Day 38 – 160km Diet

Lessons learnt:  Don’t forget to turn on the main isolation valve to your drip irrigation system before the automatic system turns on!  It took me a little while to figure out why all the vegetables were starting to look a bit tired, and it took me until this afternoon to figure it out.  That is what happens when tomatoes grow over the valve and block it from view.  I forgot to turn it back on after transferring between water butts, and missed two of the watering days that we are allowed from the mains.  I gave the vege patch a big drink from the tank today for an hour, and it looks much healthier.  Water works wonders for gardens.  D’uh Gav.

The other lesson I learnt was that stockpiling tinned food and local eating do not go hand in hand.  I had a dilemma.  I respect the need to stockpile food for hard times, have had to use it now more than once.  However, so much canned food is imported from overseas.  So, I made a decision this week to only stockpile food that was at least labelled as Product of Australia, dried Australian produced goods that store well like beans, or failing that, at least an imported organically grown variety.  It felt like a bit of a cop-out regarding the diet, but I know that it is essential to maintain a store of food that won’t spoil and that you can use and cook without the need for electricity or natural gas.

The tomatoes are coming in thick and fast now, with so many vines yet to ripen.  I will be able to preserve (canning) a lot of passata this year for pasta sauces in winter.  Just remember when preparing tomatoes for a water bath that you add in either a little vinegar or citric acid to raise the acidity so that the tomatoes remain safe to eat.  I certainly wouldn’t like to introduce botulism into the mix of local fare.

Both Kim and I have taken quite a fancy to mint tea.  I like it hot, but she make a nice iced mint tea every couple of days.   I still have a cup of coffee about twice a week, as we still have some in stock.  I am hoping that before we run out, the tea bushes will be a bit bigger and that I can start making green tea to quench the caffeine addiction.

Making: Ice-cream, yoghurt, dehydrating chick peas, and bread.

Harvesting; Zucchini (will they ever stop?), Tomatoes (bucket loads), Basil, Cucumber, Dried Lazy housewife beans, egg plants, mint for tea, spring onions, chilli, Spanish onions and garlic, average of 6 eggs a day.

Planting; Mint cuttings to keep up with the demand for mint tea. It grows well in pots from a simple cutting, and takes about a week to become established.  Just keep it moist and it will thrive.

Menu for the week.

Day 33 – Tuesday
Breakfast: Yoghurt and apple. 100% local
Lunch: Leftover vegetable curry.  100% local
Dinner: Jacket potatoes with rice, cheese, tomato, cucumber and capsicum.  90% local

Day 34 – Wednesday
Breakfast: Special K (stockpile) with local milk. 50% local
Lunch: Scone, apple and a peach.  100% local
Dinner: Bean patties in a wrap with home grown salad.  75% local

Day 35 – Thursday
Breakfast: yoghurt and peach.  100% local
Lunch: Leftover bean patties with 4 types of cherry tomatoes.  100% local
Dinner: Beef burgers (sliced thinly) in a wrap, home grown salad with pesto.  Home made ice-cream for desert.  60% local

Day 36 – Friday
Breakfast: Special K with milk and yoghurt. 75% local
Lunch: leftover vegetable curry.  100% local
Dinner: Ratatouille.  100% local.  Kim and Ben did not like this much, but I loved it.

Day 37 – Saturday
Breakfast: Special K with milk and yoghurt. 75% local
Lunch: Meat pie.  0% local
Dinner: Chicken curry.  100% local

Day 38 – Sunday
Brunch: Eggs, Bacon, and baked beans.  25% local
Dinner: Jacket Potato with tomato, Pyrenees cheese, cucumber, and mayonaise (stockpile) and home-made ice-cream for desert.  90% local.

Verdict: The maths for this week is 78.8%, which is a little down on last week, but still pretty good. 

Footnote: I don’t think we will be having Ratatouille again for a very long time, which is a shame because I just loved the taste.  I have been consulting one of my favourite cookbooks, the cook’s companion by Stephanie Alexander, the complete book of ingredients and recipes for the Australian kitchen.  What I like about it is that all the recipes are listed by main ingredient, for instance if you have a glut of zucchini, then you got to Z and find a bunch of recipes that usually have other seasonal ingredients listed with it.   It like the title suggests, it is a good companion for someone who grows and cooks their own food.

Oh, and we just finished watching the movie, Julie & Julia, staring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams.  It was a great story.  I laughed, I cried, and could really relate to both the cooking and the blogging!  Both Actors deserve an Oscar for their performance and Meryl has been nominated for this years award. 

Once again, as in the movie, blogging changes lives. I too, have discovered this fact again this week.


  1. says

    Ratatouille, as you are probably aware, is a french peasant dish from centuries ago. Like our vegemite, it’s an acquired taste, but once you get the taste for it, you’ll want it more and more.

    I make this at home and freeze the leftovers to have as a light lunch or snack. Use crusty french style bread rolls for a bit more of a feel of that authentic french dining.

  2. says

    I love lemon verbena tea too and, because of blogging, friends in France and Englnad now grow it and use it as well. I can’t imagine life without blogs!

  3. says

    Thanks for the comments.

    @ Tree huggin Momma.

    I realise that I could stop buying metal canned goods and do it all myself. The only reason I don’t is time, or rather lack there of it. I have a full time job. My wife Kim, has MS and gets very fatigued in the hotter months, so that leaves little time for lots of canning. I do my best with the time available, which is more than most.

    @ Anita.

    Great to hear from you again. I will look out for lemon verbena on the weekend. We don’t use egg yolks in our icecream, however there are recipes in the booklet that do have them. They look a little bit too decadent for me! Good luck on the diet, I hope you clock up a few 100% local meals.

    @ Dixiebelle

    It looks like a clutch bag that my daughter carries everywhere with her. Kim said it was too cute to eat. I am going to make another batch of Ratatouille and freeze it for lunches just for me!

    @ Emily

    Thanks for following. Well done on the veggie patch and fruit trees, I hope they grow strong and are fruitful.

    @ Mickle

    I have a mate who has lots of lemon balm. I do believe that I will drop by and nick some cuttings!


  4. says

    It is neat to follow your progress on your local food diet. And also how you are handling your stockpile with that in mind (or not in some cases).

    I started a garden last fall, it was small but nice. I have just ordered my heirloom seeds for the spring and fall plantings and I look forward to preserving/canning and freezing from the garden.

    Also just planted 7 fruit trees.

    Over the past 1-2 years I have definitely simplified my way of cooking and buying. Going back to the way I was taught and how we grew up by making things from scratch. We are now in a home that has the room for gardening and I look forward to simplifying things on another level with the garden.

    Thanks for all you share.
    Emily in South Texas

  5. says

    Hi Gav,
    Thanks once again for another great post.
    Have you a lemon verbena plant? It makes a lovely tea and made exactly like the mint. Another find I’ve made is Veri dry biscuits bought at Safeway) Made is Australia (n.s.w) but better than all the other dry biscuits now made in China.
    Do you use egg yolks in your icecream? Freeze all your whites and when you have 6 (even better 12!) you can made a delicious pavlova. I’ll send you the recipe.
    I’m going to join you for a week on the 160 K diet. My family may linch me if I do this any longer!!!

  6. says

    When you say tinned, I have to assume you mean commercially canned foods (in metal cans). My question is what do you buy tinned that you cannot can on your own? I am just curious. For example you can and dry your own fruits and veggies (and beans). This is a great stockpile start. One of the other co-op writers talks about planning for plenty or 52 or more of anything she cans (so she could have whatever it is 1x week – more really because they eat fresh during the growing season).
    You can dry and store beans (great source of protein) as well as canning meat.
    The only issue I see is the need for powdered milk, but I get powdered organic milk from my same local milk man. :)

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