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A view of Tasmania (Laura B. Weiss)

In Tasmania, A Food Bounty As Spectacular As The Scenery

by Laura B. Weiss
Apr 23, 2014

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A water view in Tasmania Sheep in Tasmania Lamb Chops Barley Salad Date And Nut Pudding

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Laura B. Weiss

Have you seen the devil?

When you've been to Tasmania — or Tassie, as the Aussies call it — that's what everyone wants to know.

Sure, the Tasmanian devil, a squat, foul-smelling animal with a ferocious screech, has helped put the 26,000-square-mile island (roughly the size of West Virginia ) on the map.

But there's a lot more to Tassie than its infamous marsupial. And a lot of it is ace tucker — that's Aussie slang for good food.

I discovered this during a three-day visit to the ruggedly beautiful island state 150 miles south of the Australian mainland. Tasmania is spectacularly scenic, with miles of unspoiled coastline, lush rain forests and craggy mountain ranges. But the island's culinary scene is spectacular, too — with a growing number of artisanal farmers and producers of berries, walnuts, wine and olives, as well as salmon, oysters and lamb, not to mention the unique and highly prized honey from the western forests' Leatherwood trees.

To sample Tasmania's varied food offerings, my husband and I drove to Bruny Island — actually two islands connected by an isthmus — an hour south of the state capital, Hobart.

Our first stop was Miellerie Honey. There, owner Yves Ginat has set up shop in a former apple shed where he produces jars of unprocessed, cold-pressed organic honey, including blue gum and tea tree varieties — and the prized Leatherwood. Ginat said he maintains 200 hives around Tasmania, and the honey is harvested during a 100-day period stretching from fall to spring (April through November in Australia). Ginat used a stick to scrape some Leatherwood honey off a honeycomb, offering me a bite. It tasted of flowers and the woods, and it's the most delicious honey I've ever eaten.

Next, we drove for about a half-hour through lush, rolling pastureland — catching glimpses of the craggy coastline despite the cold rain — to Murrayfield Station, a 10,000-acre sheep farming operation. Europeans came to Murrayfield in 1824, but aboriginal people called it home long before then. Today the farm is a training ground for aboriginal youth who help raise the roughly 6,500 sheep, largely for their merino wool but also for meat. Much of the lamb is exported to the U.S, according to farm manager Bruce Michael.

Michael led us into a shed where farm hands were taking sheep from their paddocks to shear their wool. The sound of hooves striking the floor and the whine of electric shears rang out as mounds of fluffy white wool fell from the animals.

Our final stop was Bruny Island Food, a 25-acre pig farm operated by former chef Ross O'Meara. O' Meara processes his Berkshire and Wessex saddleback pigs himself in the farm's kitchen and smokehouse. From the porkers, he produces bacon, sausage and terrines to sell at Hobart's Sunday farmers market.

Pointing up a hillside, he spotted one of his pigs. "You can see one of the girls straight up there," he said. "I think that's Sam." Then we trudged up the muddy hills, where we were introduced to Sam and two of her swine companions, Sophie and Claire.

That night, back in Hobart, we dined at the Henry Jones Art Hotel on Tasmanian farm-raised salmon, with sticky date and macadamia nut pudding for dessert.

We left Tasmania the next day, but the island's astounding beauty and its bounty of local foods had us hooked. We plan to return someday. Until then, we can revisit the meals that kindle our memories of Australia's southernmost state.


Lamb Chops With Herbs, Wine And Garlic

When I returned home from Tasmania, I couldn't wait to make a lamb dish. I've made this one for years. The marinade renders the lamb tender and juicy, and the herbs and garlic tame the lamb's gamey flavor. I like to serve these with boiled new potatoes and green beans.

Makes 4 servings

4 lamb chops

1 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for cooking

1/2 cup red wine

2 teaspoons lemon juice

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced, or 1 teaspoon dried

1 tablespoon fresh basil, minced, or 1 teaspoon dried

Place the lamb chops in a medium-sized glass baking dish. Season them with the salt and pepper. Mix together the olive oil, wine, lemon juice, garlic and herbs in a small bowl. Pour the mixture over the lamb chops. Cover the dish and place the chops in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Turn the chops every 15 minutes so the marinade soaks evenly into the meat.

Remove the chops from the marinade, pat them dry with a paper towel, and place them in a frying pan. Cook the chops in about a tablespoon of olive oil until they're nicely browned on the outside and pink on the inside (3 minutes per side for rare; 5 to 6 minutes per side for medium).


Barley Salad With Honey Vinaigrette

Though I used clover and not Leatherwood honey in this recipe, adapted from The Fresh Honey Cookbook by Laurey Masterton (Storey Publishing, 2013), it still reminded me of my visit to Miellerie Honey on Bruny Island.

Makes 4 servings

Vinaigrette

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 teaspoons honey

Barley Salad

1 1/4 cups chicken broth

1 cup barley

1 navel orange, peeled, pith removed, halved and cut into sections

1/4 cup chopped red onion

1/4 cup celery diced

1/4 cup slivered almonds

1/4 cup dried cranberries

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

To make the vinaigrette, whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

For the salad, bring the chicken broth to a boil in a pot. Add the barley. Cook 10 to 15 minutes, until it's al dente. Remove the barley to a medium-sized bowl and set aside to cool.

Add the sliced orange, onion and celery to the barley. Add the almonds and cranberries. Add the red pepper and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss it to thoroughly coat. (The full amount of dressing will make a wet salad; if you like it drier, add less.) Serve at room temperature.


Sticky Date And Nut Pudding

It's not surprising that date nut pudding is widely served throughout Australia, once a British colony. It's a baked pudding, and baked puddings boast a long British pedigree. The Brits call a similar dish sticky toffee pudding. This is a rich and decadent dessert, made more so by the caramel sauce. But don't hold back. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream or some whipped cream for a truly decadent finish to any meal. This is adapted from a recipe from executive chef André Kropp of Henry's Restaurant at the Henry Jones Art Hotel in Hobart, Tasmania, and from Taste.com.au. The recipe for the caramel sauce is adapted from Taste.com.au.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

1 1/2 cups pitted dried dates, chopped

1 cup water

1 teaspoon baking soda

7 tablespoons butter

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup self-raising flour

3/4 cup walnuts or macadamia nuts, chopped

Caramel sauce

1 cup cream

4 tablespoons brown sugar

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9-by-9-inch square baking pan.

Chop the dates into small pieces. Heat the water in the microwave until very hot, about 4 minutes. Remove the water from the microwave and stir in the baking soda. Pour the water and baking soda mixture over the dates to soften them, 2 to 4 minutes, depending on how hard the dates are. Drain the dates and set them aside.

Meanwhile, cream the butter, brown sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium for 4 minutes or until it's fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time until each egg is thoroughly blended. Add the dates to the butter-sugar mixture and stir until well combined. Fold the flour and nuts into the butter-sugar mixture and mix the batter again. The batter will be quite loose and wet.

Spread the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake the pudding for 20 minutes. It's done when a toothpick or sharp knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Meanwhile, make the caramel sauce.

Heat all the ingredients except the vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer the mixture for 4 to 5 minutes. Watch the sauce carefully so it doesn't boil. When it's a nice caramel color, remove it from the heat. Stir in the vanilla.

While the pudding is still warm, poke some holes into the surface with the tip of a skewer and pour half the caramel sauce over the pudding. Allow the sauce to soak in for a few minutes. Top individual servings of the pudding with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, and serve additional caramel sauce on the side.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

About The Author

Laura B. Weiss' work has appeared in The New York Times, Saveur, Travel + Leisure, and on the Food Network website. She's a contributor to Interior Design's blog and was an editor for the Zagat Long Island Restaurant Guide 2009-2011. Laura is the author of Ice Cream: A Global History. Follow Laura on Twitter, @foodandthings.

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The Simpsons enters the world of Lego in the upcoming episode "Brick Like Me." (Fox)

What Do 'The Simpsons' Look Like In Lego?

Apr 23, 2014

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Have you heard that LEGO, the LEGO logo, the brick and knob configuration and the MiniFigure are trademarks and/or copyrights of the LEGO Group. All Rights Reserved? Sheep in Tasmania Lamb Chops Barley Salad Date And Nut Pudding

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Linda Holmes

Fox has started to release images of the Simpsons from the upcoming episode "Brick Like Me," which is — get this — the 550th episode. That means you could watch a different episode of The Simpsons every day for roughly a year and a half, weekends and weekdays, before you ran out of new ones.

The images look a lot like familiar Lego images from the many games, movies, TV projects, and everything else that's been rendered in little plastic bricks, up to and including the very successful Lego Movie from earlier this year. So it's not surprising, exactly, seeing what Homer and Marge and the kids look like. (Though they do look different from the figures that come with the actual Simpsons Lego House, which is also for sale. Lego seems to have tried to make Homer look like Homer on television, while The Simpsons seems to have made Homer look more like a Lego figure.

But it's funny to look at the captions that come with the images, because you'd better believe that there have been careful negotiations between all the parties involved here. Here's the language: "LEGO, the LEGO logo, the brick and knob configuration and the MiniFigure are trademarks and/or copyrights of the LEGO Group." So whatever you're thinking, don't even think about it.

It's sad to think Bart probably won't get to say "brick and knob configuration."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

About The Author

Laura B. Weiss' work has appeared in The New York Times, Saveur, Travel + Leisure, and on the Food Network website. She's a contributor to Interior Design's blog and was an editor for the Zagat Long Island Restaurant Guide 2009-2011. Laura is the author of Ice Cream: A Global History. Follow Laura on Twitter, @foodandthings.

Missing some content? Check the source: NPR
Copyright(c) 2014, NPR
The Simpsons enters the world of Lego in the upcoming episode "Brick Like Me." (Fox)

Top Stories: Missing Plane Latest; Why The Jet Stowaway Ran Away

Apr 23, 2014

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Have you heard that LEGO, the LEGO logo, the brick and knob configuration and the MiniFigure are trademarks and/or copyrights of the LEGO Group. All Rights Reserved? Sheep in Tasmania Lamb Chops Barley Salad Date And Nut Pudding

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Korva Coleman

Good morning, here are our early stories:

— 'Object Of Interest' Found In Search For Malaysian Jet.

— Stowaway Teen May Have Been Trying To Reunite With His Mom.

And here are more early headlines:

Russia Warns Of Retaliation If Its Interests Attacked In Ukraine. (BBC)

Obama Arrives In Tokyo At Start Of Asia Trip. (AP)

Jump In Whooping Cough Cases In Southern California. (Los Angeles Times)

Report: Human Rights Group Claims Qatar Abusing Migrant Workers. (Amnesty International)

Report: U.S. Army General Disciplined For Bungling Sex Assault Cases. (Washington Post)

Senate Panel Talks Rising Sea Levels In Miami Beach Hearing. (Miami Herald)

It's Wrigley Field's 100th Birthday! (MLB.com)

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

About The Author

Laura B. Weiss' work has appeared in The New York Times, Saveur, Travel + Leisure, and on the Food Network website. She's a contributor to Interior Design's blog and was an editor for the Zagat Long Island Restaurant Guide 2009-2011. Laura is the author of Ice Cream: A Global History. Follow Laura on Twitter, @foodandthings.

Missing some content? Check the source: NPR
Copyright(c) 2014, NPR
Writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who won the Nobel Prize in 1982, died last week at age 87. (Getty Images)

Book News: Gabriel García Márquez Left An Unpublished Manuscript

by Annalisa Quinn
Apr 23, 2014

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Have you heard that LEGO, the LEGO logo, the brick and knob configuration and the MiniFigure are trademarks and/or copyrights of the LEGO Group. All Rights Reserved? Sheep in Tasmania Lamb Chops Barley Salad Date And Nut Pudding

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The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

  • Gabriel García Márquez left behind an unpublished manuscript when he died last week at age 87, Cristobal Pera, editorial director of Penguin Random House Mexico, told The Associated Press. Pera added that Marquez's family has not yet decided whether to publish it. Meanwhile, the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia published an extract of the work, tentatively titled We'll See Each Other in August (En agosto nos vemos). In the excerpt, a middle-aged woman named Ana Magdalena Bach has a fling during her annual trip to a tropical island to put flowers on her mother's grave. She stays at a hotel overlooking a lagoon full of herons. Ana, though she's married, meets a man at the hotel and begins an affair with him. The excerpt has a strong sense of place — García Márquez's descriptions are lush with flowers and tropical life - and a ripple of eroticism travels through it, from the touch of perfume Ana puts behind her ear at the beginning of the chapter to the thunderstorm during her encounter with the man from the hotel.
  • David Foster Wallace's estate and his former publisher have come out in opposition to the making of the forthcoming film The End of the Tour, which is based on Wallace's conversations with journalist David Lipsky. In a press release, the David Foster Wallace Literary Trust wrote, "This motion picture is loosely based on transcripts from an interview David consented to eighteen years ago for a magazine article about the publication of his novel, 'Infinite Jest.' That article was never published and David would never have agreed that those saved transcripts could later be repurposed as the basis of a movie." It added that "there is no circumstance under which the David Foster Wallace Literary Trust would have consented to the adaptation of this interview into a motion picture, and we do not consider it an homage." Wallace committed suicide in 2008.
  • The Miguel de Cervantes Prize, the most prestigious literary award in the Spanish-speaking world, will be awarded to Mexican author Elena Poniatowska on Wednesday in Spain. Previously won by Jorge Luis Borges, Octavio Paz and Gabriel García Márquez among others, the prize is worth 125,000 euros (about $173,000).
  • A previously unpublished story by Shirley Jackson, the writer best known for her story "The Lottery," is printed in The New Yorker. "The Man in the Woods" is a short, sinister story about a man named Christopher who walks through dark woods to find an isolated house surrounded by trees, "the forest only barely held back by the stone wall, edging as close to it as possible, pushing, as Christopher had felt since the day before, crowding up and embracing the little stone house in horrid possession."
  • Comedian Megan Amram has a book deal for Science...For Her!, which she calls "a fun, flirty, Cosmopolitan-like textbook that is tailored to you, ladies." On her website, Amram describes the book as "a science textbook written by a lady (me) for other ladies (you, the Spice Girls, etc.)," and adds that "it has been demonstrated repeatedly throughout history: female brains aren't biologically constructed to understand scientific concepts, and tiny female hands aren't constructed to turn most textbooks' large, extra-heavy covers." Amram's book may be a parody, but it's not that all that far from reality: A 2013 book titled Girls Get Curves: Geometry Takes Shape combines math tips with advice on "how to attract guys," and uses handbag shapes to explain quadrilaterals.
  • "You have no legs and your name is alliterative." "A coachman treats you saucily." "You are either ruddy, stout, or flint-eyed." The Toast has some tips for telling whether you are in a Charles Dickens novel. (Full disclosure, I've written previously for The Toast.)
Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

About The Author

Laura B. Weiss' work has appeared in The New York Times, Saveur, Travel + Leisure, and on the Food Network website. She's a contributor to Interior Design's blog and was an editor for the Zagat Long Island Restaurant Guide 2009-2011. Laura is the author of Ice Cream: A Global History. Follow Laura on Twitter, @foodandthings.

Missing some content? Check the source: NPR
Copyright(c) 2014, NPR
Writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who won the Nobel Prize in 1982, died last week at age 87. (Getty Images)

Stowaway Teen May Have Been Trying To Reunite With His Mom

Apr 23, 2014

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Have you heard that LEGO, the LEGO logo, the brick and knob configuration and the MiniFigure are trademarks and/or copyrights of the LEGO Group. All Rights Reserved? Sheep in Tasmania Lamb Chops Barley Salad Date And Nut Pudding

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The latest word about the teenager who survived a ride Sunday from California to Hawaii in the frigid wheel well of a jet is that he may have hoped to eventually get to Somalia to be with his mother.

Because he's a juvenile, authorities and news outlets have not named the teen. But Hawaii News Now reports that:

"Family members of the 15-year-old stowaway did not want to talk to news reporters outside their Santa Clara [Calif.] home, but Maui police sources say the boy ran away and was trying to get to Africa. He ended up on a Hawaiian Airlines jet because it was the closest plane to the fence he scaled. He also told police he got confused by the writing on the plane."

The boy reportedly lived in California with his father and stepmother. His age was originally being reported as 16, but news accounts and authorities have now settled on 15.

According to NBC Bay Area:

"The teen's former English teacher at [San Jose's] Oak Grove High, Keith Chung, [said] he did not know much about the teen, other than that he had moved to the U.S. from Africa three years ago and that his father was a cab driver.

"Chung said the boy had some recent run-ins in his English-learning class. Those issues, on which Chung did not elaborate, had culminated in a transfer to Santa Clara High. ...

"Student Emanuael Golla, 18, told NBC Bay Area that the teen had just transferred to Santa Clara High about five weeks ago. Golla described him as very quiet, someone who kept to himself."

Meanwhile, The San Jose Mercury News reports that the director of the Mineta San Jose International Airport has "called the unusual security breach involving a teen stowaway who sneaked onto the airfield a 'very serious' incident that could spark changes in how the airport protects its passengers."

There is video evidence, The Associated Press says, indicating the teen scaled a fence and got on to the airport's tarmac about seven hours before the Hawaiian Airlines flight took off. The wire service adds that:

"While it's not clear how the teen spent all that time, FBI spokesman Tom Simon in Honolulu said the teen was sleeping in the plane before the 8 a.m. PDT takeoff. He 'literally just slept on the plane overnight,' Simon said."

The young man was still in Hawaii on Wednesday, according to news reports. Authorities have said they do not plan to charge him with any crime. The AP notes that "Hawaii's Department of Human Services has said child welfare officials were arranging his safe return to Northern California."

Thee wire service also writes that:

"The FAA says about one-quarter of the 105 stowaways who have sneaked aboard flights worldwide since 1947 have survived. Some wheel-well stowaways survived deadly cold and a lack of oxygen because their breathing, heart rate and brain activity slow down."

We explored that part of the story on Monday in this post: You Can Survive A Flight In A Jet's Wheel Well, But Probably Won't.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

About The Author

Laura B. Weiss' work has appeared in The New York Times, Saveur, Travel + Leisure, and on the Food Network website. She's a contributor to Interior Design's blog and was an editor for the Zagat Long Island Restaurant Guide 2009-2011. Laura is the author of Ice Cream: A Global History. Follow Laura on Twitter, @foodandthings.

Missing some content? Check the source: NPR
Copyright(c) 2014, NPR

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