I do little in the garden. That is to say, my role in this garden building odyssey is to keep Dadda's little helper occupied (and away from heavy machinery) and to keep the workers nourished. Barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen you could say. Less and less barefoot as the days grow cooler.
When I was pregnant with Alannah, I thought - ha! - my year off would be my year of learning to cook. It turned out to be my year of learning to photograph. Photography allows you to keep an eye on a increasingly fast moving child; cooking requires you to have your hands free.
Down to Earth is one of my favourite blogs. Rhonda's book is one of the two bibles (the other Stephanie Alexander's Kitchen Garden Companion) that is helping to guide us as we begin composting and building the vegetable garden.
They are also my guide as I start learning to cook from scratch. Last Friday night, I gave Rhonda's chicken stock a crack with a carcass I'd saved from a roast chicken earlier in the week. The first step is roasting the carcass in the oven, as you see. I made and froze two to three litres of stock and filled the entire house with its comforting aroma.
Over the last few weeks, I've also begun to turn to cookbooks more and more for our weekday meals. I'm particularly fond of Jamie's 15 Minute Meals and Annabel Karmel's Family Meal Planner. Both contain quick, simple recipes that I can see becoming regulars in our dinner rotation. There were a fair few pantry staples to buy in the beginning, but I now have the ingredients (or substitutes) on hand for that vast majority of recipes.
So this Friday night, I tried out a variation on Annabel's vegetable soup using my homemade stock. I used the older vegetables from our fortnightly fruit and vegetable box and threw in some leftover creme fraiche. It might not look like much but, with homemade bread: wow.
I'm quite liking this cooking-from-scratch lark.