I’ve been reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, (which is un-put-down-able) and thinking about how lucky we are in Australia. Our soils are old and mostly not very good. But a year round growing season is such a bounty. Not many parts of Australia get actual snow, and my garden is pretty near frost free. But even in cold places, there is fresh produce available from within the 100 mile zone, or at least from within the state, pretty well most places.
This time of year is a glorious season for leafy greens for salads and stir fries and sauteéd greens. The short days have convinced things that want to bolt to seed that the best strategy is to wait, so there are lettuces and rocket, endive and sorrel, aragula and parsley, coriander and dill, raddicchio and mizuna. The cooler weather is favouring things that wilt in summer, so there is celery and silver beet and spinach. The cabbage moths are gone, so even if you are buying non-organic, you will have half a chance, as they come into bearing over the next month, of scoring brassicas (cabbages, caulis, broccoli, chinese cabbages) that are not drenched in insecticide – the fast chinese cabbages are already on.
This is also the peak of the lemon season – if you are inclined to make Lemon or Lime Cordial, Preserved Lemons, Lime Pickle, or Chilli Jam now’s the time. Mandarins are in glut and we have tangelos and navel oranges and grapefruit . The local farmer’s market also has lots of avocados. The flying foxes got our custard apples, but the farmer’s market has them too.
Macadamia nuts are also in season now, and macas with their monounsaturated fats (like olive oil), protein, wide range of minerals, B vitamins, and phytochemical antioxidants are really good for you.
Winter sea mullet are super cheap, and really fresh mullet are one of my favourite fish (and a really high source of Omega 3). Tailor are also in season and they are one of the best eating fish there is on the sustainable list.
So that’s the ingredients I’m basing my cooking around at the moment.