I attribute my passion for cooking to my Nanna whose green thumb(s), and suburban handkerchief-size kitchen garden provided a significant amount of the many vegetables I ate as a child. I was regularly in her company and from an early age was asked to run up the back and pull a few ……. carrots or beans, dig up a few potatoes or cut some mint or parsley for use in the meal she was preparing at the time. It couldn’t have been any fresher!! So much of what appeared on my plate came straight from her precious little garden….parsnip, tomato, silver-beet, radish, lemon, grapefruit, strawberries, rhubarb, choko, pumpkin, spring onion, mint, parsley, potato, carrot and much more. I may have been a city kid who rarely, if ever, experienced a farm, but thanks to Nan I grew up knowing the true taste of fresh organically grown produce, seasonal eating and an understanding that the end result could only be as good as what you started with…… a hearty winter soup is a celebration of her legacy….
It is probably a result of Nan’s influence which led me to the practice of buying meat from the butcher and fruit and veg from the greengrocer. Well perhaps Nanna and a healthy concern that without patronage these businesses will eventually die out leaving the supermarkets with the monopoly, and the average punter with no or limited choice on the quality and/or origin of their food. I suppose it’s therefore understandable that recently Aron& I have gone an extra step and have made a conscience decision to source our food as locally as possible from producers who support organic and ethical farming practices. For the last 5 weeks we have been buying our eggs, meat, fish and fruit and veg from a few of the Sydney organic markets. It’s taken a few trips but we now have settled on our favourite butcher, fruit and veg supplier and baker who sell at different markets over the weekend. Depending on what’s in our diary for the weekend we can generally make it to a market either on Saturday or Sunday and find our favourite stall holders.
Even in winter, and in the rain, it’s has been a joy to get up early and walk around the bustling market, grabbing some breakfast and buying our weekly supplies. I love chatting to the sellers and learning about the food I will cook for my family & friends. I enjoy unpacking it at home and my love of cooking is only enhanced by the vibrant, fresh and tasty local produce and the knowledge that we are directly supporting the growers and sustainable farming practices. Thanks for the valuable lesson Nanna.