Flavours of the good life

This week The Verve had rights to their hit song Bitter Sweet Symphony returned to them from the Rolling Stones. Whilst we haven’t released a chart topper we thought this could be a case of the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, a type of cognitive bias.

We have already mentioned the tension of decision making in a more commercial gardening venture. Yet this still doesn’t alleviate the pang of guilt when we had to pull out 100 odd tomato plants still laden with 20kg+ of green fruit.

It seems silly to say aloud but we develop a close affinity to the plants when we’ve witnessed a whole life cycle. From determined seedlings popping up as surprises to surviving transplant and suffering a terrible batch of compost. From thirsty plants struggling to cope with summer heat to wispy stalks of green somehow producing plump fruits of magnificent colour and umami goodness.

We also took the plunge and knocked the eggplant on the head. That was a season of firsts for us. Unsure how they would grow and how much fruit they would produce. A firsthand understanding of their susceptibility to pests and great lessons learnt for next seasons efforts.

Whilst the rational self understands the argument for getting started on the next crop, it was still a bitter moment to say goodbye to the first residents of our 6 month old polytunnels.

For now we will sit back and reflect on this summer past with a cold bottle of sweet soft drink and reflect on the tenuous link between a 90s song and a homesteading life……

Fruit Compote

We love a tart compote served with a generous heap of natural yoghurt and topped with a crumbling of muesli or drizzle of honey. You can use many different fruits: apples, berries, plums. Medlars provide a richer, sweeter version not unlike Dates, a great foil for a chocolate craving too.

Ingredients

  • 500g or so of your fruit of choice, roughly chopped
  • An acid – juice of a lemon, lime or orange
  • Some sugar – anywhere between 50 and 150g depending on the fruit you choose and how sweet your tooth is.
Method 

Step 1: Add all ingredients to a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook until it collapses into a nice consistency, about 5-10 min depending on the fruit of choice.

You want the fruit to be somwhere between its original chunky state and a smooth puree.

 

Let’s do it!

This week we attended a presentation outlining some of the anticipated climate trends for South East Tasmania’s near future.  The purpose of this event was not to debate causality but to understand how we will need to adapt our methods of production in a changing environment.

This thought process is not new for us as we were always drawn to this permaculture lifestyle with the knowledge that good design can help to build resilience and buffer those bumps along the road.

What has changed our mindset over the past few weeks has been the need to speed up our implementation and get ahead of the impending changes.

We have thought about better water capture, better water distribution, regenerating the pasture with planned grazing, upgrading our solar capture, improving our preserving and canning skills, altering our daily habits to make use of cheaper power, establishing an aquaponics system as well as modifying our crop planning for shifting seasonality  which might impact germination, time to yield and flavour development.

The list may seem endless, and slightly prepper-ish, but it highlights to us that there is plenty we can do and have control over.

We are concerned about the future of our shared climate but we chose to use our disappointment at the lack of leadership in this space to galvanise our personal and local efforts.

So it is time to roll the sleeves up (even though we are experiencing more T-shirt days per year now) and make a difference..

Crispy Kale

This crunchy addition to your meal can be spicy, sweet, or salty to suit your dish. We enjoy it as a pre-dinner snack or as a topping for textural difference.

Ingredients

  • A baking tray worth of kale (Red Russian is the variety best suited for this), woody stem removed and torn into large pieces
  • a drizzle of oil (sesame is wonderfully indulgent)
  • a dash of sweetness (we use some mirin instead of sugar)
  • a source of saltiness (we use soy sauce)
  • optional extras: a scattering of sesame seeds or dry spice instead of the sweet/salty mixture
Method 

Step 1: Mix your oil, source of sweetness and saltiness in a small bowl

Step 3: Scatter torn kale on a baking tray. Drizzle flavouring over the top and roast in the oven at 200C for 15-20min.

If you have a wetter mixture it may take longer to crisp and you may need to turn the kale part way through.