Of late our diet has been a long way from what we are normally accustomed to. To start with we were kitchen-less and it seems to have been for a very long time. We started out in the balmy long evenings of late summer or was it early autumn? The details have been lost in the mists of time. But I do know it was before daylight savings turned back to the harsh realities of winter. It is all very well to pretend we were having a jolly old time ‘camping’… Right up until the rains came and it was cold and dark and I couldn’t see what I was cooking and bugs were flying in there willy nilly – not that we noticed it whilst eating dinner because we sat outside in the dark, and we gobbled it down as fast as we could before we froze to death.
It is at this point I’d conceded defeat and put my wholefood only motto on the back burner and spent a small fortune on one-pot, instant ready meals that are full of goodness knows what. You know – the stuff your grandmother wouldn’t recognise as food! I was very much aware of the fact it wasn’t fresh with every mouthful – I could taste its absence. My metabolism took some adjusting.
Then – still without a fully functioning kitchen, we whisked ourselves off on a two week cruise and relished the full range of gastronomic delights on offer. It didn’t matter that we didn’t have a kitchen because there was no cooking or dishes for us. Just eat and enjoy. And enjoy we did. One night we ate such decadent dishes such as Supreme of Duck Confit and Seared Salmon on a Pommes mille feuille Cognac Butter Sauce and Truffle oil. Although it may have been a little wasted on me as it was an eight course degustation with wine matching, and I only need one or two glasses of wine to sort me out, let alone eight!
While that was all lovely – it was all quite rich and wonderful and I began to hanker after ordinary, fresh food, straight from the garden. On our return home the kitchen was close to being finished – well close enough for me. So I planned and plotted. Yesterday I removed a lamb roast from the freezer and allowed it to defrost slowly. This is one of the lambs that the kids understand have been ‘swapped for meat.’ Well I can’t have an eight year old vegetarian. Once it defrosted I poked holes in it and inserted a slither of garlic and a sprig of rosemary into each hole and let it rest all day.
Finding something to accompany the lamb wasn’t hard. The hard part was deciding what was the star of the meal. I tried to harvest some yams, but they were so tiny – I buried them back up and will leave them there a little longer – like maybe a year… So I decided to pull up some parsnips – they go well in a roast and are supposed to be sweetened by the frost. I only needed one – it was a whopper. Seven grams short of a kilogram! We have left overs. And while I was in that bed I grabbed some carrots and beetroot to roast as well.
My kumara was also hit by the frost and had keeled over, so I rummaged about in the soil, not really expecting to find much as they were late going in. But I found gourmet sweet potato as they were perfect bite sized miniatures that would sell for a small fortune in the stores.
To round it all off to make a nice meal I grabbed some spuds, a butternut squash and a garlic. I was about to head off to the kitchen, but decided a magnificent meal such as this couldn’t be on its own so I grabbed some rhubarb and quince to make a sweet stewed treat for after. I had a smug satisfaction, as I had seen vac-pac, chopped up rhubarb in the store earlier today for $5 for about the same amount as I had harvested – which wasn’t all that much.
The lamb was so tender, lean and incredible and the veggies had a special flavour that can only come from being in the ground two hours earlier. I have to say it was the most perfect meal we have had in ages – because I made it, in my kitchen, from food I had grown or taken care of, and it was good.
Come again soon – food from the garden so delicious, I feel compelled to plant some more seedlings as soon as possible.
Sarah the Gardener : o )