Word of mouth led us to stay at the most delightful little farm cottage - a rural retreat located on a small working farm, nestled in the undulating hills of Poowong East (South West Gippsland - Victoria). For two days and nights we were treated to complete peace and quiet, enjoying tranquil views from the front deck, oh and from the claw-footed bathtub too. So beautifully restored, we found every room filled with colour, treasure and connection to the simpler way of life. Vintage timbers, pressed metal ceilings and rusted corrugated iron are weaved between the old brick fireplace, weathered boards and darling French doors. Crisp linens and a view from every room I'd found my new home!
From the moment we walked in we felt welcome and who wouldn’t with a freshly baked ‘Lemon, Rosemary and Olive Oil Cake’ waiting on the kitchen bench for you? We were greeted with an abundance of breakfast supplies including wood fired sourdough bread, homemade apricot and lavender jam, eggs from the hens, bacon, orange juice, organic apple cider, bowls of local produce and bunches of fresh herbs that were ours for the eating and an old-school hand-written note welcoming us to Marge’s Cottage with the added suggestion of a soak in a rain water filled tub to rest and rejuvenate after our travels.
A late morning breakfast on the deck looking out over the hills and an afternoon chat with some quite social East Friesian sheep in the paddock next to the cottage, kept us suitably occupied. On our second day at the cottage we wandered just round the corner and up the hill to visit Tamsin’s Table. Tamsin Carvan made a tree change and bravely took on the farming life ten years ago. She now opens her farmhouse for guests to share in her farm and food journey. Tamsin describes Tamsin’s Table as: ‘A shared table. A rambling kitchen garden. A hilltop farmhouse, and 113 acres. Hands on cooking workshops and joyous seasonal lunches.’
We had booked in for one of her Sunday Lunches a relaxed five hour, long-table lunch with ten guests coming together to enjoy the seasonal food grown on the farm and wines from the local area. I am not sure what was more mesmerising, watching Tamsin effortlessly make borage ravoli in front of us all as she chatted about the daily challenges of farm life and the recent eviction of a territorial possum who had taken up residence in the farmhouse roof, or listening to Tamsin describe each of the five courses we shared with such passion and a tangible sense of relief that the farm had again provided for the meal and she had managed to pull it all together beautifully.
Rye crackers, Riverine Blue Cheese and fresh honey comb
Borage ravioli with burnt butter and new season garlic
Cheryl’s geese with beetroot, freshly dug ‘taties’ and weedy greens
Almond meringue with peach leaf ice cream and mixed summer berries
Mum’s butter cake with poached Burbank plums in sherry
Desserts were served under the shade of the trees in the front garden as the much awaited breeze arrived. I asked for herbal tea and received a garden fresh brew in an instant. If you want to experience the rewards of farm life and country hospitality without any of the sacrifice, grief or heartbreak the farming life most definitely delivers, Tamsin’s Table is just the place, but do book in as it seems everyone wants a temporary slice of this way of life.
We meandered our way back down the windy road, returning to the comforts of Marge’s Cottage. Filling the bathtub just one last time, we watched the afternoon light glow, catching the reflection of the trees as the shadows faded. Agreeing we really didn’t need to eat dinner that night and that I would definitely be back one day to stay at Marge’s Cottage and eat at Tamsin’s Table again, I drifted into a delicious sleep that night dreaming of soaking in the bath and eating that ravoli!