When I was little, I didn’t think I would ever learn to cook. I thought cooking was one of those menial tasks and it involved no amount of fun. Maybe because our mother never let us help her much. The best she wanted from us was that we helped her decide what to eat and that we finished what was served. But, as I got older and a little wiser if I may say so, I started to realise that there was more to cooking than merely chopping and mixing.
Have you ever stopped for a moment and thought about where the tomatoes or spinach that you eat came from? No no, I am not that kind of a person who grows her own vegetables and eats only from her own garden. But I am the kind that likes to go pick stuff from the farm preferably or to the least from the market. I find it comforting. I am a little more independent here in London than in Chennai, so I end up buying way too much and often times from very expensive organic shops. I do this with a slight hope of avoiding those greasy takeaways that we do every now and then. Buying too many vegetables is one way of making sure that i almost never want to waste any of it and less of hearing that ” we have eaten out so much this week and we should be spending less bla bla” from the husband. But only the one who cooks can understand the emotions of another isn’t it??? So,When I do cook, I try to use the best possible ingredients.I don’t make what I made the day before or sometimes even a week before. I love food cooked with different coloured vegetables and a reasonable amount of flavour. Apart from trying to make it healthy,I do all of the above to earn that well deserved break from cooking. So when we eat out, I feel a little less guilty.
But here comes the best bit, I am actually very pleased to tell you that my parents own a small farm in Chennai which is a few miles away from our home. And ever so often we get some lovely greens and other vegetables delivered to our house. What a blessing!!! And every time my mother tells me on the phone that she cooked some really delicious stuff using our own farm fresh produce, I would feel so jealous. The last time while I visited home, I was lucky enough to have tasted lots of food made with vegetables from the farm. And needless to say, today I am a bit nostalgic and missing all the food and fun.
Here are some pictures of the produce from the farm which I clicked last year.
The Entire lot
The white long ones are Banana Stems which make for an amazing South Indian Style Kootu/Lentil coconut gravy.
Raw Bananas, Guavas and Vazhapoo(Banana Stem flower)
Musmusukai Keerai(Mukia maderaspatana)
Usually served in the form of Kootu(Curry with lentils and coconut)
Agathi keerai(Sesbania Grandiflora)
Usually served as Kootu or a dry stir fry with Toor dal and coconut
Manathakkali Keerai (Solanum Nigrum)
Usually served as Kootu or a chutney
Helpers around the farm and the house
The bunch of leaves below the Banana Stem flower is Murungai Keerai (Drumstick leaves). This is a very tasty one and usually cooked in Sambar or added to dosais and adais.
Banana stem flower (Best had as Kootu or a Vadai(Dumpling)
Agathi Poo (My mother made an amazing thokku(Pickle) with this flower and it was out of the world. I will find a picture of this pickle and post it sometime soon.
The little black beauties in the picture above are fresh manathakkalis/black night shades/sunberry. These berries are sun dried and added to kara kuzhambu(a spicy tamarind based curry).
I hope you enjoyed this post 🙂