The Lord Howe Island Cookbook Authors
One of Australia’s oldest family businesses, Pinetrees Lodge, has just released its first cookbook to showcase the food, culture and beauty of Lord Howe Island.
At the helm of its creation is 6th generation owners Dani Rourke and Luke Hanson along with kids Elsie (left in photo) and Pixie.
The Lord Howe Island Cookbook is a large full-colour book with over 150 recipes. It is superbly photographed and takes the reader on a journey through the day at Pinetrees, from healthy breakfasts and picnic lunches to indulgent afternoon teas and dinners worthy of any fine-dining restaurant. Along the way it celebrates the extraordinary natural beauty of Lord Howe, and captures the quirky culture and fascinating history of an Australian community planted on a small Pacific island.
6th generation owner Dani Rourke and her husband Luke Hanson, run the largest and oldest of the traditional guest houses on Lord Howe, which has provided families, couples, and adventurers with a unique “sand between your toes” holiday since the 1890s.
Dani says “not much has changed over the last century – guests spend their days swimming, walking, fishing, socialising and relaxing with frequent breaks for meals and the occasional chocolate tart”.
Dani and Luke, together with their two young girls, Elsie and Pixie, have continued the traditional family hosted holiday at Pinetrees but have changed their ‘all inclusive’ meals to food that is healthy, light, aromatic and very fresh.
Luke says “the Cookbook reflects the journey we’re on, from retro-European dishes served on crisp white table clothes to authentic regional food with plenty of spice, big flavours and organic produce”.
Executive Chef, Alasdair Nicolson, has pushed the development of their first organic market garden, and guests will soon have locally grown organic produce at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Alasdair says “I grew up on the Isle of Skye in Scotland and learned how to garden in a very difficult climate. Our trials so far on Lord Howe, with volcanic soils and a subtropical climate, have been unbelievably productive. Lord Howe is not just a pretty place, it’s also a landscape that can grow food.
Luke says “It’s funny. I worked as an agricultural ecologist for 10 years in places like Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Philippines and Nepal, but had never got my hands in the dirt at Pinetrees until Alasdair gave me a nudge a few months ago. Now we have 2000 square meters under cultivation, and probably the largest organic market garden of any hotel in Australia. When we’re at maximum production, we’ll have about 750 meters of garden beds full of seasonal vegetables, herbs, flowers, green manures and living mulches. Everything will be edible, or used to produce something edible.”
Pinetrees has always been a food destination, and without TV, mobile phones and WiFi, guests explore the island, make friends over a sunset drink and talk about the food.
Dani's great-great-great-grandparents arrived on Lord Howe Island in 1842. They acquired the land around Pinetrees in 1848 for 2 tons of potatoes and hosted their first guests in the 1890s. Since then, five generations of the family have worked and lived on the same property.
Following major renovations over the last two years, and a calendar full of new events, Pinetrees has had some success on the national stage. In 2014, the readers of Australian Traveller Magazine voted Pinetrees as the ‘Best Affordable Resort in Australia, and in 2016, TripAdvisor named Pinetrees as one of the ‘Top 25 Hotels in Australia’.
Luke says “the other NSW hotels in TripAdvisor’s Top 25 were Emirates Wolgan Valley, Park Hyatt and Pullman Quay Grand, so for a small lodge on Lord Howe Island, we’re mixing it with some serious hotels. While they have an edge on us with pillow menus, lap pools, 24 hour room service and on-demand movies, we have the Lord Howe Island Lagoon, an organic garden and a beautiful cookbook.”
The Lord Howe Cookbook is available from www.pinetrees.com.au