Slow and steady

Despite Southland being the butt of weather-related jokes from much of the country, there is a lot to love about winter in this part of the world. We are being treated on the farm at the moment to some terrifying temperatures (-10degree frost, anyone?!), but what follows are often the most glorious blue sky days. As kids on the farm, these were the days you hoped for – when your gummies would leave marks in the frost, and you could see your breath almost before you got out the door.

We get plenty of the other extremes of winter too – the blustery, wet, bloody freezing kind that makes you wish you could justify staying in the office just a little bit longer…the reality of farming though is that the sheep don’t get rained off, and there’s always work to be done regardless of what Jim’s serving up on the six o’clock news.

It’s on these sorts of days that there’s nothing better than coming home to a boneless shoulder roast in the slow cooker, and a big old glass of Pinot (or in Bill’s case, a Stone’s green ginger wine) to be savoured by the fire. Here at Leelands we are all about eating seasonally, the way nature intended. As much as possible we eat from the vege garden, which at the moment means getting creative with lots of cabbage and carrots! I’m always interested to hear people lamenting the cost of things like tomatoes at this time of year – if it’s expensive it’s probably because it’s not in season, and it’s expensive to keep summer vege thinking it’s summer all year round!

Eating seasonally doesn’t have to be hard, and slow food doesn’t have to be time consuming. One of my favourite ways to enjoy our shoulder cuts is to chuck one in the slow cooker before we head out the door in the morning (the boneless shoulder cut is perfect for this, but the oyster shoulder or any of our mini roasts work just as well). I’ll usually add a splash of red wine to the bottom of the dish, as well as a few cloves of garlic, and a generous helping of salt and pepper to season. By the time I make it home from work the lamb is meltingly good, and because it’s cooked so slowly it doesn’t lose any of the moisture. Served with some creamy mashed spuds, and this ridiculously good Ripe Raw Energy Salad with carrots and beetroot from the garden, and we can be enjoying roast lamb that has taken me all of about 30 minutes to prep.