Digging up dinner.

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.

The makings of a wonderful meal

The makings of a wonderful meal

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.

The scale reads 993 grams.  That's  2.2 pounds!

The scale reads 993 grams. That’s 2.2 pounds!

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!

The sweetest little sweet potato ever!

The sweetest little sweet potato ever!

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.

Fresh and free - just how I like my rhubarb

Fresh and free – just how I like my rhubarb

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.

how good does this look?  Yummo!

how good does this look? Yummo!

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.

A meal fit for a king

A meal fit for a king

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 perfect sign of a perfect meal - all gone!

The perfect sign of a perfect meal – all gone!

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 )

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27 Comments on “Digging up dinner.

    • Hi Julie. I love it when the garden surprises you with something extraordinary. It tasted amazing. If the rest of the row is the same we shall be having parsnip in every way imaginable over the next wee while!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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    • Hi Keith. A home grown, home cooked meal was what I had been missing for a long time. It was so good. And the best bit is there is enough for sheppards pie for dinner tonight!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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  1. I’m looking forward to the day when I can feed my family without having to stop off to the grocery store first. So far we’ve eliminated spinach and lettuces (both of which I totally failed at producing properly last year), as well as herbs from our shopping list. This year, I’m plotting on adding tomatoes, zucchini, artichokes, rhubarb, peas, and okras to that list. It is such a good feeling to prepare a meal with what we’ve grown. It also tastes ridiculously good!

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    • Hi there. One of my favourite things is to do my meal planning in the garden. It is such a pleasure to eat the fruits of your labour. I really hope you have an abundant harvest this year. Cheers Sarah : o )

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    • Hi There. I’m really not sure how the parsnip got so big – good rich soil that is loose and fluffy and a large helping of neglect! It has been in there awhile though. It was so yummo – soft and fluffy on the inside and roasted crispy on the outside! I love parsnips.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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    • Hi There. We are so close to having the reno finished. It will be fabulous. The meal was the nicest I’d had in weeks. You really can’t beat home grown fresh.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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    • HI There. I am so loving the taste of fresh right now. It is so easy to take it for granted when it is your main food supply.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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  2. Wow sounds great though we don’t eat lamb our family just never did. I found the price of rhubarb interesting; I don’t believe it is sold in our stores because it is so prolific here.

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    • Hi Lucinda. I was taken aback by the price of rhubarb too because it also grows like a weed here too. But then less people grow food these days.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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  3. We spoil ourselves with all the home produce, it’s difficult to do otherwise. I’ll bet the food on your cruise was stunning but your roast lamb and all the trimmings looks wonderful!
    Christine

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    • Hi Christine. It is amazing how quickly you can get over familiar with something. The cruise food was lovely, but the contrast between luxury food and fresh food was surprising. I just have to be careful my wonderful fresh food doesn’t become ordinary.
      Have a lovely day.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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  4. What a beautiful and productive post Sarah 🙂 When we first moved into Serendipity Farm we were sans oven and cooked in our covered bbq for about a year till Brunhilda moved in. It is amazing what you can cook in a covered bbq if you are determined. We cooked Christmas dinner in ours and you are right, it’s a very sad thing to be dashing in and out into the cold to cook and watch a meal in the middle of winter. Your home grown produce is a testament to your tenacity. Gorgeous just like you 🙂

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    • Hi Fran. I may just save the BBQ for seasonal summer celebrations from now on. I embraced the need to provide for my family – even to the extent of hot cross buns on the bbq at Easter. But I have to say there is nothing as lovely as cooking inside on a new cooker! The joy of preparing my fresh veg in my new kitchen is such a fabulous feeling. The old kitchen really didn’t inspire anything other than the necessary. Now I want to make amazing things. Thank you so much for your lovely warm and fuzzy comment.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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      • When Brunhilda moved in I was in seventh heaven. Just now she is radiation out the delicious heat as I sit here tapping away at 3.58am and feeling purely and simply glad to be alive. Nothing better really 🙂

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