Kitchen Spy: Alla Wolf-Tasker

Alla Wolf-Tasker opened Lake House hotel and restaurant in Daylesford with husband Allan 20 years ago. Wolf-Tasker has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for services to tourism and hospitality and anointed a ''Legend'' by The Age Good Food Guide and the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. On her Instagram bio, she describes herself as "Chef to the Lake House tribe - an international brigade of the most talented and passionate hospitality folk''. That central Victorian tribe is now 110 strong. "It's quite a job," she says.

The staples

Chocolate Usually Lindt (at least 70%). I follow the two-squares-a-day heart-health habit - well, sometimes it might extend to four. Good salt I love that my favourite Mount Zero pink lake salt comes in a huge upside-down grinder - so much better for cooking than scrabbling around in a container with cooking hands. Eggs from happy hens Two favourites are Daylesford Organic and Old McDonald's Daughter in Taradale. Jam And always jars of jam from my A Wolf In The Kitchen range. On a wintry day, it's like opening a jar of summer.

In the fridge

Jonesy's milk and cream. It's good to deal direct with the farmer and make a difference to our dairy industry. Meredith pot-fermented sheep's-milk yoghurt.. This time of year we have it with poached quinces for breakfast, or hang it to make labna to serve with Greenvale Farm's slow-cooked jumbuck. Goat's cheese from Holy Goat - La Luna and Brigid's Well - are just luscious. A jar of my pickled wild mushrooms, foraged in the local forest, inevitably takes me back to my parents' shared autumn table. A pig's head from Jonai Farms, from ethically raised black pigs just down the road. I'm about to make some jellied pork from it.

My tool kit

I don't think I could get along without a microplane or a swivel peeler ever again. One the best gifts I ever received was from a close friend a few years ago. It's a ball of twine and scissors on a little stand. No more searching in drawers. I use twine a lot for trussing meats, tying up cheesecloth when making jellies or cheese or stringing up sausages. I also wouldn't be without the laundry tap I had mounted on the splashback above my stove. It makes filling large stock pots a breeze.

Favourite

Most things are replaceable, but the family samovar from Russia isn't. We still fire it up with charcoal occasionally if we're having a party. And I can't live without my Chinese herbs. I've been a committed traditional Chinese medicine junkie for a dozen years. It's what allows me to keep up my manic pace.

Last night's dinner at home

Spelt pasta from nearby Powlett Hill biodynamic farm, tossed with sweated zucchini and chard from the garden and a paste made from garlic, olive oil, lemon zest, anchovy and parsley.

Most memorable meal

The meal cooked over a campfire with my husband Allan in a remote area of Macedonia. Memorable mostly because we were almost eaten by wolves that evening. I guess that added frisson of danger must be why things like that poisonous Japanese fugu are so popular.

I'm drinking

Great coffee made in my extraordinary E61 Legend Faema machine, given to me by Vittoria on winning The Age Good Food Guide Legend Award last year. I use my beautiful Bittern Schonwald German cups and saucers - a gift from my daughter Larissa. If I need a bit of balancing, it'll be Pai Mu Tan - a lovely white tea - or one of the organic special blends made for us by local Southern Light Herbs. If I get to enjoy a drink on the terrace at Lake House as the sun slips over the far shore of the lake, it's usually an Americano - a Negroni minus the gin.

Wicked indulgence

Virtually anything liquorice or aniseed covered with chocolate. Choc aniseed rings will do. But organic dark chocolate liquorice from Organic Times reduces the guilt for really no good reason.

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For an emergency lunch

Tinned cannellini beans - perfect with tinned tuna for an on-the-run quick salad, dressed with olive oil, mixed with chopped herbs and diced shallots.

Inspiration

I recall, decades ago, waiting six weeks for Fredy Girardet's La Cuisine Spontanee to arrive by sea. Nowadays I look at bloggers' photos to see what's being dished up in the kitchens of Sebastien Bras, Elena Arzak, Anne-Sophie Pic, Pascal Barbot, David Kinch and others. The speed of information flow nowadays is breathtaking.