I had a back to basics day yesterday. Benny and I went to a fruit and vegetable market, the co - op in Katoomba, and a butcher for our meat. I try to always shop this way but sometimes life gets in the way. Lately my groceries have been bought in a whirlwind tour of Coles late at night or in a rush after school pick up. Interestingly, whenever I stop buying my food from local suppliers my motivation to cook drops off dramatically. We've had more than a few baked beans-and-sausages dinners of late. Yesterday it was time to change that.
Shopping at a few different places takes all morning. Especially because my food co-operative is 30 kms away. Despite my best intentions it's not always going to be possible to shop like this, and I've come to realise that it's OK. My mothering motto has always been do the best that I can with what I have. Some days I have lots of time and energy and patience. Other days I just don't.
Yesterday it wasn't a problem, Benny and I had no plans other than to shop and to cook so off we went up the mountain as soon as Jemima was safely aboard the school bus.
After a morning shopping we spent the afternoon cooking up a storm. Over the weekend J and I had a talk about the food he's eating at work and what we could do to make it healthier for him. Being gluten free he finds work lunches really hard work, and he often ends up eating a stack of Corn Thins (which are not a meal) or going without. Yesterday I made a couple of soups to help him out.
The first was a kale and bean soup that was really easy to make. In a stock pot I sauteed some leek in olive oil and a little butter until soft. Then I added a big bunch of washed and chopped kale. When it had wilted and the stalks were soft I poured in some chicken broth that I had in the freezer (just enough to cover) and two tins of drained cannelini beans. Simple, wintery, and nutritious.
My next soup was pea and ham made in the slow cooker. I rinsed around 2 cups of green split peas and added them to the slow cooker with three stalks of celery (chopped) and a ham hock from the butchers. Enough water was poured over the top to almost cover the ham hock and then it cooked on low throughout the day. I removed the ham and blended the soup and then added the ham meat (pulled from the bone) back in along with a good sized tablespoon of mustard.
The last thing I made was some rhubarb, grapefruit, and orange marmalade. We have a grapefruit tree at our house (of all the fruit trees to be blessed with, it had to be a grapefruit!) and at the moment it's bursting with big yellow balls. Oranges are cheap and a bunch of rhubarb was $2.00 yesterday at the market. I had 700g of fruit made up of 6 rhubarb stalks, 1 grapefruit, and 2 oranges. I used some peel from the grapefruit and oranges but not all because my kids don't really like chunky jams.
The fruit was cooked until soft with a little water before 550g of sugar was added. It took no time at all to reach setting point and I was done.
I have to say that I feel so much better after getting back on track with our food buying and prep.
Hope everyone is having a great day xx