It’s been a busy few weeks at the WLL residence. Well, to be honest, I’ve hardly been there. Instead I’ve been sitting in radio studios chatting, giving talks, meeting with people and signing books. The outcome is that I’ve meet some really interesting people doing really interesting things and I’ve shared my food story and philosophy with many people. And for that opportunity I am grateful. I’m back at the old house and glad to be home, I need to focus my attention on a bit of real living. The veg garden is ticking along and when I get a meal that features ingredients from the patch I’m a satisfied man.
This humble focaccia lunch was a ripper. I cut out the back strap from a hare I shot a few weeks ago, and even though the back strap is the most tender of cuts from hare and rabbit, I still give it a bash to tenderize just to be sure. A sprinkle of pepper and a glug of olive oil then it went on the griddle for a quick grill.
The green stuff came from the patch. Watercress, French breakfast radish and Cos lettuce.
For a kick I used my Kasundi (chilli tomato chutney) and some chili sauce for good measure.
A bit of fried chorizo (from the best Spanish grocery store in Australia, Casa Iberica) and feta cheese and then I figured there wasn’t much more room for any more ingredients so I proceeded to devour.
I’m happy that winter weather is slowing down and the temperature will climb higher and higher with more days above 20C. That’s when the soil warms up, the leaves got photosynthesis mad, and the veg becomes the hero of almost every dish. Hello Spring!
I’m often asked how much time I spend on working for my food. The answer is very little really. Once a veg garden is set up you don’t need to do much ongoing maintenance. Maybe I’m just used to it – the work in the patch that is. To be honest, once the plant is in the soil you just keep an eye on it, water it when it’s dry and then harvest it. It’s really not hard. The same goes for keeping chooks. Once you’ve built the hens’ enclosure, you just have to feed and water them and collect the eggs.
Nothing is hard in life unless you allow it to be hard. How you live you life is a matter of choice. I choose not to watch telly. I choose to work for most of my food. I choose to grow veg, to look after some chooks, to hunt, to fish and to learn what food I can take from the wild.
This is not applicable to everyone. And what I do here on this blog is merely a documentary of what I get up to. It’s my food story. It’s open to the reader to take what they want and possibly the reader (you) may incorporate some elements of the WLL approach, and maybe you won’t. That’s your choice…isn’t that fantastic?! I don’t say that what I do is the perfect answer, it’s just what works for me. It’s my priority in life to work at the production of the food for the house…and let me reiterate…not all of the food, but most of it. I don’t grow wheat, I don’t own a flour mill, I don’t make salt or cheese. I’m totally realistic of the fact that I’m striving to be ‘semi’ self-sufficient…not totally self-sufficient. There is a big difference. But I truly believe that if a lot of people tried to grow SOME veg and shopped from local producers we’d reduce food miles dramatically, and slightly sever that umbilical chord we have to the supermarkets of bland.
This approach to food and life might not be yours. And that’s the rad part. Especially in regards to my life and blogging…as a reader you just take out of it what you want.
Here is a breakfast meal that I’m really proud of. It’s a poster child for my work to be semi self sufficient. I grew the asparagus, made the tomato passata, collected the eggs from my hens and flavoured it with fresh garden herbs. I love meals like these, where I’ve been responsible for the production of the raw ingredients and the cooking. It’s really simple but it made me really happy when I ate it. I really do adore these most basic of pleasures. It’s a little reward for the effort I’ve put in. I don’t know…maybe I’m a dreamer. Yes, I am a dreamer. But I’m happy to say I’ve put this dream into action. For that I am glad.
The next round of veg has been planted in the toilets rolls we’ve been saving. Spring will lead into summer and we’ll be blessed with plenty of vegetables. I chose to spend a few hours with my girls on the weekend planting the spring veg. It’s always about choice.
I found a big patch so I picked enough to last us a few weeks worth of meals. Stinging nettle that is.
I’m thinking of making a stinging nettle gnocchi, fettuccine, soup, quiche, risotto and Saag paneer.
I’ve blanched it all and packed it in serving sizes in the freezer. I’ve kept the green blanching water. That’s gotta be good for something right?
Who said we’re too busy to make good food?