Thursday, 30 April 2015

We made it (almost!)

Day 29

A significant day.  Our daughter's 20th birthday celebration.  Also, the second-last day of our Challenge!

Mike complained that carbs are not his thang for breakfast at the end of yesterday (I know, guys can change their minds...)  so I made a smoothie - guava, apple, and feijoa.  No rice porridge.
Fired up with all this liquid goodness, I plummeted into bottling our own olives that have been soaking in water for the last 30 days, almost as long as this Challenge.  It is a long and arduous activity, not for the faint-hearted, but if you can Eat Local, olive-bottling is a piece of cake!
Talking of which, I also made rice flour cake (a recipe on Archana's Kitchen website).  Yep, it's definitely possible!  Getting adventurous in the twilight of our Eat Local 200km Challenge!

Olives soaked in water and changed 2x daily.  Labour of Love.

Tools and accoutrements of bottling olives.
Actually, I cannot remember, nor can Mike!  Probably, as per usual: an entirely uneventful meal; rice flour cheese fingers, avo and tomatoes.

We picked up a HelpXchange French girl from the bus just before dinner, so we all sat down to a nourishing bowl of last night's Brown Rice and Celery Soup.  Then we had locally-grown potato wedges, Daikon Radish pickles, tomatoes and olives.  A simple, hearty meal to warm us in the hurricane winds blowing outside!
Brown Rice and Celery soup.
Winter night-time photographic skills on Mike's mobile
not really appealing!
We had rice-flour apple cake and Tip Top Ice-cream for dessert.  It was surprisingly yummy.  I wasn't sure about the rice flour in a cake but I will definitely repeat this one, even when we return to normal _ i.e, eating further afield than the 200km Eat Local Challenge allows!!

Cinnamon-Apple Rice flour cake!!

Day 30
We reminded ourselves that today is the last day of our Eat Local Challenge!  Yay, hooray!

A simple variation on the humble smoothie, I added yogurt to the blueberry(frozen), feijoa, apple, guava, mandarin mix.  Nice.

Snacks:  We had carrots, and rice flour cheese fingers with home-made beetroot relish and tomatoes.

I made a stir-fry of capsicum, courgette, carrot, onion and my own stir-fry sauce and rice flour noodles!  Yes, they do exist, after a month of missing out on our wheat semolina pasta, I discover that there is a rice-based noodle option!!!&^%$#@*!!    Anyway, it was rather dishy!!

We polished off the rice flour apple cake for afternoon tea.

I used the stir-fry mix to blend with rice, parsley and chives, olive oil and lemon juice to stuff some locally-grown capsicum from Auckland.  Baked to perfection, halloumi cheese accompaniment, daikon radish pickles, beetroot salad (both home-grown) and avo on the side.  Quite filling and yummy indeed!

Stuffed capsicum.
For dessert, we had Tip Top ice-cream topped with guava sauce (which turned out to be more of a jelly).

Afterwards, Mike cleared his throat and said he had to "come clean and confess".  Well, I was waiting for an almighty ground-shaking confession when he reported he'd eaten a chocolate biscuit this afternoon!  Wahaha, I laughed.  He looked crest-fallen and said he felt he'd let Team Green down.  Nah, it's not that serious Matey!  You've done us proud!  We have survived a month of Eating (mostly) local, within a 200km radius, even on holiday in Fiji, with so much holiday joie d' vivre tempting opportunities, and we have learned so much about a mono-grain diet!  Some of which we will take beyond The Challenge.  Onwards and Upwards, but I think tomorrow calls for Celebratory Pizza from our local farmer's market!!

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Are we there yet?

Day 27

I have felt like the kid in the back seat on a long journey.  A month to trial a different way of eating.  Only what grows within a 200km radius.  It's been tough.  Hmmn, and just as we near the end of our Prohibition Lifestyle (Eat Local 200km Challenge), I discover all these great options.  We could live like this.  Maybe.  Maybe not!

Smoothie: usual, fruit from our backyard: apple, feijoa, guava and small mandarins.

I am home, A BIG DEVELOPMENT in my lifestyle - I have started to work a job-share with a colleague.  We work a week-about, alternating every week.  Bliss!  Now I have more time to make, create and bake!  I have always been a working mother, so this is a fun adventure starting this week - more time to do the things I tend to cram into the end of a working day, or on 1 day of the weekend!

Snacking: - the usual, carrot sticks, fruit, and I have just learned how to make rice flour cookies - simply delicious!!  I substituted/fudged an old Hare Krishna cookie recipe I have. Okay, I used almonds, which are not local, but I figured out, that the walnuts I bought from the market (local) are still drying, and if they were ready, I would have used them, so I just substituted with almonds!)
Rice Flour Cookies:
1/2 cup soft butter
1 cup rice flour
1/3 cup sugar
3 TBspn almonds, ground
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp baking powder (not necessary but I thought the rice flour may be heavy)
Preheat oven to 175degC (350 F).  combine all of the above, when mixed, roll into 12 balls and flatten in the palm of the hand.  Place on cookie sheet and bake 10 -12 minutes till golden.
(I found I needed to add 1 TBspn hot water to bind it all).  

We ate them all too quickly.  Will have to make a batch a day to keep up with demand!!

Rice crackers, avo and tomato.  Humble meal, not really enough to fill a teeny-tiny person, but hey, we are lucky!  Many people across the Globe don't get 3 meals a day!!

Mike made a stir-fry with onion, garlic, butternut, corn and zucchini strips.  I made a stir-fry sauce with honey and home-made sweet Thai chilli sauce.  We wrapped up parcels of stir-fry and guacamole (locally-grown avo) in rice wraps.  Heavenly!!

Day 28

Am loving being at home!!  So much to do!

We started our day with our regular smoothie: apple, feijoa, guava and figs.  Not as nice as usual - I think the figs spoil it!

Mike has complained that he needs carbohydrates to keep him going in the morning.  He read somewhere that men need more carbs.  So I made him a porridge from rice flakes which he bought from our local Indian supermarket, Spice Traders.  They have an incredible range of stock!!  I wasn't sure of how it would turn out, but cooked with water, milk, cinnamon, pinch salt, sugar and butter - it was like pudding!!

This is one meal that I don't seem to pay much attention to.  Too busy in the kitchen or garden!  I spent the day inside when it rained, and back out when the sun came out, pruning our over-zealous feijoa trees (I managed 2 of 9).  There is a mountain of fall out - perhaps I was a little severe!
Lunch was a hurried rice cracker and avo feast.  And last night's left-overs on the side.

I used some rainshower time, to sort through my seeds so I could sow some Autumn seeds.
I made a Brown Rice and Celery Soup, and baked some rice flour cheese fingers to substitute for that need to have toast/bread with soup.  It was a veritable feast for kings!  Well, maybe not for kings, but for us, anyway!  The Rice flour cheese fingers are really simple to make:
1 cup flour
100g butter, cold and cubed
2 cups grated cheese (I used Mount Eliza cheese from our local market)
pinch or two of cayenne pepper
Mix flour, pepper and butter in blender, pulsing till mixed, add cheese and pulse till mixed. Pour out onto floured bench and press flat with hands till it is about 1cm thick.  Cut fingers and place on baking paper cookie sheet and bake at 180degC for 10-20 minutes until golden.  Allow to cool on rack.

Brown Rice and Celery Soup, with accompaniments.
Harvest today.  I think I am totally over feijoas.

Sweet little yellow cherry guavas.

Red cherry guavas.
 Oh, what to make with guavas... jelly?  Sauce?  Jam?  Last night I took a bag of guavas and excess feijoas and a large marrow to the local Backpackers.  Let them eat local!!  I'm over this now!  No, only kidding, I seem to just be getting into it!!

Monday, 27 April 2015

Light at the End of the Locavore Tunnel

Beautiful Freshly-dug Jerusalem Artichokes
Day 25

Smoothie, consisting of  feijoa, apple, frozen peach and blackberry and guava.
Warmed up rice pikelets (not as nice as freshly made!!) with home-made jam

Guavas; Abundance of Autumn
Rice cakes with locally made (Mount Eliza) chees, tomato, avo and home-made olives.

rice crackers and cheese

Baked butternut and cauliflower and green garden salad
Feijoa and apple baked dessert with rice flour crust (same rice flour pikelet recipe) and Tip Top ice-cream

I miss bread!!  And toast!  And wheat flour, with which to make a host of muffins, cakes and pies!!!

I used the day to work in the garden during the morning, and the afternoon to work in the kitchen, preparing much of the harvest into dishes or preserves.  I made Daikon radish pickle with some radishes the birds have planted on our behalf (we feed them with wild bird seed, they in turn, feed us by dropping seed and they grow to feed us!!)  It takes 3 days to cure (during which time, whenever you open the fridge, everyone in the room comments on the whiff!).

Made-in-a-Bag Daikon Pickle
All things Rice
Ceres Rice Product to supplement our Rice Diet!
Day 26

Smoothie  consisting of avo, feijoa, frozen peach, apple and yoghurt.  Very creamy, smooth consistency, subtle flavour but very filling.

Crackers with butternut bake from last night, local cheese and avocado (thank goodness, Katikati is Avo growing territory).
We had warmed up apple/feijoa with rice flour crust pie and ice-cream

As I had been out in the garden, harvesting artichokes, it was time to do something with the newly dug fartichokes, so I googled a recipe for Artichoke soup - it apparently reduced the gaseous consequences of ingesting the little knobbly roots.  We had artichoke soup and salad.  Very, very delicious, but we found it a little light on the tummy-filling side, so we finished off with a bowl each of Ricies in milk!!  For goodness sake!!  Shows the desperate measures we will go to when we can't eat all that we are used to or what we take for granted!!  I am beginning to get all Rice-d out!  
Artichokes, washed and scrubbed
During our movie, we ate ice-cream with guava sauce (having just made that today).

I miss all the foods I reach out for, without having to think of where it comes from!
3 different chillies from our garden
Little Bell Chillies
I made 2 bottles of Sweet Thai Chilli Sauce , along with 5 bottles of Sweet Guava Sauce for topping Tip Top ice-cream!  We normally would eat 3 cartons of ice-cream a year, but during this challenge, we have already been through one and a half cartons, only because it's In The Zone!!  Not terribly healthy!!  But nice!  Something to look forward to in the evenings!!
And there is indeed a light at the end of this Locavore Tunnel - 4 days till we can say; "We did our best!!" This Eat Local 200km Challenge has showed us resilience and discipline we never knew we had!  As vegetarians, our diet is limited, but this just added another dimension to our planning.

No, not a smoothie - blending apple, chillies, garlic, sugar and ACV for sauce

GreeNZ own Guava Sauce Recipe:
I cut off the tails and tops of all the red cherry guavas - about a kilo and a half.  Popped them in a saucepan along with 4 chopped green apples.  Covered the fruit with water and boiled till the fruit was soft.  Then I strained the fruit pulp through a sieve (tiring), discarding seeds and skins and added 1 cup of sugar to each cup and a half of juicy pulp.  Boiled until a setting point was reached, I then bottled the sauce in hot, clean jars and sealed.  

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Locavoring Day 23 and 24

Memories of our Fijian Holiday....

Day 23

Boy, getting a tad tired of logging and blogging all that we eat in a day!  But then, I take heart when I think that there is only  days to go on the Eat Local 200km Challenge!! Wheat, here we come, in 6 days!!  Bring on the pasta and pizza!!

Smoothie - apple, feijoa, fig, blueberry and guava.  Berry, berry delicious!!

Snack: rice crackers and feijoa

Leftover salad ingredients assembled in a rice wrap x2, served with soy sauce
Salad ingredients for the rice wraps
Pre-dinner snack: 1 raw carrot.  Food for the eyes.

Stir-fried champagne mushrooms (Mike discovered them at a local grower off SH2 in Tauranga) with garden-grown courgette, cauliflower and onion (from Onion Place in Katikati), in a cream sauce (Auckland) and rice.  Home-preserved beetroot from the garden and avo (grown locally) on the side.
For dessert, we had home-stewed peaches and Tip Top Ice-cream (Auckland)
A late night snack of tea and Ceres Rice Crisps (the organic rice version of potato chips!!)

I miss Proper Chips!!

Day 24

Same old, same old - smoothie using blueberry (frozen, from Hamilton 114km), feijoa, apple and guava from garden.  I also made some rice porridge for a more satisfying "grounding" breakfast experience!

Leftover champagne mushroom dish with rice.
Snacks: carrot,  Sakata Rice Crackers.

Usually, our Friday night is "Lazy Housewife's Night" for us, and Mike goes to the local Farmer's market and buys Henri's delicious hand-crafted, pizza-ovened pizzas.  Bugger, one more week to go till we can take up that wheaty option again.  We still have to stick to our chosen grain for the month - rice!  So after a quick think, Mike went and bought a local Indian take-away, requesting a locally-grown veg-dish and rice.  Their veggies come from Auckland, luckily still in our 200km radius, so we had a delicious rice and Jalfrezi dish to share.  I made rice flour pikelets with home-made Luisa Plum jam for a sweet treat.  
Habits die hard.  After our TV-free February, which ran through till mid March, as we didn't really miss all that time spent watching movies on the weekend, we decided to treat ourselves to a movie.  During our movie, I experienced that all-too-familiar craving for potato chips.  After a quick fossick through the grocery cupboard (now I know what Old Mother Hubbard felt like), lots to eat, just not during our month of Eating Local!!  So we settled for a bowl of Ricies cereal (I usually make a bake-free sweet treat with Ricies and dates) to satisfy that snacking need!!  
Veg Jalfrezi with rice
Rice flour pikelets
I miss all the snacks I used to have during the day.  Now I have to snack on dried or fresh fruit and veggies!!
The evenings get dark very quickly, so photos of food are really not great!  No natural lighting.

Realising that we only have 6 days to go!!
I also discovered last night, on catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror, before hopping into the shower - a totally FLAT stomach!!  Now that has to be a direct result of this Locavore diet!!  What else??  We did not set out with this goal in mind, but it goes to show the effect of a wheat intake - perhaps that is what bloats us a little??  I used to have a little blimp, but now it is totally flat!  
For those wishing to actively lose weight, what can I say??  Become a Locavore!  Mike says he also is experiencing a similar effect on his tummy!  And we feel it in our looser clothing!!  Hmmmn, interesting discovery!
Every day, 2 of these are collected - definitely local!!

Way more guavas than we can eat - a large bowl a day.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Sigh! Day 20-22 Eat Local Challenge!

Day 20

The days are starting off really cold and dark.  I miss the option of cooking up my normal winter breakfast of oats porridge.  This morning, surprise!  Feijoa, lime juice, apple and guava smoothie (again!)  Sigh.  Yes, it's really quite delicious, but methinks even eating ice-cream every day gets a bit boring......

Mid morning snack: I am back at kindergarten, so we have a shared platter of rice crackers and fruit.  Sadly, I can eat only the feijoas as I am not sure of the origin of the apples.
Lunch:  Left-over veg stew and brown rice (Mike had an Indian meal, veg curry and rice, with lassi, as he was in Rotorua, and had my left-over meal for his dinner)
Afternoon snack: dehydrated pear (tasty, but can't eat too much of them in one sitting).
Mike's Rotorua lunch, local veggies curry and rice, and lassi.
Left over veg stew

Mike was away on a business trip in Rotorua, and I did not feel much inspired to cook.  So I slummed it with 4 rice cakes, 1 topped with  beetroot relish and Mount Eliza cheese (locally made in Katikati), and 3 with home-made peach jam.  Then, still feeling peckish, I snacked on a carrot.   Still not satiated, I warmed up the rice flour-topped feijoa pie left-over and ice cream.  It never pays to slum it, so later in the evening, the cravings became a monster and I could no longer ignore the fact that I knew there was a packet of chips in the bottom of the grocery cupboard.  Feeling guilty, as I did not have my partner in crime to corrupt, like Eve corrupting Adam, I succumbed.  I sneaked a bowl of Salted Proper Chips (from Nelson) 777km!  Guilty, as charged!

We usually try to eat healthier options, so Proper Chips is our junk food of choice – no nasty additives, but they come from out of The Zone, whereas Blue Bird chips are made in Auckland (in zone) but have MANY junky additives.  Do we sacrifice our health for the sake of eating local??
I went to a local fruit and veg store in Katikati and asked where their kumara were grown – the Indian employee said they were local.  I asked in Katikati?  He said, no, Tauranga (35km).  Are you sure? I asked.  Yes, from Tauranga, he assured me.  I asked and got same response for the butternut.  So I happily bought them.  Then as I was leaving, I spied some bananas and I said, pity bananas are not local.  He said, yes, they are local.  What?? Not grown here I said.  He replied with puzzlement, yes, but you can buy them locally!!  Totally misunderstood my questions, even though I had explained why I was asking these questions!!  So now I am not sure if butternut and kumara are indeed local or not!!  Anyway, the kumara sure tasted good baked!!

These are the challenges!

Day 21

Smoothie (of course): feijoa, apple, lime juice and guava.  The red cherry guavas add a nice flavour, even if the seeds are milled into gritty additives in the smoothie.
Mid morning snack: feijoas and rice crackers at kindy.

Brown rice, with stir-fried onion, corn, tomato and chilli, drizzled with avo oil, which I rustled up in the morning.  Usually, I would grab a couple of pieces Vogel's bread to toast at work - easy.  Now lunches take a little more time to carefully plan.

Brown rice, baked sweet potato, with grated nutmeg and butter.  A green garden salad with market bought tomatoes, capsicum and garden-harvested cucumber.
For dessert, I experimented with baked figs, sprinkled with sugar and lime juice, served with sweetened yogurt.  It was definitely not my best experiment.  The figs were such a strange texture that I ended up eating the yogurt on it's own, though Mike enjoyed his, as did he enjoy the ice cream he had today from McGregor's roadside fruit and veg stall - Tip Top ice-cream with locally grown blackberry and feijoa.

My First Aid instructor came to the house to collect feijoas and was blown away by the selection of fruit on our small intensive edible landscaped garden.  She left saying she was inspired to go home and design something similar for her 2 acres of land!!  I am always thrilled when we can inspire others to grow their own backyard supermarket!!

Day 22

Ricies!!  (Kid's rice cereal)  I discovered a bag in the bottom of the grocery cupboard!  Yay, something else to tantalise the taste buds with!!
Mid-morning: my usual smoothie – feijoa, apple, lime, guava and blueberries.  Super-delicious!!

Lunch: Brown rice and leftover sweet potato with feta cheese slice (made in Auckland).  A colleague looked at my uninspiring-looking lunch and made sympathetic noises.  It didn't look so exciting but tasted really good.  (Maybe, I was just really, really hungry!!).  I snacked on dehydrated feijoas and pears in the afternoon.
Rice wraps with salad, avo, grated carrot and a green sauce (recipe)
Green Sauce Recipe:
Into the Ninja blender, place 2 handfuls basil leaves and several cloves of garlic, 1 tspn salt, juice of 2 limes and 4 Tbspn avo/olive oil and whizz till it forms a runny sauce.

2 rice cakes with honey to supplement the meal.
Baked apple with ice-cream

Really wish I could do healthier, more varied and interesting meals.  Like avo chocolate mousse – nice healthy snack with local avos but has ½ cup cocoa – too much to fit into 5% condiments category!
Shall we dance??  Only 8 days left of The Challenge!!