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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Pantry Essentials, Garden Activity Diary

The bulk of our day was taken up with checking cattle, setting up and adjusting the irrigation and some more fencing. With the cattle we did a complete audit of all of next door's herds which took a little extra time but the dogs enjoyed the extended walk. We did manage a few odd jobs about the house but were interrupted by a call from a concerned neighbour down the road. A calf seemed to be isolated from the herd of 7 on the river. A quick trip and the calf was reunited with its mother.

We all have different pantry essentials that we keep in stock to ensure a nourishing meal can be prepared. Our list is broken into two groups. The first is "The Basics" which are ingredients used in almost every dish to build flavour and texture. Each list was compiled by looking in the refrigerator and the pantry and listing those items which were either used daily of at least a number of times each week. This is the first list.

List #1 - Basics

Olive oil - used everywhere, cooking, dressings, oiling the butchers block, remedies.

Stone ground flour - The BD grains are ground as needed and used for sourdough bread, pasta and coatings.

Tomato Puree - Sauces, stews any dishes needing tomato flavouring.

Tomato Dried - These are kept in Olive Oil and blended with the Puree if a more intensive flavour is needed. Also finely chopped and added to salads when fresh tomatoes are out of season.

Fish Sauce - A little in almost any dish adds another dimension. The secret ingredient.

Salt - Mostly used for cheeses but Sauerkraut needs a little. Rarely used in cooking that is the job of Fish Sauce. But you can't beat salt sprinkled on freshly picked Tomatoes and Cucumbers.

Pepper - On some foods this just makes a huge difference. Socca is nothing without its Pepper.

Pulses - What would we eat on our fast evenings if there weren't beans and lentils. And no chickpeas means no Socca. Some of the most nourishing Winter dishes start with these.

Vinegar - Tossing up whether to include this one. Yes it is useful but you can get away with a Lemon or Lime but then if preserving or cleaning this I suppose is mandatory.

Garlic - Other than ice cream in what dish wouldn't you use this.

Onion - As above but vary the cut depending on what needs to be achieved e.g. finely chopped for cooking, rings for frying, half rings and thin for salads.

Ginger - Now here's one that can be included in ice cream.

A useful tool for gardening is recording when certain activities are performed. Our journal has two types of pages. Each double page is either a "Month" summary or a "Week List" At the commencement of every month is listed essential tasks that must be finished that month e.g. in July shallots must be planted. Each of the subsequent double pages is allocated to each week of the month where details of major activities is recorded. The pages are added to every year building up a multi year log of activities. Useful in tracking when the first Tomato is harvested, how many years the Asparagus has been in the ground etc.

Everything is recorded in pencil to allow for corrections.

Monthly Activity Page

Weekly Tasks Completed Page

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