Technically it’s summer, but here on the hill it feels like it’s just become spring. Last night I lit the house fire again, which isn’t unusual for this time of year. It’s the place my ‘almost father in law’ once said, has the worst weather he’s ever experienced. It is pretty challenging weather here, dare I say, at times it’s rather shithouse. But with a little perseverance mixed with patience, I still manage to grow food here.

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I watch as online friends munch on early spring broccoli, proudly devour broad beans and peas while I’m still eating eggs and kale (insert teenage style moan “boring”). But I laugh in the face of adversity. Ha Ha Ha. Look, I finally ate my broccoli! Ha Ha Ha (more adversity face laughing). In fact I’ve now been eating it for a week, and it’s bloody delicious. I never used to cook or eat broccoli in my former life. But now, every year, its a late Spring treat that sets the ball rolling for a long period of dining on mostly vegetables.

I watered my garden this morning, the warmth of the sun on my back, the chirp and buzz of busy birds and panicked insects filling the air. The pleasant aroma of basil, and tomato in the humid poly-tunnel and the chooks making their pretty noises scratching for food in the chicken pen. It’s a bid rad.

When I’m watering the plants I look over them and think about which crops will replace the current, and whether I need to plant more of one plant or harvest some of another. There is so much going on in this small space. It all happens independently yet together. It’s a beautiful system. It’s really just a micro version of how nature all over the world works. Living organisms growing, surviving and dying. One of the greatest things about being a dude that grows food, is that I can see this system, thus understand the basics of ecology. The biodiversity is right there in front of you, it’s as obvious as a bee sting.

Like a well oiled machine. The plants, the animals and the innate elements of soil, water and sunlight. It’s not magic, it’s nature. And without we’re buggered. And this is why I give a shit. This is why I left my previous lifestyle. It hasn’t meant leaving society or not contributing, it’s just meant that I’ve become reacquainted with the nature stuff that ultimately keeps us kicking.  

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  • December 9, 2014 - 9:37 pm

    Alacoque - Love it. It’s more than a bit rad. It’s all kinds of awesome. I want in.ReplyCancel

  • December 14, 2014 - 5:43 pm

    lisa | renovatingitaly - This all seems like second nature to us now, we’ve been here in Italy a year and a half. The season has ended and winter is approaching, soon we’ll have snow. Like you I am planning our orto for next year, I am slowly coming to love this space, gathering our crops with our kids and now we are eating the rabbit we raised, gathering eggs from our chooks and having a simple Christmas.

    Life is good,
    Merry Christmas to you all xx
    ciao lisa and the gangReplyCancel

I love searching through the food stores and finding little gems hidden at the back of shelves, deep in cupboards or stuck at the bottom of the freezer. These little surprises can be the start of a new traditional dish, something that you’ll end up cooking over and over again. Sometimes you’ll find something too cook with, and you honestly have no idea where it came from or what to do with it. I love that situation. It forces me to be creative. That’s one of the joys of cooking from scratch. Don’t you think?

So I found a vacuum sealed bag in the chest freezer labelled ‘stag roll roast’. I remember the day I butchered this deer and I remember being asked by my bagging helper what to write on the bag. I looked at the meat I had just cut and replied ‘roll roast’. I obviously had something in mind at the time, but six months later I’d forgotten those culinary intentions and drew a blank. I stood in the old brick larder holding the ice steaming cut of meat, wondering what the bloody hell was I going to do with it.

Roll roast eh? I guessed some bready filling would be in order. Some herbs. A rich gravy and a side of chips. A nice hearty meal for this cool spring spell we’re having. I made the stuffing with toasted bread crumbs, sage, thyme, butter and sautéed onions and garlic. Slapped the old mixture over the meat, rolled and tied it then gave it roasting gently for a few hours. I cooked even more onions in the juices from the roast to make a rich gravy and served the venison with a side of crispy roast wedges. I’m not sure if it will become a food tradition I’ll make each each year I hunt a deer, but I’ll surely have a nice memory to recall.

 

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Has anyone else made a rolled roast from venison?

 

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  • November 26, 2014 - 9:58 am

    Jane @ Shady Baker - This looks delicious, I am just about to launch into making my first batch of your Hot Zucchini Relish for the season…cannot wait. It is so good!ReplyCancel

  • November 26, 2014 - 10:33 am

    Christopher Howe - No Ro, not a rolled roast of venison but recently had the opportunity to roast a whole leg of wild venison procured from Mt Cole.

    Generously larded with smoked lardo from our own pigs, homegrown garlic and rosemary then roasted to rare, well rested, flashed and served medium rare.

    Yum!

    Thanks for is poring the memory!!!!ReplyCancel

  • November 26, 2014 - 6:30 pm

    Luke - I have done a few wild game roll roasts.
    I did one with a fallow and it was ok as the fallow had some fat on it. I did it with red deer and found its better left to go cold so it dosnt dry too much but great with a sharp chutney.
    Wild mutton and goat roll roasts are pretty awesome. Though to be honest I get my local butcher to turn bellies into mince now. The kids will always eat bambi burgersReplyCancel

Hey guys!

Just wanted to share some news.

My clever partner has been working furiously on all things nerdy and computery and has created us a new site. We have joined forces and now have one place online where you can order a whole bunch of stuff. Click here to order your veggie boxes, custom workshops with me (at my place) and even spend a baking day with Kate. You can buy my old book or a dozen eggs! (I’d go for the eggs) and if you’re feeling a tad carnivorous, you can order some pork or lamb from our mates at The Farmers Larder.

Custom workshops with me, in my garden and kitchen!

I’ve had a number of people ask if I’d run small workshops for just a few folk at a time at my place. I’ve really enjoyed these backyard days! The one on one type workshops have been mega enjoyable for all parties involved. It’s just me and a few peeps casually hanging out for the day in my garden or kitchen, where I share practiculture skills and we talk all day up in the troubled clouds of food philosophy or on the subject of the realities of striving for self sufficiency (which is a myth people….let’s talk more about this over a cuppa).

I really want to use some adjectives like ‘personal’ or ‘intimate’ but I don’t want anyone getting the wrong idea! Really it’s just a day with me where I teach you the stuff you want to learn. And where better to learn it than in the garden or my kitchen where I do all my stuff! And we get to cook up a big afternoon lunch!

Instead of buying a new tablet or Wii for Christmas, buy someone a workshop! Then they can come to my place and play a game of WHOLELARDERLOVE on the Wii.

The site is here, go check it out.

NB. Veg boxes, meat and egg deliveries resume in January.

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  • November 24, 2014 - 9:03 am
  • November 24, 2014 - 10:17 pm

    Alacoque - Love the idea of a small group workshop. You learn so much just pottering around with someone.ReplyCancel

  • November 24, 2014 - 10:59 pm

    Helen - Congrats, am excited by what you guys are offering. Is there a pick up point in the daylesford/ballarat neighborhood for meat orders?ReplyCancel

    • November 25, 2014 - 11:42 pm

      rohan - Helen you’d be better off contacting the farm direct. The Farmers Larder have a website of their own. If you’re local I reckon drop in and say hello at the farm! ;-) ReplyCancel

      • November 26, 2014 - 3:45 am

        Helen - Good idea Rohan, shall do.ReplyCancel

  • November 25, 2014 - 4:24 am

    Kate Hosking - Love your posts. Can’t help myself here. This has nothing to do with anything important but…it’s ‘Wonder Twin Powers activate’. Just sayin….. and thank you for you.ReplyCancel