‘Eggy bake’ is a common meal in our house and one of our all-time favorites – named by the kids.
|Eggy bake – this version with grated cheese on top from local cheesery. Typically we eat it plain. Rarely we have leftovers.|
I think our 4yo will discover one day that usually pumpkin soup is orange, not green, but both these meals are great ways to get him to enjoy lots of freshly-plucked organic greens.
|Weeping rosemary hanging over the terrace wall gets plucked for most meals.|
|Tulsi leaves and seeds also end up in most salads, soups, curries, and bakes.|
For me it is the rich tapestry of connections that are cultivated through this food that brings it’s true quality to light – the connections with the seasons, with our local environment, with the soil, with neighbors, with friends, with each other in our family, with our play, with our home education, and our workplace.
- Send the kids up to collect the eggs from the chook house we built using timber our neighbour harvested in his woodlot and a gift of reclaimed iron sheeting. We have an eclectic mix of rare breed chickens that the children look after. The eggs are all different shapes and sizes – but all have superbly orange yolks because they free-range often.
- Wander around the garden with a handmade basket collecting a wonderful array of herbs, flowers, and leafy greens (and purples). I take a leaf from this and a leaf from that so I don’t harm the plant and can come back again day after day for more. It’s a peaceful way to garden and harvest.
I collect things like soft pumpkin leaves and shoots, sweet potato leaves and shoots, mustard spinach, any brassica flowers, and soft flower stalks, many varieties of kale, welsh onion leaves, the bolting shoots from coriander/cilantro, tulsi leaves, garlic chives and garlic chive flowers, Brazilian spinach … there are so many things to collect, even pea leaves, bean leaves, beetroot leaves, young chia leaves, young amaranth leaves, weeds – chickweed, dandelion leaves. The more diverse the selection, the more diverse the nutrients in the food.
The magnificent red mustard spinach is making its way into every meal in these cooler months.I love this time in the garden, watching the birds, noticing things – new shoots on trees, self-seeding veggies, subtle changes, and simple beauty. I think about what I can add to the garden to increase diversity or adapt to the changing season. Brassica flowers are a wonderful treat. I often snack on them in the garden.
I notice where I need to add some more compost or mulch. The compost is made from the chicken bedding, and the Azolla we harvested by hand from the lake. The mulch is often chopped and drop materials, but we do also go and pick up some local bales of grass straw that another neighbour orders in bulk for us all to use. The kids love to ride in the trailer with the bales slowly back along the little internal road within the ecovillage with the wind in their hair, singing in the breeze, watching for hawks and kangaroos.
I could ask the kids to harvest the greens too because they know where all the great greens are at any moment – the garden is their playground – and sometimes I do, but I just love this time in the garden pottering for a few minutes.
- Ask my children to whiz it all together in the food processor with a bit of fresh milk from the neighbour and handmade ricotta from another neighbour.
- Cook it in a solar cooker (for a lunchtime meal) or a solar-powered electric oven (for dinner).
- Duck out to the garden again just before the eggy bake is ready and collect some salad greens. I like to wrap little bits of eggy bake in a leaf.
Fresh mixed salad with self-seeding tomatoes and lots of perennial greens, edible weeds and edible flowers.
- Sometimes I go the extra bit and drizzle a salad with homemade dressing – shaking together a little organic olive oil made just down the valley (sourced from the local organic food store), with some homemade kombucha vinegar (using a SKOBY dropped off by a neighbour, a chopped up garlic clove hand-delivered from a friend in Tasmania (traded for limes), and some herbs and spices from the garden like rosemary, oregano, thyme, or chilli, ginger and lemongrass. Even simpler, I grab a lime, lemon, or grapefruit and squeeze it over the salad. Delicious just like that!
Fresh greens, snowpeas. tomatoes, citrus and garlic
- Ask the children to set the table. Often they gather a little posy of edible flowers and lemon myrtle leaves and make a beautiful arrangement.
- Sit down together and enjoy, discussing the particular flavours and textures that we like in today’s version. You see, they are always different – and that’s the beauty of it too.
|Brazilian Spinach has leaves all year round for harvest.|
- this is community food
- it’s package free – the natural packaging of the eggs goes back to the soil. The milk comes in re-used bottles.
- it’s part of nutrient cycles in the garden and is waste-free
- it is so satisfying and just makes me smile so deeply when I sit down to share this meal