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Yum
A hearty stew of tender lamb and French flageolet beans. Garnish with a little feta and you've got an impressive meal for a crowd.

What is practiculture? It’s what happens when you leave big-city life to tend your garden, hunt in your backyard and prepare meals according to what’s in season instead of what’s on the supermarket shelves. Modern-day Australian “food warrior” Rohan Anderson’s new collection of recipes follows the practical nature of cooking from the homestead, something everyone should try. 

If NME did a top 10 cheap meals, this one would be in it. It’s a union of thrifty ingredients — one from the paddock, most of the rest from the garden — and so tasty it’s bound to be made over and over again. Well, it is in my kitchen!

I feel some guilt cooking with lamb, and I’ve avoided it for a good few years. My initial concern was that lamb could be raised in one part of the state, transported to an abattoir, packaged and then transported to a supermarket. Seemed like a lot of road miles to me. Lamb is a free-range animal in Australia, so I wasn’t concerned about that, but unfortunately they’re often treated with a good deal of inorganic chemicals and medications to deal with parasites such as works, pathogens and so on. It’s simply unnatural, and buying lamb has always felt like a gamble because of that.

When I stumbled across a sign down the road offering whole lambs for sale, butchered and packed, I thought I’d give that a try. It ticked a few boxes — reduced food miles, if not necessarily organic. I guess it’s better to tick at least a few boxes, even if we can’t manage them all, although I wish we could.

I’m not sure if I’ll do it again — I think I’ve grown too accustomed to hunting. But for now, I have a supply of lamb, and this meal is one I enjoy. It’s far more enjoyable than simply cooking chops on the barbecue.

Reprinted with permission from A Year of Practiculture