Learning to Make the Most of My Garden

I’ve been writing a series about our backyard garden here in New Zealand and the food I cook. First post (and harvest) was about the joys of having a backyard garden.  Next I discuss ugly vegetables (and where they all go). As Winter approaches, the garden harvest is getting smaller, but there’s citrus on it’s way! 

Cooking from the garden

I’m learning to plan out my meals based on what I can find in the garden, and it’s a satisfying way to feed my family.  I find it helps to have a bit of a system and there area a few things I now do regularly. 

  • On a Sunday or Monday of each week, I head down to the garden and harvest what I can (and what I need). If the food isn’t going to spoil, I won’t pick more than I need. For example, I’ve been pulling a few parsnips out for the past couple of weeks, but there’s still more there waiting for the next week.  If it will spoil, I look for recipes I can use a lot of produce in. I made tomato pasta sauce when I had a huge amount of tomatoes.
  • I wash the produce that as soil on (like parsnip) using a brush and lay all the produce out on my kitchen bench (the pictures you see here). I enjoy doing this because it gives me a sense of what I’m working with and it’s so beautiful!  
  • Then, with the veggies staring at me, I plan out meals I can make with garden produce before I go shopping.
  • All the produce then goes in the pantry drawer in the fridge.
  • I always pick a variety of herbs for the week, wash them and place them in a zip lock bag in the freezer.  This makes it easy to just grab what I need when I’m preparing dinner.

This week’s garden meals

Below what I made from this week’s garden spoils.

Making food from the garden

1. Corn fritters with avocado and sour cream. Kids LOVE these.

– corn, herbs (corn fritter recipe here)

2. Chicken curry with spinach

– spinach

3.  Chilli con carne wraps. These were delicious; easy finger food dinner. Just wrap, add a little parmesan cheese, wrap and shallow fry both sides.

– chilli 

4. Left over wraps went into the lunch box the next day

– chilli

5. Homemade pizza

– capsicum and tomato (recipe options for base, 2 ingredient wholemeal, 2 ingredient white, easy white)

6. Grilled chicken with corn and parsnip fries

– corn, parsnip  (based on this recipe)

7. Apple, rhubarb and feijoa with porridge

– feijoa, rhubarb

8. Chargrilled veggie breakfast

– eggplant, capsicum, corn


For the other meals I’ve good using the garden as inspiration, read here and here.


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Kelly loves life at both ends of the spectrum: wearing high heel shoes one day and hiking boots the next; sipping tea out of a pretty cup and slurping hot coffee from a camping mug; challenging herself physically and stopping for quiet unhurried moments to feel the wind on her face. Kelly and her husband Matthew seek to live a fun and adventurous life with their four children and pet bird.

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  1. Liz says

    I enjoy these posts! We are moving to Auckland in October from London (husband Kiwi, I’m American) and it’s nice to read about your adventures. The every day ones like making the most of your vegetable garden and the bigger adventures like visiting Hobbiton! It gives me a small glimpse of what life could be like.

    • says

      Hi Liz! How exciting!! We are really enjoying our life here this year and are doing lots of exploring of this beautiful country. We are hoping to head to the South Island in September too. All the best for your move.

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