Friday, April 18, 2014

Community food continues

It's been a  month since we started our Community Food Challenge in earnest. I'd say we're going pretty well! During the last month, in addition to challenging ourselves in the food ethics department,  we've also had some adventures in mushroom foraging, a mastectomy and some time in hospital, many many helpful visitors (bringing delicious, nutritious, local treats like oysters and foraged mushrooms), we've processed a batch of Autumn Farm chickens, and Pearl, with the help of our visitors and local helpers, has done an amazing job of maintaining the farm as I recuperate from my surgery. So yeah, it's been a busy, emotionally crazy kind of time.

In the food stakes, we've revelled in the joys of our community food endeavours, but we've also broken our own rules a few times. The culprits? Nori (the kids love it and it's REALLY good for them), raw organic cacao and coconut butter (it's delicious and has anti-oxidants in it... I know.... weeeeak...), and I believe Pearl at some point bought some discount corn thins for the kids while she was in the supermarket getting toilet paper.

I actually feel OK about these slips, and we're certainly not beating ourselves up about it. We're too busy enjoying the deliciousness and satisfaction of the vast majority of the food we're eating. Here's a little bit of what's been on our plates:

Home-made pork and fennel sausages with locally grown red cabbage and mashed potatoes, with lentils and herbs.
Home-grown eggs scrambled with home-grown leafies and herbs, sliced, just-picked tomato and foraged mushies courtesy of our mate Liz.
Eggs poached in home-grown tomato stew with herbs and local jersey feta.
Eggs poached in home-grown tomato stew with herbs and feta
The kids, Gab and I also had a rather successful mushrooming haul a couple of days before I went into hospital (much more successful, but no less fun, than our mushrooming ventures of last Autumn). It was a drizzly saturday when we all set off for the pines, to see if we could nab ourselves some pine mushrooms. We only found 2 of the pine mushrooms (Gab had them with poached eggs on toast), but we did find 2 baking trays full of slippery jacks!

I've never had slippery jacks before, and some of the accounts I read online weren't too enticing. One writer even went so far as to write that given the amount of time it takes to prepare them for eating (you have to peel off the top slime, and some people recommend peeling of the pores from the underside - I did both), and their kind of bland, slimy texture, they're not really worth the effort. Here, I have to disagree. I reckon they maybe just weren't cooking them to their best effect.

A little more research revealed that this kind of mushroom isn't the kind you just fry up and eat by the truckload like some other kinds. It's most commonly revered by Eastern Europeans, who like to cook them up into a stew. So Pearl fried ours up with some home-cured bacon, home-grown eschallots and garlic, and then used that as a base for a pearl barley, beef bone broth and rosemary stew. Nothing short of amazing and definitely, beyond a shadow of a doubt worth the peeling. Not to mention the fun we had picking them, in a beautiful setting, with beautiful people, which was worth all the work just by itself!
Happy kids and their mushroom haul

The bone broth we used in the stew was something that had been cooked up to assist with my healing after surgery. A few days before I went into hospital for my mastectomy, we started cooking up a bone-broth of certified organic pasture-raised beef bones, courtesy of our friends the Thompsons at Symphony Farm. We cooked it over the fire for about 12 hours, then again on the stove for maybe another 12, to draw out all the super-goodness. While I was in hospital, Pearl continued the brew, adding veggies and garlic and tons and tons of kale. It. Was. Delicious. And nutritious. Luckily for me I was allowed to come home the day after my surgery, so I was able to enjoy this as my convalescing food for the days after my surgery, as opposed to the nutritionally devoid and most certainly not local (processed, packaged and frozen in Goulburn, in fact) hospital food. Perfect.
And I'm pretty sure that the setting for the cooking of the bone broth also contributed to its awesomeness. I was also really glad to be home, healing in my own place, with my loved ones nearby.

Have you had any fun, satisfying, delicious community food adventures lately?


  1. So glad to hear you could come home so soon after hospital Annie, and be enjoying all that delicious, healing food Genevieve has been so lovingly preparing. Awesome to hear you are doing so well with the community food challenge :) Wish we were closer and could bring some produce and meals over for you! Sending much love and healing vibes xx

  2. That broth looks amazing!
    So glad the surgery is behind you now.....Hope the pathology results were as good as they could be.
    Sending love. X