Last week farmers and gardeners on the drought-ridden Monaro were happy to receive 35ml of rain while the snow fields had snowfalls of 70cm over the seven days.
At last, keen Canberra and district skiers and others are heading south and Cooma is the place to pause.
A Monaro friend introduced me to food from Cooma's H Cafe (58-62 Polo Flat Road, Polo Flat - turn left at the new roundabout as you enter Cooma and Polo Flat is just a few minutes down that road).
The chef is Anabelle Rivers who went to cooking school in London but says her "grandmother and dad were both really interested in food, and not wasting food, even back then.
I have cooked all over the world, for the Queen, Madonna and the Pope ... amazing restaurants and hotels and some pretty incredible events."
Cooma's H Cafe opened a year ago next to H Hardware (a large store which stocks things like Bushmen's water tanks and garden plants).
Before that, Anabelle had a cafe called Feed that was situated beside Birdsnest, the well-known women's clothing store.
Cooma is where Anabelle's mum's family are and where they spent many school holidays.
When she decided to leave Sydney, Cooma drew her because of its unique community spirit.
She had worked on several charity events and was drawn to a happier, healthier, slower lifestyle. As she says, "Since moving here, I've never worked harder!"
"We are blessed to have pumpkins, garlic, rocket, apples and herbs given to us as well as eggs (when they are abundant) in return for our 'chook food'," she says. Zucchini and silverbeet also grow well in the area.
The cafe uses "coffee snob" from a Batemans Bay boutique coffee roaster cafe called The Venetian, from "an Italian guy who is passionate about coffee roasting".
At the moment, H Cafe is open from 7am to 3pm Monday to Friday. They are allowed to have 10 people seated but most of their food is takeaway and customers are happy to stay safe and accommodate the restrictions.
Anabelle had been doing takeaway "snow food" on weekends and catering for holiday makers in the evenings.
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Lunch for us was the takeaway homemade chicken and leek pies with a side salad of roast pumpkin and silverbeet. Anabelle says she loves that choice of pie as it is the epitome of comforting country cooking and they "use the whole chickens and make stock from the bones, no waste". She has shared the recipe (below).
Back in Canberra, Tony Bray of Kambah has hybridised a new pumpkin using seed saved from homegrown Australian heirloom Ironbark and organic Buttercup varieties.
His original seed came from Diggers who say Buttercup tops their taste tests and it has rich nutty flavour while Ironbark has bright orange flesh and, it is said, needs an axe to open it.
Tony is a horticulturist and his tips for growing top pumpkins are to leave them on the vine until late May/early June.
They need the extended growing season to mature properly and develop colour in the flesh and the Brix level (sweetness) is also improved.
He adds magnesium sulphate to facilitate the transport of nutrients from the roots to the pumpkin fruits as they are growing bigger.
This new pumpkin cross does not have the warty bumpy skin of Ironbark but it is still a challenge to cut and Tony says use a cleaver or a knife and a hammer.
The seeds are huge. The roasted flesh (skin on) is sweet and dense, good for salads and soups. Would any reader like to suggest a name for the new breed? (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Chicken and leek pie
200ml white wine
250ml frozen corn
1.5kg chicken thigh fillets, diced and cooked in the oven or 2kg whole chicken roasted and meat pulled off
1 tbsp mustard
1 tsp Tuscan seasoning
1.5-2 litres full cream milk
200g grated cheese
2 sheets Pampas puff pastry
1 egg yolk
sesame seeds and fresh rosemary
Cook finely sliced leek with the butter and white wine and the Tuscan seasoning.
When the wine has reduced by half, add the flour and stir until you have a smooth paste and add the corn and milk, stirring constantly, until you have a white sauce.
Add the mustard, cream and cheese - taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. Anabelle adds the cooked chicken now and puts the whole lot in the required dish.
Top with the puff pastry, brush with the beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with sesame seeds, salt and fresh rosemary.