making it yourself

Why make it yourself?

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This is often the question that I get asked?

It has been a busy, busy week. You know when the proverbial fertiliser has hit the wind displacement device when you have to do two weeks of work to be able to take a week off to go on holidays. To say my current work load is unsustainable is to state the bleeding obvious. This is a story for another day though.

Added to that I have had some issues with the second car and we are trialling having only one car and me using public and the bike as my mode of transport to and from work. this is working out well but means I have to be a bit more disciplined and means it requires more organisation.

So that has been the reason for no posts over the last weeks. We have however been trying to keep living the life and to a greater extent we have been.

I have cooked meals for friends and family and we have offered friends to stay in our house rather than paying for accommodation and keep the money go round going. We have carted our kids, and still grown our food and all this with a couple of people working far too long hour’s is it any wonder we need a holiday 🙂

I try to cook our meals as much as is possible from scratch that is not to say that I don’t use some items such as yellow curry, garam massala mixes and items like mustard (although I will be making my own mustard soon enough)

Last weekend I made up a porchetta with fresh herbs from my garden for dinner, pancakes with no mix. We ate veg and salads from our garden including a tomatoes and basil salad with 5 different types of tomato and3 types of basil. During the week we ate meals that we had cooked for lunches and I started the week with $45 in my pocket and ended the week with $43 in it and no sense of hunger or having missed out.

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So why go to the trouble of making our own from scratch especially when we appear to be time poor? Well the cost is a major issue. We don’t work to work, we work to allow us to get ahead and in time. If we work long hours and just waste the money then we are going backwards.

I also like the challenge of doing things from scratch. I talk a lot on this blog about the developing of skills. Making it yourself makes you less of a slave to the system and ensures that if the time comes when you cannot easily buy the service you can always do it yourself.

It also means I know what the inputs into something are, especially useful with cooking and knowing what our bodies and the bodies of our children get put into them.

It gives a real sense of the cost of things to the world. Sometimes it is not cheaper such as the bacon I make. I can buy cheap bacon for much less than I can make. But that would factory farmed pork, in unsustainable practices to a large multinational taking the money of shore. And it does make you wonder what the final cost to the world of such an item really is when you realise it costs me twice as much to make it and I don’t even consider the labour involved.

So it makes you look at the world differently.

It makes you realise what real things should taste, feel and be like. Not the bland hand to mouth no thought I will buy more stuff to make me feel better lifestyle.

And the final reason is that it is interesting and fun. Which helps to keep me sane on the stupid go round that is the culture we often deal with.

As I have said a part of the week as been in seeing if we can cope with out the second car. Our kids love the simple joy of being carted by us in the bike trailer from crèche rather than by car and despite the organisation and discipline the time spent carting the kids has reacquainted me in an odd way with the world around me as I cart the kids or walk to and from the station I check out the herbs. See mallow and mallow cheese in abundance, edible nightshade, dandelion and other ‘weeds’. I also see some interesting things people. Guerrilla gardening, by putting plots in unused spaces, wild harvesting and gathering. Keep an eye out for items I can use later on and the huge waste of space that we have in the cities that could be used to solve a great many of the problems we have from homelessness to growing our own fuel and food to connecting as a community.

 It is also feels a damn side more useful than a lot of people I see rushing home so they can change to go out to do some exercise…

So while busy the week has been good with more time in many ways than most to look at the world and enjoy the time with family and friends.

This week I am in Apollo bay for the week with family for a beach side holiday. Tomorrow we will catch up with Libby from libby cooks for a meal including quite a few foraged dishes and we will then explore the area, hopefully do a bit of foraging and just enjoy the time with family.

If I don’t post I will definitely have to come up with a new excuse other than work 🙂 wont I ?

Homemade Porchetta.

Butterfly a roast and lay flat on a chopping board. I left the roast in the fridge uncovered for 5 hours to allow the skin to dry out to get the best crackling prior to this step.

Dry toast 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds.

In mortar and pestle or the food processor in a pre apocalypse kitchen put together a selection of fresh herbs from the garden, lots of basil (or basil mint as I used in this case) and parsley are a must, as is garlic and some rosemary (not too much) other than that just use what you have. I used oregano, thyme and sage as well and could have added some French tarragon I had if I wanted to. A little bit of salt and pepper and some chilli to taste. Blend with as little olive oil as you can to make a smooth but not sloppy paste.

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Spread over one side of the butterflied roast, grate a little lemon zest on the top and then roll and secure the roast with twine or wet skewers.

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Liberally coat the skin olive oil and salt and fresh black pepper.

Pre heat an oven to 250 degree Celsius

Put roast in for 30 minutes and you should see the crackling start to blister. Drop the heat back t 150 degrees for 2 hours or so then ramp the temperature back up to 250 degrees for the last 20 minutes until the crackling is perfect.

Serve it? We had simple boiled Dutch cream potatoes and other vegetables to go with it.

Any leftover should be sliced thickly and eaten on sourdough for lunches 🙂

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Photos of the making of porchetta below.

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