Monday, 18 April 2011

Twelve kids & One dead horse (Tasmanian Adventures Part 2)

The second day of our Tasmanian adventure was the day we had been looking forward to for quite some time.

It was what started the whole adventure to begin with.

A community of like minded folks banded together in the making of a years worth of Tomato Sauce.

Spurred on by the general distaste for the preservative rich & colour additive laden bottles of what is passed off as Tomato Sauce in the supermarkets.  The stuff that most Aussie kids grow up sploshing happily on their sausage sangers and good ol' Meat Pies.

A group of us wanted to make something tasting of real ingredients and all of us (although for some of us it was the first time we met) share a common interest in quality food and the making of it as being at it's best when shared with people we care about.

The day before had been windy & cold but was a wonderful start to our family holiday. You can read about it here.

We woke up to this view on beautiful Bruny Island......... 

How could it not be a great day when it starts with seeing that view from our front deck?!
We arrived at Nick & LJ'S place in just in time to start the day with a delicious brekky with our friends.

The day included 4 different families and twelve children.

As soon as we arrived on Bruny Island the day before the kids made friends instantly, without the hesitations we acquire as adults.

Kids can teach us soooo much but I always marvel at the ease at which they make friends.  What is it that stops that happening when as we get older.....?

There aren't any pretensions, any worries, any comparisons, any prejudice, any age barriers.  They just get on with it.  It's so inspiring.  One of the many many things we can learn from kids if we take the time.

The kids ranged in age from 12 down to 1 but NOT ONCE did any of the grown ups need to intervene.  It was truly beautiful to witness.

The production line was set up ready for an activity that would take all day. 

The kids were super keen to be involved.  My kids had been so excited about this day.

They had been talking about it nearly EVERY day for the last 2 months!

All the kids who could hold a knife got in and chopped.  And there was a LOT of chopping to be done. 

Children are much more capable than we generally give them credit for.  This group of kids were responsible for washing and chopping kilos upon kilos of apples and tomatoes- we are talking about 50 or so kilos!!

They did a fine job as you can see.

The grown-ups joined the kids in the work.

And once the ingredients were chopped, they needed to be mixed through.....

A  rare glimpse of GourmetGirlfriend
And then it had to be placed in two enormous cauldrons and cooked ALL DAY.

It had to be strained.

My eldest son made a delicious snack for the workers that we served with polenta leftover from last night's dinner. He made his signature stuffed mushrooms.  He used Nick's ODO cheese (Bruny Island Cheese) and mixed with chilli, garlic & thyme and baked it.

 He was very very excited that all the adults thought it was soooooo delicious but just about died with pride when Matthew Evans (aka The Gourmet Farmer from the SBS series who was part of the sauce making crew) invited him to come and live at his place if he could cook mushrooms like that!

We forget how words are soooo important to kids.  Words of praise are remembered for a lifetime & for a child to hear them from someone they look up to is just ever so special.  Matthew was probably totally unaware how fabulous he had made my child feel.  It was lovely for me to see.

It was such a special day.  A day that all of us will remember forever.  The photos give you a little window into the joy that was had that day- by all of us.

After the sauce was strained it needed to be cooked again and stirred
and stirred
and stirred.
Until it glowed like an autumn sunset.
  After all the stirring, the sauce had to be bottled. 
It was nighttime before it was ready to bottle....
It filled 61 bottles!
All that was left was to make a label. The inaugural sauce was to be named twelve kids & one dead horse- in homage to the children that made it and a nod to the Aussie slang for Tomato Sauce.

The smiles tell you what a great time we had.

The kids were so happy to try it out on their dinner that night.
The kids ate while we popped the bubbly to celebrate the success of the day.

Over the course of the day we talked & laughed, chopped & stirred, we made & cemented friendships.  The stuff that is the sustenance of life

Making food of this sort is a labour of love.  But the result tastes of the love that goes in. 

The opening of every bottle is a reminder of the joy that went into the process.

The eating of it a reminder of all the love that went into each and every bottle.

And we all knew at the end of the day that this was something that all of us wanted to replicate over & over again.

And that is why next year and for many years after we will do it all over again and look forward to it just as much!

It's the people that made it so very special & I for one am counting the days till next we get together!


  1. Totally LOVE this post Ruth! Beautiful pics and words. And lovely to see a pic you!

    Hopefully next visit we will get to meet!


  2. What a fantastic trip you had! There is nothing like a gathering of families together, is there? Something special happens, and memories are made that the children never forget.
    May you have many more years of Tomato Saucing!

  3. I am totally gate crashing this party next year! I have tears in my eyes reading this post- this is the sort of stuff that is close to my heart and never really get to do...

  4. Totally awesome. Marvellous memories for life for your gang for sure. Lovely storytelling snaps too. We SHOULD start a Gals and Dames annual cooking session of some sort...I have access to bucket loads of Quinces...perhaps an annual Autumn quince paste/jelly/jam fest? We almost bought what is now the Bruny Cheese house but luckily THEY did and turned it in to what it is now. YUM YUM.

  5. Dear Matthew Evans,

    Please marry me.

    Yours Faithfully,


  6. Ruth, what a simply gorgeous holiday! I bet the kids will never want to eat supermarket sauce again! X

  7. Oh wow, that is just my idea of bliss - thank you for taking me there with your gorgeous words and pictures!

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  9. It was indeed a magical day! We're whipping through our bottles so we'll need more next year. I'm already planning the tomato plants.


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