living in season

The longtime readers will know that I love living seasonally. For those unaware, this basically means I try my best to eat what’s in season. I live by a food calendar, and this calendar is dictated by nature. This has its benefits and its downsides.

By eating mostly what I can either grow, hunt or gather at a particular time of year, I rely less on transported whole foods that are grown in warmer climates, while it’s freezing winter here. I’m opting out of having my food trucked 2,000+ kilometres to get to me. It does limit what I can eat at any given time, but it’s also exciting when something comes back in season, or I find a new food source that I can plunder.

I was fortunate enough to have been introduced to a brother called Tim, who works at some flash restaurant in Castlemaine called ‘The Good Table’ where they cook seasonally and put foraged ingredients on the menu, including the elusive and highly prized morel mushroom. Tim and I went searching for them at one of his spots (never to be revealed…sorry) and we found a few gems. I’m not sure if it was his kind heart or an element of mere pity, but Tim gifted me the mini haul. I’ve never been out hunting for this mushroom, and I was waiting for someone to step into my world and take me, and now that I’ve popped my morel cherry I can’t wait for next season…or maybe go out again tomorrow.

I grilled rabbit back strap (and sage leaves) from a hunt earlier in the week, and pan fried the morels with some of my home cured jamon. The meal produced a few sex noises. It’s a goer for book #2. If there ever is a book #2.

More strange noises came from a boozy broccoli and broad bean salad earlier in the week. It’s just starting to become more prevalent in my garden as I planted it much later in the season due to a house move, but I’m happy just to see those beautiful green sprouts.

I did something that I never really thought of doing earlier. I grilled the broccoli on a griddle, with a splash of (insert secret booze). The salad had a few other bits and pieces like dill and mizuna etc. It was a pearler.

I still love it when people say I live a fanciful fake life. And that it’s impossible to really do what I do. I love that people don’t believe me. It makes living it so much more enjoyable, because I know it’s real.

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  • September 21, 2012 - 7:20 pm

    todayshousewife - Would like to try those mushrooms! Sounds great! The rabbit not so muchReplyCancel

  • September 21, 2012 - 7:20 pm

    bawkbawk - OHHHH. I never knew morels grew here. I so badly need some mushrooming guidance…ReplyCancel

  • September 21, 2012 - 7:37 pm

    Jane @ Shady Baker - This all looks incredibly good…happy weekend :) ReplyCancel

  • September 21, 2012 - 7:41 pm

    fraseroldmillroad - Good luck to you and the season. Never been wild ‘shrooming, only eaten the field ones from the middle paddock, still good. Speaking of seasonal eating kind of sad to see the end of my broccoli but have chowed down on the broadies this week. Happy days.ReplyCancel

  • September 21, 2012 - 8:02 pm

    Kate - Me and my farmer boy were having a conversation just this afternoon about how to pronounce the word morel.
    Can you enlighten us? xReplyCancel

  • September 21, 2012 - 10:48 pm

    cptstowe - Rohan,
    First off my copy of the book arrives in about a week and half, and I cannot wait. Secondly, congratulations on the morels. This season was less than satisfactory here , East Tennessee, due to some abnormal weather.

    I grew up eating morels, or hickory chickens as they’re locally known. My favorite recipe isn’t the healthiest thing but it makes for a good treat, especially around the campfire or Coleman stove.

    -Slice morels length wise. 3 or so slices per mushroom depending on size.
    -Batter in mixture of choice (bread crumb, flour, and even pan cake are all good)
    -Fry until lightly lightly brown
    -Enjoy

    When I was about 13 a bunch of buddies and I fried up a 2 quart bag of these in Bisquick, and twelve years later it’s still one of my favorite camp meals of all time.

    Cheers
    RickReplyCancel

  • September 21, 2012 - 10:49 pm

    cptstowe - Rohan,
    First off my copy of the book arrives in about a week and half, and I cannot wait. Secondly, congratulations on the morels. This season was less than satisfactory here , East Tennessee, due to some abnormal weather.

    I grew up eating morels, or hickory chickens as they’re locally known. My favorite recipe isn’t the healthiest thing but it makes for a good treat, especially around the campfire or Coleman stove.

    -Slice morels length wise. 3 or so slices per mushroom depending on size.
    -Batter in mixture of choice (bread crumb, flour, and even pan cake are all good)
    -Fry until lightly lightly brown
    -Enjoy

    When I was about 13 a bunch of buddies and I fried up a 2 quart bag of these in Bisquick, and twelve years later it’s still one of my favorite camp meals of all time.

    Cheers
    RickReplyCancel

    • September 22, 2012 - 7:06 pm

      wholelarderlove - Hey Rick, If they where as prolific as your experience I’d be cooking them over a coal fire too! What a great memory! Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

      • September 23, 2012 - 3:35 am

        cptstowe - Sorry about the double post the internet was being uncooperative.ReplyCancel

  • September 22, 2012 - 12:14 am

    L from 500m2 in Sydney - Or maybe those mushroom were a little more special than you realised and you’re dreaming :) Looks fabulously real to me.ReplyCancel

  • September 22, 2012 - 1:52 am

    cindyricksgers - Here in northern Michigan, we look for morels under old apple orchards especially where the whitetail deer have grazed and in groves of beech trees…but I’ve found them growing in the gravel at the roadsides, when the weather is right. Only once I got a large enough haul to dry some for later use. I just threaded them and hung them in the attic, the same way I dry hot peppers. They reconstituted nicely in the winter, and were a good addition to my hot and sour soup.ReplyCancel

  • September 22, 2012 - 3:47 am

    Jess O'Toole (@ladomestique) - I am especially fond of morels, and the bacon, sage, and rabbit seem like a very good idea. The broccoli is gorgeous.ReplyCancel

    • September 22, 2012 - 7:05 pm

      wholelarderlove - Jess….it was a real winner of a meal. Totally just cooked what I had available at the time. And it worked wonders.ReplyCancel

  • September 22, 2012 - 5:13 am

    Sharon L. - As someone who lives in the city, I am absolutely envious of your lifestyle. I had a question about foraging – how dangerous is it when foraging to come across a poisonous species? Do you need a lot of knowledge of how different edible/inedible plants look like? And are there secret tips to tell if something is edible or poisonous?ReplyCancel

    • September 22, 2012 - 7:04 pm

      wholelarderlove - Its very dangerous for the uninitiated. It’s best to go ou with someone that knows what they’re picking. The best test is make them eat it first!!

      But seriously…never pick or eat anything if you are unsure. It can be deadly. Research until you’ve exhausted all sources of information and you’re 100% confident you’re picking safe mushrooms.ReplyCancel

    • October 13, 2012 - 10:54 pm

      Zelda - Best way to learn is to go with an experienced forager. Personally, I stick to 5 easily recognisable varieties (and the most tasty, IMHO): porcini (cèpes), chanterelles (girolles), hedgehog mushrooms (pieds de mouton), trompettes and oysters (pleurotes).ReplyCancel

  • September 22, 2012 - 7:08 am

    gogomunky - I grew up going mushroom hunting with my parents in the woods near our house. They had a knack for knowing where the mushrooms would be. We would walk out with grocery bags full of morels. I didn’t really appreciate them as a child. We would eat them till I was sick of them. Now, I can’t get a good morel in Southern CA to save my life. Ahh…you brought back memories.ReplyCancel

    • September 22, 2012 - 7:02 pm

      wholelarderlove - Its funny what we have as kids, an we don’t appreciate it until we’re older! Thats one of the main reasons for my current lifestyle. I’m going back to what I dreamed of doing when I was a spotty kid growing up on the farm. Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • September 22, 2012 - 7:09 am

    shannon garson - Those morels are beautiful. Send me some clear photos of the whole mushrooms and I’ll make you a bowl with a mushroom portrait on it to eat your mushroom soup out of!ReplyCancel

  • September 23, 2012 - 3:04 pm

    Bree - People who say that your life is fanciful clearly have no imagination. We live on a suburban block in inner city Brisbane. We have 4 raised garden beds, 6 olives and a couple of fruit trees. We grow loads of herbs, kale, tomatoes, sunflowers, strawberries, raspberries and loads of other stuff. We grow enough that we share it with our families. If we can do it in the city then I’m sure you can do much more down your way. What we don’t grow we purchase from local markets and we only eat local seasonal produce. It’s not rocket science it is just good sense! Keep up the awesome work and we love the book!ReplyCancel

  • September 23, 2012 - 5:07 pm

    pat - Every time I open my email and I find one from you it makes my day. I live in a flat in the suburbs nad so cannot grow much. I have a few herbs and the girl who keeps my garden in order planted a tomato plant in a pot for me . I have ordered my book and can’t wait until it lands on my doorstepReplyCancel

  • September 23, 2012 - 9:41 pm

    Miss Piggy - Those morels look fantastic – like a sea sponge crossed with a mushroom. I’d like to go foraging one day – best do it with a guide as I have no idea what’s what in the wild mushroom world.ReplyCancel

  • September 23, 2012 - 11:16 pm

    jjwassom - You’re living the dream…. I just found your site via Cameron @ thefiberglassmanifesto! Thanks to him for the hook up! You are doing what I have told my wife I would love to do….get out there and off trucked in food! Canned several quarts of tomatoes from my own flowerbed garden this year. Have some egg plant yet to harvest and peppers and jalapenos as well. The ‘shrooms and rabbit look fantastic. Maybe I need to take a trip up to my dad’s place and get one soon.ReplyCancel

    • September 24, 2012 - 8:14 am

      wholelarderlove - Its a great meal! You’d almost be coming into some sort of mushroom season up there? Great work on the canning!ReplyCancel

  • September 24, 2012 - 8:26 pm

    Robin - As market farmers and wild harvesters we learned to eat seasonally about a decade ago. I no longer market farm but do have a nice garden that more than feeds my family. It’s very nice to be into late September and not have had a killing frost yet. Very unusual. I’ve pre-ordered the book, can’t wait til it arrives. Thanks to your photos and stories of your rabbit hunts, I’ll be trying my hand at snowshoe hare hunting this year. Our season opens October 1. There seem to be an abundance of them this year so hopefully I’ll tag a few.ReplyCancel

  • September 26, 2012 - 8:56 pm

    shapeofthingstoni - I don’t know if morels can be found here in Tas, but I have wild rabbit in the freezer, loads of sage in the garden and this weekend I’ll be picking up some local rare-breed free-range bacon…ReplyCancel

  • September 26, 2012 - 11:14 pm

    Mark Nielsen (@bonzer78) - Please let there be a book two. I would love this rabbit recipe.
    Keep it up man, always inspiring.ReplyCancel

  • September 27, 2012 - 3:40 am

    liz - my mouth is watering over those morels. unfortunatley, we have to wait seven months until ours are in season.ReplyCancel

  • September 28, 2012 - 8:23 pm
  • October 1, 2012 - 2:48 am

    Rachel Turiel - “the meal produced a few sex noises.” Ha! Love it and can totally relate.ReplyCancel

  • October 1, 2012 - 2:49 am

    Rachel Turiel - Love the line about sex noises. Can totally relate!ReplyCancel

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