Life must go on

The past weeks have brought new challenges and stress to our lives, as we wait for news from across the river, watch the skies and hope for some kind of resolution to it all.

Spending time in the garden and harvesting in dust masks for the boxes is a welcome breath (figure of speech) of normality in otherwise tense times.

It’s a strange feeling to turn our minds and energies back to growing, even for short bursts. What was once hard yakka feels like an indulgence while friends’ houses and livelihoods are under direct threat.

We are trying to balance vigilance and safeguarding with daily chores to ensure that we can continue to feed ourselves and others, regardless of what might be around the corner.

As we start to see the signs of short-term neglect in some of our crops, we are slowly realising the downstream impact that these fires will have on the valley. So much business disruption will cost people dearly, especially for producers. This is usually a time for planning and sowing winter crops. Orchardists are at risk of losing their fruit, and tourist operators must be suffering in what would otherwise be their peak season.

Worse still must be the impact on self-employed volunteer fireys, and their families, who sacrifice so much for us all. Not sure we’ll be able to thank them enough.

Here’s hoping that next week’s post is one of celebration and relief. In the meantime, stay safe…

Gado Gado

This Indonesian street food is a wondrously tasty supper or lunch. The recipe below is for the gado gado sauce itself, which is the heart of the meal. Slop it generously onto any combination of cooked rice, hard boiled eggs, steamed greens, salad, tofu or shredded meat. Serves 4..


  • 250g crunchy peanut butter (no added salt or sugar)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes or 1 fresh chilli, finely chopped
  • 50 ml sesame or peanut oil
  • 4 tsp fish sauce
  • juice of 4 limes or 2 lemons
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 tbs tamarind paste, if you have it
  • chopped Asian herbs, such as coriander, mint, Vietnamese mint and/or basil

Step 1: Combine all the ingredients bar the herbs in a small saucepan.

Step 2: Heat gently for a few minutes, until everything dissolves and the sauce turns a deeper brown colour.

Step 3: Serve a generous dollop with rice, eggs and your favourite veg / meat, garnished with Asian herbs.