How important is it for us (me & him) to have our own veggie patch? Very important, is the answer - and for so many reasons!
First and foremost is the taste difference - the taste of our veg compared to supermarket veg is very different. When I buy from the supermarket I buy Australian grown......but it always tastes so much better when it's home grown! Or if you're really lucky, buy direct from the growers themselves. Deloraine has it's own Farmers Market, as many towns now do.
Secondly, the challenge of growing your own veg....the weather, the bugs, the birds, soil preparation....oh gosh, where do I start! A few days back when we had snow down to 500m in Springtime, all I could think about was my tomatoes! (apologies to all those customers that came into the shop on that day, and had to listen to my tomato anxiety)
Thirdly, for physical and mental health. I love working in the garden - the feeling of working hard, getting a few aches and pains, but then sitting back and looking at what you've done. I love work that you can see where you've been!
Fourthly, the convenience! More convenient than a convenience store!
OK, so you wake up Sunday morning, you've got nothing in the fridge because you've worked a big week and didn't manage to do the shopping. Waltz on up to the patch, grab some veg, grab some eggs on the way past the chook pen....viola, breakfast is served! And this is exactly what I did yesterday morning....with the help of some puff pastry in the freezer and some leftover ricotta.
I've gathered the veg for breakfast and some onions that were ready to pull. In my bucket I have silverbeet, baby kale leaves, spinach, beetroot leaves and spring onions.
Best thing we ever did was install this sink in the patch. Wash your hands and your veggies before going inside.
A quick stop off to grab an egg on the way back down to the kitchen. Excuse me Ms. may I have 1 egg please?
Recipe: Green Leaf & Ricotta Tart
2tsp olive oil
400g approx fresh green leaves - I've used, spinach, kale, beetroot leaves and silverbeet
grating of nutmeg
3 sheets of ready rolled puff pastry sheets
Heat oven to 220c. Heat oil in large saucepan. Add washed green leaves and cook until wilted, then drain and try to get out as much of the liquid out as possible. Pop back into pan and add ricotta and nutmeg and plenty of seasoning.
Lay the three sheets of pastry on top of each other, pinch up the edges to form lip all round. Prick base so the pastry doesn't puff up too much. Bake for 15 minutes or until pastry is golden.
Remove from oven and press pastry down in the middle. Pile on green leaf and ricotta mix, leaving a space for the egg. Crack egg into the hole. Season and pop back into the oven for a further 15 minutes until white is set and yolk is still a little runny.
Eat and enjoy! Now, you don't have to have a big veggie patch like ours, we certainly didn't to start with. Grow something in a pot, on a window sill or any unused bit of garden bed. The joy of collecting your own is something quite special. x Julie