River Cottage Australia Series 2 Ep 6: Inside story

WELCOME to the inside story behind Series 2 of River Cottage Australia!

The Narooma News just like during the first series will again be bringing you running coverage of each episode.

We will highlight the local characters and scenery of the Far South Coast of NSW featured in the hit show that airs on The Lifestyle Channel on Foxtel.

Host Paul West starts Episode 6 by saying autumn in settling in with the days shorter and the nights colder on the River Cottage Australia property at Central Tilba south of Narooma on Far South Coast NSW.

It’s been a dry summer and the neighbour Tracie Madden and her family drive their cattle across to the long grass of Paul’s paddocks.

The exchange is getting their stud bull to do the dirty with his Jersey cow Bessie, but more on that later.

First it is time to harvest the cash crop of Roma and heirloom tomatoes and turn it into something delicious.

Helping out are a couple of local Italian ladies – Luisa Russo from Sorriso Italian restaurant in Narooma and Francesca Cementon from the Bermagui Gelati Clinic.

Luisa is wearing her 100-year-old traditional Italian apron meant for special occasions.

Together they make 18 litres of traditional passata Italian tomato sauce that both ladies learned to make as children in their home country.

Paul whips them up a delicious eggplant and gnocchi dish that Luisa gives 10 out of 10 and offers him a job at the restaurant – he is way too busy though!

Next he heads off up the coast to the Tuross Head garden of professional arborist and wine maker Jim Sharman and his family, wife Lauren and kids Juliet and Rocco.

Paul and Jim both climb a big lilli pilly tree to harvest plenty of the fruit to make some bush fruit wine, and of course he rewards them with a picnic featuring a traditional French galette tart featuring more of his home-grown tomatoes.

Back on the farm, his egg-laying chooks, bug-eating ducks and playful goats are all thriving, but it’s Bessie the cow deserving attention.

Veterinarian Luke Dawson and his high-tech ultrasound machine are back.

Luke is from Bega and Cobargo Veterinary Hospitals and gets to work checking Bessie for signs of a calf.

The bad news is there is none, but he urges Paul to keep trying as the cow is essentially healthy.

Paul then heads off yabbie or native freshwater crayfish hunting with show regular Darcy Hoyer, a fellow Tilba farmer.

While fishing, they get to talking cattle and Darcy offers to help him pick out another cow and calf at the upcoming sale.

Paul’s lump of old beef out-fishes Darcy’s dog food and they get enough for a feed of battered yabbies with kaffir lime mayonnaise that Darcy describes as “bloody beautiful”.

The TV show host proclaims: “It’s so rewarding to catch wild food on a mate’s farm and I’m sure there is heaps more to discover in this truly magical part of the world.”

The final segment of this episode sees Paul introduced to mushroom cultivation expert Will Borowski who runs family business Forest Fungi.

Together they prepare some chaff that is stuffed into containers with mushroom spores and placed in the old concrete silos, while they also make some special mushroom logs stashed under the old fig tree.

Paul rewards Will with some homemade pappardelle pasta with a creamy mushroom sauce.

Next week, River Cottage Australia will have Paul take on a chef for a crustacean cook-off, reunited with his mum and also making some ice-cream treats for local kindergarten kids – stay tuned!

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