This is one of the amazing things about our sea change year in New Zealand: the place where we are staying has an amazing existing vegetable garden. Having a garden has changed me in ways I didn’t anticipate. First, I have to say here that I’m not a good gardener. I don’t even enjoy gardening very much, oh, but I do love the fresh produce. Fortunately I have someone to help me and my husband adores tinkering about too.
Over the months of experiencing the garden, I’ve become more connected to the food I eat and how I prepare and cook it. I find myself motivated to attempt new recipes and cook from scratch more. Like tomato pasta sauce. I peeled a tomato! Never done that before. I made pasta from scratch too.
I keep saying to the kids, “This is so exciting! THIS CAME FORM THE GARDEN!” I say it so often, that when I was preparing pumpkin soup the other day, I said to my teen as she walked in the kitchen asking what was for dinner, “What am I going to say? About all this?” waving my hands about. She did a mock eye roll and replied in a monotone voice, “How exciting, this came from the garden?” “YES!” I exaggerated my voice in extreme excitement.
Something else I haven’t done before: After a weekend garden harvest, I lay out all the spoils and decided to meal plan from what I could see in front of me. I decided on chilli con carne, pumpkin soup, vegetable lasagne, zucchini slice, lamb and vegetable roast, lamb & rosemary ravioli. Planning meals that way felt good and right and satisfying. Satisfaction. I think that’s what it is. There is an immense joy and satisfaction in growing food, living with the seasons and making connections.
1. Chilli Con Carne
- Used: capsicum, chilli, onion, herbs and tomatoes
2. Pumpkin soup with flat bread:
3. Vegetable lasagne
- Used onion, capsicum, eggplant, tomato, carrot, parsnip, zucchini, herbs
4. Zucchini Slice with chickpea & capsicum roti
- onion, zucchini, capsicum, herbs, tomato, pumpkin
5. Lamb with roast veggies
- pumpkin, onion, herbs
6. Lamb ravioli with homemade tomato sauce
- leftover lamb, rosemary, tomato, onion
Note: All my kids ate and enjoyed the meals too (even the vegetarian lasagne which I wasn’t sure would go down very well). My younger two aren’t big fan of roasted pumpkin, but love pumpkin soup.
I haven’t been this excited about food and cooking…ever! It’s made me determined to achieve some sort of garden when I get back to Australia because it’s enriched my life so much. You never know: This year may turn me into a gardener yet.