Bilpin food a TV hit

Better Homes and Gardens chef Fast Ed, takes a break with Hillybilly Hound, Frank, at Bilpin.

Better Homes and Gardens chef Fast Ed, takes a break with Hillybilly Hound, Frank, at Bilpin.

Apples and local produce were the focus of Channel 7’s Better Homes and Gardens last week when cast and crew were on location in Bilpin and Mt Tomah for two days.

Celebrity chef Ed Halmagyi, better known as Fast Ed, has a segment on the show and cooked a range of recipes from chicken dumpling soup to caramel-pretzel slice, while filming at The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden.

The Courier was on location when they filmed at Hillbilly Cider in Bilpin, where he incorporated the beverage made from local apples into a pork pot roast, as well as chocolate and walnut slice with candied walnuts and sweet whipped cream.

‘‘As a chef I have a responsibility to myself and to the community to make sure primary producers get as much support as possible,’’ Fast Ed told the Gazette. ‘‘My job only lasts as long as theirs does and there’s only so many times you can recreate a recipe, so it’s important to find people who are producing new things.’’

Shane and Tessa McLaughlin own and operate the cider-making business, where they produce alcoholic apple and pear ciders, and non-alcoholic apple.

“We’re stoked to have Fast Ed here at Hillbilly HQ doing a cooking segment with our cider,”  Mrs McLaughlin said. ‘‘He’s a great chef that loves to work with local produce, so Bilpin is the perfect spot to optimise local apples, veggies and of course, our cider.’’

The McLaughlin’s won a silver medal in the 2013 Australian cider awards and have a loyal following amongst fellow ‘hillbillies’ in the Hawkesbury, Blue Mountains and Sydney.

‘‘Unlike some commercial ciders – Hillbilly is one hundred per cent made from fruit with no concentrates, added flavours or sugar,’’ she said.

Both Better Homes episodes are scheduled to air in May and June, with dates to be confirmed.

For more information on Better Homes and Gardens, visit:, or for Hillbilly Cider, visit: