This week I have my friend and yoga teacher Sam Loe sharing a guest post here on Homegrown Kitchen. With the busy time of year fast approaching Sam shares a simple way we can recharge, and the importance of supporting our digestion. Sam and I have talked about teaming up for sometime, and we have come up with a relaxing and nourishing yoga and food workshop in Nelson on Sunday 30th November. The perfect timing to set us up relaxed while energised for the busy weeks ahead. Find out more below. And now I hand you over to Sam’s very capable hands…
If you are relatively new to growing food a good place to start is legumes such as peas, beans and broad beans. They are one of the easiest and most satisfying edibles to grow, plus they feed the soil with nitrogen as they grow. It is win win for everyone – we get to eat, and the soil is feed too.
Healthy soil is integral to growing strong healthy plants. It has taken some time, however, after 8 years of gardening here I can confidently say our soil is healthy. It is dark in colour, holds moisture while not soggy and has some spring to it when squeezed. This has taken care and time to build up the garden beds with compost and mulch, and practicing crop rotation. Different plants utilise different nutrients in the soil therefore rotating crops – i.e. not planting tomatoes in the same spot as last year – helps the soil to recover and replenish. And growing legumes after a hungry feeder such as tomatoes is one way to bring the soil back to health.
It seems kinda funny to make a cake for a virtual thing like a blog. It is not something or someone I can hold or who can even eat the cake. However, I spend enough time nurturing and updating and sharing here, that celebrating the milestones with cake can be excused I suppose. Any excuse for cake really!
Two years and counting, and I feel like I am firmly established in this blogs life now. I know how the technical side ticks, I know what type of recipes I want to share, and your comments are always a joy to read and reply too. After 2 years I can feel the sense of community created here, even more so when I get out and meet some of you in person at my workshops and other events. This is what keeps me coming back to this space every week, keeps me planning the recipes I want to photograph and share.
It was perfect in every way. The weather was warm – a balmy 23C spring day to be exact. The venue was just right – a secret outdoor patio only a local would know about from when the Nelson Provincial Museum used to be a night club. And the food and wine perfectly satisfying. I couldn’t have imagined it in any other way. Today I share with you some photos from that perfect evening last week when I launched my Homegrown Kitchen 2015 Calendar. Thank-you to everyone who came along, I was humbled by the turn-out. And to my friends and dear sister Ana who lent a hand on the evening, you all know who you are and I love you all for your support!
OK, so this year has been a little manic. There has been the teaching around the country, food writing for magazines, producing a 2015 recipe calendar, and not to mention family life. Friends often say, ‘I don’t know how you do it with two young children’. Well, I will let you in on a little secret, and it’s called functional eating. I don’t think I have put a name to it here before, but these two words have been rattling around in my head for a while now. Basically using my knowledge of food and nutrition I fuel my body with the best possible food to give me energy and support the immune system. While also providing extra nutrients that can be stored away for those times of extra manic-ness when the body needs some reserves to fall back on.
Today I am introducing a new category to Homegrown Kitchen where every month or so I will share a homemade kitchen essential. In actual fact it is not the first time I have shared a homemade staple ingredient and have included a list below of others you may be interested in. It is more an intention on my part to make it a regular event around here rather than just when the urge arises.
To kick it off I am unraveling one of natures finest products and the simplest of pantry essentials to create – vanilla extract. I am yet to find someone who does not like vanilla – occasionally I come across someone who can’t stand chocolate – but so far not vanilla. I once read somewhere-out-there that the areola, the darker circle of flesh around a woman’s nipple, releases a subtle vanilla scent to entice a newborn baby to the breast. If this is true, then it most certainly explains why we love vanilla, because it makes us feel loved and nurtured – we all like a bit of that. Then again, that theory may just be a myth – as my Dad always told me ‘believe nothing of what you hear [read], and only half of what you see’. In any way it sounds plausible to me and makes for a good story.