Kitchen Garden Guides

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Labne, asparagus and quail eggs, all on a Cygnet Thursday

By the end of my Thursday afternoon various goodies had assembled on my kitchen table. Thursdays are wonderful here in Cygnet! We start the day at 9.30am with Happy Swappers in the Cygnet Community Garden, where anyone can bring home grown fruit or veg, home made goodies, food plants and cuttings or seeds and place them on the sharing table. Then each person is free to take whatever they choose from the table. We chat and laugh and all go away with something from someone else. Today I took some rhubarb and a jar of Sally’s vegetable stock.

Next we spend 2 hours gardening in the community garden, and Jo picks a selection of whatever is ready to harvest and we share that too. Today I took some globe artichokes, a couple of hakurei turnips and a few handsful of young broad beans.

There is always something new to try at lunch time in the community garden as they are all such good cooks, with a broad range of skills and cultures. A few weeks ago Sita brought some labne which she had made and it was so delicious I made some for myself. It has been in the fridge developing flavour ever since. 

Back home by 1pm I clean myself up and get ready for customers to my home shop, The Garden Shed and Pantry. Today I had a visit from Morag who wanted some kefir grains. She brought me a dozen quail eggs and we made a swap. Yesterday Erika gave me some asparagus of which a few spears were left over and I also had a left over leek from my own garden.

I have a neighbour who loves to grow radishes and also loves to eat my sourdough bread so we do a swap; I give him a loaf of bread every so often and he keeps me supplied with radishes.

On my preserves shelf I still have a few jars of passata from last summer’s tomatoes. On my bench I have some salt made in the oceans of Tasmania…. the only bought thing in this whole episode!

So, I cooked the artichokes and drizzled them with lemon juice and pepper. I boiled the quail eggs for 4 minutes. as Morag said, to hard boil them, then removed the shells. I sautéed the leek, gradually added the rest of the ingredients and served it topped with my labne balls.

I must say that this was one of the tastiest throw-together meals I have ever made; the labne being a key in making it so. I had rolled the drained yoghurt in herbes de provence, which was a perfect addition, as it accidentally turns out!

The lightly hard boiled quail eggs were each a delightful mouth experience as they were popped by the tongue. Nothing beats asparagus spears and those first, young broad beans of the season are an annual treat, after months of leaves and broccoli.

I thought of taking a photo….. but I was more attracted to eating than photography by this time. Compared to all the meals I have eaten out in the last 6 months, which truthfully is not many, this is way better and that is exactly why I don’t eat out much. Exceptional ingredients, with no food miles, grown with love, often shared with love and each with a story will always win.

Now it is time to make rhubarb crumble and relax.

Life is good and sometimes life is bloody good. Every now and then life is great.

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