Friday, July 25, 2014

Passing the baton

Good morning,

It's been far too long I know. I have a million reasons why I have not visited this space of late and yet none of any real consequence. I could be here though if I really thought I needed to. But I suppose that is it, the feeling that I perhaps don't rely on this space as much as I used to. A choice between immersing myself in a beautiful world full of memories, notes and pictures, or the physical world, with all of it's ups and downs, laughter and sorrow, smiles, tears, hugs, movement and conversations (not to mention fatigue, sleeplessness and the occasional ache or pain!). At the moment I am choosing this physical world. Which is not to say that I won't be back here at some time, although now is not that time. I will know when it is, and you may catch me dropping in then. 

In the meantime, I feel terrible about letting the Slow Living Monthly 9 link up slide, and don't think that it's fair that even though I am not here to host, those of you who enjoy linking up are missing out. So in the spirit of sharing, I am offering the link-up to one bloggy person who is willing to take it on. Passing the baton, so to speak, which could be rather apt, considering the commencement of the Commonwealth Games.

Are you interested?  Send me an email: slowlivingessentials(at)hotmail(dot)com

What would be involved? Basically the same as what you have been doing up until now, writing your monthly post using the nine banners, as found here. With the only exception, including a small piece of code at the bottom of your post that allows fellow bloggers to link in. I can either continue to use my link account to supply the code, or you may create your own account with a linking service of your choosing.
You may also change the name of the link up to suit the theme of your blog, however, by offering this link up, I request that the original nine banners remain in tact. You may add extra though if you choose to (I know a couple of you already do).

Still interested? Send me an email! If there are a number of responses showing interest in hosting the link up, I will choose one blogger who I think will carry it on well. Let me know! The alternative is that the link up dissolves into nothing and loses the little community that has formed within it. I think it would be awful to see this happen. Help save the Slow Living Monthly 9!

I would also hope to link up from time to time, too.

Do you feel ready to pick up the baton and run with it? 

Yours in Slow Living,
Christine x

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Food growing inspiration from Veg Out Community Garden - St Kilda

As I kick my behind get my act into gear and gather my thoughts for my current Slow Living Monthly 9 post, I want to pause my reflections for a moment and share a place I came across over the weekend. If you were ever feeling in a slump regarding food growing inspiration, one brief wander through this hidden treasure of a community garden in St Kilda, Victoria - just a stones throw away from the hustle and bustle of the Esplanade, busy Acland Street (Cake St) and the regular squeals from the scenic railway at Luna Park- will excite food growers alike and call to the repurposer within...

It had such a great vibe as soon as I walked through the gates..

The gardens are used by community groups and private individuals. In addition to the growing plots, Veg Out includes a chook pen, composting area, communal spaces and art studio..

For those who don't know..
I never seem to get tired of seeing rusty tins used for growing..

Fabulous murals..
I love love love this bike wheel!
Most plots I saw had a letterbox. Besides being extremely charming, they seemed to be the perfect place for plot holders to store gardening gloves, seed packets and the like! Snail mail between growers, too?
My absolute  favourite!
Happy growing!

Community Gardens St Kilda

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Slow Living Monthly 9 - May 2014

Slow Living Monthly 9 link up - an opportunity to review and reflect upon nine different categories of our lives. Nourish, prepare, reduce, green, grow, create, discover, enhance, enjoy. Join in if you wish! Everyone is welcome. How you ask? It's simple, just leave a link to your blog post using the nine categories (detailed here) and enjoy that sharing experience that follows. I am running well behind the eight ball this month but will try to get my post up soon. Have a lovely month people! xx

Slow Living - May 2014

May, May, May, what did you see us eating? Cold weather here means the appearance of sniffly noses and coughs so it was with great love I focused this month on building my family's immune systems up mainly by cooking nourishing meals with bone broths as a base. Osso bucco, lamb shank and barley soup, chicken stock in different types of soups all contributed to a feeling of improved well being, at least from  my observations ;) There is something really comforting about dishing up nourishing food to your family that not only hits the tastebuds but does great things for their insides, too. 

My dairy/gluten free journey continues to wind along it's unknown path and over the past couple of months I have found myself slowly re-introducing small amounts of dairy - homemade yoghurt, minimal cheese and lactose free milk, which all seem to be quite okay for my system to cope with. On to gluten and my ponderings over a paleo approach with my food, I have come to the conclusion that while cutting out all forms of grain would be a little extreme, my body seems to cope quite well with the elimination of wheat from my diet. Which means that stuff like barley and oats, which are not completely gluten free, can still be enjoyed - hooray! And without abundant gluten and therefore bread in my diet, I am turning to rice and potatoes to fulfill my lust for carbs..

I am 99% sure my next ponder will would I go with small amounts of low wheat sourdough? Stay tuned..

{banana muffins - gluten free} 

Wow, May really saw a a load of preserving going on! Out of nowhere our town had roadside harvests of crabapples, the branches gorgeously lining the streets with their brightest of red offerings. Out came the jam pot and batches of crabapple jelly were made. When I had had enough of this, I added mint to make mint jelly and then had a go at making some lemon verbena jelly using some lemon verbena from my garden - it was unusually pleasant! Quince paste is also lurking in my kitchen (I  fear for my blood sugar levels in the next month!), and on a healthier note, the last of the tomatoes along with some I picked up at the fruit shop were roasted with our (sprouting!) garlic and a few chillies and turned into a deliciously thick, spicy tomato-ey, garlic concentrate which I then froze in small containers. 

Not a great deal to report here..

This month, in an effort to not have masses of drying laundry clogging up our home, I strung up a length of rope under our veranda to use for drying sheets and towels. It is a fair assumption that any washing I hang up outside from now until October will stay there, as the rain is just too regular and the air too damp to dry them! I am feeling quietly smug as I bring dry sheets in that have not been rained on - whoop! It's only taken me six years to get onto this, crazy, huh! What I'd really like though is one of those hoistey, timber drying racks that I can raise right up into the ceiling rafters where all the warm air collects - this would send my smugness factor through the roof...quite literally!

Garlic shoots have emerged from the damp earth along with a bed of broad beans. Kale is doing reasonably well although my broccoli which I planted in the hopes of a winter supply has all gone to seed, agh! The chooks went off the lay and tomatoes and beans gave up virtually overnight with the arrival of the frosts. 

I am navigating my way through a knitting project at the moment that is giving me no relaxation. Wanting to use some of my handspun/handyed yarn in a project, I decided on a (simple?) vest in an argyle pattern. Masses of tangled wool and then running out of wool towards the end was seeing me pull my hair out in frustration. It was strange though, because the project felt like it was reflective of my life at the time and the challenges I am feeling myself facing. Coming to the end of the project now, in all it's imperfect glory, I am glad I persisted and no matter how unique it is, it is made by me and so many of my thoughts have been poured into it, I feel the need to wear it, to complete the cycle. Ah yes, and I also came to the unsurprising conclusion that mixing colours is absolutely not for me! Photo when I am completely finished with this challenging project.

Elsewhere, I spied our willow tree with the eyes of a potential weaver. Oh, how wonderful it would be to gather all manner of grassy fibers and twigs and weave them into something beautiful and functional! Perhaps one day..for now, just call me a wannabe weaver. 

I was blessed with the gathering of a group of women in my garden this month. Friday veggie group continues to be a strong element of my week, and having them gather around my table, filling my kitchen with their raucous laughter and chatting fills me with great happiness. Having some work tackled in the garden is really just a bonus, in my eyes.

Our local spinning group also hosted a "biggest morning tea" to fund raise for the Cancer Council. I do my best to participate in these events, having lost my own father from cancer two years ago. The group puts on a fantastic spread with everyone contributing and then offering an auction full of handmade goodness. Our small group did very well and raised $1100 for this cause.

Discoveries took place for me on a deeper level this month. Spending time to focus on my inner self was exactly what I needed and as the journey continues, I enjoy more and more finding out exactly who I am. Hopefully not too deep a thought to include here..

Hubby and I treated ourselves and spent a weekend in the top end (Darwin) at the start of the month, in celebration of his birthday. Exploring this area, just for the briefest time was something we had been meaning to do for the longest time. Back at home, as always it's the simple things that cause me to stop and smile, hitting the mark and saying something that makes my daughters' burst out laughing does if for me every time. Seeing the leaves drop from the trees and be replaced by foggy mists and frosty mornings. Walking the dog through the damp bush and stoking a hot fire. Giving someone's hand a squeeze in my aged care volunteer work and knowing that even though they may not remember it, the moment did happen and they felt it at the time. Wishing you a beautiful month. x

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Tips for mushroom season...

Mushroom season has hit our area with the arrival of heavy rains and the resultant damp earth. Before the weather becomes too cold with the bitter chill of winter, the ground sends up fascinating offerings to view and admire..and sometime even eat. After spending a few outings recently collecting such offerings I thought it would be a good idea to talk about mushroom hunting for anyone considering partaking in this most enjoyable (but cautious) activity.

I first learned to identify a handful of mushrooms a few years ago when a good friend and I booked in to participate in a fungi workshop offered through our local neighbourhood house. For anyone considering going out into the wild to partake  of some edible delights, I would definitely suggest booking yourself into a similar course FIRST, so that you are not relying on heresay when identifying your 'shrooms.

The workshop my friend and I went to was extremely informative and included an entire morning spent viewing photos and slides of all types of fungi, from the lethal to the edible. The workshop also had a spectacular display of locally gathered fungi in various stages of their development. During the afternoon, the group headed out to a nearby location for hands on fungi identification and tasting. You can read about this workshop, way back here. 

Once you feel you are armed with more than enough knowledge to avoid the dangerous (lethal) mushrooms, and safely identify those praised for eating, you will want to consider the logistics; where to go, what time of day, what to take and so on.

Where to go depends largely of your knowledge of the local area, or, if you are not within mushrooming range, knowledge of the area you intend to travel. Find out a little about the area you are heading into. Is the area elevated and subject to heavy mists/fog or cooler temperatures? Pack extra coats! Is it on a steep slope? Wear sturdy footwear. Is the area on a dirt road and is this accessible after heavy rains? Plan your vehicle or perhaps consider parking a safe distance away and walking. Common sense plays a big part here. :)

What time of day should I venture out? Often, the most prized hunting grounds are already well known by other 'hunters' in your chosen area. If you are serious about hunting your mushrooms, you may like to consider heading out early, before day trippers from further afield make it to your location before you. It can sometimes even pay to make a short session or two mid week if you are close by, when most day trippers are tucked up at home or work and not planning a trip until the weekend.

It is also not uncommon for cafes and local restaurants to gather wild mushrooms to include on their menus, or market stall holders to offer at farmers markets, so if your favourite area is also frequented by such folk, heading out the earliest you possibly can after a bout of rain, can prove to be more successful than waiting until the weekend.

What to take?

  • Aside from the obvious warm clothing and sturdy footwear, pack a coat and hat as mushrooming grounds are nearly always cold.
  • Fingerless gloves are another welcome addition because when you find a good patch, there is little time for hands to be sitting idle in warm coat pockets!
  • A small knife is a must, as when harvesting mushrooms, it is the etiquette to cut just below the surface of the ground, to leave the unearthed section behind to reproduce again the following season. Some people prefer specialty mushrooming knives that come with a brush attached to one end, however I find that a simple steak knife is quite adequate for my needs.
  • A basket with lid is also a welcome addition. I have hunted without bags, large shopping bags and open baskets before, but by far the best investment was a $3 wicker picnic basket from my local thrift shop that has two hinged flaps to open, thereby protecting the mushrooms if it happens to rain. The basked can also easily be hosed off once emptied, in readiness for the next session. 
  • A mushroom guide book (or app), mobile phone, map of the area, snack and water bottle and camera are also items worth considering. 
  • To begin with, I would suggest always hunting with another person, as with two people identifying, errors are less likely to occur. As you gain confidence in your mushrooming abilities, solo ventures will start calling to you, but remember to tell someone if you are 'shrooming alone, for safety's sake. 

When out there..
**Only take what you know to be 110% safe to eat!! It seems obvious, but you have really got to be absolutely certain that what you are picking is not going to harm yourself or your loved ones.**

Try and steer clear of other hunters, as it could be considered impolite to hunt alongside them. There is plenty of forest out there, so find another section to look in.

Only take what you need! It can be all too easy to come home with a basket overflowing with mushrooms that you don't get around to using, so please, only take what you intend to use and save the rest for other keen hunters. I believe that is the golden rule of foraging - always leave something behind for the next person.

Have fun! Once you know what you are looking for, mushrooming can be great fun and an enjoyable social activity or an opportunity for peaceful solitude. Either way, it's a great way to spend some of these autumn days before the seriously chilled blast of winter hits.

Do you hunt mushrooms? Do you have any tips for the new hunter that you'd like to share? What is your favourite way to cook foraged mushrooms? Please share in the comments section below!

Be safe out there and happy hunting!

**I choose to hunt only Saffron Milk Caps (Lactarious Delicious) to feed myself and my family. They grow well in our local area in the pine forests and are extremely difficult to mistake with any other mushroom. They have a distinctive orange appearance, ooze a saffron coloured sap when cut and their flesh turns an oxidised green when it is bruised. More information on this edible mushroom can be found here.**

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Slow Living Essentials - Monthly 9 link-up - April 2014

Hello once again! It's nice to be in this space again. April saw our weather turn and a sudden need for firewood and woolen tops where previously there were swimming towels and thongs!

 Join me as I reflect on the past month and progress made in our everyday lives under nine banners. Feel like joining in? It's simple, just leave a link to your blog post written using these nine categories, in the box below anytime during the month of May and enjoy hopping over to like minded blogs to see what others have been up to.

For more details on this blog link-up, please see this post. 

April 2014

I love when the cooler weather hits and dictates bonfire season! Fire restrictions were lifted and suddenly our town was marked by plumes of smoke rising from little pockets through the trees. This change in weather also announced woodfired oven season. Having been way too long between firings, it was so nice to enjoy cooking with our big outdoor brick oven this month, and using the smaller chiminea and campfire for intimate gatherings on weekends.

Home cooked woodfired pizza and homebrew pale ale - a match made in heaven!

Baked apples were a new discovery for the woodfired oven, they go so well in it - producing a wonderfully tender, apple with a caramelised crust that oozes golden, juicy goodness! So, so good. We have also been returning to warming soups and slow cooked meals, and I am finding this way of cooking so very convenient. Slow cooked pulled pork served with stewed local apples, lamb shank and vegetable broth and good old hearty vegetable soups are my current favourite sources of comfort in the kitchen these days. Oats are also big on the menu for me, and with cutting back on wheat for health issues, I am finding I that oats are still totally ok for me, which is great because I love having a big steaming bowl full for breakfast on these frosty mornings! They keep me going for hours..

Baked apples - a seriously good addition to any woodfired oven baker's repertoire 

Somehow, I don't know how, I managed to keep on top of all those beans that we had last month, so my preserving was focusing mainly around preparing meals and freezing them. We had nowhere near enough tomatoes to bottle this year, which was a bit of a disappointment, but this has motivated me to try all the harder (earlier?) next summer. 

I have been 'making do' in the garden this month. Pulling old, not in use climbing frames out for growing peas on and repairing areas of edging and fencing where we could really do with new. I bought a second hand rabbit hutch and with a few minor adjustments, am using it for a mobile chicken tractor for my silky mama hen and her (fast growing!) chicks. Opp shopping also proved fruitful for an upcoming child's birthday present and a warm jacket for myself. 

Mushrooming season hit our area this month and it was with great delight I took to the mountainside, pooch falling in step beside me, to comb the piney earth for edible treasures. Forgaging, fresh air and walking for leisure while exercising the dog, is there a greener way to spend an afternoon with such entertainment value? 

Biking is still happening and I am advancing into territory I have not traveled before - slopes and gravelly back roads, pine forest tracks and bush bashing with chains flying off, all new experiences that enhance my exploration of our local area.  It's amazing how many hills a person notices once they start biking! I could've sworn we lived in a fairly flat part of town, but apparently not!!

With the frosts came the slowing down of the beans and other summer veg. Old zucchini plants were pulled up and the beds dug over to be replaced with broad beans, peas and very soon, garlic. Several chooks are having a moult so egg numbers are also down.

What was surprising was finding a secret stash of potatoes where I was sure I had previously harvested. How is it that you can miss a spud the size of your hand the first time around? Very weird. Perennial leeks are also back and kale is getting to a harvestable size, and we watch and wait in anticipation for the first broccoli. Oh, and we have lemons! The lemon tree is at long last producing some decent sized fruit!

Autumn always makes me want to dye things! Maybe it's the crispness in the air that makes my mind shift towards all things woolly and warm and then thinking about colours of such woolly things that does it. I satisfied a small urge by redyeing a cowl and some fingerless mittens that I had knit some time back and just wasn't happy with the colour. They were a bright green and just not me, so after a soak in the pot, came out a deep gray/blue which I am much happier with. Unfortunately no pic of the knits, just the dye pot I'm afraid! The spinning wheel has also been out and treadling, it has to be the cool weather, yep, I'm absolutely sure of it. ;)

I recently picked up a couple of copies of PLY from my spinning group's library and fell in love with this publication! Created by Jacey Boggs, who I think is just amazing, I was completely absorbed from cover to cover. 
Michael Pollan is also on my bookshelf at the moment with 'Cooked' and number one on my reading wishlist at the moment is My Darling Lemon Thyme - a cookbook focusing on gluten, dairy and sugar free that looks just soo good, I can't wait to get my hands on a copy! (hint *mothersday**cough*hint)

Being on the receiving end of this category is always nice. I was at a spinning friend's house this past week picking up some preserving jars that a local preserver was offloading and she asked if I'd like to take a look around the garden. After the immediate yes (and subsequent hour and a half tour plus leaving three times, three times I say, before I actually passed through the front gate), her and her husband sent me off with a wealth of new gardening facts, a bottle of their homebrewed apple wine, a big bag of allium bulbs to plant and another bag of early cropping tomatoes for me to save for seed! Gosh, I just love it when gardening folk connect, we all talk the same talk and walk the same walk!

Out and around town, I was also excited to come across a magical little door that had recently appeared. What fun to see this on my biking travels! Too special..

Over the school holiday portion of the month, I took my youngest daughter away for a camping weeking up on the Murray River. Glorious weather, good company and simple camping style made for a great time away. We also had a beautiful family gathering here at our place on the Easter weekend, with my family and nieces and nephew. Again, great company, the woodfired oven, campfire, toasty marshmallows and mulled wine made for a memorable, relaxing day. I love this kind of gathering!

 How was your month?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Slow Living Essentials Monthly 9 Link Up - March 2014

Helloo! I have missed this space this month. Things are just so very crazy busy here!! I am longing for the time when I can come and hang out more often here, which shouldn't be too far away. In the meantime, I'd love it if we can catch up on each others news and achievements over the last month. What's been happening in your world? Feel like joining in? It's simple, just leave a link to your blog post written using these nine categories, in the box below anytime during the month of April and enjoy the sharing experience with like minded bloggers that follows.

For more info on this blog link up series, please see this post.

March 2014

What have we been eating over the past month? Good question! Loads of homemade chicken stock has been finding it's way into dishes, using the slow cooker picked up recently at the fire brigade flea market. The weather also turned strange and we found ourselves jumping from salads and barbeques to soups and hot roast dinners and then back again! I have been enjoying baking up some gluten and lactose free treats - my favourite being a chocolate beetroot cake that I took to my brother's house for a get together. Recipe will make an appearance here at some point!

I was also inspired and made up a few batches of a 'healthier' Anzac biscuit, which included linseeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut sugar and such. One of those winging it type know? Savoury wise, I am turning every spare vegetable into fritters..loaded with cumin, coriander and other favourite spices, they are a family favourite, served with minted homemade yoghurt. Yum!

A healthier Anzac biscuit?

Ahh, March, month of the pickles! My mum's cucumbers went out of control and she gave me a big bag full, and with a bowl here from our own garden to use up, bread and butter pickles they were destined to be. Our zucchinis also came at once (don't they always?) and these were made into a favourite relish recipe that I keep going back to (recipe is in this book). Chicken stock? Yes, I think I mentioned this. I find that putting it on in the afternoon works best for me, as then it can be left to simmer all night and turned off later the following day. This creates a most wonderfully dark, rich stock like you wouldn't believe! We have also been enjoying some of the homebrew hubby bottled recently..ciders and pale ales. I think they're still a little..'green', but he is loving them!

Bread and Butter Cucumbers & Zucchini Relish

I was so impressed with a friend's strawberries growing in repurposed light fittings this summer, I set aside a morning to go to the local tip shop to have a good, proper scrounge for similar containers. It's been so long between scrounges, I had a wonderful time, coming home with more than just useable items for growing strawberries! But staying on track, I found several lengths of roof guttering that I am in the process of attaching to a brick wall in our courtyard, that I hope will create an abundant vertical patch. Growing them this way, I think it will be easier to net them as well as harvest...we shall see. Has anyone grown strawberries like this and do you have any tips to pass on?

I have been loving the glorious days of autumn, it's been perfect for getting out and biking around town. After getting over the initial shock of pedalling places, my body has responded and I am noticing an increased level of fitness and a need for heavier gears where previously I was in the lightest gears. This is great! I love not having to rely on a car 100% of the time..even if I am just going to a friend's house or biking to the woodfired bakery for some (gluten free!) bread on a Sunday afternoon! Bliss!! Now if only I could fashion a basket to fit the pooch into (with seatbelt?!), all my dreams would come true! Well, very nearly..

We have started harvesting our summer crops and while generous, they are not as bountiful as previous years, which I have to put down to the limited time I invested in them this time around. We have, however, been enjoying the sweet juicy taste of homegrown corn once again, and a ridiculous abundance of french beans. Now don't get me wrong, I love beans as much as the next person, but sometimes I think a person can have too many! What are your favourite ways to use up excess beans? Blanch and freeze? Salads? Pickling? Do tell!

The first basket of the season.

An exciting event which took place this month was a hatching of some chicks! Our black silkie sat on six eggs and of those, three hatched, two being barnevelders and one a barnevelder/rhode island red cross. What I loved most about the whole event (besides obviously the hatching!), was the way she could tell the 'bad' eggs and turfed them off the nest halfway through the sit! She is one very cool mama..

Barnevelder chick, two days old

My main creative outlet this month for me has been diving into photographicland. After going to a tutorial on audio visuals at my local photography club I managed to find a little bit of time to play around with this addictive form of creative expression. Music and pictures? In time, choreographed? However I wish it to be?  This is too much fun to even try to explain! If only there were 80 more hours in the week to play around with this new form of time vacuum..sigh.

See above! This was more than enough for my overworked, study fatigued brain this month. ;-)

Supporting farmers markets and helping out with school woodfired baking featured this month. I also found myself in the world of volunteering in a local aged care setting one afternoon a week. I am finding this an amazing experience that I can't really describe; humbling, joyful, nurturing and touching all at the same time. I look forward to more visits..

After spending many, many hours looking forward to The Rolling Stones performing in our area, we were disappointed when we heard the news and the reason that was preventing them from commencing their Australian tour. Sad times for them.

Finding enjoyment on a smaller scale, hubby and I took in a local theatre show of "A Few Good Men", which had me in awe at the lengthy dialogue the cast delivered flawlessly! Getting out and enjoying little spots in our town for a Friday night cider or a small meal with just the two of us was also really nice. After watching Ferris Bueller with my daughter recently, he sums it up perfectly, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and take a look around once in a while, you could miss it".
So true! Save Ferris! :-)

How were things in your month?

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Eat Local Challenge #1

It was a challenge with a food theme. A challenge that got me thinking about where my food really comes from for one meal out of the month. A challenge that didn't sound too tricky to start with, but the more I thought about it, the more challenging it became.

For a person that is fortunate to have a veggie garden right outside her back door, there was an array of offerings to be considered. Zucchini fritters? Yes! No, wait, what about the flour, where is that from? It's surprising how many dishes have flour in them or are based around flour products, such as breadcrumbs. Being gluten and dairy free requires much consideration about 'substitute' items, such as nut milks (even if homemade (where are the nuts from?) and gluten free flours.I cringed when I examined some of the labels showing the origin of the ingredient on these items that had made their way into my pantry of late).

Read on to see what this month's local meal revolved around. As the weather becomes cooler and we are not harvesting from the garden so much I can see this challenge requiring loads more thought and pre-planning.

Thanks goes to Brydie from Cityhippyfarmgirl who really got me thinking hard about the small ingredients in my kitchen and for hosting this challenge...

On the menu:

Roast lamb with rosemary roast potatoes and a garden salad.

My preparation started by visiting my local famer's market...

I was lucky to pick up some beautiful, fresh vegetables which we don't have producing in our garden yet. Leeks, radishes, butter beans, tomatoes, beetroot, bay leaves and a local olive oil. At this stage, I wasn't sure what I was actually going to make so I wanted to keep my options open.

My mum also gifted me a bag of cucumbers and tomatoes during the week which was perfect timing for this challenge. 

The lamb was the last of a bulk order to use up from a local supplier (see below for details) and was cooked in the slow cooker all day, being a busy school and after school activity kind of day. Potatoes were drizzled in olive oil, rosemary and sea salt and roasted in a hot oven for about an hour.
(stumble #1 - sea salt!)

A quick lettuce and rocket dash took place to throw a salad together at the last minute. Ahhh! The dressing! How could I have skipped this important aspect? (stumble #2 - vinegar). We had olive oil but no local vinegar to make a quick dressing...see - it's the small things that gave me grief.
Mental note - investigate local vinegars at next farmers market..

Having a piece of local lamb in the freezer to use up helped me enormously with this challenge - although it won't be so easy next time. I have to let you in on a little secret though - I caved in and used some gf flour to make some gravy (stumble #3 - flour!). I can't imagine a roast lamb without a serve of gravy alongside. Again, it was the small things.

Where it all came from:

Lamb - Seven Hills Organic Farm  (Kerrie Valley - 18km)

Olive oil, butter beans and radishes - Woodend Farmers Market  
                                               Somerset Heritage Produce (Seymour - 93km)

Spring Creek Organics (Navigators - 100km)

                                                             Kyneton Olive Oil (Barfold - 50km)

Tomatoes and cucumbers - My mum! (27km)

Rocket, lettuce, calendula, garlic, potatoes and rosemary - my backyard - 10 metres. 


Thoughts for next time: consider flour and milk alternatives and keep an eye out for local vinegar. 

                                  Jump on over to Brydie's blog to find out more about this challenge or to join in!


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