We have been eating very very well lately. Lots of very local meats and cheeses, vegetables and Summer fruits. The best way to eat. Very real, very delicious. Meanwhile we've embarked on our own little lifestyle project which is about committing to primarily eating our own produce or that which we have bought (or traded) directly with the producer. We're a ways off yet. And really, we're not sure we'll ever get there entirely. But that's ok, it's the striving we like, and the thrill when we hit the locavore jackpot. We've discussed this here and here and here and here and here and more... Ah yes it is a bit of a recurring theme. Our little life goal is made all the more easy by the fact we grow our own pastured chickens now so we have a ready supply of delicious meat we can eat or trade with other pasture-based meat producers.
Actually on the subject of pasture raised animals, since we've been lucky enough to raise our own or eat those raised by others we know, I have been enjoying a new kind of deliciousness. It's the sweety sweetness of the pasture raised. It seems the better the life the animal has had and the less stress on its "one bad day" then the sweeter the meat. By golly, this has transformed my understanding of just how very wonderful, some food can taste.
We're not so caught up with the notion that we need to raise and grow and make and produce everything ourselves. To a large extent, yes, we are energised and inspired by developing new skills and learning about new ways of feeding ourselves. However we also relish being a part of our local economy and helping to strengthen the interconnectedness within our community so we enjoy supporting and sharing with other growers, producers, makers...
As I was saying, we have this guiding ethic but we don't always succeed and to be perfectly honest sometimes we don't want to succeed. For example, the other night we ate duck. It was prepared from a recipe provided by our friend Niki. She said it was the taste of her childhood. Really, it was freaking delicious in its sweetish soy, tamarind, coriander goodness. We stir fried beans from the garden and had it with big mounds of soft steaming white Jasmine rice. We could have avoided the soft whitey rice from Thailand. Yes we could have stuck firm to our ethic-in-progress but the meal wouldn't have been the same. That rice was the best damn treat ever and went so frikkin well with our local duck and our local garlicky beans. What's my point? Sometimes we "fail" because we have little choice and sometimes we "fail" when we have all the choice in the world and we just want that delicious thing from overseas. We are human after all. I just read a nice little piece by Milkwood on a similar theme - The Ethics of Almost.
Oh but I digress, the intention of this post was to discuss the amazingly triumphant meal we made a little while back. It was a triumph in flavour, joy and eating local ethics.
We got a little bit Maggie Beer with one of our pasture raised chickens. Have I told you how delicious our chickens are? Yeah they are seriously good. The seriously good chicken was cut up and mixed with olive oil, salt, rosemary, our own pancetta and preserved lemons and baked. Everything but the S & P was local as... Then we dug up a couple of handfuls of potatoes and par-boiled them, rolled them in olive oil and added them to the crispifying chicken pancetta goodness.
For the salad we cooked up some wonderful beetroots from our friend Thea, mixed them with greens from the garden, toasted sunflower seeds, lemon juice , balsamic reduction and a little bit of labna that I'd made that afternoon. Gosh, how I love yoghurt cheese.