Living in the tropics, I expected to have a vast array of fresh, local produce to choose from at all times of the year. And most of the year, that’s the case. But alas, summer in Townsville is far too hot and far too wet for most fruits and veggies. The number of stalls at the farmer’s markets dwindle, and the variety becomes sparse. Sure, we could supplement with things bought from supermarkets, but they are transported pretty far—which is often reflected in the price.
Still, there are a few veggies which are available even during the hot and wet season. Potatoes and pumpkins are easy to get your hands on from the market. We supplement those with our pantry and well-stocked freezer—a few weeks ago, tofu and soy sausages were reduced to clear for $1 (a savings of $4 on soy sausages and hot dogs!), so we bought a buttload and we’re slowly making our way through them.
Here are some of the meals we’ve made during the off-season.
Since it is the rainy season, some days it gets cold. Especially after a wet trip home from uni. Granted, by cold I mean 25 or higher, which most people think is hot, but compared to 34 it’s chilly! I’ve even broken out the sweatpants a few times in the past several weeks. Yesterday was one of those days. Rain bucketing down, jeans all wet from walking between the office and the car, I came home and immediately changed into my favourite red sweats. After dinner, the power went out, so we lit some candles and huddled around a battery powered radio, sharing one pair of earbuds, to listen to Australian Story on the ABC, featuring Ben Potts--the guy who boarded the Japanese whaling ship, and wasn't allowed off. Later, we went for a walk around the very dark block and marvelled at the branches and palm fronds that had fallen on powerlines and houses, and watched the wind through the wires and the trees. It probably wasn't the safest decision, especially since we weren't wearing shoes, but luckily we didn't die.
Sweatpants weather calls for comfort food. Like mashed potatoes and gravy. More specifically, a mixture of mashed plain and orange sweet potato, topped with a gravy made with soy sausages and one leftover seitan burger.
At least February is the last month of summer, and avocados (and many more veggies) will be back in season soon!