Friday, January 13, 2012

Happy kids on a breezy Autumn-like day

Yesterday was sunny and cool and breezy here in the south. One of those days that feels almost Autumnal, yet we are so far from Autumn we know it will be hot again any day soon...In recognition of the deliciousness of the day we headed to our land for an early dinner and dam swim for the kids.

I dunno about you but the dam swim is mucho unappealing to me, not only is it shallow and muddy but it's currently covered in Azolla. Not that Olive and Oscar seem perturbed, in fact quite the opposite. They bound down the hill towards the dam shedding shoes and clothes in order they can immerse themselves as soon as possible. Once in they roll and loll in the muddy waters happy as, well yes, pigs in mud. It warms our heart to see them so at ease and so happy in this place that will soon be our home (just as soon as we build our mini-straw bale with Frank Thomas and get a water tank and some solar panels etc etc.. but plenty more on that later). For now, our 7 acres is a place for picnics and plans and discovery and rolling in mud.

We built our fire and cooked our corn, It is truly the most delectable corn you can imagine. Grown nearby on the river flats it is almost obscene in its sweet juiciness. While the corn cooked we heated up a pot of our version of Jude Blereau's Cowboy Bean and Quinoa stew. Now it's hardly fine dining but golly, it is more-ish and nourishing and the nude, wet, happy kids eat so well when anything resembling tomatoey beans are on offer. Some people say I'm a little neurotic about ensuring the kids eat well and maybe I am but it is certainly satisfying to my mumma sensibilities to see our kids eat whole foods I've prepared for them. I'll post the recipe at the end for those in need of some easy pease, protein rich meals to satisfy the discerning kids in your life.

This recent land visit confirmed that the plums are finito but the blackberries are on the brink of readyness. We're torn in our relationship to the blackberries choosing, at this stage, to focus on their culinary attributes rather than their pestilent weedy nature. It's such a thrill to see the number of native raspberry plants cropping up across the acres as we imagine summers of the future and the berry cornucopia we will enjoy together.

These simple times together are so good. They fill our hearts with warmth and strengthen our resolve that this crazy shenanigan of building our own straw bale house and creating a food forest garden from nought + relying on the sun for our energy and rain for our water is all gonna be ok. And not just ok, actually pretty great.

Beans and quinoa stew adapted from Jude Blereau "Wholefood for Children"
will provide 2 - 3 meals for a family of 4

1 cup quinoa
1 tablespn lemon juice

1.5 - 2 cups of black eyed beans
olive oil
1 onion, slices
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 green capsicum, seeded and finely diced
large pinch of dried oregano
large pinch each of cumin and dried coriander
1 - 2 carrots, finely diced
1 sweet potato, finely diced
1 zucchini, finely diced
2 tblespns rapadura sugar
2 tins of diced tomatoes
salt and pepper

Place the quinoa in a bowl, add the lemon juice and cover in water. Leave to soak for at least 6 hours. Drain and set aside.

If using dried beans you should soak them overnight. Drain and set aside.

Heat the oil in a big pot, add onion and garlic and gently fry. Then add the herbs and spices and cook for a few minutes. Add the diced veg and put the lid on and cook for 5-minutes until it's starting to brown. Add the tomatoes and a little extra water, bring to a simmer. Then add the beans and quinoa and enough water to cover them. Cook gently with the lid on for a couple of hours until the beans are soft. Add sugar, salt and pepper to taste.

We like to eat it with some Barambah sour cream and grated cheese. And if we're feeling really fancy we make it into a Nachos kinda thing with some extra special organic corn chips.

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