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I love to cook, I've always loved to cook.

As a young girl, my time was spent reading the cookbooks that mum kept in the bottom kitchen drawer. Always looking for a new recipe to try, a new food idea. Many weekends were spent making rainbow cakes with as many colours as possible – have you seen my Instagram, not much has changed, and looking for recipes that I could cook using what was available in the cupboard or from the vegetable garden.

At the aged of about 16, I remember stating that I wanted to leave the farm and travel the world. This would be followed by retiring by about 30 and moving back to South Gippsland to grow vegetables and cook. From 16 fast forward 20 years and I returned, starting Jacican Food Studio in Mirboo North, Gippsland where I grow vegetables and cook. This blog is where I share my food adventure.


This is the continuing story of Nadine, from Wattlebank Park Farm, taken from the Winter 2018 edition of Gippsland Magazine. The article was put together by me, using Nadine's recipes ...

... Like myself, Nadine is a great supporter of other local farmers, producers, and artisans. As her farm does not supply poultry, we source a chicken from a Korumburra, free-range chicken grower. Sadly, as the cost of product and regulations has overwhelmed the farmer, this product is no longer available. We used the last roast chicken from this small holding for our meal and to share this recipe with you.

roast chicken GCLM Winter 2018 Wattlebank Park farm

If you would like to see more Gippsland produce, please remember to get out there and support your local farmer and buy their local farmed goods.


Freerange 2kg Chicken




1 cup chicken stock


1. Preheat oven to 220c

2. Pat down the skin on the chicken with kitchen towel place chicken on a baking tray and set aside.

3. In a small pan melt 50g of butter until just melted. Brush butter over chicken then, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn oven down to 180c and place chicken in the oven bake for 30 mins.

4. After 30 mins add 1 cup of warm chicken stock to the bottom of the pan under the chicken. Cover the chicken with foil and return to the oven. Bake for a further hour or until the juices run clear between the thigh and the leg.

We served the chicken with slow oven roasted red onions.

roast chicken GCLM Winter 2018 Wattlebank Park farm 2

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... myself and Building Maintenance brought our house and moved into our home in Mirboo North, Gippsland. The two of us working very hard over that period to build our dream and create our happy place!

But, it all started before that. We meet at work, just before the 2000 Olympics, when he was building OB trucks and I was working in them. Jump forward a year and apart from work, we are rarely apart.

When I announce that it was time to follow my dream, he was there backing me up. It was Building Maintenance that pushed me to train as a chef. I remember him saying ‘that we could follow the dream – to grow and cook our own produce’ on the condition that I worked from the ground up and trained as a chef.

So, I took a job washing dishes in a Richmond café, then a catering company, got my certificates in catering and commercial cookery, worked in hotels, all before moving to Mirboo North. Through this, he supported me, never once either of us asking for government support for training or a wage.

Fast forward to now. We have built our business – Jacican. This includes renovating the house, the dairy, putting in the kitchen garden and teaching kitchen. Now there is staff (with room for some more) and I get to do what I love every day.

Thanks for reading.


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roast pork GCLM Winter 2018 Wattlebank Park farm

This is the continuing story of Nadine, from Wattlebank Park Farm, taken from the Winter 2018 edition of Gippsland Magazine. The article was put together by me, using Nadine's recipes ...

 ... Before Nadine could cook the pork, we were interrupted, by a piglet visiting the back door to say hello, creating a farming interlude. This is the real meaning of free range farming.

roast pork GCLM Winter 2018 Wattlebank Park farm piglet

Nadine free-range farms, Wessex Saddleback Pigs. A black and white pig, that are known for their placid nature and natural mothering skills. At Wattlebank Park farm the pigs roam freely (in a large fenced paddock), living on a lower protein diet, without any commercial feed. All piglets are raised by their mothers, before weaning at 12 weeks.

To get your pork to cook to the optimal result, it is a good idea to have a meat thermometer handy.

1 kg boned rolled pork loin

Salt and pepper

Olive oil


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 220c
  2. 2. If your pork has not been scored by the butcher, you will need to do this first. Dry pork skin. Massage olive oil salt and pepper into the dry scored pork skin.
  3. 3. Place pork on a baking tray and into your preheated oven bake for 20 mins then turn down to 180c. Cook for 40 min per kg of pork or until internal temp reaches 71c.

roast pork GCLM Winter 2018 Wattlebank Park farm 2

Nadine served the pork with a jar of pickled quinces from my pantry.

GLM winter 1 small

As you all know I write for a local magazine - Gippsland Magazine. I was lucky enough to pick up the gig - share recipes when I meet the editor at a tourism conference. In the 2018 winter, I've shared my recipe column with Nadine, from Wattlebank park farm, down near Wonthaggi.

Nadine is the owner and operator, let just call her the farmer, of Wattlebank Park farm, located at St Clair, about halfway between Inverloch and Wonthaggi. A mixed farm of dairy, beef, pork, and lamb, Nadine produces a way range of meats and small goods that she sells through her farm gate butchers shop and at many of the local farmers' markets. In a collaboration with Prom Country Cheese, she produces a range of cow’s milk cheese. She even coordinates the Bass Coast Makers & Growers market, the second Sunday of each month at the Wonthaggi Goods Shed.

As you all know that I like to buy direct, where I can, from the farmer and as Wattlebank Park farm offers the whole range, it is one of my first go to shops for beef, pork, lamb and small goods. Nadine makes the best ‘Polish Sausage’ you have tasted. You can find her polish sausage atop many of the wood-fired pizzas, made and served locally.

Nadine Wattlebank park farm

Not only is Nadine a farmer, and businesswomen, she is a fantastic cook. The day I visited, she was up earlier, stoking ‘Betty the Rayburn’ to slow roast my meal. Her delicious serving of slow-cooked lamb, cooked through chicken, melting in the mouth beef and crackle, yes, the crackle crackled, roasted pork, made me want to return to the kitchen and cook up a winter roast feast!

So follow along with my next few posts, as I share Wattlebank park farm with you all.


GLM winter 2 small

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