Easy oyster tips - frilly, fresh and frozen oysters

 Shucking  fresh oysters in Northern Ireland on Christmas morning in preparing for the long table feastive dinner. 

Shucking  fresh oysters in Northern Ireland on Christmas morning in preparing for the long table feastive dinner. 

I adore Tasmanian oysters and I hit jackpot moving to this farm to discover I had a neighbour who I call 'Oyster Girl' who just so happened to own a Oyster Farm.  I am often blessed with her 'Fugly ones'. We usually once a week catch-up together for dinner over cheap bubbles and eat my 'Dippy Eggs' (soft boiled eggs + buttery toast soldiers) and make Oysters Kilpatrick.

Oysters for me now here are cheap, incredibly fresh, locally sourced and ever so tasty.  But what happens when you get more oysters than you can eat in one sitting or when your gifted them with not time use? And whats the quickest easiest pantry based recipe to use on them....? 

I discovered a secret...you freeze them. 

 A wire basket of of oyster shells on the beach Photocredit  Samara Clifford Photography  

A wire basket of of oyster shells on the beach Photocredit Samara Clifford Photography 

I do not weep at the world, I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife
— Zora Neal Hurtson
 A large bag of fresh oysters

A large bag of fresh oysters

Every Christmas in Ireland, my contribution was usually 6-8 dozen oysters to be shucked and shared with drinks with my fake cousins. Here in the Huon Valley, once the oysters have been scrubbed & washed, I pop them into zipblock bags of a dozen and they go into the freezer.  


Pretty much then its a matter of removing them as you need them - usually a couple of dozen at a time. Its like the best 'back up entertainment option' ever. 

 I'm ok at shucking oysters from fresh - and I do plenty of times, but sometimes I leave a little bit of grit in them as when they are fugly they are fiddly and it takes a fair bit of time to pop open - especially if they have developed a bit of frill.

But no fear anymore as I've discovered the trick. Best trick ever.....

 Fresh oyster plate on the Beach with lemon wedges.

Fresh oyster plate on the Beach with lemon wedges.

Once out of the freezer, frozen oysters will pop their shells ajar in less than an hour of starting to defrost. No needing to prize open them with a knife and contaminated with shell anymore - I can just slip the knife in the side and pop the lid off. Game changer. Quick, easy and grit free. I rinse the frozen oyster under the tap and set aside in a tray to defrost. Frozen oysters will still have salt water encased in their shell at the time of freezing and this will defrost in a few hours. This waters  tipped out and then the oyster can be eaten natural or as I love it in my Oysters Kilpatrick recipe below...

 ladies on a beach with beach camp fire and glass of bubbles’Photo Samara Clifford

ladies on a beach with beach camp fire and glass of bubbles’Photo Samara Clifford

A Dozen Oysters Kilpatrick

 Frozen oysters on a tray

Frozen oysters on a tray

  • 12 oyster large in half shell
  • 2 bacon rashers shredded
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 240 mls barbecue sauce/tomato sauce or both

Divide up the fried off bacon into each shell. Mix the Worcestershire sauce and BBQ/Tomoto sauce together. I prefer 1:1 ratio but whatever tickles you. Drizzle sauce mixture onto each shell. Pop in oven or Grill till cooked - about 5-10 minutes depending on how long it takes for the bacon to crisp up. 

I can’t ever personally tell the difference between a fresh or frozen oyster thats defrosted.  I dont also know anyone who has. Having a few dozen oysters in the freezer at anyone time is the most loveliest afternoon entertainment with good friends.  

Get yours from a reputable source, like a good local fishmonger, seafood market or maybe you, like me, your super lucky, live somewhere like Far South Tasmania and have an oyster farmer neighbour who loves you. 

Salt Dough Recipe -

Salt Dough Recipe on the Farm.jpg

Really simple, really cheap, really fun and if you make them into pinchpots, Christmas decorations or tea sets you have great handmade presents for the kids (or yourself). They can be painted, glittered. Baking them turns them into rocks. They taste crap - don't try and eat. If you can put a thumb print in or a marking to say whos art is who. Self raising flour makes them puff up alittle. Great activity to have as a back up for a rainy day or to calm down a houseful of someone elses kids. I add a few drops of essential oil to the dough and it doubles as a lovely calm & relaxing afternoon activity. 


1 cup salt

2 cups of plain flour

¾ cup of water


  1. In a large bowl mix salt and flour together then stir in water till its like firm dough.
  2. Kneed till smooth. (or like me pop all in Thermomix and bliz till smooth.)
  3. Empty the cutters from the second draw on the table & let them create masterpieces.
  4. Place the salt dough creations into the oven at 150-180C. I find about an hour does it - but generally I bake them when I'm making cakes or a roast or something. You can also leave them on the fire place to dry out first overnight. 
  5. Once dry they can be painted and varished if they are a little special and then packaged off to all the Nonna and Pops of this world. 

The decision to move to Tasmania. Part 1

While tucking into cheese tasting box in a tent at the festival, we decided, we were moving to Tasmania, regardless,  be it on the mussle farm we wanted or our boat till we found somewhere just as nice. 

When we landed in Tasmania for our first family holiday - woven around The Wooden Boat Festival at Hobart - almost 2 years ago - we sat on the Dock overlooking the marina, fresh off the plane and  we decided that we would move here. It was a mix of the old wooden boats, the food, the air and the heritage which grabbed us.  I think the rest of the trip was done with the Real-estate Australia App perminently on. That night we stayed in Primrose sands on the water,  and I went into overdrive on looking at all the farming options and regions. We then made a list of the non negotiable....It had to be on the water, it had to be near fruit producing area, he wanted cattle at some stage, I wanted to continue to make my jam, I wanted a 100+ year old heritage house ( this one I lost out to) , and it had to be the east coast for the sailing, had to have some kind of potential more more than just farming, to have good schools nearby and close enough to the Hobart to daytrip/or airport. From this search were 2 properties that interested us. One at the very north of the country, a chalet/mechanic business overlooking the water - with the idea of buying another large inland farming block  and the other an old mussel farm to the very south. We decided to change our holiday plans slightly and go and visit both.
That next morning we headed off super early, the a few days before the festival kicked off and drove down south, through all the little towns oohing and ahhhing, Antiques, orchards, marinas, apple-sheds with little heritage houses sprinkled across the landscape. I was so excited, I loved the cold from spending a decade in Europe, but my chap, with most of his working life living in either hot mining or outback farming conditions, north of Western Australia, was going to need convincing as he wasn't a fan of the cold. He didn't need convincing driving through along the waterside. I naturally loved the weather, it being similar to mild Irish summer and loved the idea of continuing our simple life. We contacted the agent and did a walkover.   I loved it from the moment I drove down the drive. We were sold. It was perfect for us - ticking all of my boxes , except for the house - that wasn't heritage but it was lovely enough to live in and maybe, someday do changes later on down the track.  We then went back up to the festival & continued on rest of our tour around the state. I remeber tucking into the tasting box of cheese, on the dock drinking Willy Smith Cider both deciding that we were committing to the move - regardless on if we got the property or not. We would just live on the boat till we found something we loved as much. The second north property was lovely too, different, great potential,  but ultimately it didn't compare.  So by the end of the trip, and hundreds of detours off to see potential passing farms, we decided to change our last few nights accommodation from Hobart  and go and stay opposite the Old Mussle farm in a rented chalet to see what it was like in the morning. My biggest concern was for my chap - I know how the winter weather can be very harsh & bleak, and I told him that although he was smitten on the property, he had to come back in the dead cold of Winter for a week - and see what he liked it.  Regardless on what he thought we decided that it was time to move, while the kids were only 8 months old and 2.5, that we were on the move. Now it was just a massive rush to get back home, get the house renovated, pack up the business, sell the property and hope like hell that no one in the mean time puts an offer on it. It was game on.

A fleeting vist to Ireland

Oh its still cold here!

A few weeks back I made a last minute dash to Ireland. Although a bittersweet trip, to say goodbye for Anne, a gorgeous lady for final time, it was a week of rejoyce & reunion.  And it was a total Surprise as only 2 people knew I was flying in. 

I remember when I used to crash in the spare 'beer testing' room after a night out/early morning in the days before responsibility in Belfast. These were times of being free & fearless and many late night ideas over brews were shared. Its so good to see their dream of  Farmageddon Brewing Co-Op  in fully action on the farm.

Farmageddon Brewery. Behind this door is the key to no hangovers - preservative free beer.

Spent a whirlwind 24hrs in Dublin at The Liquor Room with Irishman Patrick &  Jules from Heirloom Island flying in for one simply mad stuffed-bear-kissing cocktail swilling night  at The Liquor Rooms from Canada. We used to live in Cliften in Connemara in the backpacker days and dragged them around the countryside making my first Cheeky Little Map while I worked at Crocnaraw Country House & The Beautiful View Cafe at Cottage Handicrafts in Moyard & the Sheep & Wool Centre in Leenane.  

Popped in for tea with old neighbour 89 year old Lady Clark, Caught up with Mary & John at my my old work cafe Bookfinders and washed off & redid  my original blackboard menu sign that I did over 15 year ago again for her. She still had it up. Took the train to Dublin with  Lovely Audrey & Helen of Glass Bro Armagh where I used to pick apples & run the main house - and dropped in for more tea later on in the week so I to see the rest of the growing family!  Oyster & Cake purchases at St Georges's Markets & catchup with Claire, Yet more tea with Johnny at Maxwell House of Clatteringford, Dinner with Anne & Peter at  The Poachers Pocket. Tramped the Fields dogwalking with Lizzy ( and drinking lots & lots of wine), Coffee & desperately needed catchup with Tote, as well as late night tea with Colonel Charley.

Then had a last Hoorah 40th Birthday thrown for me the night before I flew!!! Wine with Lindy of  The Boathouse Sketrick where I used to work and is one of the most lovelies places to rent on the island. So Although short, the break was just what I needed. Missed alot of people but just time & distance made it impossible. Next time I wont wait for so long.

Tullygirvan House. Breakfast made on a real aga & where my obsession with cooking on one seriously began. 

The Free-range organic pigs at Farmmgeddon Brewery. 

County Down Farm roads racing to Surprise everyone. 

Havant lost the touch - shucking 3 dozen oysters for Sunday Lunch at Tethers End 

Latte & Waiting for my Friends to Fly in at the Wesbury in Dublin. Got to love a 20m chesterfield

Avoca oh how I have missed  you - such pretty things. 

The Liquor Room Ladies Bathroom Floor Tiles

Dublins Fair City. Flower market ladies

Wooden Spoon & Bowl Carving Workshop

Days before Christmas we held an intimate  Wooden Spoon & Bowl Carving Workshop was a cracking success.  I so so badly wanted to learn how to carve, before we lost talented Luke to Margaret River area....Thank-you lovely ladies for attending and at short notice...like 3 days. We walked away with notes, knives and a couple of spoons each and a future of witting on the back verandah! And thanks to Frisky Deer Cafe for hosting a gorgeous spread & Luke from The Knowledge Base for teaching. 

 Getting workshop ready

Getting workshop ready

 Ok I suppose I should listen more than do....

Ok I suppose I should listen more than do....

 Shooting little wooden filings around the shop

Shooting little wooden filings around the shop

 End result!

End result!

Plum Chutney

Plum chutney.It’s pretty good to have this on hand in the pantry to dish up at the Lunch table with a platter of meats breads & cheeses. Men like Chutney in cold meat sandwiches and and in paddock cheese toasties. Well mine does anyway. Really any stone fruit can be used and you want to hold off on eating them for a couple of months as the taste can be rather sharp/harsh.

I won’t know if I like this recipe till later on in the year – but it smells good and premature tasting is pretty darn nice. Makes about 1.35 kg worth and takes a couple of hours to make – will keep for the whole year…..or longer. Great option to stock up for Christmas Hampers. 

 Plum Chutney. How good does the kitchen smell!

Plum Chutney. How good does the kitchen smell!


  • ·         1 kg of plums
  •            350 gms cooking apples
  • ·         250g onions
  • ·         125gm sultanas/dates/cranberries
  • ·         300gm brown sugar
  • ·         1 tea spoon of sea salt
  • ·         1 teaspoon each of cinnamon, coriander & allspice (fresh if possible)
  • ·         1 dried chilli or ½ teasp chilli flakes
  • ·         600mls of white wine, cider or balsamic vinegar (I did balsamic & cider)


  1. Half the plums remove the stones and quarter the fruit. Core, peel and dice the apples into bite side pieces and peel and finely slice the onions ( I did the apple and onion in the thermomix)
  2. Put all the ingredients into a preserving pan or a large heavy based stainless steel saucepan then bring slow to the boil stirring to dissolve sugar
  3. Simmer gently for 2 hrs until a wooden spoon drawn across the base of the pan leaves a trail. Stir frequently towards the end of that the chutney doesn't catch the bottom and burn
  4. The chutney should now look thick and glossy – check the seasoning add more salt if necessary and pot into warm sterilised jars making sure there are no air gaps by tapping the jar down.
  5. Cover seal and store in a cool dark place – like a pantry.

Supermarketing up your Farm.

Supermarkets were made in 1947. Before that we lived out of our pantry. Throughout the year we gathered, bottled, dried, baked, swapped picked brined, and stored our food from the land. We had veggie patches, chooks, fishing spots,  orchards and skills. In season we harvested fruits, plucked berries, salted smoked, brined olives, stole honey, and foraged for wild mushrooms. We spent fished, shucked, plucked, collected, salted, hunted, brewed, cured, canned, dried and dug.We had larders, pantrys, cellars, storage huts and outdoor wire cool-rooms.

We produced enough for ourselves and had excess to be stored, bartered, swapped, gifted or sold. Families gathered around tables where food was prepared,and ate at - it was the first port of call of day and the last at night. Manners were taught & upkept. The Art of Conversation was instilled & shared. We made cordial. leather, chutneys, cheese, jams, cured, dried & potted meats. We collected wood, nuts and bulbs. We tended to our gardens & friendships. We learnt to sew, whittle, knit, preserve and up-cycle and passed those skills & products around.  

Thou it is small it is tasty
— Irish Quote

We made and created & conserved traditions. Everything that can & could be nurtured was. Many times over – presented in different ways. Its about sharing the fruits of ones labour & its methods in doing so, with the people you love.It is then in times where living was harder, or scarce or poorer or in great celebration….the seasons harvests could be enjoyed. I'm on a homemade, homegrown & handmade path of turning my little farm into a more slow & simple lifestyle for my family.

I just got back from Ireland where my cousins excel in this kinda life. But truthfully I'm really not that good at gardening, pretty disorganised and totally shit at bookkeeping. I do however adore learning new skills & meeting people & eating cake, so I very occasionally find someone good at their craft and run a Traditional Skill workshops on something I myself would love to learn. I also make alot of preserves although in recent months have been abit off. Seeing everyone again was like a refresher course in getting my life back on track & into gear.  I just have to get abit better and into Supermarketing up my Farm Pantry again.

The makings of Plum somthing 

Its about spending sharing food & time & ideas

Streamlining - The art of gifting & ditching the excess in my life

In the last month I have been strictly streamlining life. Making it simple, uncluttered and just not relying on just taking the easy option to get by. We have also been doing a mini reno on the house, painting, carpeting etc....just to make things fresh again. Its been nice to spend more time at home - something that has taken me years to adjust to after travelling so much. I suppose that's why I really have always found it hard to start a garden as I just couldn't stay in one space - but things are changing. We are also looking at what we will do next and exploring  plans. I ditched 1/5th the kids toys but spending much more time with my kids - we do alot more now and explore things. I've had a crack at making washing powered, spider spray, lip balm, furniture polish, detergent, spray and wipe and I'm about to try sunscreen & weed killer (although currently I'm pretty good at letting the weeds live)....all from simple ingredients. Its small steps but its just adding new good habits into the family life mix. I'd like to work , or start up studying a little again and I'm also keen to get my littlest off breast feeding so I can get a sleep in. I haven't had a whole nights sleep in 3.5 years. I've also streamlined my life so that I concentrate on the people that are good to be around, that boost up others and inspire me. Lifes really far too short & once you start looking for people like that you soon find them. Its been a really wonderful time.  


Death by Lemon Butter

I’m in love with the stuff & since I have fresh farm eggs, farm lemons & can make my own butter – its a staple in our house.  Having such good ingredients at hand means that its a really glossy thick citrusy butter. Too good to give away almost. Last week I more or less comatosed myself, by eating an entire jar prior to dinner. Dont recommended eating a whole jar in one sitting. One friend, Samara from Samara Clifford Photography perfectly summed up my over consumption with..... 

OH MY GOD! LEMON BUTTER IS LIKE CRACK. please send me some
— Sam from Samara Clifford Photography

So to make lemon butter, I use my thermomix....mainly because it always comes out perfect.  And if for some reason it kinda looks like its on the verge of failure, I let it whip for another few minutes - then TADA!-  Its perfect! This recipe below gives you a couple of jars & enough left over to eat the remainder off the spatula.


  • 3 eggs
  •  100 gms butter
  • 200 gms sugar
  • 2 Lemons, juiced & zested


  1. Blitz zest & sugar for 30 seconds. If there are still lumps blitz 10-30 seconds.
  2. Add lemon juice, butter & eggs
  3. Wizz for a few seconds then cook for 8-10 minutes, temp 80 degrees, speed 3.
  4. Pour into hot sterilised jars and seal.
  5. Cool & fridge & don’t eat it all at once
Meyer Lemon Butter 250gm Jars $6.50

I find Lemon & Passionfruit butter always good to have on hand for quick afternoon tea guests. A quick plate to whip up for your 'Oh my god there going to be here in 20 minutes' is to cut out puff pastry circles and fork them well & pop into a baby muffin tray and a 180/160 fan forced oven for 15 minutes till light golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes in pan then transfer to wire rack and heap in spoonful of Butter. Fancy things up with a blueberry or raspberry or dollop of mascarpone cheese on top.  Instant 'Mother of the Year' status guaranteed.

For those who don't care to make it themselves but love the stuff - I do freshly made 250gm Jars of Lemon Butter or PassionFruit & Lemon Butter at $6.50. As its got to be kept cold,  its only drop off / pick-up availability - and I am scooting up to Perth in a couple of weeks so there's a Cottesloe pickup spot for those Perthites who are keen.