What I mean by this is blending garden, kitchen and outlook on life. This is my religion and I am as passionate a follower as many people are of their various conventional religions. I truly believe in its value and, like any zealot, that it is THE right way and I try to persuade people to join me in it.
My mother is 88 and one day when I rang her to say I was calling in, she said "What will we have for lunch? You usually come on market day when I have things to eat but that is tomorrow and I am nearly out of everything." I replied unenthusiastically "Well you are going to the supermarket today, maybe you could buy us something there." She exclaimed so loudly I had to move the phone away from my ear "Are you crazy?! You can't buy FOOD at the supermarket!! I am going to get washing up gloves and toilet paper." Like mother, like daughter, I suppose.
This does not mean I spend hours tending my vegetable garden, although that is what I would like to do. It is simply a mindset; eat what is abundant. Some people will laugh and scoff at eating cabbages and kale all winter and say they cannot do without a tomato salad, basil, eggplants and pineapples all year round. I sigh and ask them to lunch....
I cook some vegetarian meals every week for a local family, so come into my kitchen and see what fabulous food can be cooked using totally seasonal, winter vegetables and herbs.....
- Coriander,red lentil and black bean patties
- Broccoli and potato pie
- Leek / broccoli etc quiches
- Radicchio and parmesan salad
- Baked apples
- Spiced cauliflower soup to die for
- Fried rice with Asian greens and egg
- Pumpkin soup (3 entirely different recipes)
- Heavenly, slow cooked red cabbage and apples with local apple cider
- Potato and rocket salad
- Red cabbage and fennel coleslaw
- Cauliflower and onion balls with chick pea flour
- Decadent parsnip soup
- Turkish spinach / kale / any leaves soup
- Prune and apple tart with brandy-soaked black currants from my cassis experiment
- Root veg curry / potato and peanut curry
- All kinds of bean and veg soups
- Baked beans with my bottles tomatoes
- Middle Eastern salads.... chickpea / couscous / spring onion
- Maggie's spring onion and spinach pie with sunflower seed crust
- Spinach and fetta pie
- Spiced potato bugers
- etc etc etc etc
My food is laden with herbs picked from my garden and include the freshest spices I can buy. Even though I get a lot of frost, I am learning what to plant that will grow happily outside all winter. I also have Vietnamese mint, lemon grass and galangal in my hot house.
I would like to recommend 2 amazing seasonal recipe blogs. Both are by women who I stayed with on my vegetable vagabond trip in 2008 and they both also have food garden blogs. Then there is a 3rd blog.... that Maggie and I write but we have not been so diligent as my 2 friends!
Food from the Mediterranean (Teleri, South East France)
Kitchen Garden Recipes (Laura, Cevennes Mountains, France)
Gardeners' Gastronomy (Maggie and me)
I stubbornly refuse to eat processed food that has more than 1 ingredient, if it is at all possible. I do buy things like curry paste, vegemite, black bean sauce but I make my own breads, biscuits, cakes and cereal (or eat my son's gourmet Hughsli), etc. I get milk from a cow called Sophie and meat from local people, as I have written about before. It is a good life and VERY cheap. Get there fast, then take it slow.