At Toast The Locals, we provide an exciting array of unique producer products you can combine with your own fresh produce to create amazing meals. Wendy Hardy, Spice Queen from Spice Girlz Gourmet, has kindly shared with our Toastie readers her favourite winter warmer recipe for you to make at home. Wendy’s delicious, full of flavour Pumpkin and Red Lentil Curry recipe is followed by an interesting article by Tania Paola from Food With a View, who writes about the resurgence and wonderful benefits of backyard gardening during Covid.
In this recipe we are using some ingredients from our makers on Toast The Locals.
You can buy them on our marketplace in a single shopping transaction.
Thanks to Wendy Hardy, (Spice Queen) for sharing her delicious recipe with us.
SPICE GIRLZ GOURMET’S | PUMPKIN & RED LENTIL CURRY
You will need:
- 1 teaspoon Kangaroo Island Fresh Garlic granules, grown on-farm in Stokes Bay, KI. (or 1 clove of garlic finely chopped)
- 1 small onion, cut into fine wedges
- 1 Tbs Rio Vista Adelaide Hills ‘Augusto EVO’
- 4 cups diced pumpkin
- 1 large potato, cubed
- 1⁄2 jar Spice Girlz Hakuna Matata, (spicy eggplant & tomato salsa, from McLaren Vale, SA)
- 1⁄2 cup red nipper lentils, rinsed and drained, from Rosevale Lentils farm in Southern Yorke Peninsula, SA
- 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 cup organic coconut cream
- 1⁄2 cup red capsicum, finely sliced
- 1⁄2 cup green beans, chopped
- Native Desert Lime Salt, made by Port Willunga Fine Foods, SA
- Ground pepper
- Small bunch coriander, (Optional)
- 1 long red chilli, chopped (Optional)
- Brown Rice (Optional)
- Natural Yoghurt or Sour Cream (Optional)
- Serving Suggestion: We teamed this curry with some cooked brown rice and a dollop of natural yoghurt or sour cream.
- Heat olive oil in a large pan.
- Add garlic & onion and sauté lightly without colouring.
- Add pumpkin & potato and toss until coated, cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add the Hakuna Matata and stir well, then cook for 2 minutes.
- Add lentils, stock & coconut cream, then stir thoroughly and cover.
- Cook over low heat for about 20 minutes, stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
- When the lentils are soft and the pumpkin is tender, stir in the capsicum and green beans.
- If the curry seems too dry, add a little more stock
- Cover and cook for a further 5 minutes.
- When ready, season to taste with salt & pepper.
Ladle the curry over hot brown rice and top with a dollop of natural yoghurt or sour cream. For extra warmth and zing, sprinkle with freshly chopped coriander and chilli. (Optional) If you’d like to pair this with a lovely glass of wine, we suggest the 2020 Eden Valley Cashmere Riesling from Paisley Wines, with subtle hints of lemon balm, lime and orange blossom, plus a delicate balance of fruit, sweet and cleansing acidity.
Toast The Locals & Enjoy!
“Homegrown Rewards” Covid contributes to the resurgence of backyard gardening
by Tania Paola, Food With a View
Post-war migrants knew a thing or two about survival – my Italian grandparents’ garden always housed an oasis of organic fruit and vegetables. There was no grass, only rows and rows of all kinds of vegetables, copious fruit trees and a mysterious underground cellar – where bottles of homemade wine and a year’s supply of tomato sugo were stored. By contrast, my Australian grandparents’ garden consisted of manicured lawns edged with beautiful, flowering plants and neatly hedged bushes, and a couple of fruit trees.
The Covid pandemic has been, and continues to be, a devastating wake-up call. A welcome positive is that it’s resulted in many people discovering (or returning) to the joys of home gardening. Establishing rich beds of soil to create and nurture a thriving home garden has been shown to increase people’s well-being and foster a greater community spirit. In essence, there’s growing evidence that gardening makes us happy!
In March 2020 my husband suddenly found himself with too much time on his hands. Like many others, he suddenly lost his job in hospitality and experienced the shock of seeing hundreds of ashen-faced, jobless people lined up the street outside Centrelink’s unemployment office. To compound this upset, empty supermarket shelves and skyrocketing fresh food prices caused widespread panic. Limited access to food and a constant fear of shortages were supposed to be things from the past – tales from grandparents who lived through world wars and spoke of rations. And now, without warning, the impact of history repeating itself (albeit for a different reason) startled us all.
Driven by a desire to become more self-sufficient and with extra time on their hands, lots of people sought comfort in the pleasure of growing their own produce. Enthusiastic, would-be food growers headed to their local garden centres in droves, and many took to purchasing seeds online. Our garden centres celebrated as vegetable seed and plant sales were up 30-50%. Even chook prices escalated. The growth in backyard poultry demand saw prices increase from around $10 each to an all-time high of $50 for a hen layer.
Growing our own fresh produce has numerous, tangible benefits. Other than the obvious cost saving reward and feeling of being more in control of our own supply and demand, gardening is beneficial for people’s health on a range of levels. Home grown produce is undoubtedly better. It has a higher nutritional content than the fast tracked, hydroponic greens on supermarket shelves. Gardening is also a family friendly activity, well-known for boosting one’s mental and physical health. There’s something about having our hands in the soil – connecting with earth and nature – that’s inherently good for the soul. Gardening is incredibly therapeutic and, most importantly during a crisis, provides a sense of reassurance and well-being by decreasing stress and relieving anxiety.
Socially, the resurgence in backyard gardening has generated a definite increase in community spirit. It’s heart-warming to see neighbours engaging and getting to know each other better, by pooling resources and swapping produce over the fence. During Covid, some neighbours would kindly leave boxes of excess produce by their letterbox with a ‘please take me’ sign – a truly gracious reminder of how connected we are. From a broader perspective, more plants are a wonderful benefit to our ecosystem.
In his newfound ‘job’ as gardener and food provider, my husband would go to ‘work’ every day in our backyard. Spinach and rocket seeds given to us by keen gardening friends, lying dormant in a drawer, sprang to life. Within a month or so of my husband’s new ‘job’, our backyard transformed into a glorious sea of green, and throughout Covid we enjoyed the benefits. It was an additional pleasure to donate and swap produce with neighbours, friends and family.
This year my husband has gained in confidence and moved on to planting broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini and more. With trial and error, and more practise, he’s become quite the green thumb. I find it therapeutic and almost meditational to snip stems of parsley, spinach, and rocket each morning. My Italian grandparents would be proud!