My perverse and rebellious nature is finally finding a healthy outlet as I determine not to line the pockets of the Coles/Woolworths monopoly more than I can help. As they delight in squeezing the farmer out of every drop of hard earned profit, so I enjoy devising new ways of denying them my money. Horrified by the pathetic provisions purveyed into my pantry in return for ever inflating inroads into my plastic piggy bank, I delight in devising ways and means to thwart them.
Thus I have made soap, candles, jams, mint sauce, yoghurt, cookies, cakes, mead, schnapps, cream cheese, fetta and now cheddar. I watch what we are spending the most money on each week or fortnight and then resolve to make my own – not out of parsimony but a plot to foil the oligarchy!
As the veggie patch yields ever more I am forced to try new recipes to turn them into delicious sustenance to feed the ravening hordes. I am so grateful to Hugh’s Veg Cookbook which is now my kitchen staple, and for Pam the Jam who has turned me into a passionate preserver! I have begun to understand and even enjoy following a recipe although my rebelliousness will not allow me to obey the amounts. Near enough is good enough for me!
With workers and wwoofers on the farm and a hungry boy to feed I seem to spend all my time in the kitchen so I have decided to share some of my adventures in these pages and hopefully inspire others to play with the pots and pans and stock up the pantry. Walking into a pantry whose shelves are filled to the rafters with home made goodness can warm the coldest heart. Although I must admit that sometimes the harvests are very intimidating at the thought of all the hard work ahead!
Don’t expect exact measurements or very detailed instructions as I share my soul food, and please share your recipes with me in return. Some of the very best farmhouse favourites have been shared by friends or family from their own stable of staples, from newspapers, magazines, recipe books and the wonders of the world wide web.
At least once a day I will ask Google how to do something – I have learned how to bake cookies, make soap, yoghurt, fudge and rum, and Google has also told us how to deliver lambs, treat laminitis etc!
Self sufficiency is hard work but there is immense joy in supplying one’s own needs and thwarting the tendency to dependency on the supermarket chains and the global manufacturers and marketers. We still have a long way to go before we have mastered ‘The Good Life’ but like Tom and Barbara we have a messy house, gnarled hands, strong arms and backs and the muddy delight of getting back to nature and learning to work with her rhythms and seasons and reap her bounty.