christmas

Our Christmas honey haul

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Most of our latest honey harvest.
Most of our latest honey harvest.

This is what we harvested a few days before Christmas: a pile of jars, plus seven 1L tubs. (Actually, we’d already sold nine jars to friends before we could even arrange to take this photo.)

In total, we bottled 19.75L of honey. Clearly the bees have been very productive and happy πŸ™‚

Cooking from the garden: a Christmas lunch for less than $10 per head

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Earlier this week I invited my team from work home for a Christmas lunch. As it is every year, cooking produce from the garden was the focus for the meal.

In total, I did a three course lunch as follows:

Starter:

  • home-baked focaccia
  • home-made hummus dip
  • home-made baked beetroot dip

Main course:

  • slow roasted shoulder of pork
  • parsnip and green beans, pan-fried with honey
  • baked potatoes
  • carrots with vinegar and sesame seeds
  • beetroot salad with feta and walnuts
  • home-made apple chutney
  • tomato and tamarind chutney

Dessert:

  • eton mess, with home-baked meringue and mulberries

Other than what we already had in my pantry, these were the only items I had to buy:

  • 5kg of pork ($10/kg from my local meat wholesaler)
  • a 2kg bag of potatoes
  • a tub of greek yoghurt
  • two tubs of cream
  • a block of feta

That’s it! All up, it worked out to be less than $10/head, which I think is pretty good going πŸ™‚

It definitely proves the value of growing what you eat, with the freshness of the ingredients a big extra benefit.

PS. sorry no photos — too busy cooking all day!

Local rare breed pork roast for Christmas

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Rare breed pork belly -- yum!
Rare breed pork belly — yum!

This Christmas we cooked a roast pork belly for lunch, when all the relatives came around.

But this was no ordinary, supermarket-sourced cut of pork. Instead, it was a rare breed, free range pork belly, sourced from Farmgate, who have a shop just around the corner from work in Redfern.

The pork belly was incredibly easy to cook. Score the skin with a knife, and rub with oil and spices. Then roast on a high heat for 30mins, and on a lower heat for an hour. Let rest.

The result? Incredible crackling, with enough for everyone. The meat itself was tender to the point of falling off the bone. Delicious!

This was the best of all worlds. A great meal, with minimal fuss. Ethical meat sourced from a local grower. It’s now so easy to eat wonderful food, why compromise on second best! πŸ™‚

A very early Christmas

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A veritable cornucopia from the garden
A veritable cornucopia from the garden

On Monday I cooked Christmas lunch for my team from work, as is the tradition. (Yes Christmas! The price to pay for having two of the team going on maternity leave late this year.)

For the meal, the garden provided:

  • masses of silverbeet
  • carrots
  • spring onions
  • salad greens
  • herbs, including mint and dill

From this, and a a few store-bought ingredients, we had:

  • spanakopita (cheese and spinach pie)
  • roast chicken with baked potatoes
  • indian carrot salad
  • green salad

There’s still heaps of silverbeet left in the ground, and the spring crop is just coming into its own. It’s amazing how little has to be bought when the majority of ingredients can be pulled straight out of the ground an hour before the meal.