Have you ever made your own meal? I am not talking about whipping up something from produce bought at the shop.. I mean planting, growing, harvesting your own vegetables, and incubating, raising, slaughtering, and butchering your own animal.
I have mentioned before that it is, almost, the end of the growing season. I will be planting some things for the colder months, yet for all intents and purposes, I am harvesting the last of my produce. While at this time of the year it is easy to think that the northern hemisphere has the better time of it, that isn’t the case. It is not a reason to be sad… it is a time to celebrate. So, what better way to celebrate than to harvest my own food and cook a delicious meal for my family.
The day before the feast I “graduated” four of my roosters from my Chicken Tractor. These Roosters were the only four males from the 15 which were the last offspring of Reggie. How did I know the Roosters were ready to eat? They started crowing… that, in my opinion, is the best time. The process of graduating the Roosters was difficult. Killing four chickens (one at a time), plucking them, and butchering them for the table took around 5 hours. It would have taken less, yet I wanted to try a couple of things… for example, I collected the intestines of the chickens to try out making cordage. This didn’t work out… so I will not show you the results.
The Rooster was cooked in my BBQ, stuffed with some dried apple, hazelnut (and breadcrumbs… the only part not grown here). I can’t describe how amazing the chicken tasted… perfectly cooked.
Before I set the chicken in the BBQ, I got myself down to one of my potato beds, where I harvested around three kilograms of Purple “Vitelotte” Potatoes. Not the greatest return on my effort (I might not grow more than one or two plants next season), yet I love the taste and colour of Vitelotte Potatoes.
These Potatoes were cooked with some white potatoes I planted in another bed (which yield much more per plant) in my BBQ. I cooked them in Jacket Potato style, in foil with some butter (which I made from cream) and chives from the garden. They had a great, crispy skin and really made the meal delicious.
Finally, I steamed some green peas and some carrots which I harvested from the garden. They were, literally, harvested minutes before being cooked… you couldn’t get any fresher! My daughter, who usually hates to eat peas, actually tried them and declared that she likes them now.
I finished the meal off with some gravy… made with store bought Gravox, yet I added some fat from the cooking chicken to give it an amazing taste.
I realise that I am not “self sufficient”, yet the fact that I can supplement our meals for some of the year.. and periodically make a whole meal “home grown” helps the family financially, nutritionally and gastronomically. It also fills me with pride when I know that my hard work fed my family.