October is one of the busiest months on the calendar for show cooks, with the vast majority of southern Australia’s royal and country shows being held in Spring. For me, over the past two months, the focus has been visiting royal shows in Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart as part of my quest for show cooks and their prize-winning recipes. I spent last week in Tasmania where I attended the cookery judging at the Royal Hobart Show before travelling around the State to meet cookery convenors and cooks at places like Bream Creek, Longford, Deloraine, Westbury and Campbell Town. The latter is apparently the oldest continuous show in the British Commonwealth outside the UK – quite an achievement, and remarkable indeed when you consider showgoers have to brave winter conditions in the cold Midlands area to attend the event which is held in early June. One of the non-show highlights of the trip was a quick visit to Oatlands, where an historic windmill has been restored and is once again being used to grind flour. An expert from Lincolnshire in England was brought in to help set up the mill and train the miller. The results of his efforts can be purchased at a new visitor’s centre which opened in the historic mill precinct just a few weeks ago.
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