This seasons first tomatoes are on the vine and I’m ridiculously excited.
Although it’s been another slow start to spring (with more cooler days than warm ones and excessive moisture) the process of growth has continued to truck along, and for my efforts I’m rewarded with fruit on the vine.
Why everyone else doesn’t grow their own is beyond me. Put aside the obvious environmental benefits, there is a great sense of joy and achievement you get from seeing your hard work turn into something you can feed the family with. For example, I recently pulled out the first of the onions from the Graceview veg patch and you couldn’t wipe the smile from my face. Said smile expanded when I sliced that very onion for addition to a dish. Pure friggin joy! A sense of achievement and all that jazz. I think that’s one thing lacking in our current society……doing real things that require real effort that have a real result.
A dear friend of mine, (who admits to being a challenged carer of living plants) was recently so excited about spotting the first tomato in her potted garden, that she almost fell off her apartment balcony. I bet for the remainder of the summer that plant will be receiving more love from her than a chimp would at Jackson Neverland, and no doubt that very much loved tomato plant will in turn reward her with beautiful tasting tomatoes and a great sense of achievement from working hand in hand with nature.
It’s not just the tomatoes that are in full swing, but more exciting is the veg that’s ready to put on a plate. The broad beans are going nuts this time of year. They worked very well with some grilled chicken, smothered in my parsley pesto, a squeeze of lemon, some fried pancetta and blanched broad beans. Simple…not gouuuuurrrrmeT nor ‘foodie’ just basic real food.
Is it obvious that I really wish people would stop calling me a foodie!
For the last 6 months I’ve had to ‘endure’ reading about my northern friends summer exploits, and I’ll admit that it’s been painful. The warm afternoons on row boats, road trip surf adventures, and fishing and hunting stories to make a bloke like me cringe in pain desperate to hide his yearning for summer days. The worst of all were the freezing and rainy days, stuck in doors reading about good harvests and bumper crops.
Finally the tables have turned. Let me be clear that it’s not so much that I want to make my northern friends suffer in a blisteringly cold winter as some sort of sick payback (meewaaahhahahaha! [insert Evil mastermind laugh and rubbing of hands feverishly]), but merely I can take joy that my garden and my world once again come alive with natural activity. The start of a hot Australian summer is always exciting, albeit a little intimidating….will I fit into that man-kini again?
All the signs are there, if you’re willing to notice them. First it’s the plants in the garden, they start to grow with more ‘enthusiasm’. Then return the insects to do their work on the new season flowers. Birds busy themselves with nest building projects. And for those of us with a keen eye you get to notice all things ‘spring’ when you go out of the house, the little rabbits, the return of the flocks of Ibis, the call of the frogs and subsequent birthing foam, ducklings, signets, chicks in nests, lambs, calves. The local paddocks are filled with new crops and in town on the warmer days there is a marked increase in the number of pubescent girls wearing denim shorts cut far too short exposing butt cheek and demanding a good old talk on how NOT to be a slut *now replaced with TART* too early in life (what ever happened to femininity and long summer dresses?) Sometimes I wish I lived pre-1960′s.
I know I do tend to GO ON AND ON about my garden but if I could somehow transfer to you the feeling of joy I get by growing my own food in a blog post, I would only need to do it once. But be warned, because I cannot achieve this goal I shall bore you with garden posts. Our warm season has just started, our plates are being filled with meals made from our back yard produce and local fair. If you’re living in the north and it’s been snowing all night, then take solace in my upcoming warm weather posts, as I did in yours all winter. I guess this way allows us all to vicariously live the seasons online, the endless summer.
Fresh made egg noodle pasta for my rocket pesto and roast tomato meal
Rocket pesto spaghetti with Yendon tomatoes and Meredith Goats Cheese
The last of the Smoked Eel I caught a few weeks ago, cooked with a white wine cream sauce with crispy Melbourne prosciutto and fresh Gippsland Asparagus
I’m currently reading The Unprejudiced Palate written by Italian American Immigrant Angelo Pellegrini. I have a second edition (1948) that I’m currently deveouring with relish (figuratively not literally). It’s so relevant in regards to how food was/is bastardised by the foodies and food elite. Sixty years later and it seems like not much has changed. Food to foodies is still considered an art form which in turn makes it intimidating to most and unachievable to cook for many, which is not actually the case, cooking good food is easy. So the foodie elite, the foodie chef competition TV shows…..bit of a wank really. Food is an integral part of ‘la buena vida’ The Good life. It fit’s in with the other key elements like good wine, good food, good sex and good sleep (preferably in that order). Alas fresh food cooked simply is not a regular part of so many westerners lifestyle, opting for the easier option of packaged food meals, packets of flavour or take away. I saw instant risotto at the shop the other day. Instant risotto! Is this something new? I knew there was instant flavoured pasta and TV dinners, but risotto. Where’s the fun in that! I can’t help but think of the extra packaging and processing required for this ‘convenience’ when its so bloody easy to make it yourself! Even if you are a busy bee like me. I’m one of the most time poor people I know and I still have and make time to cook. Like this simple Zucchini slice with a just picked garden with an simple vinaigrette dressing. To make this slice it’s simply a matter of throwing all the ingredients in a bowl mixing, then baking it. I wonder if my 5 year old could do it? Probably. Nothing fancy really, our eggs, some veg, cheese and some spice. And the salad with the raw purple broccoli, yum!