There is no place like (the food) at home

Yes it clichéd and probably sounds a bit daggy. But as I flew back into Launceston after 24 hours in transit and close to three months (on and off) away for work, that’s the thought that went through my jetlagged little mind.  And then, where is my bed!

Unfortunately, I’d arrived too late in the weekend to catch the Farmers Market or Evandale markets – and the backup Young’s Vegie Shed was closed on Sundays. However pulling into the driveway I was super excited to see the progress in the vegie garden while I’d been away. Leafy greens nearly a metre tall (and a bit seedy), spinach and silverbeet ready for harvesting, and the ‘orchard’ blooming in flowers ready for summer. Excellent, this Tassievore Challenge is going to be easy!

First dinner home was Saag Paneer with spinach, silverbeet and fresh herbs from the garden.

Saag/Palak Paneer

  • Lightly wilt some fresh spinach/silverbeet leaves from the vegie garden in an uncovered saucepan (this maintains the green colour) with some last seasons dried chilli and garlic, once cooled blend in blender
  • Add Fenugreek and Cumin to frypan, with chopped onion and paneer (homemade using Tassie dairy products) or local Haloumi cheese
  • Once onion is translucent, add diced last season tomato from the freezer, and then stir in blended spinach, more chilli and garlic to taste
  • Stir in fresh coriander or curry leaves from the herb garden
  • Instead of basmatic rice, serve with Kindred Organics Quinoa, or homemade roti or naan bread (using Oatlands flour).

After many years of renting with various successes with vegie gardens, it is pretty exciting to come home to see the garden is surviving, and now actually feeding us! I lost track of the amount of vegie seedlings demolished by our resident peacocks and wallabies at our old rented house in Trevallyn near the Launceston gorge. Who knew that peacocks would eat brussel sprouts seedlings? Or wallabies would love, well anything we planted and tried unsuccessfully to shelter from them! We’ve still got a long way to go with making ourselves self-sufficient, but with vegies and fruit trees surviving in our own backyard, we’ve made a great start.

My successful foraging during the week continued as I eagerly eyed all the fresh Tasmanian labelled produce in the Vegie Shop – a far cry from the imported, wilted and sometimes suspicious looking produce I’d been exposed to over the previous few months. Memories of wilted $11 turnips and “fresh” produce streaked with pesticide residue rapidly faded as I jumped around excitedly like a child in a lollie shop (embarrassing but true!).

With such great local food (and drinks) available in Tassie, why would you want to live anywhere else? Bring on the start of the Eat Local Food Challenge in two weeks time!

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