little victories

Spring has come and gone, and the veg patch has been in full swing. Over six months ago we (my mate JB and I) started digging over and boarding up a new vegetable garden out at his property called Graceview. The idea was to set up a garden that could grow most of the required vegetables for the households. I guess its also an experiment in community cooperation. I needed more soil space, and JB was keen to learn the process of DIY food supply. It seemed and win win approach that is now paying dividends. The first summer (in unknown soil) is always a bit of an experiment and Graceview has clay soil so we knew we had a challenge on our hands. And although clay soil is full of nutrients it can be difficult for some veg to thrive in (especially the root veg). This is evident, as you can see by our crazy carrots which don't like too much nutrient and they prefer softer soil. With a few more seasons passing we shall have pretty good soil as we'll continue to add manure and straw, with a little clay breaker and blood and bone. And we too will improve as growers, as we get to understand what veg works best in this location with it's aspect, climate and soil potential.

Green Peas were a real success!

Crazy carrots....maybe. But they made a good stock.

The festive nails ARE NOT MINE.

Once bugs are removed the cauliflower is ready to eat. Or you can go Bear Grylls style and chow down on the green bugs.

Cauliflower and Pea soup. Cooking at it's most basic, but damn fine food.

I scored a chicken carcass off mum after a sunday roast, and made a stock with our own grown onion, carrot and celery. We don't buy stock, we make our own, and have been doing for a few years now. A good stock is the basis of really honest dish. It's so easy to make and, and unlike the supermarket version, you know exactly what's in it. The stock has already been used in two meals, a soup and a risotto. And this week we harvested the last of our green peas, the first few onions and cauliflower for the season. The food is so fresh you have to peel off all the other buggers wanting to feed on it. Once the bugs are removed and the veg is washed it undoubtedly stars in any dish it's added to.

I keep saying this over and over again, and I must sound like a broken record.......It's not difficult to grow your own food, you don't have to grow all of your food supply but you can grow decent old chunk of it. And we prove that with each meal we cook that celebrates something we harvested from our soil. The more I read about massive companies owning huge sectors of the food industry the happier that I'm semi self sufficient. Sure our veg doesn't always look perfect, nor grow into impressive size but it provides us with some of our meals. We're not foodies, nor chefs, or experts in gardening. We're a simple family that is kept happy with simple pleasures, just like the sights of our 3 year old slurping down my cauliflower soup and enjoying every last spoonful.

The Triple P. Pea, pancetta and porcini risotto.