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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