S.O.L.E. straightforward

the bloggers' banquet in Melbourne this week was a great opportunity to meet, as Anne of Green Gables would say, some kindred spirits, to discover new ideas even find a new talent of my own.

I marvelled at Duncan's macarons, the vast quantity of Ed's pizza dough, the delicious toppings brought by many others, Vida's haloumi (and apparently her cake was beyond sublime), Ella's prosciutto wrapped asparagus and balsamic strawbs with cream, Jane's barramundis on oh-my-goodness-it's-sublime porcini risotto, John's array of wonton & meatballs and Emily's macaroni cheese patty pans and peanut clusters to name but a few... photos on flickr

One of the things however that struck me, albeit later in conversation with others who had enquired, was the magnificence of the food brought to the communal table in all its simplicity. That's not to say that no effort was made, au contrare! simplicity in the best possible way - lacking complication, unnecessary refinement, embellishment, ornamentation. in fact, just taking plain old good ingredients and making them into great food. which brings me to the real point of this post...

the application of straightforward simplicity to every day food without spending a bomb to do so.

take the everyday sandwich. millions across the nation are eating them on any given day. many of them, maybe most of them, are full of overprocessed and refined foods - some white bread, possibly artificially enhanced with fibre and omega-3, "cheese" that next to the real deal tastes like anything but, processed meats if you're lucky, and a piece of stale old lettuce, over 2 weeks old by the time it comes home from the supermarket, void of any nutritional qualities.

yet the sandwich need be anything but humble with a little of thought.

sandwiches are a great way to use up leftovers - the random piece of steak from last night thinly sliced, pickings of chicken off the carcass, left over casseroles, takeaways and salads. one of my favourites when I was at school was the leftover chicken from a curry that my mum made frequently. of course line the bread with something less permeable - lettuce or something, to stop the bread from going soggy if you aren't going to eat straight away.

here's one version:

  • bread was sourced from am local bakery specialising in sustainable grains and baking techniques. whilst a 750g loaf will cost about $5.60 a 1kg loaf is about $7.20 making it, on an pound for poud basis, relatively affordable.

  • the dressing/mayonnaise i used was home made, using local, free range eggs.

  • the lettuce came from salads direct, based in the huntervalley and practicing sustainable farming practices

  • the tomatoes were purchased at Flemington and grown in the Sydney basin. I roasted them at home.

  • the chicken was from a local wholesale butcher - sourced indirectly from La Ionica using chemically free processing methods.

  • some salt (Horizon salt - from ancestral subterranean streams in the Loddon Valley and cheaper than other salt flakes on the market) and pepper (can't tell you where this came from I'm afraid.

the cost? well bugger all really, as most of it was stuff I had bought for other things, and this was what I did with it. eating well, eating sustainably, eating relatively healthily is straightforward as long as you are prepared to flex a little creativity and get on with it!


vida said...

Katie, I haven't heard of horizon salt before... do you sell it in your store?? Vida x x x

grocer said...

i do.
i stumbled upon it by accident whilst wandering through one of the wholesale places i go to.

the packaging is not particularly schmick, but it grabbed my attention as it is from pyramid hill, a town in the area my mother grew up (Boort, where the simply green tomatoes come from).

Since producing it, there has been a positive impact on the salinity table in the ground.

you can have a look at their website for more information.

as an aside, I am proud of the fact that this area has continued to adapt as required to meet an ever changing marketplace - Glenloth farms at wycheproof, simply green tomatoes, the olives at Boort also, and the salt from Pyramid Hill are all examples.

neil said...

Ooh yes, Glenloth chickens, my fave. You raise a good point about being creative, especially with leftovers. Sometimes I think we have allowed the big food manufactures to do all the thinking for us and what do we really get? Manufactured food, nothing else. No heart, no soul, no love.

grocer said...

No heart, no soul, no love = no flavour?

vida said...

Where are you guys? Next time I come to Sydney I shall bring my basket and shop up a storm!! Vida x

grocer said...

only online the focus is on fresh food but supplemented with the dry goods to be a true supermarket alternative.

purple goddess said...

**insert Homer drooling noise**

Now THAT's a do-able, SOLE, suburban, affordable sanga!

Duncan | Syrup&Tang said...

It is indeed a mighty looking sandwich.

By the way, your link in the comments to your commercial site needs fixing... people won't find you!

grocer said...

thanks duncan.
i have just tried the link here and it works for me.
what kind of browser are you using?

stickyfingers said...

Quality slow grown food needs very little to enhance it's flavour. No need to crowd the mouth with too many diversions and lose the integrity of the core ingredients in a dish. Real food screams for simple executions and sourced well, will put many middle of the road restaurant offerings to shame.

Sticky's delicious SOLE lunch today was sourced from small Victorian producers


Hope Farm (Yarragon) Stoneground Wholemeal Sourdough...

...spread with Goats Curd (Yarra Valley)...

...with left over Roasted (King Valley)rare breed Black Welsh Rump & pan juice gravy made with Welshman's Reef Verjuice (Newstead)...

...and Fernleigh Farm (Bullarto) butter lettuce and parsley...

...a home grown tomato...
with Murray River salt (Mildura)