River Cottage Australia Series 2 Ep8: 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.

Second autumn is coming to a close with a crisp stillness in the air as Paul worries about the dream ending but he's not going anywhere, not if he can help it.

Reminiscing he admits it's been bloody hard work and not all smooth sailing and he needs to up the ante and produce more to remain a going concern.

He’s had the continued support of locals and friends – farmers who share his passion for this area and friends welcome in his kitchen and at his table.

It’s far from over and down here he is learning from those around him and he has a plan to cement those relationships – it’s his Gulaga Gathering with produce from within eyesight of the mountain that looks over everyone.

First he is off to see Fraser Bailey and his partner Kirsti Wilkinson who’ve helped out Paul get his veggie crops going and who are now going to provide some fresh produce in exchange for some hard labour and a set at that dinner table.

Then its off to see Martin Gribble at his market garden Soul Patch Farm at Turlinjah whose offered sage gardening advice before and Paul this time is keen on his black Spanish radishes.

Back at River Cottage at Central Tilba, it’s raining as Paul greets the neighbour’s boy whose shot a couple of beautiful fat bunnies before school, which he barters for two litres of goats milk.

He’s making a slow-cooked rillette of rabbit perfect for the wintery conditions, some to snack on now and some for the mighty big Gulaga Gathering.

Now he’s on the hunt for the star of his long lunch and helping out is going to be his mate Steve Bunney, retired abalone diver and spearfisherman extraordinaire.

And while they’re headed out to Montague Island in search of kingfish again, this time it’s with line and not spear gun.

But fishing is fishing and the pair struggle losing a fish and dealing with seals, while the regular professionals and locals seem to be doing okay.

Among them is the author of this article, Narooma News editor Stan Gorton who is seen catching a couple of the sought after fish on his Bar Crusher boat.

The king of fish frustrates Paul and Steve again but they manage a snapper before having to head home but this TV host has a plan to swap his snapper with Stan back at the Narooma town wharf.

The trade is made but Paul needs a few extra fish, so he heads off to Narooma Bridge Seafoods where Sophie puts his filleting skills to work, in exchange for a few extra kingfish, he does have 30 people to feed after all.

Next he sources some chestnuts from friendly local Craig with a tree in his garden that again is within sight of Gulaga.

Pastry queen and CWA cookery judge Nelleke Gorton meanwhile is called upon to help out making a unique sweet-savoury green tomato and chestnut pie.

Outside on the farm, Paul is concerned about his pregnant sows, so he sets up a piglet camera in the pig pen so he can watch from inside.

Fog clears the next day and it's a beautiful day for his long lunch.

First he needs a big batch of dough made up for the Aussie baguettes and for this he calls in the big gun Matt Christison, the mobile butcher from Bega who also happens to be a baker.

They reminisce about the cheese race that Paul beat Matt at back in a previous episode of this series before another old adversary arrives in the form of chef Josh Tyler from Mogo.

The payback from losing the crustacean cook-off means Josh is assistant chef for the day helping to prepare the forage and fish course, the star of which is stuffed and baked kingfish.

The guests arrive and are greeted with lilly pilly champagne and all the dishes are a big hit especially the begged and bartered kingfish and the pastry queen’s unique pies!

The four-course long lunch has been an outstanding success even if Paul says so himself.

He thanks his guests and says without them this celebration of the region could not have happened, which is greeted with applause.

The Yeastie Boys from Candelo provide the tunes and naturally a keg of beer while they dance under the moonlight.

The next morning there is no time for hangovers as his animals depend on him round the clock.

He pasture poultry cycle begins again and using the proceeds from his Bermagui Seaside Fair food stall, he buys 50 chicks from the Thompson family down the road at Symphony Farm at Tilba.

They’re delivered by Amanda Thompson, who explains the benefits of the Cornish crossbred chooks. Digger the ever-present loyal dog is there to check them out.

Paul ends the show planting some winter veg and planning some quality indoor time with Digger.

But first Pinky and Dolly the sows have an end-of-series surprise, delivering two litters of nine piglets each, a special way to end this chapter of River Cottage Australia.

As new life brings in end of the series, filming on Series 3 of the show is set to begin soon and who knows what adventures are ahead. Paul could not be happier.

Stay tuned to the Narooma News as we will keep River Cottage Australia fans posted on when filming will begin and what Paul and Digger have been up to in the meantime.