Tuesday, April 23, 2013

This summer bounty knows no end...

This morning's pickings
Each morning I wander through the garden, picking this and that, checking what's ripe or nearly ripe. Most days I collect a basket of edibles, this morning was no different. We have eaten well this summer. And for this we are very glad. 

Oh so burgeoning...
It was just last September we hurriedly planted our zone one garden, in the hope that we'd get something edibly productive happening quick smart. 

Three months later...

Initially we were wowed by the fertility of our soil and the wonders of a north facing garden. We had never known such garden productivity. But the sun trap that is our little piece of hill, which was such a blessing in September, became quite the source of anxiety in the heat that was this summer past. Those north-westerly winds and 45 degree days tested the garden and fried many beans atop the trellis. 

Assuming that summers of this intensity and greater will be a thing of the future, it was interesting to observe what was most resilient in the face of searing, out of control, killer heat. It was the stuff we intentionally planted in a guild.  A particularly successful little combo was the tomato + cucumber + lettuce + parsley + chives + chilies + capsicum + salvia + rocket version whereby the tomatoes and cucumbers clambered across a reclaimed bed head operating as trellis and provided some shade and wind protection to the abundant under-storey. All these months later, it's still going strong. That basket of deliciousness up top is from that little bit of garden experiment. 

We've been inundated with all that is wonderful about summertime garden eating - tomatoes, chillies, cucumbers, zucchini have been resplendent and we have eaten them every which way while also preserving what we could. Rohan from Whole Larder Love wrote a lovelier piece than I could, about harnessing the energy of summer to tide us over the lean months 0f winter. 

It's not the easiest of tasks to preserve large quantities of food, without a kitchen. You may recall we live in a teeny tiny house that has no kitchen to speak of. Once I moved through the overwhelming "Oh my god, what am I doing?" feeling, the whole outside kitchen preserving thing was pretty damn fun and actually quite delightful - sun in the trees, breeze on the face, view down the valley ( you get the drift) all the while cooking up tasty and gorgeous concoctions that will tide us over the cooler months. 

We made tomato chilli jam from our garden pickings. It's rich and intense heat is pretty seductive. 

You see tomatoes and chillies, we see chilli jam

oh the beauty of the chilli jam
Zucchini pickle was been a constant the past couple of years, however joy-of-joys this year we made it with our own zucchinis. It's tasty as with cheese and butter on a seeded sourdough sandwich. 
so much zucchini, so much old school pickle
Never before have we had excess cucumbers to preserve - 
Cucumber pickling team
Oh yeah!

Yes we ate well this summer, we've devised meals around what has been plentiful in the garden out the front of our little house.  Millions of people around the world live and eat this way, so let's not pretend we're special, for it is just common sense. There's the footprint reduction and the money saving (we have implemented austerity measures while we save to build our actual real life grown-up straw bale) and there's also the creativity that comes from working with what we have. I like this. One of our favourite meals this Summer has been, once again, Moro inspired - Zucchini, mint and fetta fritters, chopped salad and just-cooked flatbreads. It's joy on a plate. So much joy on a plate. 

Soon to come - recipe sharing galore.... 


  1. Your garden is amazingly abundant and gorgeous to look at too:) Speaking from experience, those zucchini pickles of yours are the best I've ever tasted followed by a close second is Mandy's {down from you} mum's cucumber pickles!!! Oh yum!

    So, I'm so hoping that the recipe sharing that will be happening here soon will be all about zucchinis and pickles!!! LOL x

  2. PS I'm waiting, camera batteries on the charge and ready to go! You know wha I mean???? ;) x

  3. And preserving outside would make the inevitable spills and splatters much easier to clean. I have just added a rustic outdoor kitchen to my wishlist.

    1. Thanks Zara - yep - the outdoor kitchen is a gem, and pretty easy to establish. A bench, some tubs, and a BBQ is all your really need to get your outdoor preserving parties happening! x