Eat Local Challenge #2


Eat Local Challenge || cityhippyfarmgirl

tomatoes || cityhippyfarmgirl

Say what? More tomatoes? Well um yes, that’s what kind of happens when you eat with the seasons, there can be quite a few dishes with the same key ingredients. I don’t mind though, it’s not like it’s six months of cabbage you have to get creative with.

Now for the Eat Local Challenge, I thought I would be a little more prepared this month. Well, I was really. I just hadn’t anticipated riding my bike for an hour and a half to find cheese. It seemed my known and trusted local cheese company was no longer where I thought they were and the French cheese company standing in it’s place certainly wasn’t going to cut the proverbial mustard.

So I kept riding.

I did wonder at what point is the line crossed. How much inconvenience is expected and should be expected in order to support locally produced food?

I ended up with a fetta that’s made in the Wauchope, approximately 6 hours north. I didn’t feel it was a great option as I had wanted to always be able to buy directly from the producer or at least one person removed. However, Hastings Valley Fetta was (at the time) the best I could do. What I could do though, was contact the company and find out a little bit more about them.

I got an immediate response back from my querying letter, and along with encouragement of me doing the Eat Local challenge, I was also happy to read- “All our products are manufactured from our Wauchope facility from the milk sourced from our local farmers. We are proud to support our local farmers and community.” 

What’s on the menu?

Beetroot, fetta, tomato salad

Beetroot from my Ooooby box*

Tomato from my courtyard- hurrah!

Fetta from Hastings Valley, Wauchope

Mint from my courtyard

Chilli from my courtyard

Olive Oil- Lisborne Grove, Hunter Valley

Verdict? Delicious. This salad was really tasty and I would happily serve it up to anyone else that sat at my kitchen table.

Eat Local Challenge || cityhippyfarmgirl

Butternut, Fennel and Barley

Butternut from my Ooooby box- Pickle Creek Farm, Cattai

Fennel from my Ooooby box*

Kale from MU Organics, Southern Highlands

Barley from Dementer Farm Mill, located around Gunnedah

Fetta from Hastings Valley, Wauchope

Chilli from my courtyard

Verdict? Well…if you love fennel you are on to a good head start. If you don’t, (as I don’t) you have to think a bit more strategically to get the best out of the vegetable in front of you- and that goes for anything else as well. I should have roasted the fennel and butternut beforehand, it would have given the dish a bit more flavour and less, well fennell-y. If you are not using stock, spices or salt to create more complex flavours you do have to think a bit more on how to make the most out of your dinner time tastes.

No kids versions of this months locally sourced meals, (not a chance they would have eaten these.)

* I did know where the fennel and beetroot was sourced from but mislaid the vital piece of paper.

Tidbits

Planning- Eating locally does take a bit of forward thinking. The vegetables are relatively easy, but it’s the proteins and fats that need a little more planning beforehand.

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How about you? Interested in taking the challenge?

Just how local is local? Well this depends entirely on you. Only you know how you and your family eat. Raise the bar just a little from what you already do. If making sure the majority of your meal includes solely food produced in your country, than make that your challenge. If you want to make it a little trickier, go for produced in the same state…trickier still within 160km.

My aim is to really know where my food is coming from for at least one meal a month, (where I will be posting here in the last week of the month).

For last months Eat Local Challenge #1 see here.

eat local challenge || cityhippyfarmgirl

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top 12 eco friendly christmas gift ideas

a little succulent gift- cityhippyfarmgirl

Nearly the end of the year again, which means there could be a little gift giving to be had. I love this time of year, but I don’t like the ridiculous amount of spending that usually goes along with it. You don’t have to spend oodles of money, you really don’t. Here are a few ideas to help with a greener tinged Christmas at your place this year.

1/ Tiny presents of tiny succulents in tiny tea cups, (or espresso cups as this little fella is.) You can easily do this with a little cup that may have a chip or a crack in it- stalk op shops, church fetes, roadside discards for succulent holding inspiration. The options are limitless, (have a peek at google images.) Think green, think succulents.

2/ Something for the inspired reader in your life- Changing Gears: by Greg Foyster

3/ Assistent Original– now this is a pricey gift for Christmas, but if you are serious about a kitchen investment that is going to cater for every kitchen whim you have- it’s a worthy investment, as cooking from scratch is a commitment and you want to make it as easy as possible. For bread baking nerds, look no further.

4/ Digital Subscription to a ‘green’ magazine- inspire someone with some idea thumping pages- There are oodles to pick from, and then even more.

5/ Subscription to your locally based farmer friendly fruit and veg box. Foodconnect– Whole Larder Love– Local Harvest etc.

6/ Sign a bloggy friend up to do Blog with Pip– they will love you to the moon and back, (and probably back some more; this course is AWESOME.)

12 eco friendly gift ideas- cityhippyfarmgirl

7/ If you don’t have a crafty hand yourself, have wander over to etsy– Buy direct from someone who does and support a small time crafter with a passion for handmade goodness.

8/ Sign a loved one up for a Milkwood Permaculture course, (or a locally grown Permaculture course in your area.) They will be brimming with inspiration afterwards, and that…is always a good thing.

gift cityhippyfarmgirl

9/ For the tea drinker- love chai, love tea, enamel cup and a little ginger bread bites for dunking in. A simple present that is 542 times better than buying something bland in a generic department store.

ginger bread gift ideas- cityhippyfarmgirl

10/ Or using the same gingerbread recipe, kid version style.

11/ Put together a little handmade food hamper. Jam’s, biscuits, brownie, cake, pesto, bread- the options are endless. If you team that up with a little second hand store basket (50c church sale thank you very much!) and you’re in Christmassy business, (always nicer than a gifted pair of synthetic, made in China, novelty boxer shorts…promise.)

12/ And if you still aren’t sure of what Uncle Roo and Aunt Bilby would like, make a donation on their part. There are so many charities to choose from in our collective corners of the world- choose one and your recipients will be so very thankful.

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For previous years eco Christmas gift ideas and wrapping see

eight eco friendly Christmas gift ideas

twelve eco friendly Christmas gift ideas

 

In my kitchen…

This week in my kitchen…

There is a whole lot of wonderful limes from my dad’s backyard tree. I’ve mentioned my love of the humble lime quite a few times, I never get tired of them. I’m thinking Coconut Lime Pie, Chicken Lime Pasta, Lime Cupcakes, Lime Marmalade… limes, limes, limes. (I’m trying not to think about caipiroska’s.)

Dark Almond chocolate for strength, patience and clarity. Works a treat… well for a little while anyway.

A new Italian cookbook. Won over at Not Quite Nigella, (which was a rather lovely surprise.)

Organic, spray free, local, seasonal fruit and vegetable box delivered to my kitchen door. Making life a little easier until I can get back to my farmers market lady.

Baking hotcross buns with a sleeping babe attached. It’s how all the bakers are doing it these days, (well ones with new babies anyway.)

Last year I did a few batches of hot cross buns. Trying to find the right recipe that worked for me. I still wanted to tweak it though, as didn’t feel it was quite ‘right’. This time I did part sourdough, part dried yeast… I’m getting there I think.

Hot Cross Buns

200g currants/raisins

200mls hot water

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cardamom

1/2 tsp dark malt flour

1 tsp dried yeast

250g sourdough starter

100g sugar (2/3 cup, more if you like them sweeter)

250mls milk

100g softened butter

11/2-2 tsp salt

4 1/2 cups flour (675g)

Soak the fruit in the hot water, leave for a couple of hours/ over night.  Mix all ingredients together, except for the salt. Autolyse period 20-45 minutes. Add the salt and mix again, then turn out on to a lightly floured bench to knead until you get a lovely smooth ball of dough. Pop the dough back into the bowl, plastic bag over the top and leave to prove.  A couple of proves and folds over the next few hours. Then out onto lightly floured surface again and divide into 16 or so portions. Roll into balls, or simply divide to get a more square shape. Pop them on a lined baking tray, cover and leave for another prove.

Crosses

1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 water

Mix together and spoon into a piping bag just before they hit the oven.

Then bake at 210C for approximately 15-25 minutes, (until golden.)

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What’s happening in your kitchen this week?

Have a look over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for other kitchen happenings.

foodconnect

For quite awhile now I’ve been frustrated with my vegetable eating options. Actually…no. It’s not the eating options, it’s the buying options. Ideally, I’d love to be growing them. However living in a flat in the city with a designated area that’s not optimum for growing, my growing in pot choices are limited. So what are some other choices available to the average city dweller?

* Super market bought fruit and vegetables- big business

* Independent green grocer- small business

* Farmers Markets

* Wholesale Markets

* Box schemes- quite often delivered to your door

* Community gardens- add your name to the waiting list and grow your own

* Food Co-ops- member owned and operated, bulk goods

* CSA- Community Supported Agriculture

Choosing how you get your fruit and vegetables depends on many things, so it feels like it’s been a long time coming that I’m finally happy with a fruit and vegetable scheme that works for us.

Four weeks into my new CSA fruit and vegetable box and I couldn’t be happier. It suits our family, the quality is fantastic and it works for me. Hoorah!… I found it in Foodconnect.

Foodconnect uses local sustainable farmers, bringing their produce to city folks like me. Box gets dropped off at a local drop off point, where you pick it up once a week, and go home happily munching on the seasonal goodness. All boxed and ready to go, all you have to do is pick it up from a local ‘city cousin’.

So it’s local, organic, seasonal, easily pay from 4 weeks- to a year, it’s not the same fruit and veges each week, supports regional growers, farmers get a good price, super super fresh, has got us eating different vegetables, (I was in a vegetable rut and didn’t even know it) if I don’t like something there is a swap box and I don’t have to do anything but pick up the box. Pretty good deal I think.

* I’m always happy to see a caterpillar or slug in my organic produce. To me, it means it was pretty darn happy just to hang out in the leafy goodness, and also shows that it’s really fresh. Saying that, I would prefer to find them before I eat the leafy greens and not after, wiggling out of the kitchen sink. All this does to me is question my washing skills and did I just inadvertently eat its sluggy cousin?

Now there’s a cheery thought…

Sydney Foodconnect

Adelaide Foodconnect

Brisbane Foodconnect