I know the buzzword for the past few years has been food miles – the distance between the food that is grown and essentially our plate. As a gardener, I can add a new dimension to this concept because since moving back to our home state, I have started vegetable gardening again. There is something special about visiting the vegetable patch every day to tend and to watch the growth of plants. Home vegetable growers will understand the pleasure and anticipation involved in growing one’s own produce. All my produce is organically grown. I pay attention to the soil which in turn produces lovely crops of what I decide to plant.
Whilst the concept of food miles is crucial to rethinking the way we view our food source, I created my own recently – food meters – because this is essentially how far my vegetables have to travel from the earth to the plate. Having vegetables on hand in my garden means a daily ramble down to the patch to harvest something. Today is Sunday so I need something hot and nutritious for lunch. What shall I make today? An easy answer is at hand as each fortnight I plant a new batch of stir fry vegetables. I love stir fry vegetables because they grow within eight weeks from planting to harvest. Here’s the story of our lunch today:
I had better harvest the side shoots of the broccoli. If I don’t then the plant will bolt and not produce any more for me to harvest. The large vegetables are Pak Choy. You can buy these in the supermarket but they are nothing compared to what I can grow at home.
A nice selection for today. I ended up not using the broccoli because I had plenty of other vegetables. In the top bowl, I have Wombok, Pak Choy, Tatsoi and a whole plant of spinach. Both the spinach and the Wombok were starting to sprout.
My brother bought me a big wok burner a couple of years ago. This burner has to be used outside, unless you want to burn your house down. The burner attaches via a safety mechanism straight to the gas bottle that is regularly used for barbecues. I am cooking this outside on an old table that was originally a barbecue. My husband Jon fixed up this old contraption so it is now an excellent wok table. Garlic and ginger are added to the hot wok and I have to stir like mad because both will easily burn. The aroma is intense.
All the vegetables have been washed and sliced up. I added half a red pepper, some carrot sticks, unsalted cashews and some baby corn to this mix. The blend gives off a lot of steam during cooking which only take a few minutes. The wok makes a roaring noise the higher I set the gas. I added some soaked and drained Singapore noodles here, along with some sliced omelette and a little bit of Teriyaki sauce today. I do vary the sauces according to what we feel like having on the day.
Here is today’s lunch on the left, piping hot from the wok to the plate. Yesterday’s combination was vegetables only but just as delicious as Sunday lunch today.
Not a bad Sunday lunch for a gardener. From the earth to the table within 30 minutes. How’s that for food meters!