Five Days At Olive’s Cottage – And A Long Lunch!

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This post continues on from: Strahan.

After two days in Hobart and three in Strahan, we headed north to the Tamar Valley and Olive’s Cottage, our property at Windermere.

We visit the cottage about four times a year, for four or five days each visit. Some of our time is taken up meeting up with our property manager and our gardener. They both do a marvellous job for us. There will always be some jobs for us to attend to, like shopping for new linen or electrical goods; this trip we had the NBN installed. We also try to catch up with family, friends and neighbours.

And of course, we get to enjoy the property, the changing views during the day and the peace and quiet. From the main deck, in the distance, we could see the Windermere Church proudly positioned, having been saved from the cruel threat of sale by the Anglican Church.

On the Sunday we would be having a long lunch with ex-university friends and their partners. One of the couples live just a few hundred metres from the cottage, along Windermere Road, and they would be hosting us all this time. On the day we started at 12.30 pm and ended around 6.30 pm. From their deck, this is the view of the Tamar River and Valley.

And here is the menu for the day, with every couple making a food and wine contribution.

Menu for Long Lunch – Sunday 9 December

– Beetroot dip with za’atar & pomegranate molasses
– Homemade salami
– Pissaladière

Main platters
– Baked salmon with gribiche sauce, on frisée lettuce
– Beef with anchovies, capsicum and manchego cheese

– Eggplant salad
– Bean and asparagus salad

– Exotic trifle
– Exotic tiramisu

Our contribution was the pissaladière.


This recipe was given to us many years ago and we have cooked it many times as it is very reliable and gives a great result. It is relatively easy to do for a French recipe. It is at its most delicious if the right pastry is used, preferably homemade short crust or puff pastry. Crumbly pastries such as sour cream pastry are not suitable as they break up when slicing the tart. Make it using a flan-like shell, or make the pissaladière like a pizza. Vary the ingredients as you wish; the method is quite robust.

Try this recipe for shortcrust pastry. It is a recipe by Damien Pignolet. We have used it for many years as our standby since it was first published by Stephanie Alexander in her book “Menus for Food Lovers” and again in “Feasts and Stories“. This link gives the same recipe, except that in the book versions, either plain water or mineral (carbonated) water could be used. To make using a food processor, add the flour, salt and butter and process just until the mixture becomes crumbly. Add the water in a stream and process only until the mixture clumps, any more and the pastry could be tough. Remove the ball from the processor then press into a cake and continue as per the method on the link.

Shortcrust pastry: Damien’s Pâte Brisée


– Flan or tart shell (using a non-crumbly pastry such as puff pastry or short crust) 30 to 40 cm in diameter, blind baked for 10 minutes, (or a pizza base from bread dough)
– 6 to 8 onions chopped in half moons
– 2 tbsps olive oil
– bouquet garni or equivalent in chopped fresh thyme, sage, parsley, oregano, etc
– salt and pepper to taste
– 2 to 3 cloves garlic, crushed
– 3 to 4 tbsps tapenade or pesto style sauce or equivalent
– 3 to 4 tbsps black olives, depipped, chopped if desired
– anchovies (optional) whole or chopped
– extra 1 tbsp olive oil if necessary

First cook the onions by sautéing in the olive oil for 40-50 minutes until they caramelise; include the herbs and salt and pepper from the beginning. After about 20 minutes, add the garlic. Set onions aside if necessary, and reheat gently before putting on the flan shell.

Set the oven to 200oC. If not done so already, blind bake the pastry base / shell so that it is ready to complete the pissaladière.

Spread with tapenade or pesto (adding more or less for taste).

Spread over the onion mixture.

Top with the olives and the anchovies to taste. Sprinkle with the extra olive oil if the mixture is not moist enough.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the pissaladière is very hot.

Serves 6 to 10 as a small entrée or 2 to 3 as a main course with salad.

Degree of difficulty: 3/5 (moderately difficult) if you make your own pastry. Somewhat less difficult if using store-bought pastry.



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