By Vivienne Pearson
I write to you from a table under a tree, complete with dappled sunlight and memories of last night’s dinner.
I ate a dish of Harissa chicken with char-grilled vegetables and rice. I cooked the dish myself but all the elements – from the chicken to the pepper – were provided in a ‘pod’.
The pods, created by a new venture called Table Under A Tree, are designed for visitors to the region. On holiday, it is sometimes more enticing to eat in than go out and the delivered-to-your-door pods provide everything you need for a meal that not only tastes amazing but which also connects you to hyper-local, high-quality producers of food.
As I cooked, I enjoyed thinking about the origins of each element of the dish. The chicken is from Brooklet Springs Farm near Newrybar (and now with their moveable caravans of chickens, also at The Farm). The harissa rub was created by Blue Kitchen Gourmet in Lismore. The macadamia oil is from Tullamoor Macadamias, and the pepper was grown by Picone Exotics, an astounding orchard in Tyagarah that I have been fortunate to visit for a previous Echo story. Most amazingly – the brown jasmine rice was grown in Nimbin Valley – less than 30 km (as the crow flies) from where I live!
Georgina Inwood, founder of Table Under A Tree, has developed the recipes to suit all cooking skills and almost all kitchens (don’t you love those holiday houses that can’t muster up a decent sharp knife?!). I haven’t cooked rice outside of my faithful rice-cooker for years but the instructions work perfectly and the resulting rice provides a nutty base to the dish, especially flavourful with the suggestion of mixing the provided herbs through. The chicken was juicy and sweet, and the veggie mix ideal. A lime and tub of plain yogurt were perfect accompaniments.
Table Under a Tree have a liquor licence, so your pod delivery can include some locally sourced drinks, as well as simple sweet treats.
Georgina also offers small-group tours to the producers – there are many more than mentioned here – even though these are not usually open to the public. After growing up on a farm, she understands the motivations and hardships of the food producing life.
My hubby and I cooked our meal together – a rare event within busy lives – and we honestly felt like we were on holiday. We left it too late in the evening to eat our meal under a tree, so I’m making up for it now, by reminiscing as I write.
Table Under a Tree. www.tableunderatree.com.au.