Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Funky frontyard farmers Challenge Finale


Our final entry for the challenge has been long overdue, and we apologise for keeping any of you waiting. You must be at the point of desperation to know what we ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner on our final day, let alone, what secret we have to reveal for 2011. Fear not, as all shall be revealed.

 The reason for our delay, dear readers, is because we were doing what teachers do best; we were taking a holiday. It was nice to get away from the front yard for a while. we took a trip up the coast to our old stomping grounds in Umina Beach, lazing about in hammocks eating thai takeaway and catching up with some old friends. In particular, we visited Nancy and David our old neighbours, who, as you may remember, started veggie gardening at the same time as us 4 years ago. It was amazing to see what they had managed to do with their backyard. At the age of 86, David had transformed a bare and sandy backyard into a bonanza of fruit and vegetables, including some exotic varieties such as fruiting cactus, naranjilla, and other neolithic looking fruit trees from the deepest, darkest parts of South America. I was amazed that a man of his age could be so productive, and still so enthusiastic about something that started off as some neighbourly competition. but then again, growing you own food never ceases to be entirely addictive.  

But anyway, you must be wondering how the last day of our challenge transpired.  

Day seven, our final day of the challenge, began with an air of excitement. With the party to prepare for, there was little time for a luxurious breakfast, and so, as is the universal tradition, we had cold pizza leftover from the night before. It felt seedy, but good, like left over pizza for breakfast always does.


After cleaning the house, it was time to prepare lunch. We used the last of our broad beans, cheese and macadamia nuts in a delicious summery salad, served with some small bread rolls. This would be the twentieth and final meal made from our own produce for the challenge. It was technically the last meal from our garden, because for dinner, all those invited would bring something of their own that they had made or grown from their own gardens for our "Make your own pizza night".  It was time to get busy making pizza bases.

Jo and the man who shall not be named

Our simple pizza base recipe

Olive oil, 1 cup lukewarm water, 2 tsp dried yeast , 3 cups plain flour, 1/4 tsp salt

In a bowl put 1 cup of lukewarm water and mix in a tsp of sugar, then sprinkle yeast on top, cover with a tea towel and put aside in a warm place for about 10 mins. During this time add flour and salt together in another bowl and make a well in the middle. After yeast mix is ready (has turned foamy) add 1 tbspoon of olive oil to it and then pour this mix into well. Mix until combined then empty onto bench top and get busy kneading with your hands. Knead for 5 mins then chop mixture in 2 and place each part into a bowl, cover with a tea towel and place in a warm spot again. Leave the dough til it is almost tripled in size, 10 mins at least. Flour your bench top and rolling pin and roll your dough to preferred pizza base shape. These bases also freeze really well, I just cover them in cling wrap and freeze them on a flat tray.

Lou's lovely carrot cupcakes
the party 
the party was a roaring success. Joe's sister Louise brought loads of vegetables from her garden, and a strawberry sauce made from her very own strawberries that was delicious on ice cream. Vicki, our wonderful Maltese neighbour, made a delicious egg and spinach pie, using her own hens eggs and her father's spinach. Bug and Steve brought mountains of basil, and Mim made a delicious pizza using her own tomatoes. Everyone took turns in making their own pizzas and shared them together with a few beers and a glass or two or three of wine.
Joe and Lou with her garden goodies
Jo and our lovely neighbour Mim with granitas

steve, jess and pat

 As a token of our friendship, each guest was also given the privilege of tasting Joe's infamous Mulberry wine bio fuel. They were very gracious and said nice things, except for Nick, who was honest and said it smelled of manure, which left Joe to happily finish the bottle by himself.

"i have to say, i really enjoyed this wine" joe...

As everyone sat together on the front balcony, overlooking the veggie garden, Jo and I felt privileged to share a great night with some good friends.

The next morning, it felt strange not having to think about what to cook for breakfast, or forage in the garden for a meal.  In some ways it felt almost naughty eating what ever we liked. The kids had yogurt and porridge as they always used to, and as I munched on some dry toast with Vegemite, I couldn't help but wonder whether our challenge had amounted to anything important at all. 

But it had. We managed to prove that a suburban family could produce enough food to live off, even if it was only enough for a week, and more importantly we had a wonderful and creative time in the process. So much in fact that we will happily do it again, which brings us to our first big announcement.

Who's up for a challenge?

This year, in 2011, we would like to invite you to become a funky frontyard farmer too, and take on the challenge with us. You have the choice between one of three challenges.

challenge 1: first time funkies

If you are new to gardening, this challenge may be for you. buy some seeds, make a garden bed and get planting. Your challenge is to make one meal from your very own garden produce. eat it, blog about it and be very very proud of yourself.
It may be a meal for one, or a dinner party for 20 that will go down in history as the best dinner party ever hosted this side of your garden. You are allowed 1 bought ingredient to add to your meal.

Challenge 2: A Fab and Funky Day
For the slightly more ambitious, try a whole day of making meals from your garden. What will be on the menu for breakfast, lunch and tea? not to mention some in between snacks. Tell us what you are growing, planning on cooking and send in some photos. You are allowed up to 3 bought ingredients to help you along the way.
Challenge 3: Funkious Maximus
Up for a challenge. try 3 days or more, living off the produce grown from our own home. You are allowed up to 5 bought ingredients to help you along the way.
If you are up for the challenge, here's how to join in...

We have created a new blog site 'funkyfrontyardfarmersfriends.blogspot.com'.  This blog allows multiple authors for you to write about your experiences. We would love to read about what challenge you've chosen, where you're from and what gardening tricks and treats you have up your sleeve. The rules of the challenge and how to become a part of it are on the new blog site, check it out!

In the meantime gang we will continue our own blog and update you on our progress throughout the coming year. Some of the plans we have for 2011 include turning the lane way beside our house into a community orchard and kick starting a bartering of produce goods at our local markets. Stay tuned and thanks so much for your support and lovely comments over 2010...now go and eat some vegetables. 


  1. Hey Jo & Joe... we are very impressed with how well you did on your challenge! The meals sounded great - so creative - and the photography is beautiful too... what a great hands-on education for your kids as well.
    We are first-season backyard farmers... while we didn't stretch ourselves to only using 1 non-backyard ingredient, we did spend the summer eating meals that came partially from the garden to the table - you can see what we made and get the recipes.

    Andrew & Jessica (friends of S&A)

  2. Hi Jo and Joe,
    I've really admired your commitment to this challenge, and have been hanging out to know how it ended up!
    Living solely from the garden has been a dream of mine for a long time, and this year has been the first year out of the 4 years in this home in the Adelaide foothills that we have had a substantial vegetable crop. Last year we had a string of hot days and we lost the whole lot, they simply got cooked, despite the extra water. This year my wonderful husband built a frame over the veggie beds which can be covered with tarpaulins on super hot days.
    I enjoy the learning process of trial and error of what works with the veggies and what doesn't. Looking forward to reading other parts of your blog and convincing my family to take up one of the 3 challenges you have suggested.
    Keep up the blogging!
    Kind regards,

  3. Thanks guys for a great time and more importantly something of meaning. I think you are on to something that can take flight, do some good, educate..........and Joe i think your wine should not be sold!!! in the wrong hands it could be used as a lethal weapon lol.thanks again

  4. Hi anonymous, we have had some interest from the North Koreans as well as the CIA, but hhavent decided yet who we will sell our wine recipe to. thanks for your (mysterious) support....

  5. hey Kate,

    thanks for your comment. A frame sounds like the way to go. Joe and I have been discussing something similar after loosing many tomatoes to pests.

    We would be thrilled to have you and your family take part in the next challenge and are looking forward to hearing more about you and your garden.

  6. Dear Andrew and Jessica,

    thanks guys for your comment. Jo and I checked out your blog and the recipes were great. sorry about your chicken envy, although, if it is any consolation, since we have let them roam in the yard, they now peck our toes whenever we go outside...

    what is your growing season like in Indiana?

  7. Hi Jo and Joe, I tried to have a look at the funky frontyard farmers friends blogspot, but I keep getting this message:
    'Blog not found
    Sorry, the blog you were looking for does not exist. However, the name funkyfrontyardfarmersfriends is available to register!'

  8. mira, thanks, we're on to right now...will keep you posted and let you know as soon as it is fixed :)

  9. think we've fixed it...in the address bar type www.funkyfrontyardfarmersfriends.blogspot.com
    please let us know if you have any more trouble with it and thanks again...jo and joe

  10. Hurray! Now I can see it!

  11. Who is he who must not be named? You've hidden him from view as well!

  12. ha ha...he who must not be named was our special guest who has a knack of rarely being seen in his entirety in any photos...he is our dear Mr K.! We are writing a new post (finally ) this weekend, so stay tuned ;)