush and go broody. A broody hen stops laying and just hunkers down with anything egg-like tucked underneath her waiting for that egg-like thing to hatch.  Once a day she’ll get up to relieve herself, have a bite to eat and a stretch and then right back to the nest she’ll go. It is a fascinating transition; you can see it in their eyes. When a hen is broody, you look into her pretty little face and there is nobody home. If you reach underneath her, she puffs up her feathers and growls, sometimes pecking your hand (side note: DON’T try this move with a goose- you might end up with a broken nose!)


What to do with all those eggs?

Today's bounty!  Well done, ladies!

Today’s bounty! Well done, ladies!

As the winter solstice passes and the days grow longer, the girls fly into action.

We can’t actually notice a difference in the daylight hours; 6 am is still pretty darn dark in the heart of winter, but the ladies are much more sensitive to the change. And so, after their winter break, they begin to lay again.  So what to do with all those eggs?  Make crêpes, of course!

Sweet crêpe recipe

Feeds about 4 hungry people


250 g plain flour

a few drops of good-quality vanilla

3-4 beaten eggs

1/4 tsp salt

375 mL full cream milk

125 mL water

splash of brandy, cognac, rum etc

20 g melted butter (melt the butter in the pan you will cook the crêpes in, after you add the butter to the batter, just give the pan a wipe with a paper towel before you cook your first crêpe)

Whisk flour with the vanilla and eggs, slowly adding the milk and water, mixing very well to get rid of the lumps. Add your alcohol of choice and then the melted butter.

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