Each season has a distinct beginning and end in Tasmania. Spring has seen many trees in the orchard burst into blossoms and start to bear fruit. Right now, though, in the second half of spring, it’s a bit of a waiting game. The raspberries and cherries are not quite ripe, the peaches, nectarines and plums are mere marbles on the trees, and the apple and pear trees are yet to show any sign of fruit. This is definitely spring, though, with the last of the lambs still frolicking and the green grass stretching skyward.
In November we plant our summer crops. Tomatoes will go into the ground in the first week. So, too, will pumpkins and other summer hopefuls, like corn. While they grow, however, we make do with more asparagus and fortify ourselves with food from a little further afield.
While I’m committed to eating my own and other local produce, I admit to buying limes and other citrus not available locally from time to time. And while there is a Tasmanian avocado grower, our avocados often travel long distances to get to us. I know it’s weak of me, but some dishes just scream out for them.
It’s the broad beans that dominate my vegie harvest at the moment. Growing them has been a revelation. Since we had broad beans in the garden, I’ve discovered you can eat them whole when they’re no longer than your little finger. Simply blanch them and dress with lemon juice and olive oil. When they fatten, I pod the beans to reveal the shiny, light green gems inside. As the pods get bigger, though, I find the beans need double-peeling. This way, you avoid the slightly bitter casing that makes some people dislike them. The sweet, Kermit-green nuggets are simply served as is and grace the dinner table every other night during their season.
Because they’re our major source of greens at this time of the year, I do try to cook them in different ways, hence, adding them to the pasta dish here with the braised pork. Also eaten this month is a soup that’s spicy and tangy to suit the milder weather, cheese puffs and digestive biscuits to satisfy a rumbling stomach after hours of sowing seeds and mending fences, and more beans, this time black, for vegetarian sustenance. End on a zingy, sweet note with my lemon-lime delicious.
Photography by Alan Benson.
As seen in Feast magazine, November 2011, Issue 3. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.