River Cottage Australia Series 2 Ep 5: Inside story

IT’S the last days of summer at Tilba on Episode 5 of the latest series of River Cottage Australia that aired on The LifeStyle Channel on Foxtel on Thursday.

Host Paul West is preoccupied with his pregnant Berkshire sows that are moved into a special pregnancy ward enclosure complete with extra feed.

Paul heads into the hills about an hour away to meet 86-year-old retired stonemason Jean Balos, who has an amazing anarchic orchard of all kinds of trees including bunch of oaks up to 26 year old.

These oaks have the acorns that Paul need for his sows but he also picks up some quinces and carob that he whips up into a dessert as payback.

It’s up at 5am to take his 48 young meat chickens into Bega Valley Gourmet Meats co-operative small species abattoir and the capable hands of indomitable slaughterman Chris Franks and his assistants Annie and Alex.

After troubled recent past due to lack of volume, the abattoir is again flourishing thanks to the movement of growing and raising your own, something championed by River Cottage and Paul himself.

There chooks are also however a money spinner for the farm as they are intended to be cooked and sold at the upcoming Bermagui Seaside Fair.

Paul again calls on local blacksmith Iain Hamilton at Mother Mountain Forge at Tilba, this time to make a double barbecue made out of a gas bottle raided from his hardware heaven of a scrapheap.

As a reward, Paul cooks up, get ready for it, chicken feet and offal kebab skewers – it’s all about using every part of the bird.

And while Iain admits these dishes are a first for him, the boys seem to enjoy the offerings while standing around the newly fired barbecue.

The wings of the birds meanwhile are saved for Pete Smith and his two brew club mates down at the town of Candelo.

They have fun brewing a batch of beer, followed by the beer marinated wings and then all busting out the instruments to play as the Yeastie Boys.

Play done it’s time for hard work as Paul is back in the farmhouse kitchen turning what remains of his birds into two dishes for the seaside fair.

He decides on slices of poached, stuffed chicken galentines as well as barbecued harissa marinated chicken.

He has 100 serves to sell and with a sunny day and thousands at the fair, his biggest problem is the long line forming at his stall.

Organic farmer Amanda Thompson from Symphony Farm at Tilba is roped in to be his assistant and it’s flat out for the both of them.

Blacksmith Iain and Chris from the co-operative both stop in to sample the dishes, which meet their and everyone else’s approval.

Many and Paul celebrate their success with a whirl on the Octopus carnival ride.

This Thursday in Episode 6, Bessie the Jersey cow attempts to get pregnant, there’s some more cooking and local farmer Darcy Hoyer makes an appearance, this time with yabbies!

Click here for the previous RCA Inside story on Ep 4...

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